A new but familiar face will join the Astoria Planning Commission.
Mayor Arline LaMear appointed retired English teacher, local radio board member and frequent city meeting attendee Joan Herman to the Planning Commission Tuesday. Herman will fill a seat left vacant after former Commission President David Pearson announced he was resigning.
Pearson, the deputy director of the Columbia River Maritime Museum, is leaving Astoria to take a job as the executive director of World of Speed, a motor sports museum in Wilsonville. He had been on the Planning Commission since 2012.
It is the second time this year that LaMear has had to appoint a new person to the Planning Commission. Brookley Henri joined the commission in July after former Commissioner Frank Spence was elected to the Port of Astoria Commission.
Herman already attends many of the City Council and Planning Commission meetings. When a position opened up on the Planning Commission, she decided to apply. It will be her first time holding public office.
“I love Astoria and feel compelled to contribute in any way I can to our beautiful community,” she said.
Herman, a native of Salem, moved to Astoria in 1986 and worked at The Daily Astorian covering county government, police and history. She co-founded the bicycle shop Bikes & Beyond with her former husband, the late Richard Fencsak. She later taught English at Lower Columbia College, a community college in Longview, Washington. When she retired, she moved back to Astoria.
She serves on Coast Community Radio’s Tillicum Foundation Board of Directors and runs two radio programs, a short fiction show, “Literary Landscapes,” and a public affairs show, “Perspectives.”
Herman said she knows being a planning commissioner can be challenging. But, she added, “I am committed to doing my best and being fair.”