Mayor proposing new Neighborhood City Office on Highway 99

Aurora Marketplace is located at 236th Street Southwest and Highway 99 in Edmonds.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson said Friday he is proposing a location in the Aurora Marketplace Shopping Center for a new Neighborhood City Office in the Highway 99 corridor. The mayor will present his proposal to the Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday, Nov. 9 meeting.

“Bringing city services to our residents rather than requiring them to always come to us has been a goal of mine since becoming mayor,” Nelson said. “Creating a Neighborhood City Office in the historically underserved Highway 99 neighborhood serves the purpose of increased access to services, creates a community resource for residents, and allows the city to be more responsive in a variety of ways.”

The proposed location is a 1,309-square-foot space in the Aurora Marketplace shopping center where Safeway is located, at 23632 Highway 99. The space would include:

  • A dedicated city staff member who will answer questions about city functions and provide information about permits, parks, employment and other topics.
  • An office for the Edmonds Police Department’s new community engagement officer. In addition, police officers in the Highway 99 area will be able to access the workstations in the office to complete reports, access emails, take breaks, and meet with members of the public
  • A community court offered by the Edmonds Municipal Court from two to four times per month. An electronic court kiosk will be available in the lobby/reception area for the public to submit paperwork or access online information.
  • A  conference room, available to accommodate community meetings and staff meetings for those working in that area.

The mayor and staff will present at the Nov. 9 council meeting the lease terms for the proposed space and will request council authorization to execute the corresponding contract. The mayor will also seek direction for one-time and ongoing costs in the 2022 budget.



  1. This is just another example of Nelson wasting tax payer dollars to try and create a positive backstory for his future runs for higher office.

    This new office is literally 10 minutes and 3.2 miles away from City Hall. It’s not needed. Considering the fact that it will be staffed by one individual who can’t know the answer to every question, people will be referred to the various departments at City Hall.

    Considering Nelson’s majority on the council will more than likely be gone after the election is certified, watch for more things to get crammed through the council before the end of the year.

    1. I like that there is focus on this area of town (close to where I live) but the only thing this office needs to accommodate is a satellite police station to address the crime along HWY99. And, it needs a big sign that says “Edmonds Police Department” so it is clear what the function is. While I agree with some of Jim’s concerns in general, I certainly don’t agree that the downtown office, particularly the police station, serve my part of town very effectively. It’s frankly too far away and not located in an area where the police I regularly needed. I don’t necessarily care about all of the other ancillary city government offices; I’m happy to drive downtown for that. I care about what happens when I call 911. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to have a conversation about less show and more go, so to speak, and focus this on really what is needed which is an office for law enforcement.

      1. I fully agree. We need a police presence to deter the shoplifting, drug use and robbery in our extended neighborhood.

      2. Tom –

        Agree with you on improving 911 response times but unfortunately this proposal will do nothing to help that.

    2. I’d prefer seeing Edmonds PD using this office rather than sitting side by side in the church parking lot while ignoring the speeders on 84th Ave W.

      1. Well, Edmonds is not a “small town.” I grew up in a truly small town in Colorado, and Edmonds is anything but that and is a part of a major US metropolitan area, with major metropolitan issues. I am not arguing with what I see as very valid questions being raised here regarding the planning process behind this and some of the specifics, but the fact of the matter is if we just boil this down to one salient issue for that part of town and the surrounding communities, it is crime. And, I absolutely do not think it is a waste of money to strategically position the police department and its resources in an area where they will be doing the majority of their work, truly small town or not. I am happy to see that there is some focus on this part of town regardless of if I generally agree with the source of that idea on a day-to-day basis, and I hope that through some collective process – which I hope include Chief Bennett by the way – we get to a solution that is both fiscally responsible, sensible, and effective. I will mention again personally, that I believe that to achieve all those you really only need to focus on the EPD.

  2. Sounds like a solid forward thinking plan. The area has been completely ignored and resources need to be prioritized to this large area. This is one small step in including this area in Edmonds. The current lighting, signage, streets and lack of sidewalks speak volumes on this area being ignored. It’s the Edmonds Edmonds forgot. It’s their turn for their tax dollars to shine a light on their neighborhoods.

  3. Definitely legitimate points all the way around! I inquired about the need for a satellite office in that area. Originally thought it would be helpful for police. I support the blue. I was told however, that police are already frequently patrolling that area, that’s good news! So now I ask, will the office primarily serve for doing paperwork/processing reports for the blue? It looks like other functions on a part time basis will be conducted there; remote court paperwork processing. Are our courts that backlogged? Hadn’t heard. I do know this….social services at Francis Anderson Center) previously stated they wanted to see an office on hwy 99. It made me wonder if that was for bringing people/homeless up from Seattle more easily to “receive services”. We clearly know our mayor wants to grow the problem for federal dollars. Government employees are also to abide by the code of ethics and conduct same as electeds, putting citizens at the top of the organization chart. I was hung up on when the conversation got tough about drugging children with psychiatric drugs (slippery slope “treatment”/side effects-suicide). I also mentioned my concern about homeless drug addicts coming into Francis Anderson where there are seniors and children, putting them at risk for future incidents. You just can’t have a sane conversation with staff that are in the mayor’s back pocket! You can’t have a sane conversation with the mayor or the squad. Part of the problem getting handled/better council members. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt we have extremely limited representation in this City for listening to citizens! We certainly can share information here to inform each other. I’m grateful!

  4. I am so happy to see this development of having a presence of city services in an area where services are needed the most! I agree with Tom Kozaczynski that a big sign that says “Edmonds Police Department” may help calm things down. In terms of location, I think Ranch 99 market or Boo Han market would be more central for the area.

  5. If this can be something more than just a Public Relations outpost for the city staff, then it is definitely worth taking a look at. I’m talking real government city functions being performed, rather than just information and referral to what already exists downtown. Beware the “window dressing” factor that could be the basis for this proposal, would be my one big concern, based on past events and actions around here from the various administrations. What we really need here is true citizen representation and meaningful input, that is based on something better than the honor system which often isn’t all that honorable in practice.

  6. Edmonds issues are often addressed in a less than robust fashion. This looks like one of them. Reported earlier by Matthew Waldron was the work done by a subcommittee of the Economic Development Commission. Matthew, George Bennett and others looked at the whole idea of moving all or most of city services out of DT and closer to where the work is actually performed. They even looked at potential sites the city already owns as potential locations.
    The goal of the work was to think about the best possible uses for City Hall and the Public Safety Complex and do it in a way that may be more efficient for delivering city services.
    Doing a more robust analysis would have includes many factors not mentioned in the city’s rational for this remote office:
    City Hall:
    1. Building need $3m of repairs
    2. 50 plus employees work there, some park under the building other park in nearby parking that could be available for the public.
    3. Could be sold and converted to DT boutique hotel, or use to attract a business needing more space than is typically available in DT. Could be used to help draw business for the new Creative District.
    4. It would be back on the tax roles.
    Public Safety Complex:
    1. Police drive to work, park, then hope in a car and drive uphill to where the do most of their work. Saves gas, less miles driven for both employees and city cars.
    2. Great area to add public parking close to DT and to Civic Park.
    3. Building could be converted to year-round public market right in the heart of the DT, while at least a block and a half from the fountain.
    4. If the Fire Dept moves, even more space would be available for parking.
    Running short on words so the bottom line may be a budget issue. Why spend $X to put a remote office at the far edge of town, ops, “Up Town”? Council should hit the pause button, sort out ideas, and create a more robust solution later.

  7. Darrol Haug has the right answer here. When on City Council I voted to discover more specifics for these ideas from the Economic Development Council. Unfortunately I was in the minority; ironically Adrienne Fraley Monillas voted against the idea of this improvement to the HYW 99 area.

  8. I first noticed the following on the City Council’s Extended Agenda on October 15th:

    November 23, 2021: “Little City Hall on Highway 99”

    Such is no longer on the Extended Agenda.

    Instead, we now have a Press Release that Mayor Nelson is proposing a Neighborhood City Office on Highway 99 and that he will present the details of the proposal to City Council at the Tuesday, November 9th meeting.

    Whose idea is this?

    When I noticed this on the Extended Agenda, I assumed City Council must have somehow determined their constituents believed it in the public interest to add a Little City Hall on Highway 99. I didn’t recall that citizen outreach, but it is hard to track everything going on with city government.

    The November 5th Press Release claims:

    “An important component of Mayor Nelson’s policy agenda is to make more investments and public presence in the “Uptown” area (or Highway 99 Corridor).”

    I just searched the Mayor’s webpage on the City’s website and I was unable to find Mayor Nelson’s “Policy Agenda”. If somebody has this document, please provide a link to it. I reviewed the Mayor’s 2021 State of the City Address and see no mention that he has a “Policy Agenda”.

    Assuming the Mayor has a “Policy Agenda”, what steps have been taking to assure it is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and other planning items required under State Law?

    I see no mention of a Mayor’s duty to have a “Policy Agenda” in City Code:

    The mayor shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the city, in charge of all departments and employees, with authority to designate assistants and department heads. The mayor shall see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced and that law and order is maintained in the city, and shall have general supervision of the administration of city government and all city interest. [Ord. 2349 § 2, 1983].

    I’d love to hear citizens thoughts about this. Should a Mayor have a “Policy Agenda” or is that encroaching into City Council’s area of authority?

  9. Although the idea of a Civic support office in the Hiway 99 area has significant merit, the Aurora Shopping Center is located at the extreme Southern Border of the city, has a crowded parking lot and traffic challenges. Also, the proposed office seems inadequate if we. are serious about serving the East side. We need to sit down and seriously plan a solution, not just “pull something out of a hat.”

  10. City Hall needs to be moved in it’s entirety up to Hey 99.
    There is no need for it to be downtown, other than ego.
    There has long been an offer from an investment group to turn the current City Hall into a boutique hotel.
    Edmonds as a whole would be much better served to get City Hall out of downtown.

    Think of the reduced carbon footprint with City Hall on Hwy99.

  11. As long as we have a city government where only one position has any real power to hire and fire, this is the kind of stuff you are going to get. Darrol Haug is one of the nicest and smartest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing but I would take issue with his use of the word “robust” above and change it to “honest.” He’s much nicer than I am.

    Ken Reidy is another very nice and intelligent man that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know in my golden years. His comment above is right on the mark I think. To me the need for a total over haul of our entire city government just screams out louder every day. This is not working for everyone as it is presently constituted. We’ve outgrown a part-time gig city council with an essentially serial all powerful strong man type system that is an evolution out of feudal Europe and Asia. Just because most other cities still do it, doesn’t make it a good thing.

  12. Clint, thanks for the kind words. When using “robust” to outline a process I was referring to the completeness of the process. Looking at all the options, trade offs, impacts, and balanced points of view. Our issues almost always have supporters and non supporters. But in the end if we do look at all the issues together we will get a better balanced solution. One can be very “honest” about one alternative but not looking at all the alternatives would not be a very robust process. Not a very robust answer but I tried to be honest.

  13. Darrol, I guess what all this comes down to is that we need a system or process that starts with some sort of broad public consensus of what each problem is, then a broad base of actual citizens who will be impacted presenting and discussing solutions, and then the representatives of these citizens voting on the solution and an executive responsible for implementing the decided solution. Right now, it seems like we have people with power inventing or capitalizing on known problems and then getting their puppet representatives of the people giving them permission to solve the problem they invented. Doesn’t work well.

  14. Clint, you are correct. The best solutions always involve engaging the public in a full and yes honest way.

    This is model that would move in the right direction.

    Good Government Model
    1. Starts with “What’s the Problem(s) we are trying to solve?”
    2. Asks, “Who should be at the table? Who are the Stakeholders?”
    3. Identifies Potential Solutions based on research.
    4. Identifies the costs/benefits/risks of different solutions or combinations of solutions based on analysis.
    5. Identifies ways to measure success.
    6. Commits to a process of always trying to improve outcomes through monitoring and adjusting.

  15. I think that Mike should have presented his idea and details to the City Council before he announced it to the public. His Economic Development Director gave a presentation to the City Council at a weekly City Council Meeting followed by a rent proposal at a subsequent meeting. It again is a Council agenda item for a decision about renting a space in the Safeway shopping complex.

    Does this constitute a presentation and discussion for the City Council and the Citizens of Edmond? I don’t think so and strongly object. He is again ramming HIS proposal through the City Council. It may or may not be a good idea. But we know regardless how I vote, he has his voting bloc of Adrienne, Susan, Luke and Laura who will push it through. I may vote No simply because this is not good governance.

    The balance of power is about to shift. But if the rental agreement is signed, this is something we cannot undo. However, the Council holds the power of the purse and I will be asking for a fuller explanation of this proposal about how this satellite police station will be staffed and operated before I vote for any decision packages.

    I stand for good governance.

    1. I appreciate your comments and what you have described is one of the many reasons I voted for you, but please note this is NOT a satellite police station… it is a satellite, part time, quasi-governmental office. Not something my neighborhood necessarily needs and is trying to solve an access issue that doesn’t exist. A true satellite police station in an area of our city that continues to see an increase in the number and intensity of crime? Yes, that sounds like a very wise and very overdue idea. I’m speaking from a position of living in this neighborhood and quite literally begging for the crime situation to be managed over the last 24 months.

    2. Will you be attending the meeting tomorrow since you seem to be well enough to pontificate here? If you believe so much on good governance you should also be available and able and fully prepared to participate.

    3. So gang of 4 is bad, but new gang of 5 is good?

      Also, you reference good governance. Does that mean you were/are part of that letter the Edmonds Good Governance sent to me?

      Very disappointing.

      1. I admit that I should not have referenced the Gang of Four. Even if that is a true sentiment , it is not productive. I apologize.

    4. Kristiana: while I respect you as a council member (you’ve earned it by your due diligence) I don’t think it serves your constituents to use Edmonds buzz words like gang of 4. Three of this group were elected by a majority of Edmonds voters and that should be respected by their fellow council members. Yes they have held a majority but that majority was voted in by Edmonds voters.
      Stating the mayor is ramming through an agenda is an assumption. It’s a proposal at this time.
      Good governance is subjective. I’d like to see council work to take the temperature down once the new council member is seated. I hope to see you be a catalyst for this.

      1. Connie –

        I think at this point any one who has followed what has gone on the council the past two years would agree that the “Gang of Four” is an accurate representation of what they have done. And no the majority was not voted in. One was appointed by the mayor.

        The “Gang of Four” have blocked items from being added to the agenda. They vote lock step with the mayor and don’t entertain any free and open discussion. They push votes weeks ahead of schedule with those same council members not even reading or knowing exactly what they are voting for. (Police Chief debacle) One of them even called a resident a loser after public comment. The mayor himself cuts citizens off during public comment when he doesn’t like what they are saying while at the same time allows those he agrees with continue at length. They don’t follow standard procedures. And they don’t respond to inquiries either via email or phone.

        It will be nice to see more discussion and collaboration on the council next year. I’m just scared about what the current council will push through before the end of the year.

        Like you stated the council was elected by citizens of Edmonds and sure they should being given respect as long as they give respect to the others on the council and the citizens they “serve” which unfortunately they haven’t.

        1. So it’s not that a voting block/gang is bad, but just this particular one? Isn’t a new voting block going to have the same result with a different audience? What happened to wanting independent thinkers?

        2. I am aware one was appointed and the other council members were voted in. One new council member makes me hopeful for a positive direction. I’ll just leave it at that.

  16. If there was any misunderstandings about how screwed up our town’s government is, all you have to watch tonight’s, Nov 9, special meeting.

    Let’s have a public comment on things the public can’t review because the minutes of meetings have not be provided to the public.

    Thank you so much to the residents of Edmonds for their succinct comments regarding THIS RUSHED PROCESS.

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