Commissioner Marsha Porter-Norton
Marsha Porter-Norton is a first-term Commissioner from District 2. She grew up on a cattle ranch and farm in Lewis, Colorado north of Cortez. Commissioner Porter-Norton’s goal is to build healthy communities and a strong economy to serve all residents in La Plata County.
She has set affordable housing as a priority and is on the Board of Directors for the multi-jurisdictional Regional Housing Alliance. Recognizing that a rapidly-changing climate also prioritizes issues like drought, water availability and wildfire safety, Commissioner Porter-Norton and her fellow Commissioners worked with the City of Durango and Durango Fire Protection District to establish the Wildfire and Watershed Protection Fund (WWPF) in 2021 to carry out landscape-scale mitigation work on private and public lands throughout La Plata County.
La Plata County has a rich agricultural heritage, and Commissioner Porter-Norton knows that firsthand, having grown up in an agricultural family with 10 years as a 4-H member. She brings those experiences to serving as the Commissioner liaison to the Colorado State University (CSU) local Extension Advisory Council.
Because substance abuse disorders are impacting students, families and entire communities, she is a founding member of the SouthWEST Opioid Response District (SWORD) Board of Directors. This group accepts State of Colorado opioid settlement(s) funds for use in getting more services in place for La Plata County residents. She also sits on the Board of San Juan Basin Public Health, an entity that is dissolving Dec. 23, 2023 to be replaced by a new county-level public health department.
Marsha highly values her role in working with both the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes, two sovereign nations with lands in La Plata County. She is an ex-officio member of the State’s Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs.
Prior to her elected office, Marsha was a professional facilitator leading numerous meetings and complex stakeholder processes to address a wide range of public issues. Several of her key accomplishments include: Hermosa Creek Workgroup; Firewise Southwest Colorado; Southwest Trails Roundtable; La Plata Community Clinic; and the Bayfield Facilities Planning Group. From 1994—2000, Marsha served as executive director for six years of the regional nonprofit Operation Healthy Communities (OHC), a group that helped complete projects to foster healthy communities.
Her volunteer experiences include the La Plata County Fiscal Needs Committee; Airport Planning Advisory Committee; County Road and Bridge Campaign Issues Committee; La Plata Community Clinic; United Way Fundraising Committee; Big Brothers/Big Sisters of La Plata County; La Plata Historical Society; Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado; Durango Food Bank; and the Colorado Children’s Campaign.
Commissioner Porter-Norton's accolades and awards include: 2009 Colorado State Forest Service Statewide Partner of the Year ; the 2009 Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County Service to Youth Award; and the Leadership La Plata Barbara Conrad Leadership Award in 2006. Marsha holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Work from Colorado State University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver (Denver campus program) and is a 2001 graduate of Leadership La Plata.
Her husband, John Norton, is a Fort Lewis College Business School graduate. Both moved to Durango in 1994 and when not serving as a Commissioner, she is Xeriscape gardening, getting outdoors, reading and connecting with extended family members from across Colorado.