Fred Ostler settles in as new Troutdale public works director
Coming from the desert of Green River, Wyo., Troutdale's brand new public works director sought a job in an area with lusher greenery.
Fred Ostler, who took the position on Nov. 14, found that with plenty of trees visible from his new corner second-story office in Troutdale's public works building at 342 S.W. Fourth St. Ostler left his job as general manager and CEO of the Joint Powers Water Board, which serves the Wyoming cities of Rock Springs and Green River, to work for Troutdale.
"I just got tired of the rocks and the wind," Ostler said. "When I told my board chairman I was leaving. I said to him 'I am tired of this. I'm going to go find myself some trees.'"
He was happy to find a place where he could take a top position and not have to fix any major problems.
"So far Troutdale has fit that bill," Ostler said.
Ostler replaces Steve Gaschler, who is in the process of retiring. Gaschler served as the city's public works director since 2013.
Ostler has 30 years of experience taking on significant issues with public works operations. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has worked as a city engineer or public works director for cities in Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming.
"I want to apply all these experiences to Troutdale to continue to fine tune their policies and procedures," he said. "Previously, when I've gone on to situations like this as an employee or consultant, there's a big mess to clean up. Either the employees are unhappy or there's some sort of project that has gone bad or something is in disarray."
Troutdale City Manager Ray Young said Ostler was hired because of his extensive background working with municipal utility- and infrastructure-based services.
"This city is really blessed to have someone of Fred's experience and character," Young said. "In this tight job market we were concerned we may not have had the options we hoped for in this position. We were very happy to hire Fred."
In addition to his role in Wyoming, Ostler served as the vice president of a multi-state engineering consulting firm in Boise, Idaho. His firm helped with civil engineering projects such as trenchless and no-dig pipeline construction.
"It costs a lot of money to put a pipeline in," Ostler said. "You're creating this hole in the ground to transport something. Whether that be gas, water, sewer or stormwater. If you can reuse that space through a thing called pipe bursting, you can recycle that space that the community invested in."
Pipe bursting is done by fracturing an old pipeline by forcing a larger cone-shaped object through the old pipe while pulling a replacement pipe behind the cone.
The fragments of the old pipe are pushed out and into the surrounding soil, and harmlessly left in place. The new pipe installed can last up to 500 years.
"That's great investment," he said. "It's those types of things I hope to bring to Troutdale. What (Troutdale's) doing is great, but there might even be a better way, and we'll explore those kinds of things together to see if it makes sense."
While Ostler found beautiful scenery moving to the Northwest, his move west failed to spare him from the wind.
"It was one of my surprises, so when I say I wanted to get away from the winds of Wyoming, I wandered right into the winds of Troutdale," he said. "I'm not sure I won on that one."