Richard Lee is the new chairman of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners.

The board chose Lee for the position Wednesday. Commissioner Patricia Roberts was selected as vice chairwoman.

Lee thanked outgoing Chairwoman Helen Westbrook for her leadership in 2004. "I will try to do as well as you have," he said.

The board designates a chairman and vice chairman at the first meeting of each year. Under the county's charter, the chairman presides over the meetings of the board and is responsible for preserving order and enforcing the board. The chairman determines the meeting agenda, calls special meetings and executive sessions, and has a voice and vote on all issues before the board. The vice chairman assumes the duties when the chairman is absent.

Lee was initially appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in February 2002 and was elected to a four-year term that November. The lifelong resident of Clatsop County is a dairy farmer, nurseryman and agri-businessman. He is a founder of Ag Bag Corp., Walluski Western Corp. and Lee Industries.

Under Westbrook's leadership, Lee said, the county tackled 26 major accomplishments in 2004, including the 99-year lease with Camp Kiwanilong, enabling the youth camp to qualify for grants for infrastructure and other improvements; resolved the county's reversionary clause in the old Cannon Beach Fire Hall, enabling the fire district to sell the old station and giving county taxpayers an investment in the new station; and oversaw the the sale of Sunset Beach to the Oregon parks, preserving the land for public use while generating nearly $700,000 for the county parks system.

"I hope our board can work together for another banner year," Lee said.

Roberts joined the board last August when she was appointed to complete a term that expired in December. Voters had already elected her for a full four-year term starting this month. Roberts lives in Gearhart, where she has conducted a residential design service since 1991. She worked for architectural firms in Portland, the Friends of Pioneer Courthouse Square and was a teacher for the Portland Public Schools. She maintained a second home in Gearhart while living in Portland and is active in historic preservation efforts.

During the board's meeting, Clatsop County Circuit Judge Phil Nelson issued the oath of office to Commissioners Roberts and Sam Patrick of Knappa, who both began new, four-year terms in office.

County Administrator Scott Derickson presented certificates of appreciation to outgoing Chairwoman Westbrook and Vice Chairwoman Lylla Gaebel recognizing their service.


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