Former judge joins Gorge Commission

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The Columbia River Gorge Commission this month welcomed a former Wasco County, Ore., judge as its newest member. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed Dan Ericksen to a four-year term that began Sept. 20, according to the commission.

Ericksen also served as a Wasco County commissioner and has lived in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area for much of his life, according to the commission. Ericksen is the seventh new addition to the 13-member group in just the past year. Commission Executive Director Darren Nichols also joined the agency earlier this year.

Ericksen joins at an uncertain time for the commission, which coordinates policy and land-use planning within six Gorge counties in Washington and Oregon. The agency has been hobbled by budget cuts in recent years, and is preparing to make its funding pitch to both states' legislatures before the 2013 session.