Salem gets a new deputy manager to oversee community services

Over a three-decade career in local government across several Oregon cities, Scott Archer has developed youth programs and built parks. His career highlight though, he said, has been getting to know people. 

“I’ve done a lot of planning and development and capital projects and pretty substantial things, but honestly the things that I cherish the most at each of my stops are the people and the relationships that I’ve worked with,” he said.

He’ll be getting to know Salem next.

City leaders have selected Archer as deputy city manager for community services, a role overseeing a range of services including parks and recreation, the library, Center 50+ and programs addressing homelessness.

Archer starts on May 22, to help guide preparations for the launch of the city’s new community services department on July 1. The department will aim to increase community involvement in neighborhood associations and city processes, with the goal of improving access to services and livability.

The role is part of the city’s reorganization led by City Manager Keith Stahley, which puts two deputy city managers in charge of the newly created community services and the enterprise services department led by Krishna Namburi.

The maximum salary for the position is $245,148 according to the city of Salem’s job classifications page.

Since late 2020, Archer has worked as city administrator for Canby, a city of 19,000 people in Clackamas County, between Woodburn and Oregon City. Canby is a full-service city, with a public works department, transit system and a library. Archer’s role, like a city manager, oversees city staff, budget and administrative activities.

“I’m very excited about the Salem opportunity,” Archer said. “When you move on, it’s always with a little bit of mixed emotion because I work with a lot of really terrific people in Canby.”

He said that the deputy manager position in Salem was his ideal professional fit, and came at the right time.

“It really hits right at the heart of what my passion is in public service, which is community services, and programs, and activities, and running facilities and just really being involved in the very visible community facing types of things,” Archer said.

Archer has worked in local government for over 30 years, in four cities, a county’s special district and a school district.

His career began in 1991 with a position at the Oregon City School District where he organized youth and community sports and education programming.

He later directed community services in Oregon City, and then parks and recreation in Medford. Before his role in Canby, he spent four years as the director of the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, one of the largest in the state, according to the city’s press release.

Over the years, he said he’s been involved in building community centers, building a large sports park in Medford, and starting new programs.

The hiring process for the Salem deputy city manager position started earlier this year, with initial interviews in February, Archer said.

In his new role, he will report directly to Stahley, who called him the “perfect fit” in the city’s press release.

Archer, who will oversee the city’s shelter planning, said every community of every size is dealing with the sheltering crisis. He said he appreciates the effort the city of Salem is making to address the problem.

“It’s a human issue, and it’s something that I think we all want to find a good solution for in a good, caring and compassionate way but that really finds the right balance of helping people and also helping the community with the issue,” he said. “I’m going to come in with eyes wide open.”

He said that during the hiring process, he went on “field trips” to get to know more of Salem’s parks.

Salem parks will receive $28.4 million over the next decade through the infrastructure bond voters passed in November. He said the existing parks are great, and there are opportunities for growth, though he wants to approach it sustainably.

“You don’t want to just build something and not be prepared to basically take care of it for the lifespan of that facility,” he said. “It’ll be a very fun and challenging opportunity to help the city realize its visions, but also do it in a way that’s sustainable.”

He said sustainability is his focus for existing programs, from the library to Center 50+ and that his new position will help the services find more ways to work on the same team to develop programs and activities together.

“I am really excited to get going here and to know the community and the city better,” he said.

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.