City planner gets feel for job
The city of Madras' new community development director, Steve Miller, 40, has been on the job three weeks, and is just beginning to get a feel for the community.
"There are a lot of interesting things happening," he told city and county officials Jan. 9, at a meeting of the City Council and Jefferson County Commission. "Hopefully, I can be a part of that and get things done."
Besides more than 20 potentially active subdivisions, numerous new businesses are in planning or construction stages within the city limits.
Under construction are the Harriman Building at Fourth and D streets, and a KFC/A&W combination on the east side of U.S. Highway 97, just north of Bard Lane, which is part of the larger Jefferson Square project.
Still in the planning stages are: Taco Bell on Fourth and B streets; Rite-Aid, between Fourth and Fifth streets at B Street; Papa Murphy's, as part of the Madras Shopping Center on Highway 97, just south of Madras Paint and Glass; and at least two financial institutions.
"There are a lot of issues to address, but we have good people here, so I think that's going to help me out quite a bit," he said.
City Administrator Mike Morgan, who had been running the Madras Community Development Department since July 31, when former director Chuck McGraw resigned, appreciates having an experienced planner on staff once again.
"He's well-informed and competent in the areas of municipal codes and land use and he just needs a chance to get his feet wet."
The city is also in the process of establishing an urban reserve area -- an area outside the city's urban growth boundary which would eventually be added to the UGB as the city expands over the next 50 years.
Miller anticipates modifications to the proposed URA as the city holds public meetings. "There's almost always changes," he said.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Miller grew up in Portland and attended the University of Oregon, in Eugene, where he graduated in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in planning, public policy and management.
For the past 12 years, he has lived in the tri-county area, and worked as an associate planner for Deschutes County, senior planner for the city of Bend, and senior planner for Pahlisch Homes, of Bend, through November of 2007. He started work in Madras on Dec. 26.
Since he is familiar with the Central Oregon area, he isn't surprised at the city's recent growth and development. "Everybody is feeding off each other," he said, noting that growth has spilled over from Bend to Redmond and now Madras.
The city has "tons of potential," Miller said. "I think it's great we've got a redevelopment district. As we get new businesses into the core, other urban businesses will want to come along and improve their facilities."