Name: Patrick Grengs
District: Columbia Irrigation District Division 1
Why are you running?
I want to ensure that the CID operates optimally in terms of providing cost-effective services to its member clients. Any rate increases should be substantiated by thorough documentation in context of the necessity for the increase. A uniform implementation of compliance measures in terms of water rights usage should be practiced. The CID annual assessment has recently been folded into a property owner’s property taxes. Although this reduces the administrative burden related to paying taxes, it makes the CID and its mission all the more invisible. I plan to improve the communication between the CID and its clients so that all projects, tasks and budgets are made available via sundry formats (periodic flyers included with utility bills, website, subscriber-based emails and related technologies).
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What is your experience?
I have been working as a productive engineer (software) over the past 30 years. This has included working for a salary, running my own business, and contracting, as well as teaching for clients both locally and internationally. I am also a mountain climber (summited McKinley this past summer) and marathon runner. I have the tenacity and endurance to see long projects through to their conclusion. I own irrigable farmland within Division 1 and recently installed a pump station along the CID canal with one of my business partners. I understand the needs of the consumers of agricultural and residential irrigation water. Recently, I signed an agreement with the CID to allow the dredge from the region upstream of the canal to be deposited on my dry-land holdings just off Harrington Road, thus reducing transportation costs for the hundreds of yards of material that would normally be hauled a considerable distance. At present, I work as a full-time QA engineer on a team that is known to consistently deliver on time and on budget. We have also been called in to push deliverables to our clients in highly compressed timeframes. I know what it is like to work, both literally and figuratively, at high altitudes and while under tremendous pressure. If you were to ask my business associates, contractors and coworkers to describe me in one succinct sentence, it would be this — “Grengs delivers the goods.”
If elected, what changes would you plan to make?
I will work to get the current backlog of water rights applications moved through the pipeline. My understanding is that we have 190-plus individuals (myself included) with water rights applications representing some 1,600-plus acres of land. Penciling out the math, this comes to around $8 million-plus in local revenue if you figure an average gross revenue of $5k per acre (cherries bring in ~$10k/acre, then run a linear sliding scale). Pushing this process down the pipeline will involve working with local and state agencies (such as the state Department of Ecology). It will be an uphill battle, but I am no stranger to hills and the achievement of summits is infused in my DNA. The CID website needs a rebuild. I can fix it. Communication between the CID and its clients will be improved: the CID board minutes will be posted to the website ASAP. At present, monthly board meetings take place in the afternoon. This makes it difficult for CID clients to attend these meetings. I will strive to offer evening hours for board-to-client communication venues, even if I have to personally host these meetings off-site. Voting for board members should be changed so that the candidates can have their positions posted in the voters pamphlet that is mailed out prior to traditional elections. Additionally, elections to the CID board should take place during the same period as normal elections. Bottom line: no mountain is too high and no distance too long — as a result-driven individual with a ton of engineering and project management experience, I will GSD (Get "Stuff" Done) in the context of delivering on my stated goals as a board member of the CID.