Press Editorial

January 31, 2012

Fire District 10 station bond makes sense

King County Fire District 10 commissioners are asking voters to approve a construction bond for the first time in nearly two decades. It’s a reasonable request that voters should consider.

It’s a bit confusing, since both the city of Issaquah and Fire District 10 are served by Eastside Fire & Rescue, a cooperative of multiple jurisdictions. But only Issaquah residents outside the city limits pay taxes for fire protection to District 10. City property owners are paying for the new fire station near the Issaquah Transit Center.

If you got a ballot in the mail last week, you live in District 10.

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In landmark decision, buildings up to 150 feet in business district OK’d

December 27, 2011

Rowley Properties could someday build tall buildings on 78 acres in the business district, as shown in the rendering above. Contributed

Rowley Properties plans to redevelop land in decades ahead

Tall buildings could someday punctuate the skyline in the modest business district along state Route 900, after city leaders created a framework Dec. 19 to transform acre upon acre blanketed in storage units, low-slung office buildings and automotive service centers into a dense neighborhood for shops and homes.

In a landmark decision, City Council members approved a 30-year agreement between the city and longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties to overhaul almost 80 acres in the coming decades. The council agreed to allow buildings up to 150 feet tall and mixed-use development on up to 4.4 million square feet in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center — parcels along Interstate 90 and state Route 900.

The landowner, in turn, is required to pay for transportation upgrades, affordable housing construction, Tibbetts Creek restoration efforts and storm-water system improvements.

Leaders said the potential for change in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center offers a rare opportunity to reshape Issaquah as the city readjusts after a decadelong population boom.

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In major development decision, city OKs buildings up to 150 feet in business district

December 22, 2011

NEW — 9:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 2011

Tall buildings could someday punctuate the skyline in the modest business district along state Route 900, after city leaders created a framework Monday to transform acre upon acre blanketed in storage units, low-slung office buildings and automotive service centers into a dense neighborhood for shops and homes.

In a landmark decision, City Council members approved a 30-year agreement between the city and longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties to overhaul almost 80 acres in the coming decades. The council agreed to allow buildings up to 150 feet tall and mixed-use development on up to 4.4 million square feet in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center — parcels along Interstate 90 and state Route 900.

The landowner, in turn, is required to pay for transportation upgrades, affordable housing construction, Tibbetts Creek restoration efforts and storm-water system improvements.

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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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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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$6.2 million pedestrian bridge opens after delays

July 5, 2011

Protesters carry signs to decry the cost of a pedestrian bridge across Interstate 90 the day the bridge opened, July 1. By Tim Pfarr

The pedestrian bridge at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 opened July 1, months after the expected completed date.

Delays related to the bridge pilings and inclement weather slowed construction on the $6.2 million project.

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Highlands Day to celebrate Swedish/Issaquah

July 5, 2011

On its 10th anniversary, the Issaquah Highlands Council will host its annual Highlands Day on July 9, in conjunction with the grand opening celebration of Issaquah’s new Swedish Medical Center campus.

“This year will be the biggest Highlands Day ever,” said, Christy Garrard special events planner for the council. “We’re expecting over 10,000 people during the seven-hour event.”

This year, Highlands Day will carry a healthy living theme and will take place on the site of the new hospital.

More than 50 booths will represent sports, fitness and nutrition experts, local businesses and local nonprofit agencies. The booths will offer free carnival games and crafts, free samples and free answers to fitness and sports-related questions.

“Over 20 booths are just fitness professionals and nutrition experts.” Garrard said.

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Contentious Interstate 90 pedestrian bridge to open Friday

June 30, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. June 30, 2011

The pedestrian bridge at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 is due to open Friday, months after the expected completed date.

Delays related to the bridge pilings and inclement weather slowed construction on the $6.2 million project. The connector separates bicyclists and pedestrians from the busy roadway. The structure includes a 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound interstate on-ramp and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing on the state Route 900 overpass.

The city contributed $354,000 to the connector. Federal and Sound Transit dollars covered the remainder.

The bridge is due to open by late Friday, after more than a decade of planning and sometimes-contentious discussions among city officials, transit advocates and trails enthusiasts.

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Striping starts as connector nears completion

June 21, 2011

Motorists should prepare for ramp closures as crews stripe lanes along state Route 900.

The striping comes as construction nears completion on a pedestrian connector along busy state Route 900 and the westbound Interstate 90 on-ramp. The connector could open to pedestrians and bicyclists by late June.

Starting June 20, contractors started painting the bridges and paving the trail from 12th Avenue Northwest.

The painting requires the interstate on-ramp to be closed during the evening. The contractor plans to post detours for motorists.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue station showcases ‘green’ innovations

June 14, 2011

City Council authorizes $47,000 art piece for building

Construction is almost complete on Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 — a showcase for “green” innovations adjacent to the Issaquah Transit Center — and firefighters should start settling into the sleek structure in August.

Workmen perform a job June 9 before pouring the concrete driveway in front of Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 on Northwest Maple Street a block east of state Route 900. By Greg Farrar

The facility is designed to replace the aging Station 72 less than a mile down Northwest Maple Street from the construction site. The city, architect and EFR designed the modern Station 72 to use as little energy and water as possible.

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.

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