The List: Mary Lou Pauly

In November, Mary Lou Pauly was elected the mayor of Issaquah. For 25 years, she’s lived in the small logging town turned techy suburb that continues to grow at a rapid rate. She’s a former engineer and determined to tackle Issaquah’s traffic woes, along with providing more affordable housing, and preserving the environment. As an outdoor enthusiast, she’s often running the trails that snake behind the city’s urban centers. “When I’m feeling braver, (I do) a little bit of easy mountain biking,” she said. Proud to be the new leader of what of she calls the “best little mountain town,” she shared a few other things she loves.


Favorite Places

To Relax
At home, sunny south-side deck

For Dinner

Montalcino dish

courtesy Montalcino via instagram


To Grab a Drink

For Breakfast
Don’t do breakfast

To be Inspired
Trail running or hiking anywhere around town

To Grab a Coffee (or Tea) Issaquah Coffee Company/Yum-e Yogurt/Bean Queens


Inspiration Board

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs


Chevy Chase

Christmas Vacation

Place to Travel
Wherever the next World Cup is

Favorite Framed Photo in your House
(My husband) Karl and I sailing on Puget Sound

Favorite Quote
“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Who Inspires You
People who serve their communities

Favorite App
Words with Friends



What’s the best thing about Issaquah?

Issaquah view

It’s the best little mountain town: historic downtown; contemporary urban villages; and forested hillside suburban homes, with Lake Sammamish, salmon-bearing creeks, and gorgeous forested hillside views.

What’s a project you’re looking forward to working on?
Re-establishing the balance Issaquah had between development and growth pressures and preservation of our amazing natural environment.

Tell us about your engineering career.
I was formerly a public works engineer in Toronto before moving to Issaquah in 1993. I practiced as an environmental/engineering project manager in Washington until my retirement in 2017.

What is Issaquah’s biggest challenge?
Since the ’60s, it’s pretty clear it’s traffic. But now, the combination of ever-increasing pass-through traffic volumes and new and redevelopment in town, it’s likely possible that we may be the most congested small town in Western Washington.

What’s one thing the campaign taught you about yourself?
That even introverts can enjoy doorbelling. The uncomfortable feeling of entering someone’s personal space, unannounced, was literally quite terrifying. Meeting thousands of new people and hearing their thoughts and ideas about town, the good and the not so good, was amazing. And well worth it. Even for an introvert.


is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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