New Sensation with Michael Parkhurst, City of Gresham

Posted on March 5, 2013


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Since ELGL is not a big fan of icebreakers and since we would rather not know what animal you want to be, this blog feature will serve as a means of introducing new members. While you won’t learn about their favorite animal, you will learn about their ideal Sunday morning, which dead people would they FaceTime with, and which song best describes their life.

We hope you enjoy learning about Michael, feel free to play Monday morning quarterback by second guessing his responses. Your constructive criticism can be sent to the contact information below.

Michael Parkhurst

Senior Urban Renewal Project Coordinator

Gresham Redevelopment Commission

[email protected]

Most interesting project you’ve worked on in your current position:

Probably reconstruction of the Rockwood MAX station in partnership with TriMet – we had a very interesting and challenging process for the public art element, but finally got to a pretty impressive result.

What do you think about when you are driving to work/school?

Mostly I don’t drive!  I’m usually on the MAX, reading a book; when I do drive I think a lot about why so many people are inconsiderate and incompetent drivers.

Most recent concert you attended:

Just saw Esperanza Spalding with Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington at the Portland Jazz Festival last month.

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What sites are bookmarked on your internet browser?

Besides newspapers, I regularly check out The Browser, NYRB’s blog, Bill Simmons on ESPN, edge.org and a finance blog called Calculated Risk (lots of others too)

Proudest career/school accomplishment:

I’ve worked on several really gratifying projects, but this week marks the groundbreaking for a new Police facility in Gresham that I’ve been intensively involved in.

What song best describes your life?

Wow, tough question.  The first thing that occurred to me was “Life’s Been Good to Me so Far” but let’s go with Elvis Costello’s “(What’s so Funny About) Peace, Love, and Understanding”

Suggest two or three topics for the ELGL Annual Conference at the Kennedy School on October 4.

Don’t know that I have two or three, but I think a lot about effective public engagement in the Age of Trolls. How do we get quality citizen feedback and involvement in an environment dominated by anonymous, angry ranting?

If you could FaceTime or Skype with three people either dead or alive, who would they be?

I know I’ll be second-guessing this one for months. It’s tempting to pick important historical figures, but “Wise one, what was it like when you…” isn’t a very interesting conversation. How about: Carroll Shelby, Machiavelli and Salma Hayek.

Your work/school mentors:

Janet Young more than anybody gave me an opportunity that felt like I had a “career” underway and has been a great friend and mentor; I learned a lot and really enjoyed working with Alice Rouyer too, and with Charlie Cameron and Don Bohn before that.

Favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning:

We’re getting the hard copy of the Sunday New York Times again now, so that occupies a good chunk of Sunday! Ideally, I’m reading it over brunch at Podnah’s!

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(Fill in the blank) Government is…..

 far more efficient, responsive and accountable than most people give it credit for, at least at the local level.

(Fill in the blank) ELGL is….

 a fascinating experiment in network- and camaraderie-building, with no peers or predecessors I know of.

Is there any question I should have asked you?

How does a fella come to love NASCAR and opera at the same time?

I’m the co-founder and executive director of ELGL. I love my job. Other things I love: local government, my family, my dog Michael Jordan, sandwiches, naps, books, and skee-ball.

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