Council approves transportation plan

May 24, 2011

Proposal outlines repairs to weakened retaining wall

City Council members laid out a roadmap for Issaquah transportation projects May 2.

The council adopted the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, a guide to short- and long-term planning for road, transit and pedestrian projects. The document outlines possible transportation projects for 2012-17.

“Having a project on the TIP makes it eligible for certain types of funding, but more broadly, it signals to the community what improvements we’re considering for the future,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said before the unanimous decision.

The city Public Works Engineering Department lists transportation projects in the TIP, and then prioritizes the projects through a separate process to fund capital improvements.

Transportation planners outlined possible improvements to the timber retaining wall along Southeast Black Nugget Road behind Fred Meyer and The Home Depot.

Some timbers started to dislodge, rot is prevalent, pressure distorted some pilings and the fence atop the wall is failing. The city attributes the problems to shoddy construction. The timber was cut too short and too thin for the area. In addition, the structure was not properly treated.

King County could provide some funding to offset the estimated $496,000 repair cost.

“We’ve been talking with King County for a couple of years now, and we’re very close to reaching an agreement with them whereby we can receive some funds fairly quickly, with the possibility of additional funds over an undetermined period of time,” Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock told the council.

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Landslide poses risk to Squak Mountain neighborhood’s utilities

April 26, 2011

City Council OKs study to find possible solutions

A car drives past the landslide on Mountainside Drive Southwest during the morning commute April 25. By Greg Farrar

The city has agreed to spend $30,000 to gather data on a landslide creeping down a Squak Mountain hillside and threatening utilities leading to the Forest Rim neighborhood.

The landslide poses a risk to the only utility lines and road to the hilltop neighborhood of about 100 homes. Forest Rim is the highest-elevation neighborhood on the mountain.

“The earth essentially just decided it was time,” Sheldon Lynne, city deputy public works engineering director, told City Council members April 18. “It couldn’t hold itself up any longer.”

The landslide is inching down Squak Mountain near a switchback along Mountainside Drive Southwest, less than a mile downhill from Forest Rim. The section of displaced hillside is about 200 feet across and stretches about 100 feet from end to eroded end.

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Landslide poses risk to Squak Mountain neighborhood’s utilities

April 22, 2011

NEW — 7 p.m. April 22, 2011

The city has agreed to spend $30,000 to gather data on a landslide creeping down a Squak Mountain hillside and threatening utilities leading to the Forest Rim neighborhood.

The landslide poses a risk to the only utility lines and road to the hilltop neighborhood of about 100 homes. Forest Rim is the highest-elevation neighborhood on the mountain.

“The earth essentially just decided it was time,” Sheldon Lynne, city deputy public works engineering director, told City Council members Monday. “It couldn’t hold itself up any longer.”

The landslide is inching down Squak Mountain near a switchback along Mountainside Drive Southwest, less than a mile downhill from Forest Rim. The section of displaced hillside is about 200 feet across and stretches about 100 feet from end to eroded end.

Only a road shoulder is closed so far, and the roadway remains open to traffic. The landslide also eroded soil from beneath guardrail posts along the street.

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City closes sidewalk due to landslide risk

April 12, 2011

Groundwater seeps through the timber retaining wall, and a pedestrian sidewalk is closed along Southeast Black Nugget Road at Southeast 62nd Street. By Greg Farrar

The chain-link fence erected along the Southeast Black Nugget Road behind Fred Meyer and The Home Depot raised questions among motorists concerned about possible landslides.

City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said municipal crews added the fence late last month as a precaution amid the risk for small landslides. The city is also addressing long-term issues related to the retaining wall along the same stretch.

“We’re trying to investigate what we can do to stop the earth movement above the wall, which is a separate issue from the wall itself,” Brock said. “The wall is in no danger of coming down, it’s just that it’s got a reduced lifespan because of some of things that were not done per plan.”

Instability on the slope is common after soaking rains, but city officials said the slippage does not pose a risk to the residences perched above Southeast Black Nugget Road. Way Back Inn, a Renton nonprofit organization, owns the land on the slope.

“It seems like this year, we’ve had a lot more water. It’s moving a little bit more and it’s got some fluidity to it that it didn’t have before,” Brock said. “So, as a precautionary measure, we closed the sidewalk just on the off chance that something might fall over the top of the wall there.”

Crews also planted stakes in the hillside to track shifts in the slope. The fence and the stakes attracted attention from Klahanie resident Sandi Dong.

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Reach Eastside presents an avant garde ‘Christmas Carol’

December 7, 2010

Tiny Tim (Ike Balmer) falls over while his concerned family in ‘A Christmas Carol’ bend down to help him, with Miranda Cratchit (Grethe Steensgaard) kneeling on the left, Martha Cratchit (Betsy Brocco), Mrs. Cratchit (Tamara Steensgaard), Gillian Cratchit (Kenna Boyer) and Peter Cratchit (Kristoffer Steensgaard) on the right. By Laura Geggel

Actors and dancers have joined forces for Reach Eastside Performing Arts’ production of “A Christmas Carol” in Preston.

Until now, Reach Eastside Performing Arts has acted as a dance studio, except during the summer, when it hosts an art and performance summer camp for underserved children, called Reach for the Sky July.

The studio’s owner, Kathi Marin, decided to invite theater into her doors. Theatre Black Dog accepted the invitation, and “A Christmas Carol” leapt into production, using teenage dance students from the studio, as well as actors from the theater troop.

The crew transformed the dance floor into a black box theater and awarded roles to a slew of Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Fall City and Seattle actors and their children.

“It’s fun,” actor Greg Balmer, of Snoqualmie, said.

His wife, Chrisie Coffing, and 9-year-old son, Ike Balmer, are in the play with him.

“We get to work on our lines together,” Greg Balmer said. “We get to be different people than we are normally.”

The Steensgaard family agreed. The whole Snoqualmie gang, Tamara, Bjarne and their children Kristopher and Grethe, are acting together onstage, and practicing together at home.

“We have to work with our lines, because all of us are playing multiple roles,” Tamara Steensgaard said.

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Growing the seeds of love

November 9, 2010

Neighborhood plants daffodils to remember a friend

Cheryl Sherburne

The women remembered Cheryl Sherburne as a woman with a sunny disposition. And they remembered the friend who volunteered at Sunset Elementary School, prayed with them during Moms in Touch meetings and helped carpool their children to sports practices.

Sherburne died after an 11-year battle with cancer Oct. 9 at age 52, and even after her neighbors delivered meals and had given their condolences to Sherburne’s husband and two boys, they wanted to do more. Read more

Stores offer free smoke detector batteries Saturday

November 4, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. Nov. 4, 2010

Eastside Fire & Rescue and retailers in Issaquah and elsewhere offer free batteries Saturday as part of the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery campaign.

The effort is part of a national campaign to urge people to adopt a lifesaving habit: change smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries at the same time to change clocks from daylight-saving time each fall. Remember to change clocks before bedtime Saturday.

People can receive free nine-volt batteries at participating stores from 4-5:30 p.m. Saturday until the free batteries run out.

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Eagle Scout project improves ball field

July 13, 2010

At 8:20 a.m. on a typical Saturday, many teenagers are sleeping.

Not 17-year-old Daniel Olleman, of Bellevue. At that early hour June 19, the Interlake High School junior was hard at work refurbishing the Lake Sammamish State Park’s baseball field for his Eagle Scout project.

Olleman constructed and organized the project himself. Starting three months prior, he made detailed arrangements with the state park manager, arranged for supplies to be donated by Cadman and Home Depot, and distributed flyers to gather volunteers.

Chris Meyer, Daniel’s scoutmaster, said he believes leadership is an essential quality for scouts to possess when they plan their Eagle Scout Projects.

“These are very big projects and it’s very tough to get your initial idea approved,” Meyer said. “You also have to plan it, organize it, gather volunteers and find materials. The whole thing is about effective leadership.”

Renovations for Olleman’s project included pulling weeds and spreading new gravel in the dugout, replacing bench tops, planting new grass in the outfield, leveling out the infield, sanding the bleachers and replacing an old sign. Read more

Council postpones right of way decision again

July 13, 2010

The decision about how the city should handle a section of right of way near East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast has been delayed again.

The council held a hearing about the 229th Avenue Southeast right of way in May and June, but extended the process on both occasions to allow city staffers more opportunities to contact landowners.

King County required the developer to dedicate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast in case the county or city someday decided to extend the street from south of Issaquah-Fall City Road to connect to Southeast Black Nugget Road. The city annexed the area a decade ago, but officials do not intend to develop the road link.

The right of way runs near the Boeing building — officially the Eastpointe Corporate Center — behind The Home Depot. The city also located the owner: Piedmont Office Realty Trust, based in Johns Creek, Ga. The property management company acquired the building in 2003.

City Council members heard from a Seattle attorney hired by the property owner to examine the process. The council agreed last week to delay the next hearing until September.

City delays right of way decision until July

June 29, 2010

City Council members delayed a decision on a section of right of way near East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast until July 6.

The council held a hearing about the 229th Avenue Southeast right of way June 7. Members decided to extend the hearing in order to ensure the city had taken ample steps to contact adjacent landowners. The council held the initial hearing in May.

The right of way runs near the Boeing building behind The Home Depot. City Transportation Manager Gary Costa said the city had difficulty contacting the property manager for the Boeing complex.

King County required the developer to dedicate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast in case the county or city someday decided extend the street from south of Issaquah-Fall City Road to connect to Southeast Black Nugget Road. In order to accommodate such a link, the county called for a 60-foot earthen embankment alongside the right of way.

Issaquah annexed the area a decade ago, but the city has no interest in developing the right of way into a road link. Under state law, officials must first contact adjacent landowners and hold a public hearing before relinquishing the right of way.

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