County Commissioner Mark Olson: “I’m never bored”

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Mark Olson

Mark Olson had never before held public office prior to being elected to the Ramsey County Commission two years ago.

He didn’t just “slide” into the office, though. He worked hard during his campaign and did all the “homework” he could to prepare himself for the commission.

Lucky thing he did, however. He has found himself in a situation with the other commissioners facing and dealing with Devils Lake flooding issues.

“I?think people know I worked hard and I’m an upright guy,” says Olson. “The flooding is the biggest issue we face, but it’s not the only one.”

Olson adds that roads, infrastructure and business are all connected in some way, shape or form to the ongoing flooding problems.

He feels if the lake could ever be fixed or stabilized, Devils Lake would experience a big influx of people and potential business opportunities.

“I?expected this all to be a bit overwhelming, but I’m on a lot of other boards too, which makes it all the more hectic at times,” adds Olson.

He carries the buildings and grounds portfolio as a member of the commission, as well as the County Tax Department portfolio.

During the day Olson is literally a “jack of all trades.”

He’s part of M&M Snowmobile Repair on Fifth Ave. South, runs a greenhouse, operates Just Eva’s gift shop with his wife, Eva, has a fireworks stand and holds farmer’s markets during the summer and fall.

“I think you could say I’m never bored,” Olson smiled. “It’s all challenging, it’s interesting.'

“I don’t know if people fully understand what all goes on at commission meetings, but I do know you’ve got to be accountable for your decisions or it will come back to haunt you.”

Olson feels the community is making strides in the battle against the flooding lake.

He says the proposed east end outlet would be a gigantic step in the right direction.

But it is a frustrating fight as well.

“It seems like the answers are right there, but there’s always so much red tape to wade through,” adds Olson. “But I’m starting to think we’re making progress.”