Mayor announces Parks and Recreation Department director

Mayor appoints Nicole Oliver to lead department after national search

June 23, 2020 - by Janice Keller, Communications Director

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced today he has appointed Nicole Oliver as the City’s Parks and Recreation Department director. Oliver has served as interim director since January 3, 2020.

“I have been very pleased to work with Nicole in her interim role,” Mayor Fleetwood said. “She shares the City’s vision for parks and recreation services and has the skills and experience to move that vision forward. I’ve been particularly impressed with the ways she has stepped into leadership during COV​ID-19. Our parks and recreation services have had many challenges to address during this pandemic. Nicole has faced these challenges proactively, creatively and compassionately, with the needs of our community always the priority.”

​​Nicole Oliver, Parks and Recreation Department Director

Mayor Fleetwood said he selected Nicole after a national search for a new director. He said her breadth of experience with the City and in our community, and her project management and problem-solving skills, were among the qualities she demonstrated — as interim director and in the selection process — that made her his top choice. 

“Completing trail connections, protecting valuable habitat, improving environmental features, and continuing our Greenways Program legacy are priorities for the City,” he said. “I’m grateful to work with Nicole to achieve our goals in these and other areas.” 

Oliver has served as the Interim Parks and Recreation Director following the retirement of Leslie Bryson on January 3.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead parks and recreation services in Bellingham,” Oliver said. “This is a challenging and exciting time to be part of the City’s excellent leadership team. Together we are building resiliency, protecting habitat and open space, and creating more ways to get more people outside enjoying our parks. I’m proud to play a key role in these and other City priorities.”

​​​​​​As a City of Bellingham employee for more than 20 years, Oliver is an accomplished project manager, supervisor and strategic planner who worked in several other departments before joining the Parks and Recreation Department in July 2016 as the Development Manager. Her prior positions at the City include Permit Center Business Analyst, Development Specialist and Communications Coordinator for the Planning and Community Development Department, Project and Training Manager for the Information Technology Services Department, and Legislative Coordinator for the City Council. Before working at the City, she was a paralegal in Seattle and Bellingham.

Oliver has lived in Washington State most of her life. She graduated from the University of Washington with an English degree and obtained a Master of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Western Washington University.

Media Contact

​Janice Keller, Communication Director
Mayor’s Office
(360) 778-8100 or

Nicole Oliver, Director​
Parks and Recreation Department
(360) 778-7013 or ​

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