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Former legislator's name goes on freeway overpass

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

One of Federal Way’s most well-known and frequently used freeway overpasses will be renamed soon to honor a woman known by many as the mother of the city.

The state House of Representatives unanimously voted Monday to rename the South 320th Street overpass the Maryann Mitchell Memorial Interchange to honor the late representative who died of liver cancer last December. She was 69.

Rep. Skip Priest, who ran for and won Mitchell’s 30th District seat last fall, said the idea came out of discussions among himself, Rep. Bev Woods of Bremerton), a long-time close friend of Mitchell, and fellow 30th District Rep. Mark Miloscia .

“She’s a very special person,” Priest said of Mitchell. “(South 320th) is an arrow into the heart of Federal Way, and what better way to represent that than naming it after Maryann. It’s not only fitting, but very appropriate.”

Federal Way Mayor Jeanne Burbidge, who worked with Mitchell on the city’s incorporation effort, said naming the overpass after Mitchell is “a little unusual” but appropriate.

“She had such a major role in the incorporation of our city, and she continued after she was elected to the Legislature to focus on transportation,” she said.

Mitchell served for many of her 10 years in the Legislature as a member of the House Transportation Committee. She was vice chairwoman of the committee from 1995 to 2000 and was co-chairwoman in 2000 and 2001.

Copies of the House’s memorial were sent to the state’s secretary of transportation, Transportation Commission and Department of Transportation.

Assistant city manager Derek Matheson agreed naming the bridge after Mitchell was appropriate for someone so dedicated to solving transportation issues in the state.

“This a great honor for Maryann Mitchell,” he said. “The fact that there is a city of Federal Way is a testament to her hard work on the incorporation effort.”

In addition to the overpass, a new senior housing development on South 336th Street was named Mitchell Place earlier this year in honor of Mitchell, who was an advocate of seniors.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we have some additional things named after Maryann,” Burbidge said.

Staff writer Erica Jahn: 925-5565, ejahn@fedwaymirror.com

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