By Meghan McLaughlin
Michelle Evans’s focus is on visionary, inclusive and problem-solving leadership. She currently runs a boutique strategic marketing consultancy virtually while she and her husband raise their three kids. Her experience extends from working at Microsoft to volunteering in classrooms.
“A big part of the city council and local government is making investment decisions, deciding how much to tax society and where that revenue goes towards making strategic plans for the future,” Evans said. “Those are all things that I’ve been involved in for the majority of my career.”
Evans said she knows how to manage budgets and as a business owner herself, she understands the impact of taxes. She has worked at startups, in banking and has had her marketing consultancy since 2012.
Building a safe community with a diverse and welcoming environment for everyone is a priority of Evans’. She’s served as a Girl Scout leader, softball coach, board member of the Whatcom County Boys & Girls Club and Junior Achievement teacher.
“This is the place that my husband and I decided to make our forever home,” Evans said. “When I was pregnant with our middle child, we said, ‘Okay, where are we going to put down our roots? Where are we going to invest in our community? Where do we want to make our forever home?'”
Evans said initially she was drawn to Woodinville for the wineries after spending time in Napa, but she grew to appreciate the vision of Woodinville and its parks even more. She recalled looking at a comprehensive plan for the city and its emphasis on walkable outdoor spaces for residents to live, work and play in.
“We love this little pocket that feels like a small community but is around so many bigger communities,” Evans said. “We’ve just we’ve really invested our time and effort in getting to know our neighbors, getting to know our community and really enjoying the things that are available to us here.”
Something important to Evans is the ability to engage in those things that make Woodinville special. She hopes to develop a master traffic plan for the city to decrease congestion and increase the way to get around town, like trails, bike lanes and sidewalks.
Evans would also like to lend her strategic thinking to the growth and expansion of the city. As small businesses continue to pop up, Evans supports them as a business owner herself. She hopes to highlight events like Celebrate Woodinville, which brings people out of town to experience all Woodinville offers.
A commitment to social justice rounds out Evans’ values. She notices the housing market’s changes and intends to continue to include everyone in Woodinville’s makeup. She wants to make sure the city council gets input from its residents.
“It’s just a place that we love,” Evans said. “I think the bottom line is this: it has a great small community feel that is really accessible to a lot of folks.”
Since early July this year, Phil Mark has served on Woodinville City Council and has been immersing himself in the community ever since. Mark raised his family in Woodinville and has lived in the area for almost a quarter-century now.
“I just think Woodinville is a gem,” Mark said. “It’s unlike a lot of the other communities around here. If you tell people that you’re from Woodinville, they almost unanimously say, ‘wow, Woodinville, I love that place. I wish I could live there.’ You never hear that about our neighboring cities. So I want to do what I can to preserve the unique character of the city.”
To do so, Mark has a list of things he wants to tackle if he continues his tenure as a city council member. His number one priority is doing whatever he can to prevent the trash transfer station in the city. He anticipates that placement will further congest Woodinville in terms of traffic, which is another issue he intends to focus on.
Mark discusses plans in place that should help alleviate traffic issues moving forward. He would also like to see the old gas station at the entrance to the city cleaned up and increased pedestrian walkways, crosswalks and trails.
Whether it be for paving driveways or making additions to homes, the permitting process is something Mark would like to see come up to speed. Another development Mark wants to see in the community is increased and improved park spaces. Many of these components go into Woodinville’s growth, which Mark noted has a lot to do with state targets.
Mark has volunteered on his homeowner association board as an officer and in the visitor center for the wine country.
“I like to volunteer,” Mark said. “I like to give something back to the community. I have a lot of knowledge about Woodinville from having lived here so long, and I’ve gotten to know it.”
To Mark, Woodinville has everything he needs. When he had the option to move away while downsizing seven years ago, he and his wife realized Woodinville was still the place for their next chapter in life.
“This is a great place for families,” Mark said. “It’s also a great place for people who are beyond the family stage and retired. This little city of ours has the buck. There are so much to do here, and so many, so many new unique things that keep getting uncovered every day.”
As Mark continues to uncover what the city has to offer, he reflects on how it has treated him well over the years. Mark has paid attention to what Woodinville does well and what improvements can be made.
“I believe I have the chance to be a good, effective council member as a person who likes deep-diving into the issues,” Mark said. “I think I’m highly qualified to continue the work here that I started in July.”