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Mazziotti retires as economic development director


Urban renewal, The Round among projects his team tackled in four years

After guiding a bevy of initiatives — from the Enterprise Zone designation to the revitalization of The Round at Beaverton Central — to fruition for four years, Beaverton’s director of Community and Economic Development Department is leaving City Hall.

Citing the need to heal from a twice-ruptured achilles tendon, Don Mazziotti notified Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle on Thursday of his decision to retire from his position, effective Dec. 6.by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Mazziotti

Mazziotti, 67, has been on medical leave for his injury, which occurred in June during an overseas vacation with his family, since early October, when he re-injured the tendon while using a stationary bicycle at home. Considering the toll returning to active duty could take on his healing process, the resident of Portland’s West Hills decided it made more sense to focus on health rather than career.

“When I re-ruptured the tendon, it pretty much set my course,” he said. “I decided to focus entirely on my achilles and not worry about anything else. I’m not going to try to hobble along.

“I can’t focus on running all over the creation looking at development projects while doing physical therapy three times a day,” he added. “When you’re on pain medication, that’s not a good mix.”

Mazziotti, who will gain benefits through Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System, has worked in public service for nearly 40 years. He served as executive director of the Portland Development Commission from 2001 to 2005, and was the city’s chief planner from 1973 to 1978. That year, he and his wife, Alexandra, moved to Washington, D.C. when former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, by then serving as the U.S. secretary of transportation, appointed Mazziotti as his deputy assistant.

Mazziotti, who has two daughters, Juliana, 15, and Gabriella, 13, plans to continue working at least part time through the development consulting practice he’s run from home since 2005. While he has no immediate offers on the table, Mazziotti doesn’t rule out re-entering the full-time work force down the road.

“I plan to continue to do the kind of work I’ve done for a long time,” he said. “I’m proud to have done it, and I hope to do more.”

Doyle hired Mazziotti for the Beaverton position in September 2009, moving then-interim director Steven Sparks into his current role as planning division manager. Given the number of projects he credits Mazziotti’s team with spearheading, the mayor said he supported his decision to take a step back from the demanding position.

“We’ve talked about this for awhile,” Doyle said on Tuesday. “He’s got to do what’s best for himself, and he has to do what’s best for his family.”

Among the projects Mazziotti and the city’s economic and development team tackled during his tenure include setting up an Enterprise Zone designation to exempt new and expanding businesses from property taxes, developing urban renewal and civic plans, acquiring federal grants for the Creekside redevelopment project and formulating a plan to develop the South Cooper Mountain area.

“I think that’s a pretty good workload for four years,” Doyle said.

Mazziotti was also instrumental in revitalizing the nearly-dormant Round project through a complex deal involving the city, Scanlan Kemper Bard developers and the former owner of the South Office Building, which the city purchased in 2012 for $8.5 million.

“That was a price point well below the market value,” Doyle noted of the deal Mazziotti brokered.

City government offices will move into the building’s first, fourth and fifth floors by next summer.

Randy Ealy, Doyle’s assistant and the city’s chief administrative officer, will serve in Mazziotti’s role until a replacement is recruited, likely sometime next year.

“I have a lot of confidence in our staff,” Doyle said, noting Mazziotti has “set up a nice challenge for the next person to come into that job.”

Mazziotti, who contends with wearing an awkward knee-high boot on his injured heel along with numerous doctor’s office visits, said setting up The Round to serve as a centerpiece for the city was perhaps his most satisfying work in his current role.

“Certainly, turning around the situation, financially and otherwise, at The Round, was my primary motivation for going to Beaverton,” he said. “It was a great opportunity and a great opportunity to take up a challenge.”