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A celebration of life is planned for August 27th, in Astoria. All are welcome. Details and RSVP available at:
Mark Gregory Scott, beloved partner, son, brother, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 55 after a brief illness. Known for his cheerful outgoing spirit, Mark was a long time cartographer and local mapping expert who worked across many communities in NW Oregon and SW Washington.
Born in Seattle, Mark graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver, WA, and attended Clark College followed by Portland State University, where he earned a BSc. in Geology followed by a MSc. in Geography. While an undergraduate he worked seasonally for the U.S. Forest Service out of the Rigdon Ranger District, performing stream and geotechnical surveys in the Willamette National Forest. Soon after graduating he worked as a geologist assisting with drilling cores in the west hills of Portland along the construction path of the first MAX tunnel. During his time at PSU, he was introduced to the emerging technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a tool he mastered early and used throughout his career. Returning to graduate school, he employed his mapping skills on numerous important early regional GIS projects, developing methods for tracking change over time in watershed and hydrographic data, and the Portland street tree inventory, among other accomplishments.
In the mid-90’s, Mark began building a house in Ocean Park and worked in GIS for the Willapa Alliance and the Pacific Conservation District before joining Pacific County as their Senior GIS Analyst for eight years. While in graduate school, Mark met Tanya, his partner of 23 years who shared his love of maps, art, and exploration. Together, they completed the beach house and built a life that split their time between Portland and Surfside, spending every Christmas in New England, every birthday at the Oregon Country Fair, and sharing many adventures around the country and around the world. Those who knew Mark knew he was full of improbable and humorous stories that emerged from these travels: from convincing the police in Athens, Greece to give him a ride to an obscure neighborhood hotel long before smart phones, to following a guide on a dirt bike to the gates of the old city of Fez in Morocco, to getting invited as a special guest on a TV talk show in Rizhao, China, to crossing the Kei River in South Africa on a flatbed open ferry with a tiny rental car that was insured for everything, but which the young ferry pilot seriously doubted could handle the road on the opposite side, to attending a wedding in Beirut, Lebanon that happened to coincide with the outbreak of a revolution, Mark was always up for trying out the unknown and racking up the experiences of a life well-lived.
In the early 2000’s Mark founded Cartomation, a GIS firm which soon became his full time endeavor, and that enabled him to work with a wide variety of cities and counties in the lower Columbia and north Oregon coast region. During the next 20 years he served as an organizer of the Columbia Pacific GIS section of ORURISA, organizing many annual GIS Day gatherings for GIS users in the area. He also became involved as a volunteer and served for a term as a trustee in the Surfside community, working on tsunami awareness, evacuation route planning and sign placement among many other contributions. In his spare time, Mark loved camping up at Coyle, WA and working with his hands, and also pursued his love of cartography and mechanical art, building numerous animatronic sculptures from Naselle Man to the Oregon Bike Map, and winning multiple “People’s Choice” awards for his creative map work. In more recent years, he worked on obtaining his drone pilot and pyrotechnic licenses, and served on firework crews on the Long Beach Peninsula and in Portland for multiple 4th of July celebrations. He also took up Lego during the pandemic and spent many hours building out NASA and Star Wars models, often sharing the build experience via Zoom with his young nephews in Michigan.
Capturing a full life in a short obituary is an impossible task, even for a life cut unexpectedly short. However, to paraphrase a lovely sentiment shared in the Surfside Weekender: “If a proper legacy of life is leaving a place better than one found it, Mark’s legacy is secure. Mark’s care for his community, his neighborly demeanor, his boyish charm, and quick wit will be so missed by all of us he left behind. You left us too early, rest in peace Mark, you made this world a better place.”
Mark is survived by his partner, Tanya (Portland, OR); his mother, Margaret (La Pine, OR); his sister, Paige (Vancouver, WA); and many cousins and friends, including Alessandro, Carmen and Stefano (Genoa, Italy), who all miss him dearly.
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