As a neighborhood district coordinator for Seattle’s North Region, Christa Dumpys acts as a bridge between the community and the government, and colleagues say she is a hard-working innovator for the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
Dumpys deals with a plethora of issues on a daily basis as one of nine district coordinators and part of the team that works on issues concerning North Seattle. The main ones she works on concern public safety, parks, human services, transportation and land-use projects.
“The real good leaders are the ones that are behind the scenes,” said fellow neighborhood district coordinator Karen Ko, who works with Dumpys in the North Region.
“Christa is one of the world’s most organized people. She’s really patient and always tries to see the bright side of the issues when working with community groups,” Ko added.
As district coordinators, Dumpys said they have a unique view and relationship with the city.
“We have a bird’s-eye view of different interworking parts. Part of my role is to connect people and the community with city staff and projects,” she explained. We’re able to see what the priorities are with the mayor.”
Dumpys was the neighborhood district coordinator in Queen Anne and Magnolia from 2006 to 2013. She said the community councils in Queen Anne and Magnolia have always been very strong.
“Both community councils work very hard, advocating and letter writing,” Dumpys said. “The Queen Anne [and]Magnolia areas deal with strong activism: The people really care, and they are very capable, with lots of connections.”
Dumpys staffed district councils in Queen Anne and Magnolia, and she brought policy makers and department heads to the community so they could understand the big picture of issues that affect them.
She said the Queen Anne and Magnolia residents are very vocal in their community.
“People make things happen and take matters into their own hands, always willing to stick with things,” Dumpys said.
She said all the neighborhoods she works with are unique and offer something different, and that the community councils and chambers in Queen Anne and Magnolia are strong organizations that have upwards of 15 to 18 board members. She said they have worked very hard on issues like the Mercer corridor and park-development projects.
An optimistic approach
It’s become more difficult for Dumpys to get out to Queen Anne and Magnolia since she’s working in a different region, but she said she tries to keep herself available by going to community meetings and letting the district councils know she is there if they need her.
Dumpys said there are certain differences between the job she holds now and the position she held in Queen Anne and Magnolia. She said transportation is one of the biggest issues dealt with in Queen Anne and Magnolia, as the area sees a lot of traffic due to its location in the central part of the city and the many roadways that converge there.
She also helps connect people through projects like the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE). Dumpys has been a key person in developing the PACE program, a leadership-training program at Seattle University for newly emerging leaders, over the course of three years. The program had a successful pilot in 2012 and continues with sessions from September 2013 to May 2014.
“Christa is a great optimist, always holding out hope that the group she’s working with can succeed,” Ko said. “She is a great leader for programs like PACE.”
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[Editor's note: Christa Dumpys also began serving the Belltown and Denny Triangle neighborhoods in 2011. Her office had moved from Queen Anne to the Central Area about the same time.]