February 12, 2001
'A rose by any other name' isn't Pete Rose, Woodinville City Manager
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
Congressman Jay Inslee got up to speak. It was Jan. 9 at the Columbia Winery and the house was packed at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon. But Jay Inslee wasn't the featured speaker and everyone waited for Woodinville's City Manager, Pete Rose, to give his annual State of the City address. When it was time for Rose to speak, he joked that U.S. Rep. Inslee was his warm-up act and asked the audience what he might expect as his warm-up act for next year. "The Rolling Stones?" he hypothetically wondered aloud.
If you think "big" as Pete Rose does, the Rolling Stones aren't out of the question. Since being sworn in as Woodinville's City Manager on Jan. 4, 1999, Pete Rose has been involved in big ideas for Woodinville. In his State of the City address, "Six Keys to the City's Future," Rose outlined projects that will enhance livability in Woodinville. Using graphics, he discussed current and future city projects which include the SR 202/SR 522 downtown by-pass, the master plan for a downtown civic center and a modified street system on 177th Place. He also talked about transit oriented development with the concept of downtown underground parking as a possibility.
Virginia Becker, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, recalls, "Pete's thoughtfulness was shown at the last Woodinville Chamber luncheon when he presented an autographed "Pete Rose" baseball to Dennis Smith, the incoming president of the Chamber Board of Directors."
The gesture was appreciated and so is the supportive association Rose has with the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce. Becker comments, "Pete Rose and his staff are readily available to answer questions or make presentations concerning issues that affect businesses. We appreciate the willingness of the City staff to go out of their way to assist us."
As City Manager, Rose not only goes out of his way to assist, but he also works to negotiate contracts and acts as the overseer of city projects, such as Wilmot Gateway Park which was completed in the spring of 1999 and the new City Hall which is just weeks away from completion. Deborah Knight, assistant to the City Manager, likens Rose's role as City Manager to that of a skipper manning the helm. "You can think of him as the captain of the ship," says Knight. "And the City Council directs where the ship is going."
"I work at the pleasure of the Council," says Rose. And he is pleased with the direction. "This is a great situation," he notes. "We have a very good Council truly interested in what's best for the city." He explains that when it comes to the feasibility of projects, he sometimes acts as a proactive muse to the Council and will pose the question, "what do you think about that?"
Speaking of his job in relation to the feasibility of projects, he says, "You have to think about A to Z and say 'yes, it's feasible.' You need to think about 10 things to develop a project and you need to hire consultants."
He points out that one example of this is the 177th Place Corridor Study, a project that involves modifying the street and taking out a bare minimum of property. When the project is completed, the widened street will relieve traffic congestion downtown. It will also improve access to business properties. The difficulty is that the improvements to the street will impact Little Bear Creek, a salmon bearing stream which runs along 177th Place. Before a project like this begins, a study needs to take place to take the salmon protection issues under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) into account. Since more than one city department is involved with the project and attention to ESA requirements are needed, Rose suggested that the study be tackled as one cohesive corridor and worked on as a package rather than as a series of problems to be resolved individually. In this way, no one works at cross-purposes and the payoff is a final result that looks visually pleasing.
"I raised the issue with the staff and basically carried the issue to the Council," Rose points out. He says that projects brought to the City Council can take 2 to 3 years to complete. Even so, no matter what stage the project is at, Rose likes to see progress. "My personal philosophy is to make measurable progress," he states. He also says that getting things done through people is a personal philosophy. Rose and the City staff, as well as the City Council, work together to bring the vision that citizens of Woodinville want. "The vision of Woodinville is a town that wants to preserve its Northwest woodland characterč pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use area where you can live, shop, and get on a transit to living-wage jobs," says Rose.
He emphasizes that the direction the City takes comes from citizen committees and then is forwarded to the City Council. "We are the professionals, so we are the carriers of the requirements," he says.
Setting requirements is something Pete Rose should know. In 1987, he trained for and competed in the Boston Marathon. As a runner, he currently clocks 1,000 miles a year. He also enjoys snowboarding and hits the slopes with his family in his off hours. His wife Cynthia works for the Riverview School District and daughter Hadley and son Keaton are students at Cedarcrest High School. Ask Rose, who is an active member of the Woodinville Rotary Club, if there's anything he'd like to say to the citizens of Woodinville and he says, "Yes. I think they have a great city and I'm happy to be a part of it."
But ask him how many jokes he's heard about his name which he shares with the famous baseball player and he smiles before responding, "I don't think it's possible to count that high."