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Jordan Wheeler starts as Sandy’s new City Manager posted on 01/01/2019

Jordan Wheeler heard a lot about the City of Sandy since 2013, when former Sandy City Manager Scott Lazenby took the same job for the City of Lake Oswego, where Wheeler has worked as the Deputy City Manager for the past 10 years.

This month, Wheeler took over Lazenby’s old job in Sandy, ascending to the City Manager position following the retirement of Kim Yamashita.

“I feel like I’ve heard so many stories and so many good things about Sandy,” Wheeler said, noting Lazenby encouraged him to apply for the position.

Wheeler was one of three candidates interviewed by the Sandy City Council during the search for Yamashita’s successor. Yamashita noted that Wheeler’s experience and personality made him stand out above the others.

“The way he presented himself to the council was open (and) above board,” she said, adding that he has experience working with the various “players” in Clackamas County. “(He) seemed like a good fit.”

Wheeler noted that the City of Sandy’s reputation as being innovative and having a “pioneer spirit,” including with SandyNet (the city’s internet service provider) and transit, attracted him to the job. He added the combination of the city’s size, setting, location in relationship to the Metro area and access to nature and amenities were also draws.

“I can see why people want to move there and live there,” said Wheeler, who earned a graduate degree in Public Administration from Portland State University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of Washington.

Wheeler noted the challenges he faces in his new job include the funding for the city’s community campus and wastewater issues, while also tackling traffic problems. But he said he looks forward to working on master plans and with the community to help shape the city’s future.

He added that he sees opportunities to grow tourism, develop the downtown to serve both the tourists and city’s residents, and also managing Sandy’s growth without putting too much of a burden on infrastructure.

Lazenby sees Wheeler as an excellent fit for the job, noting that Wheeler has been “in the middle” of some of the tough issues with Lake Oswego. Lazenby went through a similar transition when he arrived in Sandy in 1992 from a larger city in Arizona and thinks that it will be a smooth changeover for Wheeler.

“The budget’s smaller, but the same issues we face in cities are pretty much the same everywhere,” Lazenby said.

Yamashita, whose final day on the job was Dec. 31, helmed the city since January 2017 after serving as its police chief for the seven years prior, and noted the city’s advancements in technology and improving the collaboration amongst department heads as highlights of her tenure.

“I think we forged a really good team and all our oars are in the water moving in the right direction together,” she said.

Before fully retiring, Yamashita will serve as the Interim Police Chief of the City of Gladstone until approximately next June, with an eye on moving to Idaho after.

For more information about the City of Sandy, visit www.ci.sandy.or.us.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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