Emma Bolin, interim director of Community and Economic Development for the city of Port Angeles, has accepted a job with the city of Port Townsend. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Emma Bolin, interim director of Community and Economic Development for the city of Port Angeles, has accepted a job with the city of Port Townsend. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles chief to move to Port Townsend post

Housing, code issues addressed in both Peninsula towns

PORT TOWNSEND — It’s a different position with different expectations, but many of the issues will be familiar for Emma Bolin, Port Angeles’ interim director of Community and Economic Development, when she begins work for the city of Port Townsend.

Bolin, who stepped into the interim director role in January 2021 after the resignation of the former director, Allyson Brekke, has accepted the job of Port Townsend Planning and Community Development director.

In Port Townsend, she will provide leadership “on a matter of critical importance,” she said Wednesday.

“Housing is the cornerstone of my department’s mission,” Bolin added.

“I will look for any opportunities in code, long-range planning and marketing and to try to get more middle housing and affordable housing,” she said.

“I have learned things in Port Angeles that I can apply to Port Townsend.”

The term “economic development is not in the job title, “but it is an important role in the community,” she said.

Bolin’s last day will be June 24. She plans to start work in Port Townsend on June 27.

“It’s a great opportunity for Emma,” said Nathan West, Port Angeles city manager.

In Port Townsend, Bolin will “play an important role in advancing the city’s priority around housing,” said John Mauro, Port Townsend city manager, in a press release issued this week.

Mauro said Bolin’s expertise will be helpful in a number of emerging workforce and affordable housing initiatives.

“I am delighted to find such a collaborative, technically-sound leader to help take us to the next level in our commitment to addressing our housing crisis and helping to ensure we maintain and enhance our community’s quality of life,” Mauro said.

“She has an energy, enthusiasm and integrity that is palpable.”

Mauro thanked the team now in place, “including Dave Nakagawara and Judy Surber, who have been co-directing productive departmental functions since the departure of Director Lance Bailey in December 2021.”

The new title of Planning and Community Development Director is a modification from the previous role held by Bailey as Development Services Director, “and reflects a broadened scope with enhanced focus on longer-range planning,” Mauro said.

Prior to leading the Community and Economic Development Department in Port Angeles, Bolin served as Community Development Manager for Port Angeles, as well as associate planner and a planning supervisor for Jefferson County, communications officer for Peninsula Communications and a ranger for the National Park Service.

Bolin said there are many accomplishments she experienced working with others in her department in Port Angeles.

“Our team has accomplished a lot,” she said, while also pointing out that she still had several more weeks to serve in Port Angeles.

A major accomplishment was being able to work with a team in a virtual environment during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, she said.

Among others is the development of the Climate Resiliency Plan, “the culmination of a multi-year effort,” Bolin said.

A first reading of the plan will be conducted at the Port Angeles City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

In 2021, the Master Plan Update was accomplished, she said.

Also developed was a “progressive form-based code” which provides design standards for commercial development as well as residential housing units.

Work was done to enhance the pedestrian area as well as add more “vibrancy” to the city, she said — “make developments more on a human scale.”

West said Bolin announced her resignation last Friday and that, as of Wednesday, he did not know what the city’s next steps will be. The city is still in the process of recruiting for a permanent position, he said.


Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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