NATIVE SON TO BECOME ENTERPRISE POLICE CHIEF

February 12, 2002 12:00 am

By Bill Rautenstrauch

For the Observer

The Enterprise City Council Monday hired a native son as the citys new police chief.

Councilor Everett Roberts forwarded the police committees recommendation that Wes Kilgore, who had made stops along the way in La Grande and Pendleton, be hired to fill the position that was vacated when Donavon Shaw retired last July.

With little discussion, the council moved to accept the recommendation.

Kilgore of Pendleton and Janet Bailey of Enterprise were the two finalists for the position. Bailey thanked the council for considering her. Kilgore was not present.

Roger Wagner, a long-time Enterprise police officer, has served as acting chief since Shaw stepped down. Wagner did not apply for the permanent job.

Kilgore, 35, was born in Enterprise and is a graduate of Enterprise High School. He has an associates degree in criminal justice from Blue Mountain Community College.

In 1993, he went to work as a patrolman for the La Grande Police Department. In 1998, his wife, Sherri, completed her college education and found employment in Pendleton. The couple made an agreement that should a similar job come open for her in the La Grande area, she would take it, and also that Wes would apply for a policemans job in Pendleton if one became available.

It happened that two weeks after we made the agreement, a job did open in Pendleton, said Kilgore, who was contacted by phone Monday night.

Kilgore became a detective for the Pendleton Police Department and worked in that capacity until last year, when he was hired by the Umatilla County Sheriffs Department as administrator of the county jail.

Kilgore said he is pleased with the opportunity to work in law enforcement in Enterprise.

It was always a dream of mine to be police chief of my hometown, he said.

Kilgore said he plans to work to ensure that officers get a fair shake in their efforts in enforcing the law.

The Kilgores have two preschool children, daughter Addie, 3, and son Kade, 1.

Theyre another reason were looking forward to moving to Enterprise, Kilgore said. Thats a good environment for kids.

Much of the rest of the councils discussion Monday centered on the city-owned swimming pool, which is in poor repair and did not operate last summer.

Mayor Susan Roberts presented the council with a study recently completed by ORB Organization, an architectural engineering firm that specializes in swimming pools. The $9,000 study noted that of 222 state rules regarding public pools and bath houses, the local facility does not comply with 111 of them.

Were looking at a considerable amount of money to get it back in shape, between $1.2 and $1.6 million, said Roberts.

Operation of the pool in the past has been paid for out of the citys general fund. There isnt nearly enough money on hand for the repairs, Roberts said. She added that raising the money is a difficult proposition.

With the economy the way it is, I dont think people would vote for a tax hike, the mayor said.

Roberts said the council needs to look at many options, ranging from partnering with county government, to enlisting the aid of the Enterprise Hometown Improvement Group, to shutting the pool down permanently.

We may want to think about closing it and creating something else for kids to go to and do and enjoy, she said.

She said after the meeting the pool will remain closed this

summer.