Janet Bryan looks back at Port 2 management

 

April 11, 2019

Diana Zimmerman

After 10 years, Janet Bryan decided to retire from Wahkiakum County Port 2 to make time for new adventures and grandchildren.

"It's bittersweet," Janet Bryan says of her decision to retire as manager of Wahkiakum County Port 2.

It was time for a new adventure, but the relationships she cultivated with staff and repeat visitors to Skamokawa Vista Park are the hardest thing to let go.

And by all accounts they are going to miss her as well. In the two weeks she's been gone, staff have been fielding calls from people making reservations for the warmer months. They invariably ask for Janet.

It turns out that Bryan became part of the pleasant experience that is Vista Park.

About 10 years ago, she started there as a park host. It was another era of change for a woman who would regularly clock 16 hour days running a restaurant and bar. When Bob Robinson took over as the interim port manager, Bryan started working as the office manager.

Robinson suggested that she apply for the position of port manager, and Bryan took him up on it.

Bryan may have lacked some of the knowledge and skills to run a port when she started, but she was more than able to make up for it in hard work and a gift that translated easily from food service to most anything else: customer service. She learned the rest.


She will always be grateful to Bob Robinson and Kayrene Gilbertsen for their faith in her.

"I loved the people," Bryan said. "I loved all of that. I watched the park grow. I did a lot of upgrades but there were things I didn't get done. My biggest regret is not getting the laundromat and the office. I worked on it for two years, all the engineering and stuff."

The port took over County Line Park while she was there. They put new electric services in down by the river, and set up tepees. And they took on a kite festival.

"My first year I was a nervous wreck because I knew nothing. I didn't think anyone would show up," Bryan said. "We ended up with over 200 people. They liked it so well they decided to come back. The guy that organizes it wants to grow it. He thinks he can make it really big."

She's looking forward to spending time with her three grandchildren and traveling the northwest with her husband. And because work is so much a part of her identity, it likely won't be long before she is back at it, somewhere.

"I'm really going to miss all my customers and my help was awesome," Bryan said. "The park was wonderful. Nobody wants change, but change is good."

 

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