County Commissioner to depart on July 1After struggling with the lingering effects of a stroke for three years, Clatsop County Commissioner Bob Green said he plans to step down from his seat on July 1.
"I wanted to go the full term, but I just ran out of gas," he said Wednesday.
According to the county charter, the board of commissioners has 45 days after Green's departure to appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of his term. The commissioners have yet to meet to discuss what process they will use to fill Green's seat, which is up for election in May.
Green was elected to the board in November 2000, defeating Commissioner Joe Bakkensen for the District 2 seat. In January 2001, just three days after his swearing-in, he suffered a stroke caused by an irregular heart beat. The stroke caused no physical paralysis, but did affect his speech center, and since then the 84-year-old former corporate executive has often found it difficult to express himself at the board's meetings.
"I can put it all together in my brain, but to get the words out properly - I just don't feel confident," he said.
For discussions on particularly important issues, Green often writes down his statements to read at the commissioners' meetings to make sure he gets his point across clearly.
"Bob Green has most certainly gone above and beyond the call of community service for the past three and a half years on the Board of Commissioners," Chairwoman Helen Westbrook said in a county press release. "He put his elected office above his own health challenges. He struggled mightily to regain the ability to express himself clearly and to be an active participant on the board."
Green had already announced he wouldn't seek a second term this year, and endorsed Patricia Roberts of Gearhart for his seat. Roberts, an architectural designer, and Warrenton car dealer Vince Williams are vying for the District 2 seat in the May primary election.
Of all the issues the board tackled during his tenure, Green said he's happiest with the sale of the county's Sunset Beach property to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department last December. The 149-acre parcel will serve as the western trailhead of a five-mile trail linking Fort Clatsop National Memorial to the beach.
"There were certain things I wanted for the people," Green said. "I never had an agenda, other than Sunset Beach and making that an area for the public forever."
Among other accomplishments during his tenure, Green cited passage of the vacation rental ordinance for Arch Cape; the efforts to develop a long-term financial plan for the county; the county's efforts to help the Miles Crossing resolve sewer problems; and the settlement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over alleged wetlands violations at the North Coast Business Park.
Before joining the board of commissioners, Green served six years on the county Budget Committee and four years on the Planning Commission, three years as its chairman. He served 12 years on the Union Health District Board and was chairman during remodeling and expansion of the Providence Seaside Hospital. He is a former chairman of the hospital foundation.
Before retiring, he was an administrator for northwest Airlines and Western Airlines, president of a venture capital group in Portland, and executive director of a private nonprofit group that advocated and provided services for mentally ill people.
Despite his speech problems, Green wasn't afraid to speak his mind at board meetings, and he clashed several times with fellow commissioners, including over the Sunset Beach issue.
In early 2002, the board deadlocked over the question of selling the land to a golf course developer or to the Trust for Public Lands for preservation. Green, who strongly opposed the golf course proposal, sought out candidates to challenge commissioners Russ Earl and Tim Gannaway, who voted for the golf course offer, in that year's commissioner elections.
Earl and Gannaway were defeated for re-election by Westbrook and Lylla Gaebel, and in February 2003 the new board voted to pursue a deal with the Trust for Public Lands. When funding for that deal fell through, the state parks department stepped up with its own offer.