Press Editorial

March 29, 2011

Preserving Park Pointe is a triumph for entire city

The momentous effort to preserve Park Pointe is complete.

Issaquah leaders and residents can celebrate after more than a decade of squabbling and maneuvering to stop hundreds of homes from rising on the land.

The transfer of development rights benefits the entire city.

Park Pointe, a majestically named parcel on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School, is forever preserved as public open space. So, too, is a 43-acre forest near Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands.

In exchange, homebuilders can construct up to 500 residences on 35 acres in the highlands. Despite the large figure, developers proposed far fewer homes for the site.

The deal protects land ill-suited for development and shifts construction to a site near roads and utilities.

In addition, the added residents to the highlands could help attract the retail businesses promised to neighborhood residents so long ago.

The deal is not perfect, but the benefits outshine the problems.

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Issaquah tragedies, triumphs define a tumultuous year

December 28, 2010

Traffic lines up on state Route 900 at Northwest Talus Drive in February. State Department of Transportation crews completed the long-running project in 2010. By Greg Farrar

The economy lurched from the recession, population growth all but stalled and Issaquah — after cutbacks and setbacks in 2009 — defied the odds to reach major milestones throughout 2010.

Momentum returned in 2010 after a year spent in a holding pattern. Set against the backdrop of a fragile recovery, leaders cut the ribbon on businesses and roads, laid the foundation for preservation and construction, and marked tragedies and successes. Read more

Park Pointe preservation reaches ‘historic’ milestone

December 28, 2010

Leaders build framework to save Tiger Mountain land, build Bellevue College campus

In a series of decisions a councilman described as a “historic moment,” City Council members assembled the framework Dec. 20 to preserve more than 100 Tiger Mountain acres and attract a Bellevue College campus to Issaquah.

The council OK’d agreements related to the long-running effort to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain and, through a complicated transfer of development rights, open land in the Issaquah Highlands to Bellevue College and homebuilders for construction. Read more

Park Pointe preservation reaches ‘historic’ milestone

December 21, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 21, 2010

In a series of decisions a councilman described as a “historic moment,” City Council members assembled the framework Monday to preserve more than 100 Tiger Mountain acres and attract a Bellevue College campus to Issaquah.

The council OK’d agreements related to the long-running effort to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain and, through a complicated transfer of development rights, open land in the Issaquah Highlands to Bellevue College and homebuilders for construction.

“This is really a historic moment for the city,” Council President John Traeger said before the unanimous decisions.

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Consultant hired to lead food bank director search

October 26, 2010

Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank leaders have decided to search the Pacific Northwest for the next leader of the food pantry.

The nonprofit organization has hired the recruiter behind the successful search for a city administrator to conduct the effort. Headhunter Greg Prothman has plans to recruit candidates throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The job opening is also posted online, so the search could attract candidates from beyond the region.

The position requires “someone who is really good with board members, who is really good at understanding the numbers and seeing the picture as well having the passion for helping folks,” he said. “Those are really the key characteristics that came forward.”

The food bank has not had a manager since longtime Executive Director Cherie Meier departed at the end of August — less than a year after a Seattle consultant offered a long list of recommendations meant to improve service.

The report suggested that the executive director role be redefined to focus less on food donations and more on fundraising and community outreach.

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Council approves contract for next city administrator

September 28, 2010

Bob Harrison

City Council members praised Mayor Ava Frisinger’s choice for city administrator and approved the Wyoming, Ohio, city manager for the post last week.

The unanimous council decision Sept. 20 marked the final step to hire Bob Harrison, 42, as Issaquah city administrator, the No. 2 official at City Hall.

Harrison is due to start Oct. 11. He stands to earn a $150,000 base salary, plus benefits. The city also offered him $15,000 if he relocates to the Issaquah School District.

The council signed off on the contract after about three minutes of discussion and a three-month search to hire a replacement for former City Administrator Leon Kos, who retired in April.

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Council approves contract for next city administrator

September 22, 2010

UPDATED — 3:20 p.m. Sept. 22, 2010

City Council members praised Mayor Ava Frisinger’s choice for city administrator and approved the Wyoming, Ohio, city manager for the post Monday night.

The unanimous council decision marked the final step to hire Bob Harrison, 42, as Issaquah city administrator, the No. 2 official at City Hall.

Harrison is due to start Oct. 11. The next administrator stands to earn a $150,000 base salary, plus benefits. The city also offered the administrator $15,000 if he relocates to the Issaquah School District.

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Mayor hires Ohio official as Issaquah city administrator

September 21, 2010

Robert Harrison

The next Issaquah city administrator is a plainspoken Midwesterner and longtime city manager of a Cincinnati suburb.

Robert “Bob” Harrison — the city manager in Wyoming, Ohio, for the past 12 years — has accepted the No. 2 position at Issaquah City Hall and is due to start Oct. 11.

Harrison, 42, emerged as the leading candidate last week during closed-door interviews with community leaders and city department chiefs. Mayor Ava Frisinger announced the appointment Sept. 16.

The mayor offered Harrison the job Sept. 8, the same day as the interviews. Frisinger hailed the hiring as the “perfect match” for the community.

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Mayor hires Ohio official as Issaquah city administrator

September 16, 2010

NEW — 9:55 a.m. Sept. 16, 2010

Robert Harrison

The next Issaquah city administrator is a plainspoken Midwesterner and the longtime city manager of a Cincinnati suburb.

Robert “Bob” Harrison — the city manager in Wyoming, Ohio, for the last 12 years — has accepted the No. 2 position at Issaquah City Hall.

Harrison, 42, emerged as a leading candidate last week during closed-door interviews with community leaders and city department chiefs. Mayor Ava Frisinger announced the appointment Thursday morning, and the appointment heads to the City Council for confirmation Monday.

Harrison is due to start in Issaquah on Oct. 11.

“I am thrilled to appoint Bob as our next administrator,” Frisinger said in a statement. “His dedication to environmental excellence, fiscal stewardship and community involvement — demonstrated by his impressive career in city administration — are a great match for our community.”

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Mayor moves closer to hiring city administrator

September 14, 2010

The field in the search for a city administrator has narrowed, though officials plan to remain tight-lipped about the choice until he accepts the offer.

City staffers, residents and community leaders met and scrutinized the five finalists last week, then offered recommendations to Mayor Ava Frisinger. The administrator serves as the No. 2 official in municipal government.

The finalists included Thurston County Manager Donald Krupp, San Juan County Administrator Pete Rose, Yakima Assistant City Manager David Zabell, Lake Forest Park City Administrator David Cline and Robert Harrison, the city manager in Wyoming, Ohio.

“Any one of these folks have the skills, talents and abilities to do the job,” Bellevue headhunter Greg Prothman said.

The city hired Prothman in late spring after longtime City Administrator Leon Kos retired. The recruiter sent letters to between 800 and 900 municipal officials — or, as Prothman said, every city administrator or manager in comparable-sized cities in the 11 Western states. Prothman also advertised the position online.

Prothman and Frisinger culled the stack of 50 applications to the finalists.

The men gathered at Tibbetts Creek Manor on Sept. 7 to meet city residents and officials, and to answer impromptu questions from Prothman. Frisinger released the names of the finalists the previous day, after a summerlong search.

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