Columbia County Board of Commissioners appoints three new Department Heads


February 2, 2021

(Columbia County, Oregon) – The Columbia County Board of Commissioners recently appointed three new Department Heads to the positions of Transit Director, Human Resources Director, and Community Justice Director.

With the exception of the Transit Director position, these vacancies were announced nationally, and applications were accepted for three to four weeks. The Board reviewed the applications received and narrowed down the applicants for the first round of interviews, which experts in their respective fields attended to provide their input.

After the first round, the interview panel came to consensus on the candidates they would invite back for the second round. The second interviews were conducted with the Board and current Human Resources Director, Jean Ripa.

John Dreeszen will take over officially as Transit Director, after being appointed as the Interim Transit Director in March 2020 when former Director Todd Wood left the County. Dreeszen first worked as the Accounting Services Manager for Columbia County from 2016 to 2018. He returned to the County later in 2018 as the Transit Program Coordinator for CC Rider.

Jeanine Hohn is taking over for Ripa, who retires this month. Hohn comes to the County with years of well-rounded Human Resources experience working for the State Department of Corrections. She will start work on February 10, 2021.

Finally, on March 1, 2021, Erin Welch will take over as the County’s Community Justice Director, replacing recently retired Janet Evans. Welch comes to the County from Plumas County, California, where she is currently the Chief Probation Officer. There, she oversees a combined Juvenile/Adult Department and will bring that experience to Columbia County.  

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