Four Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission nominees were among dozens of gubernatorial appointments confirmed by the state Senate earlier this month.
Mark Labhart, Robert Spelbrink, Mary Wahl and Jill Zarnowitz will now join the seven-member citizen panel, replacing four outgoing commissioners over this and the next couple months.
Sen. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay) called the quartet and others up for appointment to various state boards “an amazing assortment of Oregonians” before the 27-1 “en bloc” vote May 15 before the full Senate.
It followed a May 8 do-confirm nod from the Rules Committee, on which Roblan sits.
Spelbrink is a retired commercial fisherman of 40 years and fishing guide of 20 years on the Siletz. According to Senate documents, his term began May 15 and runs through May 31, 2020.
Wahl, who managed toxic cleanups for the state and watershed operations in Portland, now lives in Langlois and co-owns her family’s ranch and is on the board of Wild Rivers Land Trust. Her term began May 15 and runs through May 14, 2023.
Labhart, who worked for the state Department of Forestry, was a Tillamook County Commissioner and now lives in Sisters. His term begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2023.
Zarnowitz operates a winery near Yamhill after a 40-year career in natural resources management in Oregon and Washington. Her term begins Sept. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2023.
Application documents show that both Labhart and Spelbrink hunt and fish.
The four are replacing Bob Webber of Port Orford, Bruce Buckmaster of Astoria, Chair Michael Finley of Medford and Holly Akenson of Enterprise.
In the Senate’s mid-May laundry-list vote, Buckmaster’s appointment to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board was also approved. He was a thorn in the side of Columbia sportfishing interests during his time on the fish commission.
Gov. Kate Brown’s nomination of a fifth potential fish and game commissioner, Northeast Oregon hunter, outfitter and conservationist James Nash, was not heard by the Senate Rules Committee earlier this month after outcry from environmental groups, but his application is still technically active when the upper chamber next convenes, according to Senate rules.