Portland’s long-serving planning director, Alex Jaegerman, is set to leave City Hall to become the new planning director in Yarmouth.

He will start his new job in mid-July.

Jaegerman worked in City Hall for 34 years, starting his career in Portland after earning a master’s degree in planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I came straight out of grad school, so I’ve had a one-job career,” Jaegerman said. “I’m interested in diversifying a little bit. It seems the time is right to move on: The city is in great shape, there are lots of plans in effect, and we’ve achieved a lot of our objectives over the years. It’s just an opportunity to try something different.”

Jaegerman said he always considered Yarmouth a charming town and “one of the nicest communities” around Portland. “They happen to need a planner at the moment, so I explored that and it worked out as the next chapter in my career.”

Nat Tupper, Yarmouth’s town manager, said in a news release that Jaegerman will bring extensive experience in planning and development review to the suburban town, which has been facing growth pressures and potential traffic realignment along Route 1.

“His management style, team leadership and communication skills to find consensus among participants and work through conflicts to reach agreement is paramount to Yarmouth,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have someone of his caliber here in Yarmouth.”

Jaegerman is the latest in a series of administrators to leave the city over the last year, including the city manager, finance director, and health and human services director. Jaegerman said he’s confident that the planning office is in good hands and will continue to do good work.

Portland’s director of planning and urban development, Jeff Levine, oversees the planning division and called the departure of Jaegerman a great loss to the city.

“Alex is a stalwart of the planning profession,” he said. “He’s known and respected nationally for the work he’s done in Portland. We’re certainly going to miss Alex.”

Jaegerman, 61, was originally hired by Joe Gray, the previous longtime planning director who retired as city manager.

“He has excellent vision,” Gray said about Jaegerman. “Very well-versed in theory, he also understands the practicality of applying that to real-world issues. I had the privilege of hiring him as a member of the planning staff and eventually, because of the talent and creativity he had, we promoted him to be planning director. For many, many years he has overseen the city’s planning and development efforts.”

Jaegerman points to the rejuvenation of downtown Portland as a personal highlight of his time in Portland.

“Back in the late ’80s and ’90s, there were areas of downtown that were not really prospering,” he said. “We worked on creating the arts district for downtown and Congress Street, and worked to put new lights in the sidewalks and make Portland a more attractive place. Last year we got an award from the American Planning Association recognizing Congress Street as a ‘Great Street’ – one of 10 in the country. From where it started, that’s a pretty big transformation.”

Jaegerman’s annual salary in Portland is about $94,000, according to the city’s spokeswoman. He will earn $74,000 in Yarmouth, Tupper said.

Sam Norman can be contacted at 791-6366 or at:

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