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The City of Mountlake Terrace recognizes Senior Planner Edith Duttlinger, who retires Friday after 34 years of service.
Duttlinger dedicated more than four decades to local government. She stayed at Mountlake Terrace because it was a warm and involved community, a good place to work, and always interesting, she said.
Duttlinger grew up in a military family and studied landscape architecture at Washington State University. She found an academic field that combined her interests of design, gardening and “making things pleasant.” After graduation, she worked in planning at Snohomish County – a job that included preparing and illustrating, by hand, maps for land use and environmental analysis.
In Mountlake Terrace, her goal was to help create “a livable, attractive and meaningful place to live and work,” she said. She provided guidance for public spaces that function in everyday life, within all the various codes and regulations.
Since Duttlinger started here in 1987, she’s seen how careful change can really happen, even though it takes time. The city has sought to protect the residential areas that attract young families, while also fostering a downtown core that can support growing demand for density, public transit, and commercial spaces and services, she said.
“We hear all the time that people choose here because it’s close to transit and the coming transit,” she said, referring to the light rail service that’s scheduled to start in 2024.
At City Hall, Duttlinger was known for her thoughtfulness and knowledge around development standards. She was tasked with thinking long-term and big picture, but with an eye on the details. Good planning, by her definition, means adapting when something inevitably changes.
Duttlinger, who lives in the Cathcart area, looks forward to having more time with family and friends, and for her hobbies such as travel, gardening and crafts.
The City Council on Monday adopted a resolution honoring Duttlinger for dedicated public service. The resolution noted that she has presented materials and responded to questions at hundreds of City Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings, open houses, community meetings and city events. Her tenure has seen the city complete numerous major Comprehensive Plan updates, Critical Areas Plans, Shoreline Master Plan updates, and a Town Center Subarea Plan with two subsequent updates.
Community and Economic Development Director Christy Osborn stated, “Many community members may not readily see the ‘Duttlinger Effect,’ but it is everywhere you look, in the landscaping and trees planted, protected critical areas, better building design and aesthetics, long-range plans and policies, and many years of making those around her better. Thank you Edith. You will truly be missed.”
Those sentiments were echoed by the City Council and staff members at the January 3 Council meeting. There was much respect and appreciation expressed for Duttlinger’s caring and committed service, and the city wishes her the best in retirement.