Press Editorial

January 31, 2012

Fire District 10 station bond makes sense

King County Fire District 10 commissioners are asking voters to approve a construction bond for the first time in nearly two decades. It’s a reasonable request that voters should consider.

It’s a bit confusing, since both the city of Issaquah and Fire District 10 are served by Eastside Fire & Rescue, a cooperative of multiple jurisdictions. But only Issaquah residents outside the city limits pay taxes for fire protection to District 10. City property owners are paying for the new fire station near the Issaquah Transit Center.

If you got a ballot in the mail last week, you live in District 10.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Cleanup continues after snowstorm and ice cause havoc

January 24, 2012

State Route 900 remains barricaded at midafternoon Jan. 20 to motorists wanting to go southbound past Northwest Talus Drive, a day after a downed tree blocked access to the urban village. By Greg Farrar

In the days after a snowstorm pummeled the region, blackout chased whiteout, as residents uneasy about thorny commutes and missed meetings instead confronted sinking temperatures and toppling trees — all sans electricity.

The major snowstorm dropped 3 to 6 inches across the Issaquah area Jan. 18, but the struggle started the next day, as a rare ice storm led to widespread power outages and caused trees to send ice- and snow-laden branches earthward.

The harsh conditions tested road crews, prompted spinouts and fender benders around the region, and led officials to cancel school for almost a week.

“It was like a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 punch,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said Jan. 23, as cleanup efforts continued. “For awhile there, I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Voters to decide fire station replacement

January 24, 2012

Many Issaquah-area residents should receive ballots in the days ahead as Fire District 10 asks voters to approve a bond for a replacement fire station meant to improve response times.

By Dona Mokin

Officials said a fire station built in May Valley could improve response times for rural residents and alleviate the workload for Fire Station 71 along East Sunset Way in downtown Issaquah — a station responsible for serving many neighborhoods inside city limits.

In a measure put before voters in a Feb. 14 special election, the district is asking voters to approve a $5.5 million bond to fund a rebuilt Station 78 and improvements to other fire stations throughout the sprawling district. The price tag for the rebuilt station alone is expected to reach $4.5 million.

Ballots should start to reach residents in unincorporated King County near Issaquah after Jan. 25.

Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County. The district encompasses about 130 square miles and about 28,000 people.

Officials plan to use bond dollars to relocate crews from Fire Station 78 from 16135 S.E. 113th Place near Renton to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

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.

Bookmark and Share

Downed trees prompt state Route 900, Southeast 56th Street road closures

January 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Downed trees and power lines prompted road closures on state Route 900 in Issaquah and rural King County early Thursday morning.

Crews responded a downed tree and power lines before 7:50 a.m. between Northwest Talus Drive and the southern city limits. The stretch between the access road to the Talus urban village and the city line remains closed as Puget Sound Energy crews tend to the downed tree.

Outside city limits, in rural King County, the state Department of Transportation said state Route 900 is closed at Southeast May Valley Road due to a downed tree.

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

The closures came as ice weighted down trees and power lines, contributing to road closures and power outages throughout the region.

PSE reported more than 12,000 customers in the Issaquah area without power at 9:55 a.m.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Voters asked to approve $5.5 million to build fire station

December 20, 2011

Officials said building a fire station in May Valley could improve response times for residents in the Issaquah area.

The issue is due to go before Fire District 10 voters early next year.

Officials plan to ask district voters to approve a $5.5 million bond in a Feb. 14 special election. Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area.

Officials plan to use bond dollars to relocate crews from Fire Station 78 from 16135 S.E. 113th Place just outside Renton city limits to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast. Such a move is meant to shift a fire station about three miles east, deeper into the district.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Proposed 2012 King County budget touts savings

October 18, 2011

Residents call for human services support at local budget hearing

As the King County Council begins to listen to hours of public testimony at a series of budget hearings, one overall theme became clear at its Oct. 13 session — support human services now, before it’s too late.

Kathy Lambert

Derek Franklin, a Sammamish resident and representative of the Alliance of Eastside Agencies, said the county must begin to formulate a dedicated and stable long-term funding source for human services, such as those aimed at protecting residents from homelessness, domestic violence and inadequate legal counsel.

“Although sometimes obscured by the high socioeconomic status of the Eastside, human service needs here are quite high,” he said during a public hearing at Pacific Cascade Middle School near Issaquah. “We urge the budget committee to establish a long-term fix for the human services safety net. It’s been significantly dismantled over the years by budget cuts, and people … are beginning to fall through the cracks.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine’s 2012 budget proposal earned praise from County Council members for eschewing cuts to services in the general fund — elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. The overall budget proposal is $5.3 billion, including $648 million in the general fund.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Off the Press

September 27, 2011

It can’t happen here; yes, it can

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen here,” people always say when some tragedy, especially one involving violence, occurs in a community.

I heard the phrase again and again Sept. 24, because that kind of thing doesn’t happen in Issaquah either. Until it did.

I was shopping in Maple Valley when a friend called to tell me there was a gunman on the loose in Issaquah and she couldn’t get into town because of all of the police officers blocking the streets.

Despite the fact that her voice was crystal clear, I immediately said, “What? Can you say that again?”

Same thing — gunman, downtown Issaquah, cops everywhere with guns drawn, helicopter flying overhead. She then asked if I was OK. (I live downtown.) I felt stunned for a moment. Were my pets OK at home? Could I even get there? Did I want to go there? How would I know if the gunman was inside the house or hiding on the property?

Read more

Bookmark and Share

AT&T proposes adding equipment to cell tower

September 20, 2011

King County is considering a proposal from AT&T to add antennae and equipment to the existing cell tower at 10200 Renton-Issaquah Road Southeast, about a mile northeast of the intersection of the street and Southeast May Valley Road.

AT&T applied to the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services to add two antennae, six remote radio heads, three lines of cable and a surge arrestor to the tower.

The agency is in the process of determining if the proposal meets county code.

Residents can send comments about the proposal to DDES — Building and Fire Services Division, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton, WA 98057-5212. The public comment period ends Oct. 3.

Citizens can also review the application at the Renton office.

Bookmark and Share

County’s proposed road plan calls for limited service on local streets

September 13, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 13, 2011

Some streets in rural and unincorporated areas near Issaquah could receive reduced maintenance and a lower priority for snow removal under a proposal King County leaders unveiled Monday — a plan County Executive Dow Constantine called “triage” for a cash-strapped and deteriorating roads system.

Dow Constantine

Constantine proposed a plan to prioritize road maintenance, snow removal and storm response on a tiered system.

Important arteries — such as Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, Preston-Fall City Road Southeast, Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road and sections of Southeast May Valley Road east of state Route 900 — remain top priorities for maintenance, snow removal and storm cleanup under the proposal.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

« Previous PageNext Page »