About Ryan O’Larey

Elected Experience:

I am a first-time candidate who loves living in Ferndale and wants to use the skills I’ve gained throughout my career to make Ferndale an even better place for my family and yours.


  • High School – West Albany High, Albany Oregon, 2002 – Valedictorian
  • BS Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering – University of Notre Dame, 2006
  • Winner – 2006 Metcalf & Eddy Wastewater Treatment Design national collegiate competition  

Other Professional Experience:

I’ve had a 13-year career at BP, including the Cherry Point refinery. My career has primarily focused on Environmental Engineering, compliance improvements, Wastewater Treatment Process Engineering, and leading a Wastewater Operations team. I have significant experience with the technology selected for Ferndale’s wastewater treatment plant upgrade. I have had success building trust and working with Federal and local regulatory agencies in support of common sense solutions. I’ve been entrusted to manage budgets of similar size to the City of Ferndale’s and have been successful in doing so.

Community Service:

Fundraising leader and volunteer for Ferndale Cub Scouts, Volunteer for the God Water charity, Presidential campaign volunteer and trainer, Volunteer for the BP employees’ ReachOut charity, Volunteer at Eagleridge Elementary.

Personal Statement:

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. I grew up in Albany, Oregon, which was very similar to Ferndale: it was a relatively even mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; it was near a larger more liberal college city; it was surrounded by both industry and a proud farming community; it was growing quickly; and it struggled to keep pace with infrastructure and traffic needs. I saw the city leadership take bold action and make significant improvements that solved the city’s problems and has allowed it to thrive. After graduating high school as a Valedictorian, I went to the University of Notre Dame. There, I earned a degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on Environmental Engineering and met my wife Chelsea. Together we stayed in Indiana so that I could start my career at the BP Whiting refinery as an Environmental Engineer. Within the first two weeks I told my boss that my goal was to eventually transfer back to the PNW and work at the BP Cherry Point refinery. After being successful in Indiana, Chelsea, my two boys and I were thrilled to be able to move to Ferndale. Since moving, Chelsea’s parents have also decided to move across the country to be a part of Ferndale. This city of ours is fantastic in many ways, which will continue to draw people to it. The City Council needs to be both responsible and bold to ensure that Ferndale continues to thrive. I look forward to helping the Council on that pathway to success.

I consider myself a moderate. However I don’t think that label lends itself to an accurate interpretation of who I am. As an Engineer at heart, I am swayed by logic, data, and facts. My politics are therefore less based on doctrine and more on finding the best solutions. I have an aversion to taking shortcuts, oversimplifying arguments, ignoring data, or looking for enemies. I avoid prejudging the quality of an idea based on where it originated. These are qualities that are essential for a non-partisan City Council position.

At the University of Notre Dame, then while living in Indiana, and throughout my career I’ve often been in the minority as a moderate. My classmates, friends, and coworkers have all been people I respect and enjoy, despite varying degrees of political disagreement. These experiences have allowed me to learn how to listen to opposing points of view and identify common ground. I believe that ideas are most successful when they can build a wide consensus. When people go to their political corners, not only does it prevent effective dialogue, but it has the effect of delaying solutions. Today, great ideas die based solely on their association with a political party. We are in a time where we can no longer afford these delays. Ferndale is fairly evenly divided along political lines. Because of my history of thriving in the middle, I believe that I’m the best candidate to represent the broad array of Ferndale residents on the City Council. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or other, I would greatly appreciate your vote.

Voter Pamphlet Statement:

City Council actions have major impacts on our community. Yet participating in our government isn’t always easy. I commit to more than just being accessible; I will actively seek out your input because I firmly believe your voice adds value.

My wife, two sons, and I all love living in Ferndale. Recently my wife’s parents moved here, so we now have three generations of firmly planted Ferndale roots. I would be thrilled to represent you on the City Council and devote myself to making Ferndale even better.

I believe Ferndale can be a city that encourages growth and maintains our small-town feel; supports good paying industry jobs and values the environment; revitalizes infrastructure and preserves history; respects individuals and strives for the common good. To achieve this, I am committed to the post-partisanship ideals of using data and facts instead of emotions, finding allies instead of enemies, and advancing good ideas regardless of their origin.

I have experience responsibly managing budgets on par with Ferndale’s, finding unique and cost-effective solutions to complex problems, and cutting waste. My skill set and your voice are needed on the Council. I’d be honored to have your vote.