The board in charge of spurring economic development along the Idaho border with Malheur County will soon have three new members in about a month.
The Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board, formed during the 2017 legislative session, has seven voting members and one nonvoting member, all appointed by the governor.
According to Shawna Peterson, the board’s executive director, the terms of Tiffany Cruickshank, board chair, and Stewart Reitz were extended until Gov. Tina Kotek appoints new members to fill their seats within the next month. Reitz and Cruickshank’s respective terms ended at the end of 2022.
Additionally, Peterson said Tuesday, April 4, that Roberto Gamboa, a board member whose term is up in 2024, would be stepping down. Gamboa is the director of operations and community development at Euvalcree, an Ontario nonprofit community action group.
Members at the board’s meeting on Monday, April 3, expressed concern about what they deemed a lack of participation.
Peterson said Monday that Gamboa had attended one meeting since being appointed in 2020. Since then, she said, he did not appear to have participated through Zoom or any other virtual means.
Peterson told the board she had made a “concerted effort” to contact Gamboa for the last two years. However, aside from an out-of-office reply, she had not heard from him.
The board voted to have Peterson ask Kotek to appoint someone from the pool of applicants to replace Gamboa due to his nonparticipation and lack of response to Peterson.
On Tuesday, Peterson said that Gamboa’s staff had relayed a message that he would be stepping down from the board.
The Enterprise emailed Gamboa written questions regarding his participation on the border board on Wednesday, April 5. Norma Ramirez, director of programs at Euvalcree, listed as a colleague to contact during Gamboa’s undetermined absence in an out-of-office reply, said the organization had no comment on Gamboa’s personal commitments or participation on the border board.
According to the state law, the governor appoints members from a list of eligible appointees with expertise in business, education, workforce development or economic development provided by local governing bodies within the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region.
Cruickshank, a fourth-generation farmer, and Reitz, a Malheur County extension agent, have served on the board since its inception.
In addition to Cruickshank, Reitz and Gamboa, the board includes Bill Johnson, a local farmer who owns Loft Property Management, Treasure Valley Community College President Dana Young; Ontario Recreation District Director Andrew Maeda, and Ron Haidle, a retired banking executive.
Melisa Drugge of Business Oregon is a non-voting member of the board. Business Oregon is the state economic development agency.
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