Kirkland parks advocate Nona Ganz gives former City Manager Dave Ramsay a plaque featuring a blackberry root, to commemorate his years of service to restore parkland. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kirkland parks advocate Nona Ganz gives former City Manager Dave Ramsay a plaque featuring a blackberry root, to commemorate his years of service to restore parkland. Katie Metzger/staff photo

City celebrates former city manager’s legacy of service

Dave Ramsay helped found the Green Kirkland Partnership and went on to volunteer more than 1,050 recorded hours in seven parks over 13 years.

Green Kirkland Stewards and Green Kirkland Partnership paid tribute to “volunteer extraordinaire” Dave Ramsay at Juanita Bay Park on March 16, recognizing his tremendous efforts to restore the community’s forested parkland.

Ramsay, who served as Kirkland’s city manager from 1998 to 2010 and helped found the Green Kirkland Partnership in 2005, went on to volunteer more than 1,050 recorded hours in seven parks over 13 years.

Dave Ramsay admires a plaque recognizing his restoration efforts. “I got a lot of plaques in my day, but this tops them all,” he said. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dave Ramsay admires a plaque recognizing his restoration efforts. “I got a lot of plaques in my day, but this tops them all,” he said. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Before retiring, Ramsay had a 36-year career in local government, and also served for three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone. He recently moved from Kirkland to Seattle, and will soon start working in Ravenna Park, after spending his Friday mornings restoring open space in Juanita Bay with the same group since 2009.

Ramsay’s Friday work group hosted a gathering to wish him well and honor his “inspiring legacy of visionary public service accomplishments.” In honor of the group’s mission to remove the six- to eight-foot walls of blackberry bushes, which occurred over six years, Ramsay was gifted with a blackberry root mounted on a plaque, along with blackberry tea, jam and snacks, and new gloves, goggles and other equipment.

Ramsay said he was “surprised and humbled” by the recognition. He said he enjoyed the “blackberry therapy” — which at times was “like hand-to-hand combat” — and the company over the years of work in Kirkland’s parks.

Members of Dave Ramsay’s family and Friday work group pose at a gathering to recognize his service at Juanita Bay Park on March 16. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Members of Dave Ramsay’s family and Friday work group pose at a gathering to recognize his service at Juanita Bay Park on March 16. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Ramsay said his main goal was to “give Mother Nature a helping hand.” He first noticed a problem with Kirkland’s forested parkland during a tour of Juanita Bay Park with council members while he was city manager.

“It was a lightbulb moment,” he said. “Until then, we thought we had done a good job with open space because we had acquired and preserved it. But we had to maintain it too…Given the city’s budget, there was only so much we could do. And that’s where the volunteers came in.”

Ramsay, with parks and community services director Jennifer Schroder and Forterra trustee Nona Ganz worked with Forterra (then Cascade Land Conservancy) to establish the Green Kirkland Partnership. For starting this program, Ramsay will receive the city’s first Founder’s Award at its annual volunteer dinner at Peter Kirk Community Center on April 12.

Dave Ramsay hugs attendees at a gathering recognizing his work in and for Kirkland Parks. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dave Ramsay hugs attendees at a gathering recognizing his work in and for Kirkland Parks. Katie Metzger/staff photo

The partnership has been successful. By the end of 2017, it had 96 acres in restoration in 18 parks, 48,000 native plants installed and a total of 90,000 volunteer hours with a value of more than $2 million. Partnership supervisor Sharon Rodman said that the volunteers, especially the Green Stewards, are the “heart” of the program. A steward training program is coming up on March 24.

“He came up with the idea at his desk in City Hall and since then he has done a tremendous amount of work on the ground and in the ground,” Ganz said about Ramsay. “Thank you for not moving to Seattle sooner, before all the work was done.”

Dave Ramsay’s volunteer work group gathers in Juanita Bay Park to wish him well in his move to Seattle. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dave Ramsay’s volunteer work group gathers in Juanita Bay Park to wish him well in his move to Seattle. Katie Metzger/staff photo




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

City of Kirkland/Courtesy photo
Temporary art piece tells story of ‘hope, strength’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Kirkland, once the epicenter of the virus, is now telling the story of the pandemic through four art pieces on Park Lane.

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Courtesy photo/City of Kirkland
Kirkland council puts funds towards community outreach to address racism

The council approved a resolution to work towards ending structural racism, as well as $380,000 in outreach funding.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Bullet that killed Bothell officer came from partner’s gun

But prosecutors say that’s “immaterial,” and charged Henry Washington with aggravated murder Friday.

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.