By David Yamamoto, Tillamook County Commissioner
(TILLAMOOK, OR. August, 2023) It is with a great deal of apprehension yet with considerable anticipation, that I announce to you this morning, my intent to take an early retirement. One of the greatest highlights of my working career has been representing the people of Tillamook County at the local, State and Federal level as your Commissioner, and I want to thank the people of Tillamook County for allowing me this great honor.
I have been fortunate to work with many exceptional people from across the State and Nation but none compare to the amazing employees we have right here in Tillamook County. This has proven to be a difficult decision because of you, my coworkers, and I want to thank you for the care and concern you have demonstrated, to do your best for the people of the county and for each other.
I realize my early departure may be unexpected, but I feel it is time for me to concentrate on my personal retirement goals with my family. Please understand that I love this job, though it is not always easy, and this has been an agonizing decision. It is my hope that you will be understanding of my position.
My exit plan, the timing of which is not yet set in stone, is to leave by the end of this year, in all likelihood, November or December. I want to be very clear that there are still things I want to accomplish before my exit, and I will be intensely focused and working diligently every day until my departure. As you have heard me discuss many times, projects like the NMFS/FEMA Biological Opinion (BiOp), State Forest Trust Lands, broadband for Tillamook County and the NW Region, Off-Shore Wind and the Kiwanda Corridor Project remain at the top of my list to advance.
As I look back on my tenure, some additional accomplishments I am proud of are my appointments to Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) and Oregon Broadband Advisory Council (OBAC) as well as BOEM’s Oregon Offshore Wind Steering Committee, Salmon Super Hwy Executive Steering Committee, Oregon Tidegate Steering Committee, and Oregon’s 100 year water vision. Critical new developments in the FEMA BiOp include Tillamook County being named a cooperating agency to FEMA and inclusion of my National Association of Counties’ “American Counties Platform” BiOp resolution.
One additional honor I have thoroughly enjoyed is my participation as a founding member of the Tillamook Working Lands and Waters Cooperative. This grass roots organization, with the encouragement and support of Oregonians for Food and Shelter, has catapulted us to the top of all such groups in Oregon. With our successful series of tours showcasing modern forestry, dairy and fisheries practices in Tillamook County, this is one of the reasons I can proudly pronounce “when it comes to clean water, habitat restoration and fish recovery…no Oregon County does this better than Tillamook County”.
The Board of Commissioners’ office, along with County Counsel, is working on the process for choosing my replacement. Although I will not have a vote in the process, I look forward to sharing my opinions with the other commissioners prior to a vote. It is my hope that my replacement will be a strong voice for Tillamook County’s robust natural resource-based economy.
Though my time here at Tillamook County is not yet at an end point, I am grateful to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m just not sure Terrie is looking forward to my retirement or not. She read me this quote the other day: “When a man retires, his wife gets twice as much husband for half as much money”…and she didn’t laugh when she read it to me.
I want to leave you with one final thought…a quote from George Bernard Shaw: “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing”.