Wills to lead county planning department

Former Linn County Building Official Steve Wills has been promoted to director of the Planning and Building Department, County Administrator Darrin Lane said last week.

“We have observed Steve over the last year in the absence of a Planning and Building director,” Lane said. “We are impressed with his leadership abilities and his desire to see the department succeed.”

Wills, 53, brings more than a dozen years of experience as a building inspector in both Deschutes and Linn counties – as well as several years as a private contractor – to his new role.

“I want people to come into the Planning and Building Department and feel welcome,” he said. “I also want them to get consistent answers from all of us. It’s important that staff have a sense of camaraderie.”

The Albany native is a 1987 graduate of South Albany High School. He worked at Oremet and then with the Albany Trucking Division for Willamette Industries, where he rose to the positions of chip truck dispatcher and maintenance and dispatch supervisor.

From 2002 until 2012, he worked as an independent contractor in Linn County. In 2012, while living in LaPine, he earned his building inspection certification and spent five years as an inspector with Deschutes County.

“We wanted to be closer to family and moved back to Linn County in 2017 and I got a job with Linn County,” Wills said.

Wills said he has enjoyed his work because it offers a broad variety every day.

A Linn County building inspector might inspect a pole barn, home remodel and subdivision all in the same day. (Wills said that the inspection team performs about 40 inspections per day.) There are four full-time and one part-time inspectors.

Rick Goff will take Wills’ former position as the county’s Building Official.

Wills and his wife, Heidi, a realtor, live in Millersburg, and have three grown children and eight grandchildren. They enjoy boating, fishing, old cars and trucks and being with family as well as working around their home.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer