Neal Black joins the Kirkland City Council, after winning the election in November. Photo courtesy of Neal Black 
                                Neal Black joins the Kirkland City Council, after winning the election in November. Photo courtesy of Neal Black

Neal Black joins the Kirkland City Council, after winning the election in November. Photo courtesy of Neal Black Neal Black joins the Kirkland City Council, after winning the election in November. Photo courtesy of Neal Black

Getting to know new Kirkland Councilmember Neal Black

Fresh to the Kirkland City Council, Black has roots in law and Houghton Community Council.

Soon-to-be Kirkland city councilmember Neal Black was elected into office in November but the longtime resident is no stranger to service.

Black has served on the Houghton Community Council, has roots in public policy and has coached Kirkland American Little League baseball.

He will serve on city council until his term expires on Dec. 31, 2021, filling a vacancy created by the election of councilmember Kelli Curtis to Pos. 2, according to the city of Kirkland.

The new councilmember grew up in Prineville, a small town in Central Oregon. He graduated high school and went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in civil engineering and a juris doctor degree from Georgetown University.

It was his work on environmental issues as an undergrad that sparked his interest in environmental law and policy, Black said. And his upbringing in a small town surrounded by a natural habitat led to his passion for the environment.

“I grew up in place …where you’re immersed in natural environment in a way that you can’t ignore,” Black said. “Especially when you leave a place like that and go out into the wider world, you begin to appreciate that the natural environment that is so much apart of your life is not an unlimited resource.”

This passion led to his work on public policy for the White House Office on Environmental Policy, the California State Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Division. He also worked as a law clerk intern for the Environmental Defense Fund.

For more than 10 years Black has been a partner at the Adkins Black law firm. Before this he was vice president and general counsel of Square Enix and also previously served as vice president and general counsel of Emergent Payments.

In 1998 Black moved to Kirkland and eventually into the central Houghton neighborhood. Prior to his election to council, Black served on the Houghton Community Council. He was elected to this position in November 2017. While on the Houghton council he worked on Kirkland land use planning and zoning issues.

Now on council, Black will have influence on a broader range of issues that affect a broader group of residents. He’ll go from representing about 6,000 in Houghton to representing about 88,000 Kirkland residents, Black said.

As a councilmember, Black said he’ll continue his principles of sound governance and help build the public’s faith in government with open government, community outreach and sound decision making.

“One of the great things about Kirkland is the high functioning of its city leadership…They work really hard on community outreach and trying to meet the public where they are,” he said. “I feel I’m joining a group that already has my core values in mind.”

Black also plans to work to give voice to teen mental health issues. He will encourage public discourse, openness and transparency on that front as well, he said.

“Not necessarily a specific city council thing but incumbent upon on all community leaders to have open discussion [on this],” he said.

Black added that an open dialogue on suicide will reduce the stigmas that surround mental health issues.


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

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

Pexel Images
Two patients contracted COVID-19 while at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland

A press release from the hospital states it has contacted 100 employees that had various levels of exposure, and that the direct source in this case is unclear

Kirkland PD car. File photo
One dead in shooting at Houghton Beach Park

The park is partially closed Thursday for the shooting investigation

Virtual town halls coming up for unincorporated King County

Events throughout September and October via Zoom will cater to different areas of the region.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Amazon adds more office space to Bellevue, now as many new jobs as HQ2

The office space for an additional 10,000 jobs, making it 25,000 coming to downtown, is expected to complete in 2023.

Constantine announces King County climate action plan

Plots an example of decreased stormwater pollution, urban flooding prevention, immigrant connections

The YMCA of Greater Seattle opened its King County branches to provide child care centers dedicated to serving the families of essential workers. Courtesy photo
COVID continues to whittle away at child care in Washington

It’s estimated that 25% of Washington child care facilities have closed since the pandemic began.

Ferguson sues agencies over archive relocation decision

“Decision to close the National Archives in Seattle has far-reaching impacts across the Northwest.”

Downtown Kirkland. Staff photo/Blake Peterson
COVID-19 relief grants available for small Kirkland businesses

The application will be available until Sept. 16.

Bothell schools receive grants for socially-distanced physical education

Cedar Wood Elementary and Maywood Hills Elementary were among the recipients