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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City preserves Tiger Mountain forest in historic milestone

March 29, 2011

Park Pointe protection occurs after years long effort to stop proposed construction

By Dona Mokin

The long-running saga to preserve Park Pointe — a slice of Tiger Mountain forest near Issaquah High School — ended late March 24, after more than a decade of public and behind-the-scenes negotiations to halt construction of hundreds of houses once proposed for the land.

The tradeoff: Under the agreement, city leaders steered construction from Park Pointe to the Issaquah Highlands instead, and, as a result, preserved more than 140 acres in the process.

“I think that this will transform the community in a very, very positive way,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said, minutes after the deal closed. “It has the three elements of sustainability. It has the environment — the environmental protection and preservation. It has a huge social element. It has economic vitality benefits as well.”

The historic conservation effort is part of a complicated transfer of development rights.

City planners and officials shepherded the agreement through the arduous process after Frisinger outlined the landmark opportunity to preserve Park Pointe in late 2008.

In the years since, representatives from the city, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities and other partners pursued the project until the recession scuttled the developer behind the proposed Park Pointe development.

Since a Seattle bank foreclosed on the land from the defunct developer last March, the preservation effort lurched into gear. Issaquah and King County officials adopted a series of agreements late last year to advance the process.

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Off the Press

March 29, 2011

Council vote was almost a time warp

Greg Farrar Press Photographer

As the Issaquah City Council’s first vote to fill its vacancy ended in a 3-3 tie, my life suddenly began flashing before my eyes.

And all I could think after the second ballot was, “Thank you, Joshua Schaer!”

If it hadn’t been for his wisdom and flexibility, I might’ve relived one of the craziest news stories of my life, the headline being, and I’m not making this up, “56 ballots to a council deadlock” in the Edmonds Enterprise in January 1984.

That was during my first full-time newspaper job just out of college, and not only was I doing the photography, but on that small staff one of my writing beats was Edmonds city government.

Here are hypothetical questions for you: What if the Southeast Bypass was still the major policy issue dividing Issaquah’s City Council? What if Maureen McCarry’s retirement had left the council in two evenly split coalitions?

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Issaquah preserves Tiger Mountain forest in historic milestone

March 24, 2011

Park Pointe protection occurs after yearslong effort to stop proposed construction

NEW — 6:45 p.m. March 24, 2011

The long-running saga to preserve Park Pointe — a slice of Tiger Mountain forest near Issaquah High School — ended Thursday afternoon, after more than a decade of public and behind-the-scenes negotiations to halt construction on hundreds of houses proposed for the land.

The historic conservation effort is part of a complicated transfer of development rights. Under the agreement, city leaders steered construction from Park Pointe to the Issaquah Highlands instead, and, as a result, preserved more than 140 acres in the process.

City planners and officials shepherded the transfer-of-development-rights agreement through the arduous process after Mayor Ava Frisinger outlined the landmark opportunity to preserve Park Pointe in late 2008.

In the years since, city leaders and other partners continued to pursue the project until the recession scuttled the developer pushing for the project.

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Newport Way improvement plan includes roundabouts

January 11, 2011

City to redo stretch near Issaquah Valley Elementary

Roundabouts could someday punctuate Newport Way Northwest under a plan the City Council adopted last week to upgrade the bustling corridor in the years ahead.

In a lopsided decision Jan. 3, the council agreed to pursue a plan to add roundabouts at the Northwest Juniper Street, Northwest Holly Street and Northwest Dogwood Street intersections. Planners also recommend extending another southbound lane to the corridor from West Sunset Way to Maple Street Northwest. The plan is designed to address projected congestion on the street in the coming decades. Read more

East Sunset Way interchange construction concludes

October 26, 2010

Contractor steered clear of planned road closures

The completed East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 features wider lanes, road shoulders, curbs and a sidewalk. Photo by Greg Farrar

The state project to remake the cramped East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 has been completed on time and under budget to the delight of drivers and transportation officials.

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Dual road projects snarl East Sunset Way

August 17, 2010

Flaggers help drivers navigate the East Sunset Way construction site as state crews widen the temporary, two-lane approach to the Interstate 90 interchange. By Greg Farrar

Drivers must steer through a construction gauntlet along East Sunset Way during the weeks ahead, as separate projects add space to the cramped street.

Construction crews in safety orange and heavy equipment line the road from Interstate 90 to Second Avenue to complete state and Issaquah School District plans.

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Press Editorial

August 17, 2010

Look beyond Issaquah for traffic solutions

Issaquah has waited a long time for definitive transportation improvements. At last, a few are coming.

In the past decade, Issaquah got an Intelligent Transportation System that allowed traffic lights to be synchronized and reader boards to advise drivers of traffic revisions. Two years ago, the great debate over whether to build a southeast connector road from Interstate 90’s Exit 18 at East Sunset Way to Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast was decided.

This summer, two big changes born of that decision will provide real improvements.

Sunset Way at Second Avenue will be widened to allow for a turn lane. Second Avenue Southeast will also get a right-hand turn lane onto Sunset. The changes should significantly improve traffic flow through the intersection, especially in the afternoon, when schools release students for the day. Read more

Work starts on East Sunset Way interchange next month

May 25, 2010

State Department of Transportation officials last month awarded a $1.3 million contract to a Bellevue contractor to widen and upgrade the cramped East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90.

Construction on the project should start next month and wrap by fall. Crews will widen the narrow roadway from a single lane in each direction and remove concrete barriers alongside the lanes. The temporary support wall near the roadway will be replaced. Workers will also reconfigure storm water retention ponds down the hill from the roadway.

DOT officials picked Tri-State Construction to complete the long-planned project. The department budgeted $3.5 million for the project, but bids arrived far below estimates.

Most of the work will take place off of the roadway, but the project could require up to 60 nighttime lane closures.

Crews completed most of the interchange in 2003, but left the East Sunset Way stretch undone in order to connect to the planned Southeast Bypass. City Council members canceled the proposed 1.1-mile roadway across Tiger Mountain in 2008, after 12 years of planning and $4 million.

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