Port of Longview commissioners Wednesday appointed retired Longview businessman Allan Erickson to the vacant District 3 commissioner seat.
Erickson will be sworn in at the port’s regular meeting Dec. 12. He will serve through December 2019 — the remainder of the term Bob Bagaason left vacant when he retired in September.
Erickson, 70, said during the meeting he intends to run for a full, six-year commissioner term next year.
Commissioners Doug Averett and Jeff Wilson encouraged the five applicants to file for the seat next spring, noting that their appointment of Erickson is not an endorsement for future elections.
Averett initially moved to appoint former Longview mayor and former Cowlitz County Commissioner George Raiter, but Wilson did not second. Averett countered with a motion to appoint Erickson, and Wilson agreed.
Averett and Wilson interviewed all five applicants in public, and Erickson emphasized the need to respect public opinion.
“We need to be conscious about what we do in terms of respecting the public’s input,” Erickson said during the meeting.
Erickson also said he feels the most important part of the port’s role in its community is creating well-paying jobs. He also said he’d like the port’s tax levy minimized, which the commission has reduced in recent years.
Erickson has worked in the printing industry for over 40 years, which includes his time as a small business owner. He owned the Printing Arts Center in Longview until 2008, when he sold the company to Coprintco. He continued to work there on and off for four years after the sale.
“I feel like I have the kind of experience that brings something to the table (for the port),” Erickson said.
Erickson is a lifelong Longview resident and attended the University of Washington.
Wilson and Averett noted that choosing the new commissioner was difficult. The other candidates were Megan Richie, who ran for Longview City Council and who is a retired massage therapist; Rob Beringer, an Ostrander-area horse breeder; and Brian Loos, the safety and risk manager for the City of Longview.
“Each candidate seemed to come with a huge difference of background,” Wilson said. “To me, that’s the beauty of this process. ... I love the diversification of each person.”
The three-member port commissioner governs policy and sets direction for the staff. The port’s executive director, Norm Krehbiel, answers to the commissioners.
Some of the port’s major initiatives are redeveloping the former Continental Grain berth, developing a plan for its Barlow Point property in West Longview and improving Willow Grove Park.