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Vial leaving ODOT for county

The Oregon Department of Transportation's district manager will leave his job to lead Jackson County's roads and parks department.

John Vial announced to ODOT employees Wednesday that he will make the move March 3.

"I've been serving as the district manager for 11 years at ODOT," said Vial, 45, adding that his total time with the agency is 15 years. He said it was time to look for something new, and most other jobs he considered required that he move. The Grants Pass native said he wanted to stay in the Rogue Valley.

His salary with ODOT is $88,200 per year, and his new department head position with the county is $102,086 per year.

Paul Mather, southwest Oregon manager for ODOT, said the agency will miss Vial.

"He's a really great resource," he said.

Mather credits Vial with being able to coordinate the planning, project construction and maintenance arms of the agency.

But the new position only takes Vial down the hall, he said, because ODOT and the county roads and parks share office space out on Antelope Road. Mather added that ODOT and the county have always worked together on road projects and he looks forward to working with Vial who will bring a lot of experience to his position.

Vial said he sees the county's budget shortfalls with the loss of timber funds as challenging, not discouraging.

"The county is facing some interesting challenges in terms of funding," he said, adding that he looks forward to prioritizing the county's needs with what the public wants.

Of his years with ODOT, Vial said he's proud of his work establishing communication lines between his agency and others such as CalTrans and the Oregon State Police.

"When I started we had tremendous coordination and communication issues on the Siskiyou Pass," he said, adding that now all the agencies are handling emergencies more smoothly.

Paul Korbulic retired as director of Jackson County Roads and Parks Department in 2007, and Dale Petrasek has been interim director.

Mather will select an interim district manager for ODOT and expects a new director will be hired in three or four months.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail mlanders@mailtribune.com.