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News / Clark County News

Washougal School Board president resigns after taking Oregon police chief job

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: September 22, 2023, 2:32pm

Washougal School Board President Cory Chase has resigned from his position after accepting a police chief job in Oregon.

Chase announced his departure from the school board Sept. 12.

“I’ve worked for local government, and I’ve been in higher level positions over the last 10 years,” Chase said. “But the group that is here at the Washougal School District and the board members that I’ve had the pleasure of serving with are far and away the finest group of people that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.”

Chase announced in May he would not seek re-election this fall, telling The Post-Record then that he had “no plans of vacating (his) seat early.”

But Chase’s plans changed after he was selected as the new police chief for the city of Cottage Grove, Ore., in August.

“I (planned) to serve out the remainder of my term doing the work the community elected me to do and that I enjoy doing,” Chase said. “One of the reasons I decided to not run again was so I could focus on my career. I have been given a great opportunity that is taking me out of Washougal. Because I am no longer (living) in the district, I am not eligible to continue to serve.”

Chase previously worked for the Port of Portland Police Department, most recently as an assistant chief, since 2012.

Chase said he is looking forward to spending more time with his children, including his youngest child, who is set to graduate from Washougal High School next year.

“I am also looking forward to engaging in new and challenging career opportunities that I have set aside in order to serve on the board,” Chase said. “When I joined the board, I had a plan to serve two terms. Serving on the school board is a tremendous but worthy time commitment. It’s just the right time to step away.”

Chase was appointed to the school board’s No. 4 position in 2016 and replaced Karen Rubino. He has served as the board’s president since 2017.

“I am proud of my time and accomplishments on the board,” Chase said. “I have been honored to be a part of tremendous growth and change in our community. We have built new buildings to better serve our students and families, implemented programs that have helped serve all students in our district, created a culture in the district that has allowed us to recruit, hire and retain the most talented employees, and most importantly, embraced a culture of collaboration with our students, families and community members.”

The school board’s vice president, Angela Hancock, said Chase is “level-headed, calm and fair,” qualities that served him well during his time on the board.

“We have encountered some very difficult times together, and I’m very thankful to have been able to work under his leadership during those times,” Hancock told The Post-Record in May. “Cory listens to everyone with an open mind, and he is a strong and ethical leader who follows policies and laws. During Cory’s tenure, he has brought forth processes that we are using today. I really appreciate his common sense, strategic planning, guidance and style of communication.”

Sept. 14 marked Chase’s last day as a member of the Washougal School Board. Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton said the board will vote Sept. 26, on an interim school board president.

Templeton said during a recent school board workshop session she knew Chase was planning to leave, but hearing the news still made her sad.

“Cory Chase, you are a gem,” Templeton told the outgoing school board president Sept. 12. “You have been so solid, such a leader, such a dedicated human being to this community. You have served. You have helped. You have been smart. You’ve been strategic. You’ve been caring. And you’ve been a friend.”