Kathryn Witherington to lead Downtown Walla Walla Foundation
January 30, 2020
Port of Columbia Economic Development Director Kathryn Witherington is leaving her Columbia County position to become the next executive director of the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation. She has been with the Port since March, 2018.
"The main thing that's really important for me to say is that my departing is it is not in any way a negative thing. It's just a good new opportunity to advance my career. I've really loved my time at the Port, and I've learned a lot. I'm excited to take my new skills and apply them to a new challenge." said Ms. Witherington.
"The hard work that the board and staff have already done," she added, "has laid a wonderful foundation to build on as I begin. This next chapter of the DWWF is going to be very exciting," she continued.
Current executive director Bonnie Bownton is retiring after serving three years as the nonprofit organization's leader. Witherington will join the Foundation on Feb. 18, Bownton will stay on through the end of February to assist in the transition.
"The search was a thorough process," said Brian Hunt, DWFF board president and chairperson for the search committee. "We had a number of good, local candidates which made this an especially invigorating search. It's a testament to the Downtown Foundation and to our larger community that so many talented people were interested in leading the Foundation's next chapter."
"Kathryn brings an economic development focus," said Hunt, "that will be increasingly important with the departure of Macy's and the planned departure of Good Will from our downtown core." Witherington also has experience in the Main Street Approach, he said, which guides the DWWF's work to use historical preservation as a means to support a dynamic, successful downtown. "She's got a great skill set, lots of ideas and a great team in place," he said. "We're looking forward to the next, great chapter in our downtown."
The Downtown Walla Walla Foundation manages the Downtown Farmers Market as well as Summer Sounds, Sip & Stroll and Wheelin' Walla Walla Weekend and more.