Kenny Asher named new Community Development director

AsherAfter months of searching, Tigard officials have announced a new head of their community development department, tasked with planning how the city will grow and develop in the future.

Tigard city officials announced last week that Kenny Asher, who currently serves as Milwaukie’s community development director, would take over the department in January.

“This is a tremendous opportunity,” Asher said. “I have been watching Tigard from across the river for several years. Tigard is on the cusp and I think anybody who does the kind of work that I do likes to see communities being improved. This is a great time and a good opportunity in Tigard.”

Asher has served in Milwaukie for more than seven years, working on several projects related to the Portland-Milwaukie light rail line and attempting to bring single-A baseball to Milwaukie.

Asher previously served as general manager for the Portland Family of Funds, a community investment bank and program manager at the Portland Development Commission.

Asher’s hire comes following the resignation of Ron Bunch, who served as the department’s director for six years. Bunch was replaced with interim director Susan Hartnett, who resigned shortly after to take a job in Portland.

The two resignations came within weeks of each other, which City Manager Mary Wine called a coincidence.

“That timing certainly wasn’t great, from our perspective at the city,” Wine said.

Wine said that Asher would become a key player in the city’s executive staff.

“We have got lots of interesting and exciting projects that Tigard wants to get done,” Wine said, “and I know Kenny is going to be a great help to us carrying them out. He is a great fit for Tigard, he has got a lot of creativity and thoughtfulness he brings to Tigard.”

The community development department is one of the city’s most high profile departments, tasked with planning the way that the city grows and develops. Asher will step into several projects already underway, including plans to develop River Terrace — a section of currently undeveloped land along Southwest Roy Rogers Road west of Bull Mountain — as well as planning for redevelopment in the city’s downtown, and managing the Southwest Corridor plan, which could mean the expansion of light rail or some other high capacity transit line to Tigard in the next several years.

“We have planning efforts underway that we need to move into action,” Wine said. “These are all key things that have to do with how Tigard grows and it’s time to get those things done.”

Asher’s first day at the city will be Jan. 2.

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