Announcement comes as shock to city officials, but replacement will be sought soon, city says.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Hillsboro City Manager Michael Brown is known for his sense of humor, but city officials say it's no joke. The city manager will depart the position in January, after more than seven years as Hillsboro's chief administrator.Hillsboro City Manager Michael Brown plans to resign from his position in January, the city announced on Thursday.

Brown, who has spent more than seven years as the city's chief employee, made the surprise announcement this week. His last day will be Jan. 18, 2019.

"The time I've served at the city of Hillsboro has been, without question, the most personally and professionally rewarding time of my public service career," Brown said in a prepared statement released Thursday evening, Oct. 4. "I truly love working at the city of Hillsboro, and I will use the next three and a half months to continue making Hillsboro the best city in the universe."

Brown oversees all of the city government's day-to-day duties, from public works projects to libraries, police and fire services.

"Michael's announcement came as a total shock," said Council President Darell Lumaco. "It is a tremendous loss for our city. Michael provided steady, visionary leadership through a period of rapid growth and change in Hillsboro. His unwavering commitment to make our city a better place to live and work was evident in everything he did. He leaves a legacy of compassionate care for our employees and a love for our city. He will be sorely missed, but I wish him the very best."

Growth and change

Hillsboro City Manager Michael BrownBrown has seen Hillsboro through considerable expansion in the past several years. Hired in August 2011, Brown helped oversee development in South Hillsboro, the state's largest planned neighborhood project. Currently underway along Tualatin Valley Highway and Cornelius Pass Road, that project will add 20,000 new residents to the city when it finishes decades from now.

The city built new fire stations and parks, as well as a public plaza at Orenco Station during Brown's time with the city. Hillsboro's senior center and libraries were expanded and remodeled and Brown oversaw work to bring the Hillsboro Hops to the city, building Ron Tonkin Field in 2012.

The city announced plans earlier this year to launch a high-speed internet service as a city utility starting in 2019 and opened a new home for its public works crews north of the Hillsboro Airport. Brown created a host of groups aimed at tackling city issues, including its Affordable Housing Team and homelessness workgroup.

"Michael has been more than a city manager," Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway said. "He's a leader. He's an innovator. He's a visionary. (Michael's) work over the past seven years has made Hillsboro a much stronger community, enhancing our livability, and improving our reputation and standing at the state and regional levels."

Replacement to be sought soon

Brown will stay in office for the next few months while the city searches for a replacement. Callaway said the process of hiring a new city manager would begin soon.

"We have scheduled meetings for later this month to outline our next steps in the process," Callaway said.

Brown said after three decades of work in city government, he's ready to relax. Brown's plans include motorcycle trips, mountain climbing, hiking the Oregon Coast Trail and traveling to Africa and South America.

"Also, I want to spend more time with my parents while they still grace this planet," Brown said.

Brown spent his career in leadership roles of various local governments, including Corvallis; Lexington, Mass; Olathe, Kan. and Colchester, Vt. Before coming to Hillsboro, Brown — an Oregon native — spent 14 years in Douglas County, Nev., where he served in several roles, including as the county's manager.

"Throughout my seven years here in Hillsboro, the City Council has been incredibly supportive of me and my family," Brown said. "I will remain grateful forever for the privilege of serving our community and working with our talented City employees."

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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