Issaquah braces for rain-soaked winter, creek floods

November 2, 2010

City completed projects to reduce risk since last flood

Mike Crossley (yellow vest) works in the HAM radio communication station during a Community Emergency Response Team flood drill. By Autumn Monahan

January rain turned placid Issaquah Creek into a debris-filled torrent in early 2009 — and emergency planners hope fresh memories of the flood prompt residents to prepare for the rain-soaked winter on the horizon.

Long before fall rain blanketed the area, Issaquah and King County emergency planners had prepared to respond to Issaquah Creek flooding.

Meteorologists predict La Niña conditions — colder-than-normal temperatures and greater-than-normal rain- and snowfall — in the months ahead. The combination has emergency planners concerned about rain-gorged Issaquah Creek and the potential for disaster.

“If you look at Issaquah Creek now, you think, ‘Oh, that’s a nice, pretty little creek.’ It can turn into a roaring monster pretty quick,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said last week.

The city has completed a series of flood-control projects in the 21 months since the most recent flood, including a high-profile floodplain restoration effort at Squak Valley Park North.

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City restores Issaquah Creek salmon habitat

October 19, 2010

Greenway volunteers plant native trees, shrubs

Environmental restoration crew workers add tree trunks to Issaquah Creek last month at Squak Valley Park North to provide habitat for salmon and other fish to spawn and hide from predators. By Greg Farrar

Squak Valley Park North — a slice of former farmland sidled against Issaquah Creek — started to resemble a bygone era by the time more than 250 planters left the site on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

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Greenway needs volunteers to plant trees at creekside park

October 4, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 4, 2010

Mountains to Sound Greenway needs volunteers to plant trees as part of a massive habitat restoration project along Issaquah Creek.

The planting is scheduled for from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Oct. 16. Pick a shift, or enroll in another greenway volunteer event, here. In addition to planting, the event will feature food, music and vendors.

The planting at Squak Valley Park North serves the kickoff to a campaign to plant more than 25,000 trees and shrubs in natural areas throughout the greenway. The greenbelt stretches along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington.

The park sits in the valley between Squak and Tiger mountains along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, and across Issaquah Creek from the Sycamore neighborhood. Flora at the park includes alder saplings, salmonberries and willows.

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City’s history comes out on DVD

August 3, 2010

Issaquah's Oral History Video Project

Six decades ago, Issaquah was a completely different city.

With fewer than 1,000 residents, zero traffic lights and acres of empty fields, the Issaquah of 1950 would be unrecognizable to those who know it today as the booming, fast-growing city of 27,000 people.

To tell its story beginning with the early pioneers of the 1920s, the Issaquah History Museums have partnered with the Issaquah Cable Station 21/61 to create the Issaquah Oral History Video Project.

The project includes 17 video shorts and 25 in-depth interviews with early, influential members of the community.

“It’s a really easy way to introduce history to people,” Issaquah History Museums Director Erica Maniez said. “History can be dry and unappetizing, but the videos are a way for people to tell the stories of their own lives. It’s a lot more personal and interesting.” Read more

Habitat restoration starts along creek at Squak Valley Park

July 27, 2010

Crews started this week to restore Issaquah Creek habitat at Squak Valley Park North.

Plans call for soil to be excavated from the existing levee and floodplain. The project also includes logs to be added to the creek, plus habitat features for fish and wildlife. Mountains to Sound Greenway volunteers will plant native vegetation at the site this fall.

The completed project should allow the creek to resume a more natural, meandering flow. The city expects work to last up to eight weeks.

Expect construction to occur from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, although additional work could occur on Saturday to meet schedules.

The excavation requires a considerable amount of dirt hauling using dump trucks with trailers. Most of the trucks will use Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, but some trucks must use Sycamore Drive Southeast and Southeast Sycamore Lane to access a portion of the project site.

Flaggers will direct traffic, and streets will be swept to remove dirt.

Workers start replacing Sycamore water lines

July 20, 2010

Crews started to replace deteriorated water mains in the Sycamore neighborhood last week.

Plans call for Mosbrucker Excavating crews to replace about 3,500 feet of eight- and 12-inch pipe, as well as valves, water meters and fire hydrants.

Construction hours vary between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The work requires some temporary lane closures, but access for residents will be provided during construction. Residents and landowners will be notified 48 hours in advance of anticipated water shutdowns.

The project should be completed by September.

Crews also installed a water main beneath East Sunset Way between Sixth Avenue Southeast and Sixth Avenue Northeast in early July.

In April, the City Council selected Mosbrucker to replace the undersized and deteriorating water lines. The council awarded a $354,000 contract to the Bothell contractor.

Workers start replacing Sycamore water lines

July 17, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. July 17, 2010

Crews started to replace deteriorated water mains in the Sycamore neighborhood this week.

Plans call for the Mosbrucker Excavating crews to replace about 3,500 feet of eight- and 12-inch pipe, as well as valves, water meters and fire hydrants.

Construction hours vary between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The work requires some temporary lane closures, but access for residents will be provided during construction. Residents and landowners will be notified 48 hours in advance of anticipated water shutdowns.

Read more

Habitat restoration starts soon at Squak Valley Park North

May 18, 2010

Crews will start to restore Issaquah Creek habitat at Squak Valley Park North next month.

The lowest construction bid for the project came in almost $100,000 less than engineers had estimated. City officials opened construction bids for the project May 4.

Maple Valley Gardeners submitted the lowest bid — $337,038 to remove a Great Depression-era levee from the park, construct a smaller levee farther from the creek and restore salmon habitat. The completed project should allow the creek to resume a more natural, meandering flow.

On the opposite of the creek from the park sits the Sycamore neighborhood. The park boundaries wedge the Squak Valley Park North against the city limits along the eastern edge.

Crews should complete the project by September. Besides the levee work, workers will add branches and other woody debris to the stream to add habitat for salmon. Crews will also prep the site for native plants to be added in the fall.

Mountains to Sound Greenway volunteers will plant the native vegetation at the park.

Habitat restoration starts soon at Squak Valley Park North

May 16, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. May 16, 2010

Crews will start to restore Issaquah Creek habitat at Squak Valley Park North next month.

The lowest construction bid for the project came in almost $100,000 less than engineers had estimated. City officials opened construction bids for the project May 4.

Maple Valley Gardeners submitted the lowest bid — $337,038 to remove a Great Depression-era levee from the park, construct a smaller levee farther from the creek and restore salmon habitat. The completed project should allow the creek to resume a more natural, meandering flow.

On the opposite of the creek from the park sits the Sycamore neighborhood. The park boundaries wedge the Squak Valley Park North against the city limits along the eastern edge.

Crews should complete the project by September. Besides the levee work, workers will add branches and other woody debris to the stream to add habitat for salmon. Crews will also prep the site for native plants to be added in the fall.

Mountains to Sound Greenway volunteers will plant the native vegetation at the park. Sign up to volunteer at the greenway website.

Council picks contractor to replace water lines

May 4, 2010

City Council members selected a Bothell contractor to replace water lines beneath the Sycamore neighborhood and along East Sunset Way in late spring.

The council awarded a $354,000 bid to replace about 3,500 feet of deteriorating or undersized water lines.

Officials opened construction bids for the project April 6. The city received 12 bids, and officials recommended the lowest bidder, Mosbrucker Excavating, to the council.

Crews will break ground on the project in May or June, and construction could last up to three months. Because excavation will occur near Issaquah Creek, the city had to approve a special permit for the project in March.

The waterline runs beneath Southeast Sycamore Creek Lane, Sycamore Drive Southeast from Southeast Sycamore Lane to Brookside Place Southeast, Southeast Sycamore Lane and Brookside Place Southeast.

The work along East Sunset Way will take place between Sixth Avenue Southeast and Sixth Avenue Northeast.

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