Former county board chair is roasted and toasted
Andy Duyck was slightly roasted — but mostly toasted — at Washington County's official farewell to his 24 years on the county board, the past eight as board chairman.
The reception took place Thursday, Jan. 24, at Pacific University in Forest Grove, near Duyck's home community of Verboort, where he continues to run the family machine shop he founded more than 35 years ago.
"Retirement parties are like eulogies when you are still alive to hear them," said Jill Eiland, now of The Gallatin Group, and formerly director of public affairs at Intel/Oregon and Portland General Electric, two of the county's three largest property taxpayers.
California-based Intel also is Washington County's and Oregon's largest private employer with 20,000 workers at the end of 2017. Intel has invested $25 billion since 1974, and has signed agreements with the county pledging billions more.
"I think Andy appreciates the economic effects that Intel, Nike and so many other companies have on the regional economy and still do," Eiland said.
Joe Wessels of Verboort offered a different perspective on Duyck, who left public office Jan. 7 after 16 years as a commissioner from District 4 (west) and eight years as the board chairman elected countywide.
"I confess I do not know Andy Duyck, the commission chairman, well," Wessels said. "But I do know Andy Duyck as a good friend and the brother I never had."
In 2016, a machine broke down while volunteers were grinding some of the 30,000 pounds of meat consumed in the annual Verboort Sausage Festival, which raises money for the Visitation Catholic Church. The machine's manufacturer was long out of business, so it required a custom-made part.
The church is across the road from Duyck Machine Shop — and the sausage-making site was a short distance away.
"Andy took the part, went over to his machine shop, and without having run the equipment for years because he was busy working with the county, he began to make a part," Wessels said.
"He told me later he said a quick prayer asking for guidance … and that divine intervention certainly helped as a heavy metal lathe went to work."
The part was finished in an hour, Duyck installed it in the grinder, and the volunteer crew went back to work.
"The sausage festival went off without any further mishaps or delays," Wessels said. "The meat grinder continues to work well to this day."
Tributes came from Tom Brian of Tigard and Kathryn Harrington of Beaverton — Duyck's predecessor and successor as board chair — and Washington County Administrator Bob Davis, who has held that job since 2006.
Brian was elected board chair in 1998, four years after Duyck joined the board, and Duyck succeeded him in the 2010 election.
"I think he is a cousin to about half of western Washington County," Brian said jokingly, but added: "He is the type of person that the public hopes for in our elected officials."
Although Harrington was not Duyck's choice for a successor — Duyck endorsed Bob Terry, who won Duyck's District 4 commissioner position in 2010 but lost to Harrington Nov. 6 — she praised Duyck for a smooth transition to a board with three new members for the first time in 24 years.
"I know I have big shoes to fill and an incredible character to stand up against. But I've had nothing but support from him along the way," Harrington said.
"I'm sorry to disappoint some of you who think there was going to be a radical change and were all fearful. But It's nothing like that at all."
While Harrington was critical of some county policies during the 2018 campaign, she generally avoided making it personal.
Davis presented Duyck with a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol in Washington, D.C., a plaque adding Duyck to the list of recipients of an award named in honor of longtime county employee Donald Mason, and a green street sign with "Duyck Way" on one side and "Thank you" on the other.
Duyck also received awards from the Westside Economic Alliance — its executive director, Pam Treece, is now a commissioner who won Duyck's endorsement last year — and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, whose recently retired chief is Mike Duyck. (Andy Duyck said they have family ties but are not related directly.)
A comedic touch
Commissioner Roy Rogers and his wife, Adrienne, added a lighter touch in the manner of the comedy duo of George Burns and Gracie Allen.
Rogers already had been on the county board 10 years when Duyck joined in 1995 after he ran as a critic of county government.
Adrienne Rogers quoted her husband: "You should see this kid on the board. He doesn't know anything. And he went on and on."
Adrienne Rogers: "I said, oh my gosh, Roy, I just hope he'll just be there four years."
Roy Rogers: "That's not exactly what I said." (laughter)
Adrienne Rogers: "We can't let Roy talk very much because he talks all the time. I was just thinking: 24 years. That's a long time for somebody to be on the board. Who in their right mind would ever be on the board 24 years?" (laughter)
Rogers, who now has been on the board 34 years, offered a serious tribute to Duyck.
"You know he is humble about what he does," Rogers said. "He doesn't take a lot of credit. He was quick to share it with all of us on the board, and he was appreciative of staff as well.
"I can tell people that the county changed you — and you in turn changed the county for the better."
Also at the reception were all of the commissioners during Duyck's eight years as board chair, Sheriff Pat Garrett, District Attorney Kevin Barton, former Mayors John Cook of Tigard and Lou Ogden of Tualatin. Among the numerous family members were his wife, Patty; his sister and campaign treasurer, Brigetta Martell; his father, Edmund, and five of his seven children. Duyck has nine grandchildren, and he said a tenth is due soon.
Duyck will be a public member of the Fair Board and the advisory commission for Clean Water Services, an agency overseen by the county board, but separate from county government.
"All good things have to come to an end," he said. "I have been pleased to serve this county. I believe I left it in good hands and it will continue."
Duyck also said the successes of county government in the past quarter century are shared.
"So much of the adulation that was given to me tonight, I could not have done this alone," he said. "I may have been the chair of Washington County, but we all know this is a team effort.
"They made these things happen as much as I did."