CANNON BEACH — Douglas Craner isn’t a local to Cannon Beach yet, but he’s visited enough to have some favorite hangouts.
“I love the Sunday afternoon ribeye at The Driftwood. And in the morning, my favorite thing is to go to the Cannon Beach Bakery and sit out on those white benches with the regulars,” Craner said.
While Craner has spent the majority of his life in the Portland area, a part of his heart lives in the summers he would spend with his family in Cannon Beach since he was a kid. So when he saw a position on the Public Works Committee open up last month on the city’s website, he saw an opportunity to reignite the connection.
His new position, which officially started Aug. 1, will be to discuss issues concerning city infrastructure like sewer lines, water resources and other public works projects and recommend decisions to the City Council.
Before retiring two years ago, Craner spent 30 years in legal counsel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Throughout his career, he worked in real estate law, evaluating environmental laws and other disciplines related to carrying out projects.
One of his favorite projects was redeveloping failing infrastructure in Celilo Village, he said.
“I was always amazed at the confidence and professionalism it took to design and engineer complex projects,” Craner said. “I’m glad through my legal training I am able to participate in these projects that hopefully leave something tangible, and something hopefully for the public good, for generations to enjoy.”
Craner hopes to bring a broader, citizen perspective when evaluating public works projects by engaging with the community early and thoroughly so that projects can be built from a “consensus building basis,” he said.
As a committee member, Craner will be a part of ongoing discussions to restructure city water and sewer rates, a hot-button issue after a proposal to raise water rates by 40 percent to address failing infrastructure was rejected in May.
When it comes to addressing the public works needs in Cannon Beach, he said his first item on his to-do list is to “listen and learn.”
“With the rates, it’s going to come down to evaluating the cost benefit. I don’t have a preconceived position on that, but I’ll be taking a close look at it,” he said.
This will be Craner’s first professional commitment since retiring, though he said he still plans to spend his days off at the tennis court or with his grandchildren in Portland and Eugene.