Q&A: Malcolm Bowie, Aberdeen Public Works director


You came here from Benton County, have worked eight years in Portland, so you have experience in public works in dry as well as wet climates. What are the challenges in each environment in public works?

The biggest challenges facing public works I have encountered thoughout my career in the Pacific Northwest are deteriorating public infrastructure problems.

You have mentioned the historical ties of several your colleagues to the Harbor with admiration. Are you fascinated by history?

I think it is unusual to meet and work around people that can trace their family tree back five generations in the community you are working in. I find history interesting.

What public works challenge in Aberdeen keeps you awake at night?

So far nothing. The most pressing issue is the wastewater treatment plant outfall pipe.

The contribution for public works has been reduced by the state. How will Aberdeen, with a half million dollar shortfall, take up the slack?

Staff is looking at other capital funding sources (such as) grants and revenue Bonds.

What has been the best and worst use of recent rate hikes affecting water, wastewater, and stormwater treatment?

(The) 2013 utility rate hikes are being utilized to fund operational and maintenance costs. The last rate increases for the local utilities were in 2007. What I would consider a bad use for rate hikes, although necessary, would be, for example, paying a fine from a regulatory agency. Fortunately, the city utilities have had none.

What issue do you hear about most from the public?

Drainage or pothole complaints ;)

Your family seems to mean a lot to you. How do they inform your work, your life?

Yes, I try to keep it balanced.

What is the best food you have encountered in this area? Favorite new outdoor/indoor activity, gadget, app?

The Dungeness Crab.

My most used app is MapMyWalk and my latest is a light meter app.

What road trip or trip do you dream of taking? What music would accompany you on the journey?

Augusta, Georgia to see the Masters.