Don Bown, former OKC city manager, dies at 82

Bown led city government during in the aftermath of the 1995 bombing.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: November 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm •  Published: November 19, 2013

Former Oklahoma City manager Donald D. Bown, who oversaw city operations during the 1995 bombing and oversaw the launching of the city's original Metropolitan Area Projects, died Sunday. He was 82.

Bown oversaw city government during painful growing pains, starting with its emergence from the 1980s oil boom and ending with the opening of the first MAPS projects in 1998. He was widely known for his humor, quick wit and frankness during his 20-year career at City Hall.

He was city manager from 1991 to 1998. While retired, he served as chairman of the Oklahoma City Airport Trust.

In his seven years as city manager, Bown led the city through the highs and lows of the 1990s, including Oklahoma City response to the Murrah Federal Building bombing.

“Don was city manager during a very critical time in Oklahoma City history that included the passage of two bond issues, the implementation of MAPS 1 and the tragic Murrah bombing,” current City Manager Jim Couch said. “His steady hand at the helm along with his ever present warmth and humor helped the community though those trying times.”

Former Mayor Ron Norick worked closely with Bown in the planning and launching of MAPS, and retired from City Hall the same year.

“Don and I worked very closely together,” Norick said. “I really appreciated that he was such a straightforward kind of guy. He would tell you what he was thinking. You never had to doubt what he was telling you.”

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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