Updated: Port critic ‘disappointed’ by finalist selection process

Port critics invite candidates to Portland.

Share this article!

If the Port of Portland won’t bring the two outside candidates for Executive Director to Portland, community groups will issue their own invitation, says Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society. 

Sallinger and Travis Williams, Willamette Riverkeeper executive director, sent the following letter to the candidates today:

Dear Ms. Dawson, Mr. Daniels and Mr. Robinhold,

We are writing to each you on behalf of Audubon Society of Portland and Willamette Riverkeeper, Portland-based conservation organizations with a combined membership of more 25,000 people. Both of our organizations intersect frequently with the Port of Portland on a variety of issues.

In order to better inform our memberships and the community at large about how they can best weigh-in on the Port of Portland executive director search, we would like to schedule a short 30-45 minute individual interview with each of you early next week to discuss a variety of issues related to community engagement and the environment. Time is of the essence since the comment period provided by the Port ends on April 24th.

We hope that you will be able to accommodate this request. Please let us know if there is a time that would work for you next week and again, earlier in the week would be better given the limited public comment period.

Thank you for your consideration of this request,


Bob Sallinger
Conservation Director
Audubon Society of Portland

Travis Williams
Executive Director
Willamette Riverkeeper

Original story, Tuesday, April 11:

Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society, says the Port’s decision not to bring the two outside candidates to Portland sends a message that “what the public thinks is not important.”

Sallinger, a longtime critic of Port management and operations, says a two-week public comment period is “absolutely insufficient.”  

The resumes provided by the Port did not provide insight into the candidates’ positions on important issues such as Port expansion, its relationship with other ports and fossil fuels, Sallinger says. 

“It’s a real failure on the part of the Port of the Port of Portland. I couldn’t be more disappointed.”

The Port released the names of three finalists for executive director Bill Wyatt’s position yesterday. 

Steve Johnson, a Port spokesperson, said in an email that the finalist selection process included two public comment periods allowing the community to share their feedback with Commissioners. 

The first online public comment period was in January to gather input regarding the search criteria and job profile.

“Given that this position encompasses such a broad and diverse set of responsibilities across the Port’s operations, the Commission also created an advisory group (including stakeholders in the environmental community, business and labor) to help assess the right set of experiences for this position,” Johnson said.

“The Commission looks forward to the public comments on the finalists that the advisory group recommended.”