As some readers are aware, the OSU Forestry Extension program has seen some significant personnel changes in recent months, including the retirement of longtime Linn/Benton County agent Rick Fletcher and the transition of Clackamas County agent Mike Bondi to an administrative leadership role. That, coupled with a declining overall program budget has led Extension administration to reorganize and reallocate existing staff in order to continue serving all Oregonians. Because our budget situation does not allow us to refill vacancies with new hires, many county agents will now be serving larger areas or new territories.
As a result, my new assignment is expanding to include Yamhill County, in addition to my existing area of Columbia and Washington Counties. Though 1/3 of my effort is to be allocated to each county, I will be maintaining my “home base” in the Columbia County office in St. Helens, and that remains the best place to track me down.
This is a significant change for me, and one that I do not take lightly. Those of you that I work with in Columbia and Washington Counties will no doubt experience some change as well. With a larger area and clientele to serve, I will have to be especially mindful of prioritizing my time. Partnerships and volunteers will be more important than ever.
For those of you interested in the bigger picture, here is a rundown of the changes being implemented in northwest Oregon:
- Brad Withrow-Robinson is transitioning from Yamhill, Polk and Marion Counties to a new service area of Linn, Benton, and Polk Counties
- Glenn Ahrens is transferring from Clatsop and Tillamook Counties to Clackamas County, and will also pick up coverage for Marion and Hood River Counties
- Amy Grotta is increasing her service area to include Columbia, Washington, and Yamhill Counties
- Jim Reeb is transitioning from a 100% appointment in Lincoln County to a three-county service area including Lincoln, Tillamook, and Clatsop Counties
This entire reorganization process will take place over the next several months, to be concluded by July. There is still a lot of coordination and planning to do to make this happen smoothly as we each settle into our new roles. I’ll certainly be working with Brad to get to know the people and the forests of Yamhill County.
Stay tuned, and thanks for your support!