FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
For information contact: Steve Taylor
Kelso, WA – May 31, 2019
City of Kelso Appoints Darr Kirk as Next Police Chief
The City of Kelso is pleased to announce the selection of Darr Kirk as its next Police Chief effective June 1st. The appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Andrew Hamilton in April of this year.
Chief Kirk is a 26-year veteran of the Kelso Police Department (KPD) and began his law enforcement career in Kelso in 1993. Kirk has served in nearly every functional law enforcement role in the department including patrol officer, detective for the Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force, Kelso High School Resource Officer and patrol sergeant. For the past ten years, he has held the position of KPD Captain, and served as a SWAT Commander and unarmed force instructor. He was named Interim Police Chief in April upon the departure of Chief Hamilton.
“It is my distinct pleasure to appoint Darr Kirk as Kelso’s next police chief,” said City Manager Steve Taylor. “Chief Kirk’s breadth of experience within law enforcement and exemplary service within the department has thoroughly prepared him to succeed in this new role. Darr will carry on the department’s legacy of quality service and community involvement, and maintain the culture of professionalism within the ranks of our public safety officers.”
Chief Kirk has an extensive record of community involvement through his leadership on numerous committees and as a youth sports coach for twelve years. He was appointed to a vacant director position on the Kelso School Board in January 2019. Kirk is a 1987 Camas High School Graduate and attended Clark Community College in Vancouver for one year. He subsequently attended Washington State University and graduated in 1992 with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Chief Kirk has been married to Melissa for over 20 years and they have two children, Kahler (17) and Riley (15). He is an outdoors enthusiast and enjoys spending time with his family.
Chief Kirk considers it an honor to serve the Kelso Police Department professionals and the Kelso Community.
1st Annual Clean Up Downtown Kelso
June 1, 2019 * 9AM - 11 AM
Help us clean up Downtown Kelso! We will meet at the Grounds for Opportunity for coffee and to hand out vests, grabbers and bags to divide and conquer!
Park Board Meeting
Thursday May 16, 2019
1:00 p.m.- Council Chambers
Haussler Road Pavement Repairs
Beginning May 13 and ending May 31, sections of Haussler Road will be closed for road repairs between Lowrane Drive and Highland Park Drive. Haussler will be open from Friday evening until Monday morning each weekend throughout the duration of the project. The road work will repair sections of Haussler Road that have settled as a result of land movement. Advanced Excavation Specialists LLC will complete the work under contract with the City of Kelso. During the road closures, traffic will be detoured.
If you have questions about the project, contact Paul Klope, 360-423-6590 X3322.
GRADE St, 4th Av, 5th Av, Oak St
STREET AND LANE CLOSURES FOR STRIPING May 6 - 8
Beginning May 6 at 8 am and running through May 8, the City’s contractor will be striping Grade St, Oak St to 13th St, 4th Av, Academy St to Oak St, 5th Av, Allen St to Oak St and Oak St, 4th Av to 5th Av. There will be periodic street closures on Grade St at Ash, on Oak, 4th to 5th and on 5th, Oak to Allen. There will also be periodic lane closures on Grade, Oak to 13th and on 4th, Academy to Oak. Detours will be signed. This is the final phase of work to complete the Grade Street, 4th and 5th Rechannelization project. Motorists should take alternative routes during this time.
City of Kelso
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
For information contact: Steve Taylor
Kelso, Washington – April 30, 2019
Kelso Police Chief Andrew Hamilton Announces Retirement
Kelso Police Chief Andrew Hamilton has announced his retirement from the City effective April 30th, 2019. His retirement letter was accompanied by the statement below:
“Based on current events over the last couple weeks, I’ve discussed with my wife future plans and realize that now would be a great time for me to retire. I’ve had a number of role models since working at the Kelso Police Department that made me the person, police officer, and chief I am today. Several decades ago, I remember my friend and mentor Chief Steve Scibelli personally calling me to tell me that he was retiring. At that time, I was devastated, but he explained to me that it is good to have growth within the police department and his retirement would allow the department to grow. Today, as I make this decision, I share the same truth that Chief Scibelli shared with me. I’m very proud of the department as a whole and the accomplishments the Kelso Police Department has made under my leadership, and I look forward to the department’s positive growth.
“I started with the Kelso Police Department in November 1987 after serving two years as a reserve police officer for Kelso. Over my 32 years with Kelso Police I’ve worked in every aspect of our department, including patrol, detectives, the Kondro homicide task force, the Narcotics Task Force, and with a number of community policing projects. Working as a police sergeant and captain were also high points in my career. I have always tried to lead by example and I’m proud of the legacy that I am leaving for the next chief. Early in my career while working with the Safe Kids Coalition I received the Governor’s Award from Governor Gary Locke. As part of Safe Kids, I traveled to the White House. Later in my career I was invited a second time to the White House due to my work with the 21st-Century Policing Model.
“Other accomplishments during my law enforcement career include cases that I handled as a detective, and the most memorable were helping victims of child sexual assault. In addition, my work on the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force exposed me to a number of people who later thanked me for treating them professionally, and who later became clean because of the message that I gave them. As a detective it was very gratifying to bring closure to a number of people and families who are affected by the homicides cases I have worked on. I’m also very proud of the partnerships the department has established with our schools, local business, and other agencies.
“As a police professional, I have been involved in the Oregon-Washington Lawmen’s Association where I served as an executive member and past president. I was also appointed by the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission to their hearing panel for law enforcement decertification hearings. Over the past 10 years I served as the presiding member over many of the hearings to hold police officers accountable. Locally, I helped to coordinate the National Night Out event for Kelso Police, and the Citizen’s Academy which partners with other agencies to showcase and teach the community about our difficult professional jobs. Through our partnership with the Kelso School District, I developed and started one of three vocational-type police science high school classes in the State of Washington. Most recently, I have started a partnership with the churches of all religious denominations to communicate and discuss safety within each congregation. “As the chief some of my personal high points included being able to hire and watch the new officers grow into great professional police officers. There is no doubt that the department will prosper and enjoy positive growth moving forward.”
“As the chief of the Kelso Police Department for the last 10 years, it has truly been an honor to work with the great men and women of this department. I often share with the public how blessed I have been as the chief to have such high-quality professionals working for me. After talking with the city manager and advising him of my retirement, I will wait my mandatory 30 days (per the Washington State Department of Retirement System) before I start looking towards my next venture and what my future will bring.
“Chief Hamilton’s selfless service to the Kelso community spanning over three decades is a model for future law enforcement leaders to emulate,” said City Manager Steve Taylor. “His deep ties to the residents and businesses in Kelso made him one of the most effective chiefs in our city’s long history. Andrew’s dedication to public safety and community outreach is second to none, and he leaves behind a department that adheres to the highest level of professionalism.”
City Manager Taylor announced that Captain Darr Kirk will be appointed as the interim Kelso Police Chief effective 5:00 pm on Tuesday 04/30/2019.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
For information contact: Steve Taylor
Kelso, Washington – April 25, 2019
Kelso City Manager Announces Departure in June 2019
Kelso City Manager Steve Taylor is leaving the City’s top executive post on June 30, 2019 to begin
working at the Cowlitz Public Utility District (Cowlitz PUD) as the Director of Regulatory and Regional
Appointed to the city manager position in September 2012, Taylor helped guide the organization
through a series of administrative reforms and infrastructure improvement programs. Working closely
with state legislators and regional stakeholders, he laid the foundation for securing nearly
$50 million in direct appropriations, agency grants and low interest loans for the development and
replacement of key public facilities including the Minor Road Reservoir, South Kelso Railroad Grade
Separation Project, Tam O’Shanter Park Access Improvements and the West Main Street Realignment
Project’s final phase. Taylor also oversaw the City’s finances during the present economic recovery,
which enabled the return of staffing and service levels curtailed by the Great Recession.
“Managing the City of Kelso has been a great honor and the highlight of my career,” Taylor stated in his
resignation letter to the Council. “I am proud of what this Kelso team has accomplished in the past
decade and look forward to witnessing the completion of the numerous projects and initiatives currently
in the pipeline.”
Mayor Nancy Malone expressed her appreciation for Taylor’s leadership and management of the City.
“On behalf of the Council, we wish Steve the best in his new role with the Cowlitz PUD. He leaves Kelso
in a position of strength and has set the table for continued success. Our next step is to begin the search
for a new city manager, and the efforts Steve and the management team have made in building and
sustaining a quality organization will present a rewarding opportunity for interested candidates.”
Taylor came to Kelso after serving as the city administrator in Connell, Washington. Prior to this, he was
elected to the inaugural city council of the newly-incorporated city of Spokane Valley, and he has
worked in a variety of positions in public, private and non-profit organizations over the course of his
career. He participates in the governance of a number of state and local organizations including the
Cowlitz 911 Public Authority, Cowlitz Economic Development Council, Washington Cities Insurance
Authority, Washington City/County Management Association, Municipal Research and Services Center
and Lower Columbia College Head Start Policy Committee. Taylor is a veteran of the United States Air
Force, and he holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics and a Master’s degree in Public
Administration from Eastern Washington University. He is a Credentialed Manager through the
International City/County Management Association. Taylor resides in Longview with his wife and two
Beginning Monday, March 25th, Advanced Excavating Specialists, LLC of Longview, WA, under contract to the City of Kelso, will begin a construction project to improve parking and traffic flow within Tam O’Shanter Park. Construction will occur during daylight hours and should continue through mid-August.
This work will create disruptions to the flow of traffic throughout the park. Detours will redirect traffic around or through the work area. Phased parking lot closures will occur. The City will provide advanced notification of these closures. We will also provide regular updates to the Tam O'Shanter Project Page and the City's Facebook page.
Unfortunately, traffic disruption is an expected consequence of construction. The City will work to minimize any inconveniences. We appreciate your cooperation and patience.
City of Kelso
The Council recommended the linked draft vision statement at its February 19th meeting. As a citizen of the City of Kelso, please feel free to review and submit comments/suggestions on the document linked above not later than March 13th so that a final vision statement can be approved at the March 19th City Council meeting.
The public is invited to attend an Open House for the West Main Street Realignment Ph II project on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm in the Council Chambers at Kelso City Hall. The Open House will provide an opportunity for the public to hear an update on project progress and schedule of future project activities, ask questions, and obtain information related to the proposed design.
More information can be found at https://www.kelso.gov/west-main-realignment-phase-2 . If you have questions or would like to provide comments, contact the City’s Project Manager, Tom Walsh, at 360.747.8996 or WestMain@kelso.gov.