The Portland City Council appointed interim City Manager Danielle West to the permanent position Monday night, closing a period of roughly a year and a half where she held the interim label.
West was one of three finalists named for the job after a national search conducted by an outside firm hired by the city. She is the first woman to serve in the position in Portland’s history.
West’s contract is slated for three years and she will make $210,000 for an annual base salary, according to a city statement Wednesday.
“I’ve emphasized a commitment to communication, transparency, and relationship-building during my time as interim and I look forward to continuing with those commitments,” West was quoted in the announcement.
Originally from New York, West has lived in Portland for more than 20 years, and has worked with the city since 2008. Prior to assuming the interim manager job, she was the city’s top lawyer since 2013. She took over the manager’s position on Nov. 1, 2021 when former City Manager Jon Jennings resigned to accept a manager position in Clearwater, Florida, though he was later fired.
One reason for the lengthy delay in naming a new manager was the uncertain role West inherited in 2021. At the time, the manager’s duties, powers and role were under scrutiny from the public, and a voter-approved Charter Commission had made a recommendation to reduce the scope of the city manager position to be less involved with crafting policy and be more of an administrative job.
West had previously said she would not have been interested in the job had that Charter revision recommendation been successful. It ultimately failed at the ballot box.
The other two finalists for the job were John Curp, a former interim city manager of Cincinnati, and Alex McIntyre, a former interim city manager of San Bruno, California. The city received 77 applications for the position.
In the city’s announcement last week, Mayor Kate Snyder praised West’s capabilities, adding she had served Portland “extremely well” during an interim period which lasted longer than most had expected.
“Her expertise and institutional knowledge helped provide city employees with effective leadership and helped the Council tackle a wide range of critical issues and challenges,” Snyder said.