County Planning Commissioner Jim Porras, 59, died suddenly Friday morning after he awoke early complaining of chest pains. His wife took him immediately to the emergency room but he passed away around 5 a.m.

Porras was currently serving his third term on the Planning Commission and previously served three years on the now defunct East Area Planning Council. He had been employed as a high school teacher in the Coachella Valley for nine years and serves as the head swim coach for the school. He received his B.A. from Pomona College and his California teaching credentials in Social Studies and Health Sciences from Cal State San Bernardino.

Supervisor John J. Benoit praised Mr. Porras' work in the community as a teacher, planning commissioner and volunteer.

"I am saddened by Jim's unexpected passing," Benoit said. "Jim spent 17 years as an exceptionally dedicated and effective planning commissioner. He worked many evenings, and frequently many long full days, representing his neighbors. He did all this with very little recognition or compensation. He was just a wonderful, caring citizen of the Coachella Valley. We will miss him immensely. My wife, Sheryl, and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Jim, his wife, Linda, and the entire Porras family," he said.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, and a son. Plans for services have not yet been announced.