Even before she was hired as assistant to the city manager, Megan George was well aware of the city of Tualatin and its staff.
That's because George previously worked as an operations director for the League of Oregon Cities, the Salem-based organization that represents the interests of 241 cities throughout the state. It was there that she became acquainted with Tualatin City Manager Sherilyn Lombos.
"I've been a big fan for several years," said George of Lombos. George also knows former Mayor Lou Ogden, she pointed out.
As operations director at the League of Oregon Cities for two years, George managed a portion of the organization's internal and member services and was in charge of setting up conferences and training programs.
Those programs included helping organize "Elected Essentials," a biennial event that most recently attracted more than 450 elected officials from around the state to learn about such things as public records laws, ethics and other needed information to help them with their positions. George taught such topics as council roles, responsibilities, budgeting and strategic planning.
"The cool thing about League of Oregon Cities is you got to meet people across the state," she said.
Having grown up in Southeast Portland — she's a Cleveland High School graduate — George received her undergraduate degree in environmental studies from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. She later earned a master's in public administration from Portland State University.
George takes the place of Tanya Williams, the former Tualatin deputy city manager who also began as an assistant to Lombos. Williams left for Redlands, California, last summer after her husband accepted a teaching position there.
Before working for the League of Oregon Cities, George spent a year and a half employed by the city of Carlton, a small town of about 2,100, about a 20-minute drive south of Forest Grove.
"I was the assistant to the city manager, so I did a little bit of everything," she said. "I loved it. A great team of staff."
George said she was excited while interviewing for the Tualatin position because she wanted to get back to working for a city. What she's most impressed with so far, she said, is how strong the city organization in Tualatin is and the support shown to city staff by the Tualatin City Council.
"The teamwork they have is something to be admired," said George. "My impression is the council as a whole is moving in the same direction."
Within her first week of being hired in Tualatin, she had attended her first Citizen Involvement Organization, or CIO, meeting — specifically the Ibach CIO.
"That was an awesome opportunity," she said, noting that questions asked by the CIO members to city staff showed they were a group that was engaged in the community.
Tualatin's residential areas are divided into CIOs, which are roughly equivalent to neighborhood association committees in nearby Beaverton.
Although George didn't make it to this year's West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta — she and Lombos were in Nashville that weekend for the International City/County Management Association's Annual Conference — she plans on attending the fabled event next year.
Still, having lived in the state for so long she was keenly aware of the event.
"It's hard to miss when you grow giant pumpkins and you put them in the lake," George pointed out.
The other events she has on her list to attend for the first time next year are both the Tualatin Crawfish Festival and ¡Viva Tualatin!
In her new position, George will be responsible for much of the city's communications and special projects. Among those projects will be Tualatin Moving Forward, which oversees the $20 million neighborhood safety and traffic flow bond passed by voters in May 2018.
The bond also allows for residents to suggest traffic safety issues they would like to see addressed and she's been impressed with many of the suggestions she's seen so far.
"It's a great list of projects," George said.
George will also oversee the Tualatin Service Center, the city's plan to expand the Tualatin Public Works Department to consolidate several departments including planning and engineering at a new site near Southwest Herman Road and 108th Avenue.
A resident of Portland's Alphabet District, George lives with her husband, Ryan, who is plotting out his own career in city government. He is studying to become an urban planner.
For now, George said she's looking forward to not being the new person at the city.
"I'm thrilled. I'm really excited to be here," said George. "This is a great community to be involved with."
Lombos said she's pleased to have George on board.
"Megan brings a passion for local government and community engagement, a strong work ethic and deep experience in communications and policy development," Lombos said. "Perhaps most importantly, she has a commitment to collaboration and relationship-building. She is an excellent addition to the (Tualatin) family."
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