Another High-Profile Grab for Parks Bureau; Another Chief of Staff for Sam Adams



Moving up
  • Moving up
Down to his final 10 months or so few weeks in office, Mayor Sam Adams will soon be on his third fourth chief of staff in four years. (Click here if you don't get this joke).

Not long before A few minutes after the Parks bureau announced its new assistant director community relations manager, current top Adams aide Warren Jimenez Jennifer Yocom, Adams' office sent out word that current deputy chief Jennifer Yocom Amy Ruiz will be getting a promotion.

Yocom Jimenez—well-regarded in city hall—had been Adams' chief of staff only since January 2011 this February. He She took over for Tom Miller Warren Jimenez, who'd been with Adams since his days as a young, vigorous city commissioner, after Miller went on to run the Bureau of Transportation brought over as the park's bureau's assistant director this winter.

All kidding over the similarities aside, Yocom will have a big job in parks: helping the bureau gear up for a planned November 2013 maintenance bond measure. She helped Adams lobby for the $35 arts-and-education tax that voters just approved overwhelmingly despite heavy-handed attempts to kill it by various local editorial boards (except ours). Parks has a $700 million maintenance backlog that isn't getting any smaller.

“Jennifer brings an exceptional level of dedication to public service and community involvement to everything she does," Jimenez said in an official statement. “Her perspective as a campaigner and Parks volunteer is particularly valuable as we ask Portlanders to consider a citywide Parks bond.”

"It's a coup for us. It's fair to say she can go wherever she wants to go, and we're thrilled she chose parks," parks commissioner Nick Fish tells me, using the same word—"coup"—he used to describe Jimenez's hire. Noting that both are now on board, "It's a lot of talent, strategic talent and political talent."

Moving out
  • Moving out
Yocom leaves the mayor's office December 2, with Ruiz taking over the next day. Ruiz already took over for Yocom for two months this summer while Yocom was on family leave after having a baby. Chief of staff will become Ruiz's fourth job in Adams' office—before serving as deputy she was his spokesperson and before that worked as a land-use policy adviser. She left the Mercury just about four years ago to join the mayor's team.

Her tenure started off, ahem, amid some controversy. But Ruiz, according to sources inside city hall and out, has proven herself among one of his smarter hires. (And there seems to be a job waiting for her with her name on it, next year, in the transportation bureau, run by the then-Adams chief who hired Ruiz, Tom Miller; but that's just me speculating.)

Among the projects where Ruiz has put her stamp: the recent deal that helped Adams shave millions off the city's share of the new Sellwood Bridge; talks about remaking the Rose Quarter; and the ongoing grind to pave over part of West Hayden Island.

"I will count on her to do double duty as the term comes to an end and we finish the projects we began four years ago," Adams said in his own prepared statement. "We still have a lot to do and I’m confident that Amy will be able to manage our projects successfully.”


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