Minnesota native’s first day at Tigard City Hall is Feb. 1, replacing Marty Wine who left to become Monmouth’s city manager

Pamplin Media Group – Rymer ready to take over city manager dutiesOne thing Steve Rymer won’t miss when he takes the helm as Tigard city manager on Feb. 1, are the long airline commutes he’s been making between Portland and Rochester, Minnesota, as he has recently finished tying up loose ends as city manager of the Midwestern city.

Rymer’s last day in Rochester was Jan. 20.

“(I) had a city council meeting, and that was kind of it,” he said of the city where he worked for three years, attending the majority of his recent meetings virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.SUBMITTED PHOTO - RYMER

Rymer replaces Marty Wine, who left to become manager of Monmouth last fall after serving as Tigard city manager for almost a decade.

“We’re really enjoying the Portland area,” Rymer said during a recent Zoom interview, adding that he and his family enjoy the outdoors and hiking and taking advantage of the myriad restaurants in the Portland area. His daughter already lives in the area.

“We plan to move to Tigard as well, so we’re looking forward to just being part of the community as city manager,” Rymer said. He’s looking forward to making Tigard his home, he added.

Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Rymer said he enjoyed his most recent job in Rochester.

“Rochester is a forward-thinking community of 20,000, having the Mayo Clinic there as its home,” he said. “It really was a great asset to the city, obviously, having a world-class medical facility.”

Rymer estimated about 3.3 million visitors come through Rochester each year, not only because of the clinic, but also because the city has ample recreational facilities and a convention center, not to mention an international airport. It also has 5,000 acres’ worth of parks and greenspace, along with 100 miles of trails and four golf courses.

Before Rochester, Rymer spent 12 years in Morgan Hill, California, where he served in director positions both in the community services department and the parks and recreation departments before being promoted to city manager.

A city of about 45,000 residents near San Jose, Morgan Hill had a $70 million investment in recreation facilities there and a major recreation facility was coming online, all part of an economic development strategy for that city, Rymer recounted.

Rymer said he has always liked working on parks and recreation projects, noting he received his bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation studies from the University of Minnesota, which proved to be a good pathway into city management. He also holds a master’s of public administration degree from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Rymer said he’s looking forward to simply joining his new team in Tigard, including working with the Tigard City Council, saying he hopes to look back in a few years and “see how Tigard’s evolved and how it’s even a better place than it is today.”

“Obviously, there’s a lot of different ideas and plans that are either in the infancy stages or being developed (and planned) right now,” he said.

As far as what he’s looking forward to, Rymer said he’s interested in plans for redevelopment of the downtown Tigard area and the part the city will play as well as the role private investment in that endeavor.

“That’s intriguing because both of my (previous) positions, we’ve done major investments and reinvestment in our downtown,” Rymer said. He also likes the idea of access and connectivity in trail systems and parks throughout the city.

“There’s just a significant number obviously of development opportunities that are being discussed (from) the Tigard Triangle to other spots,” he said.

Rymer said he’s even driven around the city trying to understand individual development patterns and the opportunities that exist along corridors such as Highway 99W and Southwest 72nd Avenue, seeing what’s in the pipeline and what the vision is for those areas.

“I think the Universal Plaza is probably a good example of how to really engage the community to make that a spot that the community is kind of designing and developing alongside the city,” he said about plans to transform that plaza on Southwest Burnham Street into a community gathering spot.

He said the community is focused on equity, diversity and inclusion, as is City Hall, and his focus will be on how to engage the community to make sure the public is part of the process.

In addition to hiking, Rymer said he and his family enjoy cooking and traveling. And yes, he did play ice hockey growing up, saying it’s “a way of life in Minnesota.”

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