Parks District director chosen

MARK HICKOK will become the top staffer for Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District, starting at the end of September. He will replace outgoing director Lori Stirn.

After a nationwide search, Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District has selected Mark Hickok as its new district director.

Hickok will replace outgoing District Director Lori Stirn, whose last day will be Sept. 29. He comes from Redmond, Wash., where he was the recreation division manager for the last four years.

“I am honored to be awarded this opportunity. Hood River is an amazing community with unique parks and recreation opportunities,” Hickok said.

Hickok and his family will be moving to Hood River later this month.

A native of Everett, Wash., Hickock earned his Bachelor of Science degree in parks and recreation management from Northern Arizona University. His resume also draws experience as the recreation superintendent for the City of Moses Lake, Wash., and recreation coordinator for the City of Flagstaff, Ariz.

“He brings a wide variety of talent to the district with exceptional budgeting skills, unique cost recovery models for recreation programs, partnerships, and community outreach,” the Parks District said in a message announcing Hickok’s hiring.

Hickok lauded Stirn’s endeavors leading the district — she will step down after well over a decade steering the district through change and expansion.

“Lori Stirn has done an outstanding job leading this district for the last 15 years and her legacy will live on in this community for many years to come. I hope to continue to partner with other agencies to make Hood River Valley a great place to live,” he said.

Stirn spearheaded numerous projects during her tenure, including improvements at Hood River Aquatic Center, development of Odell Community Park, Culbertson Park, and the Disc Golf Course; acquiring Barrett Park; and the development of multiple Hood River area trails.

During the district’s review process, board members noted Hickok’s level of work experience and his pleasant demeanor.

“I am pleased to share that Mark Hickok has accepted our offer for the district director position,” Parks District Board President Greg Davis said.

The board made their choice after a wide search. Finalists — Hickok, current Parks District Assistant Director Scott Baker, and Katie Hammer, Redmond, Ore., parks director — were interviewed by various community panels.

The board decided in mid-August to offer Hickok the job.

“I think that there’s amazing potential. I’m so impressed with what you’ve done already, and I think I’m just ready to take it to the next level,” Hickok said of the district during his interview before a technical advisory committee panel.

Priorities the new director will face, according to HRVPRD’s job description, include: developing Golden Eagle Park, updating the parks district’s master plan with a modified system development charges process, exploring options in expanding the Aquatic Center, and developing a master plan for Barrett Park.

The district director oversees all HRVPRD staff and reports to a five member board of elected volunteers. The district includes all of Hood River County except the city of Cascade Locks.

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