Public Works Director

$101,273 - $124,553 yearly
  • City of Hood River
  • Hood River, OR, USA
  • May 06, 2022
Full time Public Works Roads, Streets, and Sidewalks Utilities Water Wastewater

Job Description

The Position

The Public Works Director is a self-directed and highly accountable position providing oversight, direction, and leadership to the Public Works Department. The Public Works Director is responsible for a full range of Public Works services through a talented staff and has the ability to work through independent action and decision-making within the framework of Council goals and general direction of the City Manager. The Director develops and administers the department budget and directs the forecast of additional funds as needed. This dynamic and innovative leader guides the Department both through long-range planning and everyday maintenance and operations, with a focus on customer service.

Specifically, the Public Works Director assumes full management responsibility for all Public Works Department services and activities. The Director manages the development and implementation of the Public Works Department strategy, work plan, goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for each service area. In addition, the Director continuously monitors and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery methods and procedures, identifies opportunities for improvement, and directs the implementation of changes. The Public Works Director also manages special projects and programs, including capital improvements and engineering studies.

The Engineering Division includes the City’s Capital Improvement Program and Development Review. The Director leads the City Engineer in reviewing and approving complex civil engineering construction and private development engineering plans and documents for conformance to City design and construction standards, codes, and ordinances.

The Director actively coordinates Public Works activities with those of other departments and outside agencies and organizations. The Public Works Director effectively represents the Department to other City departments, elected officials, and outside agencies and easily explains Public Works programs, policies, and activities. The Director provides staff assistance to the City Manager, City Council, and City Advisory Boards and Commissions and doesn’t hesitate to negotiate and resolve sensitive, significant, and, at times, controversial issues.

The Priorities

  • Take the necessary time and effort to form and maintain excellent working relationships throughout the City and the Department. Be a vocal supporter for the Department and the City, establish trust, and encourage collaboration to prioritize and execute projects and initiatives.
  • Develop and execute a strategy to support the Council’s goal of maintaining existing infrastructure and preparing for growth. Prioritize infrastructure investments and emphasize the importance of continuing to focus on the fundamental City services of water, sewer, stormwater, and transportation infrastructure.
  • Identify and prepare for additional Public Works resources needs. Partner with City leadership to fill positions in Operations, Engineering, and Project Management.
  • In partnership with City Leadership, Public Works staff, and key partners, implement and successfully execute a wide variety of projects that may include stormwater pipe replacement, wetland enhancements, transportation infrastructure improvements along the Historic Columbia River Highway, energy resilience and efficiency initiatives, repair or replacement of aging sewer and water infrastructure, and wastewater treatment plant upgrades. Consider the proper timing, planning, and funding to bring reality to these initiatives.
  • In addition to Hood River’s official ten-year Capital Improvement Plan, further formalize a Maintenance and Replacement Plan for the City’s aging infrastructure. Direct Public Works staff to mitigate risk and account for clay and lead jointed pipes, storm sewers, an elevated sanitary sewer line, and other deferred maintenance.
  • Collaborate to promote an efficient and safe, multi-modal transportation system that alleviates traffic and parking congestion and encourages bike and pedestrian accessibility.
  • Develop a funding strategy for replacing capital needs in existing parks and effectively partner to address the community’s interest in new parks and open spaces.
  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with the Port of Hood River, Hood River County, Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District, Hood River County School District, and ODOT. Effectively partner, identify ongoing opportunities to collaborate, and continue to work on a multi-agency master plan.

The Successful Candidate

Excited by the projects and initiatives in Hood River, the Public Works Director understands the importance of maintaining existing infrastructure, designing and building necessary improvements, and planning for future growth. A natural convener and collaborator, the ideal candidate recognizes the importance of building relationships and partnerships at all levels. The ability to easily explain complex Public Works concepts while hearing, balancing, and respecting a variety of views during the decision-making process is essential.

With a background in one or more traditional public works disciplines, construction, and/or engineering, the Public Works Director brings experience working on a wide variety of projects and fully understands project lifecycles. The successful candidate has exceptional financial acumen and easily articulates the cost and budget implications of ongoing infrastructure needs. The Public Works Director has a strong background in strategic planning and execution and enjoys being an essential and active member of the management team.

The successful candidate possesses strong communication skills and the ability to connect with staff, elected officials, and the growing community to effectively complete projects and other needed improvements. With an eye on process improvement and innovation, the Public Works Director is creative and brings a fresh perspective and new ideas to Public Works projects and initiatives. The successful candidate monitors trends and best practices in order to drive efficiency and inform decision-making. The Public Works Director maintains an open mind and multi-tasks with ease, shifting gears quickly to prioritize and balance workloads and resource needs to meet project demands.

An effective leader, the Public Works Director models behaviors expected throughout the organization, including collaboration, a commitment to high-quality work, and sound customer service. The successful candidate is team-oriented, establishes clear expectations, effectively delegates, and holds others accountable. The Public Works Director is known for supporting staff and removing barriers to enable success. The ideal candidate employs a leadership style that invites participation and gathers input from the talented Public Works team.


Five (5) or more years of supervisory experience in public works, civil engineering, or public administration. A thorough knowledge of modern principles and practices of public works administration along with considerable knowledge of materials, methods, and techniques used in construction, maintenance and operations of streets, sewers, storm, water, facilities, fleet, and parks are essential.

A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in Civil Engineering, Public Administration, Environmental Science, or other related field is desired. A registered Professional Engineer is highly desired.

Inside City Hall

The City of Hood River operates as a council-manager form of government. Council members are elected at large in an alternating biennial cycle for four-year terms, and the Mayor is elected for a two-year term. The City Manager is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the City Council. In addition to the City Manager, a City Attorney and Municipal Court Judge are appointed as officers of the City by the City Council.

Hood River administers a $54 Million all funds budget and has 70.1 full-time equivalent employees. City departments include Police, Fire, Public Works (includes roads, parks, water, wastewater, and stormwater systems), Planning, and Administration, which includes Finance and Municipal Court.

Public Works Department

The Public Works Department maintains the City’s infrastructure to support the growing community. With a staff of 23.8, the Department is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the following public facilities: roads, parking, parks, sewer, stormwater collection systems, water source and distribution system, equipment and vehicle fleet, and the wastewater treatment plant. In addition, City Engineering and City capital construction projects are within the Public Works Department. Inspections and plan reviews are performed under contract with Hood River County. The City’s wastewater treatment plant is operated under contract by Jacobs Engineering.

The City owns and maintains over $80 Million in physical assets, including roads, utilities, and buildings.

The Community

The City of Hood River, Oregon, with a current population of around 8,000, has seen vibrant community growth over recent decades. Bordered by the Columbia River and Washington State to the north, Hood River is the county seat for Hood River County, which includes over 25,000 residents in the cities of Hood River and Cascade Locks, and the communities of Odell, Parkdale, and Pine Grove. The City, just 60 miles east of Portland, expands with large influxes of visitors seasonally. Hood River is rich in history and scenic beauty and is commonly recognized for its arts, culture, abundant fruit harvests, and world-class outdoor recreation.

The Columbia Gorge has often been described as an “outdoor playground,” and the City of Hood River lies in the heart of it. Whether you visit for extreme outdoor sports or a leisurely getaway – Hood River has something to offer everyone. Within the surrounding area, you’ll find some of Oregon’s highest mountaintops to ski, snowboard, hike, bike, or climb. Watersports are popular on nearby rivers, including world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding on the Columbia River on the north edge of town, plus stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing.

The area’s economy is traditionally made up of agriculture, high-tech, professional, healthcare, and sports recreation industries. Hood River is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Northwest, and this influx of people fuels the robust hospitality and service industries. The Columbia Gorge bi-state region is an economic microcosm with many businesses employing people from various parts of the Gorge. Though Hood River is considered “a small town,” its convenient location allows connections to technology industry hubs and attracts employees from around the world. Strong winds in Hood River also offer testing grounds for wind-sport manufacturing and other related industries.

More recently, Hood River has made its mark in the food and beverage scene as home to an industry-leading vegan food producer, multiple successful brewery labels, and numerous award-winning Columbia Gorge wines. Hood River’s food and beverage scene continues to grow and impact the economy and tourism in positive ways.

The City of Hood River provides essential services at the lowest possible cost to continually enhance the quality of life in Hood River. It is a caring community where neighbors support each other and where families grow and prosper in a safe and healthy environment. We love our community and hope you will, too.


The City of Hood River is financially sound; meets today’s needs while planning for a sustainable tomorrow with diverse economic, cultural, and recreational opportunities; is engaging and responsive, connecting people to people and to our natural beauty; and collaborates to preserve the City’s distinctive identity and independence.

Hood River is and will continue to be a regional focus for the advancement and enjoyment of the arts, culture, leisure, and recreational activities.

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for the Public Works Director position is $101,273 - $124,553 and will depend on the qualifications of the successful candidate. A temporary housing allowance will be provided. The City of Hood River offers a competitive benefits package including Medical, Dental, and Vision, with the City covering 90% of the premiums for employees and eligible dependents. The City grants 11 holidays and one floating holiday along with Vacation, Sick, and Administrative Leave. Life and AD&D policies are provided at no cost to the employee, and the retirement plan is through PERS. Employees are also eligible to establish a Deferred Compensation Account.

How to Apply

The City of Hood River is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Hood River provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities and encourages both prospective and current employees to discuss potential accommodations.

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. This position is open until filled.


Please direct questions to Heather Gantz at or 513-221-0500.