Salmon Days Festival spawns road closures

October 2, 2012

Motorists should prepare for road closures throughout the Salmon Days Festival.

Expect closures on the following streets from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 6-7:

  • Front Street from Newport Way Southwest to Northwest Gilman Boulevard
  • East Sunset Way from Second Avenue Southeast to Newport Way Northwest
  • Rainier Boulevard South and First Avenue Southeast from East Sunset Way to the Issaquah Community Center
  • Southeast Bush Street and Southeast Andrews Street from Second Avenue Southeast to Front Street South
  • First Place Northeast and First Avenue Northwest from West Sunset Way to Northwest Dogwood Street

Expect closures on the following streets from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 to accommodate the Salmon Days Grande Parade:

  • 12th Avenue Northwest from Northwest Maple Street to Northwest Gilman Boulevard
  • Northeast Gilman Boulevard and Northeast Dogwood Street from Third Avenue Northwest to Front Street North
  • Rainier Boulevard North from Northwest Dogwood Street to Northwest Juniper Street.

Parking near downtown Issaquah is also a challenge during the festival, and Salmon Days visitors should consider the event shuttle.

Shuttles depart from the Issaquah Transit Center, 1050 17th Ave. N.W., Costco corporate headquarters parking lot, 11th Avenue Northwest and Lake Drive, and Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

The cost for a shuttle is $2 round trip for adults; children 12 and younger ride for free. Parking is free at the shuttle departure points.

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King County Metro Transit route changes impact Issaquah riders

September 11, 2012

King County Metro Transit riders should prepare for major changes in the weeks ahead, as the agency launches a pay-on-entry system and updates several routes.

Transit planners advised thousands of riders to expect changes on bus routes starting Sept. 29, as the agency changes bus stops on dozens of routes, shifts buses to different streets and alters schedules.

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Groundbreaking for Issaquah Highlands retail complex delayed until June 26

June 19, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 19, 2012

The groundbreaking ceremony for a long-planned Issaquah Highlands retail complex is delayed until June 26, project organizers announced Monday, a day before the planned event.

Executives at the highlands developer, Port Blakely Communities, and the company behind the retail complex, Regency Centers, attributed the weeklong delay to scheduling conflicts.

“This project remains a top priority for both organizations and we have every confidence that the transaction will close and construction will commence very soon,” Port Blakely CEO René Ancinas and Regency Senior Vice President Craig Ramey said in a joint statement.

The groundbreaking ceremony is planned for the corner of Ninth Avenue Northeast and Park Drive — a vacant stretch envisioned as Grand Ridge Plaza, as the project is called.

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Construction could start on Issaquah Highlands retail center soon

May 8, 2012

More options to shop and dine in the Issaquah Highlands could open as soon as next year, after a landmark decision by city officials to approve a long-awaited retail complex in the neighborhood.

Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust based in Florida, intends to build the retail complex, dubbed Grand Ridge Plaza, on vacant land along Highlands Drive Northeast between Swedish/Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. Construction could start as early as next month.

The decision by the Urban Village Development Commission represents a milestone in the stop-and-go effort to add more retail options in the neighborhood. The commission — a city board to oversee large-scale projects in the highlands and Talus — OK’d the site development permit for Grand Ridge Plaza in a May 1 decision.

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Growth is focus as City Council, Issaquah School Board meet

May 1, 2012

City and Issaquah School District leaders pledged coordination and cooperation as the city outlines a bold plan to add thousands of residences in the decades ahead.

Chad Magendanz

Discussion about the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 — and possible changes to the school district, such as redrawing boundaries for schools to accommodate population shifts, dominated the annual joint meeting April 24.

City Council and Issaquah School Board members, plus Mayor Ava Frisinger and Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and other officials, gathered at Mandarin Garden a week after school district voters approved a $219 million bond to fuel a school construction boom. The planned projects include major changes for schools in downtown Issaquah.

The groups, seated beneath red lanterns and arranged around lazy Susans, sipped tea and nibbled on fried rice and roast pork as discussion unfolded about long-term development plans. (The city hosted the meal and spent $311.24 on food and beverages.)

“Both organizations have gone from fast-growing organizations to more stable, mature organizations with different sets of issues,” Council President Tola Marts said. “So, now the challenge is how do we manage the remaining growth that we have?”

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King County Metro Transit expands Issaquah bus service

February 21, 2012

Issaquah residents can expect more bus trips to Seattle under the latest King County Metro Transit service plan.

Officials added 500 hours for weekday service on Route 218 buses from the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride to Seattle. The change comes as Metro Transit shifts more than 35,000 hours of service from lower-performing bus routes throughout the system to bolster service on high ridership routes.

King County Council members adopted the changes in a unanimous decision Jan. 30.

“This is another step in the long march towards reforming how Metro serves King County riders,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a statement. “Eastsiders over the course of this process are also going to see an overall increase in their service hours.”

The shift in service is also meant to address issues related to crowding and on-time performance, and add service to underserved corridors.

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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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Issaquah Highlands pedestrian bridge is meant to smooth access

December 13, 2011

The pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast is lifted into place the early morning of Dec. 8 after arriving on site the day before in pieces on flatbed trucks from Florida. Contributed

The route is easier for pedestrians to cross a major thoroughfare after crews completed a pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast on a moonlit morning last week.

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Zombie dancers shuffle, step to ‘Thriller’ for record attempt

October 25, 2011

Chandler Osman, 12, an Issaquah Middle School student, strikes a ‘Thriller’ pose Oct. 22 during rehearsal for Green Halloween Festival performances. By Greg Farrar

The undead shuffle across TV and cinema screens. Zombies chomp across bestseller lists. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a droll guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse.

The zombie zeitgeist is ceaseless. Just like a horde of the undead on a mindless search for brains.

The pop culture phenomenon reaches Issaquah on Oct. 29 as revelers dressed as the undead shuffle downtown and in the Issaquah Highlands just before Halloween.

The most able-bodied zombies plan to inch to the Green Halloween Festival and the Issaquah Library to duplicate the complicated choreography from the 1983 Michael Jackson epic, “Thriller” — a 14-minute MTV masterpiece from “An American Werewolf in London” director John Landis.

Zombies plan to re-create “Thriller” at 2 p.m. for festivalgoers and at 4 p.m. at the downtown library. Then, zombies around the globe plan to gather for Thrill the World, a simultaneous attempt to dance to “Thriller” and set a world record. In Issaquah, 6 p.m. is the designated hour for the Thrill the World attempt.

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Mitsubishi rolls out electric vehicle at zHome

October 11, 2011

Mitsubishi is rolling out the i, billed as the most-affordable electric vehicle on the U.S. market, Oct. 15-16 at a “green” venue — zHome, a carbon-neutral community in Issaquah.

The team behind zHome and Mitsubishi partnered to offer zHome attendees a chance to test-drive the car. The i is rated for a miles-per-gallon equivalent of 112.

Enthusiasts can see the i from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 16.

Mitsubishi loaned a Japanese model of the vehicle to zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist during the summer.

“It was quiet, quick and surprisingly roomy given its small size,” he wrote in a post to the zHome blog.

In addition to kicking the tires on the i, attendees can also tour zHome. The site is along Northeast High Street, just east of YWCA Family Village at Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride.

The “green” complex features electric-vehicle charging stations.

The i is also scheduled to appear at Best Buy, 6000 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 22.

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