The Estuary Partnership Board members represent the diverse and various interests of those who live, work and recreate on the lower Columbia River.
Elaine Placido, Ph.D., Chair
Local Government, Cowlitz County
Elaine is the Community Services Director for Cowlitz County, where she previously served as Director of Building and Planning for six years. Previously, she served for two years as the Building and Planning Operations Manager at Cowlitz County. Elaine has enjoyed a varied career including non-profit management and work with local governments in California and Nebraska. Elaine is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard who served for seven years of active duty. She has a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Park University, an M.P.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a doctorate in Public Administration from Valdosta State University.
K-12 Education, Portland Public Schools
Susan is the Program Administrator of K-12 Science Education with the Office of Teaching and Learning at the Portland Public School District. Susan received the 2018 Duane Marshall Special Service to Science Education Award and the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership Steward of the Year in 2009. She works with a team from the Oregon Department of Education, 12 other lead states, and the Council of State Science Supervisors on a project called Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE). This projects uses educational research and practice to improve equity in science education. Susan served for three years as the Oregon Science Teachers Association President and is currently their secretary. She actively supports science teachers in the Portland Public School District and loves getting students outside to learn. Susan has a B.S. in Genetics from Ohio State, an M.S. in Genetics and Cellular Biology from Washington State University, and a doctorate in Education from the University of Oregon.
City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services
Jane is the Watershed Services Group Manager for the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services. She is responsible for overseeing planning, restoration, and monitoring activities in Portland’s watersheds to manage stormwater, protect water quality, and enhance habitats for fish and wildlife. Jane has 20 years of experience in natural resources management, including four years as a Policy Advisor on Willamette River and watershed issues for Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. She has also held positions with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, Oregon Department of State Lands, Portland State University, and the National Park Service. She holds a Master’s of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Vermont.
Hillary is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Burgerville, LLC. Headquartered in Vancouver, WA, Burgerville is a 42-unit restaurant chain in the Pacific Northwest with a commitment to regional stewardship. She leads the company’s Regional Vitality initiative, emerging opportunities for the long-term health of the Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining Burgerville, Hillary was the Policy Director for Renewable Northwest, a regional renewable energy advocacy non-profit. From 1999-2014, she served on the staff of US Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Hillary holds a B.A. from Reed College in English. She has a husband, Zachary, a daughter, Piper, and loves cooking, gardening, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Office of Washington Governor Inslee
Rob is a Senior Policy Advisor to Washington Governor Jay Inslee on natural resource and environmental issues. Prior to that, Rob managed the Environmental Assessment Program at the Washington State Department of Ecology, providing critical environmental monitoring data for agency decision making to protect and enhance human health and the environment in Washington State. Rob was also a toxicologist for the Washington State Department of Health and eventually Director of the Office of Environmental Health Assessments where he led a team of risk assessors, toxicologists, epidemiologists, and health educators toward the goal of reducing human exposure to environmental contaminants. He received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986 and in 1993 an M.S. from the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
Kevin is a Project Manager at the Federal Highway Administration, where he delivers roadway and bridge improvements in National Park sites throughout the Western United States. Previously, Kevin managed the Transportation Business Group at HDR Engineering, Inc. He oversaw the provision of sustainable transportation solutions to clients throughout Oregon and SW Washington. Before that, he was the Environmental Services Director for Clark County, Washington. There, he managed several environmental functions, including stormwater management, solid waste services, compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and oversight of legacy lands. Prior to that, as Deputy Director of Public Works, Kevin played an integral role overseeing over $340 million in capital investments for Clark County. He has a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with protecting and enhancing natural resources while continuing to develop and improve the built environment. Kevin holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy, West Point NY and is a licensed Professional Civil Engineer in Washington.
Lower River Ports & Shipping, Port of Portland
Marla has been resolving environmental issues associated with operating facilities for nearly 30 years for the Port of Portland, C-Tran, and NASA. She currently is the Senior Manager of Environmental Planning for the Port of Portland. Her experience ranges from Superfund site remediation, habitat construction, NEPA, sediment management, historic district preservation, and much more. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, a B.S. in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University, and an A.S. degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology from Gwynedd-Mercy College. She is also a registered Civil Engineer.
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Charles Hudson (Mandan-Hidatsa) is the Intergovernmental Affairs Director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Bill Hutchison, Esq.
Corporate & Environmental Law
Bill has long been involved in environmental and natural resource issues. He participated in development of Portland’s downtown plan and was a leader of environmental organizations. He chaired the Environmental Quality Commission and served as a co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Hazardous Waste Advisory Council. During his EQC tenure, he advocated for the nomination of the Columbia as a national estuary and he was involved with the Lower Columbia River Bi-State Water Quality Program. Bill led the Commission in the formulation of Tualatin River TMDLs and in issuing the stipulated order that triggered Portland’s sewer system and big pipe projects. He co-chaired Portland’s Willamette River Stakeholders Task Force. He has served on the Board of Forestry. Bill was active in the formation of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar, and his practice emphasizes cooperative, corporate, real property, and environmental law. He currently chairs Oregon Community Foundation’s Oregon Parks Foundation Advisory Committee. He received his J.D. from Willamette University and his B.S. from the University of Oregon.
State Government, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Meta currently serves as Director of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. She has worked throughout her career in fields that support her passion for local economies, communities, and resource conservation. Prior to her appointment as Director, Meta served as Deputy Director and a board member representing USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. She previously worked for NRCS on partnership and policy issues in both Oregon and Montana. Meta ran the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Marketing and Business Development Bureau, finding markets for Montana’s value-added agricultural products. She also promoted rural economic and natural resource policies as Deputy Communications Director for Montana’s Governor and communications coordinator for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Meta has an M.P.A. from Portland State University and a B.S. in Agriculture Extension from Montana State University.
Agriculture, Magruder Farms & Local Watershed Councils
Margaret is the managing partner of Magruder Farms, producing sheep in Clatskanie, Oregon and the managing partner of Oregon Shepherd, LLC, a manufacturer of all-natural wool building insulation in Rainier, Oregon. She serves on several national, regional, and local agriculture, environmental, and policy groups. Margaret’s career in production agriculture provides her a foundation in conservation and environmental issues and fosters a deep appreciation for the Lower Columbia River region. Margaret also serves as a Columbia County Commissioner. She is a graduate of Willamette University and obtained a Master’s degree from Syracuse University.
Watershed Health & Green Infrastructure
Dean served as Director of Environmental Services for the City of Portland from 1994 to 2015, leading the effort to clean up the Willamette River in Portland. The City completed construction in 2011 of a $1.4 billion water quality improvement program that benefits Portland residents as well as everyone downstream, including the lower Columbia River. Discharges from the City's collection system caused by rain events have been cut by 94%. Dean led the City in becoming a leader in implementing the use of green streets, green roofs, and other sustainable stormwater management methods to improve water quality. Prior to moving to Portland, Dean was the Commissioner of Environmental Protection for the State of Maine for seven years. Dean received his J.D. from Florida State University and a B.S. in Political Science from University of Delaware.
Dick served as Director of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality from 2008 to 2016 and had worked for the agency since 1996. Dick led the agency through multiple advancements in environmental protection, including updating fish consumption standards to be more protective of human health, establishing one of the first water quality trading programs in the nation, and developing rules to use cleaner fuels to reduce transportation related carbon footprint. He has served for 40 years in positions in Oregon and Montana in water quality, environmental cleanup, and natural resource damage repair. His past positions at DEQ include Deputy Director, Northwest Region Administrator, and Land Quality Division Administrator. Dick holds a B.A. in combined science in Biology and Chemistry from Carroll College in Helena, Montana.
Fisheries Conservation Equipment, Smith Root, Inc.
Jeff is President and CEO of Smith-Root, Inc., an employee owned company that specializes in developing high-tech tools for fisheries conservation. Jeff is responsible for operations, including financial, strategic planning, and development. He has more than 35 years of experience in business management and engineering development. Prior to joining Smith-Root, Inc., Jeff successfully orchestrated the start-up and marketing of four companies. With his background as a design consultant in civil and structural engineering, he saw the potential in fish barriers and was invited to join Smith-Root, Inc. as Vice President and General Manager of Operations to spearhead the division.
State Government, Washington Department of Ecology
Sally is the Regional Director for the Washington Department of Ecology’s Southwest and Olympic Region. Since 2008, she has led and coordinated cross-program integration and delivery of environmental services for a regional office of 170 people. She represents the Agency Director as a partner and technical resource on community, tribal, economic, and policy issues. Her office serves the twelve counties from the White Salmon River to Neah Bay, the Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal, South Puget Sound, and southern Cascade foothills. Since 1985, she has devoted her career to environmental and natural resource issues for local and state government and the private sector. Sally grew up on the Lower Columbia. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Western Washington University.
State Government, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Richard was appointed the Director of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in February 2017, after serving as DEQ’s Acting Director since October of 2016. Prior to this role, Richard worked in the Governor’s Natural Resources Office as policy director from 2011 to 2016. There he coordinated the work of the state’s environmental protection and natural resources agencies. From 2008 to 2011, Richard served as the Director of Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development, and before that was head of the Natural Resources Section under State Attorney General Hardy Meyers.
Ex Officio Board Members
Federal Government, US Army Corps of Engineers
Kevin Brice has been the Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management for the Portland District of the US Army Corps of Engineers since May 2007. In this position, he provides District leadership in establishing and maintaining processes to manage the scope, quality, cost, budgets, and schedules of all district projects. He also directs all civil works program management activities. His responsibilities include program and budget development, preparation for Congressional testimony, oversight of program execution, and reprogramming actions. Further, Kevin is responsible for all civil works planning functions for the District, including plan formulation, economics, and environmental resources. Kevin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He received his M.S. in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Oregon and is registered as a Project Management Professional.
Federal Government, US Army Corps of Engineers
Bio coming soon.
Federal Government, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Irma is a Senior Policy Advisor with the West Coast Region of NOAA Fisheries. In this position, she provides strategic advice and support to salmon recovery through partnerships and innovative incentive approaches. Irma has over 28 years in the field of natural resource management and policy with a particular emphasis on the Endangered Species Act. She has worked with diverse coalitions including, federal and state agencies, Indian tribes, industry and conservation groups as well as private land owners to achieve mutual goals, and spent more than 13 years overseeing conservation programs in the Klamath Basin for NOAA Fisheries. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. in Marine Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Federal Government, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Johnna is Chief of the Aquatic Habitat Restoration Program in the Fish & Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region’s Fish & Aquatic Conservation Program. She oversees fish habitat and passage restoration, aquatic invasive species management, and fisheries outreach and education programs for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and the Pacific Islands. Prior to her appointment to this position in January 2017, Johnna served in the Fish & Wildlife Service Ecological Services Program for 22 years. Positions included Deputy Assistant Regional Director in the Southwest Region headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Senior Wildlife Biologist in the Headquarters Office in Washington, DC. Johnna also worked in Fish & Wildlife Service field offices in Boise and Orofino, Idaho for approximately 15 years, focusing on a variety of listed wildlife and fish species. Johnna holds an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University and a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of Vermont.
Mary Lou Soscia
Federal Government, US Environmental Protection Agency
Mary Lou has worked for state, federal, and tribal government for over 35 years, specializing in watershed and river protection and restoration efforts. Mary Lou was on the team that created EPA’s National Estuary Program and worked to get Congressional authorization for the program in the 1987 Clean Water Act amendments. Mary Lou worked with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission on loan from EPA and helped to create the Tribal watershed program, which is the basis for salmon restoration work efforts in the Columbia River Basin. Since 1997, Mary Lou has served as the Columbia River Coordinator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10. She leads the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Strategy, the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Working Group, and the implementation of the 2010 Columbia River Basin Toxics Reduction Action Plan. Mary Lou led the collaboration for the Oregon Water Quality Standards human health criteria, which led to the most protective state human health Clean Water Act criteria in the US and is currently leading the collaboration and Tribal fish consumption surveys with Idaho Tribal Governments to address Idaho human health criteria revisions to more adequately protect high fish consumers in Idaho. Mary Lou also provides senior EPA representation on Columbia River Treaty work efforts. Mary Lou has a B.A. in Geography from Virginia Tech and an M.A. degree in Geography from University of Maryland.
Federal Government, US Environmental Protection Agency
Yvonne is an Aquatic Ecologist with the U.S. EPA. For the last 20 years, she has worked in EPA’s Oregon Operations Office in Portland as the Oregon Wetland and Watershed Coordinator and the Lower Columbia River Estuary Program Manager for EPA Region 10. She previously worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Her work with EPA is focused on the technical and policy aspects of the Clean Water Act (CWA), including Section 404. Her practicable experience includes work in wetland delineation and assessment, 404(f) exemptions, enforcement, mitigation, CWA jurisdiction, 404 program assumption, and wetland restoration, as well development of wetland research projects and the management of wetland development grants for states, tribes, and local governments. Yvonne is a licensed wetlands biologist. She earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Louisiana Tech University and an M.S. in Marine Ecology from Texas A&M.
Honorary Board Members
The Honorable Brad Witt
Oregon State House of Representatives
Brad represents citizens of District 31 in the Oregon Legislature. He studied history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Economics. He went on to graduate from the University of Oregon with Master’s degree in Labor and Industrial Relations. Fresh out of graduate school, he got his first white-collar job as a labor economist for the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. He returned to Oregon and worked as a labor representative in the forest products industry, seafood processing, and retail industries. He served as Secretary-Treasurer to the Oregon AFL-CIO from 1992 to 2005, when he was appointed to the Oregon Legislature. Brad has served on the Oregon State Boards of Forestry, Watershed Enhancement, Workforce Enhancement, Workers’ Compensation and Forest Resources Institute.He also served as the Chair of the bi-state Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership. Brad is a contract negotiator for United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 555.
The Honorable Sharon Wylie
Washington State House of Representatives
Sharon Wylie has more than 20 years of management, public relations, and leadership experience in business, non-profits, and government. Most recently, Sharon worked as a management consultant with business, non-profit, and government clients. Prior to this, she worked as Government Relations Officer for Clark County, where she developed yearly legislative agendas, strategies and initiatives. Before working for Clark County, Sharon worked as a consultant for her own company, Wylie and Associates. From 1993-1998, Sharon served as an Oregon Legislator in State House District 22 in Gresham. Sharon earned a B.A. in Political Science from University of California Riverside.
Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership
Debrah has led the Estuary Partnership since its inception in 1995, developing and implementing the first two-state comprehensive action plan for the lower 146 miles of the Columbia River. She has grown the Estuary Partnership to a multi-million dollar organization with a staff of 21 who restore habitat, provide restoration expertise, develop data, monitor ecosystem conditions, provide applied learning to students and engage volunteers in riparian plantings. Debrah worked with members of Congress and regional partners to secure federal legislation that will fund actions to reduce toxic contamination in the Columbia Basin. Debrah has over 30 years’ experience leading public agencies and non-profit entities. Prior to moving to Oregon, she served the State of Maine as the Deputy Commissioner and then Acting Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection; she previously was the Planning Director for the city of Lewiston, Maine. Debrah holds an M.A. in Geography from the University of Oregon and a B.A. from the University of Maine. She completed work at the Confluence Center for Mediation and Training, (Portland, Oregon) and the M.I.T. - Harvard Program in Dispute Resolution. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.