Business & economy, Local government

Border board swears in three new members

The board in charge of spurring economic development along the Idaho border with Malheur County swore in three new members on Monday, May 1. 

According to Shawna Peterson, the board’s executive director, Gov. Tina Kotek appointed Montessa Young, Nicki Shira and Taylor Rembowski. 

Young (no relation to fellow board member Dana Young), a technical writer at Salesforce, moved to Nyssa in 2001 from Idaho to start a dairy farm with her husband, according to her biographical information shared by the governor’s office. 

Throughout Young’s career, she has been a teacher, professor and curriculum developer. 

Young earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Idaho in 2001 and a master’s in secondary education from the University of Phoenix Online in 2006, according to her LinkedIn page. 

The governor’s office bio notes that Young’s two younger children attend schools within the Nyssa School District and her older son is a student at Oregon State University-Cascades in Bend. In her biography, Young brought the first Lego League Robotics competition to Nyssa and volunteered with the Frontier Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Hub, a regional collaboration of public and private organizations in Malheur County. 

Shira, a STEM and innovation coordinator for the Frontier STEM Hub and Malheur Education Service District, is a former fifth-grade teacher at Nyssa Elementary School, according to the biography she provided the governor’s office. Before teaching at the elementary school for 13 years, Shira worked on the farm she owns with her husband on the Snake River. 

Shira is also a founding member of Adrian 2040, a community improvement organization. Shira earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Boise State University and a master’s in teaching from Eastern Oregon University.

Rembowski, a Vale native, has had a “very diverse career path” that has led him back to Malheur County, according to the biography he submitted to Kotek’s office.

Rembowski, who lived in Bend for nearly 20 years, attended college in Eugene and Phoenix. Rembowski, who said he has traveled internationally, considers himself “cultured and diverse.” Rembowski has been in management, construction and was a business owner at one time. 

Rembowski, Young and Shira replace Tiffany Cruickshank, board chair, Stuart Reitz and Roberto Gamboa. Reitz and Cruickshank’s terms ended at the end of 2022, but both stayed on as incoming governor Kotek filled boards and commissions across the state. 

Gamboa, whose term is up in 2024, is the director of operations and community development at Euvalcree, an Ontario nonprofit community action group. He recently resigned from the board.

In addition to Shira, Young and Rembowski, 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.

Dana Young will serve as the new board chair.

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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