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Board Members

Who are District Directors?

The title District Director is given to anyone who has been elected or appointed to serve on a conservation district board. To ensure that there is proper representation each district is divided into legally-defined zones. Directors are then elected or appointed from those zones. By statute, ORS 568.560, a seven-member board must have five zone director positions and two at-large positions. Each Director is elected by the registered voters of the district to serve a four-year term.

Map of Marion County SWCD Zones. Zone 1 is NW, Zone 2 is Northeast, Zone 3 is central, Zone 4 is Southwest, and zone 5 is east.

What are the Duties of Directors?

The Board makes decisions and sets policy for Marion SWCD at a strategic level through participation in Board meetings, strategic planning sessions, and committee assignments. Click the button to learn more about Director duties.

Zone and At-Large Directors

Darin Olson

Chair, Zone 3 – Olson Farms

My family and I own a 200 acre farm just south of Salem. I have been working with Marion Soil and Water Conservation District programs for many years. I have had the opportunity to do projects that I may not have been able to do without the help of SWCD programs. The program has helped my farm save thousands of gallons of water each year. In an area that is seeing a large amount of residential growth, water savings in an important issue that needs to be addressed by farmers and small land owners alike. Working on a large farm in Australia, I had the opportunity to see first hand what happens when there is a water shortage and worked hard to conserve water through different irrigation techniques. I would like to continue working to conserve water in this area to keep water our precious resource available for everyone. By working with residents, public and private agencies and local governments I believe we can save water while still meeting the needs of everyone in the area.

Rochelle Koch

Vice-Chair, Zone 5 – Whole Circle Farms

Our family returned to Oregon after more than twenty years of organic farming in California. We chose the name Whole Circle Farms because we believe that everything is connected: from the microbes in the soil to the purity of the water, the clean air, and the feeding patterns of the insects. We tend to each part of that circle to create something even more extraordinary than the sum of its parts. Our high standard of farming has allowed us to become one of a handful of hemp farms with organic certifications through Certified Kind, USDA, and Oregon Tilth.

Dave Budeau

Secretary/Treasurer, Zone 4

A retired wildlife biologist, Dave and his wife Anita, have resided near Turner since 2003. Dave first became aware of the value and services provided by the Marion SWCD about 15 years ago while implementing a NRCS conservation easement on their property. As way to give back, Dave volunteered to serve as a technical reviewer for MSWCD’s Landowner Assistance Program, which allowed him to learn even more about the many services and activities offered by the District. Dave served as an associate director on the MSWCD Board for the previous two years before being elected as Director of Zone 4 in fall of 2020. Dave is a native Oregonian and unquestionable fan of Oregon State University.

Dave spoke with Aileen Kaye of KMUZ’s Willamette Wake Up about Marion Soil and Water Conservation District’s programs and services. Listen to his first interview here and his second interview here.

Peggy Hart

At Large 1

During my studies at Cal Poly State University I came to realize two things: that rural communities and the ag sector deserve greater respect for their inherited cultures and skills; and that effective environmental protection depends upon the dedication of farmers and ranchers. They are, after all, caring for most of the land.

Joining the Marion SWCD Board is for me a privilege, to be where the rubber meets the road, where the cities’ urgent desire for good land stewardship can be met, with good technical advice and the public’s financial support. The District’s projects therefore can nurture mutual respect and understanding along with supporting environmental soil and water conservation.

Scott Walker

At Large 2

Born to a family of farmers that settled in Iowa in 1840, I am the son of a University of Idaho Agriculture professor. With a BA in Social Science and an MS in Biostatistics, my career before retirement was evaluating and budgeting state government programs in the Midwest. After an extensive search, my wife and I decided to move to Oregon for our retirement years. In retirement, I have participated in many volunteer activities including elective office in city government and at Marion Soil and Water Conservation District.
As a Director on the Marion Soil and Soil Conservation District, my philosophy of decision making is similar to that which guided me during my career. Is the problem we are trying to solve real, important and within the mission of the district? Is the proposed solution cost effective and have a meaningful impact on the problem?

Zone 1: VACANT – View Eligibility. Access Application.

Map of Marion County SWCD Zones. Zone 1 is NW, Zone 2 is Northeast, Zone 3 is central, Zone 4 is Southwest, and zone 5 is east.

Associate Directors

Associate Directors do not vote on board decisions. However, they can augment the board’s knowledge and experience level as well as assist with programs and activities. Anyone can apply to serve as an associate director at any time. If you are interested in becoming an associate director, you must attend 3 board meetings.

A conservation district’s capabilities are expanded by Associate Directors. Associate Directors are appointed by the Board. Although Associate Directors do not vote on board decisions, they add value to Board decisions by sharing their knowledge and experience. Associates can also help with District committees and report back information gathered while attending the meetings of our many community partners. An Associate Director serves until January 1 in odd numbered years. Every two years, the District Board re-appoints those associate directors who are interested in continuing and who have contributed sufficiently to the district’s conservation efforts.

Associate Director Profiles

Leland “Lee” Hardy

Associate Director

After ending a career as a nationally recognized irrigation engineer for the USDA SCS (currently NRCS) he joined Marion SWCD and has just finished serving his first 25 years as an Associate Director. He assists staff with landowner site visits as well as provides engineered plans. He has trained several new generations of conservationists in basic engineering and plain old common sense. He serves on the technical review committee for grant applications to award funding to technically sound practices related to water quantity, water quality, soil erosion, wetlands, and native and invasive species. He was recently named to OSU’s Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Career Achievement Registry.

Mark Fields

Associate Director

With a first job that began with a row crop farmer, beginning in high school, summers and after college, I stayed in contact with that first employer and the operations of the farm. After retirement I was able to attend Soil and Water District meetings for several years as a public resident to learn more about District programs.   I’ve served on the Education committee for four years, working to make District residents aware  of the opportunities the District can provide.

Angela Plowhead

Oregon became my home more than 20 years ago when I moved here with my husband who is a native Oregonian. As an outdoorsmen and hunter the importance of preserving Oregon’s natural resources have always been important to me, but becoming a small land owner several years ago in an area that struggles with well water quality impressed upon me how critical water quality can be even in a place where water seems so abundant.

Why Serve as a Director?

Benefits to You

  • Reap the rewards of being part of a diverse and collaborative team, where Board and staff value the MSWCD roles, perspectives, and skill sets each member brings to the table.
  • Gain experience in government and leadership that can translate into other potential career or political opportunities.
  • Stay informed on current conservation concerns and ecological science.
  • Receive the personal satisfaction of community service: The MSWCD’s purpose is to help community members access the tools and information they need to conserve natural resources.
  • Help the MSWCD extend its reach – the diverse perspectives of new board members help MSWCD more directly address the needs and interests of those we serve.
  • We can’t operate without elected Board members who are willing to volunteer their time and talents.
  • Get to know us better. Board members become familiar with MSWCD programs and initiatives and feel competent to speak about MSWCD programs with their constituents.

Benefits to MSWCD

  • You don’t need to be a farmer or natural resources professional to be an asset to MSWCD.
  • Your service helps ensure MSWCD programs and services are informed by diverse voices and accessible to a wide range of community members. This includes the conventional measures of diversity and the value of having a variety of perspectives and experiences on farming practices and ecological science.
  • While we provide the community with conservation services, our organization is strengthened by having Directors with skill sets in financial and business management, human resources, public service, education, community organizing, diversity, equity, and inclusion and other knowledge and skills sets.

Election Process

Board members can either be elected or appointed.  Unfilled, open positions may be filled by appointment; all other Zone and At Large director positions are filled by election.


All director positions except Zone 4 will be on the November 2024 ballot. If you are interested in running for election you need to:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility Requirements for Position

There are two types of director positions available on local SWCD boards: zone and at-large positions. Check with the local SWCD office to determine if you are eligible for an at-large position or a zone position. ODA will review the information provided on the Declaration of Candidacy form to ensure the candidate qualifies for the position.

Step 2: Declaration of Candidacy

Candidates must complete all fields and sign the Declaration of Candidacy for Director form to certify the candidate meets the eligibility requirements for the position. If you are running for a position, you must list the position number (e.g., Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, At-Large 1, or At-Large 2) on the form to be a candidate. File the Declaration of Candidacy for Director form and the certified Petition for Nomination Signature Sheet with the ODA Grants Administrative Officer. Signature Sheet and Declaration of Candidacy forms can be found here.

Step 3: Petition for Nomination Signature Sheet

Circulate the petition for 10 or more signatures among registered voters who reside in the district. Candidates are advised to obtain more than the required number of signatures to ensure the petition contains the required 10 valid signatures. This is to help ensure there are adequate signatures in the case some signers are not registered voters or do not reside within the district.

Candidate submits the Petition for Nomination Signature Sheet to the local county elections official for signature verification. The county elections official will review the forms for circulator certification (if needed) and verify the original signatures.

Step 4: File Completed Forms with ODA

Candidate files the certified Petition for Nomination Signature Sheet and Declaration of Candidacy form with the ODA Grants Administrative Officer, by email at or mail to: Oregon Department of Agriculture Attn: Grants Administrative Officer 635 Capitol St. NE, Suite 100 Salem, OR 97301-2532. Dates for the upcoming election will be posted here once they are established.

For all of the details on district elections download a copy of the Elections Manual. Pages 23 and 24 are the most relevant.


Vacant Zone and At large Positions

When an applicant wishes to fill a vacant position, they must submit an Application for Appointment. The board will review the application(s), and if necessary, conduct interviews.  A decision will be made at a board meeting.  If you are selected, you will be sworn in at your first meeting.

Associate Director Positions

Associate Directors are appointed by the board. Associate Directors do not vote on board decisions. However, they can augment the board’s knowledge and experience level as well as assist with programs and activities. An Associate Director serves until January 1 in odd numbered years. Every two years, the District Board of Directors re-appoints those directors who are interested in continuing and who have contributed sufficiently to the district’s conservation efforts.

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about the Board of Directors or have interest in serving as a Director, reach out to the District Manager.

Brenda Sanchez
District Manager
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