A CONVERSATION WITH COMMISSIONER MARSHALL REGARDING HER FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE
What inspired you to run for this position?
I was encouraged by a few friends to consider running, and the more I learned about the Port, the better fit it seemed to be for me. I was immediately impressed by how much our Port contributes to the quality of life for East County residents — from parks and recreation opportunities to providing quality space for local companies to grow local jobs. It is inspiring and rewarding to have the privilege to be a part of this work.
What have been the highlights for you in this first year?
Well, it was actually a very strange first year, to be honest. Two months of digging in and learning how to navigate the job in person, and then Covid hit. Just as a few things became familiar, everything went online, including our public meetings. That said, I’m incredibly impressed with what the Port team was able to accomplish, and how quickly everyone was able to pivot, stay productive, move projects forward, and keep staff and the community as safe as possible. In spite of Covid setbacks, there were many highlights, including significant progress on the planning and agreements for the Waterfront Development, the inter-agency collaboration on the Steigerwald Floodplain Restoration Project, and grants awarded that will assist with the construction of a new Industrial Park building as well as improvements at the marina and waterfront. We also had impactful discussions about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and the Port’s commitment to environmental sustainability that resulted in meaningful policy and planning. My learning curve was pretty steep this first year, but Covid also meant that many of the typical conference-type events were available online. Since there was no travel this year, we were able to ‘zoom’ into so many more training events and webinars than would have been possible before, so that was a bit of a silver lining.
Has anything about your role or the Port in general surprised you?
I’m surprised at how little many people in the community actually know about the Port. I talked with hundreds of people when running for the Commission position, and I’d say most people associate the Port with the Marina and the Parkersville and Waterfront parks and trails, and maybe the fireworks and concert events. I guess I’d like people to also understand the powerful economic and jobs contributions to East County that come from the industrial park, Steigerwald Commerce Center, the state and federal grant money that is infused into local construction and infrastructure, and the thriving and financially self-sufficient marina and airport operations…. In addition to world-class recreation!
What impact do you hope to have in your first term?
I feel fortunate to have joined a well-functioning Commission and excellent staff with exciting projects and plans already in motion. I hope to build upon the good work done before my time here, and contribute as much as possible by showing up, working hard, and really focusing on strengthening the Port’s many valuable partnerships — with the Cities of Washougal and Camas, our school districts, legislators, local businesses and non-profit organizations, and especially our community members. Since we are currently working to update our Strategic Plan, I’m eager to advocate for DEI and sustainability considerations in all aspects of our short and long-range planning. I’m hopeful that we can play a large part in future Camas projects, since most operations are currently in Washougal. We have the opportunity to set goals related to innovative economic development at all of the Port’s operations that reflect the values of our region, and result in the kind of growth that improves our connectivity, sense of community, and quality of life. Big goals, but I think our team can do it!
Do you have any other thoughts now that your second year is underway?
I’m sure looking forward to in-person gatherings again! It will be wonderful to see staff, the other commissioners, and the community at our meetings and events before too long.