City-shaping engineer retires

Mike McKillip wins Oregon League of Cities award at end of 30-year career
by: Jaime Valdez ”Virtually all of the streets and buildings in Tualatin were built during his time here,” said  Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden of the now-retired Mike McKillip, city engineer since 1979.

Mike McKillip stepped down as Tualatin's city engineer Friday after more than three decades of service.

'Virtually all of the streets and all of the buldings that you see in Tualatin were all built during his time here,' said Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden. 'Literally, his fingerprints are all over the city. The high standards of engineering requirements that we have in Tualatin are all attributed to Mike's oversight.'

For his work, McKillip received the 2011 Herman Kehrli award at the League of Oregon Cities' annual conference last weekend in Bend. The award goes to the individual demonstrating the highest levels of dedication to his or her city, as well as an exceptional knack for regional cooperation. Nominations came from the leaders of Clean Water Services, TriMet and the cities of Hillsboro and McMinnville, among others.

'Mike has worked closely with other cities in the metro area, as well as Washington and Clackamas County, ODOT - all of the agencies that overlap and have to (work together),' Ogden said

McKillip, 62, was Hillsboro's assistant city engineer before coming to Tualatin in 1979.

'I like the idea of being able to be involved with everything from conceiving a project to designing it, building it, operating it,' McKillip said. 'In the smaller cities, usually you have the opportunity to be involved in everything at all phases, in all different kinds of projects. The variety of things to do is probably my favorite part (of the job), as well as all the different people you get to work with.'

McKillip has overseen waterline installations from Portland to Tualatin, the annexation of the city's industrial area, construction of Tualatin-Sherwood Road, evolution of the city's downtown area and more. Now, he says he will spend much of his time overseeing yard and home-improvement projects.

However, Ogden is sure that McKillip, with his years of experience, will continue to be utilized by those needing advice on city projects.

'People respect him for his honesty, integrity, technical strength and experience. He's just kind of a go-to guy,' Ogden said.

Tualatin Civil Engineer Kaaren Hofmann is going to take over much of the city engineer's duties, with Community Development Director Alice Rouyer absorbing any administrative duties.

'Overall, it's been a really, really great experience,' McKillip said. 'The city people, from the mayor to the city councilors and all the staff people, are like a huge, extended family. You can just imagine going to a family picnic where 150 relatives show up. Everybody's supportive and has good intentions and try to make whatever part of the city that they're responsible for better.

'It's just been an awesome experience.'