Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Wierenga to replace Spence in city rec department


Former pool manager led 'transformation' of the Woodburn Aquatic Center over the past three years

Kristin Wierenga, program supervisor of the Woodburn Aquatic Center, has been hired as the city’s new recreation services manager to replace Stu Spence, who left the position earlier this year to become parks and recreation director for the city of La Grande.

Wierenga, who assumed her new duties on Monday, had managed the aquatic center since June 2011. Prior to working for the city, she served as the tourism coordinator for the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement was made Friday.

“I’m very excited to serve the Woodburn community in a different capacity through recreation,” Wierenga said. “Stu Spence had a tremendous impact on our community, and it will be challenging to take his place, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow and develop.”

The position entails the development and administration of the Community Services Department’s programs, including recreation activities, classes and events, as well as supervising full-time and part-time employees.

“We are excited to have Kristin come over and not only continue the great work Stu did, but take our programming to a new level,” Communications Coordinator Jason Horton said. “She brings a high level of professionalism and enthusiasm that this position needs.”

Community Services Director Jim Row, who was part of the five-person panel that interviewed several candidates for the position, also said Wierenga “definitely has big shoes to fill,” following the popular Spence.

“But, I have no doubt in her ability to take the city’s recreation program to the next level,” he added. “Kristin is a dynamic individual who has a demonstrated track record of success in leading the aquatic center’s transformation over the past three years.”

Row said Wierenga helped move the aquatic center into a place of greater financial stability.

“Under her leadership, the aquatic center reduced expenses, while simultaneously increasing revenues and the level and quality of programming offered to the public,” he said. “She has experienced tremendous professional growth in her time with the city and is ready to take the next step in her career.”

Row said the city plans to hire a new aquatic center manager eventually, but for the time being, existing employees will be assuming additional responsibilities and Wierenga will continue providing oversight until the position is filled.

Horton noted that the hiring of a new recreation services manager was a particularly pressing matter, with the start of summer programming just around the corner. However, it is not the only hiring process in which the city is currently engaged.

Woodburn is also in the midst of replacing its finance director, following the departure of Christina Shearer, whose last day was June 4. Horton said five candidates were interviewed last week.

Being a department head position, the interview process is more involved, with two panels and a written test. The ultimate decision will be made by City Administrator Scott Derickson, with input from the panels. The City Council will also have to approve the hire.

Horton said the announcement of the city’s new finance director could come this week.