Blue Mountain Community College President John Turner said he's always tried to work closely with the Port of Umatilla to expand the area's economic development.

So when a spot on the Port Commission opened with the resignation of former Commissioner Bryan Brock in May, Turner jumped on the opportunity and applied.

"The mission of the port to develop to economy and the mission of the college to develop the workforce complement each other," Turner said. "There's just a lot of natural ties between the college and the port.

As a member of the port commission, he said he hoped to continue the collaboration between the port and BMCC. Where the port might attract new businesses and growth to Eastern Oregon, the college could work with them and provide training programs to help them, he said.

Turner also will bring expertise as a member of the Round-Up City Development Corporation, a group already focused on economic development, Puzey said. Turner said one of the commission's main priorities now will be continuing to bring new businesses and products through the port - something he's already done with Puzey in the past, he added.

"It's an easy transition," Turner said.

In addition to serving as BMCC president and on the Round-Up City Development Corp., he sits on the Pendleton Convention Center Commission and works with Pendleton Rotary. But Turner said the extra duties are natural as a college president.

"It comes with the territory," he said. "Part of my job is to make sure the college stays connected to the greater community that we serve."

Turner will be eligible for election to a full term on the board next spring. By ERIC FLORIP

East Oregonian Publishing Co.

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