To the Editor

September 30, 2014

Jason Ritchie

Stop the negative campaigning and distortions

I am writing to call on Congressman Dave Reichert’s liberal opponent Jason Ritchie to stop the smear tactics. Following his campaign thus far, Ritchie has towed the party line and done little to differentiate himself from the partisan politicians in D.C. who are exactly what the American people are tired of.

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Fond farewell

January 14, 2014

Ava Frisinger reflects on her 16 years as mayor

These days, Ava Frisinger, when not volunteering her time on various councils and boards, is spending a lot of catch-up time with her grandchildren. She won’t say which role is harder, being Issaquah’s longest-serving mayor or that of grandmother.

By Greg Farrar New Mayor Fred Butler (left) presents Ava Frisinger with a gift from city employees as her husband Bill Frisinger looks on.

By Greg Farrar
New Mayor Fred Butler (left) presents Ava Frisinger with a gift from city employees as her husband Bill Frisinger looks on.

“But being a grandmother is a very satisfying job, rewarding as well,” Frisinger said. “It’s neat to watch kids grow, encourage them to do what it is that they want to do.”

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Fred Butler enters race for Issaquah mayor

January 22, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Jan. 17.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and, late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

“We are in the process of evolving from a small town to a small city, moving from suburban to urban,” he said in a Jan 17 interview. “Because I’ve been involved in a lot of the planning and the development of the urban villages and the Central Issaquah Plan, I believe I’m in a pretty good position to help implement the direction that we are going in.”

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Fred Butler launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 17, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Thursday.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, and late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

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Off the Press

July 24, 2012

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

There are many measures that can be used to determine a life well lived. How many buildings are named in one’s honor, how much airtime on television is given to broadcasting a memorial service, the total lifetime amount of one’s charitable giving and others.

One measurement in particular is hard to define, because it requires generations of observation not capable in one lifetime. But let me propose a question. How might Issaquah have looked two or three generations from now if Maureen McCarry had not voted against the Southeast Bypass, and had not chaired the planning and growth committee that secured the Park Pointe agreement?

With a little imagination, picture a future 60 years out, with a four-lane bypass and highway to state Route 18, and the big residential development on Tiger Mountain above Issaquah High School.

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120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.

1892

  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.

1893

  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.

1895

  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.

1899

  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.

1900

  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.

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Group urges residents to open ‘Eyes on Issaquah’

March 13, 2012

The black-and-red signs started to appear on Issaquah street corners and road medians just as city leaders prepared to delve into a long-term blueprint for growth.

Ava Frisinger

In bold letters, the signs asks passers-by, “Re-development at what cost?” and directs onlookers to a website for more information.

The campaign, called Eyes on Issaquah, is the latest effort to encourage citizen oversight as the Central Issaquah Plan advances from proposal to policy.

The organization behind the eyes is the Issaquah Environmental Council, a watchdog group, and the face behind the organization is leader Connie Marsh, a longtime citizen activist and former City Council candidate.

“It seemed important enough to try to get as many eyes as possible on it, so it would be the people’s plan, too, and not just something laid upon them by their government,” she said.

The campaign urges residents to learn more about the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to remake more than 900 acres in the business district along Interstate 90 in the decades ahead.

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Businesses earn reprieve from city fee until March 2013

February 21, 2012

City leaders offered entrepreneurs a reprieve from a fee for another year, as officials attempt to entice businesses to relocate to or remain in Issaquah.

In a unanimous decision, City Council members agreed to exempt businesses from paying the transportation impact fee until March 2013. The exemption applies to the initial 10,000 square feet of floor area per project.

The council action continues a project initiated in 2009 to roll back the transportation impact fee and encourage entrepreneurs to consider Issaquah. In 2009, officials earmarked $1.58 million — money left over from the canceled Southeast Bypass — to offset the fee. City planners said $976,589 remains available for businesses.

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City Council bids farewell to outgoing member John Traeger

January 17, 2012

In a dignified sendoff Dec. 19, City Council members bid farewell to Council President John Traeger.

John Traeger

Traeger decided in late April to step down after a single term as a councilman after leading the council through a busy period.

Other council members elected the technology consultant and Squak Mountain resident to lead the board for 2010 and again for 2011. Under Traeger, council members preserved the forested Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School, hired City Administrator Bob Harrison and embarked on a landmark reorganization of city government.

In addition, the council president runs semimonthly council meetings and monthly Committee-of-the-Whole Council meetings, handles committee assignments and represents the city if Mayor Ava Frisinger is absent.

“I will miss Councilmember Traeger’s presence on the council and his thorough research and good, solid work as a council member,” Frisinger said at the last council meeting Traeger attended as a member.

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Longtime city public works director retires

November 8, 2011

Bob Brock is not a household name in Issaquah, but projects the former Public Works Engineering director oversaw reshaped the landscape — bridges across Issaquah Creek designed to ease flooding and road projects meant to alleviate traffic congestion.

Brock, 64, retired as the top engineering official in the city Nov. 4 after a lifetime spent in public works roles in California, Wyoming and, for the past dozen years, in Issaquah.

“I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. It’s never been my forte to be up there in a suit and tie and everything and being in the foreground,” he said in pre-retirement interview. “I personally like to let my very capable staff get the exposure, No. 1, and the experience to share. It’s them that makes me successful.”

Since joining the city staff in May 1999, Brock supervised road and other infrastructure projects as the city added 19,000 residents through annexations and a home-building boom. Controversy also defined the area, as activists, leaders and residents debated the Southeast Bypass, a proposed road along Tiger Mountain designed to reduce downtown traffic headaches.

Brock led 30 or so Public Works Engineering Department employees from a corner office in City Hall Northwest. The space overlooks a recent city project, a pedestrian connector across Interstate 90 at state Route 900.

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