For Terrace planning commissioner, patience is paying off

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — For more than 45 years, Alice Kier has watched Mountlake Terrace change and grow.

For much of that time, she’s volunteered as a planning commissioner, offering city leaders input on how to shape the future of downtown.

The commission’s efforts are paying off, said Kier, 72.

The planning commission looks years ahead, and considers design requirements for buildings. Part of the downtown revitalization project has been aimed at making Mountlake Terrace more attractive to businesses and visitors.

Kier was born in Spokane and grew up in Renton and south Seattle, the daughter of a Boeing worker. She raised two children in Mountlake Terrace. When her kids were old enough to attend school, she went back to work and started volunteering at St Pius X Catholic School. She retired in 2004.

“I kept myself busy,” she said.

In the late 1980s, Kier worked with a grassroots community group that aimed to improve Mountlake Terrace. She joined the planning commission in 1993.

“I found out what it was, and I absolutely love it,” she said. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

The commissioners look at city boundaries, municipal codes and long-term plans and look for missing pieces. Kier is especially proud of their work in recent years to reinvent the former Lake Ballinger Golf Course site and improve the Interurban Trail.

“Our focus is if we don’t plan, and don’t plan long-term, we may not see our vision fulfilled,” she said.

On Main Street, the planning commission has vouched for trees and benches, and for utility poles and wiring to be moved underground, Kier said. They work with city staff, who do most of the heavy lifting.

“The civic center project is a huge, huge thing that I’m hoping will eventually get built,” she said.

The city’s seven planning commissioners are unpaid. They attend about 20 meetings a year and invest a lot of additional prep time, City Clerk Virginia Olsen said. They make recommendations to city officials about community development issues, such as land use and growth.

Alice has been a fabulous volunteer and stalwart leader, and she serves as the commission’s chairwoman, Olsen said.

“Under her leadership, the vision for an attractive, walkable city with a revitalized Town Center is becoming reality,” Olsen said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;

For information about volunteering with the city of Mountlake Terrace, visit or call 425-776-1161.

The planning commission includes Nick Bautista, Logan Galyan, Alice Kier, Arthur Robertson, Miguel Sandoval, Vic Sood and Mike Wicklander. The board meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

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