Joshua Schaer is first City Council member from Talus

January 8, 2013

Councilman Joshua Schaer moved to Talus late last month and, in the process, became the first City Council member from the Cougar Mountain urban village.

Joshua Schaer

The change offers Schaer a perspective on city issues from the quiet urban village perched above state Route 900.

Construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Talus and the Issaquah Highlands, both hillside urban villages, but the neighborhoods existed for more than a decade before a resident achieved citywide elected office.

In 2010, Mark Mullet became the first resident from the highlands to join the council. (Mullet, a state senator elected in November, recently resigned from the post to serve in Olympia.)

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How school officials know when to call a snow day

January 1, 2013

All roads come under consideration during winter weather

Issaquah School District buses line up on a snow day. Contributed

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast for a drier-than-normal winter in the Pacific Northwest is good news for local schools, but just in case, Jo Porter and her transportation staff are prepared.

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Lakeside Industries development pact could transform quarry site

December 11, 2012

The gravel quarry on a hillside below the Issaquah Highlands, plus land adjacent to the highlands, could someday transform into businesses and homes, if city leaders approve a long-term agreement to redevelop the site.

The landowner and quarry operator, Issaquah-based Lakeside Industries Inc., proposed a 30-year development agreement last year for about 120 acres on both sides of Highlands Drive Northeast. The proposed pact is scheduled to reach the City Council on Dec. 17, as officials consider a plan to remake the area.

The land under consideration is zoned for mineral resources and single-family residences. The development agreement could change the designation on some areas to urban village, the same rules used for the highlands and Talus.

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Parks task force recommends 2013 property tax measure

December 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 10, 2012

King County voters could decide next year on dollars to complete the East Lake Sammamish Trail, add a Cougar Mountain trailhead in Issaquah, and continue funding parks and trails countywide.

Late last month, King County Parks Levy Task Force members unanimously recommended continuing a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks, trails and open space. Voters overwhelmingly approved the most recent pair of park levies in 2007.

The voter-approved levies fund the bulk of park operations, but the property tax measures expire in December 2013. In June, King County Executive Constantine convened the task force to explore options future funding.

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Steve Litzow, Marcie Maxwell prevail in 41st Legislative District

November 13, 2012

Incumbents triumphed in the race to represent Issaquah and other 41st Legislative District communities.

Steve Litzow

Marcie Maxwell

Steve Litzow, a freshman Republican state senator from Mercer Island, outpaced Mercer Island Democrat Maureen Judge. Renton Democrat Marcie Maxwell, a state representative elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2010, cruised to commanding victory against Issaquah Republican Tim Eaves, a novice candidate.

Issaquah’s Cougar Mountain neighborhoods and North Issaquah fall inside the district, a suburban swath stretched from Mercer Island to Sammamish.

Litzow said the outcome reflected the district’s moderate character. Redistricting last year removed part of Renton and added part of Sammamish to the district.

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October 23, 2012

Our endorsements for state representatives

Local voters face some clear choices in the legislative races on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Issaquah is divided between the 5th and 41st legislative districts. Redistricting has changed district boundaries, but most Issaquah neighborhoods remain inside the 5th District.

North Issaquah and neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish shifted into the 41st District. Cougar Mountain west of state Route 900 and areas north of Interstate 90 act as the dividing lines.

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Final Cougar Mountain trail run offers 20-mile, 50-kilometer races

October 23, 2012

Organizers of the popular SCOTT Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series at King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park have saved the toughest day of racing for last.

After runs of five, eight, 10 and 13 miles earlier this year, trail-run enthusiasts will have their choice of participating in races of 20 miles or 50 kilometers (31.06 miles) Oct. 28.

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King County launches geocaching at parks

October 16, 2012

King County Parks launched a GPS-driven treasure hunt Oct. 6 to recognize land protected in the past 30 years.

Participants can join the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour. The treasure hunt to 20 King County Parks cache sites is designed to raise awareness about the 111,000 acres of land the Conservation Futures Program has preserved in the past 30 years.

The initial 190 people to fill a GeoTour Passport with 20 unique stamps found in cache boxes earn a commemorative coin.

Learn more about the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour at

The first parkland purchased using Conservation Futures Program dollars consisted of 1,400 acres on Cougar Mountain.

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King County parks host GPS-driven treasure hunt

October 4, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 4, 2012

King County Parks is launching a GPS-driven treasure hunt on Cougar Mountain to recognize land protected in the last 30 years.

Starting Saturday, participants can join the King County Conservation Futures GeoTour. The treasure hunt to 20 King County Parks cache sites is designed to raise awareness about the 111,000 acres of land the Conservation Futures Program has preserved in the last 30 years.

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City Council approves controversial Cougar Mountain subdivision

September 11, 2012

City leaders OK’d a Cougar Mountain subdivision after months of negotiations among the city, neighbors and the developer — and despite objections from neighbors about impacts to street parking and concerns about landslide risk.

Stacy Goodman

In a unanimous decision, City Council members approved the subdivision, called Forest Heights — a proposal to add 24 single-family homes to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also set aside land for storm water detention and to preserve open space.

The proposed project site is northeast of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900, across from Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Officials approved the Forest Heights development agreement Aug. 6, after the Council Land & Shore Committee spent months sifting through details related to the plan.

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