Weather postpones mayor’s State of the City address

January 24, 2012

The potential for snow prompted city leaders to cancel the Jan. 17 City Council meeting and reschedule Mayor Ava Frisinger’s State of the City address.

The mayor is due to deliver the annual speech at the Feb. 6 council meeting. The address, plus a council goal-setting retreat each spring and the budget proposal each fall, helps form the municipal budget and priorities for the year ahead.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The latest State of the City address comes as Frisinger and other leaders offer a renewed focus on economic development and reorganize City Hall operations.

In the 2011 address, Frisinger predicted “a momentous year for Issaquah” — and many milestones outlined in the speech came to pass in the months soon afterward. The city preserved the Park Pointe site on Tiger Mountain after a yearslong process, opened ultra-“green” Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 and joined Swedish Medical Center to inaugurate the Swedish/Issaquah campus.

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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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Voters asked to approve $5.5 million to build fire station

December 20, 2011

Officials said building a fire station in May Valley could improve response times for residents in the Issaquah area.

The issue is due to go before Fire District 10 voters early next year.

Officials plan to ask district voters to approve a $5.5 million bond in a Feb. 14 special election. Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area.

Officials plan to use bond dollars to relocate crews from Fire Station 78 from 16135 S.E. 113th Place just outside Renton city limits to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast. Such a move is meant to shift a fire station about three miles east, deeper into the district.

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2012 city budget clears crucial hurdle

December 13, 2011

City Council members inched closer to approval for a 2012 municipal budget Dec. 5, as the document cleared a crucial hurdle.

In a unanimous decision, council members directed staffers to prepare a 2012 spending plan. The council is due to adopt the plan Dec. 19.

“I think this is a fairly conservative budget,” Council President John Traeger said.

In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger sent to the council a $32 million general fund budget — dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

The process to form a 2012 budget started earlier, at a council goal-setting retreat in May. Officials outlined priorities for the year ahead and helped shape department chiefs’ spending proposals.

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Council recommends study for pool financing

December 6, 2011

The city intends to survey Issaquah School District residents about support for financing a pool and other parks amenities next year.

City Council members included the pool proposal and others on a list of changes to the 2012 city budget.

In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger sent to the council a $32 million general fund budget — dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

Overall, the council’s recommended changes amount to $4.1 million. The change to the general fund is $469,784.

The total proposed city budget — including dollars for capital expenses and from other accounts — is $85.7 million after the council’s recommended changes.

The budget adjustment is routine. The council offers changes to the mayor’s proposed budget each year to produce a concrete spending plan.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 mixes red and ‘green’

October 11, 2011

Solar panels line the rooftop of Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72. Contributed

Station 72 is designed to lessen impact on environment

The red accents on Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 offer a traditional package for the “green” features embedded throughout the building.

Station 72 is the most energy efficient fire station on the planet. The city and EFR spearheaded a project to create a next-generation facility as a showcase for “green” innovations in Issaquah and a model for other fire departments.

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Fire Station 72 public art reflects environmental theme

October 11, 2011

Throughout the year, as Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 rose from a barren patch on the Issaquah Transit Center site, artist Perri Lynch headed east from Seattle to observe the construction.

The longtime artist sought ideas for a public art piece commissioned for the station. The result is a series of flexible ribbons affixed to the façade of the completed building. Lights behind the ribbons illuminate the ribbons and radiate after sunset.

Perri Lynch bolts the red and yellow ribbons of her artwork together in August for the public art installation at Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72. By Greg Farrar

“The overall concept behind the work is this relationship between order and chaos, and how emergency and crisis interrupt the rhythm of our lives,” she said. “I wanted the artwork to reflect the stability but also the nimbleness that we all need.”

The artwork — and the $47,000 price tag — raised eyebrows among City Council members in June, although the council later approved funds for the piece.

Under city code, one-half of 1 percent of the initial $5 million in a project budget — plus one-quarter of 1 percent of the amount exceeding $5 million — is required to be used for public art.

The city initially set aside $32,000 for Station 72 public art. In addition, the municipal Arts Commission recommended another $10,000 in public art funding for the project.

The additional $5,000 in costs resulted because the artist changed the piece to incorporate more “green” materials. The resin used in the piece is 40 percent preconsumer recycled plastic.

“It was a great opportunity to design artwork in keeping with the larger values of the project,” Lynch said. “I love the ecological underpinnings of the station. That influenced the materials that I used.”

The untitled piece uses energy from the solar array on the rooftop to power the LED strips.

“So often, public art is brought in at the end of a major project. Often, you can tell — to the detriment of the architecture and the art,” Lynch said. “In this case, I had the opportunity to design as the station was taking shape, and that makes a huge difference.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 Open House / Oct. 8, 2011

October 11, 2011

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‘Green’ Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 opens for tours

October 4, 2011

Citizens can tour the ultra-“green” Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 as the facility opens for public tours Oct. 8.

The open house is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the station, at 1770 N.W. Maple St. Firefighters plan to serve hot dogs and offer tours of the facility.

The station ranks among the most energy-efficient fire stations on the planet. Station 72 is designed to achieve the highest-rated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum status.

The fire station is unlike any other in the United States. The building includes a system to pump heat from the ground, photovoltaic cells to catch sunlight and triple-paned windows to reduce heat loss — enough features to achieve the toughest standards from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The existing Station 72, a temporary structure meant to last five years, opened 11 years ago.

City Council members initiated the design process for a replacement in 2007. Construction started on the station in June 2010.

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Issaquah leaders honor zHome builder

July 26, 2011

Akinobu Ohno (left), president of Ichijo USA, receives the framed Ichijo Day proclamation from Mayor Ava Frisinger on July 18, for the zHome project in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The long-planned zHome project under construction in the Issaquah Highlands — residences designed to produce as much energy as occupants consume — is in line to open in mid-September.

City planners and longtime project backers attributed the milestone to builder Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co.

In a July 18 ceremony, Mayor Ava Frisinger and Issaquah leaders spotlighted the pan-Pacific partnership responsible for jolting zHome from concept to reality. The mayor proclaimed the day as Ichijo Day in Issaquah.

“During our early discussions about Ichijo, the more we learned about the community, the more excited we became,” she said during the ceremony. “Although we were located thousands of miles away, many of our goals and ambitions were the same.”

Ichijo USA President Akinobu Ohno offered a graceful bow and accepted the framed proclamation from Frisinger.

Construction on zHome is scheduled to conclude in late summer, and then crews plan to prepare the units for public open houses. The opening date is Sept. 14 during the Built Green Conference, a gathering for building industry professionals interested in eco-conscious practices.

Ichijo USA joined the project early last year in a joint venture between the company and developer Matt Howland.

Ichijo Co. builds energy-efficient residences across Japan — a bonus for Issaquah officials.

“They have been a critical part of zHome coming together. With the downturn, we had worked very hard to find alternative financing and hardly any new construction is getting financed these days,” zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist said. “Ichijo as a partner, they were very critical to getting zHome moving forward.”

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