Issaquah receives assistance to plan for long-term growth

June 9, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 9, 2012

Issaquah is receiving technical assistance to plan for long-term growth, through to a program at a nonprofit organization and a federal grant.

Forterra, the former Cascade Land Conservancy, announced the technical assistance for Issaquah and other Washington communities Wednesday. The grant comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program — a nationwide program to boost communities’ economic and environmental health.

Issaquah officials intend to use the technical assistance from Forterra to work on the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900. Planners intend to increase density and the mix of uses in the area, make the area more pedestrian-friendly and preserve open space.

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Proposed Cougar Mountain subdivision comes under review

May 29, 2012

Talus residents questioned plans to build 24 homes on a steep Cougar Mountain hillside downhill from the neighborhood, as the City Council considers a pact to allow the project to proceed.

A Kirkland developer applied to build the homes on a half-dozen acres near the Talus urban village, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900. The location raised concerns among some Talus residents about possible impacts to street parking and increased landslide risk.

The council scheduled a public hearing for June 4 to collect input on the proposed subdivision, Forest Heights, as members consider a development agreement to allow the project to continue.

The council is not expected to reach a decision after the public hearing. The proposed development agreement could reach the council for action in early July.

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Plan progresses to relocate rural fire station near Issaquah

May 22, 2012

Construction should start on a May Valley fire station next summer, as local fire officials relocate firefighters and equipment deeper into Fire District 10 from a station close to the Renton city limits.

In late April, officials from Fire District 10 — May Valley, Mirrormont and other communities near Issaquah — completed the process to issue $5.5 million in construction bonds to build a May Valley fire station and complete other projects throughout the district.

Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont, 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.

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Citizen input is sought for Cougar Mountain subdivision

May 22, 2012

Citizens can comment soon about a subdivision proposed for Cougar Mountain near the Talus urban village.

City Council members plan to hold a public hearing on the Forest Heights development agreement, a proposed pact to add 24 single-family lots to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also outlines nine tracts for native growth protection easements, open space, storm water detention and future development.

The proposed project site is north and east of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900.

The proposal raised concerns among Talus residents about possible impacts on parking in the hillside neighborhood and increased landslide risk.

Citizens can comment on the proposed development agreement at a meeting and public hearing at 7:30 p.m. June 4. The council meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

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City, businesses celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 18

May 15, 2012

City leaders, local businesses and the Cascade Bicycle Club invite bicyclists to celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 18.

The city is hosting a Salmon Friendly Commute Bike Station at the corner of state Route 900 and Northwest Sammamish Road from 6-10 a.m. Bicyclists can load up on snacks and water bottles to help fuel their trips.

Pacific Bicycle Co., a Sammamish bike shop, also plans to be on hand to do small repairs and answer questions.

Then, REI, Costco and the city plan to host a barbecue for bicyclists at Lake Sammamish State Park’s rotunda picnic area from 4-6 p.m.

May is National Bike Month.

Bicyclists using King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit ride free through May 18. The offer applies to any Metro Transit bus or ST Express bus operated by Metro Transit, including routes 554, 555 and 556 from Issaquah.

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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.

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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.

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