LRAPA's new head is an old hand.Byline: Diane Dietz The Register-Guard
Oregon native Merlyn Hough n. 1. Same as Hock, a joint.
v. t. 1. Same as Hock, to hamstring.
imp. & p. p. os>
p. pr. & vb. n. os>
n. 1. An adz; a hoe.
v. t. 1. To cut with a hoe. recently accepted the top post at the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority without settling the - to him - small detail of how much the agency would pay him.
"I feel useful, and I'm finding it very interesting and challenging work, and frankly that's more important to me than what dollar amount they settle on," Hough, 55, said in a Friday interview.
Hough has served as the agency's interim director since July, when a national search failed to produce a leader for the then-struggling agency.
Previous Director Brian Jennison resigned under pressure one year ago. Soon afterward, a struggle between the government bodies that provide the agency's funding clouded its future. And the agency staff was divided and demoralized de·mor·al·ize
tr.v. de·mor·al·ized, de·mor·al·iz·ing, de·mor·al·iz·es
1. To undermine the confidence or morale of; dishearten: an inconsistent policy that demoralized the staff. .
Despite the problems, Hough agreed to take the helm only two months after he had hired on as the agency's operations manager See datacenter manager. , a behind-the-scenes technical post.
The board elevated him to the temporary post in July on a unanimous vote. It gave him the permanent position this month with a unanimous vote.
`Merlyn has demonstrated his ability to lead the agency over the past six months and has expressed his willingness and desire to continue to do so on a long-term basis," said Dave Ralston, chairman of the agency's governing board Noun 1. governing board - a board that manages the affairs of an institution
board - a committee having supervisory powers; "the board has seven members" .
Hough worked at the state Department of Environmental Quality from the time he was 23 until last year, when he moved to LRAPA LRAPA Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (formerly Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority) .
He has a degree in fisheries science from Oregon State University Oregon State University, at Corvallis; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1858 as Corvallis College, opened 1865. In 1868 it was designated Oregon's land-grant agricultural college and was taken over completely by the state in 1885. and a master's in civil engineering from the University of Portland The University of Portland (UP) is a private Catholic university located in Portland, Oregon. It is specifically affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross and is the sister school of the University of Notre Dame. Founded in 1901, UP has a student body of about 3,200 students. .
At DEQ DEQ
Abbreviation for the Incoterm "Delivered Ex Quay." , Hough worked from 1976 to 1994 in the agency's air quality division, helping to clean up airsheds in the Medford-Ashland, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls Klamath Falls, city (1990 pop. 17,737), seat of Klamath co., SW Oreg., at the southern tip of Upper Klamath Lake; inc. 1905. It is the processing and distribution center of a lumber, livestock, and farm area. , Salem and Portland areas.
After that, he worked on water quality issues relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc underground storage tanks and managed the agency's Eugene office.
Hough and his wife, Martha, have lived in the River Road area with their five children for the past dozen years. The oldest child is now in medical school at Oregon Health Sciences University. The youngest is 13. The couple home-schooled the lot of them.
In the past half-dozen years, Hough has become a marathon runner. He has completed the Portland Marathon The Portland Marathon is one of the most established annual marathons in the USA. It was first held in 1971 and has been held every year since. The marathon is generally held in October; with as many as 9,000 taking part. three times, the Newport Marathon twice and the Pacific Crest Marathon in SunRiver once.
He usually finishes in the four-to-five-hour range. "I start slow and I taper off Verb 1. taper off - end weakly; "The music just petered out--there was no proper ending"
fizzle, fizzle out, peter out
discontinue - come to or be at an end; "the support from our sponsoring agency will discontinue after March 31"
2. from there," he joked.
A week ago, he ran the Phoenix Marathon, a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He ran in memory of his older brother, Larry, who died of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1992, and of a longtime DEQ co-worker, Spence Erickson, who died in August of leukemia.
Hough comes across as a measured and earnest leader for an agency that has endured some rough weather.
"It seems like every decade, or so, there's questioning: Is LRAPA necessary or useful?" he said. "The question has been asked; it's been thrashed around and ultimately people decided it is necessary and useful."
In recent months, Hough led the LRAPA board through an effort to establish a crisp mission statement and four broad goals. The key words they came up with are: air quality, involvement, service, partnerships.
"They're good checkpoints when we're deciding what to prioritize," he said.
The search for a clear identity brought the agency to a name (but not an acronym) change to "Lane Regional Air Protection Agency." In coming months, they'll ask permission of Eugene, Springfield, Lane County, Cottage Grove and Oakridge to make the change.
Hough said the new name reflects the agency's broadening mission. In its earlier days it focused strictly on curbing industrial emissions. Today, the air quality challenges include such far-flung issues as wood stoves in Oakridge, auto emissions on Interstate 5 and field-burning smoke from north Willamette Valley farms.
But control of industrial emissions remains a central agency function. In the past year, neighborhood groups have faced off with manufacturers on the question of emissions - with some LRAPA board members throwing their weight behind the businesses and others behind public health.
That's good, Hough said.
"It's a healthy tension to make sure you're weighing properly the costs and the benefits," he said. `If you focus on just one - `This is too expensive' - you're not going to make a good decision. If you focus just on the benefits - `Whatever is cleanest is best, regardless of cost' - you're not going to make the best decision.'
That philosophy will be tested in coming months as the agency makes decisions on reducing fumes fumes
odorous gases and other volatile materials; inhalation of irritating fumes causes coughing and, if sufficiently severe, irreversible pulmonary edema. at the J.H. Baxter creosoting plant in Eugene; as it rewrites old agency rules in light of new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), independent agency of the U.S. government, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1970 to reduce and control air and water pollution, noise pollution, and radiation and to ensure the safe handling and standards; and as it grapples with recent rulemaking in the unsettled area of environmental toxins.
The LRAPA board paid Hough an annual salary of $62,043 as interim leader. The advertized pay scale for the agency director is $70,000-$90,000.
Hough already has served 31 years in state government. He could have put in for his Public Employees Retirement System benefits and enjoyed a life of leisure. But he says the work itself compels him to stay on the job: "I'm having a ball."