13-year resident Dan Gardner takes over for Linda Neace

Dan Gardner wears many hats around West Linn, and last week he donned yet another: Chamber of Commerce president.

The Chamber voted on a new board June 10, selecting Gardner to replace Linda Neace as president. Neace, meanwhile, will move into the role of secretary, while City Councilor Mike Jones acts as treasurer and Harry Waller serves as vice president.


Gardner, a financial representative for the Portland based Wealth Strategies Northwest, is a three-year chamber member who first moved to West Linn in 2001. As he moves forward as president, “engagement” is a key word.

“We’re really trying to get more businesses engaged with the chamber, and figure out what the chamber can do to serve them,” Gardner said. “We’ll see how we can help guide projects, especially things like the arch bridge, and other economic development.”

Aside from his role with the chamber, Gardner also serves as the public relations chair at the West Linn Rotary Club. He is a member of the West Linn Economic Development Committee, the Citizens Committee for the arch bridge and the Lock Fest Planning Committee. He also recently founded an “entrepreneurs collaborative network.”

“I was always involved in Lego robotics, kids’ activities, sports programs,” Gardner said. “As I stepped out of corporate America (in 2011), switching to my own business, the last part was wanting to work in your backyard as well as play and live there.”

As a personal goal, Gardner would like to focus more on home-based businesses — which make up about half of West Linn’s licensed businesses according to Community Development Director Chris Kerr.

“(I want) to see how we can better engage with all the entrepreneurial home businesses, how the chamber can help them,” Gardner said. “It’s hard to tell if they’re part-time, full time — all we know is names and that’s about it.”

Gardner knows he is stepping in at a crucial juncture for West Linn, as the city works to complete the arch bridge-Bolton town center planning project and foster a more vibrant business community.

“If we don’t plan for the businesses we want to get, we’ll have to live with what we get,” Gardner said.

Citizen engagement will be key as the chamber moves forward, and Gardner already has plans for how to improve on the communication front.”One of our big pushes is to upgrade our communication technology,” Gardner said. “We can do more with transparency, share things on social media, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Calendar so people know when meetings are.”

By Patrick Malee
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