Issaquah reimagined

February 21, 2014

How will the central district look in 30 years?

Since before the City Council passed the Central Issaquah Plan in late 2012, citizens have been wondering what the city will look like in 30 years.

“You’re standing in a great pedestrian area,” Issaquah Long Range Planner Trish Heinonen said, describing the average block according to the plan. “It will be very busy with walking people and people having lunch. And wherever you are standing, you can probably see a way to get to the green necklace.”

By Greg Farrar A 2002 aerial view shows Issaquah’s central district then. Now, city leaders are envisioning in the Central Issaquah Plan what the area would look like in 30 years.

By Greg Farrar
A 2002 aerial view shows Issaquah’s central district then. Now, city leaders are envisioning in the Central Issaquah Plan what the area would look like in 30 years.

As a vision for how to cultivate a dense, urban space within the central area and redevelop the flat lots into sustainable, walkable parcels, the Central Issaquah Plan has remained vague beyond the expressed desire to create a vivid environment with a “green necklace” of parks and open spaces around the city and an interlaced connection of walkways and bike paths to reach them.

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Pride of a city

February 21, 2014

Artist’s memory lives on in his many murals

Oregon-based muralist Larry Kangas was a one-man show with a paintbrush.

He had the innate ability to tell the story of a community with paint, ladders, a large blank wall and an unrivaled imagination.

 By Greg Farrar Larry Kangas puts some finishing touches on ‘The Mill Street Logging Scene,’ a mural of turn-of-the-century Issaquah, painted in 1997 on the wall of the Sunset Alehouse at the Downtown Issaquah Plaza.

By Greg Farrar
Larry Kangas puts some finishing touches on ‘The Mill Street Logging Scene,’ a mural of turn-of-the-century Issaquah, painted in 1997 on the wall of the Sunset Alehouse at the Downtown Issaquah Plaza.

Kangas died of cancer Nov. 25, 2013, but his memory lives on in the more than 1,000 murals he crafted across the Pacific Northwest, a few of which grace Issaquah walls.

“Larry never had any children. He was a great uncle for many kids, but he called his murals his kids, his legacy,” said Sandy Kangas, Larry’s wife.

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Hospital builds a reputation in Issaquah

February 21, 2014

Reputation. The success of any institution or business relies heavily upon its ability to solidify its reputation within the community. Sell the best widget or provide the best service and the reputation will follow. Somewhere within the halls of the Swedish/Issaquah is a wall that is filling fast with the awards and accolades earned from its growing reputation as one of the best patient care facilities in the nation.

When the facility officially opened after the completion of Phase 1 on Nov. 1, 2011, it didn’t take long before its emergency room received a 2012 Summit Award for patient satisfaction.

Then, in December 2013, Swedish/Issaquah was named one of The Leapfrog Group’s Top Hospitals in the nation, providing the highest quality of patient care in a survey of more than 1,300 hospitals.

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Issaquah voted Best ’burb

February 21, 2014

When Sunset magazine went looking for the perfect place to launch a career, start a family or provide the most relaxing setting, it hit upon Issaquah as its top choice.

In the magazine’s recently penned 24 Best Places to Live and Work 2014 article, Issaquah won Best ’burb. The writers found the city defied suburban life stereotypes thanks to 1,700 acres of parkland, walkable neighborhoods, historic buildings and such urban amenities as indie coffee shops, wine bars and a Tony Award-winning theater in Village Theatre.

Even with a population of 32,633, Sunset magazine said locals told them Issaquah feels like a small town — or a vibrant city neighborhood.

 The writers were impressed the former coal-mining town 22 miles southeast of Seattle managed to hold onto its distinctive character while growing exponentially. Rather than succumbing to typical suburban sprawl, town leaders decided to go urban, green-lighting the construction of compact, sustainably built communities on the east side of town.

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State park centennial

June 25, 2013

Lake Sammamish park readies for a facelift

After a Pacific Northwest fall, winter and spring that seemingly blend together, muddied by a persistent rain, summer can never come soon enough.

When it does, however, it’s a thing of beauty, filled with blue sky, sunshine and a temperate climate that just beckons locals to come outside.

By Greg Farrar Peaches, the giant Schnauzer, looks on with curiosity as her owner Connie Marsh (left) and David Kappler, board members of the recently formed Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park, chat at the park’s rotunda shelter built in 1975, when Dan Evans was governor.

By Greg Farrar
Peaches, the giant Schnauzer, looks on with curiosity as her owner Connie Marsh (left) and David Kappler, board members of the recently formed Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park, chat at the park’s rotunda shelter built in 1975, when Dan Evans was governor.

There is no better place to soak up those all-too infrequent rays than at Lake Sammamish State Park.

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2012 Summer Issaquah Living

June 28, 2012

Open publication – Free publishingMore community

Experience natural wonders in Washington’s national places

June 28, 2012

The landscape surrounding Mount St. Helens reflects signs of destruction from the 1980 eruption and the return of life to the blast zone. By Matthew Staerk

Splendor is not limited to Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier dominates the landscape in Western Washington. The active volcano is unparalleled as a natural icon for the region — Mount Rainier even appeared on the state quarter — but the peak is not the only nearby national treasure.

Landscapes in the shadow of Mount Rainier and farther afield deserve attention, too.

Spaces set aside for conservation and recreation — national parks, national forests, national recreation areas, even a national volcanic monument — stretch from British Columbia to the Columbia River.

Discover the signature mountain and, along the way, a handful of other national treasures.
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Sasquatch, hairy hominid, maybe mythical, or maybe not, could roam Northwest woods

June 28, 2012

A statue of Sasquatch rises above state Route 504 en route to Mount St. Helens in rural Cowlitz County. By Matthew Staerk

The forests and mountains up and down the Cascades, cloaked in mist and mystery, could harbor Sasquatch, a reclusive creature noted for coarse fur, malodorous scent and, oh yeah, oversized feet.

Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, depending on geography and preference, just might roam Evergreen State forests, believers claim. Or, as detractors suggest, the creature is not 8 feet tall and covered in fur, but is rather a figment of imagination.

Evidence is concentrated in California, Oregon and Washington — especially the untamed backwoods near Mount St. Helens — and across the border in British Columbia and Alberta. Websites dedicated to Sasquatch encounters describe pulse-pounding contact between man and beast in the forests near Issaquah, including Squak Mountain and Rattlesnake Lake.

Sasquatch, maybe mythical, maybe not, is a fixture revered in American Indian lore and monumentalized in pop culture. Look no further than the Sasquatch statue outside a roadside attraction in Southwest Washington.

The statue along a rural Cowlitz County road stands 28 feet tall and bears a beneficent grin. The piece is perhaps the largest Sasquatch statue in North America, or anywhere.

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What’s your Issaquah IQ?

June 28, 2012

So, you think you know Issaquah? Is the city just another buttoned-up suburb? Nope. Issaquah is home to more than 30,000 people — and more than a century of secrets. Issaquah anecdotes stretch deep into the past and continue into the 21st century. Look beyond the basics to discover tidbits and trivia.

Test your Issaquah IQ. (Scroll to the bottom to check the answers, but please, no cheating!)

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Issaquah artists combine faith, flair to create stained-glass masterpieces

June 28, 2012

Jim Perry, 82, holds a sheet of red-layered clear glass up to the light in the Perry Stained Glass Studio workroom at 470 Front St. N. By Greg Farrar

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, the oldest permanent structure in Chelan, is nestled near the southern tip of the 55 mile-long lake that bears the same name.

The chimes that ring out from its dark-brown bell tower audibly undulate throughout the area, and worn, wooden pews line the aisle of a structure that has been a place of worship for residents since the 1890s.

Two such devotees are Issaquah’s Jim and Liz Perry.

Their part in the structure — though only a few of the church’s faithful know the story behind their contributions — are lasting, resplendent and illuminating.

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