Thursday, January 17, 2019

Microsoft is pledging $500 million for affordable housing in the Seattle area

Image result for microsoft imagesThe following "New York Times" article by Karen Weise on Microsoft's pledge was published on January 16th,2019:

The author summarizes and ends her article with:

“This is where Microsoft is going to be, and the region needs to work,” Ms. Balducci said. “I don’t think this is wholly altruism.”

Claudia Balducci, a member of the King County Council who helps lead the Regional Affordable Housing Task Force.

  -- Bob Yoder

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

PTSA Council Endorses Levy

LWPTSA Council Endorses and Supports LWSD Levy
At the January 2019 general membership meeting, the LWPTSA Council voted to endorse and support the LWSD Capital Projects Levy on the April 23rd ballot.
The LWSD levy addresses immediate capacity needs and district-wide safety measures. If passed, the levy authorizes a six-year levy totaling $120 million or an average of $20 million per year for six years. The levy maintains the current tax rate with no rate increase. 

Levy projects include: 
  • Classroom additions at Lake Washington High School, including auxiliary gyms and commons
  • Classroom additions at Carson Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Rose Hill Elementary, and Twain Elementary, including expansion of core facilities where feasible
  • Critical safety projects, including adding exterior security cameras at elementary schools and entry modifications for security at Eastlake, Redmond and Lake Washington High Schools. (Juanita High School's entry modifications will be added during the current construction project.)

For more information on the LWSD 2019 levy website.

Are you registered to vote? If not sign up here!

The Administration  has informed me the classrooms will be brick and mortar, not portables.  BY 

Monday, January 14, 2019

OPINION: Council shouldn't approve emergency moratorium on retirement homes - specifically Emerald Heights

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Eugene Zakhareyev
If you follow Redmond city politics, I have a newsflash for you - at the next meeting, the City Council will consider moratorium!
There has been a lot of development in the last decade, and many residents asked the council and the mayor whether Redmond should take a break and evaluate the impacts of new buildings in Downtown and Overlake. So surely the Council plans to address these impacts? They are finally listening, and new developments will have to pay for the development! No more school district levies & bonds, or tax increases, no more new multi-story buildings replacing one story plazas and driving small businesses out of town!
But if you followed Redmond local politics for some time, you already know the answer. The moratorium is not targeting developers. The Council instead is concerned about “the triple density bonus for Retirement Residences with assisted living facilities in residential zones”.
Yep, those pesky seniors invading our residential areas with their retirement homes! The Council is gravely concerned, enough to warrant the emergency moratorium on such developments!
However, if you were to review pending land use applications, the reasons for the moratorium will become much more clear. There is pending application to expand Emerald Heights campus in Education Hill neighborhood of Redmond, the application that is vigorously opposed by the residents of nearby Abbey Road neighborhood. No other residential home applications are in pipeline.
I am very sympathetic to the community concerns; heck, just last year our neighborhood shelled out close to thirty grand on opposing the city decision (if you have to ask - the Council did not propose any moratoriums in our case, and actively resisted any attempts from the residents to engage). There were multiple cases recently where the community questioned the development initiatives - homeless shelter on 24th Street (nope, no moratorium), Idylwood Park tree removal (no moratorium needed), Seritage development at Sears site (what moratorium? The area can accommodate 16,000 new cars a day). The list can go on, but none of those issues was important enough to the Council.
So why the Council is suddenly so attentive to the community needs? What is different about Emerald Heights development? The residents concerns seem to be pretty typical to today's Redmond (the building is too high, the trees removed etc.) Why would the city stall the application for years, and now when the application is close to approval, why would the Council consider such drastic measures as moratorium?
It is just so happens that proposed new Emerald Heights building would be visible from the windows of home of Mr. Stillin, Redmond City ex-Council members. Mr.Stillin was on the Council until 2017 (the year the city withdrawn SEPA approval for Emerald Heights application and the year the application was denied by the City - just to be reinstated after the appeal). Since he left the Council, Mr. Stillin heads the residents opposition to the project.
One can appreciate the Council willingness to help their long time colleague. But there is a thin line between helping a friend and the conflict of interest, and this moratorium proposal appears to cross this line.
I am for one very disappointed in Councilmember Carson who proposed this emergency measure. Targeting Emerald Heights community of over 500 residents is not something public expects from our elected representative. I feel for Abbey Road residents, but the same legal process should be followed regardless of who affected - there are no VIP provisions. The city code describes appeal procedures available to any parties of record; should this process be unfair it is the Council responsibility to change that.
But for now it seems that the best way to make sure your neighborhood is excluded from development in Redmond is to buy a home next to the council member residence 
Should you want to attend the Council meeting, it is at Redmond City Hall on January 15th, 7:30 PM (or you can reach the Council and the Mayor at

  -- Eugene Zakhareyev
     Source:  facebook  

Idylwood Park restoration of tree removal areas

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Gary Smith teaching restoration at Idylwood Park /
Credit Forterra
In August 2017, two separate large cottonwood tree limb failures occurred at Idylwood Park. The City hired a contractor to remove fourteen hazardous cottonwood trees in October 2018.  Two remaining hazardous trees have been pruned or are currently being evaluated.

Restoration Plantings: Restoration of the Idylwood Park tree removal areas will occur February – March 2019. A community volunteer replanting event will tentatively take place on Saturday, February 9. Volunteers and City staff will plant trees, shrubs, groundcovers...

Source:  Council business meeting, 1/15 memo

Bob Yoder

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

UPDATED: Redmond's ERRATIC art installation will be re-located

Below are two pictures of Redmond's Centennial "ERRATIC" art installation.  It was constructed with railroad plates to recognize Redmond's status as a railroad town.  It's called ERRATIC to recognize that glaciers shaped Redmond.  Erratics are huge boulders left behind by glaciers.  

At the January 8th Council meeting Staff announced owing to light rail the ERRATIC will be moved from it's present location on 166th near Redmond Town Center to "Gilman Landing" south of the Matador near Leary Way.  Sound Transit will pay $576,000 for its re-location.  The City will move it....a laborious job. The original cost to the City for the art was $115,000.  

Bob Yoder

OPINION: Development of Marymoor Village should pause until Zoning Code is defined

During last night's Study Session on "streamlining zoning and regulations for Senior Housing" Council V.P David Carson recommended "a short pause of about six months" (moratorium) in the development of senior housing so Council can have the opportunity to evaluate certain aspects of the code without risk of further development, so we can trust the Administration in the spirit of our intent."  Mr. Carson proposed an Ordinance to this effect and recommended discussion at the next business meeting.

Marymoor Village Neighborhood:

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Marymoor Subarea of SE Redmond
According to the Design Review Board's report on the LMC- Marymoor project the Redmond Zoning Code is silent on how the goal of Marymoor Village will be different from the Downtown neighborhood. The Design Board wrote "it should be funkier, cooler, eclectic, and different looking than Downtown. Thus, these ideas need a great deal of attention from the Design Review Board."

Council is placing trust in the Administration for the development of  Marymoor Village by holding a few community meetings and a Hearing with belief the Design Review Board report will suffice. The Redmond Zoning Code is silent.  A pause in the development of  LMC and the Marymoor neighborhood should transpire until the Redmond Zoning Code is defined and thoroughly studied by Council.

- Bob Yoder

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Council reviews tourism funding

Image result for tourism imagesThe City of Redmond collects a lodging tax of 1% on each overnight stay at Redmond hotels and allocates these revenues to the Lodging Tax Fund.

The purpose of the Lodging Tax Fund (“tourism fund”) is to increase tourism in Redmond by attracting visitors— especially overnight visitors who stay in Redmond hotels—by funding the marketing or operation of special events, festivals and tournaments.

The tourism matching grant program is intended to provide opportunities for potential partners to bring events and festivals to the Redmond community. The City received 17 grant applications from non-profit and for-profit organizations, in response to the annual matching grant applications request announcement.

Applications are reviewed against the program fund criteria including: tourism promotion, benefit to the community, innovation, community support, evidence of partnerships, scale of the project, other funding sources, and new or ongoing funding. The Lodging Tax Fund Advisory Committee is recommending funding all 17 applications evaluated as they each strongly met the grant criteria and were evaluated as a good fit for Redmond.

A total of $146,000 of matching grants is recommended by the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee for City Council’s approval.  A total request of $194,174 of Community Events and Arts programming is identified through the lodging tax, which is equivalent to the 39% previously identified by City Council for arts and events.

Programing includes:  Redmond Derby Days  Redmond Lights  So Bazaar  Redmond Arts Season  Redmond Moving Arts Center  Downtown Park Programming

Source:  Council Committee memo, 1/8/19

Council considers new street grid on Redmond Way

Looking north from Redmond Center parking lot -
future 158th Ave. NE extension here. Soulfood is on left
The City of Redmond and the owners (Nelsons) of Redmond Center wish to enter into a Development Agreement to define the improvements to the extension of 158th Avenue NE from NE 83rd Street to the intersection of Redmond Way, and to clarify the obligations and requirements for utility services for future developments of the multiple parcels at Redmond Center.

In August 2013, City Council adopted the 2013 Transportation Master Plan and directed the Administration to pursue the completion of the downtown street grid.  One of these streets is 158th Avenue NE, which currently terminates at the existing parking lot of the Redmond Center shopping center near Ben Franklin.  As of 2018, the acquisition and improvement of the 158th Avenue NE extension is an unfunded project in the Redmond Transportation Master Plan. The property owners (Nelsons) of 2 Redmond Center have agreed to dedicate the future extension of 158th Avenue NE at no cost to the City. This Development Agreement does not waive the Redmond Center Owner’s obligations to comply with City regulations or development standards that are applicable today or for future redevelopment of Redmond Center.

Source:  Council Committee memo, 1/8/19

The new southern extension of 158th Avenue would tunnel under the Redmond Central Connector to Redmond Way.  The new grid would allow residents living in the massive "Bear Creek" apartment complex, Heron complex and other nearby apartment complexes much better access to Redmond Center services e.g QFC, Staples, etc. Opinion Bob Yoder  

Council President Angela Birney is running for Mayor

I'm experiencing technical difficulties in posting Angela's headshot.  Regrets.  To see her picture "Read More"  

Angela Birney's Experience


Redmond City Council President
Redmond City Councilmember
Redmond Parks and Trails Committee Chair
LWSF Junior High Science Grants and Grant Review
Norman Rockwell PTA
Lake Washington School District Boundary Review

Hopelink Board Chair
King County Board of Health, Sound Cities (SCA) Caucus Chair
Regional Policy Committee, SCA Member
Cascade Water Alliance Board, Secretary/Treasurer
Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Advisory Committee
Eastside Transportation Partnership
SCA Public Issues Committee Alternate
Redmond Nourishing Networks
Governing for Regional Equity and Inclusion Working Group Member

BAE Biology, MEd Professional Development
Leadership Eastside Class of 2017
Leadership Eastside Executive Insight 2018

Meeting scheduled to encourage folks to run for office

Image result for city government election images

Just wanted to let you know that there is an event this Saturday, organized by Andrew Koeppen (prospective Redmond mayor candidate) to encourage folks to run for public office this election. With 4 seats on the council and the mayor this would be quite an interesting year.   So if you know someone who might be interested - the event is Saturday, January 12, 10:30 AM at Redmond Library.

- Tom Hinman
Imagine Overlake

Monday, January 7, 2019

Education Hill Neighborhood Assoc. Forums

Education Hill Neighborhood Association will be presenting a series of topic-based forums of interest to Eastside residents. These forums will be held at First Baptist Church of Redmond (16700 NE 95th Street, Redmond, WA  98052).  Parking available for all forums in the north lot. 

Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Levy                           Thursday, February 7, 2019         7:30 PM

Representatives from LWSD will provide information and be available for questions regarding the Capital Projects Levy proposed for the April 23, 2019 ballot. 

Forum will begin at 7:30 pm in the Auditorium. 

City of Redmond Planning Director                                            Thursday, March 7, 2019 7:00 PM

Erika Vandenbrande will answer questions about her role as the Planning Director for the City of Redmond, as well as her responsibilities as the Community Development Director.

Forum will begin at 7:00 pm in the Auditorium. 

King County Public Hospital District No. 2                                  Thursday, April 4, 2019    7:00 PM

Representatives from King County Public Hospital District No. 2 will provide information and be available for questions regarding the $325,000,000 Bond proposed for the April 23, 2019 ballot. 

Forum will begin at 7:00 pm in the Auditorium. 

Forums are available to the public; audience members will have a chance to submit questions of their own to speakers.  No childcare available.

The purpose of the Education Hill Neighborhood Association (EdHNA) is to empower residents by providing a forum to participate in, and advocate for: - A high level of civic engagement by its residents on issues that affect the Education Hill neighborhood - Active, continual and effective communications and conversations between EdHNA residents and community officials - A positive quality of life within the community to include items related to: diverse and inclusive community building, safety, growth management, and neighborhood improvements.

Paige Norman
(425) 214 6800
Education Hill Neighborhood Association

UPDATED: City's First Economic Outlook Event -- February 24th

The First Economic Outlook Event is to be held this month on February 24th. The public is invited with $30 collected at the door.  If you already registered, thank you!

On February 24th, OneRedmond will bring you the well-known local economist Chris Mefford to share need-to-know insights for the year. Join us for a continental breakfast as we listen to what to expect in 2019. Mr. Mefford is President and CEO of Community Attributes and has a remarkable track record of providing sound forecasts and an entertainment delivery. A breakfast and networking you don’t want to miss!

Where:               Seattle Marriott in Redmond, 7401 164th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052
When:                February 24, 2019 from 8am to 10am
More info:

Hope to see you there!

Donna Bannister | Operations Manager
P: 425.885.4014 x1028383 158th Ave NE Suite 225 | Redmond, WA  98052

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Redmond Mayor will not seek re-election this year

John Marchione
Redmond, WA – Yesterday, Mayor John Marchione announced to city staff that he will not seek re-election later this year. The three-term mayor started in 2008 and was immediately challenged by a major recession and an affordable housing crisis. During this period of economic instability, Marchione created balanced budgets and earned the City a financial rating of AAA from Standard and Poor’s. 

Todd Banks appointed EvergreenHealth commissioner

Currently four of seven commissioners are appointed, not elected.  IMO this is not healthy for the community. The commissioners continue to avoid providing full mental health services. In the April election a $325M measure will be on the ballot mostly to fund seismic retrofits.  According to an Executive Laurene Burton, the measure would cost property owners 0.18/1K. 

- B.Yoder

Image of Todd Banks, member of the EvergreenHealth Board of Commissioners in Kirkland, WA.
Kenmore Air president Todd Banks will fill the position previously held by retiring commissioner Jeannette Greenfield
Kirkland, Wash. – EvergreenHealth’s Board of Commissioners formally voted to approve the appointment of Todd Banks to represent the community at-large on the health system’s seven-member governing board.
Banks is president and general manager of the long-standing, family-owned Kenmore Air company. He brings a wealth of professional expertise and community involvement experience that will serve EvergreenHealth in advancing its vision to create an inclusive community health system that is the most trusted source for health care solutions.

New Year wishes from Council member Steve Fields

Steve's holiday letter to Friends and Family

Last December at this time I was preparing for my first year on the Redmond City Council. An opportunity only made possible by your support and inspiration. It was an exciting moment in my life. This Holiday week, I am again preparing, now for my second year, with an even deeper appreciation and dedication to the work of serving as an elected representative.

I am firmly committed to and guided by the belief that local governments must maintain a close and active decision-making partnership with the community to not only keep the public informed of what we are doing,  but more importantly,  to keep us informed by the public on what we need to do.

Steve FieldsHere in Redmond progress has been made over this past year.  As our most senior member on the city council put it during his closing comments on the 2019/2020 budget approval “We have a new spirit of inquiry on the council. We are questioning our techniques, assumptions, and our values”

The year ahead could well be the most important 365 DAYS in Redmond history.

2019 is again an election year and voters will have the opportunity to continue shaping our city leadership. We need to elect city leaders that include people with different experiences, thoughts, perspectives and backgrounds, who care deeply about the people who live here,  and who will challenge the current conventional wisdoms and approaches.

In 2019 we will be updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan. This is a critical time and our most important opportunity to ensure and instill community driven innovation with the purpose of making things better in ways that benefit everyone. This starts with the creativity and courage of people who are prepared to apply their ideas in search of new and better solutions. 

Although many of you do not live in Redmond you have supported my campaigns and my desire to make a better community and in turn a better world. Everyone of you is very much appreciated. 

All of us at the Fields home wish you the very best in the year and years ahead.


Steve Fields