MARYSVILLE — In 1993, Jon Nehring and his new bride, Mari-Anne, moved to a small town with a population of 10,000.
Today, with growth and annexations, that same small town — Marysville — is home to more than 70,000.
Nehring has seen a stack of changes in 30 years, including some he’s helped bring about.
“It’s been an amazing transformation,” said Nehring, who has served as Marysville’s mayor since 2010.
Nehring was elected mayor in 2011 after being appointed to the office by the City Council in 2010. Before that, he served on the council.
As mayor, Nehring has focused on public safety, economic development and revitalizing the city’s downtown.
Nehring is this year’s recipient of the Henry M. Jackson Award. The award recognizes a person who demonstrates exemplary service to the community and is committed to the business interests of the region. Established in 1977, the award is named for the former U.S. senator from Everett, according to Economic Alliance Snohomish County.
“It was a real surprise and honor to receive the award. I’m humbled,” Nehring said. “Sen. Jackson is someone I admire.”
Despite a full schedule as mayor, Nehring has also made it a point to serve the community, wrote Gloria Hirashima, who nominated him for the award.
Nehring is chairman of Community Transit Board and serves on the boards of the Association of Washington Cities, the Economic Alliance and Washington State University Everett.
As board member and chairman of the Snohomish County Emergency Radio System, he led a merger with Sno-911, wrote Hirashima, Marysville’s chief administrative officer.
“His willingness to serve on so many community and regional boards and initiatives is a testament to his overall devotion to the region,” Hirashima wrote.
“He has actively championed key transportation initiatives within our city and county, working effectively with adjoining cities, county, state and regional partners to highlight the needs of our area,” she wrote.
“He has led the city through tremendous growth and change, prioritizing quality of life improvements alongside infrastructure investments. Under his leadership, the Cascade Industrial Center’s Marysville portion has begun to transform from vacant fields to thriving industrial businesses.”
Nehring has watched the Cascade Industrial Center transform the area.
“We’ve always been viewed as a bedroom community. Now we see an opportunity for good, family-wage jobs,” Nehring said.
The arrival of new businesses and retail options has broadened the city’s tax base. Residents can find the goods and services they need without having to go far.
Today there are more recreational options than when Nehring moved to Marysville in the early 1990s.
“You can walk or bike or jog along the Bayview Trail in our east side foothills and connect to the Centennial Trail,” he said. “We’ve got the new Ebey Waterfront Trail, where you can walk along the Qwuloolt Estuary — none of that was really accessible in the years I first moved here if you weren’t in a boat.”
Marysville is growing by leaps and bounds, but the city retains small town charm and hometown values, Nehring said. “We have an amazing staff here, right down to the city’s amazing employees. That’s what I really love about Marysville.”