Mayor’s guest column: The ‘Other’ Edmonds

Mayor Dave Earling

Mayor Dave Earling

We so often think of Edmonds as the tranquil, scenic community with a gorgeous seaside-like setting. A small, quaint town with a rich history and great pride, all tucked away in “The Bowl”.

Not true! First of all, we are not a “small” town. We are a city of nearly 40,000 people. We are the third largest city in Snohomish County. We are becoming a city with growing diversity; many races, many religions, and many beliefs. As I door belled in my political campaign for mayor, I was stunned to find how dramatic the changes have become from the time I was on the City Council, oh so many years ago.

One of the most noticeable and dramatic changes has taken place on our two mile stretch of Highway 99 and its surrounding neighborhoods. The International District on the Highway demonstrates the growing ethnic diversity, and the diversity of businesses from the County line to 212th Southwest clearly shows us there is room and need for well, thought-out improvements and growth.

We all know about the planned growth of Swedish/Edmonds. The campus itself is growing with a new parking garage and the addition of 72,000 square feet of medical facility. These changes have and will bring more supportive health facilities, jobs and quality health services to the community.

The International District itself has attracted a sprawling market, fine restaurants and a diverse group of businesses to the area. We have first rate automobile dealerships on Highway 99, dealerships such as Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Mazda providing great service and adding to our economy.

Not lost in all of this are our quality neighborhoods surrounding this business community. Just as in the Edmonds Bowl, where we have neighborhoods surrounding the business community, the same is true on Highway 99. As Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas reminds us, Highway 99 is not just a business community, it is a separate neighborhood made up of a rich mix of businesses and single- family homes, as well as apartments and condominiums. It is also a neighborhood of rich economic and ethnic diversity. A neighborhood we need to pay very close attention to.

To that end, in the coming months the Planning Board and City Council will have a thorough look at how we may be supportive of smart growth decisions to encourage mixed-use developments including retail, offices and housing units. All of you know how the City of Shoreline has made improvements over several years to their stretch of Highway 99. We don’t need to have the same look, but we need to compliment the quality improvements in that community.

Similar quality improvements will take vision, years, patience and dollars to accomplish. As an example, with the assistance of our state legislative delegation, we had $10 million in both the Senate and House Transportation Budgets to begin the improvement process, but as you may know, the Legislature did not approve any Transportation Budget this year. We will pursue that money again next year. For our city’s long-term betterment we need to work with great determination to enrich neighborhoods throughout our city, including The “Other” Edmonds.

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6 Comments

  1. Also you have North Edmonds that riches to Picnic Point Road which has quit family oriented neighborhoods. Beautiful trees surround this area with an aura of living in the country. Creeks run through the neighborhood to the Sound. frogs, owls woodpeckers can be heard in early morning hours from the porch. It is a beautiful place to raise your kids – and we are a part of Edmonds (sometimes forgotten)

  2. I disagree……Edmonds is a small quaint town (40,000……don’t think too many would refer to that as a city)…….with a rich history and a whole lot of pride……..all the way up to the eastern border at the highway…….Many have moved here to get away from the current CITY development SPEAK…and action…….Seattle being a prime example. And yes., Edmonds is FINAaLLY becoming diverse……..Can we get some affortable housing all over Edmonds without tearing down more existing architecture and letting the mighty bulldozer rule and pound the fragile environment here…. This is a creative town……I think it is entirely possible

  3. Tere – the Puget Sound Regional Council defines Edmonds as a city in their master plan – what makes Edmonds very cool is that we have most of the “luxuries and services” of a city yet the atmosphere of a small town.

    As far as diversity, there are over 50 different languages and cultures represented in our Edmonds schools – which makes the learning environment interesting and global.

    Affordable housing is a tough one to tackle – but certainly not impossible. Improving revenue channels into the city will help keep housing “more” affordable (at least the tax side of it), but we do have limitations on land. There are those who are passionate on both sides, who both have legitimate concerns, on this issue. If the goal is affordable housing, then there will need to be compromise.

    I agree that this town is creative – so let’s put more of that “creativity” into keeping Edmonds sustainable, both environmentally and economically.

  4. Something Mike didn’t mention. With all of that diversity kids are graduating high school at a nearly 90% clip.
    How about that for diversity.Another reason to love Edmonds.

  5. 2013/2014 Census – Population Demographics, Edmonds, Washington
    Population: 39,709

    White 33,114 83% White
    Asian 2,800 7% Asian
    Hispan/Lat 2,121 5% Hispanic/Latino
    Bl/AfricanAm 1,045 2% Black/African Amer.
    other Race 709
    Amer Indian 290
    3 or more Race 152
    Nat.Hawai PacIs 134

    More affordable housing in ALL of Edmonds rather than just certain areas would make ALL of Edmonds diverse. This is something we would like to see and certainly possible for the future of Edmonds and how it fits into the rest of the GLOBAL community.

    ……maybe thinking inside the “BOWL” and changing old school thinking and planning in regards to the “bowl”

  6. More affordable housing is possible in in bowl if we use our creativity to set it as an objective and look at creative ways to accomplish it. We just need to set it as a goal and make the needed trade offs to accomplish it.

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