WENATCHEE — City Economic Development Director Steve King is one of three finalists for public works director for the city of Port Townsend.
King, who grew up in Omak, has lived in Wenatchee since 1997 and worked for the city since 2002. He’s worn many hats, including city engineer, public works director for engineering and community development director.
Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro said the other two finalists are Karin Hilding, senior project engineer for the city of Whitefish, Montana, and Martin Pastucha, interim public works director for the city of San Fernando, California.
Mauro said the three underwent panel interviews Monday and met with members of the public Tuesday. They are vying to replace Greg Lanning, who was appointed state engineer for Wyoming in the fall.
The city of Wenatchee has already undergone changes, with Executive Services Director Allison Williams accepting the position of Moses Lake city manager in December. Laura Merrill replaced her this month.
King said that change didn’t lead him to apply for the Port Townsend position and that it’s an area of the state he’s been interested in.
“I was thinking that I might need a career change before that, before I ever even knew anything about that change,” he said. “For me, when you have that many years working in a city, in a government, it’s OK to experience different things. It makes you a better professional in the job, and you get to meet new people.”
King said there was no economic development department when he was city engineer, so he was already involved with waterfront development and how infrastructure affects community development.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be involved with Riverside Drive and Walla Walla Street, involved with the Pybus Market, involved with wildfire risk issues and transportation,” he said. “It’s been a very big blessing to work on Confluence Parkway, the new City Hall downtown. It’s been amazing. That’s what makes it so challenging to think about picking up and trying a different community, when you’ve done a lot of what feels like good work in Wenatchee. It’s a blessing to have all those opportunities.”