Seaside Public Works Director Neal Wallace will retire his post, effective June 30, after serving the city of Seaside for about 17 years.
Wallace, who is licensed as a professional land surveyor and has a degree in forest engineering, joined the department as the senior surveyor/engineer in February 1998. He worked under former Public Works Director Chris Davies, and then as interim director for a little while after Davies resigned in 2003.
He hadn’t given much thought to taking the Public Works Director position at that time. It was former City Councilor Stubby Lyons, Wallace said, “who pulled me aside one day and gave me that coach pep talk” about stepping into the role permanently. He was hired as the director Nov. 10, 2003.
The city has started its search for Wallace’s replacement. The position was advertised in-house first, and one person applied. City Manager Mark Winstanley will review the application that was received in-house, and if that person is not hired, the position will be opened to the public for external applicants, City Administrative Assistant Kim Jordan said.
Winstanley has the final say in who is hired.
As for retirement, Wallace said, “I’m absolutely looking forward to it, but I’d be lying to you if I said there weren’t some things I was going to miss terribly.”
He especially has enjoyed working with “creative people in the community” to develop ideas and see them to fruition, or the community building aspect of the job.
“That process of seeing projects from a thought process to being a completed project and being able to present those to a community, that’s something very, very special and I’ll definitely miss that,” he said.
Wallace currently serves as president of the South Clatsop County Food Bank board of directors and plans to continue serving that organization. He also hopes to use the skills he’s developed in other volunteer capacities in the community.
“I don’t expect to build another food bank, but I’m sure there’s something out there and I look forward to being a part of it,” he said.