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Fish picks insider for new Water Bureau director

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COURTESY CITY OF PORTLAND - Portland Water Bureau Chief Engineer will be its next director.City Commissioner Nick Fish has picked an existing employee to head the Portland Water Bureau.

On Wednesday Fish announced Michael Stuhr, the bureau's chief engineer, will be the next director. Stuhr will replace David Shaff, who is retiring.

Stuhr’s new annual salary will be $180,000. He will assume his duties Aug. 31.

“I am delighted that Mike Stuhr accepted my offer to lead the Portland Water Bureau,” Fish says. “He has extensive experience with Portland’s unique water system and has an outstanding track record as the bureau’s Chief Engineer. I believe Mike is the right leader to continue the bureau’s proud tradition of delivering high-quality, reliable, and safe drinking water to nearly 1 million Oregonians, from forest to faucet.”

As the bureau's chief engineer for the past 10 years, Stuhr has worked on such major capital projects as the new Interstate Operations and Maintenance Center and the Dam 2 Towers project in the Bull Run Watershed. He also served as co-chair of the Water and Waste Water Task Group for the Oregon Resilience Plan, a 50-year seismic resilience plan to guide policy and investments statewide.

“I am honored to be chosen by Commissioner Fish to serve as Director of the Portland Water Bureau,” Stuhr says. “I look forward to working with Commissioner Fish and the City Council on our shared priorities: stabilizing rates, providing strong oversight on major capital projects, improving our customers’ experience, and ensuring that we have a resilient and safe water system for generations to come.”

Stuhr’s appointment follows a national recruitment to fill the position. The other two finalists were also bureau employees. They were Edward Campbell, the resource protection and planning group director, and Chris Wanner, the bureau’s director of operations.

Stuhr holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an M.B.A. from the University of California at Davis, and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University.

The first major project Stuhr is likely to oversee is the disconnection of the open reservoirs in Mount Tabor. The City Council is expected to approve a land use change for the bureau to proceed with the controversial project on Aug. 19.