Message from Executive Director Kevin Greenwood
I was hired as executive director of the Port in October 2022 after serving as the bridge replacement project director since 2017. Though I have been familiar with the replacement effort, it has been enlightening to learn about all the other services and facilities that the Port of Hood River offers the public. I have slowly been taking tours, introducing myself to Port tenants, learning more about the highly popular parks and waterfront Event Site, taking an air tour from the Ken Jernstedt Airport, and doing a couple of shifts in the toll booth. I’ve witnessed so much dedication from all our employees and board members to provide a high quality of life and healthy economic development throughout the Mid-Columbia region.
Without question, the Port is entering a new phase of its 90-year history. In the last 12 months, the Port has transitioned to an entirely new leadership team. The Port has a new executive director (myself), finance director (Debbie Smith-Wagar), bridge replacement director (Michael Shannon) and general counsel attorney (Kristen Campbell). In the next two months, our facilities director (John Mann) will be retiring, as well as the Port’s long serving commissioner (Hoby Streich). Commissioner Ben Sheppard, elected in 2017, will now be the most tenured commissioner.
In addition to the leadership transitions, the Port will be transitioning off bridge toll funding for all non-bridge activities by June 30, 2026. Over the past five years, the Port typically used $1M of the $6M in annual bridge toll revenue to maintain the waterfront parks and recreational areas, the Ken Jernstedt Airport, and port administrative services. The Port will now need to generate new revenue from new sources, build partnerships with other local government agencies, and reduce expenses to meet the 2026 goal. I believe we can do it.
The other big news is the momentum developing around bridge replacement. There is quite a bit of information about the funding for the new bridge in this newsletter, including preparation for a toll increase later this fall that will be needed to fund the new bridge. If you would like to learn more about the project’s financial needs and how tolls will be utilized, please attend one of the two open houses scheduled for May 31 in White Salmon and June 7 in Hood River.
As you can see, there are many changes coming and already underway at the Port. I look forward to working with Port staff, commissioners, and the community to transition through to this new phase. I believe that the Port can continue to be a valuable partner in providing waterfront recreation, aviation-related services, and continue to create jobs and support retention and expansion of local businesses throughout the district. I look forward to meeting you soon.
Kevin M. Greenwood,
Port Executive Director