Career Pathways Profile

Robert Spurlock, Oregon Metro Regional Government


Name: Robert Spurlock
: Principal Regional Trails Planner
: Metro Parks and Nature
Yearly pay or salary range
: $100K-149K

How long been in your current position?

15 years

Describe your path into this career and this job.

When I was 16, I led an eagle scout project to rebuild part of a trail in southwest Portland that was destroyed in the '96 flood. In college in worked as a seasonal maintenance worker for Portland Parks, then parlayed that into a trail crew leader position after college. I studied GIS and Urban Planning in college. I worked in the private sector as a land use planner for a year. Then I had two transportation planning gigs, for the City of Portland and for Metro. That's how I got my foot in the door at Metro.

Experience Profile


What specific tasks do you do on an average day in this position?

I develop grant programs; work with the real estate team to buy property rights for trail; write and negotiate intergovernmental agreements; convene stakeholders around long- and short-range trail planning efforts. Relationship building is the most important task. Written communication is also essential.

What do you love about your job?

I love helping to combat climate change and traffic violence. I love being outside. I love bringing people together around common goals.

Do you have any words of advice for those who might be interested in this type of work?

Do lots of networking, informational interviews, internships, volunteer gigs. Develop a set of technical skills, like GIS or Adobe Creative Suite

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Webinars on YouTube that you might like

The Trail Partnership Research Project

Jun 20, 2024

This webinar reviews the findings from a study with the Forest Service and National Park Service discussing the factors that make partnerships more or less successful and provides recommendations to improve current and future partnerships.

Three Ways to Estimate the Economic Impact of Trails and Outdoor Recreation

Jun 13, 2024

This webinar will introduce you to three ways to use research and data to estimate the economic effects of trails and outdoor recreation, plus provide an overview of how to quantify several other types of economic benefits.

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