Commissioner Marsha Porter-Norton
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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. Her family has been in the region for four generations. Marsha comes to this position having been a professional facilitator owning her own consulting business for 20 years. Her services extended to public entities, governments, community coalitions and nonprofits. Through her work, she led meetings and complex stakeholder processes to resolve conflict, set strategic direction and address a wide range of public issues. Several of her key accomplishments include working with these groups: Hermosa Creek Workgroup; Firewise Southwest Colorado; Animas River Community Forum; Southwest Trails Roundtable; La Plata Community Clinic; West Durango Land Use District Plan; Eight Corners Intersection Solutions Committee; and the Bayfield Facilities Planning Group. After moving to La Plata County in 1994, Marsha served as executive director for six years of a regional nonprofit Operation Healthy Communities (OHC): a group that provided various services to help communities complete health projects. She led an effort to create an index to measure community health.
Marsha’s priorities are to work on the issues that impact the residents of La Plata County including helping to create good jobs and a diverse local economy. She will work with all partners to continue with COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery. Marsha knows the new land use Code needs to be fully implemented and then continually improved. A priority is addressing affordable and workforce housing, and improving the County’s infrastructure: broadband, roads and bridges and transit services. Marsha understands that with a rapidly changing climate, drought, water availability and wildfire safety are key issues facing county residents. She will work for clean air and water and support public lands and find appropriate County roles to encourage a modern and clean energy future.
Since moving to La Plata County, Marsha has given her time to many community endeavors including: La Plata County Fiscal Needs Committee; Airport Planning Advisory Committee; County Road and Bridge Campaign Issues Committee; Yes on C&D for La Plata County (tied to a statewide ballot question); United Way Fundraising Committee; Big Brothers/Big Sisters of La Plata County; La Plata Historical Society; Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado; Community Health Action Coalition; Durango Food Bank; and the Colorado Children’s Campaign It’s About Kids Network.
Marsha has won several awards for her collaboration including from the Colorado State Forest Service Statewide Partner of the Year in 2009; the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County Service to Youth Award in 2009; 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. She is a graduate of Leadership La Plata and of the Community Resource Center Grassroots Leadership Program.
Her husband John Norton is a Fort Lewis College Business School graduate having established a commercial real estate appraisal business upon moving here in 1994. Their hobbies are photography, hiking, being with extended family, Xeriscape gardening, and enjoying the great outdoors.