Issaquah City Council, school board candidates gather at forum

October 18, 2011

Candidates for local and regional offices offered prescriptions for counteracting the ailing economy and educating a 21st-century workforce at a forum Oct. 13.

Candidates for positions on the Issaquah School Board laugh at a joke during a candidate forum Oct. 13 at the King County Library Service Center. By Greg Farrar

Organized by The Issaquah Press and moderated by Publisher Debbie Berto, the forum attracted candidates for City Council, Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle Commission.

The candidates, gathered at the King County Library System headquarters in Issaquah, answered questions in 40-minute sections organized by office.

The forum occurred days before King County Elections mails ballots, and as many voters start to pay attention to the off-year election. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Though the majority of council seats is up for election, only a single seat is contested. In the lone contested race, challenger TJ Filley faces incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer for the Position 4 seat.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other positions.

In a far-reaching discussion about municipal issues — transportation headaches, economic development, ongoing efforts to regulate a medical marijuana operations and more — Filley and Schaer stuck to usual themes from the campaign.

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Issaquah, Port of Seattle candidates answer questions

October 13, 2011

Councilman Fred Butler (right) answers a question as council candidates (from left) TJ Filley, Joshua Schaer, Stacy Goodman and Paul Winterstein listen during a candidate forum Thursday. By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:30 p.m. Oct. 13, 2011

Candidates for local and regional offices offered prescriptions for counteracting the ailing economy and educating a 21st-century workforce at a forum Thursday.

Organized by The Issaquah Press and moderated by Publisher Debbie Berto, the forum attracted candidates for City Council, Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle Commission.

The candidates, gathered at the King County Library System headquarters in Issaquah, answered questions in 40-minute sections organized by race.

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‘Deathly Hallows’ casts a spell over local Harry Potter fans

July 19, 2011

“It’s the end of our childhood,” said Rebecca Solem, 18, one of about 50 or so Harry Potter fans lined up outside the Regal Issaquah 9 Theatre on July 14.

Jamie Loudon (left) and Lauren Loudon dressed in 'Harry Potter' garb to await the opening of the final film in the series at midnight July 14 at the Issaquah 9 Theater. By Tom Corrigan

With a fancy hat and a shawl, Solem was one of many who showed up in costume for the occasion, the release of the last film of the “Harry Potter” movie franchise.

Solem’s spot on the sidewalk outside the movie house also was occupied by several other characters from the books and films, most notably Albus Dumbledore complete with wizard robes and long, flowing beard.

At least a few of the costumed crowd had arrived as early as 9 that morning to be among the first to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.”

The movie started playing at 12:01 a.m. July 15.

“We all grew up on ‘Harry Potter,’” Solem continued, by way of explaining her initial comment, with which her six or seven cohorts agreed.

Solem noted the first “Potter” book was the first book she read on her own. Megan Winter, 18, said her father used to read her the first few books. Several others in the crowd quickly shook their heads in agreement, saying one parent or the other had initially hooked them on the tales of the young wizard.

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‘Deathly Hallows’ casts a spell over Issaquah’s Harry Potter fans

July 14, 2011

Jamie (left) and Lauren Loudon dressed in 'Harry Potter' garb to await the opening of the final film in the series at midnight Friday. By Tom Corrigan

NEW — 7 p.m. July 14, 2011

“It’s the end of our childhood,” said Rebecca Solem, 18, one of about 50 or so Harry Potter fans lined up outside the Regal Issaquah Nine Theatre on Thursday.

With a fancy hat and a shawl, Solem was one of many who showed up in costume for the occasion, the release of the last film of the “Harry Potter” movie franchise.

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Port Blakely announces plan to build highlands shopping center

July 12, 2011

A view east toward Ninth Avenue Northeast shows the 14 acres being considered by Florida-based Regency Centers for a 175,000-square-foot shopping center in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The plan to add more stores to the Issaquah Highlands, a subject responsible for much grumbling among neighborhood residents and city leaders, lurched ahead July 5, as highlands developer Port Blakely Communities announced a deal to sell 14 acres for a proposed shopping center.

If the deal is completed, as executives hope, construction could start as early as next year. The announcement also prompted some residents to point to similar — albeit unsuccessful — attempts in the past.

The agreement calls for Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust based in Florida, to purchase about 14 acres of highlands land and build a 175,000-square-foot shopping center along Northeast High Street and Northeast Park Drive — a site once set aside for a stylish retail destination called The High Streets.

Regency Centers also plans to acquire a retail-and-office building along Northeast Park Drive. Caffe Ladro and other businesses occupy the building’s 39,000 square feet.

The companies did not disclose terms of the transaction. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Jacksonville-based Regency Centers owns almost 400 shopping centers from coast to coast, including Pine Lake Village and Sammamish Highlands on the Sammamish Plateau.

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Updated development rules could boost chances for highlands retail

August 24, 2010

Long after slick sales brochures and pitches from real estate agents promised the chance to live, work and play in the Issaquah Highlands, the neighborhood may become more appealing to businesses.

Or maybe not.

Milestone development measures passed by the City Council last week loosened the rules for parking and signage in the highlands — sore spots for potential tenants. Read more

Preservation plan inches ahead, despite outcry from highlands residents

August 17, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 17, 2010

Despite opposition from Issaquah Highlands residents, City Council members decided Monday night to take steps to add more residences to the community and breathe life into the moribund effort to bring businesses to the hillside neighborhood.

City leaders intend to allow up to 550 more residences in the highlands in order to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School. The deal, a complicated transfer of development rights, aims to preserve about 140 forested acres — the Park Pointe land and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

The council OK’d the measures in a unanimous decision after members offered a forceful defense of the plan to preserve Park Pointe.

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Council seeks input on land swap, Issaquah Highlands changes

August 10, 2010

City leaders could allow 550 more residences to be built in the Issaquah Highlands in order to preserve a corner of Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School.

But before the deal can proceed, the City Council must agree to amend the longstanding development agreement between the city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

Bring comments about the proposed change to a public hearing before the council Aug. 16.

The deal, a complicated transfer of development rights, aims to preserve about 140 forested acres — 102 acres at Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

Port Blakely owns 78 acres in unincorporated King County near Central Park. The proposed transfer calls for the developer to preserve 43 acres and allows dense construction on the remaining 35 acres. The city then intends to annex the 35-acre parcel. Read more

Highlands developer hires consultant for commercial growth

June 1, 2010

Grocery store delayed again

Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities has hired a Seattle real-estate consultant to help jumpstart commercial development in the hillside community.

Heartland, the consultant, will help guide Port Blakely in the tough economy, and help the developer in the hunt for a partner to develop a planned town center of businesses and residences along Highlands Drive Northeast.

“Port Blakely hired Heartland to help give them some new strategic direction,” John Shaw, a director at Heartland, told City Council members last week.

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Furniture store relocates, new businesses open

May 11, 2010

Leathers Home Furnishings & Accessories, the longtime Northwest Gilman Boulevard furniture store, will soon relocate to the former Linens-N-Things storefront in Pickering Place.

Owner Mitch Setlow said he plans to open the new Leathers by May 15 and, for the next several weeks, run a closeout sale from both the Pickering Place and Gilman Square locations. Setlow plans to close the original Leathers in June.

“We’re not going, we’re growing,” he said.

The store will depart the 8,000-square-foot Gilman Square location after 14 years for the 37,500-square-foot Linens-N-Things space. Linens-N-Things closed after liquidators shut down the bankrupt chain in late 2008.

Leathers, as the name implies, offers high-end leather furniture. Setlow said the store also plans to offer mattresses and bedroom furniture, dining room pieces and additional accessories in the larger space.

The store planted a red-and-black balloon on the store roof to announce the closure. Expect to see the balloon on the roof at Pickering Place, too, as the relocated Leathers welcomes shoppers.

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