Trish Yerges
The La Grande Observer

After four years without a city ordinance officer, the City of Elgin hired Alex Duffy to carry out the duties of this office.

Duffy, 24, is the son of Elgin Mayor Allan Duffy and a graduate of Elgin High School. He is currently a senior in the accounting program at Eastern Oregon University. After graduation in 2018, he plans to work as a certified public accountant in Union County.

Living at home with his parents, Duffy heard about the city ordinance position and that no one had applied for it.

“I was looking for another part-time job, so this worked out perfectly,” Duffy said. “I love this town. This was a job that was needed, and I figured I could do it.”

Duffy said he is aware that ordinance enforcement can sometimes be met with resistance from city residents, but he’s not deterred by that.

“I knew the reputation (of the job), especially from the last guy who had the position,” he said. “I’ve worked a lot of retail, (and) I’m used to working with people one-on-one. I knew I’d be viewed based on how I dealt with people.”

Duffy said he gained valuable public relations skills while working for three years at Miller’s Home Center and currently at Ace Hardware and Mid-Columbia Bus Company in La Grande as a special needs driver. With this work background, he feels equipped for the challenges that come with this job.

“I went through the application process and there was a formal interview with members of the city council, (who acted as) the hiring committee,” Duffy said.

He was hired July 18 and sworn in at Elgin City Hall on July 26 before City Administrator Brock Eckstein and the mayor. Duffy received his initial training from Eckstein the first couple of weeks, and he has read through all the city ordinances.

“I found (the ordinances) interesting,” he said. “There was one law enforcement ordinance that said, ‘No dueling in the streets,’ but (aside from that) the ordinances stay pretty up to date.”

Currently, Duffy is focused on enforcing three ordinances: cars parked in the right-of-way, overgrown grass that presents a fire hazard and endangerment to the neighborhood, and people living in recreational vehicles without permits on other people’s property.

“People living in RVs can still do that, but they just have to come down to city hall, and there’s a form that has to be filled out that will go to the Planning Commission,” Duffy explained.

See complete story in Monday's Observer