Executive Director's OfficePortrait of smiling man against natural background. He has brown hair and beard and is wearing a maroon tie, blue shirt, and brown plaid vest. His name is Michael Wargo.

The executive director's office encompasses:

  • District vision
  • Legislative affairs
  • Organizational structure
Michael Wargo became Willamalane’s executive director in 2018. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from The College of New Jersey and a master’s degree in Education and Sports Management from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. He has more than 25 years of experience in athletics, parks, and recreation has worked in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana prior to moving to Oregon in 2016. He enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two sons, and three dogs.

Portrait of a smiling woman against a natural background. She has blonde hair and is wearing black rimmed glasses, a red shirt, a black sweater, and a Willamalane lanyard. Her name is Jo Schutte.The operations analyst role encompasses:

  • High-level administrative support to the executive director, management team, and the board of directors
  • Liaison between the executive director's office and the public
  • Project management
Jo Schutte became the operations analyst in 2018. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Alaska - Fairbanks. She has over 25 years of experience working in administrative support, human resources, and special event planning. Jo enjoys gardening, camping, MIG welding, building things, working, and spending time on her family's farm, and she especially loves spending time with her husband and son.

Portrait of a smiling man against a natural background. He is wearing a blue shirt and blue vest. His name is Eric Adams.Planning, Parks, and Facilities

The Planning, Parks & Facilities Division encompasses:

  • Natural resource stewardship and maintenance of 46 parks and natural areas totaling nearly 1,500 acres, with 10 waterfront areas, 29 miles of hiking and biking trails, 4 synthetic sports fields and 27 playgrounds.
  • Care and maintenance of five recreation facilities: Two pools, two community centers, and a mini golf park.
  • Planning and development work with district residents and regional agencies to meet the park and natural area needs of our community.

Eric Adams became the parks, planning, and facilities director in 2018. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Minnesota State University. He has had more than 20 years of experience in land use planning and urban development prior to joining the Willamalane team in 2017. Eric’s passions include cycling, running, and enjoying the natural beauty of Oregon with his family.

Dark haired man with a beard and tan sweaterRecreation Services Division

The Recreation Services Division encompasses:

Jase Newton became the recreation services director in 2020.  He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Oregon, and 12 years of professional experience in Parks and Recreation.  Jase previously worked as a Facilities Director and Superintendent in Washington and Oregon and began his career at Willamalane while attending college.  He enjoys partaking in fishing, hiking, and all other outdoor activities with his family during his free time.

Portrait of a smiling woman with blonde hair against a natural background. Her name is Betty Nielsen.Finance

The Finance Division encompasses:

  • Cash management/Investing
  • Annual budget and audit
  • Payroll
  • Financial and Accounting transactions
Betty Nielsen became the chief financial officer in 2021. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Accounting from Portland State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration/Executive Leadership. She has more than 30 years of audit, governmental accounting, and budgeting experience in Washington and Oregon including prior experience at Tacoma Parks District. She is a CPA in both Washington and Oregon. Betty enjoys spending time with her family and junk hunt shopping.

Portrait of a smiling woman against a natural background. She has long brown hair and is wearing a silver necklace and striped blouse. Her name is Melissa Taxara.Human Resources

The Human Resources Division encompasses:

  • Human resources, including recruitment, hiring, and benefits administration. All available positions are posted on the website.
  •  Employee relations, wellness, and employee engagement.
  • Risk management, including occupational and program safety instruction and mitigation of safety issues.
  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department.

Melissa Taxara became the human resources director in 2021. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from California State University, Chico. She has over nine years of experience working in Human Resources in both the private and public sectors. Melissa’s passions include playing volleyball, hiking, plants, and gardening, and exploring new places with her family.

Portrait of smiling man with brown hair against natural background. He is wearing a blue shirt and a black vest with the Willamalane logo. His name is Kenny Weigandt.Community Engagement

The Community Engagement Department encompasses:

  • Marketing and communications.
  • Public affairs.
  • Resource development.
  • The 1PASS program.
  • Internal communication.
Kenny Weigandt joined Willamalane in 2018 and became the community engagement director in 2022. He is a proud Oregon Duck and has a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He has about 14 years of experience in marketing and communication in a variety of industries but has found his true passion with parks and recreation. Kenny’s favorite pastimes include kayaking, running, hiking, basketball, and spending time with his (wild and crazy) family.

Photo of a smiling man against a neutral background. He has gray hair and mustache and is wearing glasses and a collared shirt. His name is Chuck Dinsfriend.Information Services

The Information Services Department encompasses:

  • Cybersecurity and physical security.
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity.
  • Network system design and management.
  • Asset and budget management.
  • Hardware and software system service, support,  management, and training.
Chuck Dinsfriend became the information technology manager in 2019.  In addition to technical certifications such as ITILv3 and Novell CNE, he holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in business administration. He has over 25 years of experience in IT management within K12 and nonprofit education, working in California, and Arizona, finally arriving in Oregon in 2008.  When he isn’t working on technology, he enjoys spending time with his wife, sons, and grandchildren, playing music, and visiting the Oregon coast.
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