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Retiring Tigard police chief feted at reception in his honor

Alan Orr praised for his leadership, cooperative spirit.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - State Rep. Margaret Doherty embraces retiring Tigard Police Chief Alan Orr at a reception held in his honor Friday.Alan Orr has officially departed the Tigard Police Department after serving as its chief since 2009, but not before the city held a reception Friday to salute his service and wish him well in retirement.

Several dozen people, including police officers from Tigard and neighboring cities, city staff, and members of the public, turned out for the early-afternoon reception in the Tigard Public Library's community room. As guests snacked on hors d'oeuvres and desserts, a procession of speakers praised Orr and told stories about the retiring chief.

“I think we all have some mixed emotions and feelings about his retirement,” said Jamie McDonald, a Tigard police commander who emceed the event. “I know that we're all excited for him, and I know I'll speak for myself that it's obviously very bittersweet. It's been an amazing 14 years that I've had to be able to work with the chief, and I think we all, those of us at Tigard, can share the same sentiment.”

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tigard Police Chief Alan Orr speaks to guests at his retirement party at the Tigard Public Library.Orr is a Vietnam War veteran who became a police officer in Portland in 1970, after returning from his overseas deployment. He moved to the Tigard Police Department in 2002 and was named its assistant chief the following year.

“This has been a very rewarding time for me,” Orr said. “I think during my time here … we forged newer and stronger partnerships.”

Orr mentioned the police department's collaboration with the business community to create a unit to investigate commercial crimes, as well as its relationship with the Muslim Educational Trust, the Tigard City Council and even the police officers' union.

“This has been a very, very challenging time for law enforcement nationwide, although Tigard has maintained a response to the citizens that's caring and compassionate, willing to go the extra mile to serve the community,” Orr said.

State Rep. Margaret Doherty, speaking at the reception, also took note of the Tigard Police Department's efforts to reach out to Tigard's homeless population. She said Orr deserves “a lot of the credit for that.”

“I'm very, very proud of the police department,” Doherty said to Orr. “I'm so proud of what you've done for the citizens in Tigard. And I just wish you the absolute very best in your retirement. We're going to miss you.”

Sherwood Police Chief Jeff Groth also spoke and read a statement on behalf of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police acknowledging Orr's 46 years of service in law enforcement.

“As a neighboring chief, Al, you have been a tremendous friend, coworker and resource,” Groth said, adding, “It was very clear that you were always there. You told me many times that if we ever needed anything, that all we needed to do was ask. And in fact, you proved it, because we did ask and it was always there.”

Orr's predecessor as police chief in Tigard, Bill Dickinson, also offered words of praise for Orr. He recalled that when he was named chief in 2003, Orr had also competed for the job.

“When I got selected for that, I was a little bit concerned, you know, 'I wonder how we're going to get along, since we were in direct competition with each other just days before,'” Dickinson said. “And so I can tell you that that evolved into a partnership that was the best partnership I've had in 45 years in law enforcement, 20 years as police chief, and Al was just an awesome partner.”

Orr thanked Dickinson among those he called his mentors.

“Bill, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here today,” Orr told him.

Orr's interim replacement as chief is Cmdr. Robert L. Rogers II, who has spent 19 years with the Tigard Police Department.

A permanent successor is expected to be named after the city conducts a nationwide recruitment effort.

Orr is the fourth local police chief to retire this year. Kent Barker and Geoff Spalding retired as chiefs in neighboring Tualatin and Beaverton, respectively, this summer. In Portland, Larry O'Dea stepped down in late June amid a criminal investigation.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Alan Orr (left) shakes hands with Sherwood Police Chief Jeff Groth at a reception for Orr's retirement from the Tigard Police Department Friday.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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