Canby City Administrator Greg Ellis is taking a position in the governors office

by: RAY HUGHEY - City Administrator Greg EllisCanby City Administrator Greg Ellis is going to put off retirement. He’s also going to be leaving Canby, as it turns out.

After nearly four years at the helm of Canby’s city government, Ellis will leave the city, effective March 3, to take a job with Oregon Solutions, a governor-created program that began in 2011.

“It’s something the governor created that has divided the state into 11 regions,” Ellis said. “Within that, there are six regional solutions coordinators and I’ll be one of those six.”

Ellis will work on economic and community development projects in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties.

“I’ll be leading a team from five state agencies,” he said. “What we will try to do is move projects along within regions, counties and cities. I’ll be meeting with commissioners, city councils, business owners and others as we push projects along.”

For Ellis, the chance to work in economic and community development is right in his wheelhouse – something he’s excited to pursue, even if it means putting retirement on hold for a while.

“I think it’s the best move for me,” he said. “I was planning on retiring at the end of the year, but this is what I do — going out there, doing projects, bringing teams together and making pieces of the puzzle fit.”

Mayor Brian Hodson said the city will miss Ellis and his contributions.

“When the governor calls and says ‘We’d like you for a position,’ it’s hard to say no,” Hodson said. “Greg is a guy who likes to get things done, so I think this is a good move for him. I can totally understand his decision.”

Looking back at his time in Canby, Ellis said he sees a lot he’s proud of.

“I think one of the things I’m most proud of is that I’ve worked well with an eclectic city council,” he said. “There’s only one original member of the council that’s still there – Brian Hodson – from when I started. Usually when that happens, it’s a recipe for the city manager to leave or be told to leave. I’m proud that I have been able to work with just about anyone.

“We kept things moving and got some good things done – First Avenue, the police facility and other projects – we kept things moving along,” Ellis added. “I’m proud of the staff, too. I’m real proud of them. They are conscientious people and try to do a good job and save the city money.”

The Canby City Council will decide what course to follow in terms of a replacement. Ellis said he knows who he thinks is worthy of the job.

“I’m going to recommend (assistant city administrator) Amanda Zeiber,” said Ellis. “She was in this seat for eight months when Mark (Adcock) left, so she’s done the job. She and I communicate very well, so what I know, she knows. I think she’d do a great job.”

Hodson said the city council has appointed Zeiber the interim city administrator and that they will meet in a work session the first of March to get the ball rolling to replace Ellis permanently.

“We want to make sure we get great candidates and work through that process,” Hodson said. “I imagine it will be about a six month process. We’ll need to talk amongst ourselves, staff and the community to see what kind of person we want as our next leader.”

But that is to be determined. For now, Ellis said he will enjoy his last days in Canby and prepare for the new challenges in the governor’s office.

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