Background: Born and raised in Washington, Barrett spent 10 years in Seattle and 10 years in Spokane before getting his first "real job" as a city planner in Steilacoom. Before that, he attended Washington State University for a degree in landscape architecture, worked in Yellowstone Park for a few years and pulled a Jack Keruoac up and down the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to Montana.
Claim to Fame: "I started going to public hearings as a form of recreation," Barrett said. He was fascinated with community dynamics and soon applied his design expertise to the planning of neighborhoods, roads and civic centers. "Where we live, where we work and where we shop are getting closer and closer together ... and if the way we prepare for growth is to provide more lanes on the Interstate-that just compounds the problem," he said. After meeting a Boise woman on an airplane, Barrett fell in love, and one year later he moved to her hometown. That was August 1997, and Barrett immediately saw the growth issues being faced by our still-booming capital city. An ad for Idaho Smart Growth nudged Barrett back toward planning, and he is now co-executive director of the citizen-based organization focusing on sustainable development of "built environments that encourage the experience of authentic community and cultivate a greater emotional attachment to nature and the landscape our well being depends on."
Role Models: "I admire and am inspired by the people I've crossed paths with whose actions are consistent with their words."
Goals: To name a few-regional mass-transit system, community connectivity via greenbelts, efficient land use and increased volume of the public voice for change.
Interests: Perennial favorites include harmonica, fishing, backpacking, Indian cooking, reading (Stegner, Cisneros, Spragg) and certified clowning.
Favorite Food: At the moment, his own chutney concoctions made from ingredients grown in Canyon County. "It's another way to appreciate living here; it provides an emotional connection with the land."
Fun Facts: Barrett is "randomly" ambidextrous, playing tennis and Frisbee with his left hand and throwing a baseball with his right. He is also part Samish American Indian.
Parting Shot: "If I could fly an airplane over Boise pulling one of those long banners for everyone to see, it would say something like: "I look around our culture right now and see a great desire for the experience of authentic community. I define 'authentic community' as the experience of valuing and caring about the well-being of others AND feeling valued and cared about by others in return, simply by virtue of living in the same place. Likewise, our communities and landscapes need us to feel emotionally attached to them so that we may be better caretakers and so that others that come after us will enjoy and benefit from them as much as we have."