Vicky Hartley Honored for Service to Boulevard Park Community

According to her fellow community members’ nomination, Hartley is “a community champion … and a model example of what it means to be a good neighbor.”

In 2009, residents of the North Burien and Boulevard Park neighborhoods were faced with a decision—should they remain in unincorporated King County or should they vote to become part of Burien?

At the time, Vicky Hartley had lived in the Boulevard Park neighborhood for five years. She believed that becoming part of a smaller city like Burien would give people like her more of a voice in their local government.

“I got to know my neighbors and I knew they were good, hardworking people,” said Hartley when describing the public discussion about annexation. “I didn’t see the evidence of the allegations like high crime rates and things like that.”

Fueled by that belief, she worked to build relationships with her neighbors. It started small. She struck up conversations while walking her dog around the neighborhood. She started a block watch, inviting strangers into her yard. A growing email list helped organize meetings in people’s backyards, where they would get to know each other and keep everyone informed. The initial group of immediate neighbors grew into larger gatherings like National Night Out celebrations where people were invited to stop and eat fried chicken while building community.

Even when COVID kept people from gathering for events, Hartley kept in touch with her community, forging grassroots neighbor-to-neighbor connections in support of better representation for the neighborhood in city planning efforts. She got to know new neighbors through the simple act of walking her dog around the neighborhood. Her local leadership was recognized by the City of Burien Planning Division when in 2020 they asked her to serve on an advisory group for the Ambaum and Boulevard Park Community Plan.

At the same time, she was advising the city on the long-range future of her community, Hartley met several Boulevard Park neighbors whose homes were being severely impacted by flooding.

“I knew that environmental damage had been done,” said Hartley.

She helped them connect with each other and supported their demands for action from the City of Burien government. They formed the Boulevard Park Community Action Network (BPCAN), a grassroots neighborhood advocacy group. This advocacy resulted in the City conducting an engineering study and helping secure federal grant support for neighbors in the affected area to convert from septic to sewer connections.

While Hartley was nominated to be the 2023 Citizen of the Year in recognition of her service to the Boulevard Park neighborhood, she continues to participate in grassroots organizing efforts in support of many local issues. She has a personal desire to see the many unnamed creeks that run through her neighborhood get named.

“Naming it gives it value and recognition. It’s an important part,” said Hartley.

According to her fellow community members’ nomination, Hartley is “a community champion … and a model example of what it means to be a good neighbor.”

Emily Inlow-Hood
Communications & Public Engagement Manager at | More posts
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