What happened to the Issaquah Highlands?

December 11, 2013

By Jacob Brunette

NEW — 10:40 a.m. Dec. 11, 2013

At some point recently, the Issaquah Highlands became a place that people would actually want to go to. I don’t really know what happened.

Jacob Brunette Issaquah High School

Jacob Brunette
Issaquah High School

Whenever I thought of the highlands, I thought of an ugly place. The main image that came to mind was a neat grid of streets, with nothing but flat wasteland separating them. Farther up the hill was a huge neighborhood of houses that were eerily similar and spaced too close together.

The few times I went there to visit friends, I felt like I was walking onto the set of a horror movie; at any moment, zombies would start shambling out from behind the houses and chase the heroes down into the dead space below for a final showdown.

Except now, the wasteland at the bottom of the hill isn’t much of a wasteland anymore. There’s a movie theater, a Zumiez, a Ben & Jerry’s and a bunch of restaurants. The dead space between the streets has been replaced with attractive (if still generic) buildings, and they’re being filled with places I could actually see myself going to. I went to see a movie there recently, and it felt like I was in a miniature version of Bellevue, instead of the gross ugly plain of before.

It’s not perfect; the neighborhoods at the top are still eerily similar, and while the new miniature town center is nice, it feels a little too manufactured compared to the more natural vibe of Issaquah proper. Still, it’s nice. I enjoyed going to the highlands for possibly the first time, and I’m hoping that when I return home from college next year, it will have become even better.


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