As of January, longtime Klickitat County Commissioner Joan Frey will no longer be serving the citizens of Klickitat County. After four full terms as County Commissioner -- 16 years in office -- Frey decided not to seek an unprecedented fifth term.
Frey, who with her husband Dan operates a cattle ranch north of Lyle, has been tireless in working to protect Klickitat County's rural heritage, and to make the county a better place for its residents.
Although we have not always agreed with Frey's positions -- her fervent opposition to the Klickitat Rail-Trail, for example -- she has earned our respect. Whether we always agreed with her or not, we admire and appreciate her for always working in a sincere and straightforward manner for her beliefs and to help her constituents. And anyone who has served in public office for 16 years -- and can then go out on her own terms -- has achieved something remarkable.
Among her many accomplishments during her 16 years in office:
She was instrumental in the marketing efforts in support of the county's regional landfill at Roosevelt, a tremendous success story for Klickitat County.
Commissioner Frey was instrumental in helping to gain funding for many vital projects, including the Lyle Community Center, Dallesport Community Center, Pioneer Center in White Salmon, and High Prairie Community Center; as well as new fire stations in Trout Lake, Glenwood, Dallesport, and Lyle.
The return of the historic steam locomotive to Wishram to put it on permanent display there was the result of many years of effort by Commissioner Frey.
The Energy Overlay Zone was an offshoot of Frey's search for opportunities to help keep farms and ranches in eastern Klickitat County economically viable.
As far as we can determine, Frey is the longest-serving County Commissioner in Klickitat County's history. That record is a tribute not only to her overall popularity, but to her being keenly in touch with the pulse of the county's voters. In short, residents have generally supported and identified with her views, and have appreciated her efforts to preserve and strengthen the county's rural economy and way of life.
She has also won the admiration and affection of her fellow commissioners.
"Joan is truly a county treasure," said Commissioner Don Struck. "She is one remarkable person."
On Saturday, Dec. 9, the Lyle Lions Club Community Center will host a reception honoring Frey. The event will run from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. that day. Hopefully, a huge crowd will be on hand to honor Frey for her devotion to -- and affection for -- our beautiful county.
Commissioner Frey, we wish you all the best. Thanks for your service to our county.