An emotional crowd gathered at the Kirkland Performance Center on Dec. 14 to celebrate the extensive public service career of Kirkland City Council member Doreen Marchione.
Marchione was surrounded by friends, family and colleagues during the social hour in KPC’s lobby before heading backstage to prepare for the rest of her party.
The retirement party followed Marchione’s final council meeting two days earlier where council members held back tears and expressed how Marchione has impacted them over the last seven years in Kirkland. She will officially leave office on Dec. 31 before Jon Pascal takes the position. Her Eastside public service career numbers 30-plus years.
“Doreen has been, what I would say, our best friend and mentor,” said Mayor Amy Walen, who also hosted the retirement party. “Everyone at city hall, the staff, the city manager, has sought her counsel and advice. When things go wrong, you call Doreen.”
Each council member, in turn, agreed that Marchione is an inspiration.
“She’s been a mentor and a voice of wisdom for us all,” council member Toby Nixon said.
“She’s a wise sage and she has added so much to this council,” council member Penny Sweet added. “She’s my dear dear friend, I’m going to miss her horribly on this council.”
Council Member Tom Neir, who was only elected to the council last month, also weighed in saying he benefited from her sage advice despite his short time working with her.
“I hold your example of selfless public service in my heart and I thank you for the years of that service,” he said. “I view you as a champion of the people, particularly the people that in our community have a limited voice.”
Marchione has been heavily involved in the Eastside community as far back as 1984 when she became the mayor of Redmond. She’s served as a Redmond City Council member, president of Hopelink, commissioner of the King County Housing Authority, member of multiple organizational boards and president of the Washington State Association of Community Action Agencies.
Walen called her a champion of women leaders in government.
“By example and by declaration she’s insisted that women should be in leadership in our state,” Walen said. “She has quietly and firmly put women forward for leadership positions and she has herself fearlessly taken the lead.”
Marchione was also recognized as a Sound Cities Association’s 2017 Member Emeritus Recipient during the meeting.
This is the highest honor that SCA gives to elected officials. Recipients must be retiring, serve a minimum of eight years as an elected official and actively participated in SCA by serving at least two years on their committee and board and provide distinguished service on behalf of the member cities and King County.
The baseball-themed celebration resulted from a 2010 interview where Marchione mentioned the one job outside of elected office she’s most like to have.
“I’d like to be the commissioner of baseball,” she said. “That would be a perfect job.”
The main event featured a musical skit, “Let’s vote her in the Hall of Fame,” written by James Lopez, the city’s human resources director, and choreographed by Lani Brockman. Studio East students performed as council members and the city clerk before they welcomed Marchione to the stage for special presentations.
The presentations included a highlight reel, video tribute and the “Doreen Awards.” This award show featured City Manager Kurt Triplett, Rep. Joan McBride and Speaker of the House Frank Chopp who presented awards for fiscal responsibility, transparency and ethics and biggest heart.
Needless to say, Marchione won each award.
“Look at this beautiful town, I see the results of your work in every neighborhood and every council meeting,” said McBride, who was a former mayor of Kirkland. “You embody the best ideals of an elected official.”
The city plans install a bench on the Cross Kirkland Corridor dedicated to Marchione and her love of the region.