Hats off to the Port of Astoria commissioners for taking significant steps toward climbing out of the deep, dark hole they inherited. This includes seriously delayed maintenance needs, compounded by funding challenges — all of which have been building over the last decade.

Congrats on completing and unanimously passing the updated strategic plan ("Port approves strategic business plan," The Astorian, Oct. 3). This plan reflects the serious commitment of the current commissioners to restore the Port's economic health, as well as the trust of local communities and those who control the purse strings in Salem.

The entire Port has undergone dramatic and positive changes in the last year since I began regularly attending the meetings. In June, the Port swore in one newly elected commissioner and one previously appointed commissioner. Consequently, the discussions at the Port meetings are respectful, while presenting and exploring different points of view.

Under the leadership of Dirk Rohne, the new president of the Port Commission, the agendas are robust and the meetings include spirited discussion of how to move the Port forward.

Will Isom was thrust into the position of Port director following the much-needed departure of Jim Knight. Isom is providing professional management, and effectively communicating with the commissioners as they work together to tackle the challenges and make difficult decisions.

It feels as if the children have left the room, and the grown-ups are now able to get down to the serious work of rebuilding this important port at the mouth of the great Columbia River.

CHERYL JOHNSON

Astoria

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