Q&A with North Bend Mayoral Candidate Mary Miller: Growth, Affordable Housing, Priorities and Misconceptions

Candidate Mary Miller submitted answers to four questions we posed to her. Below are her unedited responses. After the Q&A, you will find her bio (also unedited) and links to her website for additional information. Candidate Rob McFarland’s answers will be published tomorrow.

The summer primary was held on August 1st. Ballots will be mailed out on October 18th, and November 7th will be the general election.

Question 1: How do you plan to balance the need to keep infrastructure current and growth in the City of North Bend?

I believe that there should be no more residential growth until there is more commerce that is relevant to the people of North Bend.  We need to focus on creating more commerce and seeking out vital businesses that the people of North Bend can use.  I have heard this throughout my campaign.  We are way unbalanced in North Bend with the amount of residential growth that has taken place.  Now is the time to build the infrastructure that could adequately service the people. I would like to have community engagement forums and hear from the people going forward.

Question 2: Our aging citizens and workforce have very few options for housing in North Bend. Do you have plans to facilitate affordable housing for these segments of our population?

We need to take care of the people who have taken care of our community for decades. Our Seniors have been productive through the years and have helped to make North Bend a very special place by their efforts.  A vast majority of hardworking people who work in the service industries, for example,  can’t afford to live here.  When I first moved here 32 years ago, I felt a deep sense of community and I made sure that I stayed connected throughout the years.  These fine people like our police officers, teachers, photographers would like to enjoy the fruits of their labor but there is a real struggle. We are all in this together, and I am one of you.  I am part of the working class.  I want to see this city succeed for everybody. It is becoming increasingly difficult to survive here.  I hear the stories of so many people suffering.  To address this incredible need for affordable housing for our aging citizens and the workforce in North Bend, several strategies could include affordable housing initiatives, incentives to developers, community land trusts, zoning and regulation changes, as well as public awareness and education.  I am dedicated to delving further into this problem during my tenure.  We must respect the people who do the hard work in this community and only wish to live their lives feeling safe and living in their beloved town.

Question 3: What do you value as the top five priorities for the community in order of importance & vision for North Bend in the next four years?

My top 5 priorities over the next four years in order of importance and vision of North Bend, are as follows… Public Safety, Affordable Workforce and Senior Housing, Infrastructure and Sustainability, Economic Development, Transparency and Accountability.

Question 4: What would you say is the biggest misconception about you as a candidate in the community?

Over the course of campaigning, I have received feedback which I will always thank our community for.  What has come up several times is that I am “too kind.”  In a world where you can be anything, be kind.  I understand how people are frustrated but my kindness is a strength and allows me to build bridges and relationships within our community. I am committed to making informed, tough decisions while keeping the best interests of our residents in the forefront of my mind.  We can achieve progress without losing our sense of compassion. 

Candidate Bio with Linked Website

Mary Miller (click blue lettering to go to Miller’s website): Mary Miller, a dedicated public servant and 32-year resident of North Bend, is thrilled to announce her candidacy for Mayor, bringing a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to the betterment of her community.  She has a strong background as an award-winning public servant, and recognizes the importance of community engagement and transparency.

Miller aims to encourage a thriving North Bend that values public safety, economic development, supporting our local businesses and welcoming new commercial entities, sustainable infrastructure, the preservation of the environment, open spaces and small-town charm.

A mother who raised two wonderful children to successful adulthood, Mary Miller’s dedication to her family extends to her unwavering dedication to North Bend. As a current City Council member in her fourth year and Planning Commission member prior. Mary has demonstrated her commitment to thoughtful, responsible decision-making. Her tenure in these roles has equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of the local government’s inner workings and the community’s unique needs and aspirations.   

Mary has devoted decades to volunteering in various events, boards, festivals and commissions throughout the Snoqualmie Valley.  Her passion to help our young people has led her to mentorship, advocacy and guest speaking in our Snoqualmie Valley Schools for years.  Her extensive experience has granted her a deep appreciation for the diverse perspectives and concerns that shape the North Bend community. She created and led ” The Heart of the Valley Community Image” event hosted at Snoqualmie’s Centennial Field.  For years, Mary has collaborated with Eastside Fire and Rescue, QFC, City of North Bend, Omega Photo, and City of Snoqualmie to draw on local musicians, food trucks and local businesses uniting people from all over in a playful, positive and historic celebration. 

In addition to her public service, Mary Miller is an accomplished, award-winning freelance photographer.  Her keen eye for capturing the essence of a moment has allowed her to tell compelling stories from different perspectives. Her niche markets in aerial, construction, and event photography have showcased history with truthful views and perspectives of North Bend and the Snoqualmie Valley.  Mary was the City of North Bend photographer from 2009 to 2020, when she became an elected official. 

Moreover, her professional experience in the construction industry has given her invaluable insights into the complexities of infrastructure development, traffic safety, and project management.  Mary greatly appreciates the talent and hard efforts of many in the local construction industry. 

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