Michael Henderson poses for a portrait Wednesday at Dresden Town Hall. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

DRESDEN — Michael Henderson, the Dresden town administrator, is moving to Portland.

No, not in Maine. He will be making the move back to his home of Portland, Oregon.

Michael Henderson poses for a portrait Wednesday at Dresden Town Hall. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The complications of the pandemic has prompted Henderson and his partner to move back, closer to their parents.

“We have been away from our families for a long time, and we are hoping to settle down closer to them,” he said. “Right now, we are like 12 hours door to door to seeing any parents. It’s difficult in a year like this when travel is even harder.”

He lived in Maine for around four months before he found the job in Dresden, he said.

“It was the right place at the right time,” Henderson said of the position that he has held for three years.

Henderson, 28, originally from Washington state, went to college at Bellevue University, just outside of Seattle, and received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. After that, he worked in housing administration at Portland University in Oregon, while he received a master’s degree in public administration.

So the switch to small-town Dresden was a drastic one, Henderson said, who made the move with his partner as she planned to complete school in Maine to become a physician assistant. In his first months in Maine, he had an internship in Kennebunk to finish up his masters degree.

“I worked in downtown Portland, Oregon, and went straight to rural Maine,” he said. “There is a different scale. Portland University is the largest university in Oregon and has around 28,000 undergraduates, versus going to a town of 1,700, there is a vast difference in terms of the size of population you’re working with.”

But working in a small town gave him great experience, he said, as he prepares to work in local government in the West.

“The board (of selectmen) has been great, giving me a lot of autonomy and … the responsibility to get stuff done,” Henderson said. “They have guided me and given me a lot of good advise.”

He added that the people of Dresden have been great to work with. They accepted having a person from “away” come in and be the town administrator, admitting that he knows sometimes it can be “something new.”

As a town administrator, Henderson’s daily tasks range from running the day-to-day town operations, to doing the town’s accounting. The 2020 appropriation for the administrator position is $46,500 annually.

He also supports and supervises the town clerk, who manages elections and town licenses. “I’ve always wanted to solve problems and help people,” he said. “I’ve seen how so much can be done at the local government level.”

His new job isn’t exactly the same as his current job. He will still be working in local government but with more of a focus in accounting than administrative duties.

The town is in the process of hiring a new administrator, and Henderson is helping with the process and transition for the new hire.

As of now, the spot hasn’t been filled, but advertisements for the spot went out around a month ago. The position is expected to be filled by the end of the year.

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