by Carmen Macdonald
Twenty years ago I bought my first drift boat, a 17' x 54" beautiful red Willie Boat. I bought it from Jim Bittle ot Willie Boats. I don't remember much about the transaction, other than walking on clouds and that at the end of it, Bittle invited me to choose a couple hats from their stock while telling me, "welcome to the family."
Of all of the conversations we shared during the purchase, I only remember those four words. It's not everyday that you make a purchase and are welcomed as a new member of a family.
I don't have that boat any longer, but I still see Jim Bittle at least once a year, usually at the Portland Sportsman's show. I make sure I see him. To say hello. To catch up, if only briefly. And every time, true to his words, he treats me like family.
Photo from Southern Oregon Fishing Reports
On November 21st, Governor Kate Brown nominated Jim Bittle to be a member of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. She could not have made a better choice.
In my experience with Bittle, a couple things jump to my mind. He listens more than he speaks and his word is worth his weight in gold. I don't know that I've met a more thoughtful, reasonable and straightforward individual.
As a member of the ODFW Commission, I believe Bittle will bring desperately needed understanding and insight into the license buying public. He's worked directly with anglers of all kinds throughout his professional life. He's lived within the successes and failures of many, many seasons. Throughout the ups and downs, he's remained engaged and provided steadfast support to the sport fishing industry and anglers.
Bittle's appointment is an important step for Governor Kate Brown. It demonstrates that she's listening. As an angler, license buyer and constituent, I appreciate that.
There are many challenges facing ODFW and the path to solving some of the largest ones run all run through sport anglers and sport fishing. Including an experienced, well-reasoned sport angler on the Commission is a step in the right direction. Kudos Governor Brown.