Distinction for Dedication — 35th annual Issaquah Community Awards celebrates extraordinary community service

May 27, 2014

Robin Callahan, Issaquah Schools Foundation executive director, gets handclasps from friends and a prolonged ovation from the audience when she is named Issaquah Citizen of the Year, as she comes forward during the 35th annual Community Awards Banquet presented May 22. For more photos from the event, see Page A8.By Greg Farrar

Robin Callahan, Issaquah Schools Foundation executive director, gets handclasps from friends and a prolonged ovation from the audience when she is named Issaquah Citizen of the Year, as she comes forward during the 35th annual Community Awards Banquet presented May 22. By Greg Farrar

Robin Callahan and Ava Frisinger were the big winners during the 35th annual Issaquah Community Awards.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce held the event at the Hilton Garden Inn in a room full of city leaders and passionate citizens May 22. The yearly program aims to honor dedication to Issaquah and longtime volunteers for their service to the community.

Fourteen awards were given, celebrating multiple facets of how people improve Issaquah.

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Council addresses top public worries

May 20, 2014

The Issaquah City Council has chosen to concentrate on transportation and Olde Town issues in the future.

Senior city administration met with the council during the 122nd-annual goal setting retreat at the Mercer Slough Environmental Center in Bellevue and spent a solid eight hours debating Issaquah’s next steps.

The council members began the day with 17 goals, submitted by council after it asked for citizen input. The day ended with five: Transportation Master Plan, Affordable Housing, Enhance Olde Town Vitality, Central Issaquah Plan Anchor Project and to promote a Safe/Drug-Free Community.

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New Police Chief Scott Behrbaum plans to follow same strategies

April 22, 2014

Newly confirmed Police Chief Scott Behrbaum does not expect to make a lot of changes to the department anytime soon.

After serving 17 years with the Issaquah Police Department, and the past seven of those as patrol commander under retired Chief Paul Ayers, Behrbaum said he believes in the ongoing direction of the department.

By Greg Farrar Issaquah Police Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum shakes the hands of City Council members April 7. The council voted unanimously to confirm his appointment by Mayor Fred Butler as the department’s new chief, taking effect April 16 after retiring Chief Paul Ayers’ last day.

By Greg Farrar
Issaquah Police Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum shakes the hands of City Council members April 7. The council voted unanimously to confirm his appointment by Mayor Fred Butler as the department’s new chief, taking effect April 16 after retiring Chief Paul Ayers’ last day.

“I’m excited for the appointment,” he said. “I’m really proud of our department and the positive impact it has established in our community.”

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Issaquah, Sammamish reach preliminary Klahanie deal

April 8, 2014

Leaders from Issaquah and Sammamish announced a deal April 4 that will provide for the transfer of the Klahanie potential annexation area to Sammamish. The agreement is preliminary and will still need to be approved by both city councils.

In broad terms, Sammamish gets Klahanie, and Issaquah gets support on a host of other issues.

The move comes after just a week and a half after the Issaquah City Council asked Mayor Fred Butler to enter talks with the city’s northern neighbor to see how releasing the entire potential annexation area would benefit the region.

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City leaders investigate future of Route 200 bus

April 1, 2014

As King County residents vote whether to fund Metro Transit on April 22, city leaders are considering what to do with Route 200.

Issaquah pays a yearly subsidy to the county in order to keep the bus free of charge. But the city-centric route has been offered for the chopping block for years as Metro has faced increased expenditures. In response, the city has begun to survey residents who would most likely use the bus to try and get a clearer sense of its community impact.

City Economic Development Manager Andrea Lehner said the information would prove valuable for the city as well as the county.

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Development permitting fees will rise April 1

March 25, 2014

Issaquah will raise its development permitting fees April 1 for the first time since 2006.

Passed by the City Council at its Dec. 16 meeting, the increase comes after reviewing the current economic state of the city and comparing costs to develop in Issaquah with neighboring cities.

“The fees were changed to ensure Issaquah fully recovers its costs to review permits, offer our customers more flat rates, less itemized fees [and] be more consistent with fees charged in neighboring cities,” according to the city’s website.

One of the reasons for the gap since the last change in fees was the 2008 recession and the fear that higher fees might hamper new development.

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Park Board recommends Tibbetts Valley Park for potential skate park site

March 25, 2014

NEW — 4:30 p.m. March 25, 2014

After considering the options and residents’ opinions from two public meetings, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Issaquah Skate Park recommended the construction of a new skate park in Tibbetts Valley Park during the regular Park Board meeting March 24.

The Park Board agreed and passed its recommendation to Mayor Fred Butler.

“This recommended site at Tibbetts Valley Park is an open grassy area, near the Park & Ride parking lot,” Parks & Recreation Department Director Anne McGill wrote in an email. “It has nothing on the site at this point, except grass, and it would not displace any other park amenity.”

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Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum appointed to lead Issaquah Police Department

March 21, 2014

NEW — 3:55 p.m. March 21, 2014

Mayor Fred Butler announced his appointment of Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum as the new chief of Issaquah police March 21.

Issaquah Police Chief Scott Behrbaum (Photo from the city of Issaquah)

Issaquah Police Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum
(Photo from the city of Issaquah)

With more than 18 years of service to the Issaquah Police Department, Behrbaum has served as a patrol commander for the past six.

He has also worked as a patrol sergeant, crime prevention officer, narcotics officer and as the agency’s first school resource officer at Issaquah High School.

If the City Council confirms the appointment, Behrbaum replaces Chief Paul Ayers, who will retire April 15.

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Police chief retires after 39-year career

March 18, 2014

By Greg Farrar Paul Ayers, Issaquah’s police chief for the last seven years, pauses in his office for a portrait.

By Greg Farrar
Paul Ayers, Issaquah’s police chief for the last seven years, pauses in his office for a portrait.

After 39 years in law enforcement — seven in Issaquah — Chief Paul Ayers is ready to take it easy.

Though it started out as a ride-along after serving his tours of duty in Vietnam, police work became a decorated career for Ayers almost four decades ago. He will serve his last day April 15.

“Literally, my first day riding along was a huge eye-opener for me,” Ayers said. “What people know about law enforcement is what they read in the paper and what they see on TV. When you’re at street level and see those things happen, it really makes you realize this job is a lot more.”

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Skate park location could be decided at March 24 meeting

March 18, 2014

After two public meetings, the Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department has narrowed the number of possible sites for a new skate park.

“It’s down to four that we’re considering now,” Parks & Recreation Manager Brian Berntsen said.

The locations are Veterans’ Memorial Field, Gibson Park, Central Park and Tibbetts Valley Park, near the Issaquah Transit Center.

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