Are we having fun yet?
For 17 years, Jamie Inglis has worked hard to improve the quality of life for her fellow community members through her work in Lake Oswego's Parks & Recreation Department.
From organizing the farmers market and holiday events to staging a wet and muddy adventure run, Inglis has devoted her career to making her hometown a better place to live, work and play.
Fun-loving and pasionate, she is a fierce advocate for her hometown — qualities that no doubt played a big role in her recent promotion to recreation supervisor. She fills a role left vacant after the retirement of friend and mentor Kathy Schilling.
"What stands out about Jamie is that she is not only a veteran event planner who has grown her programs year-to-year, but she also brings her creativity and innovative ideas to the table," Schilling says. "Never one to settle for the status quo, Jamie continues to improve, adjust and add a fresh spark to whatever she does."
Inglis' creativity and innovation was fostered at a young age when she volunteered as a 15-year-old to sit on a Parks & Rec committee that planned teen events. She worked on the "Java Jam," a place for young musicians to showcase their talent and for local teens to meet, socialize and hang out in a safe environment. It was a successful venture, and that sense of accomplishment drove her to seek out other passion projects for the City.
"I should have known at that point that I liked event planning, because that's basically what we were doing," Inglis says.
At age 17, Inglis was hired by the City as a camp counselor. She was inspired, she says, by Lakeridge High School social studies teacher Tim Provost, who encouraged his students to get involved in local government.
Over the years, Provost says, he has tried to instill in his students the idea that the place where their lives are most likely to be impacted by government is on the local level. He teaches that being a good citizen isn't something you're born with; it's taught to us by parents, neighbors, coaches and commmunity leaders.
Inglis, he says, encompasses what it means to be a good citizen.
"I'm finishing my 20th year at Lakeridge, (but) I do remember Jamie being an excellent student, intellectually curious, and a great role model for her peers," Provost says. "I am not surprised that she is doing well and getting promoted within local government."
Upon graduating from Lakeridge, Inglis went to school in California, where she attended Santa Clara University. It wasn't a perfect fit, though, and she came back to Oregon to earn her degree in political science and history at Portland State University.
"I wanted something different than Lake Oswego, and I think I had to leave to realize how much I loved it," she says. "Coming back gave a whole new appreciation for this community and all the incredible individuals that are a part of it."
In college, Inglis became involved in politics, working on several successful campaigns, including former Rep. Darlene Hooley's 2006 re-election. After she graduated in 2008, she split her time between working part-time for Lake Oswego Parks & Rec and organizing for the Democratic Party.
"When an event specialist position opened, it made me take a hard look at what I was doing," Inglis says. "I rediscovered my passion for the community, and it ended up being a perfect fit. I'm so glad they gave me that opportunity."
Since then, Inglis has been instrumental in coordinating and leading a wide variety of events in Lake Oswego, including summer concerts, daddy-daughter dinner dances, winter holiday events, the Fourth of July Star Spangled Banner Celebration, the Howl at the Moon 5k Adventure Run, Pal-O-Ween and more.
She works with Lake Oswego police and fire departments to stage CPR Anywhere workshops and survivor breakfasts. She also partners with organizations like the National Charity League, the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Oswego Rotary Club to provide opportunities for group members to become more involved at community events.
Inglis, who recently celebrated her fifth year as farmers market manager, was honored in 2017 by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Association with the SPRINT Award, which is given to an ORPA member who inspires others, demonstrates leadership skills and has contributed to the Parks & Recreation profession. As a member of the ORPA Executive Board, she works with communities across the state to enrich the lives of Oregonians and learn more about the diverse recreational resources Oregon has to offer.
Looking to the future, Inglis says she's excited to have the opportunity to grow and improve all of Parks & Rec's programs and events. She's also looking forward to incorporating fresh ideas and finding new ways to promote and market the city she loves.
"We joke that in Parks & Rec, we get to have all the fun, and we do have a lot of fun," she says, "but that's because we really enjoy each other and we get to do something that is exciting, different and creative that enriches the community."