Woodburn Public Works splits duties
Woodburn's infrastructure has been getting an extraordinary amount of attention in recent years, and the department tending to it has adjusted accordingly.
City of Woodburn announced that as of Aug. 26 Woodburn Public Works has officially reorganized into two distinct departments: one that concentrates on managing capital projects; the other is dedicated to operations.
The newly created operations department, which will be headed by Curtis Stultz, will tend to day-to-day functions of the city. The other department will put a weightier emphasis on project engineering and project management and will be headed by Public Works Director Eric Liljequest.
Planning for this bisection has been in the works for some time.
"Over the past couple of years, (Woodburn) Public Works Department has taken on a significant number of large capital projects," Assistant City Administrator Jim Row said, itemizing a number of the projects such as First Street improvements, Woodburn City Hall remodeling, demolition of the former Pix Theater, seismic and roof repairs of the museum and other urban renewal ventures.
"When you add in the engineering work related to the many residential developments that are on the path to construction, we realized that the responsibilities Public Works was managing had grown to the point that it became necessary to split the department," Row explained.
Row said the reorganization affords a dedicated department to oversee those engineering capital projects and construction, and another department to focus city functions, such as water, wastewater, streets, and fleet maintenance.
"This reorganization better positions the city to manage expected workloads associated with growth and project management," City Administrator Scott Derickson said. "We're fortunate to have experienced and talented managers in both Eric and Curtis to lead this transition."
"Eric Liljequist has a strong engineering background, so it was a natural fit for him to become the engineering and project management director," Row said. "Curtis has been with the City for 29 years and previously served as the superintendent of the wastewater treatment plan prior to being promoted to the position of public works program and compliance manager, which included responsibility for water and wastewater systems compliance, as well as streets and fleet maintenance.
"Eric and Curtis have really strong skill sets in their respective areas of responsibility, so it made a lot of sense to reorganize the department in this manner," he added.
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