Eager to lend a hand: Pete Wall Mount Angel 2015 First Citizen

February 2016 Posted in People
Mount Angel First Citizen Pete Wall.

Mount Angel First Citizen Pete Wall.

By Kristine Thomas

It was midnight in Massachusetts when Mount Angel resident Pete Wall listened to a voice message urging him to call Nann Fleck. Thinking it was too late to return the call, he waited until the next morning.

Wall was certain Fleck was calling about something related to the Mount Angel Police Department, where she works. He didn’t think about her role as leader of the Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce community awards committee.

“When I called her back, she let me know who the chamber had selected to receive the Junior First Citizen, Business of the Year, Distinguished Service, President’s Award and Volunteer award,” Wall said. “I am thinking to myself that this is great, good to know, but couldn’t figure out why she called me until she said, ‘Oh by the way, by a unanimous vote you were chosen as First Citizen.’ Nann definitely set me up.”

Adding it was quite a surprise, Wall, 70, said it is nice to receive the award and he’s grateful to the committee for selecting him.

“I think of all the people who have received the award and not one of them did it for personal recognition,” he said. “They all did it for their community.”

He laughs as he says his reason for volunteering is to “stay busy.”

Wall has dedicated many years to Mount Angel. He was the city manager from 1979 to 1985 and returned in 2009 to step in as temporary city manager and defuse a tense city situation. He organized the recruitment for his replacement and put the city on solid footing.

His volunteer activities include serving as a coach and mentor to many children, including his own. He is the president of the Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce and a Mount Angel City Councilor. He recently retired from the Oktoberfest board of directors and serving as the volunteer booking agent for the Mount Angel Festhalle. Since it opened he has been responsible for showing the building to potential renters and supervising the maintenance. He also serves on the Mount Angel Community Foundation board of directors.

In the nomination, a community member wrote, “Pete has been a faithful supporter of our community for more than 35 years and Mount Angel has truly benefited from his commitment to the community.”

Originally from Massachusetts, Wall found his way to Oregon when he became a student at the University of Oregon. His first city manager job was in Mount Angel, followed by Wilsonville, Hoquiam, Wash., and Toledo. He also served at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. When he retired, he decided to move back to Mount Angel to be close to his twins, Scott and Jeff, and his grandchildren.

“As a city manager, I have worked with people who gave a lot back to their community and they served as good examples,” he said. “Of all the places I lived, Mount Angel was the place I like the best. It’s a very welcoming community.”

Crediting Oktoberfest, Wall said, the festival encourages people to volunteer in their community. “There is a spirit of voluntarism in Mount Angel that I didn’t find in other communities,” he said.

He starts his day be reading articles in about 20 different newspapers on-line. At the time of the interview, he was in the process of adopting a shelter dog.

He’s an enthusiastic University of Oregon Duck fan, something he knows can be a controversial topic in Oregon State territory in Mount Angel. He enjoys attending games and following the teams and says he’s not a stranger to handling differing opinions.

As a city manager and now a city councilor, he has handled feedback on matters ranging from chickens in the city limits to new developments.

“My style of doing things is everyone gets to express their ideas and opinions and no one is ignored,” he said. “Whatever someone is trying to say, it’s important they are listened to.”

Mount Angel City Manger Eileen Stein said Wall has served the Mount Angel in many ways.

“Pete has served the Mount Angel community in so many ways over the years, both professionally and as a volunteer,” Stein said. “Pete has given countless hours of his time, day and night, managing the operations of the Festhalle. This is an excellent selection. Pete is so deserving of this recognition.”

Maureen Ernst, 2010 First Citizen, agrees Wall is deserving of the honor. “Pete Wall is a great chamber president and community leader,” Ernst said. “I personally appreciate all his support and value his friendship.”

Wall said there are many people deserving of the honor.

“I think it is remarkable the level of volunteering in Mount Angel,” Wall said. “(It) is a really nice community and I am proud to be a part of it. I proud of the things we have accomplished for our community.”

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