SLO County Supervisor Ortiz-Legg selects Paavo Ogren for the WRAC

Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg

By KAREN VELIE

Former public works director Paavo Ogren used to live in Atascadero. But that was before he applied to represent San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg on the Water Resource Advisory Committee (WRAC) as the District 3 representative. District 3 includes Edna Valley, Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, Shell Beach and Grover Beach and a portion of San Luis Obispo.

In 2018, Ogren and his long-time significant other Maria Kelly jointly purchased a more than 100 year old home in Atascadero, taking out a joint mortgage. Ogren and Kelly then changed their voter registrations to District 5 while a relative lived in the home Ogren owns in SLO.

Shortly after Ortiz-Legg, a personal friend of Kelly, learned she would be replacing Adam Hill on the SLO County Board of Supervisors, Ogren changed his voter registration back to the home he owns in District 3 in SLO. WRAC bylaws require appointees to live in the district they represent.

On Nov. 19, a week after he allegedly moved to SLO, Ogren attended a 10 a.m. San Simeon CSD meeting via Zoom, from his home in Atascadero.

Paavo Ogren during a Nov. 19 Zoom meeting

In addition, SLO County records continue to list Ogren’s residence at his home in Atascadero.

SLO County Department of Planning and Building records for Ogren’s SLO house list his home in Atascadero as his residence. And while a homeowner’s exemption is taken for Ogren’s home in Atascadero, none is claimed on the home in San Luis Obispo, according to county records.

Paavo Ogren’s home in Atascadero from a real estate site

Working closely with Supervisor Bruce Gibson, Ogren was a key player in the controversial attempt to privatize the Paso Robles Water Basin, which was rejected by 77.83 percent of landowners in 2016.

Kelly worked for Justin Vineyards of the Wonderful Company from 2017 through 2020. Justin Vineyards is part of The Wonderful Company, a primary proponent of privatizing the Paso Robles Water Basin.

The WRAC is an advisory body to the SLO County Board of Supervisors on water district regulations.

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