Thursday, June 22, 2017

UPDATED: "Design Review Board" brings color to Redmond's Town Square District

Rendering of the Twin Towers showing the blue and green color scheme, brick material and roof line chosen by the Design Review Board.

This massive structure will be right across the street from Hancock's Bakery.

Opinion:  For years now, residents have complained about the dull earth tones, "box-like" construction, and absence of brick materials in our new Downtown 6-story buildings. Council often joked of their fatigue with the "brown and mustard" colors; Councilmembers Hank Myers and Kim Allen in particular. 

Last week I went to the Design Review Board (DRB) meeting where "Color Options" were reviewed for the 9-story twin tower building proposed at the old post office the Town Square District.  The Town Square District is envisioned as high density, 6-8 story buildings, including office, entertainment, retail and residential use.  The towers are a signature building setting the stage for the design of future development in the District. Thus, what comes out from this Design Review will impact "look and feel" of the entire Town Square District for years to come.  

I was the only citizen that showed up for the twin-tower meeting and was given a wonderful opportunity to comment on color before the Board made their decision.  After looking at color schemes presented by the developer, Board and staff I recommended teal (blue) over red.  During our nine months of grey weather the blue will remind us of our sunny blue sky days of summer. The red scheme was eclectic and rich with too much pop.  

The Board decided to go with blue and a small amount of green at the street level. Chair David Scott Mead -- very influential -- jokingly summarized the review with a blue-green "Go Seahawks!" cheer. Yey!  Watch the video.  Next step:  Oscar, the diminutive, likable project manager will meet with city staff to fine tune the color scheme.  He made it known he doesn't like "Northwest Moss" green wanting color with little more punch.  Yey again!  

The Board proceedings were very interesting. I'm grateful to the developer's architect for thanking me for my input. She made me feel I made a difference. I admire this developer and his commitment to form and aesthetics.   

I'm very unhappy with the city's severe lack of transparency with this body.  Though several times Councilmember Stilin advised the public to look into the DRB, it was only by luck that I learned the public can comment.  Without public comment the "look and feel" of our Downtown buildings are left up to just 7 citizens and a powerful staff - many not living in our city. "Design damage" is already done to the downtown core, though opportunity remains to get it right -- with public input -- during the Town Square District build-out and development of Marymoor Village.   

The Board meets on the first and third Thursday's of the month at 7PM, City Hall.  DRB approval is required before the land use permit is issued so your comments can significantly influence project outcomes.  To learn what's on the DRB agenda click this link and go to "Agendas Summaries" for 2017.  They don't make it easy! 

Bob Yoder

Read More for:  a YouTube of the DRB deliberating, Twin Tower design elements and a comment from city staff. >>

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Status of 2016 LWSD bond projects

2016 Bond Projects - Program Schedule2016 Bond Construction Project Schedule
New School Projects  
New Middle School – Redmond Ridge
Click here for more information.

 Project Information​
Location:Redmond Ridge Drive NE and NE 99th Place, Redmond Ridge East
​Square Footage:134,000
Capacity:​900 students
​Spaces:24 standard classrooms, instrumental and vocal music, special education, art, lab science, CTE, library, cafeteria/commons with stage, and gymnasium
​Estimated Project Cost:$77,592,000
​Planned Opening:2019
Neighborhood boundaries:​Boundaries will be developed in a process including public feedback during the 2018-19 school year.
New Elementary School – North Redmond
Click here for more information.

 Drawing of new elementary school in north Redmond

Project Information​
Location:172nd NE and NE 122nd, Redmond
​Square Footage:78,000
Capacity:​550 students
​Spaces:30 standard classrooms plus music, art/science rooms, ELL/SN/special education, library, cafeteria/commons, gymnasium, and outdoor covered play area
​Estimated Project Cost:$43,257,000
​Planned Opening:2018
Neighborhood boundaries:​Boundaries will be developed in a process including public feedback during the 2017-18 school year.

Read More for six additional projects

Monday, June 19, 2017

EvergreenHealth Medical Center earns top honors for nurse employer names EvergreenHealth Medical Center #1 in their Best Hospitals in Washington for Nurses in 2017

Kirkland, WA - June 19, 2017 -, the web’s leading career site for nurses, has recognized EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland, Washington as the best hospital for nurses to work for in Washington State. Over the past two years, collected more than 39,000 reviews from nurses about their workplace satisfaction. Reviews in Washington state have revealed that EvergreenHealth Medical Center has one of the highest levels of satisfaction among its nursing workforce.

Reviewers cited “good patient ratio” as well as “kind, compassionate, and holistic caring experience” as the basis for the 4.7 star rating with 100% of the nurses recommending the hospital as an employer.

Meet the candidates!

Image result for redmond neighborhoods imageMEET THE CANDIDATES - A FORUM
Thursday, July 6th, 6:30 – 7:00 pm
First Baptist Church of Redmond 16700 NE 95th Street, Education Hill, Redmond

Council Candidates for Positions 2 and 6 are up for election in the August 1 Primary   VOTE!

The following candidates have been invited:

Steve Fields City of Redmond, Council Position 2
Osama Hamdan City of Redmond, Council Position 2
Byron Shutz City of Redmond, Council Position 2

Jeralee Anderson City of Redmond, Council Position 6
Jason Antonelli City of Redmond, Council Position 6
Roy Captain City of Redmond, Council Position 6   e-mail not published on King County site

Tanika Padhye City of Redmond, Council Position 4
Eugene Zakhareyev City of Redmond, Council Position 4

Mark Stuart (LWSD School Board Dist. 4)

Anita Damjanovic (LWSD School Board Dist. 3)
Cassandra Sage (LWSD School Board Dist. 3)

Timothy McLaughlin  EvergreenHealth (King County Hospital Dist. 2)

Paige Norman,
Education Hill Neighborhood Association (EdHNA)

Please RSVP

Derby Days theme is "Team Redmond"

C.O.R. photo

It will be fun to see what the council candidates wear!  

The Redmond Derby Days Summer Festival is celebrating 77 years of fun and takes place Friday evening and all-day Saturday, July 7 and 8 at Redmond City Hall campus. The theme this year, “Team Redmond,” invites the entire community and surrounding areas to enjoy all that Redmond has to offer. Join in the fun by wearing your favorite team apparel including a sports team, alma mater, company gear or any other team you are proud to represent. New this year to encourage the Team Redmond theme, attendees can join other participants for team trivia in the Beer and Wine Garden, human foosball competitions, team races as a part of the kids’ race line-up or register to join a volunteer team at the event.

READ MORE for a description of all the exciting events.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

LWPTSA Council Year in Review

Liz Hedreen, LWPTSA Council President
The LWPTSA Council mission is to serve as a relevant resource to the local PTAs, families and community members within the Lake Washington School District through training, support, and guidance, and to advocate for the health, well-being, and education of every child.

Towards that end, here is a review of what Council has done this year to move us towards our mission and goals.

- Supported all of our PTAs in their advocacy efforts
- Attended Legislative Assembly
- Hired a bus and set up meetings with many legislators at Focus Day
- Organized a "Thank you" postcard campaign to our legislators
- Organized Brown Bag and other events bringing legislators and other advocacy experts to speak with our community

Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 LWPTSA Scholarship Awards

Student and staff recipients of the 2017 Scholarship Program were honored with a reception and awards ceremony at the June 5th LWSD Board meeting. For a list of our two staff and 15 student winners, click here. The accomplishments and determination of every single recipient is impressive and we are, as always, pleased to be a small part of this tremendous milestone in the lives of these exceptional students.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sound Transit - East Link Extension alignment animation - Bellevue to Overlake

Published on Mar 21, 2014
Watch this computerized animation of the future East Link alignment in Bellevue and Redmond. East Link is expected to open for service in 2023.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

City Signs Lease for Interim Community Center

REDMOND, WA - On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the City of Redmond signed a two-year lease to occupy the Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) Redmond Campus at 6505 176th Ave. NE effective Dec. 1, 2017, to serve as an interim community center. Built in 2005, the 20,000 square foot LWTech facility has seven classrooms, a tiered classroom with stadium seating, cafĂ©, state of the art media and sound, and ample parking. 
The City currently offers a diverse range of recreation programs and services out of the Old Redmond School House Community Center (ORSCC), a 40,000 square foot facility located at 16600 NE 80th St. The City has a long-term partnership of sharing space with Lake Washington School District (LWSD), owners of the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center (ORSCC.) However, as part of the LWSD long-term facilities planning, they will be remodeling ORSCC for district preschool programs serving special needs and low-income families. The current lease between the City and LWSD will end in June 2018 to allow time for renovations.  >>Read More

Updated: Indian out-sourcing giant interviews Mayor Marchione

I stumbled upon this 2016 video of Mayor Marchione's interview with the Chief Marketing Officer of HCL, a billion dollar global out-sourcing company headquartered in India.  They are contracting with technology companies like Microsoft to supply Indian labor in the "Innovation Triangle" of Redmond, Kirkland and Bellevue.  In 2011 they opened an office in the Overlake urban center near Microsoft.  You can read more about them and their move to Redmond HERE.

The interview is long but informative with interesting tidbits toward the end. I was  surprised that 40% of Redmond's population is non-native English speaking.

Bob Yoder

Monday, June 12, 2017

Redmond's Population, Age and Race demographics

Redmond is planning for a total of 78,000 people and 119,000 jobs by 2030, representing increases of approximately 18,000 more people and 34,000 more jobs than from 2015. 

Most growth will be in the Downtown and Overlake urban centers. Together, these urban "neighborhoods" are planned to accommodate approximately 2/3 of the population growth and almost half of the job growth through 2030. The rest of the population growth would occur in Redmond’s other 8 neighborhoods and most of the remaining job growth would be focused in Southeast Redmond and along the Willows Road corridor.

2015 Neighborhood Populations:    

Education Hill - 11,119
Grasslawn - 9,181
Downtown - 7,527
Overlake - 6,972
Willows/Rose Hill - 4,293
Southeast Redmond - 4,107

2015 Median Age:  34 years

2015 Race:  55% White, 30% Asian, 10 Hispanic, 3% Other
 2% Black


Saturday, June 10, 2017

North Redmond Elementary School Groundbreaking

Example of "Items from the Audience" -- a great way to talk to the Mayor and Council, or listen in.

The black box is a video of last week's Council meeting.  You may want you to listen to "Items from the Audience" at the very beginning of the meeting. This is a good one.  (Wait 35 seconds, then the meeting will start.)

Every other week the City Council and Mayor hold a business meeting where citizens during "Items from the Audience" are invited to speak up to four minutes on any topic they wish.  At last week's meeting 10 citizens talked about 7 different topics.  If you've got 40 minutes or are having a hard time getting to sleep, listen in; if not, it's summarized by topic below:  

1.)  Rezoning the SE industrial zone so development can occur around the SE Redmond (Marymoor) transit station.  It's expected a new "neighborhood" will develop in the vicinity of the station  Two massive parking garages are planned -- two developers asked council to consider a public-private partnership to put parking in their buildings.  Amazingly one of the developers (Mr. Morrelee) has a wife with decedents going back to Luke McRedmond, the founder of Redmond.  .

2.)  Safeguarding the 41 small business and 500 jobs within the new SE Redmond neighborhood.

3.)  Crumb rubber toxins city turf fields.  David Morton, PhD is a "frequent flyer" at Items.  He hasn't missed a week in over three years.  His talk topics have been:  Watson Asphalt air pollution, leaf blower noise and air pollution. and now crumb rubber toxins.

4)  The relocation of Evans Creek onto private property  Two Union Shares private property owners have been frequent flyers as well.  They are taking legal action against the city for abuse of the condemnation ordinance.  Evans Creek re-location is underway to 1) improve salmon habitat 2) create a wetland park with trails. Inadvertently, land value for owners south of the creek will improve.

5)  Permits underway to redevelop the concrete block building on Cleveland Street. J.D. Klein was concerned the building could be used for marijuana retail.  Mayor Marchione responded.

6)  Eliminating the "quasi-judicial" appeal process for land use decisions.  Retired councilmember Kim Allen spoke eloquently about how this archaic process constrained council from communicating with their constituents during controversial land use decisions such as the Parrigo Heights and SRA boathouse decisions.

7)  Emerald Heights proposal to build a 3-story assisted living facility.  This one was a doosie.  The wife of Councilmember John Stilin (probably Redmond's next mayor) argued against the proposal claiming:  1) the building was not in character with their Abby Road neighborhood. 2) landscaped screening was inadequate, and 3) zoning didn't mesh with the Comprehensive Plan.  Ms. Stilin said she and her neighbors will attend the June 15th Design Review Board meeting to comment on the landscaping plan.  It appears only the few know the public may comment at DRB meetings -- lousy transparency.

Bob Yoder

Friday, June 9, 2017

New contract between LWSD and Lake Washington Education Association

The Lake Washington School District  and the Lake Washington Education Association (LWEA) have agreed to a new contract for the next four years, the 2017-18 through 2020-21 school years. The LWEA represents teachers in our District. The School District Board voted to approve the new contract on Monday, June 5, at its regular board meeting. 

Key points of the contract:  

Additional Support:
The contract also provides for additional support in the areas of special education and elementary counselors. The district will invest in additional special education staff, including teachers and specialists. A full-time counselor will be assigned to each elementary school, to support student social/emotional development.

School year calendar adds one snow day
The built-in snow day -- the Tuesday after Memorial Day -- starts in the 2018-19 school year. If no school days are cancelled due to weather, students will get that day off.

Longer teacher work day
This provision gives more time for teachers to plan and prepare lessons. Teachers will be paid for an additional 30 minutes of work time. The additional paid time and a competitive compensation will enable the district to attract and retain high quality teachers. 

Increased compensation for substitute teachers   This change will attract more candidates in response to a shortage of substitute teachers. 

Source:  LWSD press release, June 6th

UPDATED: Downtown transit station designing moves forward

Redmond council members still haven't formally approved design and construction of the downtown light rail station but may take action soon once Sound Transit signs off. 

From everything I've read and heard, the west Downtown transit station will be elevated and located near Redmond Town Center in the vicinity of 164th Avenue and NE 166th Avenue. A spur may run towards Half Price Books....I don't know why.  Everyone seems to worry the elevated station being an eyesore - I'll be packing my ear-plugs! 

The east station will be in the vicinity of Maryooor Park. About 1400 parking spaces are planned in and around the Marymoor station, mostly to service Sammamish ridge commuters and future aquatics center users. Nancy McCormick (retired councilwoman of 24 years) says the parking spaces will also benefit Redmond commuters "by unclogging east-west streets."  It is not yet known if the parking will be in two garages or scattered around "the new neighborhood." President Margeson  doesn't care a wit for garage parking.  Two Marymoor developers are lobbying council to allow parking in their proposed buildings but they expect compensation for the lost space.  

Some trivia:  In their reports, city planners name the Marymoor station neighborhood a "sub area."  To personalize the sub area President Margeson's been calling it "Joe's Neighborhood."  Councilmember David Carson enjoys calling it "Marymoor Flats" and was the first to suggest a friendly name. Not so trivial, Councilmember Angela Birney insists on a more "eclectic" look and feel for the new neighborhood.  I totally agree...our city is in sorry need of some personality.  

Bob Yoder

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mayor Marchione appoints new planning director

Karen HaluzaRedmond, WA – Last night the City Council confirmed Mayor John Marchione’s appointment of Karen Haluza, AICP, as the new planning director for the City of Redmond.
Haluza has held various planning management positions for Orange County, California, where she worked in the cities of Brea, Santa Ana and Fullerton. Haluza has over 20 years of local government experience and most recently served as the director of Community Development for the City of Fullerton. As director, she managed all aspects of the Community Development Department including Planning, Building, Code Enforcement and Housing.
“I look forward to continuing to build on the many successes of the Planning Department,” says Karen Haluza. “I’m excited to engage with the community and work together on the future of Redmond.”
“Karen’s experience, knowledge and leadership impressed the hiring committee,” states Mayor Marchione. “Karen is known in her community for working with groups of diverse viewpoints and bringing a fair and calm tone to the discussion. She will continue our forward progress to meet the demands of Redmond’s growing population and exploding job market. Karen plays an essential role in further establishing Redmond as a great place to live and work.”
Haluza is a graduate of California State University with a Master of Public Administration where she also earned her Teaching Credential. She has a Bachelor degree in both Social Ecology and Psychology from the University of California. Additionally, Haluza received a Certificate of Geographic Information Systems from California Polytechnic University in Pomona.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

UPDATED: Council poised to approve design and construction of Downtown light rail

Editor's note:  The Council hasn't formally approved the design and construction of the Downtown light rail...but they're close.  

Per last night's staff report posted on the consent agenda Council is poised to approve the design and construction of Downtown Redmond light rail project (Concept 2) with a scheduled opening to Downtown in 2024.

The City Council considered changes to the station location and vertical profile of the station and guideway as part of the Downtown Transit Integration (TRAIN) Study, which was conducted between August 2016 and February 2017. Four station area concepts are shown in the above video. 

Originally, the preferred alternative for the Downtown Redmond extension and station just east of Half Price Books called for an at-grade station / extension and a "retained cut crossing" under the SR 520 interchange. (According to a reader, "retained cut" is a walled trench, supposedly, in order to pass below the fly-over lanes.) 

After receiving community input, which strongly favored an elevated alignment (and a station in the in the vicinity of 164th Ave. NE and 166th Ave. NE), the Council recommended an elevated downtown station.  Key considerations for both the community and City Council were maintaining multimodal mobility in Downtown and reducing potential conflicts between light rail vehicles and pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.

Council concluded significant factors in making their recommendation were the ability to connect the East Lake Sammamish Trail to the Redmond Central Connector, overall project affordability and bicycle and pedestrian access to the Connector Connector trail.

Bob Yoder

-- Source:  6/6/17 Council meeting agenda


EvergreenHealth hosts mental health forum

Understanding Hoarding Disorders
A Free Educational Forum

Guest Speaker: Travis L. Osborne, Ph.D.
Research on hoarding and the treatment of hoarding has advanced significantly over the last decade and Hoarding Disorder officially became recognized as a distinct mental health problem in 2013. This presentation will provide an overview of the features of Hoarding Disorder, as well as the current status of research on how to treat this problem. This presentation is appropriate for both individuals with hoarding problems, as well as family and friends of individuals with hoarding problems.

Evergreen Health Medical Center, Suite Tan 100
12303 NE 130th Lane
Kirkland, WA 98034

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017, 7 PM - 9 PM

Click here for more information.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Phase 2 construction of the Redmond Central Connector advances

Looking north from 95th Street towards Overlake Christian Church
Busy Willows Road is on the left.  Commercial on the right. (click pic to enlarge)
Several amenities are only minutes from the trail by bike at this 95th Street location.  Black Raven Brewery, Hi-Fi Brewery, Eastside Gym, Willows Deli  Good stopping place!

This Redmond Central Connector is the artery of the City that links Sammamish, Redmond, and Kirkland and knits together Redmond Town Center, historic Downtown, Grass Lawn neighborhood, and Willows business district. (COR)

Redmond's Senior Park Planner, David Shaw is the narrator in this city video.  He works closely with Carolyn Hope, Manager of Parks and Culture.  Both designed and built the Redmond Bike Park.  David managed the construction, recruiting and directing scores of volunteers. (The Randall family was at the core of the park's development. Councilmember Hank Myers put in a day or two of shoveling.) 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

ATTN: Neighboring Cities: Cleveland Street conversion update

Cleveland Street construction to convert to 2-way lanes.  Expected completion is end of 2017 according to the Mayor.  Suggest taking the Bear Creek Parkway whenever possible.  I took this video Saturday early morning when traffic was light. Traffic is nasty during the weekdays.

Redmond Way construction isn't so good either -- this video shows it (and 6-story rental construction.)

Map of Bear Creek Pkwy, Redmond, WA 98052

Thursday, June 1, 2017

UPDATED: Launch of the Historical Society's Walking Tour Mobile App

This is my attempt to scrapbook the Redmond Historical Society's "Steps in Time" launch. "Steps in Time" is a mobile app walking guide for people interested learning about our landmark buildings and downtown history.  Redmond historian Tom Hitzorth is still giving "live" walking tours.  Mr. Hitzroth customizes each walk.  Register Here.

Senior V.P. Mary Hanson came up with the name for the mobile app. This event was colorful, fun and informing.  I learned  how Mr. Hitzroth searches, investigates and documents historical records  I especially liked the youth coloring program and costumes.  

Mary Hanson, Senior V.P. of the  Redmond Historical Society with Richard Morris,
a Society webmaster volunteer and my neighbor

John Tosh Homestead presentation by Redmond historian Tom Hitzroth

 Miguel Llanos, Co-Founder of Redmond Historical
Society and Redmond's friendliest cop.  Miguel later
tried the Walking Tour App.
Tom Hitzroth tells a little bit about himself and how he investigates

The costumes were donated by A Masquerade Costume  We were generously given quality bags to carry home literature and small gifts donated by city businesses.