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Former smalltown city manager excited about new gig working in the community where she lives

In her 10-plus year career, Zoe Monahan has run the local government gamut. She has fine-tuned obscure codes, collaborated with transportation agencies, communicated policy to the public and overseen staff in a leadership role. SPOKESMAN PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Zoe Monahan was named the City of Wilsonvilles assistant to the city manager.

And she believes her experiences will serve her well as the City of Wilsonville's new assistant to the city manager.

"Public administration is an interesting field because not everyone takes the same route," she said. "I've been able to build a well-rounded skill-set that will hopefully be of value to Wilsonville."

Monahan replaced Angela Handran, who was with the City for six years. In her new role, Monahan will run the Wilsonville Citizens Academy program, which shows residents how city government operates, provide research for City Council, discuss concerns with the community and help organize community events, among other tasks.

"We are pleased to have Zoe join our team," City Manager Bryan Cosgrove said in a press release. "She believes in our commitment to customer service and understands how local government operates. Her skills and experience will provide great benefit to me, to our staff and to the Wilsonville community."

Heading into her freshman year at University of Oregon many years ago, Monahan wasn't sure what field to embrace but aspired to positively impact the world. After taking an introduction to government class, she found her calling.

"I just fell in love with the topic. And it's been an excellent fit for me. I wanted to one day be a city manager and I got my master's in public administration to learn the tools and foundation to be successful," she said.

Monahan graduated from University of Oregon with a master's degree in Public Administration and then served as an assistant planner for the City of Sherwood, a community development director in Jerome, Idaho and a management analyst in Tualatin.

In Sherwood, she rewrote tree codes and then worked with Tri-Met and Ride Connection to establish routes in Tualatin. In Jerome, she helped organize a traveling Vietnam War Memorial in the city during the 50th anniversary of the war.

"It not only honored our veterans and built better communication with our veterans but brought a sense of pride to the community," Monahan said.

Monahan recently served as the city manager for the City of Dayton but resigned after six months.

"Dayton is a wonderful community. It's charming. I wish them all the best. It just wasn't right for me or for them," she said.

Monahan actually moved to Wilsonville three years ago and grew impressed by the City's walkability and diversity of housing options. So when she saw that the assistant to the city manager position was available, she decided to apply.

"I just love the way it (Wilsonville) has been planned out," she said.

Monahan said she will listen intently to public concern and try to be as helpful as she can.

"I may not have the answer or a solution right away but I'm more than willing to work with them (citizens) and help them understand why a response is what it is and see if there's a solution," she said.

A week and a half into her new job, Monahan was still acclimating when she talked with the Spokesman. But she's excited to become more comfortable and introduce herself to the community.

"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to work in Wilsonville and be a part of their collaborative team," Monahan said.

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