When Jerry Taylor was hired as Manzanita’s city manager, the Olympics were in Atlanta, Bill Clinton was president and Michael Jordan was playing professional basketball.
By Jordan Wolfe
And, today, he will celebrate his 20th anniversary with the City.
“Normally, a city manager won’t stay more than five years,” Taylor said, “I always say ’20 years is a long time in dog years.'”
Taylor said he was originally hired by a council, led by Mayor Dr. James Bond, to complete a handful of tasks: Pave Laneda Avenue, establish a regional water treatment facility, build bathrooms at the beach and encourage the formation of a fire district.
15 years later, he completed his tasks.
“I’m a little slow, but at least I got it all done,” Taylor said with a laugh.
At the end of the year, Taylor expects to retire in some capacity.
“I consider myself extremely fortunate to work with a man of his quality for 10 years,” Mayor Garry Bullard said. “He is a highly competent city planner and manager. He brings a very laid back approach to city government.”
Bullard said, if he had it his way, Taylor would stay with the city 10 more years.
“His legacy will be: Gosh, I wish we had Jerry Taylor back,” Bullard said.
Following a period as the city manager for Sedro-Woolley, WA, Taylor and his family relocated to Manzanita for an opportunity as city manager. “It’s been fun living at the beach. We hadn’t put it on a list of things we wanted to do, but we enjoyed the culture and we enjoyed the environment,” Taylor said.
“It’s a small town oriented city,” he said, “I don’t know how many city halls invite dogs in and offer them a cookie.”
Taylor said he has enjoyed all of the City Councilors he has worked with that have balanced their interests to move the city forward in a positive direction.
“It’s a good team, it’s been that way for a long time,” he said. “Many times, the City Manager is much like a symphony conductor. He can wave his stick around, but it’s the people playing the instruments.
“Some of what I get credit on is work they’ve done.”
Since his first day as city manager, August 4, 1996, a ramp to the beach has been built, 400 more homes have been built in the community and several new buildings have been created in the downtown.
“It has gotten bigger, but we have managed that growth,” he said, adding how he sees Manzanita in the future. “If you ask most people, with as little change as they can muster. They want to protect that character and that feel.”
Bullard agreed much work has gone into keeping the village atmosphere of the town intact over the 20 years Taylor has been with Manzanita and said he believes Taylor has left the village in a better state than what it was when he arrived.
Taylor said, “I think anyone in this job wants to help a community find itself and discover itself.”