By Kent Larsen
LDS Man Will Manage Bend, Oregon
BEND, OREGON -- Faced with divisions over its rapid growth and a
decade of struggle to keep up with it, Bend, Oregon has hired
experienced city manager David Hales to run the city. And those in
Bend City Hall seem excited about his arrival, after meeting him in
interviews and tours. Hales, a returned LDS missionary who served in
Korea, was also praised as a family man, first and foremost, and an
Hales grew up in Kaysville, Utah where his father worked at Hill Air
Force Base as an aircraft mechanic and his mother cooked at a private
country club. During his youth Hales learned a strong work ethic, and
from his activities in Boy Scouting, he picked up a strong love of
the outdoors -- camping, canoeing, hiking, and a fascination with
Hales' mission to South Korea also gave him a career direction,
because there he developed an interest in international politics and
government, leading to a major in political science, which he
finished at the University of Utah after his mission. By the time he
finished, Hales was married, had two children, and needed to get a
He ended up working at a Kmart in Tualatin, Oregon as assistant
manager. Mount St. Helens erupted within a few hours of his first day
on the job, and during his first month it rained every day. Hales
thought, "This is nothing like Utah." But eventually he and his wife
fell in love with the state, "It is fascinating to have such variety,
the coast ocean, the gorge, Mount Hood and the Cascades. It was like
home to us," he said. But it only took nine months for Hales to know
that he wasn't cut out for working in retail.
Instead the family moved back to Salt Lake City where he worked for
Salt Lake City as a property manager and realized he needed a
master's degree to make it further in city management. In 1983 he got
a master's of public administration from BYU, and in 1996 he got his
first city manager position, leading Centeville, Utah.
There his career really started. For 11 years he ran the city as it
grew about 3.2 percent a year to 16,000 people. City employees still
remember Hales as a wonderful boss who remembered his employees needs
while still solving problems like the city's storm drainage problem.
Centerville public works director Randy Randall says Hales also knew
what he wanted, "A lot of city managers are marshmallow-y, riding
both sides of the line. He knows the direction he wants to go and
doesn't back down. He makes a commitment and keeps it," Randall said.
"You get used to his
style and things work out great. He's not dictatorial, but he sets a
direction and fights for what he thinks is right." There he was named
city administrator of the year by the Utah League of
Cities and Towns in 1993.
But by the mid-1990s Ceterville had grown as much as it could, and
Hales was looking for a bigger opportunity, and in 1997 he took a job
with Kannapolis, North Carolina, population 36,910. Located 20 miles
northwest of Charlotte, the city's population also grew, 24 percent
during the 1990s. There Hales also handled the city's growth well,
"He handled it exceptionally well," said city councilor Richard
Anderson. "He's very liberal and aggressive in pursuing economic
development. He's highly recognized and accepted well by the
And Anderson says he also handled controversial growth issues well
there, walking into a city divided over change and growth, "He dealt
with a variety of factions in the city. Some do not like
change -- especially the older generation. He's worked with various
community groups, the chamber. He was involved with a visioning
committee with citizens, and he really pulled these factions
together," Anderson said.
Now Hales faces a similar situation in Bend. The city is also facing
divisions over growth. And after looking at more than 60 applicants
for the job, city councilors chose Hales, citing his experience,
energy, enthusiasm, vision and interpersonal skills.
On Hales' part, he has been looking for an opportunity in the
Northwest for a long time, and thinks he's found a home in Bend. "My
wife said she's not moving again," he said. "I also want to be here.
Bend has professional opportunities that appeal to me.
Hales ready to handle growth issues in Bend
Bend OR Bulletin 14Oct01 T2
By Anne Aurand: The Bulletin