Kirkland planning director Shields retires after 38 years with city

Eric Shields started at Kirkland as an intern and worked his way up to planning director.

  • Monday, November 26, 2018 3:02pm
  • News
Photo courtesy of the city of Kirkland

Photo courtesy of the city of Kirkland

After almost four decades of serving the Kirkland community, planning director Eric Shields has announced his retirement.

According to a city press release, Shields began as an intern with the city of Kirkland in 1977, and eventually worked his way to planning director in 1992. During his 38 years of service, he assisted city leadership as they navigated through significant population growth (from about 17,000 residents in 1977 to 88,000 residents in 2018). Additionally, Shields played a key role in transformative projects such as the development of downtown Kirkland, South Kirkland Transit Oriented Development, Juanita Village and the Village at Totem Lake, the release states.

Shields also led a number of important planning-related efforts such as multiple comprehensive plans, the Kirkland Shoreline Master Program, the development of design guidelines for Kirkland business districts and efforts to encourage the development of affordable housing. Under Shields’ leadership the city won numerous state and regional smart growth awards.

“Eric Shields’ contributions to the city of Kirkland are truly immeasurable and inspiring,” said city manager Kurt Triplett. “Eric’s legacy is that his vision made Kirkland the green, livable, walkable community that we all love. The city of Kirkland is incredibly grateful to Eric for his decades of dedication to this community, for his leadership as planning director and for the kind and compassionate approach he brought to his work and his colleagues. He is irreplaceable.”

Shields also served on the King County Planning Directors group, the Puget Sound Regional Council Regional staff committee and the Interjurisdictional Team staff to King County Growth Management Planning Council. He also received the Washington State Planning Directors Service Award in 2018.

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