Former Scappoose, Forest Grove city manager wins award
The League of Oregon Cities has honored former Scappoose and Forest Grove city manager Michael Sykes with the prestigious Herman Kehrli Award.
The award, presented during the league's 95th annual conference, is named for Herman Kehrli, who served from 1933 to 1966 as executive secretary of the League of Oregon Cities and director of the University of Oregon's former Bureau of Governmental Research and Service.
According to the league, the award is presented to a city employee who has made exceptional contributions to city government in Oregon, producing lasting benefits for their community.
The League of Oregon Cities represents all 241 incorporated cities in Oregon. The league, a voluntary association founded in 1925, assists city governments by providing legislative services, policy setting, intergovernmental relations, technical assistance and publications.
In describing Sykes, Mike Cully, the league's executive director, said, "He is really a leader's leader. I say that because of his approach, not only because of his extensive experience in the cities of Scappoose and Forest Grove, but he was also a director for the League of Oregon Cities."
Sykes served as city manager in Scappoose from 2015 to 2020. Before that, he was city manager in Forest Grove since 2004, following a five-year stint from 1999 to 2004 as city administrator in Vernonia.
Cully described Sykes as a "beacon that everybody looked to for leadership, which is kind of a trademark of what Michael is all about."
Cully continued, "If you met him, you'll know that his leadership is steadfast and really thoughtful — he is a person that can step back, analyze and be very analytical about things and approach things in just a really solid way. That's who he is as a leader."
According to Cully, Sykes serves his community.
"He really gives of himself to the community and that's a hallmark of who Michael is and what he's all about," Cully said.
In receiving the award, Sykes said, "I'm really humbled by the award. I feel like I've been a lucky person to work for some really great organizations and work for the people in Columbia County."
Sykes continued, "I've had a really fun career, and I love working for communities."
Sykes recently was hired as general manager of the Columbia River People's Utility District.
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