Employee Spotlight – John Clark
If you ever need to build something in the City of Hood River, chances are you’ll come across John Clark. As the City’s right-of-way inspector, he reviews permits and site plans to make sure they meet all code and standards, and helps customers navigate the oftentimes complex requirements.
Clark handles construction or changes within the City’s right of ways. Public right of ways are defined in the City Code to “include, but are not limited to, streets, roads, highways, bridges, alleys, sidewalks, trails, paths, public easements and all other public ways or areas, including subsurface and air space over these areas.” (HRMC 13.52.010). Even if someone is simply levelling a lot to prepare to sell it, they still need to adhere to an approval process through Clark.
There are many more requirements that builders must follow in addition to City Code. American Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, engineering standards, and, depending on the location, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and floodplain and wetland regulations all must be followed. This requires a keen eye for detail, and oftentimes, a lot of research.
As someone relatively new to this position, Clark appreciates how this new role has challenged him to be more focused and expand his knowledge. He is grateful for the support he has received from his colleagues in the City, as well as his short time learning from Rick Peargin. Peargin worked as right-of-way for the City for 28 years and passed away this past March. “He was just such a genuine guy, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to learn from him,” said Clark.
Prior to taking over the right-of-way inspector position, Clark served Hood River’s Public Works Department for nine years in multiple capacities. He started off as a public works worker, handling general operations and responding to emergencies and immediate needs. Two years ago, he began managing the wastewater division. He wanted to continue to challenge himself to grow professionally and become more involved with the City. In his new position, he works directly with the public, assisting them with the permitting and regulation process, and doing site visits to make sure everything is going as planned.
John Clark was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and grew up in southeast Portland. His grandparents lived in Trout Lake, so he spent much of his youth in the Gorge. After earning a business degree from Rocky Mountain College in Montana, he moved back to the area with his high school sweetheart. They now live in Parkdale where they are raising their family and tending a couple of acres, along with a new horde of puppies and chickens. In their spare time, they love to cook and spend time together in the outdoors.
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