In hit-and-run accident, unidentified motorist hits, kills pets in crosswalk

March 20, 2012

Neighbors unite to comfort owner, make area safer

Troy Scholzen mourns March 15 next to the neighborhood memorial to his dogs Yogi and Jake at the crosswalk where they were killed. Below, a memorial to Yogi and Jake on Newport Way Northwest grows. By Greg Farrar

Somewhere is the hit-and-run driver of a vehicle that upended an Issaquah man’s life last week.

The driver killed two service dogs, who were on a leash in a crosswalk with the signal blinking. Their owner barely escaped serious injury.

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Marketing Masters ascends to aerospace stratosphere

March 13, 2012

Manufacturer supplies key components for Boeing, Airbus

Jacques Gauron sets out a pile of Clip Nuts on an aircraft floor panel sample at Marketing Masters in Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

The fasteners connecting pieces in each Boeing and Airbus jetliner — a component left unseen by passengers for the most part — originate at a small Issaquah manufacturer.

The manufacturer, Marketing Masters, creates inserts and fasteners from Torlon — a substance cheaper, lighter and more resistant to corrosion than the titanium used in earlier-generation aircraft fasteners.

The fasteners hold together pieces in the behemoth Airbus A380 — the largest passenger jetliner in service — and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a next-generation plane assembled mostly from composite materials.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders spotlighted Marketing Masters as a business innovator in the Innovation in Issaquah contest late last month.

The chamber also honored Impact Studio Pro and Lakeside Center for Autism as innovators. The carbon-neutral community zHome also received a nod as the most innovative public-private partnership.

Issaquah resident Jacques Gauron, a Liberty High School graduate, and brother Andre operate the global Marketing Masters business from a modest building in Central Issaquah. Burger King obscures the facility from the traffic along bustling state Route 900.

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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.”

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City adjusts traffic signal timing at key intersections

January 24, 2012

The city is updating timing at traffic signals at key intersections in order to adjust the transportation system.

City engineering staffers collected traffic counts and updated weekday and weekend signal-timing plans for the signals along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast and Front Street North from Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 51st Street. The city also updated signal-timing plans for the corridors along state Route 900, Northwest Sammamish Road and Southeast 56th Street.

Plans called for officials to implement the plans last week, and to monitor and adjust the signal-timing plans as needed in the weeks ahead.

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.

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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Motorists encounter fallen trees on local, regional roads

January 19, 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

NEW — 1:15 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

State transportation officials said the ice after a major snowstorm continues to create difficult driving conditions throughout the region.

Department of Transportation planners said frigid temperatures should continue to cause harsh conditions throughout Thursday.

“We had our crews out all night de-icing the roads. We threw everything we had at this storm — sand, de-icer, salt and plows,” Regional Maintenance Manager Dave McCormick said. “It’s so widespread that it’s been very difficult to keep up.”

State Route 900 is closed at Southeast May Valley Road. State Route 18 remains closed from Auburn Way and Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast due to multiple downed trees for several miles. State Route 202 is closed between Fall City and Snoqualmie due to downed trees. The roads should remain closed for several hours.

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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.

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Downed trees snarl morning commutes in Issaquah area

January 19, 2012

NEW — 7:25 a.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Fallen trees caused road closures and traffic headaches early Thursday, as icy conditions caused fresh problems a day after a major snowstorm.

Newport Way Northwest from Northwest Oakcrest Drive to state Route 900 is closed due to a downed tree. State Route 900 from Northwest Talus Drive to the southern city limits is closed due to a downed tree.

Meanwhile, outside Issaquah city limits, state Route 18 is closed in both directions from Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast to Interstate 90 due to multiple fallen trees blocking the lanes.

Puget Sound Energy reported more than 1,200 without power at 7:45 a.m.

Early Thursday, National Weather Service meteorologists issued a regional ice storm warning through noon. Forecasters said to expect travel impacts related to icy conditions, although temperatures should start to rise by midday.

City road crews continue to focus on high-priority routes, as ice poses a different challenge than the snow from previous days.

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In landmark decision, buildings up to 150 feet in business district OK’d

December 27, 2011

Rowley Properties could someday build tall buildings on 78 acres in the business district, as shown in the rendering above. Contributed

Rowley Properties plans to redevelop land in decades ahead

Tall buildings could someday punctuate the skyline in the modest business district along state Route 900, after city leaders created a framework Dec. 19 to transform acre upon acre blanketed in storage units, low-slung office buildings and automotive service centers into a dense neighborhood for shops and homes.

In a landmark decision, City Council members approved a 30-year agreement between the city and longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties to overhaul almost 80 acres in the coming decades. The council agreed to allow buildings up to 150 feet tall and mixed-use development on up to 4.4 million square feet in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center — parcels along Interstate 90 and state Route 900.

The landowner, in turn, is required to pay for transportation upgrades, affordable housing construction, Tibbetts Creek restoration efforts and storm-water system improvements.

Leaders said the potential for change in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center offers a rare opportunity to reshape Issaquah as the city readjusts after a decadelong population boom.

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