Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
June, 2014
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 Moving on to New Challenges

County Manager takes job in Oregon

Longtime Thurston County Manager Don Krupp has taken a new position as Administrator for Clackamas County, Oregon. Clackamas County is similar to Thurston in many ways including the mix of rural and suburban acreage. The county has about 380,000 people and is nearly 1,900 square miles, making it quite a bit larger than Thurston, which has a population just over 250,000 and is 727 square miles.

Krupp has spent 12 years as Thurston County Manager (part of the time the position was called Chief Administrative Officer.) But he has worked for the county for nearly 20 years. “I started in July of 1994 as Development Services Director and stayed in that position until I was named interim county administrator in May of 2001. Later the appointment was made permanent.” (Krupp left for a few months in 2000 to work at the State Department of Natural Resources but came back when the then Lands Commissioner decided not to run for reelection.)

The Years Have Brought Transformation


Krupp says there have been a lot of changes in two decades for Thurston County government. “It’s a different organization. I was charged with getting the Development Services Department up and running in 1994 and that was a very different way of looking at land use and permitting. Staff has been key in making the county more responsive in that arena. Then in 2009, we undertook a major reorganization in reaction to the worldwide recession. The tools that we use have also changed dramatically in those years, especially the technology tools. We have a well established protocol involving guidelines for equipment and replacement of technology to make sure we can afford to do that. We went from fairly limited cellular telephones to these very intelligent, complex smart phones. The whole development of the county website and our reliance on that for internal and external communications. We have a new Health building, Family and Juvenile Court, Juvenile Detention, Coroner’s Office, Office of Assigned Counsel, and we have brought employees out of leased spaces to county offices in order to save funds. The changes over the years are really just too numerous to mention.”

There have been and continue to be, many challenges for local governments like Thurston County, according to Krupp. “In the community there are diverse opinions on how we manage growth and development and how we go about protecting our environment at the same time. There are very different perspectives and views on how we manage these issues. Complicating things is the state of the budget stemming from voter decisions made in the 1990s and 2000s. Unless something elemental is changed, we are going to be forced to undergo reductions every 3 to 4 years because our revenue just cannot keep up with inflation.”

Pride of Accomplishment


Krupp says there are some projects and programs that he will look back on with pride. “When I first started here, getting the whole ‘one-stop’ permit center up and running and being more responsive to the public was a great accomplishment and I feel really good about that. I also feel good about working with the Commissioners to implement the Treatment Sales Tax. We had a lot of input from the public in support of the plan. The work ethic that has gone in to the use of those funds for the betterment of the community has been remarkable.”

That sense of pride and accomplishment is one of the reasons it’s difficult to move on to a new job after so many years. “You do get comfortable and that’s one of my motivations in looking into positions like the one in Clackamas County. To be challenged with an entirely new set of faces, issues and ideas; how I use my time and how I manage expectations. I’m sure as I get in to this new environment that I will be tested in many different ways and I’ll find solutions.”

As Don is going through some changes, so is Clackamas County. “They recently went from a 3- member commission to a 5-member commission so they are learning how to work together and be effective. That’s one of the things I am looking forward to is providing the support for them in this transition. I’m also looking forward to working with the team of staff people there. The intergovernmental challenges should be fun, with 16 municipalities within Clackamas County. The county down there also works with Washington and Multnomah Counties in a cooperative organization called Metro.”

Krupp says there are a lot of things he will miss about Thurston County. “Mostly, the county residents and Thurston County staff. Above and beyond Thurston County government, it’s also the community too. We have placed our roots in this area all the way back to 1986. Picking up and finding a new home is going to be tough. I really relish the relationships I have with staff and community members and it will be difficult to maintain those from two hours away. I have always been grateful to be able to contribute through boards and community-based organizations as a way to give back to the community that we have enjoyed for so long.”

Don was scheduled to assume the Clackamas County position in mid-September.

By John Tennis

Don Krupp on the courthouse bluff. Don Krupp on the courthouse bluff.