Ridgefield’s Public Works department welcomed a familiar face when longtime resident Chuck Green was named director on Tuesday.
“This is my hometown. We live just outside the city limits but we’re still Ridgefield. The opportunity to become the public works director and get invested in building Ridgefield’s future is just too great to pass up,” Green said in an interview Wednesday.
Green previously managed the Clark County Public Works transportation group and worked for C-Tran on The Vine bus rapid transit project. Most recently he has been working at Otak, a Portland-based engineering and project management firm.
“When we started the hiring process, I wanted to assure we added a valuable public servant who either a) knew us (our people, plans, projects, partners) or b) was a strong public works professional with project and personnel management experience who can hit the ground running for our busy community. With Chuck, we get both,” City Manager Steve Stuart stated in a press release.
Green said he realizes challenges lie ahead for his department.
“We’re still trying to catch up from all of the growth and all of the improvements that have been generated by the substantial growth the city has seen for the last five or six years. Part of that is working to prioritize the projects that we are putting on the street, the maintenance responsibilities being generated by a whole bunch of new people wanting things fixed,” he said.
For the next several weeks, Green will have to work two jobs as he transitions his Otak projects to new project managers.
Green brings a combination of technical experience and political know-how to his new role. Along with his previous work with the county and C-Tran, he also served on the county’s charter review commission and currently serves on the Clark County Commission on Aging. He believes that combination will benefit everyone.
“I’ve been involved in some major transportation projects and programs over the years. What I also like to bring – having been involved in politics – is the ability to provide that sensitivity to the community and to the elected officials that I work for to understand what the needs are and how to work out solutions that meet those needs,” he said.
A major upcoming task for Ridgefield is the comprehensive growth plan update due by the end of June 2025. Green said that effort will affect his department.
“Public Works has a number of infrastructure components that feed that comprehensive plan,” Green said.
He said he’s already begun working with Community Development to bring in a coordinated consultant team as well as internal resources to work on the updates.
While the growth plan is intended to guide development over the next 20 years, Green said he wants to look at “what are our priorities for the next five to six years as part of that.”
As director, Green’s salary is $150,000 per year. He succeeds Brenda Howell, who had been in the job for about a year. She recently left to move out of state.