Bob Patterson
Bob Patterson

Public Works Director
Pendleton, Ore.
Employees: 269
Population Served: 17,600
Budget: $14.6 million

Consuming less water consumes Bob Patterson’s work life.

The Oregon State University civil engineering graduate's public works director of an Oregon community that had deplenished groundwater supplies to support growth in a high-desert location that gets just 12 inches of rain every year. After spending more than a decade optimizing the City of Pendleton’s water, wastewater, and stormwater assets, he can rest easy knowing that a billion gallons of water have been returned to the city’s aquifer.

His first step toward achieving that peace of mind was leading a $1.2 million master planning effort. The next was probably the most painful: mapping each network’s assets. Then he added facilities.

Work together to establish common ground.

The city’s new aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) distribution system generates electricity via micro-turbine and regenerative drive technology in five wells. A new filtration plant features a world’s-first siphon design.

Having earned the respect of residents and the city council, Patterson is often a media spokesperson and has monthly live “Coffee Time” radio interviews. He believes it’s important to be direct, humble, honest, respectful, and work diligently toward developing trust.

“Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that we all have our differences,” he says. “We come from different backgrounds, education, professions, family life, community involvement, etc., but we share a passion to improve the community we live in.”