Taking the helm in Sherwood
Keith Campbell, Sherwood's new city manager, says one thing he's looking forward to in his new job is having conversations with a variety of Sherwoodians and local leaders to get a perspective of what they're thinking.
"That's when you can do some really fun things in the city — when you have different stakeholders, different entities, kind of rowing in the same direction," said Campbell, who officially takes over on Oct. 7.
Campbell is currently wrapping up an almost eight-year stint as city manager of Stayton, a rural community east of Salem.
On Aug. 26, the Sherwood City Council approved his hiring by a vote of 7-0, choosing him over 33 other applicants from across the nation. He replaces Joe Gall, who left after almost a decade with the city for a job with Clean Water Services.
Campbell said what initially attracted him to apply for the Sherwood job was the quality of life he saw in Sherwood, including a reputation for having great schools, something that's important to he and his wife, Adrienne, as their 11-year-old daughter is now in the sixth grade.
"We're really excited both personally and professionally about the opportunity," Campbell said about he and his wife's plans to move to Sherwood. "My family has been involved in the process, so it was nice to have them engaged in the aspects of family life, and (we) are excited about being in Sherwood. For me professionally, it's just a really exciting opportunity with a city doing neat things and a leadership team that seems to be really strong."
From a city manager standpoint, Campbell said he's been impressed with what is happening in the Sherwood West area and the industrial/manufacturing portions of the city, all which will help diversify the city's tax base. Sherwood West is a 1,300-acre parcel of property that the city eventually hopes to bring inside the urban growth boundary for future development.
Campbell said he's familiar with that push for a diversified tax base because Stayton, too, has land that can be used for trade sector jobs and higher-density residential construction. The challenge there, he said, has been to create the needed infrastructure for the city of 8,200 residents.
"Sherwood has the same type of thing," Campbell said. "They're working on getting infrastructure to get some developable areas shovel-ready, if you will, and so I understand that challenge and understand what we're trying to work with."
Having grown up in Kansas, Campbell attended the University of Kansas, where he received an undergraduate degree in business administration. Working for the private sector for a time, including e-commerce web development, he later returned to the University of Kansas and got a master's degree in public administration.
"KU has the top program of MPAs in the country, so I'm really blessed to have that opportunity," he said.
While in Kansas, Campbell also worked for the Douglas County clerk's office in Lawrence, where he oversaw the elections division.
"I really enjoyed that part of my job, and I met my wife, who worked at another office — the treasury office — across the hall," he said, adding that he later took a job as a city clerk in Shawnee, Kansas, the fifth largest city in that state.
As the family was deciding on whether to make the move to Oregon, he said his stepdaughter told them to just make sure they "move someplace cool."
"My wife and I targeted a few areas. Oregon was one of my favorite areas — I had been up here several times — and so when I interviewed for Stayton, my wife came up here and I joked, 'Well, it's a good thing I got the job, because we were going to move up here no matter what,'" he said.
Campbell said coming into his new job, he will focus on the challenges caused by the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, he'll be on board as the city decides where to spend more than $4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (also known as ARPA) money, funding earmarked for getting communities back on their feet in the wake of the pandemic.
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