THE DALLES — Bob McFadden, commission president for the Port of The Dalles, announced this week that he plans to leave the commission at the end of June after 12 years with the Port.
“Health changes with my wife have led to me spending more time with her and less doing other activities,” McFadden said. “That also meant taking a hard look at those things that I must do and those that I want to do. That prioritization meant that some things were going to fall below the line.”
McFadden has served on the Port Commission since 2004. He also served on The Dalles City Council and the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Board of directors.
“It seemed timely as the end of this fiscal year is the 20-year mark in public office,” he said. “Twenty years seemed like a good place to break.”
He also served as the Mid-Columbia Region’s basketball commissioner and football commissioner for many years and was recognized as Football Referee of the Year in 2012 for Oregon, an award given by his peers. He and his wife, Kris, were instrumental in starting The Dalles Sister City program with Ikeda, Japan 30 years ago, which led to dozens of friendships and relationships fostered through the program by adults and young people.
Former Mayor Jim Wilcox has known McFadden for most of his 30 years in The Dalles. The two men have worked together in the real estate industry and they and their wives are close friends.
“Bob and I didn’t always agree,” Wilcox said. “We were basically trying to get to the same place, but not always the same way. We generally believed in the same things and 90 percent of the time we were on the same beam trying to get there.”
In their roles as port commissioner and as mayor, they kept each other informed.
“I think relationships like that can only help,” Wilcox said.
McFadden listed a number of accomplishments during his elected service, starting with instigating discussions that led to the formation of the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport and finding a new home for The Dalles Police Department while on the city council, and ending with development of the Columbia Gorge Industrial Center while at the Port.
“Having the opportunity to interact with some really great people has been most enjoyable,” he said. “Staff at city, staff at Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, and staff at Port worked incredibly hard to make their respective operations better and ultimately the community a better place. The commissioners and councilors that I have had the privilege to interact with have been dedicated representatives of, and always conscience of, the public and the public trust.”
Looking into the future of the Port is also exciting, McFadden said.
“Commissioners before me did a great job of laying the ground work for who and what the Port is today and I believe that the present commission has been aware of that and diligent in their responsibility to future commissioners in that regard. All in all, it’s been a really wonderful 20 years, but now it is time to spend more family time.”
“I am going to miss Bob’s insight, perspective and sense of humor, and his willingness to donate time to the Port,” said Andrea Klaas, Port executive director. “Over the last 12 years, Bob has helped bring new businesses to The Dalles, represented the Port in visits to Washington, D.C., with the Community Outreach Team, been involved in the Port’s industrial land development and been a wonderful advocate for the Port District and the community. Bob always exemplifies the mottos of two service organizations that he has been involved with, Rotary Club of The Dalles — “Service Above Self” — and The Dalles Lion’s Club — “We Serve.”