Opinion

City owes success to Jeanne

Jeanne became mayor at a critical juncture in the history

of Snoqualmie. Shortly before she became mayor, new state

regulations regarding construction in the floodplain, based upon

requirements from FEMA, had effectively shut down any new

development potential for Snoqualmie.

The city had an inadequate tax base from mostly small,

50-plus-year-old homes and a one-block commercial area on

one-half of the street that was in a state of decay. At this time, the city

was in financial chaos. Many creditors had not been paid, and

the city had incurred unfunded liabilities to its employees. The

accounting and budgeting system was in such disarray that no one

could understand the financial condition of the city.

In addition, the city's streets were in deplorable

condition, sidewalks and storm drains were practically nonexistent and

the city was facing orders from the Department of Ecology to

upgrade its wastewater treatment facility. The year before, the city had

suffered millions of dollars in damages from a major flood. To top

it off, there was no professional management staff on board to

advise the elected officials on how to address these problems.

I am not sure very many people understood the

precarious circumstances of the city when Jeanne began her term as

mayor. Perhaps Jeanne's most admirable characteristic was her eternal

optimism. Few people could come into such an intimidating

situation facing these incredible challenges and still hold up under

the pressures. The odds were stacked high against her success,

but Jeanne had what it took to succeed. She was made for this

moment. Her life had prepared her for this time when her

community needed her most.

Jeanne had faced challenges her entire life. Coming

from humble beginnings, she had moved across the country

as young girl to start a new life in Washington. She worked

and struggled to improve herself in the face of adversity. As a

young widow, she went to work and moved up to a very

responsible position in her employment. She became a leader in

professional organizations and in her church. She worked on the Hospital

Board to build a new hospital. She served in various capacities in

volunteer groups.

With incredible tenacity and persistence, Jeanne faced the

issues addressing the city. In almost every respect, the favorable

circumstances under which the city now operates is in large

measure due to her efforts. From repaired streets to new parks and new

storm drains, from new facilities to well-planned new developments,

from flood projects to protected open spaces, Jeanne succeeded

magnificently.

The key to her success was to bring the right people together

to address a problem. From our congressional leaders to the

governor, from local legislators and citizens to business leaders, from

the county to federal agencies, Jeanne brought them together to work

on Snoqualmie.

Jeanne formed important networks and partnerships with

agencies and individuals that brought unprecedented expertise and

resources to help Snoqualmie. As Jeanne's success in

Snoqualmie was being recognized locally, she began to be noticed in the

region. She was constantly being sought out to serve in various

capacities. Jeanne had to become selective, or she would have had all of

her time taken up by service, but she did serve with distinction in

Suburban Cities and the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Yet in spite of all of this success, Jeanne never took

herself too seriously. She always had a humble attitude and a great

sense of humor. She was approachable and a joy to be around. And,

more importantly, in a day of cynicism regarding elected officials,

Jeanne did it the right way.

Jeanne's integrity was unquestionable. Her strong sense

of values served as her bedrock. Her word was a given. She became

a role model to numerous other individuals who could not help

but be impressed with her style and grace.

One more thing that should be noted is that those who knew

her best also knew her tender side. She was a private person. She had

a great capacity to love and she deeply cared about people.

Her greatest desire was to help others. Jeanne was kind and thoughtful.

On a personal note, she was like a grandmother to our

children. She was kind enough to hire and take a chance on a young

city administrator with a big family who really needed a job.

Farewell Jeanne. We appreciate you, we respect you, and we love you.

Kim and Nanette Wilde and family

North Bend

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