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News / Business / Clark County Business

8 candidates vie for Port of C-W seat

Successful applicant will serve out term of late commissioner Lampton

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian Port & Economy Reporter
Published: September 12, 2015, 6:00am

The Port of Camas-Washougal’s search for a successor to the late Commissioner Mark Lampton continues next week, as eight applicants are slated to be interviewed for the District 1 position by Commissioners Bill Ward and Bill Macrae-Smith.

During a special meeting open to the public — set to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the port’s office, 24 S. A St. in Washougal — Ward and Macrae-Smith will conduct interviews of all eight candidates. The candidates are vying to serve the rest of Lampton’s second, four-year term, which runs through 2017.

The port manages a 400-acre industrial park, 79-hangar general aviation airport and a 350-slip pleasure boat marina. It also oversees Captain William Clark Park at Cottonwood Beach, the adjacent protective levee and Parkersville National Historic site.

David Ripp, the port’s executive director, said Thursday that Ward and Macrae-Smith will interview each candidate for 30 minutes. Afterward, commissioners are expected to convene an executive session, closed to the public, to evaluate the candidates’ qualifications. Commissioners will then re-convene the open public meeting for adjournment.

During Tuesday’s public meeting, Ripp said, the commissioners may decide whether to bring candidates back for another round of interviews Wednesday. Ward and Macrae-Smith are expected to vote to select a candidate during the commission’s regular public meeting, to be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the port’s office.

“We’ve got some good candidates in there,” Ripp said.

Here are the candidates, including summaries of their professional backgrounds and their reasons for pursuing the District 1 seat, according to their applications:

Michael Briggs

Briggs’ professional experience includes working in sales, management and purchasing in the wood products industry from 1981 to 2006. In 2014, he ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in the general election for Position 1 in the state’s 18th Legislative District. He said he “can offer my own passion, intelligence, experience and supreme desire to keep the three-person commission intact and ready to grow and go forward.”

Nicholas Brown

Brown is funeral director and funeral insurance agent for Straub’s Funeral Home & Columbia River Cremation. His community involvement includes serving as a board member of the Camas Athletics Booster Club. “What makes me want to be a part of this group of commissioners is they have been a part of this new foundational planning and growth since they took over and pulled the port out of the unsuccessful River Walk project. It is a strong group from the commissioners to the port director down to the port director’s staff.”

Lauren Colas

Colas said she has 25 years of “financial and operations experience in both private and public firms,” and that her business consulting projects have included work for Columbia Sportswear, Nike, Nautilus and Rentrak.

In 2014, Colas, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully in the general election race for Clark County treasurer.

“My experience while serving on various boards and community volunteer work has taught me that public involvement and trust are crucial to realizing optimal results,” she said.

Mark Forbes

Forbes is content manager for corporate marketing at Mentor Graphics in Wilsonville, Ore. He did consulting work for Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas in Camas from 2002 to 2007. “I am passionate about the Columbia River and, as a 13-year customer of the port, I am passionate about keeping the quality and availability of the port at its current high standard,” he said. He also said that his most valuable experience, “especially for a short appointment,” may be that he was twice elected to the Rocklin (California) School Board.

Paul Greenlee

Greenlee is a Washougal City Council member. From March 2010 to June 2015, he served on the board of trustees of the Association of Washington Cities. After serving eight years on the Washougal City Council, Greenlee said, joining the Port of Camas-Washougal commission “just seems like the right next step.”

In serving as a city councilor, Greenlee said, “I have developed a reasonable understanding of planning and development, of infrastructure, of economic development, and I also have a good understanding of municipal budgeting and finance.”

Kelly Orfield

Orfield is a vice president at Banfield Pet Hospitals. “I have most recently spearheaded the process of exploring moving our nationally based company to the greater Vancouver trade area, out of Portland,” he said. “Due to that effort, over 650 high-paying jobs will be moving into Columbia Tech Commercial Center on Mill Plain (Boulevard) in less than one year.”

Orfield said David Scott, administrator for the city of Washougal, encouraged him to apply for the port commission. “I have a passion for creating commerce opportunities and seeing economic growth,” Orfield said.

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John Spencer

Spencer is management consultant for Pulse Consulting LLC, where recent projects have included revenue forecasting and government relations. Previously, he was city administrator for the city of North Bonneville from 2010 to 2013.

He said the port’s Steigerwald Commerce Center “is a great opportunity to add jobs to the community.”

He also said: “As a pilot and owner of a small plane based (at the port’s) Grove Field, I am particularly interested in further development of this property.”

Barry Sullivan

Since 2000, Sullivan has been the owner and operator of Vancouver Canned Foods Inc., which does business as Grocery Outlet on Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard in Vancouver. “Starting as a box boy at the age of 16 and ending up a grocery store owner by the age of 54,” he said, “I have come to the top of my retail career.”

Sullivan said he “would continue the vision of expanding and growing the port by reaching out to the business community. I feel that as a small-business owner, I could help represent and relate to the potential clients for the port as well as communicating and supporting the needs of the public.”

The successful candidate would serve the rest of Lampton’s term, through 2017, but would have to campaign for the office for an opportunity to serve beyond that timeline. Lampton, 69, died of cancer on Aug. 3.

Columbian Port & Economy Reporter