Candidate bio: Kyle Aubin

Age: 30

Education: Attended Brookings-Harbor High School; U.S. Coast Guard’s Fryars Maritime School, Vancouver, Washington

Work: Fisherman, charter and commercial

Family: Married, one son

Lives: Brookings

Community involvement: None

KYLE AUBIN

Kyle Aubin grew up on the boats in the Port of Brookings Harbor, and now wants to hold a seat on the port’s board. He is running for Position 5 in the May 16 special district election.

“I love the port, and I want to see it succeed,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes I don’t know yet; I’m sure I’ll find out as I go to more meetings.”

Having worked as a fisherman, he is aware of the infrastructure and financial status of the port, both of with which the current board is struggling.

Aubin wants to get a working port going again, he said.

“We have a new manager, and he has new ideas to get debt paid off,” Aubin said. “Any way I can help him out with that would be great.

“But it takes five (on the board) to make a decision — it’s a group effort, the whole team’s effort. Everyone wants to help out.”

The port’s debt — some $5 million — is one of a few issues the port grapples with today.

“Everyone’s afraid of it,” he said. “We still have it, but we have to keep our harbor going. Hoping for someone to save us never happens. There’s 100 different ways to discuss getting a working port back to the stage it can maintain itself. Right now, it’s not.”

He said following through on the port’s strategic plan would be a good start. And he’d like to get the sport basin docks repaired so people can park their boats again, acknowledging that without those boats, the port loses money.

“I’d like to see all possible ways to make money,” he said. “It’s not really there yet.”

Landing fees have been discussed in recent years, and Aubin thinks a study of comparable ports should be conducted before port officials and fishermen can find common ground.

He also wants citizens in the district to know what the port does.

“What’s really happening, and what the community thinks before everything happens,” he cited as an example. “I went to my first meeting (earlier this month) and learned how the process went.”

The infamous “green building,” while on a back burner during fiscal and infrastructure discussions, could be leased out to an organization willing to bring it up to code — and bring in more revenue.

“There’s a lot of options there,” Aubin said. “As long as it’s an achievable option; that’s what I’m going for.”

He acknowledged it will take hard work.

“Hard work gets a lot done down there,” Aubin said. “If we can achieve that, and if we have a problem, fix it; and if we don’t have money, we have to find ways to get by. I think I could actually lend a hand here to help the port.”

ANGI CHRISTIAN

Angi Christian, who is running for Position 5 on the Port of Brookings Harbor board, fell in love with the area 16 years ago while on vacation, and made it a priority to move and get involved in the community as soon as she could.

The special district election is May 16.

Christian, who holds an accounting degree, was a partner with an income tax, bookkeeping firm in Canyonville, California, before retiring 11 years ago after 40 years working in banking and accounting.

Retirement could wait, she said. She began managing an RV park here, while attending state, regional and national education, tourism and networking conferences. She became a certified park operator — at the time, one of only five in the state.

“I got involved with the community immediately,” Christian said. “I’ve attended about 90 percent of the port meetings since 2005. Every issue regarding the port has my interest. I’m a team player, and will always have the best interest of the port and the district.”

She opened a quilt, fabric and decor shop at the port, but soon moved to a larger building at Willow Street and Art Walk Alley in Brookings. As a vendor, she’s traveled throughout the west to attend shows.

Christian said she wants to be a part of highlighting what the area has to offer — and work as a team to find solutions to the port’s challenges.

“Our failing infrastructure and debt should be our first priority,” she said. “Commercial and recreational fishing started our port, and we need to continue to support them. We also need to encourage economic growth through retail, events and the RV park.”

She also believes the port should seek more grants and sell a couple of small parcels to help catch up with past-due payments to the state.

“We must catch up on the payments to the state,” she said. “Selling some property that is of no value to the port would move us in the right direction. I believe that would show good faith, and the state might be willing to work with us on our failing infrastructure.”

She said the increased transparency on the board — and of the port’s finances — are a good step.

“I’m excited that we have the right port management in place; now we need the right team on the board to ensure positive momentum toward a vibrant and solvent port,” Christian said. “I believe a diverse board is a healthy board. We need to represent all (port stakeholders), not just a few. Now is the time to move forward and look toward the future. We can either complain about all the problems or we can work together and find solutions. I really think with the right board, we can turn our port into a beautiful coastal waterfront for everyone.”

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