Jacksonville City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen points out where Peter Brittís house once stood, now outlined in stone outside the Britt Festivals. - Jim Craven

Jacksonville officials pay tributes to Wyntergreen

JACKSONVILLE — City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen wrapped up a 17-year career Friday, and local officials he worked for — past and present — praised his efforts on a variety of fronts, including historic preservation, creation of parks and open space, managing city government and bringing together divergent groups.

Wyntergreen is moving to Tillamook to become city manger.

"His door seemed to be always open to 'How can we make this a better town?' " said Bill Leep, a 25-year town resident and former planning commissioner and city councilman.

"He was just a tremendous liaison between opponents. What better skill is there than to work between the dynamics of opposition?"

Wyntergreen was always good at laying out the pluses and minuses of issues, said former Councilman Dick Ames.

"We haven't always agreed with each other, but he's always a stand-up guy, as far as I'm concerned, and we are going to miss him until someone as capable shows up," said Ames.

Wyntergreen moved to Jacksonville in 1985 and was hired as city planner in 1992. He was named administrator in 1994.

"Prior to Paul we really didn't have an administrator. The city recorder was the main contact person," said former Councilman John Dodero. "There was haphazard administration."

Dodero credits Wyntergreen with improving both the city's planning process and its finances.

"What Paul did ... was basically organize not only our land-use planning but got us moving forward as far as our financial planning, putting the city on a firmer footing," said Dodero.

Wyntergreen's grant-writing skills brought several million dollars to the town, Dodero estimated.

Jim Lewis, mayor from 1995 to 2009, praised the administrator's efforts to iron out water-system problems that led to a building moratorium.

"The first significant event (in his tenure) was the very smooth transition that he effected from our water moratorium to a full service water supply," said Lewis. "I think you can also attribute the walk-ability and bike-ability of the town to his work."

Wyntergreen rates the creation of parks, open space, trails and bike paths as a top achievement.

"I look around the town and say, 'Gosh, I helped do these,' " said Wyntergreen.

While Larry Smith, the Jacksonville Woodlands Association and others deserve a lot of credit for open spaces and trails, said Leep, Wyntergreen had a vision of what could be accomplished.

Better relations between the Britt Festival and the town are also a source of pride for Wyntergreen. He said issues related to parking, litter and noise were resolved during the 1990s.

"The improvement in relations with Britt was in large measure a result of his work," said Lewis. "We went though a fairly protracted mediation process, and he was there, and we are better off for that."

Dodero credits the administrator with "keeping an eye on the fact that real people live here," at a time when historic preservation advocates were mandating things some residents didn't think were right.

"The jewel is naturally our historic charm, and Paul did a really good job at recognizing that and leveraging that to get it recognized externally and protected internally," said Leep.

"I'm almost sick to see him leave," said Lewis, adding that people appreciated working for Wyntergreen because is a good human manager.

"I will miss him for the benefit of the city," said Leep. "I think we will suffer until we get a (person) with the same kind of charm and gumption and stamina."

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at

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