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A message from Kathy Nyland, our new Department Director

Kathy NylandNine Days. I’ve been here nine days. June 2nd was my first official day here at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. I say “official” because I have worked with this department in some capacity for years. This is familiar ground to me. In my previous life, pre-nine days ago, I have:

Relied on my Neighborhood District Coordinator over the years and credit a few for being mentors to me.

Submitted applications to the Neighborhood Matching Fund; sometimes receiving funding. Sometimes not.

Chaired my District Council and served on the City Neighborhood Council.

Attended Citizen Advisory Committees and provided comments to the Landmarks Preservation Board.

I have not signed up for a P-Patch….not yet. I have not mastered weeding in my own yard so that guilt has prevented me from signing up for a plot elsewhere.

So, yes, I am familiar with this department.

This department is rich in history. Created nearly 30 years ago, this is a department that has introduced the city to many programs that are considered crowning jewels. My role is to make sure that our future is just as rich as our past, and I am honored and thrilled to help lead the way.

I come here having ideas but knowing I do not have all of the answers. And that’s why I am going to rely on you. Here are a few things I do believe:

Our residents are quite resourceful and are some of our best resources.

We need more chairs at the table.

Not everyone can provide testimony during the day or attend a meeting in the evening.

Let’s identify the obstacles and create more opportunities.

Everyone has a voice, and it’s our job to make sure those voices are heard.

Though this department is not new to me, this role is. It truly is an honor – a bit daunting, but an honor. I look forward to listening and learning something new every day. Here is to “day 10” and many more beyond that!