Astoria’s city engineer will take over after Public Works Director Ken Cook retires at the end of the month.

Jeff Harrington’s promotion was announced Thursday. His first day as Public Works director will be Dec. 1, overseeing the city’s largest department. 

“Jeff has been taking increased responsibility and leadership in the Public Works Department,” City Manager Brett Estes said. “I am confident he has the talent, experience and personality to fill this challenging role.”

Harrington’s promotion leaves Estes with an open city engineer position to fill. The city also remains short two department heads, in the Community Development Department and the Police Department. Interim leaders currently fill these roles. A call for a first round of applications for the Community Development Department director position closes Friday.

Fire Chief Ted Ames retires at the end of the month but has offered to stay on as chief through March, providing Estes more time to find his replacement. 

Harrington has been the city engineer for the past seven years and has stepped in as acting director of the department before. During his time with Astoria, he has led a variety of large projects, including the 17th Street Dock replacement, bridge replacement projects, the closure of the landfill and environmental cleanup at Heritage Square.

Public Works staff are involved in a range of capital improvement projects that include water, sewer, streets and stormwater.

“Those are challenges, and I just like challenges,” Harrington said.

“I’ve been a city engineer for different cities, filled in for a lot of different public works directors over the years,” he added. “With what experience I have behind me, I have a lot to offer in the bigger picture things.”

Harrington began his time in Astoria as the city’s interim city engineer in 2006 and again in 2008, before being hired on permanently in 2010. He also was a consulting engineer — and later a partner — at HLB and Associates in Gearhart, where he served as a contract city engineer for several cities in Clatsop County.

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