City Council celebrates water district agreement

February 4, 2014

The Issaquah City Council unanimously has backed the deal ending injecting storm water into the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer.

Less than a week after Mayor Fred Butler cemented an agreement between Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, the memorandum of understanding came to the council during its regular meeting Jan. 21. The deal essentially plans to create an agreement for the decommission of the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery, which sent Issaquah Highlands storm water into the aquifer, in exchange for a 10-year Issaquah hiatus on exploring a takeover of district utilities.

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City Council approves pact to transform gravel quarry to urban village

December 25, 2012

The gravel quarry carved into the hillside below the Issaquah Highlands is poised to transform into businesses and homes in the next 30 years, after the City Council approved a landmark development agreement to reshape the area.

The landowner and quarry operator, Issaquah-based Lakeside Industries Inc., proposed the pact last year for about 120 acres on both sides of Highlands Drive Northeast. The council approved the development agreement Dec. 17, despite concerns about building height, traffic congestion and contamination in the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer, a key drinking water source for the city.

“There was a lot of push and pull, a lot of compromise, and I think it’s an agreement that both is good for my family and is also good for the city of Issaquah, and that we will live to see a development on this site that enhances the city,” Lakeside Industries CEO Tim Lee said before the unanimous council decision.

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More kokanee return as community works to restore species

December 4, 2012

Homeowner funds $175,000 culvert project

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon swim Nov. 27 in the restored stretch of Ebright Creek at Wally Pereyra’s property in the 100 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon — a landlocked cousin of sockeye and a species noted for distinctive red coloration — dwindled in recent decades, since before Wally Pereyra moved into a house along Ebright Creek in 1973.

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Council allows Issaquah Highlands gas station despite concerns

October 11, 2011

Opponents raise questions about groundwater contamination

City Council members, eager to attract more retail options to the Issaquah Highlands, decided a gas station can open in the neighborhood, but only if groceries accompany the fill-ups.

The council agreed in a 7-0 decision Oct. 3 to change the agreement between the city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities to allow a gas station in the community. Concerns about possible groundwater contamination led city officials to ban gas stations in the highlands before construction on the neighborhood started in the mid-1990s.

Safeway outlined plans for a gas station to accompany a proposed highlands store, and city officials and gas station proponents said the rule change is a crucial step to attract the grocery chain. The gas station is proposed for a funnel-shaped lot between Ninth Avenue Northeast and Highlands Drive Northeast, next to a future Safeway.

The debate before the council decision exposed a split among highlands residents eager for more amenities in the community, and residents from elsewhere concerned about potential groundwater contamination from gas station leaks.

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Safeway proposes highlands store, council OKs gas station

October 5, 2011

Safeway planners proposed a modern Issaquah Highlands store (above) in a permit application to the city. Contributed

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011

The plan to open a grocery store in the Issaquah Highlands — a still-unmet target from early goals for the community — reached a milestone Monday, as Safeway submitted a proposal for a store in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, City Council members adjusted longstanding development rules Monday to allow a gas station in the highlands — a critical factor in Safeway’s proposal to build the store.

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City plants trees for Arbor Day, honors top environmentalists

April 26, 2011

Issaquah leaders gathered on a less-than-springlike day April 16 to observe Arbor Day and plant a grove to honor Ruth Kees and the community’s other top environmentalists.

Like the top environmental honor in the city, the grove is named for the late Kees. The bespectacled environmentalist fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer from development-related threats.

The grove is set amid hundreds of other saplings in city parkland along Issaquah Creek.

Former Councilman David Kappler plants a tree at the Ruth Kees Grove on April 16. By Margaret Macleod

Former Councilman David Kappler, plus environmentalists, Joanna Buehler, Ken Konigsmark and Janet Wall — all past Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community recipients — participated in the planting. Overall, about 20 people joined Mayor Ava Frisinger and the honorees for the ceremony.

Together, city leaders and residents planted conifers to symbolize the 10 Ruth Kees award recipients on a gray morning at Squak Valley Park North south of downtown Issaquah.

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Join city leaders to plant Ruth Kees Grove

April 12, 2011

Ruth Kees

Help city and state leaders dedicate the Ruth Kees Grove, and commemorate Arbor Day and the 20th anniversary of the state Department of Natural Resource Urban Forestry Program, at Squak Valley Park South.

Join city officials April 16 to plant 10 native conifers to honor the 10 recipients of the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community. The city has invited past recipients to the celebration.

Plans also call for the grove to include a trail, decorative rock features and a small patio or courtyard, featuring recipients’ names engraved on paver stones.

Past recipients received the honor for efforts to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway, blaze trails in the Issaquah Alps and protect Issaquah waterways.

Ruth Kees, a longtime environmental activist, fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer. The award namesake received the inaugural honor in 2003.

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Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental honor

March 21, 2011

NEW — 8 p.m. March 21, 2011

The latest recipient of the top environmental honor in Issaquah acted as a guiding force — in public and behind the scenes — in the long-running effort to shape neighborhoods and preserve undeveloped land.

Leaders elevated Maureen McCarry into the pantheon alongside other important conservation activists, and bestowed the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community on the former councilwoman at a City Hall ceremony Monday night.

Mayor Ava Frisinger cited the countless hours McCarry contributed to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe near Issaquah High School and strengthen tree-protection rules.

The mayor and Council President John Traeger selected McCarry for the honor after receiving numerous nominations for the former councilwoman, a Squak Mountain resident.

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Nominate environmentalists for Ruth Kees award

January 25, 2011

Nominate environmentalists for the top city eco-honor — the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.

The annual award recognizes people for a record of outstanding commitment to natural resource preservation. Kees, a teacher, mentor and role model, advocated open space preservation and environmental protection.

The application is available on the municipal website. Submit nominations until 5 p.m. Feb. 25.

Then, a committee reviews nominees and recommends a group of finalists to Mayor Ava Frisinger and City Council President John Traeger for selection.

The award is usually presented at a spring or summer council meeting.

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Nominate Issaquah environmentalists for top ‘green’ honor

January 21, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 21, 2011

Nominate environmentalists for the top city eco-honor — the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.

The annual award recognizes people for a record of outstanding commitment to natural resource preservation. Kees, a teacher, mentor and role model, advocated open space preservation and environmental protection.

The city put out a call for applications Friday. Submit nominations until 5 p.m. Feb. 25.

Then, a committee reviews nominees and recommends a group of finalists to Mayor Ava Frisinger and City Council President John Traeger for selection.

The award is usually presented at a spring or summer council meeting.

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