HOOD RIVER, ORE. – The Port of Hood River has hired Debbie Smith-Wagar, CPA as its new Finance Director to replace Fred Kowell who retired in December 2021 after working for the Port since 2012. Ms. Smith-Wagar has more that 25 years of experience in local government finance and accounting and has worked as an auditor, fund accounting systems analyst, and served as the assistant finance director of the City of Tigard from 2008-2015, and also for the City of Newberg from 1996-2001. Smith-Wagar taught classes in governmental and not-for-profit accounting at Portland State University as an adjunct professor. Besides her CPA certification, Smith-Wager is also an Oregon Licensed Municipal Auditor and a member of the Government Finance Officers Association state and national organizations.
Smith-Wagar has been working on contract for the Port intermittently since 2019 as a consultant in the finance department. In her letter of interest for the position, Smith-Wagar noted, “The Port is entering an exciting time as it plans to replace the bridge across the Columbia River, but also maintain existing revenue streams such as the airport, marina, and commercial and industrial building rentals. I have experience with planning how to finance and track large capital projects similar to the bridge replacement, while keeping existing operations functioning.”
“I’m very happy to welcome Debbie to our team full time as our new Finance Director. The depth of her experience in governmental accounting and financial planning, along with her clear understanding of our Port’s systems and the challenges ahead made her the perfect candidate for the job,” said Kevin Greenwood, Executive Director.