Metro chief operating officer Martha Bennett announced that Clackamas County Administrator Steve Wheeler will serve as Metro’s interim director of planning and development starting July 17.

“His local experience, knowledge and relationships will help ensure our major projects stay on track,” Bennett said. “He will provide a calm and experienced hand on the wheel while we conduct a national search for a new planning director.”

Wheeler has worked as Clackamas County administrator since December 2010. He was responsible for preparing and presenting the county’s $738 million budget, opening new public facilities, leading service delivery improvements and implementing several projects designed to make Clackamas County services and elected officials more accessible to everyone.

“I’m excited to do this,” Wheeler said. “I hope I can be a positive force. I look forward to bringing my local experience to the regional table.”

Prior to working at Clackamas County, Wheeler was the city manager of Tualatin and the assistant city manager of Santee, Calif. In those jobs, he managed and implemented projects to expand transit services and other transportation projects. He also helped lead a number of economic development initiatives.

“Steve understands the importance of focusing instead on on-the-ground support for community-based projects that protect our farms and forests, create good jobs now and in the future and that make the most of our existing downtowns and main streets,” Bennett said.

Wheeler received his master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University. He did his undergraduate work at Duke University.

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