From the Edmonds Mayor: Transitions

Mayor Dave Earling

Driving to the office from home this past Monday I was struck by the sight of the first snow of the season on the Olympic Mountains. Simply spectacular! And of course with that, temperatures at best in the high 30s. A transition we can all relate to. The good news is we didn’t get what my friend in Western Montana got, a foot and a half of snow and temperatures in the 20s.

Of course there are always transitions around us. Whether it’s the final Saturday Market this Saturday, or the start of the Holiday Market only weeks away; old businesses leaving town and new ones opening; my term as mayor coming to a close, and a new mayor and council headed our way Jan. 1; or the transition which will happen in the coming years with the “redo” of Highway 99.

To some of the true “old timers” in town, I would be known today as a relative “new comer,” having lived in and around town only since the early 1970s. In the context of our city being founded in 1890 by George Brackett, I guess they might be right. 

Nonetheless, since the 1970s and a population in the mid-25,000 range, the distinction of Edmonds as a quiet community sometimes known to some as “Deadmonds” is not so anymore. I think the play on words was harsh because my wife and I enjoyed the town, but I must admit dramatic changes have taken place.

Susan and I lived on 82nd Place, just off 196th. Going east or west on 196th back then there were open fields. The Fog Cutter, Sylvia’s and Brownies were popular restaurants, Shoreline Savings and Loan and Rainer Bank were where you put your money, Edmonds Lumber and Hardware was a necessity and Schofield’s Drug Pharmacy was just up the street. Oh yes, and City Hall and the Library were on the site where we have our current Public Safety complex.

We had several condominium projects built and more were on the way. There was enough raw land around that whole new cul-de-sacs were built or under construction. We were having more and more seniors moving to town or downsizing and moving into condos. We were becoming known as a retirement community. Downtown was not terribly busy and you could park about any place you wanted. We had the 4th of July Parade with fireworks and the Edmonds Arts festival, but that was about it.

That was then and if you look around now, we have gone through a dramatic transition over the decades. At least I think we can all agree we have moved on from our “Deadmonds” reputation.

We all know our region has experienced tremendous growth and change. We certainly have gained a national reputation as a “hot spot” in the United States for major technology and industrial businesses. New industry moving in and older businesses expanding. Change can and does make us uncomfortable. 

Our focus in Edmonds has been on maintaining the downtown “small town” profile look which we are known for… I think we’ve been successful. Acknowledging most of our city is built out, and with no “big box” stores or shopping malls (for which I am thankful), we have used a different approach.

We instead have focused on the atmosphere of the city, and in doing so have developed a reputation as a Daytime Destination. Where else in the Puget Sound region can you find a city with a seaside setting, beautiful public beaches, gorgeous parks, quality shopping, excellent businesses, a Center for the Arts with local and national performers, a small-town movie theater, endless first-rate restaurants, and which has the honor of being the state’s first Certified Creative District.

Yes, we certainly have changed. Our population is now over 42,000 and our demographics have changed with the influx of young families. Our focus on preserving the character of Edmonds, together with our careful, thoughtful approach to building the community, along with the reality of a healthy business core and financial stability, have safeguarded the quality of life we all enjoy here in Edmonds.

— By Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling 

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