Who’s News

October 11, 2011

Connor Lee earns Eagle Scout award

Connor Lee

Connor Lee, an Issaquah High School senior in Troop 709, received his Eagle Scout award at his Court of Honor Ceremony Oct. 2, 2011.

He joins his brother, Chris, and his father in receiving the award.

For his Eagle project, Connor researched and built an informative sign about coal mining in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

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Cougar Mountain ranks among nation’s top 25 trail running destinations

October 5, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is among the 25 best places for trail running in the United States.

Runner’s World magazine named the Issaquah Alps peak to the list.

“Every urban area should be blessed with a trail running sanctuary as sublime as Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park,” the magazine notes.

The mountain boasts a 36-mile trail system. King County Parks and the Seattle Running Club produce a popular trail running series on the mountain each year.

Cougar Mountain is the only Washington destination on the list.

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National Public Lands Day comes to Issaquah Alps

September 23, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 23, 2011

Issaquah Alps peaks host volunteers Saturday for National Public Lands Day.

Organizations plan trail work on Cougar and Tiger mountains in the Issaquah area.

Washington Trails Association and King County Parks volunteers plan to decommission old trail sections along Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park’s Indian Trail.  The decommissioning involves adding plants in the old tread.

The work party runs from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is designed for families, and participants can sign up at the Washington Trails Association’s website.

The state Department of Natural Resources and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance plan to build Tiger Mountain trails Saturday for National Public Lands Day.

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Planners propose 11 projects to restore chinook, kokanee habitat

August 23, 2011

On the East Fork of Issaquah Creek at Third Avenue Northeast and Northeast Creek Way, plans call for the rockery bank wall to be removed and a log weir to be created. By Greg Farrar

Creeks leading to Lake Sammamish could serve as staging areas in the years ahead for a bold plan to restore salmon habitat.

The regional Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group has proposed 11 projects in Issaquah and Sammamish to restore habitat for chinook salmon — a species protected under the Endangered Species Act — and dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon.

The once-abundant kokanee has declined in recent decades, perhaps due to construction near creeks, increased predators, disease or changes in water quality. Scientists estimated the total 2010 run at 58 fish, including the 40 kokanee spawned at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in a last-ditch effort to save the species.

The proposed projects range from colossal — such as rerouting Laughing Jacobs Creek through Lake Sammamish State Park — to small — adding plants in the Lewis Creek delta, for instance.

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King County seeks users’ opinions about parks, trails

August 16, 2011

King County Parks administrators need opinions from visitors about parks, trails and natural areas — and ideas about how to improve the 26,000-acre system.

The agency plans to conduct in-person surveys at parks and along trails throughout August and September, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park between Issaquah and Newcastle.

“We want to hear directly from parks and trails users about their experiences at King County Parks’ facilities so that we can help plan and prioritize for the future,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement. “Measuring customer satisfaction is consistent with King County’s strategic plan and provides us with important feedback.”

The schedule for in-person surveys includes a session on Cougar Mountain near Newcastle from 8-10 a.m. Sept. 8.

People interested in providing feedback online can do so starting Aug. 17 at the agency’s website, www.kingcounty.gov/parks.

The agency is also scheduling workshops to gather input from younger park visitors.

Site Story, a local consultant specializing in community outreach, and cultural and public open space planning, is conducting the survey. The project is funded in part by a grant from the National Center for Civic Innovation.

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Citizen input is sought to shape King County Parks

August 12, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 12, 2011

King County Parks administrators need opinions from visitors about parks, trails and natural areas — and how to improve the 26,000-acre system.

The agency plans to conduct in-person surveys at parks and along trails throughout August and September, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park between Issaquah and Newcastle, Marymoor Park in Redmond and along the Soos Creek Trail in Kent.

“We want to hear directly from parks and trails users about their experiences at King County Parks’ facilities so that we can help plan and prioritize for the future,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said in a statement. “Measuring customer satisfaction is consistent with King County’s strategic plan and provides us with important feedback.”

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Construction starts on 17 Talus townhouses

August 2, 2011

Talus developer Intracorp is building 17 townhouses, shown in the artist's rendering above. Contributed

Talus developer Intracorp is building 17 townhouses in the 630-acre urban village on Cougar Mountain.

Construction is under way in the Centerra at Talus neighborhood and Intracorp expects sales on the three-level units to start soon.

“These homes are being built for the homeowner who wants to live in a community that offers easy access to the vibrancy of urban living and the serenity of the outdoors,” Jeff Smallwood, Intracorp vice president of marketing and sales, said in a news release. “There’s no better value in today’s residential marketplace.”

Centerra at Talus offers townhouses from 1,186 square feet to 1,920 square feet. Plans call for the homes to feature garages wired for electric-vehicle plug-in terminals.

The sales center for the project is on track to open in September.

The project includes environmentally sound materials and home-building practices.

“This Centerra at Talus project will provide a number of full-time jobs for construction workers, and help to boost the local economy — which is something that we’re very proud of given today’s economic climate,” Smallwood said.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway comes of age

July 26, 2011

Leaders nurture Interstate 90 greenbelt, acre by acre, year by year

Ken Konigsmark (left), a longtime Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust board member, and founding president Jim Ellis stand near North Bend on Rattlesnake Mountain in 2000 . By Greg Farrar

Like the matter-of-fact name suggests, the Mountains to Sound Greenway starts amid the souvenir shops and seafood restaurants at the Seattle waterfront, unfurls along Interstate 90, encompassing cities and forests, and continues on, across the Cascades.

Issaquah, situated on the route, is not quite at the center, but the city is central in the long effort to create a greenbelt along the major roadway.

The idea for a conservation corridor along the interstate germinated in Issaquah more than 20 years ago. Issaquah Alps Trails Club members spearheaded a 1990 march from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound to attract attention to the proposed greenbelt — a sort of Central Park for Western Washington.

The disparate citizen, conservation, corporate and government interests behind the proposal coalesced to form the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in 1991. Supporters marched from Ellensburg to Seattle in early July to celebrate the 20-year milestone.

“The original vision was, what can we agree on to preserve what’s important to everyone along this corridor?” retired Issaquah City Administrator Leon Kos said.

The corridor stretches for 100 miles, connects 1.4 million acres — or a landmass about 15 times larger than Seattle — and includes more than 800,000 acres in public ownership.

The conservation is enmeshed in cooperation.

The organization is built to foster dialogue among divergent groups. Seattle civic leader Jim Ellis, founding president of the greenway trust, called on rivals to sit down at the same table to create the conservation corridor. So, representatives on the 58-member board include the Sierra Club and Weyerhaeuser Co.

Kos, a longtime greenway supporter and board member, said the Issaquah Alps Trail Club assumed a fundamental role early on.

“The community group that was really very instrumental was the Issaquah Alps Trails Club,” he said.

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Cougar Mountain, Duthie Hill park projects proceed

July 5, 2011

Improvements to King County and state recreation lands near Issaquah inched ahead last week, as conservation officials outlined plans to spend $42 million for projects statewide.

The plan from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office includes funding for projects on Cougar and Tiger mountains, in Duthie Hill Park and along the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

State legislators approved funding for the projects in a last-minute push as a special session ended in late May. The agencies proposing the projects promised matching funds to complete construction.

The state Recreation and Conservation Office presented a complete list of projects at a hearing in Olympia on June 22.

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Off the Press

June 28, 2011

Issaquah, unlikely Cold War hotspot, thaws history

Berlin or Prague call to mind Cold War intrigue — dead drops in darkened alleyways, encrypted cables sent between continents, double-crossing double agents.

Warren Kagarise Press Reporter

But, Issaquah? The city conjures up, if not Cold War intrigue, then at least intriguing episodes from the bygone era.

Issaquah hosted anti-aircraft missiles designed to counter the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union. Townsfolk served as test subjects — scientist-speak for guinea pigs — in a Cold War psychological operations study. The oddest episode, perhaps, surrounds a decision to import a hulking Vladimir Lenin statue from behind the crumpled Iron Curtain to Issaquah.

For a piece in the summertime Issaquah Living magazine, I set out to recount the statue’s long and meandering journey from the Poprad, Slovakia, scrap heap to suburban Issaquah and, at last, to a Seattle street corner. (Readers can find the magazine tucked amid the sales circulars in the B section.)

The plot is as tangled as a John le Carré espionage novel. Late Issaquah resident Lewis Carpenter chanced upon the discarded statue in a Poprad storage yard.

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