Skillrex & Blerching

Posted on May 2, 2014

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ELGL is pleased to share a weekly column to connect our members to each other – a series called “What Are We Doing?”  These posts are your go-to resource for the best things that ELGL members are doing in their local government lives. See someone with a similar interest or work project as you? Send ’em an email, make a connection!

Today we meet up with five ELGL members: David Matz, Dylan Digby, Erika Palmer, David Gassaway, and Zach Henkin.


1David Matz, Principal Executive Manager C, Oregon DHS

What Are You Reading?

I regularly read articles from Governing, TLNT, Tablet, and The Good Man Project, along with the occasional articles from alternative media (Black Voices, Everyday Feminism, etc.). When I need a mental break I read Sci-Fi and super hero novels.

What Are You Working On Now?

One project I am engaged in is the roll out of our shared Indian Child Welfare Act/ Active Efforts Case Specialist position. The position is an innovation to improve outcome for Native American families DHS comes into contact with.

2What Are You Listening To Now?

Lately I am really into Aloe Blacc’s song I’m the Man. Because you know I am (yes I am, yes I am)!

What Current Topic or Trend Fascinates You?

I am fascinated with the reports about Cover Oregon, as well as the Secretary of State’s report on the state of TANF in Oregon. Public Policy always gets more play when it fails, right? I mean, really, where were all the haters in 2009 when the Oregon Health Exchange was created?


Dylan Digby, Public Improvements Specialist, City of West Linn

3What Are You Reading?

Books to kids. Little Critter, Clifford, Berenstein Bears, Dr. Seuss.

What Are You Working On Now?

Writing request for qualifications solicitation documents for a new water reservoir design and siting, for a large sewer pipeline/pump station project, and for new storm and sewer master plans.

4What Are You Listening To Now?

Skrillex Piano Guys (especially “Don’t you Worry Child” cover)

What Current Topic or Trend Fascinates You?

Technology-based management of government processes and cultural shift geared towards quicker and shorter updating and engagement of citizens (e.g. live tweeting meetings, engaging citzens through web instead of physical presence).


Erika Palmer, Senior Planner, City of Damascus

5What Are You Reading?

“IQ84” by Haruki Murakami. See this link for my favorite literary venn diagram.  My book club is currently reading, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Peel Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Throw in a couple of House Bills, a proposed city budget and there you have it.

What Are You Working On Now?

I’m currently putting together a project list for the person who will be filling my shoes as I prepare to step into a new position with the City of Fairview.

6What Are You Listening To Now?

Currently, I don’t have a favorite album or artist that I’m listening to. I’m trying to put together the ultimate running mix as I prepare for the Beat the Blerch 1/2 marathon later this year. If you don’t know what the Blerch is you can learn more about it here. Also, feel free to pass on any song choices you may have.

What Current Topic or Trend Fascinates You?

Artisanal toast or what I call value added or trendy toast at home. I kid, I kid. Having grown up in a rural Oregon community, I’m always interested in rural Oregon topics: demographic shifts — decline, aging, migration, etc.); income gap/divide; aging infrastructure; tourism, our natural resource economy and conflicts; the list goes on and on. There are so many stories to be told and those that have yet to be written in our small rural communities.


David Gassaway, Regional Planner, Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization

What Are You Reading?

Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”

7What Are You Working On Now?

Developing a regional (Portland metropolitan area including Clark County) multi-agency coordination system concept of operations (MACS ConOps). This Regional MACS ConOps Plan provides an all-hazards framework for collaboration, coordination and decision-making among response and support entities during both regional emergencies and complex planned events in the Portland Metropolitan Region. The final draft is located at

What Are You Listening To Now?

Pink Martini

What Current Topic or Trend Fascinates You?

Gathering actionable intelligence from social media that public officials can use to advance their efforts


Zachary Henkin, Program Manager, Drive Oregon

What Are You Reading?

House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time

What Are You Working On Now?

An rebate incentive for electric vehicle purchases in Oregon for the 2015 legislative session.

8What Are You Listening To Now?

This week, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.

What Current Topic or Trend Fascinates You?

The Willamette Falls Legacy Project in Oregon City, this is a once in a lifetime project that will impact generations.

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