CORONAVIRUS, Government, Washington County

John Wheeler named Washington Co. Emergency Management manager

John Wheeler. Photo: Washington County

Coronavirus resources: CDC on the coronavirusOregon Health Authority resourcesWashington County resourcesOregonian reporting on the coronavirusOPB glossary of coronavirus termsNYTimes free reporting on the coronavirus

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Interim Emergency Management manager of Washington County, John Wheeler, has dropped the interim title from his role and will serve as the Emergency Management manager of Washington County.

Wheeler was appointed to the interim role in October 2019, and worked for the county as Emergency Manager supervisor since December 2015. 

According to the county, Wheeler’s new role became official on April 18.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with John Wheeler’s depth of knowledge and vast experience to lead our emergency management team, especially during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Interim County Administrator Stephen Rhodes. “John is highly regarded, not only within our county organization, but throughout the region and clearly demonstrates his ability on a daily basis.”

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Prior to working for Washington County, Wheeler worked for nearly 20 years as Emergency Management coordinator for Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) in Vancouver, Wash. 

While working with CRESA, Wheeler provided response and recovery of a number of disasters, including the Flood of 1996, and assisting in aiding in recovery for other disasters including the 2007 Vernonia Flood and Hurricane Katrina.

Wheeler’s job duties include managing the county’s Emergency Management Program, which is tasked with preparing Washington County for a variety of emergencies, such as, say, a global health pandemic and other emergencies including earthquakes, floods, and storms. 

Wheeler oversees the eight-person Emergency Management Office, which currently has a vacancy in the Emergency Management Supervisor position — Wheeler’s former role until October 2019 — according to county records. 

His duties also include becoming the director of the Washington County Emergency Management Cooperative (EMC), an intergovernmental agency that includes the county, the cities of North Plains, Forest Grove, Cornelius, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, and Sherwood, along with Clean Water Services and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. 

According to a 2015 press release from Washington County when he was hired to fill the Emergency Management supervisor role, Wheeler was born and raised in Washington County, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Oregon.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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