King County executive appoints rural outreach adviser

May 8, 2012

The latest King County strategy to engage rural residents — including more than 16,000 people near Issaquah — earned early praise from a community leader in the unincorporated tract between Issaquah and Renton.

County Executive Dow Constantine appointed a top adviser April 4 to lead the outreach effort from county government to residents in rural and unincorporated areas. The announcement marked the latest step in a long-running effort to change how leaders and residents interact.

Alan Painter — Constantine’s former adviser on human services, health and housing policy — is the manager for the community service areas program. In the past 18 months, county officials carved unincorporated land into designated areas to coordinate on issues, such as crime prevention or potential development.

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Supreme Court upholds state redistricting plan

May 8, 2012

The state Supreme Court has authorized use of the redrawn political boundaries for upcoming elections, even as a citizen challenge to the Washington State Redistricting Commission’s maps continues to proceed.

The bipartisan commission responsible for reshaping the districts spent 2011 redrawing legislative and congressional districts. State legislators then made minor modifications and the plan entered into effect Feb. 7.

Vancouver resident John Milem filed a challenge against the redistricting plan Feb. 8. The longtime redistricting observer contended the reshaped maps granted too much power to Western Washington counties.

Commissioners divided Issaquah between the 5th and 41st legislative districts to determine representation in Olympia, and kept the city in a reshaped 8th Congressional District for federal representation.

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Issaquah balloons from small town to boomtown

February 21, 2012

Most citizens did not need a decennial update from the U.S. Census Bureau to recognize Issaquah as a boomtown.

The dramatic increase in population is a recent phenomenon.

Issaquah started as a pinpoint on maps, a remote hamlet in the rough-and-tumble Washington Territory.

Even as Seattle boomed amid World War II and into the postwar era, Issaquah did not crest 4,000 people until the late 1960s.

The population growth continued at a deliberate pace until a Microsoft-powered population explosion caused Issaquah and other Eastside cities to expand as the last century barreled to a close.

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Milestones from the year 2011 reflect changes

December 27, 2011

Renewal defined the year, as the community paused after a population boom and economic bust — and positioned Issaquah for the decades ahead.

Milestones from the last 12 months offer contrasts.

Leaders opened showcases for “green” design and concluded a milestone effort to preserve Tiger Mountain forestland. Tragedy left indelible impressions, too, as a gunman menaced downtown pedestrians on a September morning and turned a school campus into a crime scene.

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Redrawn King County Council map includes minor changes for local residents

November 22, 2011

The citizen panel responsible for redrawing King County Council districts kept Issaquah in the same district. Contributed

King County’s reshaped political map keeps Issaquah in the same County Council district, even as the citizen panel responsible for the updated map made significant changes elsewhere.

In a unanimous decision Nov. 15, the council-appointed King County Districting Committee approved the updated boundaries. The reshaped map is effective immediately, although the impact of the changes might not be evident until after the 2012 elections.

Issaquah remains in Councilwoman Kathy Lambert’s District 3. The committee kept the rural communities south of city limits in Councilman Reagan Dunn’s District 9, and swapped some unincorporated areas southeast of Issaquah between districts 3 and 9.

The committee’s decision followed a 10-month process, after members collected ideas and input from the public in meetings throughout the county.

Overall, more than 80 people testified and more than 160 offered written comments during the once-in-a-decade process. The committee also reached out to elected officials in the county’s 39 cities and state legislators for insight into communities.

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Redistricting panel OKs reshaped King County Council districts

November 17, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 17, 2011

King County’s reshaped political map keeps Issaquah in the same County Council district, even as the citizen panel responsible for the updated map made significant changes elsewhere.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the council-appointed  King County Districting Committee approved the updated boundaries. The reshaped map is effective immediately, although the impact of the changes might not be evident until after the 2012 elections.

Issaquah remains in Councilwoman Kathy Lambert’s District 3. The committee kept the rural communities south of city limits in Councilman Reagan Dunn’s District 9.

The committee’s decision followed a 10-month process, after members collected ideas and input from the public in a meetings throughout the county.

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King County Elections relies on census data to determine languages for ballots

October 25, 2011

Law requires elections office to offer materials in Vietnamese

King County is often celebrated as a melting pot and, reflecting a demographic shift recorded in the most recent census, ballots should soon start to include another language spoken in the community.

Under a provision in the U.S. Voting Rights Act, King County is required to create and offer election materials in Vietnamese.

The county is home to about 28,000 Vietnamese speakers — enough to trigger the federal threshold for election materials in Vietnamese. Data collected in the 2010 Census determined King County needed to add the language.

The elections office already produces instructional election information and ballot packets in English and Chinese.

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Redrawn maps could shift Issaquah congressional, legislative districts

September 20, 2011

Issaquah could shift into a redrawn congressional district under plans from the panel responsible for redrawing Washington’s political map.

The bipartisan Washington State Redistricting Commission unveiled four proposals — one from each commissioner — Sept. 13 to reshape the state’s congressional districts. The task for commissioners is made more complicated by the addition of a 10th district to account for population growth since 2000.

The maps serve as a starting point as commissioners negotiate the boundaries for the 2012 elections. If the commission fails to create a final map by Jan. 1, then the state Supreme Court is responsible for redrawing the districts.

Issaquah, long inside 8th Congressional District boundaries, could shift into the 1st Congressional District as commissioners assemble districts using data from the 2010 Census.

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Issaquah earns spot on Outside magazine’s Best Towns list

September 13, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 13, 2011

Issaquah is among 19 cities nationwide on Outside magazine’s Best Towns 2011 list.

The city and others on the list earned plaudits for access to outdoor recreation — Issaquah is described as “a Seattle-area hang-gliding mecca” — and, perhaps, more mundane attributes.

“Adventure amenities make a lot of towns seem dreamy,” notes the article in the October issue. “What sets these 19 burgs apart is their nod to reality: affordable homes, solid job prospects and vibrant nightlife. Start packing.”

Issaquah’s proximity to Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains turned out to be a selling point.

“As Boeing’s and Microsoft’s fastest-growing bedroom community, the former lumber town (pop. 23,200) has experienced a surge in out-of-towners in the past few years,” the article continues. “And for good reason: a 20-minute drive can put you in downtown Seattle or the oyster flats on Puget Sound. An hour away, there’s skiing in the Cascades, kayaking and rafting on the Class IV Skykomish River, and access to a half-dozen steelhead streams.”

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Redrawn political maps could shift Issaquah into different districts

September 13, 2011

NEW — 4:45 p.m. Sept. 13, 2011

Issaquah could shift into a redrawn congressional district under plans released Tuesday from the panel responsible for redrawing Washington’s political map.

The bipartisan Washington State Redistricting Commission unveiled four proposals — one from each commissioner — to reshape the state’s congressional districts. The task for commissioners is made more complicated by the addition of a 10th district to account for population growth since 2000.

Commissioners now start negotiating to set the boundaries for the 2012 election. If the commission fails to create a final map before Jan. 1, the state Supreme Court is responsible for redrawing the districts.

Residents can comment on the proposals at a series of meetings in Olympia.

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