Kurt Corey, City of Eugene Public Works Director, died on Friday, September 15, after battling cancer.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kurt Corey — we will miss him greatly,” said City Manager Jon Ruiz. “He exemplified the public works profession through his dedication to our community and his deep sense of caring for our employees. We have lost a great leader and a friend. Simply put, Kurt made a difference - to his community, colleagues and friends.”
“Kurt embodied everything a public works director should be - a true leader with an exceptional ability to collaborate. He was known for being able to relate to absolutely everyone and would remember someone’s name after one meeting,” Ruiz said.
Corey served as the director of the City’s largest department, Public Works since 2001. He led more than 400 current employees who are responsible for assuring the public health, safety, and welfare of the community. The services Corey oversaw included the airport, maintenance, engineering, parks and open space, transportation, and stormwater and wastewater operations. During his time with the City of Eugene Corey led numerous significant projects and initiatives. They included preserving and improving the city’s infrastructure through two road bonds in 2008 and 2012 totaling nearly $80 million; investing in the future of the community through a park bond approved by voters in 2006, and completing a major expansion of the airport terminal in 2016.
Corey was known nationally for his work and was an active member of the American Public Works Association (APWA). He was recognized by the organization in 2006 as a national top 10 leader of the year. In 2007, he served as the president of the Oregon APWA, and in 2010 he received that organization’s highest honor, the Bowes Award. He was passionate about excellent service delivery, and in 2004 he championed APWA’s accreditation of Eugene Public Works, one of the first public agencies in the nation to earn this recognition.
Corey was a native of Montana and served as the public works director in Billings, Montana, prior to being hired by the City of Eugene. He earned a degree in civil engineering from Oregon State University in 1984, and continued to be a stalwart Beaver fan, even after his move to Eugene. Corey was known for his commitment to community service. He was active in Rotary International and served for many years as a referee for local high school football and basketball games. In 2017, the Oregon Athletic Officials Association named Corey the Football Official of the Year.
American Public Works Association Scholarship Information
A tribute account has been established in Kurt’s name that will provide a scholarship to an engineering student at Oregon State University where Kurt earned his civil engineering degree.
Contributions can be made to:
Oregon APWA Scholastic Foundation
PO Box 6898
Bend, OR 97708