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Port of Astoria director resigns amid criticism

June 19, 2019

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — The Port of Astoria’s executive director has resigned.

Jim Knight’s resignation comes a week after a majority of the Port Commission publicly lost confidence in his leadership and indicated he could be fired, The Astorian reported .

The Port Commission on Tuesday accepted his resignation and both sides agreed to release all claims against each another, assuring Knight will not sue the agency.

The Port will pay Knight $221,000, including $145,400 for alleged emotional distress, $33,600 for economic damages and $42,000 for his attorney fees.

The agency will also cover six months of health benefits for Knight, who is additionally eligible for the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.

Knight left the Port’s offices with his lawyer before the meeting and couldn’t be reached for comment by the newspaper.

The Port Commission initially backed Knight against ongoing criticism from some commissioners about his performance. But missteps and independent assessments about the Port’s direction undermined his standing.

Matt McGrath, the Port’s former operations director who resigned in April, described Knight as incompetent, dishonest and incapable of managing the agency in observations shared with commissioners.

Current and former Port tenants, such as Life Flight Network and Kiwi’s Water Taxi, complained about his conduct and honesty. A jury in a lawsuit the Port lost over the operation of the Astoria Riverwalk Inn found Knight made fraudulent statements, while a judge found his testimony “not particularly credible.”

Knight came to the Port in 2014 from Washington’s Port of Olympia, where he was director of the marine terminal. He was the Port’s fifth director since 2012.

Commissioners have installed Port finance director Will Isom as interim executive director. The commission will discuss the search for a new executive director in July.

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Information from: The Daily Astorian, http://www.dailyastorian.com

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