December 2022 Spotlight Professional

Galina Burley –  City of Ridgefield, WA

Describe the scope of your position in parks and recreation.

I currently manage parks, trails, and recreation services for the City of Ridgefield WA. This is a new position in the city, so we are building our programs as we go. It’s a ton of fun. 

How long have you been with your present agency?

Only about 6 months.

What did you do before your previous role? (Background experience and previous careers)

I spent 25 years in local government holding various positions including Chief Ranger for the City of Portland, Operations and Maintenance Manager, Diversity and Equity Manager, and a few more. I also managed Clark County Parks and Lands for a bit, mostly during Covid. 

How have you participated in WRPA?

I’ve been a member on and off. I also served on the equity committee for a bit. 

What inspires you about the parks and recreation field?

Opportunities to make life better for people, increase property values, increase community’s quality of life. I also like to work outside when I can, so parks jobs are perfect in that regard

Why are you passionate about the parks and recreation field?

Working in Parks and Recreation gives me the opportunity to share my passions and also provide experiences that make Spokane a super enjoyable place to live. Growing up, a lot of my friends hated Spokane. I always thought it was great. Providing events and recreation opportunities for citizens and visitors really makes me happy.

What is one creative solution you and your team have applied to a professional challenge?

Drone Mower

Considering what you’ve learned throughout your career, what advice would you share with someone starting out in the parks and recreation field?

Keep an open mind, have fun, and be ready for ups and downs.

What is one of your favorite moments as a parks and recreation professional?  What was your job title?

Building a Kaboom park in one day in Norfolk. I manage community services for parks. My official title was – Bureau Manager. My team was charged with this project, which seemed impossible. We recruited 100 sailors, dozens of volunteers and local neighbors, and built a park in one day (with a few days of minor prep). This was super fun!