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.
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.
January 3, 2012
The International Council on Active Aging has selected Timber Ridge at Talus to receive the 2011 ICAA Green Award, a category of its annual innovators program.
Timber Ridge at Talus is an Issaquah senior living community at the base of Cougar Mountain.
ICAA’s awards honor senior living communities that set standards and make a difference in the lives of senior citizens. The Green Award specifically recognizes organizations that encourage environmental stewardship by creating or implementing eco-friendly products, services, designs or programs, among other possible steps.
In 2008, Timber Ridge at Talus brought residents into the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified continuing care retirement community in the U.S.
Timber Ridge achieved Silver Certification based on criteria such as site development, water efficiency, energy optimization and indoor environmental quality.
One additional way Timber Ridge has reduced its environmental impact is by using Eco-Ware Containers. Previously, the Timber Ridge food and beverage department went through 5,000 compostable paper containers per month. The Eco-Ware containers reduce nonbiodegradable waste and do not occupy space in landfills.
Additionally, Timber Ridge has a recycling program that encourages residents to recycle the approximately 130 newspapers delivered daily to the community.
“We are honored to be recognized as one of the North America’s most innovative green retirement communities and to receive this award from the ICAA,” Scott Doherty, executive director of Timber Ridge at Talus, said in a statement.
As an ICAA award-winner, Timber Ridge will receive a crystal award of recognition and be featured in an upcoming issue of ICAA’s main publication, the Journal on Active Aging.
December 27, 2011
Renewal defined the year, as the community paused after a population boom and economic bust — and positioned Issaquah for the decades ahead.
Milestones from the last 12 months offer contrasts.
Leaders opened showcases for “green” design and concluded a milestone effort to preserve Tiger Mountain forestland. Tragedy left indelible impressions, too, as a gunman menaced downtown pedestrians on a September morning and turned a school campus into a crime scene.
December 22, 2011
NEW — 9:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 2011
Tall buildings could someday punctuate the skyline in the modest business district along state Route 900, after city leaders created a framework Monday 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.
December 13, 2011
The route is easier for pedestrians to cross a major thoroughfare after crews completed a pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast on a moonlit morning last week.
December 6, 2011
The city plans to start employee layoffs in February, as officials launch a wide-ranging reorganization at City Hall.
Under a reorganization plan prepared by Seattle consultant Moss Adams, the city could shed as many as 20 employees to retool the Public Works Engineering and Planning departments. Meanwhile, the city could hire additional administrative staffers to shift paperwork and other clerical duties from high-level managers.
“Layoffs are never easy,” City Administrator Bob Harrison said. “Some of it is part of the economy and some of it is just dealing with the new realities of what today is.”
The municipal workforce includes about 200 employees. Officials plan to offer severance packages to employees in the affected departments next month.
The plan also recommends a more muscular economic development effort from the city. Harrison announced the initial step Nov. 29 — a plan to promote Keith Niven, the longtime Major Development Review Team manager, to economic development director. Leaders intend to hire economic development managers to complete the team.
The recommendations, from a report released last month, called for Mayor Ava Frisinger and other leaders to restructure development and planning functions.
“Times have changed, as we know,” Moss Adams’ Tom Krippaehne said in a presentation to City Council members Nov. 29. “They’re changing in the city of Issaquah and they’re changing in the development functions. It’s a good time to take a look at how to update your business model.”
Harrison also announced a plan to promote Sheldon Lynne, the longtime No. 2 official in Public Works Engineering, to director. (Longtime Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock retired early last month.)
November 22, 2011
NEW — 9 a.m. Nov. 22, 2011
High winds led to power outages in Talus and other Issaquah neighborhoods Tuesday morning, as a system delivered soggy, blustery conditions to the region.
Puget Sound Energy said scattered outages started overnight in the Cascade foothills and North Puget Sound — “fairly small in terms of the number of customers, but they’re at many locations,” PSE spokeswoman Dorothy Bracken said.
The utility could not yet estimate how many local customers experienced outages.
“The winds are subsiding, and our crews are making good headway and we’re not seeing new outages occur,” she said Tuesday morning.
November 15, 2011
The process to transform about 80 acres in the decades ahead is due to continue Nov. 21.
City Council members plan to gather input from citizens about a proposed rezone of Rowley Properties-owned Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center from commercial land to urban village — a designation used to foster mixed-use construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus.
November 8, 2011
The hillside quarry below the Issaquah Highlands, plus land adjacent to the highlands, could someday transform into businesses and homes, if the city and landowner approve a long-term agreement to redevelop the site.
The landowner and quarry operator, Lakeside Industries Inc., proposed a development agreement for the 80-acre site.
The site — a quarry, a hillside and land on the plateau adjacent to the highlands — is zoned for mineral resources. The agreement under consideration could change the zoning to urban village — the same zoning for the highlands and Talus.
“We envision redevelopment that follows the patterns we are seeing in the highlands,” Lakeside Industries CEO Tim Lee said in a letter to City Administrator Bob Harrison. “Specifically, we foresee mixed uses and moderate density in a walkable community.”
City Council members sent the proposal to a committee Nov. 7 for further discussion.