Salmon Days festival takes top honors

March 17, 2009

salmondays-adams-20090300The Issaquah Salmon Days Festival won seven Summit Awards from the Washington Festivals and Events Association. The state group also honored a longtime Salmon Days volunteer.

Honors for Salmon Days include the association’s top award in its highest category. Salmon Days received the first place Gold Summit Award in the highest category: Best Overall Promotional Campaign within its budget category of $150,000 and above. The award is the top honor, and takes into account all aspects of promotion for the event, including marketing, media and merchandising. The second Gold Summit Award was presented for Best Collectible Poster. Read more

Planners eye future of city’s commercial area

March 17, 2009

central-plan-zoning-2009030Future development in Central Issaquah — 915 acres straddling Interstate 90 and the city’s commercial heart — should be balanced with preservation, city planning commissioners said last week. By marketing its small-town character and suburban setting, officials said the city could lure developers.

They offered suggestions last week as the Planning Policy Commission met to consider proposals for the Central Issaquah Plan, a document that will outline growth and redevelopment in a broad swath of the city. Staffers hope to submit a proposal to the City Council by the end of the year, Long-Range Planning Manager Trish Heinonen said after the March 12 meeting.

In 2007, the officials designated the commercial area as the Central Issaquah Sub-area. Planners envision the district evolving in the span of a few decades from a corridor bordered by strip malls into a pedestrian-friendly town center connected by mass transit. Heinonen said the Central Issaquah Plan would map growth over a long period — about 30 years.

Redevelopment could be a challenge “because those current uses perform pretty well as is,” said Doug Larson, a project manager for Heartland, a Seattle real estate consultancy working with the city.

Officials said redevelopment should occur alongside preservation.

Areas such as Front Street, which are not part of the Central Issaquah Sub-area, were eyed for preservation. Downtown is an important part of the city’s character, planning commissioners said.

“If we lose the character of downtown, then we’ve lost Issaquah,” Commissioner Joan Probala said.

Larson also suggested using the city’s setting as a selling point to companies and residents seeking to relocate here.

“You really are the gateway to the Cascades,” he said.

The area includes nine of the city’s 10 largest employers and most of the city’s 2.5 million square feet of office space. But most of the space is occupied by the owner or built to suit current tenants, factors that elevate rents. Making rents more affordable is a key part of the vision, officials said.

Planners also want to attract residential development to the area as part of their mixed-use vision. In its present configuration, the area is dominated by office and retail space.

Though the recession hobbled demand for real estate, Heinonen said the slowdown afforded city officials an opportunity to update growth plans. When development begins again on a larger scale, the city will be prepared, she added.

Financing problems snared other construction projects, but a planned Swedish Medical Center campus in the Issaquah Highlands is moving forward. Larson said the expansion could boost demand for medical office space near the medical center site.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’re doing much better than the rest of the country,” he said.

County restricts parking along Issaquah-Hobart Road

March 17, 2009

King County officials will limit parking along a stretch of Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast to address concerns related to congestion along the two-lane roadway. The road hugs the base of Tiger Mountain near areas popular with hikers and paraglider pilots.

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Jail reopens after renovations

March 17, 2009

As the Issaquah City Jail prepared to close for three days of round-the-clock renovations, city police officers worked with their counterparts across the region to send lawbreakers to other facilities. Reopening the jail March 11 was the easy part. Workers completed the upgrades 90 minutes ahead of schedule. Hours later, the jail admitted an inmate.

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County to fine owners of unlicensed pets

March 17, 2009

Starting April 1, King County will penalize owners who fail to license their cats and dogs. The $75 penalty is designed to increase the number of pet owners who protect their pets with a license.

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Renton man pleads guilty to theft of campaign yard signs

March 17, 2009

A 43-year-old Renton man accused of stealing 138 campaign yard signs last fall has pleaded guilty to eight counts of removing or defacing political advertising.

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Late winter weather won’t affect school calendar

March 17, 2009

Unlike the blast of wintry weather before Christmas, the latest round of snow March 9 and icy roads the next day will not affect the Issaquah School District’s school calendar.

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To The Editor

March 17, 2009

City finances

Adminstrators make it difficult to  determine what the money status is

What is the financial status of Issaquah? Read more

Off The Press

March 17, 2009

Greg farrar Press Photographer

Greg farrar Press Photographer

Your role is vital in a newspaper’s mission

And now, this word about newspaper competition.

If you are reading this in print, thank you! It means I am already preaching to the choir, because you believe that a newspaper is a valuable source of community information.

The fact is, we have to admit that there are two weekly newspapers in town now. Read more

Press Editorial

March 17, 2009

The death of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is not to be taken lightly. Newspaper readers who understand the role newspapers play in our democracy — as government watchdog, purveyor of information and rough draft of history — will be feeling the pain this week as the Puget Sound region mourns the loss of its oldest daily newspaper.

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