City of Ashland announces new Parks & Recreation Director

ASHLAND, Ore. – The City of Ashland is announcing a new director for its Parks & Recreation Department.

Rocky Houston, a southern Oregon native, will be taking on the role beginning in July. He calls it an honor to be able to serve the City of Ashland.

“The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission has been working to meet the community’s recreational needs for 115 years. That legacy of community engagement and support was a draw for me,” Houston said. “As a native southern Oregonian, it is great to be back. I look forward to working with you, the community, to continue the legacy of developing and managing premier recreational programming, active adult programming and recreational facilities.”

The city says Houston has extensive experience in natural resource management, managing budgets, coordinating staff activities and overseeing real property transactions and forestry management.

Since 2021, he served as the Parks & Lands Division Manager for Clark County Public Works, during which he oversaw 13,000 acres of natural areas and developed parks, managed a budget of $40 million as well as heading a team of 96 employees.

Additionally he instituted several initiatives including the Greater Clark Parks District, Regional Parks system, Parks Planning and Development Program, Noxious Weeds Program, Conservation Futures Program, Forestry Program and Short Line Railroad.

Prior to this role from 2016 to 2021, Houston worked for Douglas County as the Parks Department Director & Lands Department Director. And from 2004 through 2016, he was the State Trails Coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Houston holds an Executive Masters of Public Administration from Portland State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in History and Psychology from Western Oregon University.

“The City of Ashland is thrilled to welcome Rocky Houston as our new Parks & Recreation Director. His extensive background and leadership skills will greatly benefit our community,” said the Human Resource Director, Molly Taylor.

Houston will succeed Interim Parks Director Leslie Eldridge, who served from July 2023 through June 2024. Eldridge stepped in following the tenure of Michael Black, who led the Parks and Recreation Department for over nine years.

Read more about Rocky Houston on the City of Ashland’s website.

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