by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO - Wilsonville City Attorney Mike Kohlhoff, shown in 2010, has worked for the city since 1981.In 1981, Wilsonville still had fewer than 3,000 residents. Dammasch State Hospital was still the largest employer in town. And Charbonneau, one of the most innovative planned developments in Oregon during the 1970s, was just turning 10.

Further, Interstate 205 had yet to open. The freeway was part of a confluence of factors that eventually built Wilsonville into the economic hub it became.

That came later, in the mid-1980s. But in August 1981, Wilsonville City Attorney Mike Kohlhoff inherited a town that still counted itself as largely rural and agrarian. Although, it must be said, Tektronix already had constructed a campus in north Wilsonville that one day would be home to Xerox, the city’s largest employer.

On Oct. 21, Kohlhoff marked another milestone in his long career with the city when the Wilsonville City Council enthusiastically approved his 32nd one-year contract. The at-will employment contract calls for a salary of just more than $131,000, a 4 percent raise, plus benefits.

“The city keeps being involved in very high profile legal issues,” said Mayor Tim Knapp. “There are numerous contracts and IGAs (intergovernmental agreements), private sector negotiating, personnel matters, it just goes on and on.”

In coming years, Knapp added, the city also can look forward to needing complex legal advice as it plans for residential expansion in the Frog Pond and Advance Road concept planning areas and industrial development in the Coffee Creek and Basalt Creek industrial areas. Further, water-related issues are likely to remain a topic of importance. The city already sells treated water to the city of Sherwood and is going to be involved in the future expansion of its water treatment plant as it enters into additional contracts with the city of Hillsboro and other municipalities through a legal partnership with the Tualatin Valley Water District.

“There’s just an awful lot going on for a city of 21,000,” Knapp said.

In addition to a salary hike, Kohlhoff gets benefits that include health, dental and life insurance, at least 20 days of vacation time and the option to cash five of those days out at a rate of $63.05 an hour. He also receives a city contribution to a 401(k) account equal to 4 percent of his salary.

The city also pays for dues for professional organizations, including the Oregon Bar Association, as well as for ongoing professional development.

“I’m looking forward to the next year,” Kohlhoff said. “I have to thank all the folks who work at the city; (assistant city attorney) Barbara Jacobson has carried a lot of the load this year, as well as Tamara Callaway, our legal assistant.

“They’ve all been great and been very, very helpful,” he continued. “That’s probably the main reason we’ve been able to handle as much as we have, is that everyone has pitched in and done a great job.”

Councilor Scott Starr said, referring to a recent nine-page memo he read outlining the current issues being handled by legal staff, “It’s a huge task to keep it organized and manage it effectively and strategically, and I think Mike Kohlhoff has done a very huge amount to make sure this council does right by the people of Wilsonville.”

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