Paula Waters is no longer serving as a member of the Woodinville City Council. She resigned from her position Nov. 19, just after the general election.
It was the rumors and continued opposition among fellow councilmembers, Waters said, that eventually ended her term earlier than anticipated.
Waters said her decision to leave would have been different if Paul Hagen or Nicolas Duchastel had won their close races in the Nov. 5 general election.
She said she did not want to work with the same group of incumbents. Al Taylor defeated Duchastel by only 23 votes, while Gary Harris defeated Hagen by 37 votes.
“I don’t want to work with them. I can’t work with them,” Waters said. “They won’t allow it, and I don’t want to waste my time having no luck with them.”
Waters recalled being asked by local climate activists to address renewable energy with the council March 5. She said council rule states that two councilmembers can add an agenda item to the meeting.
With support from councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders, the duo successfully added the topic to the list of issues to address.
Normally, it is the role of the city manager and mayor to compile the agenda. Waters said former Mayor and Councilmember James Evans began the regular council meeting by moving to remove the item from the agenda.
“This is another case where they just don’t care about council rules,” Waters said. “And they don’t change the rules, but they break them. The majority can do anything they want.”
Waters said she might have stayed longer, even under the present council, if not for the “slandering” campaign letters against her and the lack of support from the council majority.
Boundy-Sanders has been a companion to Waters since their friendship first began in 2004 during a neighborhood development battle. She said Waters was one of the first to understand the danger of developing on a landslide above existing homes.
“Paula is a life-learner,” Boundy Sanders said. “I anticipate we will stay connected with gardening, our love of dogs and our love of Woodinville.”
As a Councilmember, Boundy-Sounders said Waters was actively involved in the city’s most recent critical areas and comprehensive plan updates. She said Waters sustains relationships, has a gift for encouragement, and always stays poised and gracious.
“More than anything else, Woodinville will be a better place because of her commitment to environmental causes,” Boundy-Sanders said. “She’s been involved in sustainable energy, greenhouse gas reductions, and solar energy. Even more important, Paula was willing to ask the City Council to take on meaningful goals, not just token gestures.”
During her time on the council, Waters is proud of her role in transforming the old schoolhouse into a civic campus. She also worked with Boundy-Sanders to form a committee and create design standards for downtown.
Since joining the council in 2014, Waters said she has always attempted to bring attention to climate issues. She served on a salmon recovery committee and helped to remove barriers and culverts for salmon to travel upstream and downstream on Little Bear Creek.
Waters served on several regional committees and attended lobby days at the state capitol to support Woodinville’s legislative agenda. She also went to many conferences and seminars to discuss clean energy and environmental building groups.
“I can’t see myself being involved in city politics any longer, but I will focus on issues that matter to me,” she said. “I’m going to work on climate issues with climate groups and I’m going to raise my dog and enjoy life more.”
City Manager Brandon Buchanan said Waters gave him the letter of resignation before the Nov. 19 council meeting. Mayor Elaine Cook informed the council at the end of the regular meeting.
“Paula has given six years and more to public service,” he said. “She is very thoughtful and never rushed to judgment. Her public service is commendable.”
State law gives the city 90 days to fill a vacant position, he said. The three-month period allows time for recruitment, interviews, and council discussions about potential new councilmembers. He said the council has until Feb. 18 to fill the seat or the responsibility will go to the King County Council.
The open position can go to anyone who has been a resident of Woodinville for at least one year. No previous experience is necessary and all interested residents are encouraged to submit an application, Buchanan said.
“Paula Waters was a valuable council member whose contributions will be missed,” Mayor Elaine Cook said in an email. “She served this city for many years.”