Clallam PUD's Jim Waddell dies

Commissioner had been fighting pancreatic cancer

Jim Waddell

Jim Waddell

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Public Utility District Commissioner Jim Waddell has died of pancreatic cancer.

The Port Angeles resident, who also founded DamSense which lobbied for the breaching of the Snake River dams, died Monday, according to a press release from the Clallam PUD.

He was 70.

He had represented the Clallam PUD’s District 3, which runs from East Port Angeles to the West End, since 2019 after defeating longtime commissioner Ted Simpson in the 2018 election. He also had served as board president in 2023 and 2024.

No information on memorial services was available Wednesday morning, said Nicole Hartman, Clallam PUD spokeswoman.

Waddell was remembered fondly by the people he worked with at the PUD.

“We are saddened by this sudden news and our thoughts are with Jim’s loved ones during this difficult time.” said Sean Worthington, PUD general manager.

“Jim cared deeply about being responsive to the needs of all our customers and was so thoughtful in his approach to all matters of the PUD. I will personally miss our conversations and am thankful I had the opportunity to learn from him.”

Said Commissioner Ken Hays: “Jim was a fine leader, thorough, thoughtful, and fair in all that he said and did. He was a remarkable person, with many talents, skills, and interests.

“He freely gave his time, always willing to share his knowledge and expertise, and patient explaining complex topics. His generosity and compassion I will miss a great deal.”

Said Commissioner John Purvis: “Jim was compassionate and dedicated to building a better future throughout his very distinguished career in public service.”

Waddell was a civil engineer who worked for 35 years for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, focusing largely on developing sustainable development policies and practices. He also served an officer in the Army National Guard, serving in engineering, signal, and transportation units.

Waddell served with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation before becoming the senior policy analyst for the environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He focused largely on climate change policy, budgets, and research integration.

He said he was the first in the federal government to identify and integrate all the global warming research programs, allowing scientific information to better inform national and international policies.

Waddell announced at an October 2022 PUD meeting that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and that he was undergoing intensive chemotherapy for five weeks. He had been diagnosed eight weeks prior to that after dealing with severe abdominal pain for up to eight months.

Waddell was known for supporting removal of the four hydroelectric Snake River dams on the lower reaches of the Columbia’s largest tributary.

He was the lone vote at a March 2021 Clallam PUD meeting against a resolution in support of keeping the dams and was founder and board chair of DamSense (, serving with the late Ken Balcomb who founded the Center for Whale Research.

Hartman said the two other commissioners will have 90 days to fill the position. They will release a notice of vacancy seeking nominations for 15 days. The appointed person will serve until certification of the 2024 election results, she said. Applicants must be a resident of District 3, which runs roughly from Monroe Road in East Port Angeles to the West End.

Prospective candidates may file for the office during candidate filing week in May, Hartman said. The winning candidate would serve from certification of the election results until the end of the year and then serve the usual six-year term.


Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at

More in News

From left to right are Indigo Gould, Hazel Windstorm, Eli Hill, Stuart Dow, Mateu Yearian and Hugh Wentzel.
Port Townsend Knowledge Bowl team wins consecutive state championships

The Knowledge Bowl team from Port Townsend High School has… Continue reading

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls dirt from around the base of an orca sculpture at the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield on Thursday during site preparation to rebuild the Port Angeles play facility, which was partially destroyed by an arson fire on Dec. 20. A community build for the replacement playground is scheduled for May 15-19 with numerous volunteer slots available. Signups are available at (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)
Site preparation at Dream Playground

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls… Continue reading

Rayonier Inc. is selling more than 115,000 acres in four units across the West Olympic Peninsula last week as the company looks to sell $1 billion worth of assets. (Courtesy photo / Rayonier Inc.)
Rayonier to sell West End timberland

Plans call for debt restructuring; bids due in June

Port Angeles port approves contract for Maritime Trade Center bid

Utilities installation, paving part of project at 18-acre site

Port Angeles to hire personnel to operate day ambulance

The Port Angeles Fire Department will be able to… Continue reading

Port Angeles City Hall parking lot closed for construction

Work crews from Bruch and Bruch Construction, Inc. will… Continue reading

Teen photo contest open for submissions

The Jefferson County Library is accepting submissions for Teen… Continue reading

Letters of inquiry for grant cycle due May 15

The Olympic View Community Foundation and the Seattle Foundation will… Continue reading

Amy DeQuay of Port Angeles, right, signs up for information at a table staffed by Christopher Allen and Mary Sue French of the Port Angeles Arts Council during a Volunteer Fair on Wednesday at Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles. The event, organized by the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, brought together numerous North Olympic Peninsula agencies that offer people a chance to get involved in their communities. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)
Volunteer fair in Port Angeles

Amy DeQuay of Port Angeles, right, signs up for information at a… Continue reading

Luncheon to raise funds for women with cancer

The Kathleen Sutton Fund will host its third spring… Continue reading

Among those volunteering are rowers from Port Townsend, Port Angeles and Sequim. Pictured from left to right are WendyRae Johnson of Port Angeles; Gail Clark and Lynn Gilles, both of Sequim, Jean Heessels-Petit of Sequim; Christi Jolly, Dennis Miller, Carolyn DeSalvo and Frank DeSalvo, all of Sequim; and Rudy Heessels, Amy Holms and Guy Lawrence, all of Sequim.
Sequim Bay Yacht Club to host opening day ceremonies

The Sequim Bay Yacht Club will host free boat rides… Continue reading

Serve Washington presented service award

Serve Washington presented its Washington State Volunteer Service Award to… Continue reading