August Update: Parks, Prices, and Progress

Dear friends and neighbors, 

I hope you’re all enjoying the warm and sunny weather! The interim has been a time of focused work, as we dive into policy implementation, site visits and preparatory work for 2024. 

Your input and involvement are crucial as we prepare for the upcoming session. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Your engagement and support are invaluable.  

Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to lately: 

Empowering Inclusivity and Transforming Outdoor Spaces

As summer graces our beautiful state, there’s no better time to immerse ourselves in the awe-inspiring wonders of our local and state parks. Whether you’re strolling the trails, sharing a picnic with loved ones, or finding solace in nature’s embrace, our parks offer a refuge from the fast pace of everyday life. 

However, it’s vital to acknowledge the challenges our parks have faced, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While more people sought solace in these spaces, our parks confronted maintenance backlogs and a loss of critical fee-based revenue. Though we’ve taken steps this year, it’s clear that we need to allocate additional funds in the state budget to preserve, maintain, and ensure access to these public spaces for every Washingtonian. Here’s a look at how we’re supporting our parks:  

Balancing Recreation and Conservation 

The pandemic’s impact on our parks is undeniable. A surge in visitors coincided with dwindling fee-based revenue, leading to maintenance backlogs. Advocating for budget allocations, we have worked to ensure accessible, safe public spaces through repairs, ADA upgrades, and more. 


The Mountlake Terrace ribbon cutting.  Hazel Miller Foundation, state funding through the RCO, and city funds made it possible.

Preserving Our Public Lands for Generations 

Washington’s allure as a hub for work, living, and recreation stood strong. As the state’s population has grown, the importance of maintaining public lands has become evident. Despite a funding gap, our efforts led to widespread investments. To make sure that Washington State Parks received a comparable level of funding as other agencies, more funding needs to be allocated from the state’s general fund. 


The Civic Center Playfields Grand Opening. Photo by Matt Hulbert. 

Your past engagement and support molded the future of our parks and outdoor spaces. Collaboratively, we have safeguarded natural treasures for generations, ensuring every Washingtonian could revel in their magnificence.  

Rising Gas Prices in Washington

I understand that the recent increases in gas prices have been concerning and frustrating for many of you. As your representative, I want to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the situation, addressing the factors contributing to this issue and shedding light on the role of the recently implemented Climate Commitment Act (CCA). 

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the challenges that rising gas prices pose for Washington families. The increase in fuel costs during the first half of 2023 has understandably added pressure to your household budgets. While multiple factors contribute to fluctuations in gas prices, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the dynamics at play. 

One narrative that has gained traction is the idea that the CCA is a major driving force behind the high fuel prices. The Climate Commitment Act was designed with the intention of advancing our state towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. It has already led to significant investments in communities across Washington. These investments include grants for high-efficiency heat pumps for summer cooling, weatherization assistance to reduce utility bills, and clean energy initiatives that will ultimately save consumers money and improve local air quality. 

However, there isn’t clear evidence that the CCA alone is responsible for the recent surge in gas prices. It’s important to recognize that the oil industry is also reaping record profits, particularly here in Washington. We are working diligently to ensure that the impact of the CCA on consumers is minimized. Our commitment to fine-tuning the legislation demonstrates our dedication to addressing your concerns. 

It’s important to note that various factors contribute to the rise in gas prices. Factors such as pipeline and refinery maintenance, geopolitical instability, and seasonal changes in fuel mixture are likely playing a role in driving up costs. This complex landscape requires a comprehensive approach to finding solutions. 

To address your concerns, we are actively pursuing legislation aimed at preventing price gouging and increasing transparency within the oil industry. This includes measures that would compel oil companies to disclose the origins of their profits when gas prices surge. 

Your concerns are heard and understood. We are working diligently to ensure that the economic challenges posed by rising gas prices are addressed effectively and equitably. Your well-being remains our top priority, and we are committed to finding practical solutions to this issue. 

Celebrating the Outstanding Legislator Award: A Shared Achievement

I am honored to share some wonderful news with you. Recently, I had the privilege of receiving the Outstanding Legislator Award from the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts (WASWD). This recognition holds special meaning for me, as it reflects the values we hold dear in our community – community development and consumer protection. 

From the time I began my journey as a Shoreline City Council Member and later as Mayor, to now serving in the Washington House of Representatives since 2010, my focus has always been on representing your interests and promoting our shared goals. These goals closely align with the core principles of special purpose utility districts, which prioritize serving you, the community. 


From left to right: Ron Ricker, Charlotte Haines, Keith Scully, Representative Ryu, Jeff Clark, Patricia Hale, Judi Gladstone, John McClellan, and Diane Pottinger

In the recent legislative session, I had the privilege of working on legislation that ensures fairness in public works procurement processes for all local governments. Despite not being a member of the House Local Government Committee, I collaborated with fellow committee members to achieve bipartisan support for a crucial bill. I am thrilled to announce that this bill was signed into law on May 4, 2023. It ensures that special purpose districts can undertake in-housework under equitable conditions, ultimately leading to cost savings for all of you, the ratepayers. 

I also want to highlight that Senator Mark Mullet was recognized by WASWD for his dedication to accessible low-cost loans for infrastructure and his support in addressing environmental challenges. The award ceremony took place on June 29, and I was truly honored to stand among North City Water District commissioners, executives from WASWD, and other dedicated individuals. The event, held at the Maintenance Facility in Shoreline, celebrated not just my contributions, but the collaborative efforts we’ve all undertaken to support special purpose utility districts. 


Receiving the award from WASWD Executive Director Judi Gladstone

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Enjoy the rest of your summer—and as always, please feel free to reach out if you’d like to connect.  


Rep. Cindy Ryu 

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