Port of Cascade Locks General Manager Chuck Daughtry is resigning from his position effective Dec. 31.
“It’s time; I’ve been there 12 years … I think it’s time, Daughtry said. “I just got that feeling. They need to hear some fresh voices and I needed to recharge my batteries.”
Daughtry called the decision a “mutual agreement” between himself and the Port Commission.
“The Port Commission recognizes Chuck’s past and present contributions to the port and to the community of Cascade Locks. We appreciate his efforts,” stated Commission President Jess Groves. “Chuck stabilized the port during a time of distress, and has positioned us for future growth.
“Many of the projects under way due to Chuck’s management and leadership will come to fruition over the next several months,” said Groves. “These projects include completion of a Forest Service land exchange, construction of a major new mountain bike trail, significant sail beach improvements, a new marine park entrance for pedestrians and bicycles and commercial development on WaNaPa Street.”
Daughtry came to the Port of Cascade Locks in 2001 after serving as finance director for the Port of Vancouver, Wash. His tenure has seen successes such as the rise in the popularity in sailing in Cascade Locks, the development of additional recreational opportunities on port property, the building of first new industrial space in the town in decades, a revitalization of the port’s Marine Park and a stabilization of the port’s finances.
It also saw a nearly decade-long effort to bring an off-reservation Warm Springs tribal casino to the town, an effort which ended when the port pulled the plug on the project last year following after failing to persuade Gov. John Kitzhaber to change his mind on not allowing a casino in the Gorge.
For the past several years the port has also been pursuing the prospect of bringing a Nestlé Waters bottling plant to the town, an effort which has faced opposition from conservation and environmental watchdog groups.
Daughtry said he is most proud of the port’s improved financial situation as he prepares to depart.
“We took an organization that was struggling and put it on sound financial footing to create things for the community that will leave a legacy,” he said.
Daughtry said he does not have his next job lined up, but plans to take some time to “decompress” before deciding what to do next.
“I’ve loved working for the port and the community; I’m disappointed we didn’t get the casino but we have a lot of opportunities with Nestlé and the new building,” Daughtry said.
He also had praise for the port staff and county and city officials he has worked with over the years.
“(County Administrator) David Meriwether and (Hood River Port Executive Director) Michael McElwee have been great to work with,” he said. (Interim City Administrator) Paul Koch has also gotten a lot done with the city in a short amount of time.”
As he prepares to leave at the end of the month, Daughtry said he was glad that Cascade Locks had developed a standing in the area that belied the town’s small size.
“I think we made Cascade Locks appear bigger than it really is … we seem to be larger regionally than we really are … I’m really proud of that,” he said.
In a press release the Port of Cascade Locks said will work with the Port Commission during the transition and to help find a successor.
Whoever that successor winds up being, Daughtry said they will be inheriting a challenging — but rewarding —job in a unique place.
“It’s a great town, and a great place to fall in love with,” he said. “There are wonderful people and it’s a beautiful place.”