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Four resign from Gorge chamber

Suddenly, things are vastly different at the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce.

In the past two weeks, the executive director, president and two board members tendered their resignations.

President Mark Mabbott resigned suddenly after what has been called a heated board meeting March 10. Mabbott, who had served in this position for more than a year, declined to comment.

In order to formally fill his vacated position — as required by the board’s bylaws — an emergency board meeting was called March 17. Acting President Tamie Tlustos-Arnold and Secretary Brandon McGeeran ran for the elected position. Neither candidate received a majority vote, leaving Tlustos-Arnold in the acting-president role, as she was vice president when Mabbott resigned.

Faced with the supervision by Tlustos-Arnold, Executive Director Claude Cruz promptly resigned, citing an ongoing issue between himself and Tlustos-Arnold.

Board members Bill Peterson and Karen Schaaf quickly followed Cruz.

Peterson, who is the Wood Village city administrator, had recently taken over as treasurer of the chamber board. He explained that the recent developments within the chamber led to his resignation.

“The actions taken in the last two weeks by the Board of Directors do not meet my expectations for organizational behavior, and I will no longer be personally affiliated,” Peterson wrote in his resignation letter.

With the resignations, Cheryl Swart was also promoted to vice president. Two new board members, Terry Smoke and Glen Mackey, were added to the board March 10, before Peterson and Schaaf resigned.

The Outlook reached out to Tlustos-Arnold for her comment on the situation, but she did not respond by Thursday’s deadline.

Tlustos-Arnold is a Republican candidate in the race for Senate District 25, facing off against Democratic incumbent Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson.

The West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce serves Troutdale, Fairview, Wood Village and Cascade Locks, as well as Corbett, Springdale, Vista House, Bridal Veil, Multnomah Falls and Bonneville Dam. The Chamber’s mission is to connect commerce within these communities and stimulate the area’s economic force.

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