City Manager


The City Manager performs executive duties for the City, applying the policies made by the City Council.

The City Manager oversees the City Departments, expends funds as authorized, makes recommendations to the Council, and keeps them up to date on the City's business and financial condition. Effectively implements policies and programs approved by the Council, keeping them informed on current plans and activities of the administration, including new developments.  

The City Manager administers all aspects of the day-to-day management of the city, bridging the gap between policy and administration, and assuring all city departments operate efficiently.  Also maintains intergovernmental relations and educates the public on City programs and operations.  

City Manager, Jesse VanderZanden

Jesse VanderZanden grew up on a farm, six miles east of Forest Grove.  He attended West Union Grad School, Evergreen Junior High, and Glencoe High School.  He later attended Oregon State University and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a double major in Human Resource Management and Marketing.  Jesse came to Forest Grove often in his youth.  "We had family here.  One of my fondest memories was a milkshake at Scotty's after a long day on the farm."

Jesse began his career with U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield in Washington, D.C., specializing in agriculture and transportation.  He then worked for Tri-Met as a Legislative Liaison, helping to usher in the Westside Light Rail.  He returned to agriculture as the NW Regional Manager for the Oregon Farm Bureau, focusing on metro area land use and transportation.  After Gordon Smith won the election to the U.S. Senate in 1996, Jesse worked for him as a Field Manager in the metro area covering transportation, natural resources, and appropriations.  

Jesse moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, with his wife Amy, an Air Force Officer, after she was assigned there.  He was appointed Airport Manager of Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) by four successive Governors.  FAI had many of the same characteristics as a city with 113 employees and its own Police, Fire, Maintenance, Operations, Engineering, Environmental, Permitting, Leasing, Business Development, and Finance Departments.  

During his tenure, Jesse oversaw $250 million in capital improvements, a $16 million operating budget, 113 employees, and increases in business development such as passengers, numbers of airlines and flights, and lease revenue.  He oversaw several large-scale capital projects such as a $92 million passenger terminal, a $28 million police and fire building, and a new airfield.  Jesse is especially proud of the passenger terminal which won local, state, and national awards.  

Jesse started with the City of Forest Grove on August 31, 2015, after moving with his wife Amy, son Braedon, and daughter Emma from Fairbanks, Alaska.  Jesse is active in the community and enjoys family time, coaching, reading, and the outdoors.  "Forest Grove is the envy of many communities; good people, good services, and a friendly spirit.  It's also blessed with some extraordinary people and employees, and I look forward to coming to work every day towards building upon its success."