Black Diamond interviews, appoints council replacements

Debbie Page and Leih Mulvihill are the city’s newest leaders.

The Black Diamond City Council has added two new members to its numbers.

The undertaking began in early March, when former Council members Steven Paige and Erin Stout announced they would be leaving; the former left because of work commitments, and the latter moved out of state.

The last time the council went through this procedure, more people sent in an application than there were open spots, forcing the council to choose who they thought the best applicants were.

This time, however, only two people applied for the two open seats, so the council opted to appoint Debbie Page and Leih Mulvihill the moment their interviews with the council were over during the April 1 meeting.

Mulvihill is a long-time Black Diamond resident, even having served on the city council from 2008 to 2012.

“I’m not a virgin,” she joked to the council during her interview.

Mulvihill is also a former businesswoman, having run two former businesses in Black Diamond and Maple Valley.

Though you may not know her name, Mulvihill has shaped the Black Diamond community through her leadership over the years; from 1999 to 2013, she was the executive director and emcee of the ever-popular Black Diamond Labor Days, and was even a founder of the Black Diamond Miner’s Day in 2003.

She was also the Maple Valley/Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce director from 2001 to 2008, was the Maple Valley Historical Society’s newsletter editor from 2014 to 2016, and has been the Black Diamond Historical Society’s newsletter editor since 2012.

Mulvihill said the city’s top three priorities should be making sure residents feel safe and secure, welcoming diverse cultures and new residents, and keeping Black Diamond’s “home town feel” intact.

“I love Black Diamond and would have loved to see our sleepy little burg stay that way, but for the survival of our city, I knew this is not possible,” Mulvihill wrote in her application, noting that she served on the council when Black Diamond stuck a Master Planned Development agreement with Oakpointe (formerly known as Yarrow Bay) for the development of Ten Trails. “I was proud of all our hard work and accomplishments. But seeing how it is being built out, I feel some things were lost in translation, which concerns me.”

During her interview, Mulvihill also said the city needs to rebuild the skate park that will soon be demolished for safety reasons, and likely needs to raise property taxes to keep receiving fire services from Mountain View Fire and Rescue.

Page, unlike Mulvihill, is relatively new to the Black Diamond area, having moved to the city in late 2019; however, she has extensive experience as a businesswoman and entrepreneur. For the last decade, she’s operated, a coaching and consulting business for up-and-coming or established women-run businesses.

Page is also a prolific volunteer, a path she started down when her father received a lifesaving kidney transplant. She currently serves on the Life Center NW Advisory Board, the Elizabeth Gregory Home Advisory Board, as a U.S. Small Business Administration Trainer, and, most recently, joined the Eagle Creek HOA as a board member.

“While yet here in Black Diamond I haven’t had a chance to roll up my sleeves, my volunteer history shows that when I find the thing that I love — and in Black Diamond, it’s that community — I’m pretty sticky. I don’t go anywhere,” she told the council during her interview. “There is no project too big or too small.”

According to her application, the top three priorities Page believes the city needs to be addressing are infrastructure and traffic, communication with residents, and protecting the local environment.

“I want to serve as a Black Diamond City Council member because I would like to see a stronger sense of collaboration within the community and would work to foster positive relationships built on trust and understanding and will be committed to the elimination of an ‘us vs. them’ mindset,” Page wrote in her application. “Our growing community is facing opportunities similar to what a growing business experiences and I excel in determining the next best steps to execute and see them through to completion.”