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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Park bond stretched to preserve open space, upgrade parks

November 17, 2009

Crews work to install artificial turf and lights at a Central Park sports field. Courtesy of Issaquah Parks & recreation Department

Crews work to install artificial turf and lights at a Central Park sports field. Courtesy of Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department

City parks officials used grants to stretch a $6.25 million park bond into almost $9.6 million — money then used to buy land for new parks, preserve open space and improve sports fields.

Issaquah voters approved the bond in November 2006 with a resounding margin: 76 percent. The dollars were split among open space acquisitions and improvements to existing parks. The park bond came almost 20 years after city officials last asked Issaquah voters for money to add recreation and open space.

Proponents pitched the bond to voters as a way to protect water quality in Issaquah waterways, add and enhance sports fields and open new areas to recreation and wildlife. Officials earmarked the biggest piece of the bond — $3.5 million — to buy creekside and hillside land. Read more

Community honors Harvey Manning at statue unveiling

September 22, 2009


Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning, who dubbed the mountains around the city the Issaquah Alps, is now immortalized in bronze at the Issaquah Trails House.

Manning, known as the “Wilderness Warrior,” founded the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and helped establish Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

Elected officials, residents and friends of the late conservationist, more than 100 people in all, turned out Sept. 20 to dedicate the life-sized statue. The artwork depicts Manning in his signature wide-brimmed hat and thick-rimmed glasses seated atop a boulder. The rocks included in the statue installation were hauled from the Manning property. Read more

Harvey Manning honored posthumously

May 5, 2009

Harvey Manning

Harvey Manning

Harvey Manning — the late conservationist who coined the term “Issaquah Alps” to describe the peaks surrounding the city — was honored May 4 with a top city environmental award. Manning also helped to establish the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and lobbied officials to preserve Cougar Mountain.

City officials honored his work with the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community, which honors those who take steps to protect natural resources. Officials and trails club members said Manning was a tireless advocate for protecting forests and open space.

His relatives and trails club members were set to accept the award from city officials. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

In addition to his conservation efforts, Manning was a prolific writer. He wrote several books and guides about hiking trails throughout Washington and the Northwest. Manning is noted for creating the “100 Hikes” series of guidebooks to trails in the Cascades, Olympics and other natural areas. The standard textbook for climbing — “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills” — also bears his imprint. Manning helped edit the first edition of the book. Read more

Late trails club pioneer Harvey Manning wins top environmental award

May 4, 2009

NEW — 8:01 p.m. May 4, 2009

Harvey Manning — the late conservationist who coined the term “Issaquah Alps” to describe the peaks surrounding the city — was honored tonight with a top city environmental award. Manning also helped to establish the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and lobbied officials to preserve Cougar Mountain.

City officials honored his work with the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community, which honors people who take steps to protect natural resources. Officials and trails club members said Manning was a tireless advocate for protecting forests and open space.

His relatives and trails club members were set to accept the award from city officials. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

Harvey Manning on one of his quintessential hikes. (file)

Harvey Manning on one of his quintessential hikes. (file)

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City parks to get more prominent names

March 23, 2009

Goodbye, Guano Acres.

City officials will soon consider a proposal to name the site of a former chicken ranch and two other municipal parks. If the City Council approves the measure, Guano Acres would be known as Ingi Johnson Park. The area known as Squak Valley Park-South* would become, simply, Squak Valley Park*, and Talus Park would be called Harvey Manning Park at Talus.

Because the city-owned sites are known only by nicknames, action by the City Council is required to give official names to the parks.

City Council members will consider the parks bill at their April 6 meeting. If the measure passes, not much would change at the parks. Budget constraints could delay the installation of signs bearing the new names.

Mayor Ava Frisinger formed a committee last fall to suggest official names for the parks. The committee included representatives from the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, Issaquah History Museums, city Park Board and residents. Members submitted nine name possibilities — three per park — to the mayor. Frisinger whittled those suggestions to three.

City Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said the committee weighed several factors when selecting new park names. Members considered each park’s cultural and historical significance, natural features and the surrounding neighborhood. The committee also decided whether to name parks for significant figures in local history.

Ingi Johnson Park would take its name from a late, longtime city employee. Harvey Manning Park at Talus would recognize the late conservationist who helped establish Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Manning, who helped to establish the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, coined the term “Issaquah Alps” to describe Cougar, Tiger and Squak mountains.

“Harvey Manning is an icon for the state of Washington,” city Parks Planner Margaret Macleod said.

Members of the City Council Services & Operations Committee endorsed the parks proposal March 19.

Councilman Joshua Schaer suggested adding the Talus descriptor to Harvey Manning Park as a way to remind residents about the location of the property.

“It’s a nod to the community in that neighborhood,” Schaer said.

Councilwoman Eileen Barber said it might be difficult for her to remember the new park names.

“It’s always going to be Guano Acres to me,” she joked.

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

* This report contains corrected information.

State of city: Progress is good

February 9, 2009

Mayor’s message can be seen online

Mayor Ava Frisinger reiterated progress on city goals in her annual State of the City address last week and said the city will fare well in 2009.

In her address, Frisinger highlighted each of the city’s major departments as having achieved progress in the past year and expressed her gratitude to all the city’s employees who made those accomplishments possible.

“All the departments were working very hard for the city to carry out the city’s goals and mission,” she said.

To show her appreciation, her address was partly made with a video presentation that allowed the department heads to discuss their accomplishments and goals.

Major goals reached for the Parks Department were two new parks, Squak Valley Park and Talus Neighborhood Park, that opened in 2008, according to Anne McGill, the city’s parks director.

The city now has more than 1,300 acres of open space and parks available for residents, Frisinger said.

At the police department, officers received new equipment and implemented new programs, such as the state’s E-Ticket program, said Police Chief Paul Ayers. The E-Ticket program increases officer and records officials’ efficiency when dealing with traffic citations and accidents.

In addition, the department maintained its commitment to well-trained officers who protect and preserve the safety and security of the community, he said.

Bob Brock, city Public Works director, noted that the Intelligent Transportation System has reduced traffic times and alerted drivers to emergencies and alternate routes. In addition, during the implementation of the system’s first phase, city officials saved taxpayers nearly $2 million by applying for state and local grants, Frisinger said.

Also identified as an achievement was the city’s new radio station, 1700 AM, and the ability of the city’s community center to act as an emergency shelter.

Commissions, like those for sustainability, economic vitality and human services, also made big gains with help from volunteers to outline plans and expressions of visions for the future, Frisinger said.

Volunteers with the city’s Citizen Emergency Response Team and Citizen Corps organizations were tested and succeeded in aiding others through disaster relief in the past year, and as recently as the January flooding, she said.

“While we are faced with challenges in 2009, we still have countless opportunities to make Issaquah a better place to live, and do business, for decades to come,” Frisinger said.

In fact, city officials have already started.

In just the past month, they have responded to businesses affected by the floods by distributing and helping owners access records and information related to disaster relief and aid at the local, state and federal levels.

In addition, the City Council recently passed a code revision, relieving new business owners of spaces of 10,000 square feet or less from paying city transportation impact fees which can range from a few thousand dollars to $70,000. The code revision also gives business owners with spaces larger than 10,000 square feet an exemption from traffic impact fees for the first 10,000 square feet.

Jim Blake, city finance director, said the city is in a “good financial state going into 2009.”

“We will end 2009 with approximately the same cash in reserves as we started with, which is 22 percent of our cash expenditures,” he added. “With careful fiscal planning we can make sure the city has the means to support the city and its residents.”

This year, expenditures include modifying the intersection of Southeast 51st Street and 220th Avenue Southeast, constructing a new multiuse artificial turf field at Central Park and building a replacement fire station from the $4.5 million bond voters approved last year.

In addition, money will be spent to help restore Issaquah Creek at Squak Valley Park.

View online

Go to www.ci.issaquah.wa.us, click on the “Video Archive” link and select “2009 State of the City Video” or the City Council “February 2, 2009” link.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.