Update on Edmonds
Newsletter for Summer 2020
Nelson headshot

When I started my term as Mayor at the beginning of the year I could never have imagined the situation we find ourselves in now.

In January I spent time connecting and visiting staff at each department and even spent time out in the field with some of our staff members. February brought so much snow that we closed City buildings for half a day, we hired new Parks Director Angie Feser, and I held my first neighborhood meeting. By early March I was activating a COVID-19 Response Group, declaring an emergency due to the outbreak, closing public access to city facilities, and issuing a stay-at-home order, to protect the health and safety of our residents.

The past seven months we have been navigating our way through this worldwide pandemic. During that time we have continued to provide the essential services our community relies on: police, sewer, water, permitting, and street overlays, along with other services that help keep up our town’s spirit up during these challenging times, like our beautiful corner gardens and hanging flower baskets.

Besides the essentials, several other important things have happened during this time.

We hired new Communications/PIO Manager Jamie Holter in March and she went right to work disseminating information about the City’s response to COVID-19. You can read more about Jamie here.

In April, I made it our priority to help local businesses and community members affected by the pandemic through a Community Economic Relief Fund which included local small business-to-business grants administered through the Edmonds Chamber Foundation WISH Fund. Up to fifty Edmonds businesses will have received grants for up to $1,000 to use for Marketing and Advertising, Legal Services, Financial Planning, Web Design and eCommerce, Media Services, Graphic Design and Signage, and Professional Development and Leadership. Those businesses are then matched with service provider businesses in that field allowing the City’s initial investment to go twice as far.

On Earth Day, April 22, I announced the formation of the Mayor’s Conservation Advisory Committee. I formed this group to help me fulfill my goal of protecting and preserving our environment. Due to the pandemic the committee hasn’t met as much as they would like to but they are diligently working behind the scenes on issues. For more information and a list of members click here.

New Human Services Manager Mindy Woods came onboard in May and hit the ground running assisting those most in need impacted by COVID-19. This new position was proposed by City Councilmembers and was included in the 2020 budget. For more on Mindy please see the related article in this newsletter.

In early June I announced the formation of the Equity and Justice Advisory Task Force and asked community members to apply. We were fortunate to receive applications from many interested individuals. The Task Force has met a couple of times and have more meetings scheduled throughout the summer. Please see this related article for more information.

That same month I also announced the creation of a pedestrian friendly Main Street to provide more safe places for our pedestrians to walk, shop, and dine while maintaining their social distancing. It has received strong support from our residents and will continue through the summer. See related article in this newsletter.

As we move forward, I am greatly interested in resuming my “Neighborhood Meeting” program virtually. If you are interested in scheduling a meeting for your neighborhood please contact Carolyn LaFave in my office.

I want to leave you with one important call to action. We may be done with this virus, but it is not done with us. Unfortunately, the Snohomish Health District is now seeing COVID-19 cases significantly increase again throughout Snohomish County. The good news is your actions can have a dramatic impact on the spread of this virus. Yakima County, which had been leading the state in cases, has now reversed this trend thanks to 95% of their population wearing masks. You can directly help keep all of our community-members safe by continuing to mask up, practice socially distancing, and wash your hands.

With your help, our community will pull through these extraordinary times.

Mayor Mike Nelson

 

Mindy WoodsAfter an extensive hiring process and regional search, the City of Edmonds hired Mindy Woods as the City’s first Human Services Program Manager. This new half-time position was the result of a proposal by City Councilmembers last year which led to its inclusion in the 2020 budget to support Edmonds residents in need and get them connected to public and private services.

Mindy is no stranger to Edmonds. A local resident, she currently serves on the City’s Diversity Commission and, in some ways, has functioned as a volunteer, go-to connector for many groups and organizations. In addition, Mindy serves on numerous human services-related boards and volunteer organizations locally, regionally and even nationally. She is very well connected in the greater Edmonds community, all of which made her a natural choice for this position.

“Her appointment couldn’t come at a better time,” said Economic Development and Community Services Director Patrick Doherty. “The COVID-19 impacts are disproportionally affecting those who need our help the most. Mindy will have her work cut out for her, but we trust her vast network of connections will serve her well in this position.”

Mindy’s first task will be connecting with local social services agencies to choose which are best suited to implement the recently Council-approved Housing Relief Program, a program of $100,000 that will go to families earning less than 60 percent of the Snohomish County median income to assist with housing, medical, food and other household bills in order to prevent housing instability.

Moving beyond this first task, this new position’s principal focus will be to create and manage a sustainable, comprehensive human services program to connect the wide array of people and households in Edmonds who may need different kinds of services, including low-income households, seniors, veterans, disabled individuals, domestic violence victims, immigrants and refugees, at-risk youth, and others. In addition, it will be important to seek and apply for grant funding on an ongoing basis, tapping into a wide assortment of potential granting agencies oriented to various populations.

Mindy Woods is a Navy veteran who served during the Persian Gulf War, a housing and homeless advocate, and a single mother with an adult son. She has lived in Edmonds and the local area for 20 years. Mindy has been a care-giver for children with special needs and has worked with a variety of organizations that serve low-income people, including senior citizens, veterans and unsheltered people in our community.

“I have experienced homelessness twice,” Mindy shared. “I quickly learned that navigating the system and finding resources was challenging. I want to help solve that problem for other Edmonds residents. I look forward to calling upon my experiences and my connections to help better serve our community.”

Mindy can be reached at mindy.woods@edmondswa.gov.

The Diversity Commission is excited and fortunate to welcome its newest members, Sekou Koné and Nikki Okimoto Glaros, who earlier this year joined this nine-member volunteer, advisory body. They are a valuable addition to the Commission’s mission of supporting the City of Edmonds and community in all areas of equity and diversity. Here is a little about them in their own words:

Sekou2018Sekou Koné is a first-generation immigrant from Côte dIvoire (Ivory Coast), in West Africa. He immigrated to New York City in 1994 and moved to Seattle in 1997 where he met and married Alicia. Sekou became a U.S. citizen in 2003. He is a licensed nurse, and in the U.S. his career focus has been in healthcare.

Sekou maintains strong ties to Abidjan, CI, where many of his family members still reside. Over the years, as an expatriate, he has invested in the development of affordable housing and micro-enterprising lending to try to help improve the poorer neighborhoods where he grew up.

Sekou is fluent in French, English, and Mandingo. In his free time, he enjoys running and traveling with his beautiful wife and sons.

Sekous life is particularly impacted by COVID-19 because his full-time job is working as a nurse in a skilled care facility. He is on the front lines taking care of the elderly and people rehabilitating from the hospital. He is working extra hard to take care of his patients and getting used to having his own temperature taken throughout the day.

“I am looking forward to serving on the Edmonds Diversity Commission to help bring a more diverse perspective to our community. I want my children and future grandchildren to be a part of this community."

nikkiheadshotNikki Okimoto Glaros is a mom to two children in the Edmonds School District. She has served on the board of Pacific Little League as the VP of Softball for five years and is a volunteer Producer with Madrona Children's Theater. Nikki also serves on the Edmonds Center for the Arts’ Inclusion & Accessibility Committee.

In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her family, knitting, and shopping local in Edmonds. She is excited to serve her adopted hometown of Edmonds as a member of the Diversity Commission. 

"I've seen Edmonds grow and change quite a bit in the 10 years that I've lived here. We are at an important juncture in the history of Edmonds, as well as the history of our country. I think we have a unique opportunity as community members to help shape the future of Edmonds as a vibrant, diverse and welcoming place for all."

Photo credit: Megan Hooks Photography

Subscribe to Update on Edmonds

 
By clicking subscribe, I acknowledge that the information I am submitting to the City of Edmonds is public record, as defined by the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56. Accordingly, should the City of Edmonds receive a public records request to which this document is responsive, the City of Edmonds shall disclose the record unless otherwise exempt.

If you have questions, topics you'd like to hear about, or general feedback, please send us an email to Update on Edmonds