Ryan Neal, the executive director of the Port of Morrow, died on Tuesday.
The Port of Morrow released a statement saying Neal, 40, had died from complications due to COVID-19.
“We lost a key member of our port family,” said Marv Padberg, port commission vice president. “We are all adjusting to the news. His loss leaves a big hole. It won’t be easy.”
Rick Stokoe, port commission president said Neal’s dedication to the region and port industries will be missed.
“I know this will be a huge loss,” said Stokoe. “My heart goes out to the Neal family.”
Oregon State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) praised Neal’s work at the port and his commitment to economic development in the region.
“He has been a strong advocate for ports throughout the United States and abroad, and his work in economic development at the Port of Morrow has made our economy stronger in Eastern Oregon,” said Smith. “Ryan has left a legacy of hard work, professionalism, and good will throughout our region and will be missed by all of us.”
Neal succeeded his father, Gary Neal, as CEO and executive director of the Port of Morrow in 2018.
After working for Knight Transportation from 2006-2011, Neal became director of operations for Haney Truck Line in 2012. He then went to work for Marten Transport as area sales director in 2014 before coming back home to Boardman in 2016 take over the role of operations manager at the Port of Morrow.
Neal was active on the boards for Kiwanis of Boardman, InterMountain ESD, Northeast Oregon Water Association, Morrow Development Corporation, Blue Mountain Community College Foundation, and the Columbia Development Authority.