Issaquah City Council sets ambitious goals for 2012

June 14, 2011

Top priorities include downtown parking, Economic Vitality Commission

NEW — 8 a.m. June 14, 2011

Less than a month after gathering to brainstorm ideas for the coming year, City Council members set ambitious goals for 2012, including possible solutions for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park, a more citizen-friendly budgeting process and a commission to address economic vitality.

The council OK’d the list June 6, and sent Mayor Ava Frisinger priorities for the months ahead. The decision represents the initial step in the process to shape the 2012 municipal budget. The unanimous decision came after council members met for a rare Saturday meeting May 14 to outline goals.

“In my view, these are a balanced set of goals that cover just about every aspect of city government,” Councilman Fred Butler said during the June 6 meeting. “There’s something in there for everyone.”

The list calls for the city to join with the DownTown Issaquah Association and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to determine options for a structured parking study. Issues related to downtown parking — a headache during ArtWalk, Fenders on Front Street and other summertime events — emerged as the top priority at the retreat.

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John Traeger decides against another City Council term

May 3, 2011

Candidate Paul Winterstein enters race for seat

Paul Winterstein

The race for another City Council seat launched last week, as John Traeger opted not to run for re-election and Human Services Commission Chairman Paul Winterstein announced plans to campaign for the seat.

Traeger, elevated to the council in 2007, decided to step down after a single term. Since early 2010, the Squak Mountain resident has served as council president, the top spot on the board.

“With my term on council such a personally rewarding experience, it was a difficult decision to return to private life,” he said in a statement released April 28.

Traeger, a technology consultant, said he intends to make his career a top priority after his term ends Dec. 31.

“While after my term I will be turning more of my focus to my professional responsibilities, I look forward to continuing to be involved in serving the citizens of our community,” he said.

The council president also endorsed Winterstein in the race for the Position 6 seat.

“Through his work as chair of the city’s Human Services Commission, advocacy for transportation options, and continuous outreach to and volunteering with local aid groups, Paul has been a tireless contributor to our community,” Traeger said. “I am grateful to my supporters and especially my wife Annette for helping me with a successful term.”

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In council election shakeup, John Traeger is out, Paul Winterstein is in

April 29, 2011

NEW — 7:45 a.m. April 29, 2011

The race for another City Council seat launched Thursday night, as John Traeger opted not to run for re-election and Human Services Commission Chairman Paul Winterstein announced plans to campaign for the seat.

Paul Winterstein

Traeger, elevated to the council in 2007, decided to step down after a single term. Since early 2010, the Squak Mountain resident has served as council president, the top spot on the board.

“With my term on council such a personally rewarding experience, it was a difficult decision to return to private life,” he said in a statement released Thursday night.

The council president also endorsed Winterstein in the race for the Position 6 seat.

“Through his work as chair of the city’s Human Services Commission, advocacy for transportation options, and continuous outreach to and volunteering with local aid groups, Paul has been a tireless contributor to our community,” Traeger said.

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Conditions delay opening for Tiger Mountain biking trails

April 13, 2011

NEW — 6:30 p.m. April 13, 2011

For mountain bikers planning to hit Tiger Mountain trails Friday, the wait for springtime continues.

The state Department of Natural Resources aims to open mountain biking on the mountain April 15 each year, but the agency monitors the weather to determine opening day. The rain-soaked trails remain soggy, forecasts include more rain and the possibility of snow lingers, too.

The earliest the state can open the trails is April 22.

The state posts closure information throughout the year. Tiger Mountain near Issaquah is a popular destination for outdoor recreation enthusiasts year-round.

“It’s important to give the trails a chance to dry out before they get the high volume of use that comes with opening day,” Sam Jarrett, recreation manager for the agency’s Snoqualmie unit, said in a release.

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Legislators consider $30 fee for public lands, state parks

April 5, 2011

Proposed Discover Pass could stave off closures

Hikers, mountain bikers and other outdoors enthusiasts using Issaquah as a starting point for treks could face a $30 fee to use public lands and state parks come July.

Lawmakers proposed the statewide fee in order to inject funds into the cash-strapped agencies managing public forests, open spaces and recreation facilities. The legislation aims to create a yearlong pass, called the Discover Pass, to park at trailheads and other state-managed lands. For users uninterested in the annual parking pass, the legislation proposes a $10 day-use fee for using the lands. Otherwise, violators could face a ticket.

By Dona Mokin

Though the Discover Pass proposal attracted broad support from outdoor recreation groups, Issaquah legislators remain concerned about the state imposing fees amid a tough economy.

If the Legislature decides against a recreation fee, agencies could close state lands to public access in order to cut costs. Squak Mountain State Park near Issaquah faces closure from July through 2013 as legislators scramble to patch a $5.1 billion hole in the 2011-13 budget.

David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former Issaquah councilman, said the Discover Pass could offer a short-term solution.

“I think some of the fees that they’re talking about are reasonable, at least for a while, until things improve,” he said. “I really don’t think that we want to get into that situation long term.”

Supporters said the per-vehicle pass could be easier to enforce, because officers can check parking areas for vehicle windshields displaying a Discover Pass, rather than tracking down users on trails.

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Off the Press

March 1, 2011

Issaquah attractions are worthy of bucket list

I’ve worked here at The Issaquah Press for over a decade now, covering different aspects of one of the state’s fastest growing towns.

David Hayes Press Reporter

I’ve patrolled the schools beat, sat in on City Council meetings when the city reporter was out of town, and roamed the sidelines at sporting events when Bob Taylor, our sports editor, couldn’t be everywhere at once.

Seeing so many sides of Issaquah, it has really grown on me over the years. How could it not, with so much to do and see, and with such interesting people waiting to tell their tale?

And that’s the problem. As I move further into my second decade covering Issaquah, I’ve realized there is still so much I haven’t done.

As “bucket lists” — where you make up a list of things to do before you die — have become all the rage, consider this my list of righting all the missed opportunities I’ve incurred since living and working in Issaquah.

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City kicks off effort to make Issaquah a mountain biking destination

October 25, 2010

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Oct. 25, 2010

Earlier in the year, the City Council set a goal to transform Issaquah into a destination for mountain biking.

In order to reach the goal, the city has created the Issaquah Mountain Biking Task Force to study opportunities for mountain bikers inside the city and elsewhere, determine mountain biking needs in the community and track mountain biking projects in other communities.

The group launches a yearlong planning session at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Issaquah Trails House, 110 Bush St., and then meets on the last Monday of every month.

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Highlands meeting to address impacts of preserving Tiger Mountain

July 20, 2010

Bring questions about a landmark proposal to preserve more than 140 forested acres to a July 22 open house hosted by the city and Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The proposal aims to preserve the undeveloped Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and foster additional growth in the highlands.

Stop by Blakely Hall in the highlands to review maps, ask questions about the proposal and offer input.

If city officials and landowners can pull off a proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site on lower Tiger Mountain and 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

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City hosts Park Pointe open house Thursday

July 20, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. July 20, 2010

Bring questions about a landmark proposal to preserve more than 140 forested acres to a Thursday open house hosted by the city and Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The proposal aims to preserve the undeveloped Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and foster additional growth in the highlands.

If city officials and landowners can pull off a proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site on lower Tiger Mountain and 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

Stop by Blakely Hall in the highlands, 2550 N.E. Park Drive, between 6:30-8 p.m. to review maps, ask questions about the proposal and offer input.

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Summer program encourages Issaquah residents to explore the outdoors

July 2, 2010

NEW — 7 a.m. July 2, 2010

Go kayaking on Lake Sammamish, biking at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park or do yoga in a city park as Issaquah businesses encourage resident to get outdoors during July.

Several businesses have partnered to offer Issaquah Outdoors, a monthlong series of outdoor events and classes.

Facilitated by the city, the program brings together bicyclists, kayakers, fly fishing aficionados and other outdoors enthusiasts to explore opportunities for recreation in and near Issaquah. The city announced the program Thursday.

Download the activities schedule as a PDF document here. The group has also launched a Facebook page where members can share experiences and ideas, and post photos of outdoors activities.

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