WOODLAND – When Dale Boon served on the Woodland Harbor Commission in 1998, the harbor was much smaller.
Go forward 24 years. The port continues to grow, developing land that Boon voted to buy in the early 2000s. And now, Boon said, it’s time for him to retire and attend fewer meetings.
“I was a volunteer firefighter for 25 years. I’ve been on various other boards, dairy boards, for about 20 years and now it’s been 24 years for the port, ”said Boon. “I’m 72 and it’s time to quit and take it easy.”
Boon was elected in 1997 and took the seat of District 1 in January 1998. In addition to being a harbor commissioner, he owned and operated a dairy farm in Woodland before selling it in the 1990s. He then became the manager. from Diking District 2 of Cowlitz County until his retirement in 2016.
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Rob Rich ran unopposed for Boon’s seat in the November 2 election and will officially assume that role in January 2022.
During his tenure, Boon oversaw developments at Schurman Way Industrial Park and Down River Drive Industrial Park in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as more recent developments at Centennial and Rose Way Industrial Parks.
“We bought a lot of properties at the start, in the early 2000s, several plots of land that were very reasonably priced at the time,” he said. “It was a normal price back then, but it’s 25% of what we would have to pay now, so it was a good thing to buy a property back then. We are now able to go on and build buildings and develop these properties.
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During the 2008 economic downturn, he was also a founding development member of the Woodland Quality Community Coalition, which brought the city, port and school district together to work in coordination with each other.
Boon was also instrumental in preserving the Klady Guild Centennial Orchard and working with Boy Scouts Troup 531 for their dedication in 2016.
His favorite program he helped create is the Capital Community Development Project, which redistributed a portion of the port’s profits from the sale of dredged sand to the community.
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“I’ve always wanted to give something back to the community,” Boon said, “that’s how the project started about a decade ago.
Civic organizations could apply for money for their projects, and the project donated money to the Historical Society, the Lelooska Foundation, the Town of Woodland, high school and college robotics classes, and many others. .
“It’s been very, very good,” said Boon. “We were putting $ 20,000 or $ 30,000 a year into the fund. We have been doing this for four years, but at the moment there is no sand available for sale, so we don’t have the program at the moment, but hopefully they will reinstate it later.
Boon also hopes to continue to see the port grow and develop, particularly at Martin’s Bar and Austin Point.
David Ripp, General Manager of the Port of Camas-Washougal, worked with Boon for about a decade when Ripp was Executive Director of the Port of Woodland from 1994 to 2007. But his relationship with Boon goes back further than that, he said. he declares. .
“I’ve known Dale most of my life,” Ripp said, as Boon was often in Ripp’s dad’s welding shop.
Ripp recalled working with Boon on a number of development projects, from business parks to streets.
“I have always had a deep respect for him,” said Ripp. “We have always worked well together and we always keep in touch. “
“Forward thinking” is what comes to Ripp’s mind when asked to describe Boon.
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“He always wants to see how the port can create jobs, diversify the job base, and he’s always been engaged in what’s going on in the community and active in the community,” said Ripp.
Boon said that was exactly why he kept running for office: to stay involved and serve his community.
“It’s always fun to know about the potential businesses that come to town and help them grow,” he said. “And make sure they have family jobs and that they’re good businesses that are good for the community.”
Fellow Commissioner Paul Cline said that, looking back on Boon’s tenure, “community spirit” was the general impression he had of Boon’s service.
The pair have served on the commission together since 2008, and Cline said he appreciates the different abilities each commissioner has brought to the table.
“Through him, I learned the importance of being ready for meetings and staying connected to our sister ports,” said Cline.
Boon said his advice to new commissioners would be to listen and stay connected, and when voting, keep in mind that commissioners should represent the whole community, not just themselves.
“Listen to your taxpayers, your constituents,” he said. “Listen to what they have to say and chat with them anytime about any project you have going on. A lot of people know me in the community and if they wanted to talk about port affairs I would sit down with them and talk to them.