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Randy Winders chosen to fill vacancy left by resignation of board member Linda Smith

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY RANDY WINDERS - Randy Winders, shown above, was recently chosen to fill a vacancy on the Crook County Parks and Recreation District Board.

The Crook County Parks and Recreation District has kept busy of late pursuing upcoming projects and upgrades for community amenities.

While an attempt to fund construction of a new swimming pool has seized the most public attention, the district is also hoping to significantly enhance its skate park, and district leaders meanwhile continue to eye public safety improvements at local parks.

It is at this juncture that the parks district board will take on a new member to help the group guide parks and recreation projects and operations into the future. Following an interview process where the board considered two new applicants, they chose Randy Winders over Melanie Marlow.

"I just wanted to get involved in the community," Winders said of his interest in the position. A three-year resident who came from the Seattle-Tacoma area, he enjoys the outdoors and likes to get involved in the community and has already joined the Central Oregon Trail Alliance and serves as his neighborhood's homeowner association president.

"I was just naturally attracted to it," Winders said of the opening. "I thought this would be a perfect fit."

The board vacancy was caused by the departure of Linda Smith, who resigned from the board for personal family reasons. Winders will serve until June 2019, when Smith's term was set to conclude, and he will need to win the seat by election to remain on the board going forward.

The parks district began advertising the vacancy shortly after the position came open and closed the application process on Dec. 27. The two applicants submitted letters of interest, and the board held a special meeting Wednesday evening to interview them. Winders was chosen at the conclusion of the session.

Board Chair Jeremy Logan said both Winders and Marlow were strong, community-oriented candidates, but the experience in certain fields set Winders apart.

"Randy came to town about three years ago, and since he has been here, he has been getting involved in the community," Logan said. "He has a lot of experience chairing meetings. He has done strategic short-term and long-term solutions, which is really convenient because right now we are going through our 20-year comprehensive plan and updating it."

Winders will join a group that provides oversight and direction for the parks district staff.

"Their primary duties are to govern the policies and procedures of the parks district and the direct oversight of the executive director," said CCPRD Executive Director Duane Garner. "They make the big decisions as far as future direction goes. ... They are looking at the big picture and coming up with the higher level goals and priorities and directing staff to implement them."

Winders spent more than 30 years working with the inner city transit system in Olympia, Washington, Logan added, a system he eventually managed. In addition, the new board members brings experience in high level public policy.

"Randy came across as having the skill sets that were more in line with what the board currently needs and where we are organizationally," Logan said. "His experience will bring a lot of tools to the board and help balance out areas we might need strengthened."

Winders is eager to apply that experience and knowledge to help with upcoming pool efforts, completion of a comprehensive plan update, and whatever else the board might face.

"I just look forward to working hard and seeing how I can help," he said.

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