The Snoqualmie City Council unanimously appointed Rob Wotton as its newest council member on Jan. 10.
He fills the council’s position 2 vacancy, which was left open after Katherine Ross took over as mayor this January. Wotton will serve the remainder of Ross’ term which goes until the end of 2023.
Wotton is the vice president and branch manager at Umpqua Bank in North Bend and has been a member of the Snoqualmie Economic Development Commission (EDC) for the last seven years.
“There’s only so much you can do when you’re on a commission, you’re basically advising council on what you think is important,” Wotton told the Valley Record. “When you’re on the council you have much more of an opportunity.”
For the last several years, Wotton has been working with the commission and as a board member with the SnoValley Chamber of Commerce on ways to address a need for workers in the Snoqualmie Valley, including through affordable housing, public transportation improvements and State Route 18 construction.
Recently, Wotton has been running SnoValleyjobs.com, a local job board, and working to get more local people to local jobs. He said between North Bend and Snoqualmie only 2,000 people work locally, while 4,000 drive in from elsewhere – mostly from south King County along SR 18.
“When I first came on to the EDC [SR 18 was] number 11 on our top ten priority list,” he said. “I was like ‘wait a moment,’ that thing is a lot of headache to both employees and employers. Fortunately, it got to the top of the transportation list in the state.”
Wotton has helped to advocate for safety improvements along SR 18 and is hoping to push King County Metro to create a line between Kent and the Snoqualmie Valley to serve those traveling into work. He says that could be an alternative if the county is unwilling to add additional affordable housing units in the Valley.
“If we can’t build enough housing units for these folks let’s at least have a bus line,” he said.
On his application for council, Wotton listed his highest priorities as land use planning – including optimizing the build out of the Snoqualmie Mill Site and downtown revitalization – addressing long term-impacts of COVID-19 and transportation and infrastructure.
Wotton has also served as a member of the South-East Area Legislative Transportation Coalition and as treasure for Trial of Youth and Encompass NW. He has lived in the Valley for the past 20 years – including 16 in Snoqualmie.
Wotton joins Jo Johnson and Ethan Benson, who were both elected this November, as the three new members of the seven-person council. Wotton is also the second councilmember to join the council via appointment in the last four months.