County permitting agency waives fees for damage inspections

January 23, 2012

NEW — 8:15 p.m. Jan. 23, 2012

Unincorporated King County residents facing damage from recent snow and ice storms can receive building inspections compliments of the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services.

The agency waived the associated fee to help homeowners speed up repairs. The county permitting agency is also giving priority service to damaged structures in need of permits for repair work.

Inspectors evaluate the integrity of structures, assess whether a structure is safe to occupy and decide whether a permit is required for repair work.

Inspectors may also advise customers of the need to pursue a more detailed inspection from a licensed structural engineer to determine the extent of the damage.

Though the fee for inspections is waived, standard permit fees still apply. Permits may be required before performing certain nonbuilding-related repairs, such as hazardous tree removal, if trees sit in environmentally critical areas. But permits can be issued retroactively if a tree poses imminent danger to people or property.

Call 206-296-6630 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to request a damage inspection.

Permits can be issued over the counter at the Department of Development and Environmental Services office, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton, for minor repairs.

Contact Bernard Moore, building inspection supervisor, at 206-296-6762, or bernard.moore@kingcounty.gov; or Chris Ricketts, building official, at 206-296-6750, or chris.ricketts@kingcounty.gov, to learn more.

Some Issaquah customers face wait for power restoration

January 22, 2012

NEW — 12:40 p.m. Jan. 22, 2012

Some Puget Sound Energy customers in the Issaquah area could remain without power until late Wednesday evening, as utility crews continue the arduous cleanup from crippling winter storms last week.

Customers in Issaquah and unincorporated King County communities — Hobart and Preston — face the longest waits for restoration, late Wednesday evening.

Power is expected to be restored in Mirrormont on Tiger Mountain by early Monday evening.

In a proposed restoration timeline released Saturday evening, Bellevue-based PSE said communities in forested or remote areas face the longest waits.

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Issaquah Community Center shelter is open for another night

January 21, 2012

UPDATED — 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2012

The 24-hour shelter at the Issaquah Community Center is open for another night Saturday, as power returns to many customers and the need decreases.

The shelter, 301 Rainier Blvd. S., hosted 24 people overnight Friday, as power remained out for many residents in the Issaquah area. Many other people stopped in throughout the day for snacks and warmth.

The shelter is scheduled to close Sunday, American Red Cross officials announced Saturday night.

Meanwhile, city crews and residents continued recovery efforts. Only a section of a Squak Mountain street — Southwest Ellerwood Street — remained closed Saturday afternoon, after crews toiled Friday to clear downed trees from roadways.

Community Emergency Response Teams also fanned out across the city to distribute leaflets about the community center shelter, a joint effort between the city and the American Red Cross.

People intending to spend the night at the shelter should bring prescription and emergency medications; extra clothing, pillows, blankets, toiletries and other comfort items; and important documents.

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State highways near Issaquah reopen after crew clear downed trees

January 21, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2012

The slushy sections of state highway near Issaquah left closed after a snowstorm and subsequent ice storm reopened to traffic, state Department of Transportation officials announced Saturday.

State Route 18 from Interstate 90 to Auburn — closed after hundreds of downed trees littered the roadway — reopened at 2 p.m. Saturday. State Route 900 at Southeast May Valley Road reopened Friday afternoon.

“Drivers are anxious to have things back to normal and we are working to make that happen,” said Dave McCormick, Department of Transportation regional maintenance manager.

Crews spent the night removing sand, slush, branches and other debris from storm drains. Flooding could result on roadways as temperatures increase and snow melts.

“Hundreds of trees fell,” McCormick said. “It’s the worst we’ve seen in the last several years.”

Power is still a problem for thousands of residents and Department of Transportation traffic engineers. Engineers cannot see cameras or gather in-road sensor data on large sections of major highways in the region. The agency has backup generators in place at the communications hub, but the power to individual systems is still down. The state has no estimate on restoration of the affected systems.

City, Issaquah School District cancel weekend events

January 20, 2012

NEW — 5:05 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

City and Issaquah School District officials canceled weekend events as residents gird for rain and wind after ice and snow caused headaches throughout the week.

The city canceled all basketball games at the Issaquah Community Center for Saturday due to power outages and winter weather. In addition, the community center is open as a 24-hour shelter. The games cannot be made up due to time and facility constraints.

The school district nixed all athletic events for the weekend, including a middle-school wrestling tournament and high school events.

The policy is the same as neighboring districts in the league if school is cancelled on a Friday and athletes have not been able to practice beforehand. In addition, emergency conditions exist throughout western Washington, and officials could not guarantee safety of transportation — or power — in facilities. Athletes can learn make-up dates through their schools.

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State Route 18 near Issaquah remains closed due to downed trees

January 20, 2012

Trees block state Route 18 near Tiger Mountain, a section along a 24-mile closure of the roadway. State Department of Transportation

NEW — 12:15 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

State Route 18 — closed early Thursday as a snowstorm yielded to a crippling ice storm — remains closed Thursday afternoon as crews tend to fallen trees in both directions along the roadway.

The route remains closed from Interstate 90 near Preston to state Route 164, or Auburn Way South — a 24-mile stretch. State Department of Transportation officials said no estimated reopening time is available for the road section.

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In Issaquah, power outage, travel headaches continue for another day

January 20, 2012

Rodney Amburgey, a lineman with City Pacific Services contracted to Puget Sound Energy, works Jan. 20 to secure a broken and dangling utility pole crossbeam at Southeast May Valley Road and 231st Place Southeast. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 6:30 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Though the forecast calls for temperatures to inch upward Friday, effects from a major snowstorm and rare ice storm continue to impact Issaquah residents.

Puget Sound Energy estimated 11,235 customers remained without power in Issaquah at 6:10 a.m. — a drop from the more than 18,000 left in the dark Thursday. Difficult road conditions continue to challenge motorists on city streets and roads in unincorporated King County.

City road crews continue to focus on maintaining priority routes and removing downed trees from the roadway. Numerous roads in Issaquah and nearby areas closed Thursday due to fallen trees and downed power lines.

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King County Metro Transit rolls out snow routes Friday

January 20, 2012

NEW — 6:15 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Expect King County Metro Transit buses to remain chained up and on snow routes Friday.

Officials said transit operating conditions could change throughout the day, and service some routes could be restored as crews clear fallen trees and downed power lines from roads.

Metro Transit plans to operate the same level of service as earlier in the week, with about 30 routes canceled Friday. So, before traveling, riders should check for the most current status of Metro Transit service.

Updates to Metro Transit’s snow website continue as needed until travel conditions improve. Even though weather and road conditions in the morning may not be bad in a particular area, delays and service disruptions can occur in other parts of the county and affect bus service elsewhere. Buses have also been equipped with chains and must travel at slower speeds.

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Issaquah road closures expand due to downed power lines, fallen trees

January 19, 2012

NEW — 7:50 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Trees loaded with snow continue to snap and fall on state highways and local streets across Issaquah and nearby unincorporated areas, causing street closures.

Crews said a coating of ice on trees and power lines is further complicating travel. Motorists should be on the lookout for falling debris as well as ice on roads.

Early Thursday, crews responded a downed tree and power lines on state Route 900 between Northwest Talus Drive and the southern city limits. The stretch between the access road to the Talus urban village and the city line closed early Thursday and remains closed as Puget Sound Energy crews tend to the problem.

Southeast 56th Street from 229th Avenue Southeast to East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast is closed due to downed power lines.

On Squak Mountain, Highwood Drive Southwest near the intersection of Greenwood Boulevard Southwest is closed and Southwest Forest Drive is closed from Wildwood Boulevard Southwest to Wildwood Boulevard Southwest. In addition, the road is closed at 845 S.W. Ellerwood St.

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Issaquah School District cancels classes for Friday

January 19, 2012

NEW — 3:45 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Issaquah School District students receive a bonus — if unexpected winter break — as officials canceled classes for Friday, giving students a complete week off from school.

The district announced the closure just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Officials also canceled classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, due to icy road conditions in the early morning hours and a subsequent snowstorm. (Students did not attend classes Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.)

School closures impact all district-related meetings and activities, including Headstart, school-age care and preschool.

The cancellation also means the finals schedule for high school students is delayed further.

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