Pendleton found the next person to lead its parks and recreation family in Sisters.
In a press release, the city announced it will hire Liam Hughes, the executive director of the Sisters Parks and Recreation District, as the next director of the Pendleton Parks and Recreation Department.
City Manager Robb Corbett touted Hughes’ experience in Sisters, a growing community of 2,000 people about 20 miles north of Bend.
In an interview Thursday, Hughes said Sisters’ system is heavy on recreation but light on parks. He said he is excited to work in a place with as many parks and facilities as Pendleton.
“Liam will be a great fit for Pendleton,” Corbett said in a statement. “We want to grow our recreation programs available to the community and improve our ability to efficiently maintain our parks and other public places. In his current position, he walked into a financially difficult situation and completely turned it around using very innovative ideas.”
Hughes was picked out of 21 other candidates from across the country to lead the department, which oversees a combined $2.7 million budget from the general fund and approximately 29 positions. In addition to 22 parks, the department is responsible for operating and maintaining the Pendleton Recreation Center, the Pendleton Aquatic Center and Olney Cemetery.
Hughes replaces Donnie Cook, who is retiring from the director job after 26 years with the department, the last two as director.
A native of Essex, England, Hughes graduated from Oregon State University and has previous experience with the Newport Parks and Recreation Department. He spent the past four years leading the Sisters Parks and Recreation District and has served on the board of the Oregon Recreation and Park Association as president of the recreational sports section.
Hughes is expected to start Feb. 1 and will earn $80,268 to start.