Astoria’s public works director announced his retirement this morning after 35 years with the city.
Ken Cook started out as a utility worker in 1982 and worked his way up through the ranks. He has served as the public works director for the past 11 years, overseeing a busy department responsible for water treatment and distribution, waste water collection and treatment, street maintenance, engineering services, fleet maintenance for city vehicles, forestry management, city facility maintenance, trolley line maintenance, and mapping with geographic information systems.
Cook also frequently stepped in as acting city manager when City Manager Brett Estes was out of town or otherwise unavailable.
His retirement is effective Nov. 30.
“I’m leaving at a time when the department is at its best and I credit past and present employees for getting us here,” Cook said in a statement. “So many individuals along the way have worked really hard and have been dedicated to this city. I am confident that this is the right time for me to make this transition.”
In past interviews, Cook praised his team, saying he is proud to work with such a collaborative group.
“We are grateful to Ken for his long service to the Public Works Department,” Estes said. “He has led the department in a direction that has allowed the city of Astoria to evolve. We wish him the best in his retirement.”
The announcement comes on the heels of two other department heads leaving: Astoria Police Chief Brad Johnston retired abruptly in August and, last week, Community Development Director Kevin Cronin put in his two weeks’ notice.
Cook’s retirement announcement, however, had been anticipated for some time.