University of Oregon

Community Service Center

The Lone Park Planner

Curious as to where some of our CPW Alum have journeyed to, I decided to look up Steve Rafuse and see how his Alaskan life was going. Steve is a 2013 Community and Regional Planning graduate from the Planning, Public Policy, Management department at the University of Oregon. Having grown up in northern Virginia, Steve now works and plays in Anchorage, Alaska. He landed this opportunity right after graduation for the Municipality of Anchorage, who oversees an annual $5-$15 million budget in planning and capital improvements projects.  As the lone Park Planner, Steve works with public involvement and master planning for the department. 

During his time at the Community Service Center, Steve was first a student with the CPW-Community Planning Workshop (2011-2012) program and then worked as a CPW GTF and Project Manager (2012-2013). Steve believes his experiences as both a student and project manager has been invaluable to his career. “The projects I worked on gave me valuable professional experience and a comfortable space to learn from so that when entering the professional world, I was confident and steps ahead of my peers”, said Steve.

Steve recommends that if you are just starting a job, go with the flow and don’t try to rock the boat. Most public service work requires building trust and developing relationships. “Get to know the lay of the land and save your battles for when it really counts”, he says.

Another thing Steve recommends students must do while in the Community Planning Workshop? “Get the chance to ski with Bob Parker, CPW Program Director. He rips!”

Steve specializes in environmental and natural resource planning, project management and public engagement. Inspired by Anchorage’s unique balance of nature and urban environment, Steve enjoys the endless possibilities for year round recreation available right out his backdoor.

Feel free to check out the Anchorage Parks and Recreation webpage at http://www.muni.org/departments/parks/pages/default.aspx