In a June 3 letter to the Cascade Locks Port Commission and staff, Jerry Jaques resigned his position as general counsel for the Port of Cascade Locks.
Jaques, who held the position for more than 32 years, cited competing demands from his practice at Jaques, Sharp, Sherrerd, FitzSimons and Ostrye and changes in the Port of Cascade Locks leadership as reasons for his resignation.
“New challenges and opportunities will occur as the Port more intently focuses its attention, in concert with the City, on crating local economic development. This is an appropriate time to hand over the reins,” said Jaques.
He cited many interesting and unique professional experiences during his more than three-decade tenure. Several significant projects included the construction, launch and operation of the sternwheeler Columbia Gorge. For more than a decade Jaques also represented the Port’s interests in the effort to bring a multi-million-dollar Warm Springs casino development to Cascade Locks.
In 1981, he became the Port’s general counsel. “During the early years of my tenure, the Port built the sternwheeler Columbia Gorge,” he said. “I was fortunate to be a passenger on that vessel during its maiden voyage from Nichols Boat Works to Cascade Locks.”
After that, he handled legal issues related to establishing and maintaining the sternwheeler as a Port commercial venture. Several years ago, he helped create documents that transferred sternwheeler operations to the owners of the Portland Spirit.
According to Paul Koch, Port of Cascade Locks interim general manager, as a result of Jaques’ resignation, the Port will initiate an RFP to select a new general council. Jaques’ resignation is effective July 1. However, that date may be extended for a brief period at the Port Commission’s request.
Jess Groves, president of the Port of Cascade Locks Commission, said the Port Commission appreciates Jerry’s expert legal advice and commitment. Groves added the Port and Jaques are in discussion about possible future collaboration.
In the mid 1980s, after the Cascade Locks Lumber Mill closed, he prepared papers changing the legal relationship between the Port and the mill owner. Bruce Stevenson, on behalf of Cascade Locks Lumber Co., agreed to release nearly all the Port’s industrial land from a long-term lease obligation, allowing that important Port property to be available for future development.
He was Port counsel when the Port received money and thousands of tons of fill at the Port industrial site from the Bonneville Dam locks project. “Thirty-two years’ experience is something we should take advantage of,” said Groves.
“Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with talented and dedicated staff, and with elected Port Commissioners, who have deeply cared about Cascade Locks, volunteering untold hours helping to make the community better,” he continued.
“I will miss those relationships. And I am grateful for the many interesting, sometimes unique, professional experiences I have had acting as Port attorney for over three decades.
“Other than working in my parents’ food market in Hood River during high school, my first job was in Cascade Locks,” said Jaques in his resignation letter. “During college summers, I worked for Harry Cramblett at City Light clearing brush. I also worked with Gene Miller, helping maintain Port properties. A highlight was climbing a ladder attached to the exterior of the Bridge of the Gods with no safety equipment, to replace a beacon light bulb on top of the bridge.”
He prepared documents facilitating the Port’s sale of Government Rock to the Warm Springs Tribes. For nearly a decade, he worked on the complicated effort to bring a multi-million dollar Warm Springs casino development to Cascade Locks, which, if it had been successful, would have created 1,200 jobs.
“The Port should be justifiably proud of its magnificent waterfront park and active support of hiking, biking, fishing and world-class sailing,” Jaques said.