The beautiful, coastal town of Port Orford, Oregon (read more about Port Orford here: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/oregon/port-orford-westernmost-spot-continental-u-s-or/) is looking for a new city administrator. We are a community of approximately 1200 people nestled between the coast range mountains and the Pacific Ocean on the south coast of Oregon. We are located on coastal Hwy 101 and are approximately 30 mi from the nearest (small) coastal towns, and approx. 1.5 hours from the redwoods. We have amazing beaches, coastal mountains, beautiful rivers, and lots of forest. The economy is natural resource based (some logging, primarily fishing), and boasts the largest live fish fishery on the west coast! We are on the brink of revitalizing the Port, with plans to develop an educational component for the community and travelers. We are relatively safe from fires and from Covid here. However, while Port Orford is truly a hidden gem, thus far unspoiled by unmitigated growth and development, recent unprecedented events have people moving here in numbers. Although the majority of residents want to see the beauty and unique character of our town preserved into the future, some view our town as a 'blank slate' and are under the impression that we haven't developed because we lack money or vision. There has been an influx of people from elsewhere, some of whom are bringing with them the consumerist-driven, short-sighted ideals of the broken places that they left behind. There has also been a surge in out-of-town investors and developers buying property, and thus we have been fighting issues such as dark skies (i.e., lighting) and building heights as 'interest' in our community grows. There is an active and progressive segment of the community that is trying to preserve the unique character and beauty of Port Orford. Although the city lists the preservation of our unique character as a city priority on the website, this has not necessarily been the case, where the direction of our town has largely been driven by the personal interests of the previous administrator, previous mayors, and some city council members. The majority of the community, who are not presently feeling heard, would love to see the city take more action to preserve our town, and thus remain consistent with the goals identified on our city website. In short, the timing of this vacancy at the city level is crucial and could shape the future of our wonderful town.
Port Orford is amazingly beautiful. Many of us refer to it as "paradise". Warm bands of tropical moisture from Hawaii carry over to us via the Pineapple Express, causing a "banana belt" effect. As a result, we are in zone 9b (i.e., much warmer than we should be for our latitude), but have a relatively short growing season for a zone 9 climate. We are oceanic/borderline Mediterranean according to the Köppen climate classification system, shifting more towards Mediterranean in recent years owing to climate change. Our winter storms (winds from the S-SW) are just gnarly enough to keep the majority of people away, and the summer winds from the north can be intense, but keep the fog away most days. It's all about microclimate here. On our property, we are growing lemons, figs, kiwi, and ginger, but also stone fruits, appes, mulberries, European and Asian pears, and of course, lots of berries! Our soils are sandy loam, with little clay around town (which is a bummer from a natural building perspective). Because of our unique topography, we have both west- and south-facing beaches. The south facing stretch of beach is amazingly beautiful and is blocked from the summer north winds by the bluffs. Lots of tidepooling! It's truly glorious! I have been on the southern Oregon Coast for 20.5 years and still pinch myself regularly to make sure that I really am living in a place that is so breathtakingly beautiful.
We are a community of talented fisherman, artists, scientists, and activists. Oregon State University has a field station here, and a collaboration between the fisherman and local scientific bodies created the first marine reserve and protected area in the state (https://www.redfishrocks.org/). We have a small food co-op with a growing garden. We even have a community supported fishery (CSF; like a CSA but for fisheries)! There is a thriving permaculture community on the south coast and a bit inland, and nearby Cob Cottage Company is considered by some to be ground zero for natural building in North America. We have an active and successful watershed council that is currently working with the city and the Conservation Fund to purchase 160 acres of logging land at the top of our precious watershed. The whole community is behind that effort.
The easements around town, per the Platt of 1865, are enormous (80 ft wide), and in most places around town, are an ecological disaster ripe for a permaculture solution. The previous city manager did not understand plants, nor do the few city workers that we have, who are swamped with putting out metaphorical fires all over town (e.g., busted water lines, etc.). Our city water system is failing and outdated, and loses 40-60% of all the water that it attempts to deliver. There are some big issues that need to be tackled, but there is lots of community support to move in a more positive direction.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. In summary, the progressive community of Port Orford is looking for a permaculture-minded person to fill the role of city administrator: someone who can envision the importance of permaculture on all the scales, community permaculture included; someone who might consider filling the gorse, Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, and Scotch broom-filled easements with fruittrees and landscaping that would serve more functions (deer tolerant, pollinators, more 'natives', habitat for birds, food plants, etc.); someone that will listen to the overwhelming support for preserving the unique character of our town; someone progressive and with the capacity for long-term thinking, etc.
- Here is the Port Orford city website with links to the job description and ad for the city administrator position: https://portorford.org/ (I am also attaching both documents as PDF files).
- Here are a few neat videos of our town, one that has some nice aerial views and the second highlights the intersection of the fishing industry, science, and community in Port Orford.
- I have also attached a few lovely shots of Humbug mountain (1,762 ft.; just south of town) for your viewing pleasure.
Please share freely and feel free to contact me via PM with any questions. I will likely be cross-posting in several forums. There may also be several other positions opening soon, as nearly the entire office staff is leaving or retiring this year. I'd be happy to talk more with anyone that thinks they might be a great fit or knows someone who is.
Rosa Nutkana wrote:Please share freely and feel free to contact me via PM with any questions. I will likely be cross-posting in several forums.
Rosa, no need to cross post. Just hit the three dots icon at the top right of your post, hit "report post," and tell us where else you'd like it. A moderator will be happy to add this post to whatever other forums you'd like.
Greetings from just up the coast! As someone who regularly goes through Port Orford for work (Crazy Norwegians is great for lunch) I can vouch for everything said about Port Orford. I used to work at the Elk River hatchery, and the wilderness land just past there is some of the most beautiful you can find in Oregon. I didn't know the town was looking to implement permaculuture but as someone who has been following some permaculture ideas the last few years I hope you find a good fit for city manager.
The Elk River is indeed one of the most beautiful spots! Just to be clear, I don't represent the city in searching Permies for a city administrator. I represent an increasingly growing, forward-thinking portion of the community that would like to see us move past the status quo, diversify, and come up with resilient and long-term solutions to some of our issues. What better place to look than to the permaculture community!