City management is in Eppley blood

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City Manager Chris Eppley ended up following in his father’s footsteps, even though it was the last thing he wanted once upon a time. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

City Manager Chris Eppley ended up following in his father’s footsteps, even though it was the last thing he wanted once upon a time. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Chris Eppley didn’t want to be like his dad.

But that 1.86 GPA in his first quarter at Oregon State University changed his trajectory.

As a result, Eppley became a city manager.

Just like his dad.

“When I went to OSU, I started as a civil engineer,” Eppley said. “I wanted to do anything but city manager. I was shy to get into the business. My parents had gotten divorced and I feared me becoming a city manager would upset my mom. I was bound and determined to be anything but (my dad). But too much of my dad rubbed off on me.”

When Eppley was born, his dad was finishing up his Master in Public Administration (MPA) degree at the University of Kansas. Eppley was three when the family moved to Oregon, as his dad became city manager in Lake Oswego. He grew up in Lake Oswego, staying there after his parents divorced and both remarried. His dad worked for the state of Oregon, then took a city manager job in Texas and eventually one in Illinois.

While in high school and college, Eppley would spend summers with his dad, working all summer and saving money so he didn’t have to work during the school year.

Entering OSU, Eppley got into Navy ROTC.

“They strongly encouraged you to be an engineer,” Eppley said. “I didn’t mind the math and science, but I hated the engineering classes. I got a 1.86 GPA my first quarter. That scared me. I was flunking out of school. When you get below a 2.0 GPA, you have to have ‘the talk’ with your advisor. My advisor asked what I was going to do. I said I would go into political science and he signed off on it. I never looked back.”

Eppley never dropped below a 3.0 GPA after that first quarter, as he found his new courses more to his liking.


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