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City manager bids farewell

by: RAY PITZ <b>SWANSONG</b> — Jim Patterson, who ran the city for three years, is moving to Corvallis.

When Sherwood City Manager Jim Patterson closes his door at the end of the day he says he's pleased if he knows that local government isn't intruding on the lives of its citizens in providing basic services, and if there's nothing negative related to the city on the front pages of local newspapers.

On Oct. 5, Patterson will walk through the doors at Sherwood City Hall for the last time, ready to take on duties as Corvallis city manager where he'll trade the daily duties of a running a bucolic community of 18,000 for the responsibility of running a city with a population of 56,000.

'Sherwood was fortunate to have Jim as our city manger for the past three years,' said Mayor Keith Mays. 'His love and commitment for Sherwood was infectious.'

His regrets are few, he said, since residents are represented by elected officials who guide their city manager.

'I've never felt that we haven't addressed the needs of the community,' he said.

Initially hired as Sherwood's urban renewal district manager in 2004, Patterson is credited with getting the ball rolling in the purchase the old cannery property a year later.

Now the project is beginning to kick into high gear with the construction of a city plaza and community center (see accompanying article). Patterson said he's pleased that the community has weighed in on the project along the way.

'Looking back on that one, that one project alone, it's gone through quite an extensive public process,' he pointed out.

Still, Patterson said he's never really focused on the completion of projects simply to say 'look what I have done.'

What he's discovered as city manager is that no single individual can take credit for positive things that the city has accomplished and he credits his staff with being the key to the city's success.

'I am proud to say I work with a great number of professional people,' he said.

He also said Mayor Mays and the City Council have always had the city's welfare in mind when making decisions affecting the city.

'I've never questioned anyone's commitment or desire to do what's best for the city of Sherwood,' he said.

For his part, Mays said he's pleased that Patterson helped lead the first phase of the extension of Adams Street (now known as Langer Farms Parkway) into Old Town. In addition to the Cannery Square project, Mays said Patterson has helped keep the city in solid financial shape.

'He started in the job as the economy entered the recession and guided us through those difficult times in a fiscally sound manner while maintaining service levels to the community,' said Mays.

This year's budget was the first time that city had to make cuts to staffing, laying off three employees, the first time such cuts have had to be made since 2006.

Patterson called the cuts 'the hardest decision that any executive has to make.'

After getting to know Corvallis, Patterson said one of the things that surprised him most was the impact the 24,000 students at Oregon State University have on area neighborhoods and the community as a whole.

As a result, Patterson hopes to get OSU and city officials together to address the concerns of a student population that comprises 45 percent of the total inhabitants of that city.

Patterson is the father of three children, two with ties to Oregon State. His daughter Melissa graduated from the school and went on to receive a master's degree in teaching from George Fox University, and his son Josh just started at OSU as a freshman, working toward a degree in exercise science. His other daughter, Katie, is a senior at Linfield College where she's pursuing a degree in communications;

Meanwhile, his wife Valorie has worked at the Sherwood Family YMCA for 10 years.

'I think she knows as many people as I do,' he said.

Patterson said he considers the Corvallis job as an opportunity.

'Opportunities like this come up and lots of times it's about timing,' he said.

And the timing just happened to be right.