Central Issaquah Plan proposes shift from suburban to urban in business district

December 11, 2012

Issaquah, circa 2040, could sport a skyline.

The central business district is on the cusp of change, as city leaders plan for redevelopment on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

Nowadays, suburban sprawl dominates the landscape — traffic-clogged streets unfurl next to strip malls. Residents live elsewhere and climb into cars to reach the area’s amenities. Underfoot, 75 percent of land in the area is encased under parking lots.

Imagine, instead, buildings up to 125 feet tall, storefronts and residences arranged along tree-lined sidewalks, and perhaps decades in the future, a station on the regional rail network.

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City Council confirms, lauds municipal board appointees

May 3, 2011

Onetime City Council finalist Paul Winterstein is going to continue serving the city on the Human Services Commission, the liaison between social service groups and municipal government.

The council appointed Winterstein and 35 other people as members and alternates to city boards and commissions April 18. Terms on the 11 affected boards start May 1. The city does not pay members.

“I am continually amazed at the number of people — and their qualifications — that stepped forward to fill our boards and commissions,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the unanimous decision to appoint the members. “It seems to me in going through the applications and the qualifications of folks, we’ve got an especially strong group of people filling some critical holes on our boards and commissions again this year.”

The city put out a call for board and commission applicants in January. Then, Mayor Ava Frisinger and board officers narrowed the applicant pool, and recommended appointees to the council for approval.

The city is continuing the interview process for alternates to serve on the Sister Cities and Urban Village Development commissions.

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Off the Press

March 15, 2011

Council offers reality TV moment in tiebreaker

The protracted process to turn a resident from Jane or John Q. Public into a City Council member did not, despite high hopes, resemble a reality TV showdown.

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

If behind-the-scenes catfights did indeed occur amid the bonhomie and pitch-perfect presentations, none spilled out. Harrumph.

So, the group on hand March 1 for the pitches to the council — and applicants outnumbered attendees — observed no backbiting or sabotage, no bad-mouthing or name-calling. Instead, the process felt a little like the Miss America Pageant.

Mary Lou Pauly, a Development Commission member since Issaquah claimed less than 9,000 people, earned the congeniality sash for describing the applicant list as “well-spoken, outspoken and opinionated” — some of the most-desired qualities in a public official and, coincidentally, certain reality TV show contestants.

The dressed-to-impress applicants, in chipper proposals to the half-dozen council members, ticked through mileslong résumés and laudable ideas for the city.

Joe Forkner, to scrounge a metaphor from Aesop, turned out to be the tortoise — ceaselessly dependable and steady, if not flashy.

In the conversational category: Nathan Perea, a council candidate in 2009 and, to extend the metaphor to another candidate, the hare in the application process.

Yeah, I realize the hare has a longstanding reputation as a pain in the cottontail, but I apply the description to Perea because the erstwhile — and perhaps future? — candidate offers boundless enthusiasm for Issaquah.

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Stacy Goodman appointed to City Council seat

March 8, 2011

Stacy Goodman takes the oath of office after the City Council selected her to fill a vacant seat March 7. By Greg Farrar

City Council members appointed attorney Stacy Goodman to the council March 7, ending a monthslong process to fill the seat.

“I believe there is a space up at the dais for you to occupy,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said after she administered the oath of office.

Goodman, a past editor of The Issaquah Press, adds a fresh face — and a long résumé as a civic volunteer and municipal board member — to the seven-member council. The former journalist bested eight other applicants to succeed former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry, and to hold the post until after the November council election.

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City Council hears from applicants as contest for open seat nears end

March 2, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. March 2, 2011

City Council applicants, dressed in suits and skirts, on Tuesday night faced the half dozen city leaders responsible for selecting a resident to serve on the council for the next 10 months.

The council listened for about 90 minutes as the nine candidates in the race to succeed former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry outlined goals for Issaquah.

Then, after the presentations, the council met in a closed-door session to discuss candidates’ qualifications. The decision to appoint a resident to the Position 5 seat is expected to occur Monday.

“I think almost everybody who put their hand up to come be a council member is well-spoken, outspoken and opinionated,” longtime Development Commission member and applicant Mary Lou Pauly said. “We’re all going to participate as actively as we can. That means doing our homework, reading the reports, getting prepared and then coming to the meetings with something to offer.”

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City Council interviews applicants Tuesday

February 28, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 28, 2011

The nine applicants for a City Council vacancy face the council Tuesday night, as the process to select a successor to former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry nears a coda.

Candidates face the council in public interviews scheduled for a special council meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 135 E. Sunset Way. Then, after the 10-minute interviews, council members could recess into a closed-door executive session to discuss candidates’ qualifications.

Under state law, the council can discuss candidates’ qualifications in a closed-door session, but interviews and the decision must occur in public meetings.

Many candidates bring experience in municipal government or a keen understanding of council business to the interview process.

The vote to appoint a member to the council is scheduled for March 7, though the appointee might not join the council until later in the month. The salary for council members is $700 per month.

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Nisqually earthquake anniversary jolts memories

February 22, 2011

Issaquah is more prepared now than during 2001 roller

Then-Skyline High School senior Sean Edwards (left) and then-4-year-old sister Quinn leaned over to look inside the cracked asphalt Feb. 28, 2001, as dad Maury looks along a crack in the 1400 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. File

The ground started to shake as Bret Heath stood upstairs at the old municipal public works office — the steel-frame and metal-clad structure used nowadays as the parks department maintenance facility — and in seconds, the building rolled, like a ship tossed on ocean swells.

“I remember thinking, ‘I wonder if this building is going to hold together,’” the longtime Public Works Operations and emergency management director said.

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City Council candidates offer varied skills for post

February 15, 2011

Interviews start March 1 for nine council contenders

Candidates offer assorted skills for the open City Council seat created after Maureen McCarry resigned in late December.

The candidates bring backgrounds in community, military and municipal service to the interview process.

The midterm opening for the Position 5 seat attracted nine candidates.

Candidates face the council in public interviews scheduled for March 1. Then, after the 10-minute interviews, council members could recess into a closed-door executive session to discuss candidates’ qualifications.

Under state law, the council can discuss candidates’ qualifications in a closed-door session, but interviews and the decision must occur in public meetings.

The vote to appoint a member to the council is scheduled for March 7, though the appointee might not join the council until later in the month. The salary for council members is $700 per month.

McCarry created the vacancy late last year after she resigned to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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City Council vacancy attracts nine applicants

February 8, 2011

The contenders in the running to succeed Maureen McCarry on the City Council include people familiar to city leaders.

Joe Forkner has served on the council before, including a stint as a caretaker member after a councilwoman resigned. Stacy Goodman, past editor of The Issaquah Press, used to cover City Hall as a reporter. Nathan Perea campaigned against Tola Marts for the open Position 7 seat in 2009. Paul Winterstein managed Marts’ successful campaign. Other applicants serve on municipal boards and commissions.

The rare midterm opening for the Position 5 seat attracted nine candidates.

In addition to Forkner, Goodman, Perea and Winterstein, the lineup includes Michael Beard, a district manager for a facilities maintenance company, attorney Cristina Mehling, Urban Village Development Commission member Nina Milligan, Boeing analyst Erik Olson and Development Commission member Mary Lou Pauly.

Candidates face the council in public interviews scheduled for March 1. Then, after the 10-minute interviews, council members could recess into a closed-door executive session to discuss candidates’ qualifications.

Under state law, the council can discuss candidates’ qualifications in a closed-door session, but interviews and the decision must occur in public meetings.

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Candidates jockey for open seat ahead of Feb. 4 deadline

February 1, 2011

The race to replace Maureen McCarry started long before Election Day, and although the candidates only need to earn City Council members’ votes, the race to fill the seat in November is a key part of the decision.

The process has generated more activity in recent days, as potential candidates started to meet council members on a one-on-one basis and interested residents completed applications for the post. The application deadline is Feb. 4, and candidate interviews start March 1.

The appointee to the vacant seat serves until the next council election in November. The victor in the council race serves until Dec. 31, 2013.

The council could appoint a caretaker to the seat until the term expires in December. Members could also appoint someone who is interested in campaigning for election to the seat through 2013.

Though the application deadline is still days away, the vacancy has attracted a handful of applicants and potential candidates.

Issaquah Highlands resident Stacy Goodman, a Carson & Noel PLLC associate attorney and past editor of The Issaquah Press, said she plans to apply.

“I think it’s a terrific opportunity to get involved,” she said. “It’s an exciting time with a lot of projects and decisions that are in the beginning stages.”

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