National Scenic Area Planner

Columbia River Gorge Commission Published: July 3, 2023
White Salmon, WA
Skill Level
Mid Level
Job Type
Natural Resources/ Restoration / Planning / Land Use
(Number of Job Posting Views: 2)

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The Columbia River Gorge Commission office is located in White Salmon, Washington, with an eight-member team of planners and other experts. The Commission develops and implements policies and programs that protect and enhance the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the NSA, while encouraging economic vitality within existing urban areas and allowing economic development outside urban areas consistent with resource protection.

The Commission is committed to building a diverse staff and provides an inclusive work environment where team members are fully supported and engaged. The Columbia River Gorge is world-renowned for its outstanding scenic beauty, natural resources, and recreation. The sea-level chasm that the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains, and the dramatic diverse landscapes surrounding it, has created an internationally recognized treasured landscape. We are part of a community rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.


The National Scenic Area Planner will serve as a member of the Gorge Commission planning team and work on a wide range of land use, conservation, public engagement, and economic development issues. The National Scenic Area Planner will coordinate the development and implementation of complex projects, policies and regulations for resource protection and economic development within the National Scenic Area. In addition, this position is responsible for fostering positive regional relationships in Oregon and Washington and will facilitate regional coordination among cities, counties, state and federal agencies, Columbia River Treaty Tribes, and non-governmental stakeholders.


  • Provides technical assistance to counties implementing the Management Plan through their land use ordinances. Reviews development proposals for consistency with the Gorge Commission’s land use ordinance and prepares decisions; conducts follow-up reviews to ensure compliance with issued decisions.
  • Reviews county land use decisions, state forest practices applications, and amendments to county land use ordinances for consistency with the National Scenic Area Management Plan.
  • Provides technical and professional advice on the phone or in person. Provides information on land use applications, ordinances, plans and related planning programs, services, or regulations to landowners, contractors, realtors, community groups, and interested persons.
  • Recommends compliance actions and other intervention measures as needed to ensure consistent regional compliance with the Management Plan for the National Scenic Area and local ordinances.
  • Assists with strategic planning, scoping, data collection and analysis, policy options and final policy development, and public participation for long-range planning.
  • Provides and receives peer feedback and guidance on own and other Commission planners’ planning projects and tasks.
  • Implements elements of a program for monitoring implementation of the Management Plan, including developing work plans, carrying out research, analyzing results, and writing reports.
  • Facilitates resolution of environmental and resource management issues arising from planning activities that are complex and sensitive.
  • Provides consultation and technical assistance to agency management, cities, counties, Treaty Tribes, and state and federal agencies, and provides interstate and inter-agency coordination on complex policies, legal issues, and proposed legislation to ensure compliance with National Scenic Area legal authorities.
  • Represents the agency at conferences, seminars and speaking events.
  • Reviews, analyzes, prepares, and gives reports and presentations to the Executive Director, Gorge Commissioners, civic groups, and the general public on NSA issues.
  • Safely operates a motor vehicle as needed to perform duties.


Education and Experience:

  • We will consider any combination of education and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position. We are committed to building a diverse staff.

Most National Scenic Area land use planners have had the following qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in land use planning, geography, natural resources, or a related field is desired. A Master’s degree is preferred.
  • At least three years of relevant professional experience demonstrating experience with the essential functions and responsibilities listed above. A Master’s degree may be substituted for one year of experience.

Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

The ideal candidate will be self-directed and outcome oriented. The position requires the ability to build collaborative working relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders.

  • Ability to speak and write clearly, concisely, and effectively; ability to manage work assignments independently, efficiently, and effectively.
  • Proficiency in planning principles, public engagement techniques, and current trends in resource management and conservation.
  • Experience with public forums, charrettes, and other public engagement strategies.
  • Ability to interpret and apply planning policies and legal standards to given factual situations.
  • Experience in providing planning assistance to applicants and advising landowners to options for allowable development; ability to work with landowners, non-governmental organizations, and agency officials in a courteous and professional manner.
  • Experience in building and maintaining relationships with federal, tribal, state, and local governments, business communities, non-governmental stakeholders, and individual applicants and landowners.
  • Ability to analyze and apply scientific information, observe, and interpret trends, identify key relationships; and address large groups and engage the public on a variety of issues related to management of the National Scenic Area.
  • Working knowledge and experience using GIS applications to analyze and communicate land use trends and issues.
  • Experience developing outreach materials such as graphic publications, web-based surveys, and online mapping tools.
  • Experience writing land use decisions.
  • Proficient in Office 365 applications.
  • Knowledge of Spanish language.


Applicants for this position must possess and demonstrate the following DEI competencies:

  • Able to learn and understand the language and concepts of our Commission DEI culture and commit to being a part of creating and maintaining a diverse, equitable, respectful, and inclusive workplace.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to growth, learning and self-awareness when provided training and opportunities to participate in improving our work environment.
  • Participate and behave in a manner that creates trust and builds working relationships, promoting teamwork and collaboration in the work environment.
  • Demonstrate the understanding that all people are valued; contribute to an equitable, inclusive, and respectful environment when working with members of the group, team, organization or community.
  • Commit to being an active participant in continually evaluating and improving strategies that promote equity and inclusion in our organization.


  • Possession of or ability to obtain a valid driver’s license.
  • Qualification standards include a requirement that the individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual or others in the workplace.


  • Personal computer, motor vehicle, phone, and copy/scan machine.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Work is performed mostly in office settings. Hand-eye coordination is necessary to operate National Scenic Area Planner Page 5 instruments, computers, and various pie es of office equipment. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, and talk or hear; use hands to finger, handle, feel, or operate objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms. The employee is occasionally required to sit.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
  • The employee must be able to travel to and have mobility in other government offices and public spaces, and travel to and have mobility at non-public land locations that might involve uneven ground to conduct site inspections and assessments. 


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee occasionally works in outside weather conditions that could be inclement and on uneven or rocky surfaces. The employee is occasionally exposed to wet and/or humid conditions or airborne particles. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet to moderate.


  • This position is full-time working 40 hours per week.
  • Salary will be commensurate with experience with a range between $60,000 - $74,000 and is eligible for health insurance and retirement benefits with the State of Washington.


  • Please click "Apply on Company Website" below to follow the link to submit an application through the State of Washington before June 30. 
  • Be sure to follow instructions.


Formal application; rating of education and experience; at least two oral interviews and reference check; job-related tests may be required. The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position. The job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer and requirements of the job change.

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