Housing, transportation and hillside development were among the challenges facing Wilkerson when she took the job in 2001.
"When I started this job I said I would work five years," she said. "One of my goals was pushing the Downtown Specific Plan."
She also named the historic district guidelines and updating multi-family zoning as her major accomplishments. The Downtown Specific Plan, which the council was scheduled to vote on Tuesday night, set standards for zoning, density and other requirements to shape how the downtown area should look, Wilkerson said.
"I realized that we are a big city," she said. "We really needed a vision for our city."
The new planning director will have his or her hands full with the implementation of the downtown specific plan and seeing to the plan's adoption by the city, she said.
The planning director is appointed by the city manager. In October 2001, the City Council unanimously approved City Manager Jim Starbird's appointment of Wilkerson after a year-long recruitment process.
"She has helped attract and maintain high-quality staff," Starbird said.
It is increasingly difficult to find qualified individuals to appoint to city positions, he added.
"It's getting tighter out there," he said. "Then again, we haven't been in the market for five years."
Before taking the position, Wilkerson was a self-employed consulting planner and lecturer at Portland State University. She had previously worked as director of growth management for the Metro-Portland area, as community development director for the city of Beaverton, Ore., and as head of planning for the city of North York, Canada, which is now part of Toronto.
Wilkerson replaced John McKenna, who served as planning director for 12 years before retiring.
Her time in office was relatively short, but Wilkerson said she is optimistic about the future of the city.
"It's good to have new people in planning," she said. "It brings new ideas and new energy."