Durango Assistant City Manager Amber Blake will leave city government later this month for a job with the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Blake, who also served as the transportation and sustainability director for the city, will depart June 25 to join CDOT as the new director of transit and rail.
Blake spent 12 years with the city of Durango, including serving as the city’s interim city manager from October 2019 to October 2020.
She stepped in during a tumultuous period in the city’s history, starting with the contentious departure of former City Manager Ron LeBlanc, which was soon followed by the discovery that the city’s finance director had embezzled more than $700,000 from city coffers, which was then followed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blake was one of two finalist candidates for the city manager position in the fall of 2020, but City Council ultimately hired José Madrigal from Irving, Texas.
“It has been an honor and pleasure to serve the city of Durango and our remarkable community for the last 12 years,” Blake said in a news release. “It has been an outstanding experience working with the staff and Durango businesses and citizens to create positive change in our community year after year.”
As the transit and rail director, Blake will work on the statewide transportation system and building a fully integrated multimodal transportation system that provides efficient and clean modes of travel, she said.
“I would like to thank our citizens, current and past City Councils, community partners and the extraordinary staff at the city,” Blake said. “I look forward to continuing to serve not only our community, but our entire state at a new level.”
Former City Councilor Sweetie Marbury commended Blake for her work in the public comment period during a council meeting Tuesday. She highlighted the large grants Blake secured for the city, her award-winning work and her leadership.
Madrigal also said Blake will be missed in city government.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Amber and places her in a leadership position for the entire state of Colorado,” he said in the news release. “Amber did outstanding work for the city of Durango and especially as interim city manager. To take the leadership reigns (sic) during the height of COVID-19 was a huge task, and Amber really helped keep the organization moving forward.”