City News

Longtime Salem public works director to retire

Salem’s Director of Public Works, Peter Fernandez, is retiring after 28 years working for the city of Salem.

Fernandez made the announcement Monday, saying he would retire effective Jan. 6. 

The department plans and maintains city infrastructure, including roads, the water supply and wastewater treatment.

“As Public Works Director I have wide purview of how the City’s urban form is developed through its infrastructure and parks system. In looking back at my career, I can say without reservation that being Salem Public Works Director has been my dream job,” he wrote in his resignation letter to the city.

Fernandez has been the public works director since 2007. He’s led the city’s infrastructure efforts during a time of substantial growth for the state’s capital, including major improvements to Riverfront Park.

Fernandez’s tenure also included overseeing the city’s last major package to improve city streets, which voters approved in 2008.

In the November election, Salem passed a $300 million infrastructure bond allocating significant funding – $157 million – to streets and sidewalks over the next decade. The department is also expected to move into a new $39 million building in 2023.

“We have enjoyed many successes together during my tenure as Director. Thank you all for your hard work in making it possible. The department is in a good place and in good hands,” he said in the statement.

Peter Fernandez (via LinkedIn)

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.