Tim LaPorte never hesitates to tell it like it is in his role as city of Kent Public Works director.
“If they fail, we have poop all over the place and an ecological disaster,” LaPorte said in a 2016 report to the City Council about the need to replace sewer pump stations.
Or this message about the necessity for street repairs.
“The streets are falling apart,” LaPorte said. “They look their best now (in summer) when the sun melts the tar and they heat up. They look their worst in the winter after a thaw. That’s when they look like oatmeal mush.”
LaPorte won’t be delivering those type of lines much longer.
After 31 years with the city, LaPorte will retire effective Oct. 1, Mayor Dana Ralph announced Thursday. LaPorte’s been the Public Works director since 2009 when he replaced Larry Blanchard, who took a similar job with the city of Burien.
“Tim LaPorte has been an important pillar in the city of Kent for a long time,” Ralph said in a statement. “He has led the Public Works Department with intelligence, professionalism and grace, making it a place where employees love to come to work. He has been passionate about his work and committed to providing top notch service to our residents.
“He is a team player who looks at the city as a whole and regularly looks for ways we can better serve our residents. Tim is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met, and it has been an honor to work alongside him.”
LaPorte has worked for the city as a special project engineering supervisor, engineering manager, city engineer and deputy director. In his current role, he oversees more than 10 divisions providing oversight of design, construction, operations and maintenance of roads, water, sewer and infrastructure improvements.
Ralph appointed Deputy Public Works Director Chad Bieren to serve as the interim Public Works director.
“Chad is the right person for the job,” LaPorte said. “As my deputy, he has overseen the engineering division and is up to speed on every project we are working on. He will be able to hit the ground running from day one to ensure residents continue to get exceptional service.”
Bieren will continue to work alongside Deputy Public Works Director Dave Brock, who will continue to oversee operations and maintenance functions within the Public Works Department.
“I have confidence that Chad is the perfect leader to continue Tim’s legacy in our public works department,” Ralph said. “He is smart, has a vision for the department and has built relationships inside and outside of our organization that will be beneficial for the city.”
Bieren was hired in 1991 as a design engineer and was promoted through the ranks of engineer 2, engineering supervisor and was promoted to deputy director in 2010.
“I wish Tim nothing but happiness and new adventures in his retirement,” Ralph said. “I am excited to welcome Chad to his new role as we continue to move Kent forward.”
It could be a challenge, however, for Bieren to describe public works projects as LaPorte does.
“Sloughing is a significant issue, but it’s not a Hollywood-type failure where a levee bursts and water rushes out,” LaPorte said about pieces of a Green River levee slipping into the water when river flows are high.