Scott Hege is proud of the work the county commission has done in recent years but believes he can always do better. That requires a thick skin, communication and a focus on problem solving, qualities he says are important in a county commissioner.
Hege is seeking re-election as for Wasco County Commissioner, Position 1, against challenger Roy Justesen.
He says that his goal is to keep things as apolitical as possible so the focus stays on solving problems. “We could spend a lot of time yelling and screaming, but that’s not productive,” he said.
In addition to serving as commissioner, Hege is on 19 different boards and committees, including numerous budget and finance committees. He is also the principle of a consulting firm in the construction sector. Hege believes that with the skillset he’s gained from this background, he can be an advocate for Wasco County citizens.
“I enjoy the work and I think I’m pretty good at it,” Hege said, adding that all of his and the BOCC’s
accomplishments are a team effort. “We provide leadership and direction to the county, but it’s the staff and everybody working together.”
He is proud of the work this team has done, namely continuing to increase transparency and answering specific citizen concerns throughout the county. “There’s a lot of things we’re working to get caught up on” and they are able to do that because of resources and staff, he said.
Part of that work is updating the county’s comprehensive plan, which was last addressed in the 1980’s. “It’s important for us to make sure we get it right,” he said. That means getting public input—which Hege says is essential but can be difficult. “All of us represent the whole county” he said, adding that he’s proud anyone in the county can come to any commissioner and ask for help, rather than being limited to one district representative.
Hege is careful not to dwell too much on successes and looks ahead for solutions to ongoing issues.
One of these is road maintenance, including figuring out what to do with public access roads the county isn’t required to maintain. Hege hopes the county can find a median between managing all or none of these roads. The county will soon be receiving more funds for road care and maintenance, which will help them do more, he said.
Another ongoing issue is property appraisal, since appraisers have operated for years solely on trends that don’t necessarily represent what’s happening on the ground. The county is in the process of getting appraising teams to these neighborhoods, he said.
South Wasco County also has issues—but a lot of successes as well.
Hege has been working with the South Wasco County Parks and Recreation District on the Pine Hollow boat ramps issue and is confident that they’re getting close to a solution.
He’s also on the management group addressing issues with the lower Deschutes river and is the sole government representative in a group of environmental conservationists. Though it can be frustrating, he’s happy to represent the livelihood of the community in that group.
“The issues and challenges they have in South Wasco County are very different than those in The Dalles,” he said, “A lot of really good things are going on down there and I think it’s really encouraging.”
A native of Spokane, Wash., Hege has been in Wasco County since he became executive director of the Port of The Dalles in 1991, where he stayed for over 14 years. He lives with his wife, Betsy, on 12 acres of rural land west of The Dalles.
Hege can be reached at 541-288-1616.