Who is he?
After earning an engineering degree at
Washington State University, Erik Larson did
something out of the ordinary for a millennial
who grew up in Aberdeen: He came back
home to the old timber town pundits have
written off as dying. In 2015 he was elected
mayor, winning nearly 72 percent of the vote.
Larson was 23. He’s the youngest mayor of a
sizable city in Washington State history.
Larson is the great-great-grandson of a Swede
who arrived on Grays Harbor more than a
century ago. Erik is proud of his roots but
not bound by them. Growing up, he washed
enough dishes at his family’s restaurants to
know he needed to go his own way. The mayor
was an honor student and state champion
swimmer in high school. At WSU he was
inspired by the late Elson Floyd, the university’s
Larson is a duck hunter who believes Grays
Harbor’s largely unspoiled natural beauty,
affordable real estate and deep-water port
will draw new investment if the city can
rehabilitate derelict historic buildings, clean up
its grittiness and secure funding for a major
new flood control project.
“If I can leverage my age to spotlight some
progressive things” so much the better, Larson
says. “I think the biggest thing we’ve faced is a
lack of vision. I want to change that.”