New Wilsonville city attorney is excited to be back
Amanda Guile-Hinman appreciated the scrappiness she had to develop as the lead attorney for the city of McMinnville. But in transitioning to Wilsonville, a city with more resources and staff, she's excited to be able to dig more into the weeds of legal issues.
Problem solving, Guile-Hinman said, is the aspect of law she enjoys most.
Guile-Hinman, a former assistant city attorney in Wilsonville before her stint in McMinnville, accepted the role as lead attorney in April and began guiding the city's legal team this week. She replaced Barbara Jacobson, who retired in March.
"By having the support I have here, it allows for me to be a team member of the strategic planning as opposed to being more reactive to issues because the volume of work is so much," she said. "I like being able to be part of that team and be strategic and visioning for the community. I'm really excited about that. I like being in the room wrestling with these issues."
The new city attorney, who grew up in Keizer and attended Willamette University, began her career as a litigator for a firm based in Portland dealing with disputes over real estate and contracts, both nationally and internationally. She said this has led her to have an eye for detail when it comes to poring over contracts. One thing she likes better about city government work is that it's less impersonal.
"There was a lack of connection that was there because I didn't interact with clients in a more personal way. I like that in government I get to make those connections," she said.
She described her overarching legal philosophy as community-service oriented.
"I am a big proponent of, we're here to serve the community and be a part of an overarching team. We need to play a role in understanding community needs," she said.
In her previous role with the city, Guile-Hinman worked on issues related to the Aurora State Airport and may continue to do so depending on Wilsonville City Council direction. She noted that McMinnville actually owns its own airport and so she continued to deal with airport-related matters in that role after her first stint in Wilsonville.
The city of McMinnville also passed an urban growth boundary expansion while she was there and Wilsonville — sitting at the edge of the Metro regional government's urban growth boundary — may have room to grow down the line as well. Transit funding is another issue Guile-Hinman said could be on the horizon.
"SMART (Wilsonville's transit provider) and some of the smaller providers are trying to find some solution to TriMet with regard to funding they're trying to hold onto. I know the legal department will play a role in that. I'm excited to work to find a path forward that benefits the community and our transit department," she said.
The main difference between her new role and her old one in Wilsonville is that Guile-Hinman is now the head of the legal department and the main person responsible for providing the City Council with legal guidance.
"The legal team here is fantastic and I have so much trust and faith in their abilities to do really good, quality work," she said.
Overall, Guile-Hinman is motivated to further get to know the community and work on its behalf.
"I'm excited to be back and looking forward to engaging with the staff and council and community in making Wilsonville the best possible place to be," she said.
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