Salary: $62,000.00 – $77,000.00 Annually
Location: Klickitat County – White Salmon, WA
Job Type: Full Time – Permanent
Closing Date: 9/24/2023 11:59 PM Pacific

WORK SITE: This position is located at the Gorge Commission’s office in White Salmon, Washington. Occasional telework may be allowed.

Want to join a great team and make a difference?
The Columbia River Gorge Commission is now seeking an energetic, dynamic, and collaborative person to join our team as a National Scenic Area (NSA) Land Use Planner.  This position will assist with the implementation of the National Scenic Area Management Plan, conduct development reviews, work closely with six NSA counties, and assist the Executive Director and other Gorge Commission staff in building and maintaining relationships with all levels of government, tribes, business, communities, and diverse stakeholders. The Commission is committed to building a diverse staff and provides an inclusive work environment where team members are fully supported and engaged.
The Columbia River Gorge Commission office is located in White Salmon, Washington, with an eight-member team of planners and other experts. The Commission develops and implements policies and programs that protect and enhance the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the NSA while encouraging economic vitality within existing urban areas and allowing economic development outside urban areas consistent with resource protection.
The Columbia River Gorge is world renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty, natural resources, and recreation. The sea-level chasm that the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains, and the dramatic ecologically diverse landscapes surrounding it, has created an internationally recognized treasured landscape. We are part of a community rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. The Commission is committed to building a diverse staff and provides an inclusive work environment where team members are fully supported and engaged.
On November 17, 1986, Congress passed the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act which established the largest National Scenic Area (NSA) in the United States. The NSA is 85 miles long and encompasses over 292,500 acres in Oregon and Washington along the Columbia River with a mosaic of working landscapes, forests, towns, and protected areas. Oregon and Washington established the bi-state Columbia River Gorge Commission in 1987 through an interstate compact to oversee the management of the NSA through land use planning, working in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and many Gorge communities. The Commission also works government to government with the four Columbia River Treaty Tribes.
General Purpose:
The National Scenic Area Planner will serve as a member of the Gorge Commission planning team and work on a wide range of land use, conservation, public engagement, and economic development issues. The National Scenic Area Planner will coordinate the development and implementation of complex projects, policies and regulations for resource protection and economic development within the National Scenic Area. In addition, this position is responsible for fostering positive regional relationships in Oregon and Washington and will facilitate regional coordination among cities, counties, state and federal agencies, Columbia River Treaty Tribes, and non-governmental stakeholders.


SUPERVISION RECEIVED:  Works under the general guidance and direction of the Executive Director and Senior Planning staff.
This position performs, or assists with, a wide range of complex short and long-range planning, regional program monitoring, and compliance monitoring.
This position:

  • Provides technical assistance to counties implementing the Management Plan through their land use ordinances. Reviews development proposals for consistency with the Gorge Commission’s land use ordinance and prepares decisions; conducts follow-up reviews to ensure compliance with issued decisions.
  • Reviews county land use decisions, state forest practices applications, and amendments to county land use ordinances for consistency with the National Scenic Area Management Plan.
  • Provides technical and professional advice on the phone or in person. Provides information on land use applications, ordinances, plans and related planning programs, services, or regulations to landowners, contractors, realtors, community groups, and interested persons.
  • Recommends compliance actions and other intervention measures as needed to ensure consistent regional compliance with the Management Plan for the National Scenic Area and local ordinances.
  • Assists with strategic planning, scoping, data collection and analysis, policy options and final policy development, and public participation for long-range planning.
  •  Provides and receives peer feedback and guidance on own and other Commission planners’ planning projects and tasks.
  •  Implements elements of a program for monitoring implementation of the Management Plan, including developing work plans, carrying out research, analyzing results, and writing reports.
  • Facilitates resolution of environmental and resource management issues arising from planning activities that are complex and sensitive.
  • Provides consultation and technical assistance to agency management, cities, counties, Treaty Tribes, and state and federal agencies, and provides interstate and interagency coordination on complex policies, legal issues, and proposed legislation to ensure compliance with National Scenic Area legal authorities.
  • Represents the agency at conferences, seminars and speaking events.
  • Reviews, analyzes, prepares, and gives reports and presentations to the Executive Director, Gorge Commissioners, civic groups, and the general public on NSA issues.
  • Safely operates a motor vehicle as needed to perform duties.

Qualifications REQUIRED:
A Bachelor’s degree in land use planning, geography, natural resources, or a related field is required. A Master’s Degree in the above is preferred.

  • At least one year of relevant experience demonstrating some professional knowledge of working with a team on planning issues.  
  • Able to lift/move/transfer up to 25 pounds.

(Any combination of five years of education and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position.

The ideal candidate will be self-directed and outcome-oriented. The position requires the ability to build collaborative working relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders.

  • Ability to speak and write clearly, concisely, and effectively; ability to manage work assignments independently, efficiently, and effectively.
  • Knowledge of public engagement strategies.
  • Ability to interpret and apply planning policies to given factual situations.
  • Experience in providing planning assistance to applicants and advising landowners to options for allowable development; ability to work with landowners, non-governmental organizations, and agency officials in a courteous and professional manner.
  • Some experience in providing planning assistance to applicants and advising landowners on options for allowable development; ability to work with landowners, non-governmental organizations, and agency officials in a courteous and professional manner.
  • Some experience with federal, tribal, state, or local governments, business communities, non-governmental stakeholders, or individual applicants and landowners.
  • Ability to analyze and apply scientific information, observe, and interpret trends, identify key relationships; and address large groups and engage the public on a variety of issues related to management of the National Scenic Area.
  • Experience developing outreach materials such as graphic publications, web-based surveys, and online mapping tools.
  •  Proficient in Office 365 applications. 
  •  Some knowledge of the Spanish language. 

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT USED:  Personal computer, motor vehicle, phone, and copy/scan machine.

WORK ENVIRONMENT:  You will occasionally work in outside weather conditions that could be inclement and on uneven or rocky surfaces. You may occasionally be exposed to wet and/or humid conditions or airborne particles. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet to moderate.

Work is performed mostly in office settings. Hand-eye coordination is necessary to operate instruments, computers, and various pieces of office equipment.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, and talk or hear; use hands to finger, handle, feel, or operate objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms.  The employee is occasionally required to sit.
Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
The employee must be able to travel to and have mobility in other government offices and public spaces, and travel to and have mobility at non-public land locations that might involve uneven ground to conduct site inspections and assessments.

SELECTION GUIDELINES:  Formal application; rating of education and experience; at least two oral interviews and reference check; job-related tests may be required. 

The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed.  The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

The job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer and requirements of the job change.

Applicants are asked to submit the following: 

  • chronological resume outlining your experience to date.
  • two-page letter of interest clearly and concisely describing how your knowledge, skills, and abilities align with the job duties and qualifications for the position and that provides concrete examples of directly related experience.  If you do not have directly related experience, then a description of how coursework or other experiences would help you obtain the necessary skills and abilities.
  • two to three-page writing sample related to a land use issue or a closely related field; and 
  • A list of at least 3 references who can endorse your work performance. At least one of the references should be a former supervisor or a manager (attached or available to provide at the time of interview)

For more information and to apply:

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