With a city as large and as diverse as Bellevue, the needs and concerns of citizens can vary drastically between neighborhoods. That’s why the city has four Neighborhood Area Liaisons dedicated to working with community members, answering questions and taking feedback about all aspects of city activity.
Bellevue is comprised of 16 neighborhood areas split between the four liaisons employed by the city. It’s their job to know each of their neighborhoods well and interface with community members, organizations and business.
Mark Heilman, neighborhood outreach manager for the Community Development Department and one of the four liaisons, said residents often come to them with questions and it is their job to either find the answer, or connect them with the resources that would allow the citizens to find the answer. While they don’t know everything, Heilman said they know almost everyone in the city, so an answer is never too far away.
Questions can range from the “history of something going on in their neighborhood, to water services, or something that goes to a council decision that may go back five years,” he said. Liaisons can point people to archived information, or help collect the information citizens need.
Heilman works with Somerset, Newport and West Bellevue. Theresa Cuthill works with Crossroads, BelRed, Northeast Bellevue, Northwest Bellevue and Bridle Trails. Carol Ross works in Factoria, Eastgate, Cougar Mountain/Lakemont and West Lake Sammamish. Julie Ellenhorn covers Downtown Bellevue, Wilburton, Woodridge and Lake Hills.
The liaisons can also help address issues when the city is not involved. Heilman explained that a citizen once reported trash on a trail managed by King County on the north end of the city. King County was quickly contacted and cleaned up the mess.
Another example is after the February snow storm, each of the liaisons went to their neighborhoods to research and ask about how the city responded in each area, as well as how citizens would take care of each other. That feedback was collected as data that can be used to learn how the city can respond to similar events more effectively in the future.
Heilman said that if a resident has a question they should first look for the answer through the MyBellevue smartphone app. If further information is necessary the contact information for each of the four liaisons is available on the Neighborhood Area Liaisons page of the city’s website (https://bit.ly/2TgLFik).