Port of Hood River

Position 1

Brian Carlstrom

brian_carlstromI was born in Seattle. Rather than going to college, I moved to Maui in 1981, when I was 18. I learned to shape sailboards there. In 1983, I heard about the great winds in the Gorge, and spent that summer shuttling from Seattle to Hood River, building boards, booms, and mast bases in my mom’s garage.

In 1984, I opened the Windance store in its present location. After a few months of running the store, I met my wife, Lorraine. She helped to make Windance become a successful business. Together, we ran it for 25 years. We sold it in 2008. It is now in its 34th year. We moved to Canada for 10 years, and returned in 2016. I presently manage property rentals.

I have been active in the community for years. I was on the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association in its early days. I also spearheaded the Columbia Gorge Earth Day events beginning in 2000. After 4 years, our group shifted focus, and formed the Columbia Gorge Earth Center. I was the president of that organization when it formed, and for some years afterword. Many positive organizations bloomed from the Earth Center, including the Gorge Rebuild-it Center and Gorge Grown.

I have experience in manufacturing, wholesale, retail, construction and importing. I hope to use some of this experience to help the Port follow its mission statement: “to initiate, promote and maintain quality of life and a healthy economy throughout the Port District and the Columbia River Gorge”

Ben Sheppard

Ben SheppardBorn and raised in Hood River, I am a fifth generation member of this community. I am an owner of Sheppard’s Equipment, where I have worked for 12 years since returning from college and a brief time in Portland. Along with my wife, Brandi, we are raising three young and active boys.

I am a member of the Hood River Rotary club, where I have served as president in 2015 and currently as a member of its board of directors.

I’m running for Port Commission because it is such an important time for Hood River as the port plans for future development at its numerous properties.  The future replacement of the interstate bridge and maintenance of the current bridge will have long-lasting economic impact in our area and deserves our attention.

Additionally, the future of Lot One on the port and the lower Hanel Mill site will help shape the industrial future of the area and have the potential for a great mix of job growth and open space for the community.

I hope to be an active part of these decisions.

Anna Williams

Anna_WilliamsSince moving to the Gorge in 2008, I have worked in restaurants, sustainable tourism development, and social services.  I currently manage a volunteer program at Providence Hood River.  My work takes me across Hood River and Klickitat Counties to the homes of people who are often struggling to meet their basic needs.  Our program provides basic supports like rides to the doctor or grocery store and friendly visits.  I love my job because it celebrates the vital role of personal relationships in building a healthy community.

I decided to run for Port Commission after talking to my friends and neighbors about how the bridge, the waterfront development district, and the airport affect them both personally and professionally. I will use my education and my relationships with a variety of people in Hood River County to help the Port Commission make sound decisions based on the best interests of the people, the environment, and the economy.

I have a Masters Degree in Administrative Social Work, which taught me to evaluate the impact of policy on people and understand how a budget communicates an agency’s priorities.  My education and my ability to listen with an open mind make me well-suited to serve as a Port Commissioner.

If elected, I will listen to the ideas and concerns of Hood River voters.  I will listen to the expertise of the Port staff. I will also ask questions and build relationships to implement sound, sustainable policies.  Please vote for Anna Williams for Port Commission.

Position 2

John Everitt

John_EverittI am running for Port Commissioner because I have a strong interest in the future of the Port and of our Community and will, as a Commissioner, foster the balance of economic, social and recreational interests so important to the quality of life in the Gorge.

I believe the Port is a regional resource that can strengthen the fabric of our community and directly contribute to the economic and lifestyle vitality of Hood River County, and adjacent areas that benefit from Port investments and decisions. Those of us who have watched local politics over the years have seen a transformation as the County, City and Port have found common ground, and leaders that are willing to collaborate for the benefit of the people they serve. I want to continue that success.

I ask for your support and vote in my run for Commissioner. My previous public and private experience is listed below:

Hood River Community Involvement:

  • Port of Hood River Budget Committee (current)
  • Hood River Planning Commission (2001-07 / Chair 2005-07)
  • Parks and Rec Budget Committee (2010 – 2016)
  • Member of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Children’s Waterfront Park

Professional Background:

  • Current Commercial Property Management, Hood River (Partner, 2011 – current)
  • Residential Builder, Hood River (1999 – 2008) and Portland (1995 – 1999)
  • High Tech Project Manager, Fullman Co. for Semiconductor Industry High Purity Piping Projects, Portland and International (1986-93)
  • Economy Plumbing Company, Ashland (Owner, 1975-1986)
  • Local Union 290 Plumbers and Pipefitters
  • Plumbing and Real Estate Licensed

Jeff Helfrich

helfrichJeff Helfrich is an Air Force veteran and law enforcement officer with over 24 years experience. He served on the Cascade Locks City Council from 2011 to 2015 before moving to Hood River.

While on the city council, Jeff gained experience on the budget committee, charter review committee, public safety task force, and joint work group on economic development. He also served on the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District for three years.

He lives in Hood River with his wife, who is a naturopathic physician, and his two kids.

As Port Commissioner, Jeff will:

  • Enhance economic development and bring family wage jobs to the community
  • Ensure that Port is a responsible land owner
  • Balance the need for economic growth and recreational opportunities for all community members to enjoy

Svea Truax

Svea_Truax_picMy interest in serving as a Port Commissioner stems from how much I value and admire this community. My professional qualifications and experience make this position a great place for me to serve.

I believe the Port of Hood River is an outstanding economic developer, employment expander, and recreation economy driver for our community and the entire Columbia Gorge region. I see critical ongoing and future challenges for the Port including maintaining or replacing the Hood River bridge, expanding airport business employment and educational opportunities, stewarding our waterfront jewel, and economic development of real estate.

I know the issues due to my attendance of Port planning, budget, and board meetings. In addition, I am a member of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, which includes ports from Washington, Oregon and Idaho. I believe regional understanding is important as well as a local commitment, and I will engage on all levels.

My educational and professional background is well suited for this position. I have a BS degree in Chemistry from Western Washington University and a MS degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington. I have over 20 years of experience serving private and government clients in the engineering consulting field. Currently and since 2007, I am President and owner of a successful engineering consulting firm in Hood River, and I am also part owner of a 130-acre farm. I am a committed Hood River county resident with a current HRVHS student and one graduate.

Position 3

Laurie Balmuth

balmuthI have put my name on the ballot for Port of Hood River Commissioner Position 3. I am a retired lawyer with a background in Public Administration. This life experience and my personal passion for learning the facts, the law and the opinion of others will allow me to work for the public and help sort things out in a way that makes sense. I have lived in Hood River for seventeen years. I was born and raised in New England and moved to Oregon in 1988. In looking at the Port website I see that the biggest issue the Port must face is what to do about the Hood River Bridge. Many studies have been done and there are more than a few options available. I look forward to working on this issue and other issues that come up for the Port.

Kristi Chapman

chapmanI was first introduced to Hood River by my husband, Travis, in 2000. Travis grew up in Hood River. In 2011, We decided to move back to start a small business and raise our family.

Our business is situated on land owned by the port. Besides doing business there every day, we are frequent recreational users of the park and the river. My two children, ages 10 and 8, spend most summer days in the water. We utilize the marina and love boating when wind sports are not possible.

The port is very special to our family, and I feel that there needs to be a balance between business, recreation, and tourism. The port and Hood River have substantially grown, and growth and utilization needs to be planned responsibly for future sustainable growth. Other aspects of the port (bridge, museum, airport, etc.) play a critical role as well.

I’m running for Commissioner because I want to become involved in the port and its role in the future of Hood River. I feel that the port is an integral part of our community. My historical background in real estate, title and land development in combination with a degree in communications will be helpful in communicating between members of the port as well as the city and county. My current position as a business owner on port land and as a resident that enjoys the recreation opportunities, I feel the need to be involved in our future.

Dave Meriwether

dave_meriwetherServing on the Commission of the Port of Hood River is an opportunity to enhance the livability of the community in a meaningful way.  The primary purpose of the Port is economic development.  While many view this as being limited to industrial development, it more comprehensively involves transportation, recreation, education, housing and other elements of community life.

Certainly, other organizations and entities are charged with taking the lead in those areas. However, I think it is critical that the Port collaborates and partners with those agencies, where appropriate, in order to improve the viability of the community as a whole. That was my approach to work as the Hood River County Administrator, and I would hope to promote the same with the Port.

The Port has several current projects and opportunities.  The waterfront development, including the future of Lot 1, will be significant in the coming months.  It is important to craft a broad-based community consensus regarding the waterfront, and I look forward to engaging in those discussions. Recent acquisition and development of the remainder of the lower Hanel Mill property also presents unique economic opportunities.

Last, but certainly not least, is the replacement of the Hood River Bridge. If we are to continue to thrive as a community, the bridge must be replaced.  It has exceeded its life expectancy and is inadequate to accommodate the region’s current and future transportation needs, including non-vehicular use.  I think my experience working with federal, state and regional partners would be beneficial in this area.


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