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Josh Fuhrer, with a background as a Rockwood resident and a developer, applies for position as Gresham's urban renewal director

A Gresham city councilor has tendered his resignation effective Friday, Sept. 27, in order to apply for a job at city hall.

Councilor Josh Fuhrer has applied for the job of urban renewal director for the Rockwood-West Gresham Urban Renewal Area.

"I believe that my skills, passion and experience as a developer of challenging projects in transitioning neighborhoods can most be of value to our community when focused on the critical redevelopment of the Rockwood neighborhood. If selected for this important position, I will be able to dedicate my efforts more fully to this effort."

City councilors do not hire staff, with the exception of the city attorney and city manager. However, in the spirit of transparency and avoiding any impression of undue influence, Fuhrer resigned as a city councilor effective immediately on Friday.

In an email sent that evening to his fellow councilors and a select group of staff, Fuhrer wrote, "It has been an honor and privilege to serve with each of you in this incredible community we call home. I look forward to hopefully serving in a new capacity very soon."

The position oversees the city's efforts to revitalize Gresham's Rockwood area, as defined by the boundaries of the city's 20-year urban renewal district, which Gresham voters approved almost 10 years ago.

City councilors also serve as urban renewal commissioners who create policy that directs urban renewal efforts. The city's urban renewal director then puts that policy into practice.

It's not the first time a Gresham city councilor has traded a seat on the council for a desk at City Hall. In 2000, Bob Moore resigned from the council, on which he served more than five years, to become the city's chief building inspector.

The council appointed Fuhrer to fill a vacant seat on the council in 2009. The following year, Gresham voters elected him to the seat for a four-year term starting in 2011.

Fuhrer is a developer specializing in affordable housing and the preservation and renovation of dilapidated commercial buildings.

He also grew up in Rockwood, graduating from Centennial High School in 1992. As a councilor, he took particular interest in revitalization efforts targeting the neighborhood's urban core and industrial area. "And while I am proud of the progress we've made, clearly much work remains ahead," he wrote in his letter of resignation. "... My passion on the Council has always been about helping to revitalize our town centers, creating opportunities for small businesses, and encouraging the kind of smart new development that makes Gresham an incredible place to live, work and play. The only way for me to best serve my community other than serving on the Council would be to pursue those passions full-time, in a single role, with my undivided attention. ... Much of my work as a developer has included breathing new life into transitioning urban neighborhoods outside of Gresham. The opportunity to commit my full attention to helping the neighborhood of my youth to grow and prosper is an opportunity too important to ignore."

Now the council must begin the process of appointing a replacement. Information on how to apply for the position will be announced when available.

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