About Chris Branch

I was born in Nespelem and have lived in Okanogan County for over 40 years of my 65 years in the Pacific Northwest.  My mother’s side of the family is Colville Indian, grandmother, great-grandmother, way back to the Arrow Lakes now in BC.  I have a BA degree in Environmental Studies from Evergreen State College, with minor studies in Business and Economic Development including Tribal Resource Development (1990), some of that from Wenatchee Valley College. I’m currently the District 1 Okanogan County Commissioner. 

Previously, I was Community Development Director for the City of Oroville, and have been working in planning and community development for 30 years, including work for Conconully, Brewster, Bridgeport, Pateros, Oroville, Twisp, Tonasket, and a little bit for Winthrop, Pateros, and Omak.

Growing up I worked on ranches and farms for a period beside my migrant step family in Oregon.  I served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard trained as a Machinery Technician on the East Coast.  I worked in the timber industry for 12 years as an equipment operator, mechanic, truck driver, and whatever was necessary.

The basis for my work as a County Commissioner is thoughtful action based on engagement and learning. To learn, it is necessary to listen to others’ views and be open to the development of simple ideas into better ideas.  If we are problem solving, no idea offered is a bad idea when it is part of the solution search.  However, without respectful engagement, participants stop submitting ideas. Disrespectful debates fail to develop good ideas.  My current service positions result in meeting many people with great attitudes about developing solutions for common problems that all counties face.

I have the benefit of extensive training in various government functions, and have given training on such subjects as the Open Public Meetings, Open Public Information, Quasi-judicial Decisions, and Planning.  I have, and currently do serve, in leadership positions on many boards and committees.

Current Public Service Positions:

Washington Association of Counties
Board of Directors
Legislative Steering Committee
Washington Counties Risk Pool
Alternate Board Member

  • Board member, North Central Washington Economic Development District
  • Board member, Okanogan County Economic Alliance
  • Member, Okanogan County Solid Waste Advisory Committee
  • Board of Directors, Okanogan Community Action Council
  • Council of Governance for Aging and Adult Care
  • Council of Governance Central Washington Workforce Development
  • Co-Chair North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative

My engagement over the 27 years in local government prior to elected office provides you with a representative with broad and informed perspective relatively uncommon in local government.

Past Public Service:

  • Community Development Director
    City of Oroville
    City of Tonasket
    • President, Planning Association of Washington Coordinator
    • Coordinator, Okanogan Trails Scenic Byway
    • President, Okanogan County Community Action Council
    • Coordinator Okanogan Trails Scenic Byway

Volunteer Positions

    • Co-chair – Okanogan Trails Mule Deer Foundation Chapter
    • Joint Founder and member of the Omak/Okanogan Tree Board (20 years)
    • President, Okanogan Chamber of Commerce