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Nine mayors later, Tigard city recorder says goodbye


Cathy Wheatley leaves behind a career spanning 28 years, countless hours of work for the city she loves

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tigards city recorder, Cathy Wheatley, retires this month after 28 years on the job. She received a standing ovation at Tuesdays city council meeting after she was recognized for her dedicated service to the community.When Cathy Wheatley started her job at Tigard City Hall, it was under Mayor John Cook.

More than two decades later, she leaves office under his son.

Wheatley, the city recorder, retires this month after 28 years on the job.

Wheatley might not be a household name around town, but she has worked behind the scenes to help plan and run city council meetings, act as the city’s elections officer and handle the city’s large collection of public records.

It’s a job that doesn’t receive a lot of recognition, but indirectly impacts the lives of people all across the city.

On Tuesday, Wheatley received a standing ovation from councilors, staff and her family for her years of work as she attended her last City Council meeting.

Wheatley served under nine mayors, and said it was a way to give back to her community. “What’s so neat about this job is that you can really support those folks that are in those really thankless jobs, like City Council,” Wheatley said. “You can give some thanks back to them by supporting them.”

Wheatley came to Tigard in 1986, where she got a temporary job as assistant city recorder.

“I came on right when the community was starting to grow really fast,” she said. “I hit a sweet spot when the city started hiring a lot of new employees.”

She soon claimed the top recorder position in 1988, and has been a staple of the city ever since. As the city’s elections officer, Wheatley has helped aspiring city councilors get through the system and worked with petitioners who want to get initiatives onto ballots.

“You’re not there to make judgments or big decisions,” she said. “Our job is to make sure they can get through it all safely, because it’s pretty complicated.”

In nearly 30 years on the job, Wheatley said there are many memories that stick out to her from her time in Tigard.

Like the construction of the Tigard Public Library, which was approved by voters in 2002.

by: TIMES PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - Wheatley hugs deputy city recorder Carol Krager during Tuesday night's City Council meeting“That was really fun to see,” Wheatley said. “There are a lot of things that the voters approved that I’ve loved. Like urban renewal. That was something I never thought people would go for. The support in Tigard can’t be beat.”

The city’s agreement with Lake Oswego to provide a new water system for the two cities also stands out to Wheatley. That agreement was first discussed in the 1990s but fell through.

“To finally see it come to pass has been really great,” she said.

Wheatley’s family has always had a desire to help the community.

Her father and stepfather were both in the state highway department. Her youngest son works in the Coast Guard and her oldest son, Brian Wheatley, works alongside her as the city’s environmental program coordinator in Tigard’s Public Works department.

“I found my niche,” she said, Tuesday before the City Council meeting.

Wheatley said that it will be hard to let the city go. “I have spent so much time here, and thinking about my job and doing my job. I take it home with me a lot, too. It will be a big hole for awhile,” she said. “But it’s time. I’m ready to do other things.”

Wheatley intends to keep up to date with the Council through televised city council meetings. “I’ll be watching,” she told councilors as she left her last City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Wheatley’s Deputy City Recorder Carol Krager will take on her duties starting in July.