Editors Note: Our City has lost one of its key leaders. Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Director Dave Miletech has moved on to the big playground in the sky. He will be greatly missed. I am sure many of you have thoughts or memories about Dave. He was energetic and likable, and he cared about kids and people enjoying our parks and recreation. We tangled over the loss of the Chief Kno-Tah statue, and he promised us he would make sure our First People would be honored in a future park or space after the Chief was removed. Recently, we met to discuss the future of the Orenco Woods Nature Park. I led the charge in the private sector to make that park a reality, and Dave and his team at Parks carried the vision we all shared forward – a world-class nature park with something for everyone, including all the critters that live there. Lastly, he popped his head into my office a couple of weeks ago his way to City Hall and expressed his great appreciation and pleasure for my efforts to slow the new Hillsboro Hops Stadium expansion. He told me he preferred that the Ron Tonkin Stadium be remodeled and that Fields 4, 5, and 6 be retained to maintain the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex as it is. In my humble opinion, the current approval, which includes destroying those fields, is against his nature….against who he is. I believe this greatly bothered him in recent months – the Parks and Recreation Commission and various key staff are squarely against what is approved and planned by our City. His sense of equity for all was deeply challenged by this path we are on, and yet he balanced that with his position and tried to support the new stadium and see the good in it.
Dave was a great man – we may not have always agreed, but he was always cordial, and I am grateful for all he did to make Hillsboro, Oregon, a better place. Please leave your memories and thoughts below. Dave Miletich will be missed.
From the City Of Hillsboro, Oregon Public News Release Page: https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/Home/Components/News/News/15182/4300?fbclid=IwAR3239oHJqoHgCTNN42FEKp4jxcdQVJEe8K7NUpH3xr5dJegAQQmRRzDLbw
Remembering Dave Miletich: Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Director
Dave Miletich, Director of the City of Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department since 2016, died unexpectedly this week while resting at home.
Known for his friendly personality and kindness, his laugh and smile, and his desire to do good, Dave worked for the City of Hillsboro for more than a decade, including three years as Assistant Parks & Recreation Director.
“Our hearts are with Dave’s family, his many friends, City of Hillsboro colleagues, and Parks & Recreation team members as we all grieve this profound loss,” said City Manager Robby Hammond. “Dave loved being a husband, a father, and a grandparent. Among his favorite topics of conversation was time spent with family and friends at community events and on vacations. He also loved serving the community through parks and recreation, and he loved working as part of a team to accomplish great things.”
Dave led the Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department’s more than 300 employees before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic’s darkest days, Dave and colleagues identified creative ways for Hillsboro Parks & Recreation staff to continue to be of great service to the community, helping avoid the need for staff layoffs or furloughs. The availability of Hillsboro’s more than 30 parks helped many to stay active and cope with the mental health issues caused by the pandemic.
With an emphasis on equity and inclusion, Dave was passionate about serving the underserved within the community and providing outstanding parks and recreation experiences for all community members.
“Dave was a friend and champion for the Latino community,” said Jaime Miranda, owner of M&M Marketplace. “His commitment to equity and inclusion came from the heart. He wanted to ensure everyone in the community had access to recreation and that was inspiring. Dave was loved and will be missed dearly. It’s up to us to continue with his legacy. Hillsboro is a better place because of Dave’s tireless work and dedication.”
In recent years, Dave helped launch the City’s programming partnership with M&M Marketplace, as well as the creation of a financial assistance program, and the development of inclusive hiring practices that provided more job opportunities for supported staff experiencing disabilities. Dave was one of the driving forces behind the work that led to the City of Hillsboro’s 2022 recognition as Public Employer of the Year from the Oregon Resource Association.
“Dave understood that arts and culture are key contributors to our quality of life and fit perfectly within the concept of recreation,” said Nancy Nye, Senior Parks & Recreation Manager for Arts, Culture & Events. “His commitment to this philosophy is evidenced not only by our robust Public Art program and the recent murals that can be seen throughout the Cultural Arts District, but also the many fairs and cultural festivals the City supports, like the La Strada de Pastelli chalk art festival and the El Sol Festival at M&M Marketplace. His legacy will live on in these events.”
Dave was instrumental in the planning, construction, and programming for the Hidden Creek Community Center that opened in 2021. He delighted in sharing that the facility is accessible, inclusive, and affordable — and he was one of the strongest advocates for the future addition of a community pool. Dave also championed community engagement in the planning and construction of the fully inclusive park and playground at Hidden Creek Park West, which opened in August 2023.
“Dave made so many lasting contributions to our community, and he took great pride in seeing children and families of all ages and abilities playing and laughing at Hillsboro parks and programs,” said Jeroen Kok, Senior Parks & Recreation Manager.
“There is more work to do to realize the vision that was created under Dave’s leadership, a legacy we will continue to carry in the months and years ahead.”
Before briefly joining the City of Hillsboro in 2010 and returning in 2013, Dave worked for the better part of three decades serving communities in Vancouver, Washington and Clackamas County. Starting as a Recreation Manager for Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation for more than a decade, Dave went on to become the agency’s Assistant Director for 17 years. During that time, he helped lead the planning and construction of the Firstenburg Community Center. Dave also served as the Deputy Director of the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District from 2011 to 2013.
Dave is survived by his wife, their three sons and spouses, his grandchildren, and his extended family.