Mayor Ava Frisinger reflects on accomplishments

February 5, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013

Mayor Ava Frisinger, a steady leader amid more than decade of transformation, plans to retire after guiding Issaquah through a transition from small town to a boomtown in 16 years at City Hall.

Ava Frisinger

Ava Frisinger

The announcement did not come as a surprise to other elected leaders or residents active in municipal government. Frisinger said in early 2009 she did not intend to run for a fifth term as mayor in 2013.

But the decision to include the announcement in a farewell State of the City address Monday enabled Frisinger to cast the annual speech as valedictory on accomplishments from the last decade and a half.

The mayor glanced back to 1998 — before officials opened a modern City Hall along East Sunset Way and as initial residents settled into the Issaquah Highlands, a then-novel urban village carved into the hillside above Interstate 90.

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Joe Forkner launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

February 4, 2013

NEW — 3 p.m. Feb. 4, 2013

Less than a week after rejoining the City Council, longtime community leader and seasoned Councilman Joe Forkner entered the race for mayor Monday.

Joe Forkner

Joe Forkner

The announcement set up a contest between Forkner and a colleague, Council President Fred Butler. The councilmen hope to lead the city once Mayor Ava Frisinger steps down in January 2014 after 16 years in the top job at City Hall.

Forkner, 59, worked for the city in the past and served on the council in recent stints — from 2000 to 2005, and to fill a vacancy from September 2006 to late 2007. The latest appointment, a 10-month stint approved Jan. 29 in a 4-2 decision, caps a busy period after Forkner led the citizen panel responsible for outlining redevelopment in the business district.

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City Council shifts top leadership positions

January 29, 2013

The leadership atop the City Council shifted in early January, as the group chose a longtime councilman to lead the council again.

In unanimous decisions Jan. 7, council members chose Fred Butler for the top spot on the board, council president, and Paul Winterstein to serve in the No. 2 position, deputy council president.

The council did not nominate other contenders for either position.

Issaquah voters elected Butler to the council in 1999. Since 2009, he has served as deputy council president after earlier serving as council president.

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Fred Butler enters race for Issaquah mayor

January 22, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Jan. 17.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and, late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

“We are in the process of evolving from a small town to a small city, moving from suburban to urban,” he said in a Jan 17 interview. “Because I’ve been involved in a lot of the planning and the development of the urban villages and the Central Issaquah Plan, I believe I’m in a pretty good position to help implement the direction that we are going in.”

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Issaquah re-examines Klahanie annexation

January 22, 2013

Last annexation attempt failed in 2005

The question of how a large-scale annexation on the Sammamish Plateau could affect residents in Issaquah, Klahanie and other unincorporated King County neighborhoods is under the microscope again, almost a decade after a citizen panel tackled the issue.

Issaquah leaders commissioned a $100,000 study and created a citizen task force to examine the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area — 10,800 people in about 3,900 households in the namesake neighborhood and adjacent communities.

The potential annexation area under consideration is in unincorporated King County, and bordered by Issaquah to the south, Sammamish to the north and west, and more unincorporated areas to the east.

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Fred Butler launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 17, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Thursday.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, and late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

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City Council questions Interstate 90 tolling proposal

January 1, 2013

The prospect of tolling on Interstate 90 received a cool reception from the City Council, as state officials consider the idea as a way to generate dollars for the state Route 520 bridge replacement project.

The state Department of Transportation is at work on a $4.1 billion project to replace the 49-year-old floating bridge across Lake Washington and overhaul the 12.8-mile corridor between Interstate 5 in Seattle and state Route 202 in Redmond. The floating bridge is scheduled to open in traffic by early 2015.

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City OKs buildings up to 125 feet tall in business district

December 25, 2012

Redevelopment plan calls for more than 7,000 residences

City leaders raised the building height limit to 125 feet in the business district and raised the stakes for redevelopment in the decades ahead.

The roadmap to redevelopment — a document called the Central Issaquah Plan — also creates a framework to add more than 7,000 residences on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

In a series of decisions reached Dec. 17 after years spent re-envisioning the business district, a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.

“It’s the right plan at the right time,” Councilman Fred Butler said. “It will not happen overnight, but when the time is right, we will be ready.”

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City Council could delay part of Central Issaquah Plan

December 12, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 12, 2012

City leaders recommended Tuesday to delay the implementation of important development rules in a long-term plan to transform the business district from strip malls and parking lots to a dense urban hub.

In the last public meeting for the proposed Central Issaquah Plan before the document reaches the City Council for consideration, a council committee called for more time to refine and review the design and development standards outlined in the 30-year blueprint for redevelopment.

The design and development standards set rules for buildings, community spaces, landscaping, signage and more.

Overall, Council Land & Shore Committee members forwarded to the full council the four pieces of legislation to enact the Central Issaquah Plan. The full council is scheduled to consider the legislation and listen to public input Dec. 17.

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Central Issaquah Plan proposes shift from suburban to urban in business district

December 11, 2012

Issaquah, circa 2040, could sport a skyline.

The central business district is on the cusp of change, as city leaders plan for redevelopment on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

Nowadays, suburban sprawl dominates the landscape — traffic-clogged streets unfurl next to strip malls. Residents live elsewhere and climb into cars to reach the area’s amenities. Underfoot, 75 percent of land in the area is encased under parking lots.

Imagine, instead, buildings up to 125 feet tall, storefronts and residences arranged along tree-lined sidewalks, and perhaps decades in the future, a station on the regional rail network.

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