Together Center abandons plans to bring human services campus to Issaquah

August 17, 2015

NEW — 6 p.m. Aug. 17, 2015

An effort apparently underway since 2006 has come to an end.

On Aug. 14, Together Center announced it is concluding efforts to establish a human services campus in Issaquah.

Lead volunteers Margaret Moore and John Rittenhouse, along with Together Center CEO Pam Mauk, met with Issaquah officials to inform them of their decision.

“Identification and acquisition of appropriate property has been the major stumbling block,” Moore said in a press release. “We know the Issaquah community’s need for easier access to services has only grown. We also know that there are many agencies that would love to be part of a nonprofit service hub. We just could not find a site where we could pull this off in Issaquah.” Read more

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Teamwork could form human services campus

July 30, 2013

Service organization AtWork! might team up with the Together Center to found a human services campus in the former’s existing facility.

In its effort to bring employment and community service agencies together, the Together Center, in Redmond, has had plans to established a location that could house multiple resources for all people. Housing, job placement and medical services are just a few of the things it hopes to bring into such a facility.

“We’ve been looking for property for years,” Together Center Executive Director Pam Mauk said. Though the two organizations have only been communicating for a few months, she said their common goals could mean cooperation. “We are both in discussions. The missions of AtWork! and Together Center could work together at that site.”

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Site is eyed for Issaquah human services campus

July 31, 2012

The long-gestating plan to build a human services campus in Issaquah is a step closer to reality, as organizers inch closer to selecting a site for the facility.

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YWCA Family Village at Issaquah opens

August 16, 2011

Lizzie Webb stands aside the railing to top-floor residences at her apartment building looking over the YWCA Family Village at Issaquah and a view of Squak and Cougar mountains. By Greg Farrar

The airy apartment on the top floor at YWCA Family Village at Issaquah, a long-planned affordable housing complex, is a refuge for Lizzie Webb.

The longtime Issaquah resident relocated to the complex before anyone else, in late May, and created a sanctuary from domestic abuse in the cozy space.

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Supporters outline future for human services campus

April 5, 2011

The push to select a location and raise dollars to build a long-planned human services campus in Issaquah — envisioned as a clearinghouse for employment assistance, food aid, health care and more — should start in earnest this spring and summer after years spent on discussions and studies.

Organizers plan to launch a fundraising campaign for the campus, identify anchor tenants and, most critically, select property or a building to house the facility.

John Rittenhouse

The result could resemble the nonprofit Together Center, a similar campus in Redmond. In 2007, Issaquah leaders and the Together Center — then called the Family Resource Center — partnered to spearhead a feasibility study for a campus in Issaquah.

Together Center Executive Director Pam Mauk and John Rittenhouse, a former Issaquah councilman and a Together Center board member, presented the study to City Council members March 29.

“So, what does the study conclude?” Rittenhouse asked. “It concludes that a human services campus being sited in Issaquah is feasible. Under all scenarios that were studied by the consultants, a campus is doable in Issaquah.”

Plans for the campus hinge on the location, and whether organizers opt to build a campus or lease space in existing structures.

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Joshua Schaer announces City Council re-election bid

February 22, 2011

Incumbent Joshua Schaer announced plans last week to run for a second term, setting off the campaign season for City Council seats.

The candidate highlighted environmental accomplishments in the announcement, including a first-on-the-Eastside food-packaging ordinance and polystyrene container ban.

“Shaping the future of our community is a great honor,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to another four years of creating practical solutions, while continuing to advocate for fiscal responsibility.”

Joshua Schaer

Schaer drafted and shepherded the food-packaging ordinance to fruition throughout 2009. Though the measure initially raised concerns about cost among local restaurateurs, the compliance date in October 2010 passed quietly.

The first-term councilman also leads the Council Transportation Committee and serves as the Issaquah representative to the Eastside Transportation Partnership, a regional group responsible for road and transit issues.

In recent months, as the transportation committee and the seven-member council tackled Newport Way Northwest upgrades, Schaer has been critical of the effort to remake a section of the road near the Bellevue city line and a separate proposal to widen the street near Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

In addition to Schaer’s post, the council seats held by Council President John Traeger and Councilman Fred Butler appear on the November ballot.

Candidates must file to run in Issaquah and other races by June 10. Schaer is the only council candidate so far.

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Who’s News

February 22, 2011

Together Center announces board of director changes

Barbara de Michele, of Issaquah, has been named chairwoman of the Together Center board of directors. She is the executive director of the Issaquah Community Network.

De Michelle takes over for longtime chairman John Spangenberg, of Kirkland, who has been named chair emeritus.

John Rittenhouse, a manager at Microsoft from Issaquah, is now vice chair.

Also joining the board of directors is Donna Batter, of Issaquah, a fundraising consultant.

Together Center is a nonprofit organization that helps the needy find food, shelter, medical and dental care, child care assistance, youth and family counseling, and more.

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Joshua Schaer announces City Council re-election bid

February 17, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Feb. 17, 2011

Joshua Schaer

Incumbent Joshua Schaer announced plans Thursday to run for a second term, setting off the campaign season for City Council seats.

The candidate highlighted environmental accomplishments in the announcement, including a first-on-the-Eastside food-packaging ordinance.

“Shaping the future of our community is a great honor,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to another four years of creating practical solutions, while continuing to advocate for fiscal responsibility.”

Schaer drafted and shepherded the food-packaging ordinance to fruition throughout 2009. Though the measure initially raised concerns among local restaurateurs, the compliance date in October 2010 passed quietly.

Schaer also leads the Council Transportation Committee and serves as the Issaquah representative to the Eastside Transportation Partnership, a regional group responsible for road and transit issues.

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Human services campus study is due to city next month

September 7, 2010

City leaders last week outlined ideas for a human services campus — a clearinghouse for charities providing food, healthcare and employment services to the needy.

Mayor Ava Frisinger and other top officials met representatives from the San Francisco-based consultant conducting a city-funded feasibility study of the proposed campus.

Former Councilman John Rittenhouse — a longtime proponent of the campus — updated council members about the study Aug. 16.

“I’m very confident that you’ll find the end product useful as you deliberate how to make this vision a reality,” he said.

The nonprofit Family Resource Center is a similar human services campus in Redmond. Rittenhouse serves on its board of directors.

The city and Family Resource Center partnered to study the need for a campus. The council started the process in December by spending $35,000 for the study.

Rittenhouse said the study should be completed and delivered to the city by late October. Officials used impact fees paid by the Talus developer to fund the study.

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Issaquah human services campus study is due in October

August 24, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 24, 2010

City leaders last week outlined ideas for a human services campus — a clearinghouse for charities providing food, healthcare and employment services to the needy.

Mayor Ava Frisinger and other top officials met representatives from the San Francisco-based consultant conducting a city-funded feasibility study on the proposed campus.

In addition to gathering input from Issaquah leaders, the consultant collected demographic information to determine a possible service area for the facility.

Former Councilman John Rittenhouse — a longtime proponent of the campus who left the council in December and then joined the Family Resource Center board of directors — updated council members about the study Aug. 16.

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