Mountlake Terrace’s new Community and Economic Development Director Steve Osguthorpe has officially been on the job for a little more than two weeks.
Osguthorpe started on June 30 and has spent the time getting to know the City and its residents. It’s an exciting time for Mountlake Terrace, Osguthorpe said.
Previously, Osguthorpe was the Community Development Director for the City of Yakima for a year and a half. He also worked in similar types of positions in Gig Harbor, Shelton and Ames, Iowa.
MLTnews chatted with Osguthorpe on Monday afternoon in his office at City Hall.
What does the Community and Economic Development Director do?
Osguthrope deals with planning, zoning, building, some code compliance and “certainly economic development is a big focus.”
Osguthorpe noted that he is involved in “current planning, proposed projects as well as long range comprehensive planning and developing our policies and plans.”
What is the best part of your job?
“I enjoy all parts of my job. I guess I’m one of the lucky few who truly enjoys what I do for a living. I enjoy the planning part. I enjoy the people part. I love the physical part. What a place looks like in my mind is such an important part of who we are as a people.”
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Osguthorpe worked in Planning and Building Management in Gig Harbor for 10 years.
“I developed a citywide design standard that was a reflection of the community’s desire to retain community character. From those standards it was exciting to see all of Gig Harbor North developed. That was basically a forest. … The whole area was developed under these design standards and it’s become a major regional economic draw for the City and that probably was my most meaningful accomplishment.”
What are the qualities needed to be successful in your job?
“I think being a people person. To be visionary. Resourceful. And to be able to adapt to community conditions and local desires.”
What have you done in the first two weeks on the job?
“It’s an opportunity for me to observe, to see how things operate here based upon past practice. It’s not my tendency to come in and kick over the apple cart so to speak. … I’ve also been meeting one-on-one with individuals and staff and I also am trying to reach out to other stakeholders in the community. I want to meet with realtors and get to know the development community. It’s been a get to know you time for me as well as time for me to just work through our codes. I’ve been reviewing the comprehensive plan, our town center plan and understanding what the process was in developing those.”
Why are you excited about Mountlake Terrace?
“Mountlake Terrace has done a great job putting the foundation in place to build upon and they’re looking for someone who can build upon that foundation and move us forward. … Mountlake Terrace is just ripe for its next stage of development. It’s just perfectly positioned in the Puget Sound region to capture that momentum, that economic development momentum. Our location, our proximity to I-5 and to Seattle just makes us ripe for that.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Osguthorpe spent six years in Ames, Iowa, before returning to Yakima.
“When I was in Iowa I dearly missed the mountains. I love to get out and hike. It’s a little flat there (Iowa). It has its charms. It doesn’t compare to the Northwest. I love the outdoors. There is nothing that compares to Washington.”
At one time Osguthorpe thought he might go into the construction industry so he went to school and obtained an associate’s degree in building construction.
“I always like to work on things. … Woodworking is a big part of my personal time.”