Sunday, August 12, 2018

Great Blue Heron spears bullhead

credit John Reinke
This is a Great Blue Heron just after it caught a brown bullhead which is a local species of catfish here in Washington state.  The picture was taken this month at the wetland enclosure on the east side where 90th Street crosses the Sammamish River here in Redmond.  

- John Reinke

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The City's Annual Citizen Survey, "National Night Out" and "Rockin' on the River" Events

Take the City's Annual Citizen Survey, Register for "National Night Out" against crime and "Rockin' on the River" Summer Concerts. 

 "National Night Out" against crime is an excellent way to connect with your neighbors over a potluck.  I've hosted one and went to another last year.  On my first, a council member stopped by to say hi.  On the second, a friendly police battalion chief showed up in her nice car and spent a lot of time with us.  When you register you can request as visit from Fire, Police, a Council member and even the Mayor!  But register early.  There are only so many city folks to go around!

Image result for rockin' on the river redmond wa image
credit "Experience Redmond"
My wife and I have been to three "Rockin' on the River Summer Concerts."  The music is lively and so much fun to dance to while the atmosphere is still laid-back and relaxing. You can buy a fully loaded hot dog at the Kiwanis booth or bring your own for a picnic on the lawn.  We're going back every year! Bring your own chairs or a blanket.

As for the government survey I've had reservations taking them in the past since they've been so excruciatingly long.  They were also created by city staff to seemingly justify their actions and direct us to their goals. Not so. with this survey!  It is prepared by an independent outside consultant, is objective and without leading questions.  My only wish is more space for written feedback. It's a good survey and should help the city stay connected and engaged with us. 

B. Yoder, opinion

Friday, August 3, 2018

Home prices and population skyrocketing

Richard and Eileen  Morris
Thousands of Microsoft, Nintendo and other employees commute into Redmond every day raising the daytime population almost three-fold.  Of course most prefer living in Redmond to avoid the commute and to live in the premier LW school district. Supply simply can't keep up with demand and prices are skyrocketing.  Typically a bidding war begins right after a house is listed with the deal closed within a week.

My long-time friend and neighbor Richard and Eileen Morris sold their Education Hill, 2490 sf house for an incredible $906,000. They purchased it in 1982 for $100,000.  I'm really going to miss them but it's his time to retire (and "get the hell out of dodge." as I like to say.)  He, like many old-timers was a passionate community volunteer.   Richard spent hours building-out the Redmond Historical Society website and was honored the "History Hero" in 2012,  I will miss them dearly but they're not far away!

B. Yoder

Redmond growth will accelerate for years.  Currently our resident population is close to 68,000.  According to city projections,78,000 residents are expected by 2030.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Downtown Park Grand Opening set for September 15th

Jessica R, City Arts Administrator gave a presentation to City Council on the Grand Opening of the Downtown Park during a July 3rd Council committee meeting.   The Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday, September 15th....hopefully without rain.  A "soft opening" is date-uncertain,

Image result for redmond downtown park imageThis will be a time of celebrating Redmond's first urban park...."the last major construction project for the downtown" according to the City.  It sounds like a fun time.  "Everyone's invited -- they are expecting a So Bazzar type of attendance of 5,000."

Ribbon cutting is 5-5:30 PM.  An afternoon scavenger hunt is being considered, in concert with the local business.  After the ribbon cutting there will be a community picnic with long picnic tables set along 161st....I think.  The Grand Lawn is available as well.  Restaurants will be partnering for to-go ordering. 

Redmond's first Artist in Residence will give an interactive performance, "100 years From Today."  It will have three acts with crafts and games in between.  The current Artist in Residence will present a digital art exhibit at the pavilion (the "flying saucer.")

The theme for the event is "metamorphosis" -- celebrating the rapid change from a one stoplight town to an urban center.  Caterpillar and butterfly art will be scattered around the park. The event closes at 8 PM with a digital lighting exhibition presented by Redmond's current Artist in Residence.

Source:  Council Committee of the Whole, Parks & Human Service, July 3rd video.

Note:  The Downtown Park cost $18M to build but many say it's closer to $40M when counting the land acquisition and other expenses.

B. Yoder

Source:  Council Committee of the Whole, Parks and Human Services.  

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Two more "high rise" projects planned for downtown Redmond

Image result for city of redmond downtown images
Redmond rentals

Two downtown "high rise" rental projects are nearing approval.  They are in the "Design Review Process" where landscaping, building colors and roofs are reviewed before the permit is approved.  If you are interested in commenting or advising please contact Gary Lee, the city planner. 

1.  Redmond Square

LAND-2018-00514, Redmond Square
Neighborhood:  Downtown 
Description:  Development consisting of approximately 583 residential dwelling units and approximately 25,000 sf of commercial uses  Four story
Location: 16563 Redmond Way and 16425 Cleveland Street
Applicant:  Jay Liu and Mark McKallor
Staff Contact: Gary Lee, 425-556-2418 or
Review Materials:  Memo   Materials

2,  Redmond Way Flats

LAND-2018-00279, Redmond Way Flats
Neighborhood:  Downtown 
Description:  Demolition of existing commercial building & parking lot; construction of a six story +/- 129,000 sf residential building with approximately 102 apartment units; +/- 2,700 sf of commercial space and parking for +/- for 101 vehicles
Location: 16760 Redmond Way
Applicant:  Bryan Bellissimo with Encore Architects
Prior Review Date:  04/19/18
Staff Contact: Gary Lee, 425-556-2418 or
Review Materials:  Memo     Materials     Architectural     Landscape   

Click on "Memo" for colored graphics and full description.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bike shares in our neighborhoods and parks?

Image result for crosswalks and bike shares and pedestrian image
Internet photo
Council reviewed the draft "bike share pilot program" at their last study session.  Staff made the following recommendations for the pilot project.  As I read it:

1)  The total fleet (composed of 2 bike share companies) will initially be 400 bike shares. Council member Margeson said "this is a very conservative number."   A minimum amount of electric-bike shares (e-shares) will be 10%, because as Mr. Margeson says "We have a lot of hills in Redmond."  Council member Hank Myers said this regulation is unneeded.  I agree.

Image result for lime bike shares images
Internet photo
2)  "Bike shares shall not be parked within the 5-foot pedestrian walk zones of a sidewalk." Thus, they won't be allowed to park on our neighborhood sidewalks.   However e-shares can climb our neighborhood hills to all of our city parks and park there.

In all likelihood, we can expect bike shares legally available in our city by late August.  These bike shares will change the look and feel of our city.

If you have any questions or concerns contact

B. Yoder, opinion

Monday, July 16, 2018

EvergreenHealth Announces Appointment of New Chief Executive Officer

Kirkland, Wash. – EvergreenHealth’s Board of Commissioners announced today its selection of Amy E. Beiter, MD, to lead the Kirkland-based integrated health system as its chief executive officer. The appointment comes after EvergreenHealth CEO Bob Malte announced his planned retirement from the organization this spring.

Dr. Beiter is a respected senior physician executive with 25 years of experience in the health care field as a leader in both clinical and administrative capacities. She most recently served as president and CEO for Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, a 400-bed acute-care hospital within the comprehensive Carondelet Health Network, where she led strategic initiatives resulting in significant transformation and growth. Under Dr. Beiter’s leadership, Carondelet St. Mary’s evolved from a community hospital to a tertiary care hospital providing expanded, increasingly complex services to the Tucson community.

Redmond Appoints New COO and Planning Director

In the history of the City of Redmond there has never been a COO.

Redmond, WA – Redmond Mayor John Marchione has announced the appointment of Maxine Whattam as the City’s new Chief Operating Officer and Erika Vandenbrande as the new Planning Director.

Whattam started with the City of Redmond in March of 2016 as the Parks & Recreation Director and recently served as the interim Public Works Director. She worked in various management positions for the City of Kennewick for 24 years before joining the City of Redmond.
The model of a Chief Operating Officer (COO) is consistent with other cities in King County, including Renton, Tukwila, Kent, and Issaquah. The COO position is responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the City. Duties include managing and aligning the internal operations of the City; creating a citywide culture of customer service, accountability and integrity; ensuring coordination internally and cross-departmentally to support projects, functions and relationships to meet the City’s goal and objectives; reviewing, updating and implementing policies and procedures to ensure cross-departmental consistency.
The new Planning Director Erika Vandenbrande has been with the City for more than 17 years. She has had several roles including Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program Manager, Economic Development Manager, and most recently as one of the City Deputy Administrators overseeing Communications, TDM, Economic Development, and the Customer Service division. Erika has a 30 plus year career serving local, regional and federal governments.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Girder setting requires ramp and street closures at 148th Avenue NE and SR 520

Credit:  Sound Transit

From Tuesday, July 10 until Saturday morning, July 14, crews working to build Sound Transit’s East Link project will install concrete girders between future elevated guideway columns in Redmond’s Overlake neighborhood. Mobile cranes will be at work along SR 520 at 148th Avenue NE from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly.

Dr. Jane Stavem Named the Next LWSD Superintendent

Dr. Jane Stavem
Redmond, Wash. - The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Board of Directors has selected Dr. Jane Stavem to be the next Lake Washington School District Superintendent. From an impressive pool of applicants, Dr. Stavem emerged as the top choice to lead the district.
“We want to thank all the staff, parents, employee groups, students, partners, and community members who participated in the superintendent search process,” said Siri Bliesner, President, LWSD Board of Directors. “We appreciate everyone who took time to participate in the process, to submit questions, and provide feedback following the town halls. Your input was very valuable to the board in making its decision.”
On June 28 and June 29, three finalist candidates were invited back to the District for a Town Hall, staff meet and greets and a second interview with the Board, before the Board of Directors made the final hiring decision. At a special public meeting in the evening, the Board voted unanimously to extend the offer to Dr. Stavem.
Dr. Stavem is currently Associate Superintendent for Instruction at Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska. For more information, read her biography here.
“We are extremely excited for Dr. Stavem to be the next superintendent of Lake Washington School District.” Bliesner said. ”It was an exhaustive search with a diverse range of qualified candidates, and the Board feels Dr. Stavem is the best choice for the future of our district and for our students' education.”
The next step in the process is to finalize an employment contract between the Board and Dr. Stavem.
Dr. Stavem will replace Dr. Traci Pierce, who will move into the position of Director, College and Career Readiness, this summer.