Third time was the charm for Woodinville

  • Written by Suzi Freeman, Special to the Weekly

Ray FreemanRay FreemanThe idea of Woodinville becoming a city started a long time before Woodinville actually became a city.

It took 14 years and three tries before the day arrived.  A lot of people were getting very tired of having to drive to Seattle to get anything done and felt a need to get it done closer to where they lived.

Ray Freeman was born in Maltby in 1913 and after 1918 he spent most of his life there.  He could often be seen in his trademark cowboy hat and cowboy shoes.  His years working as a rural assessor gave him good insight into the difficulties of working with Seattle.  

He cared very deeply for his city but felt strongly that the King County government was “distant, slow, frequently arbitrary and not attuned to the semi-rural setting of Woodinville.”  

Freeman helped start two churches, began a fire department and helped to start the Mountain View Improvement Club.

After a failed attempt to split King County and start a second county to the east called Cascade County he set his sights on making Woodinville a city.  

Others agreed and a group began the steps necessary for making a town into a city.  The year was 1979.
The last time a new city was incorporated was in 1970 when Ocean Shores became a city.  

Before that it was Lake Forest Park in 1961 and Mercer Island in 1960.

It was felt that King County didn’t give as much attention to the rural areas as they did Seattle.

Before incorporation, as a town Woodinville didn’t really exist. There were no statistics although it was determined that Woodinville was one of the fastest growing areas in the county.

The first attempt for cityhood in 1981 did not even make it to the ballot.  However things were happening that kept this dream alive.  Seattle had Woodinville on the list for building a new jail. No one wanted it in Woodinville. Another was that Bothell wanted to annex the land on either side of 522.

A second attempt made it to ballot in 1986 but failed by 33 votes. In 1989, cityhood for Woodinville was lost by 14 votes.

Finally, on May 19, 1992, the measure passed by 62 votes out of 1654 ballots.  Cityhood arrived on March 27, 1993.

Sadly, Ray’s red pickup would no longer be seen in the All Fools Parade with its homemade signs asking for incorporation.  

Ray Freeman missed seeing his dream come true.  He died on February 27, 1992.

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