Logging company files new application for Squak Mountain

April 5, 2013

NEW — at 1:59 p.m., April 5 2012

Erickson Logging Inc. turned in a new application to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, seeking logging rights to Squak Mountain on April 2, not two weeks after the removal of their first.

The revised forest practices application differentiates itself from the former in several key areas. The most notable change is the halving of projected harvest acreage, from 195 acres of the parcel’s available 216 to 95 acres. It also stipulates that the steep gradient of the land will necessitate extra equipment, something the previous application failed to list. In addition, the proposed road construction needed was greatly reduced, from 3,800 to 1,900 feet.

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Clear-cut looms between Squak, Cougar mountains

March 5, 2013

By Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times Helen Farrington worries about flooding on May Creek (seen at left), which runs past her backyard.

By Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times
Helen Farrington worries about flooding on May Creek (seen at left), which runs past her backyard.

More than two decades after battles over logging in spotted-owl habitat began to die down, plans to clear-cut trees next to a county park near Issaquah have ignited a new controversy.

As with most anything having to do with real estate, it boils down to location, location, location.

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Squak Mountain logging plan concerns neighbors

February 12, 2013

Proposal could lead to clear cut timber operation

High on Squak Mountain, pink plastic strips tied to trees mark 216 acres of forest as a timber harvest area.

Downhill, 15-year resident Helen Farrington is concerned about how a plan to clear cut the forest above could impact a fork of May Creek.

In September, after a long permitting process and almost $100,000 out of pocket, the Farringtons replaced a crumbling culvert with a passage easier for fish to cross.

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Squak Mountain timber plan concerns conservationists, neighbors

February 8, 2013

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Feb. 8, 2013

High on Squak Mountain, pink plastic strips tied to trees mark 216 acres of forest as a timber harvest area.

Since a timber company purchased the forest and started the process to permit logging on the site, conservationists and nearby residents mobilized to fight the proposal to clear cut the land. The logging opponents said cutting trees on the land could lead to more flooding downhill, damage sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, and add a timber harvest site near conservation lands.

The proposal from Eatonville-based Erickson Logging to harvest timber on 216 acres on the mountainside above Renton-Issaquah Road Southeast galvanized residents on Squak Mountain and near May Creek, a destination for runoff from the mountain.

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Joe Forkner enters race for Issaquah mayor

February 5, 2013

Less than a week after rejoining the City Council, longtime community leader and seasoned Councilman Joe Forkner entered the race for mayor Feb. 4.

Joe Forkner

Joe Forkner

The announcement set up a contest between Forkner and a colleague, Council President Fred Butler. The councilmen hope to lead the city once Mayor Ava Frisinger steps down in January 2014 after 16 years in the top job at City Hall.

Forkner, 59, worked for the city in the past and served on the council in recent stints — from 2000 to 2005, and to fill a vacancy from September 2006 to late 2007. The latest appointment, a 10-month stint approved Jan. 29 in a 4-2 decision, caps a busy period after Forkner led the citizen panel responsible for outlining redevelopment in the business district.

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Joe Forkner launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

February 4, 2013

NEW — 3 p.m. Feb. 4, 2013

Less than a week after rejoining the City Council, longtime community leader and seasoned Councilman Joe Forkner entered the race for mayor Monday.

Joe Forkner

Joe Forkner

The announcement set up a contest between Forkner and a colleague, Council President Fred Butler. The councilmen hope to lead the city once Mayor Ava Frisinger steps down in January 2014 after 16 years in the top job at City Hall.

Forkner, 59, worked for the city in the past and served on the council in recent stints — from 2000 to 2005, and to fill a vacancy from September 2006 to late 2007. The latest appointment, a 10-month stint approved Jan. 29 in a 4-2 decision, caps a busy period after Forkner led the citizen panel responsible for outlining redevelopment in the business district.

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City Council appoints Joe Forkner to open seat

January 29, 2013

NEW — 6:20 p.m. Jan. 29, 2013

Joe Forkner returned to the City Council on Tuesday after a divided council appointed the former councilman, onetime city employee and longtime community leader to a vacant seat.

The council appointed a successor to former Councilman Mark Mullet after about 15 minutes of discussion.

Members nominated Forkner and longtime Development Commission member Mary Lou Pauly for the post. The council chose Forkner in a 4-2 decision.

The seat opened Jan. 8 after Mullet departed to serve in Olympia. The entrepreneur and former banking executive defeated Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft to represent the 5th Legislative District in the state Senate.

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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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City Council applicants offer varied skills

January 22, 2013

Members to appoint candidate Jan. 29

The applicants for a rare open seat on the City Council include long-established community leaders — and some candidates from the last time the council accepted applications to fill a vacancy.

The seven candidates offer assorted skills in community, government and military service in the process to succeed Mark Mullet on the council.

Initially, Ken Sessler, a retired Boeing engineer and a prolific letter writer to The Issaquah Press, applied for the vacancy, but withdrew not long after the city released the applicant list.

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Poll: Northwesterners divided on belief in Sasquatch

January 22, 2013

Many Northwesterners believe Sasquatch is more than a myth, according to the latest PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll.

By the numbers

PEMCO Insurance surveyed Washington and Oregon residents about routine driving habits, and also asked respondents whether they believe Sasquatch exists.

Do you believe it is possible that Sasquatch exists?

Washington

April 2012

  • Yes: 36 percent
  • No: 44 percent
  • Don’t know: 20 percent

King County

April 2012

  • Yes: 31 percent
  • No: 52 percent
  • Don’t know: 17 percent

Do you know of anybody who has ever seen Sasquatch?

Washington

April 2012

  • Yes: 14 percent
  • No: 77 percent
  • Don’t know: 9 percent

King County

April 2012

  • Yes: 8 percent
  • No: 84 percent
  • Don’t know: 8 percent

Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance surveyed Northwest residents about the hairy hominid and found 33 percent believe Sasquatch possibly exists, and about one in 10 respondents claimed to have actually seen Sasquatch or know somebody who did.

Oregon residents seemed less convinced, though, than Washington counterparts. Overall, more than half of Portlanders — 55 percent — doubt the creature exists. Still, more than a quarter of respondents polled in Portland — 28 percent — embrace the possibility of Sasquatch.

Washingtonians continue to believe. The poll first asked Washingtonians about Sasquatch in 2009, and more than one-third of respondents maintain the view of Sasquatch as real.

The respondents included 159 people in King County. The sample size for Issaquah is too small to offer much data.

“People might wonder, ‘Why is an insurance company even bothering with something so silly?’ Is PEMCO pondering Sasquatch-protection coverage? No. Does it matter to our business if they exist? No. Is it a fun and whimsical topic for a survey? Absolutely! Especially here in the quirky Northwest where, Sasquatch is part of our culture,” PEMCO spokesman Jon Osterberg said.

PEMCO Insurance commissioned the independent survey to ask Washington drivers several questions about driving habits and attitudes about current Northwest issues. The sample size included 629 respondents in Washington and 400 respondents in the Portland, Ore., metro area.

Believers have reported Sasquatch sightings near Issaquah and in East King County.

In 1982, a father and son out for a hike on Squak Mountain ran into a giant, muscular creature and then fled, a user recounted to the Bigfoot Encounters website.

A sighting at Rattlesnake Lake occurred in August 2000, a supposed eyewitness recounted to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. The creature stood more than 7 feet tall, moved in a manner similar to a human and sported dark fur.

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