Oregon State Land Board appoints a former US Peace Corps country director, Mary Abrams, as director of Oregon Dept. of State Lands, effective Nov. 1

SALEM, Oregon , October 9, 2012 (press release) – Appointment announced during today's State Land Board meeting

The State Land Board has selected Mary M. Abrams as the next Director of the Oregon Department of State Lands. The department oversees management of Oregon's Common School Fund, along with Oregon's waterways, wetlands, and state-owned range and forest lands.

“I am pleased that someone of Mary’s caliber is taking the reins at the Department of State Lands," said Governor Kitzhaber. “Her management experience and her experience growing up and working in rural parts of the state are a great combination for an agency that is engaged across Oregon to support our public schools while preserving our natural resources."

"Mary brings with her a unique combination of local, state and global experience," said Secretary of State Kate Brown. "Her willingness to work with diverse partners and her strong background in both science and policy will serve the Department of State Lands well."

Treasurer Ted Wheeler said, "Oregonians today and tomorrow will benefit from the continued wise stewardship of our state lands and waterways. I am impressed with Mary Abrams' background, and I believe her expertise and collaborative style will help ensure these Oregon assets will provide dividends for generations."

Ms. Abrams has worked as a country director for the U.S. Peace Corps in Africa since 2006. Prior to that, she was a division administrator and water quality specialist at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Ms. Abrams has also worked for the City of Portland and the Oregon Graduate Institute. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in soil science from the University of California at Davis, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Agronomy. She grew up in Morrow County, Oregon, and worked in La Grande for several years while with DEQ.

“As an Oregonian who grew up in eastern Oregon farm country and attending public schools, I am honored to lead Oregon's Department of State Lands,” said Ms. Abrams. “I believe deeply in the mission of the agency to ensure a legacy for Oregonians and their public schools through sound stewardship of Oregon's lands, wetlands, unclaimed property, estates, and the Common School Fund.”

Ms. Abrams’ appointment is effective November 1. She replaces Louise Solliday, who is retiring after six years as director of the department. Governor Kitzhaber extended his appreciation to Ms. Solliday at today's State Land Board meeting. "Louise has been a key member of my team, serving in a number of the toughest positions in state government during challenging times," said Governor Kitzhaber. “Her most recent tenure at State Lands brought the agency stability and professionalism, and throughout her career, she has been committed to Oregon's citizens, our environment, and to work that makes the state a better place to live. While I hate to see her go, I wish her the best on her well-earned retirement.”

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