A former planner watches the Clallam County Community Development Department

PORT ANGELES — A former Clallam County Community Development Department planning staffer is seeking election as the office’s director.

Bruce Emery is the fourth person to apply for the position of director of the county’s Department of Community Development (DCD). The post is now held by Mary Ellen Winborn, who was not re-elected.

The other candidates for the position are Jesse Major, Cherie Kidd and Kevin Russell.

The four candidates for the position will debate at noon today at the Forks Chamber of Commerce. The in-person meeting will be held at Blakeslee’s Bar & Grill, 1222 S. Forks Ave., Forks.

A top-two primary election on August 2 will reduce the number of candidates to two ahead of the November 8 general election.

Emery, 58, previously worked for 14 years on the planning staff of the Clallam County Community Development Department and is currently a project manager for North Pointe Construction.

“Those of us fortunate enough to live on the Olympic Peninsula understand that our quality of life must be protected now and for future generations,” Emery said.

“This is DCD’s key mission, and my training and professional experience make me uniquely qualified for this most important position.

“I have worked on both sides of the counter, which will allow me to effectively lead the department while supporting responsible building and development in Clallam County.”

Clallam is the only county in the country to elect its community development director. In other counties it is an appointed position.

“I just didn’t want to see another term come in with someone who didn’t understand or didn’t have the experience to run this department,” Emery said in an interview.

Emery has worked in land use planning and development for 30 years. In his position in North Pointe, Emery oversees subdivision management, legal document research and formation, stormwater reporting and liaises with homeowner associations, he said.

Emery said the department’s top priorities are affordable housing, fair and consistent enforcement of county land use codes, and restoring department leadership.

“Clallam County is unique in the country because we have an elected office specifically dedicated to promoting healthy and sustainable growth,” Emery said.

“We all want our county to prosper, while protecting our unparalleled quality of life.”

Emery said his education and background made him the best choice for the job.

“During my time at DCD, I worked with all stakeholders – builders, developers, planning commission, county commissioners and community members – to ensure that planning was expedited competently and correctly.

“My MBA and my work in the private sector gave me additional training and experience to successfully do this job with skill and compassion.”

Emery has lived in Port Angeles since 1992. His wife, Victoria, is a school counselor at Jefferson Elementary in Port Angeles. They are active at First Presbyterian Church in Port Angeles, where Bruce is an elder in the congregation.

“The Olympic North Peninsula has given us so much and I’m very grateful for that,” Emery said.

“Being your next DCD Director will allow me to use my experience and skills to give back to our community.”

________

Managing Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or [email protected].

Norma P. Rex