Issaquah sustainability ‘report card’ indicates successes, shortfalls

September 2, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 2, 2010

The inaugural sustainability “report card” from the city touted Costco carpools, the Sustainable Issaquah community garden and affordable-housing construction in the Issaquah Highlands as signs of “green” progress.

The city released the report Wednesday. City staffers collected data to answer the question: How sustainable are we?

“The report shows us many positive signs — including an increase in Issaquah’s natural open spaces,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “Commuters are also making fewer drive-alone trips, volunteerism is strong and participation in the arts is increasing.”

But the report also indicated shortcomings. The nonprofit Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank has seen demand spike in recent years, and the city requires more affordable housing.

Read the complete report here.

The community garden — spearheaded by Sustainable Issaquah and planted on the AtWork! property — has become a source for fresh produce for the food bank.

“We hope this report builds awareness, and inspires action within our community, including Issaquah’s nonprofit organizations, businesses and citizens,” Frisinger said. “In the coming years, Issaquah also plans to issue future sustainability reports to further track our progress.”

The report also highlighted the Costco program to encourage employees to carpool, use mass transit or telecommute to the company’s Issaquah headquarters.

YWCA Family Village at Issaquah, a highlands affordable-housing complex under construction, also received a nod for using eco-friendly methods.

The “report card” stems from a program launched in 2008. Frisinger assembled a 16-member panel to develop a long-term vision of sustainability and then offer benchmarks to help the community track progress.

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