The State Land Board on Oct. 9 appointed Mary Abrams, an Oregonian who served as a Peace Corps director in Africa since 2006, as the new Department of State Lands director.
“Mary’s management experience and 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," said Gov. John Kitzhaber, chair of the State Land Board.
Secretary of State Kate Brown said Abrams’s “strong background in both science and policy will serve the Department of State Lands well." Treasurer Ted Wheeler, the third member of the board, said her “expertise and collaborative style will help ensure state lands and waterways will provide dividends for generations.”
From 2001 to 2006, Abrams was a division administrator and water quality specialist at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. She also held positions as a watershed manager and as the Endangered Species Act coordinator with the City of Portland, and as a research faculty member at the Oregon Graduate Institute.
Abrams holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in soil science from the University of California, Davis, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in agronomy. Abrams grew up in Morrow County, and worked in La Grande for several years as a water quality specialist while with DEQ.
“I grew up in eastern Oregon farm country and attended public schools. I believe deeply in the mission of the department, and am honored to be selected as the new director,” Abrams said. “I have a lot to learn about the varied programs at DSL, and am excited by the challenges ahead of me. I look forward to working with our staff and partners across Oregon as we work to provide excellent stewardship for Oregon’s lands and the Common School Fund.”