2010 Community Awards

May 25, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

City inducts Leon Kos into Hall of Fame; chamber names Bob Ittes as Citizen of the Year

Leon Kos, Hall of Fame

Community leaders honored the man at the helm of city administration through more than three decades and four mayors with the top city award last week.

The city inducted retired City Administrator Leon Kos into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the 31st annual Community Awards Luncheon.

Besides Kos, the city and civic organizations honored people in 15 categories for community and volunteer efforts at the May 18 ceremony.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders named longtime community banker Bob Ittes as Citizen of the Year. Chamber CEO Matt Bott praised Ittes as “one of the pillars of our community” before the announcement.

“In his quiet way, the recipient has provided strong, steady leadership to a number of local organizations,” Bott said.

Ittes launched Issaquah Community Bank in July 2007 — “known by many as Bob’s bank” — Rowley Properties executive Kristi Tripple, the ceremony emcee, said in the announcement.

The bank merged with three other Puget Sound-area institutions in February to become Bank of the Northwest.

“Pulling together a bank merger during one of the worst economic periods in history is no small feat,” Tripple said.

Ittes also serves on the Issaquah Historical Society and chamber boards. In the past, Bott noted in the announcement, Ittes has served on the Issaquah Schools and Providence Marianwood foundations’ boards, and volunteered at the city visitor center.

Mayor Ava Frisinger — tasked, along with City Council President John Traeger, to pick the Hall of Fame inductee — said the city received 13 nominations for Kos, the most nominations for a person in the 23-year history of the award.

Kos stepped down April 30 after 33 years as the No. 2 official at City Hall. Kos led Issaquah through unprecedented growth. But the ardent environmentalist also took steps to preserve forested land and open space.

Beyond City Hall, Kos also played a key role in establishing the Mountains to Sound Greenway, a greenbelt along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington.

The lunchtime ceremony at the Holiday Inn attracted a who’s who of Issaquah — City Council members, Issaquah School District administrators, business leaders and community activists.

The chamber and other organizations honored area residents for efforts to preserve the environment, care for the less fortunate, educate children and raise Issaquah’s profile.

Kos — who insisted coworkers not to hold a farewell party before he retired — missed the awards ceremony, too. Frisinger said he had skipped town for a vacation.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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