Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Light Rail Construction Impacts Redmond Natural Areas

Light rail penetrates Bear Creek forested wetlands near Overlake Urgent Care.

Light rail crosses a mere 6-feet over Bear Creek, keeping low to pass under the SR 520 ramp. 

Denuded riparian trees and vegetation will be enhanced and fully restored.  

Photos by Yoder, 5/14/2022

Human Services: Redmond Community Court & Nonprofit Funding With Construction Taxes

Council discussed human services programs at their Committee of the Whole  meeting on May 17, 2022

Brook Buckingham, Manager of Human Services, said "it's difficult to receive one-time money to fund nonprofits because you don't want to scale up gaping and in operations, then be back in two years needing more funding."  Brook said she didn't want to invalidate the funding but it was a challenge.  Planning Director Carol Helland, agreed saying it was difficult to use the $2.5 million and suggested greater stability through budgeting.  One-time money is collected from taxes on construction.


Community court participants must not have any violent felony convictions in the last five years; any pending violent felony charges; or a sex offender history.

A community court is an alternative problem-solving court. It differs from traditional court in that it seeks to identify and address the underlying challenges of court participants that may contribute to further criminal activity. Its goal is to build stronger and safer neighborhoods and reduce recidivism.

Having court hearings in a safe, neutral and community-centered location (such as the Redmond library encourages the participants to stay engaged and removes the stigma associated with the courthouse. 

A community resource center is an integral component of community court. The specific services available at each community resource center vary by city. Examples of services available to court participants and all other community members, include:

  • Substance Use Disorder Assessment/Support
  • Mental Health Assessment/Support
  • Public Assistance Support
  • Housing Assistance

One westbound lane on Redmond Way will close for month

Tomorrow, Wednesday May 18, construction will begin in the westbound lanes of Redmond Way. One westbound lane will be closed for approximately one month. Expect major delays – alternate routes are highly recommended. https://www.redmond.gov/1526 (Facebook)

Regional growth over the last ten years has caused increased traffic demand on Redmond Way and East Lake Sammamish Parkway. The signalized intersection of these two arterials experiences high traffic volumes, long queues, and delays during the peak hours. To address this, the City of Redmond is redesigning this intersection in order to improve vehicle operations, add pedestrian and bicycle connectivity to each approach, and enhance safety for all modes.

The project will realign the travel lanes around this intersection to allow better bicycle connectivity and more functional phasing operations, rebuild the traffic signal to provide better visibility to all users, and allow large trucks to have the room to turn through the intersection without traveling over adjacent lanes. 

Work will include:

  • New channelization for each approach to the intersection
  • Enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • Curb and sidewalk modifications 
  • Modification to the traffic signal equipment, phasing, and timing
-- redmond.gov

Monday, May 16, 2022

Proposed 8-story Mixed-use Building on ARCO Site Touts a "Dog Park"

The project proposes an eight-story mixed-use building with 217 residential dwelling units above 1,010 square feet of ground floor retail, three live-work units and residential amenities, as well as 220 below grade parking spaces.

It includes a dog park, a community bike repair, community co-work area, and wi-fi plaza open to the public. The design features a terraced residential courtyard with seating areas, seat steps for gathering, a barbeque area and yoga lawn.

Do you think an 8-story building should be shoe-horned into a 5-story neighborhood?   A water feature in the plaza a tiny "dog park" and other public spaces provided "benefit" for a height bonus of two levels. The architect was inspired by the historic Nokomis library.  The park is towards the end of the video.  

The maximum height is five stories in this district without the use of the Green Building Incentive Program (GBP). 

Looking south towards Leary Way
164th Avenue is left

Sunday, May 15, 2022

$1,308,150 Overtime Costs From Nine Firefighters Refusing Vaccination.


Quarterly Overtime Report January 1, 2021 Through March 31, 2022 

Citywide overtime costs are 130.3% of budget versus a 62.5% target for the biennium largely due to unanticipated overtime related to the Fire and Police response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Excluding unbudgeted costs that are fully reimbursable (i.e., related to the pandemic and development agreements), citywide overtime costs are 117.6% of budget. 

Fire Department Overtime costs are 145.1% of budget versus a 62.5% target for the biennium primarily due to the following: 

Extraordinary or Unanticipated Events: 

o COVID-19 Pandemic: $561,903 in unbudgeted overtime costs related to the staffing of vaccination programs and testing sites. These costs are fully reimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Washington State Patrol, King County Public Health, and Microsoft. 

o February 2021 Snow Event: $12,809 in unbudgeted overtime costs. 

o December 2021 Snow Event: $37,860 in unbudgeted overtime costs.

 o Vaccination Mandate: An estimated $1,308,150 in unbudgeted overtime costs to backfill for 9 positions that opted to not get vaccinated. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

COVID-19 Vaccination Data For Washington State


COVID-19 Dashboard:  May, 9, 2022:

74.4% of 5-year-olds-and-up in Washington State have completed the "primary  series." (fully vaccinated, not boosted.) 

81.8% of 5-year-olds-and-up in Washington State received at least one dose.  


Vaccination Data Summary, May 11, 2022

Unvaccinated 12-34 year-olds in Washington are:

• 1.5 times more likely to get COVID-19 compared with 12-34 year-olds who have completed the primary series. (fully vaccinated, not boosted.)

4.2 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared with 12-34 year-olds who have completed the primary series. (fully vaccinated, no boost.) 

Recap of Recent COVID-19 News and Updates, 5/12/22

Washington State Department of Health

Recap of Recent COVID-19 News and Updates

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Contact: Public Information Desk

Statewide Response Updates

Newest numbers. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 1,524,078 confirmed cases as of 11:59 p.m. on May 10. There have been 12,724 COVID-19 deaths in Washington.

Data note (Wednesday, May 11)Due to a technical issue in our data systems, the Hospital Use data may be incomplete.

For the most recent number of cases by county, demographics, and more, visit the Department of Health's dashboard.

[7-day count of hospital admissions in King County is 514. (4/28 - 5/4) Trend is up.]

[Cumulative cases in King County are:  40,736 cases, 11,712 hospitalizations, 2,754 deaths.]  5% hospital beds occupied by COVID patients; case trend is up.]

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Redmond Senior and Community Center Tour / Groundbreaking June 2nd

Join the architect in a walking tour throughout the Senior & Community Center.

Community Invited to Celebrate Groundbreaking of the New Redmond Senior & Community Center

REDMOND, WA – The City of Redmond invites community members to celebrate the commencement of the construction for the new Redmond Senior & Community Center during a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, June 2. Brief remarks from Mayor Angela Birney and Parks and Recreation Interim Director Loreen Hamilton will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the site of the new center, 8703 160th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052, followed by an open house inside the lobby of City Hall. 

“We are excited to see all of the planning and community engagement coming to fruition during the construction phase,” said Interim Director Hamilton. “A new community center with dedicated space for seniors, as well as additional recreational opportunities is the culmination of years of work and collaboration across the City, including input from a wide variety of stakeholders and Redmond seniors.”

The new Redmond Senior & Community Center will be a 52,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, with a total project budget of *$48 million. The building will utilize LEED-certified materials, efficient energy-conserving systems, and rooftop solar panels which will provide 50% of the building’s electricity. The City of Redmond began outreach for the project in 2020, which confirmed Redmond’s need for a larger center to serve the senior population while also serving the entire community with cultural arts, events, and multigenerational recreation experiences and gathering space.

"Woodinville Weekly": Carnation Takes First Glance At Economic Development


Carnation City Hall / photo "Woodinville Weekly"

By Madysen McClain, "Woodinville Weekly," 5/4/22

Residents and city officials in Carnation are brainstorming ways to preserve the city’s small-town feel, while also encouraging economic growth.

Ricardo Noguera, an expert in economic development, was hired by the city as a consultant in April 2022. According to the city, he was brought on board to provide administrative support and guidance for using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

For over two decades, Noguera has helped communities with economic development in cities like Tacoma and Los Angeles, Calif.

Noguera visited Carnation in April 2022 for a “fact-finding mission,” he said. He toured the city and spoke to stakeholders such as the Carnation Chamber of Commerce and business leaders. From there, he compiled notes and recommendations for the city to pursue economic development. 

He shared his findings during a council meeting on April 19. Residents and business owners showed overwhelming support to preserve and enhance the small-town character of Carnation, he said.  

He said constituents also want to increase tourism dollars spent in the city by developing an inviting space for visitors to experience local farms, parks, restaurants and shops. 

“You do not want to be Duvall. You do not want to be a bigger city,” he said.

Molbak's Shares Vision For 20-acre "Garden District"

Photo / "Woodinville Weekly"

 "Gardens District," a 20-acre downtown Woodinville development. "A city within a garden." Phase One (of three) will include 250,000 sf commercial space, 220 unit apartment, and structured parking.  Molbak's Garden to occupy part of the commercial space. Built green,  Breaking ground ~ late 2022.  


"Mobak's Shares Vision for "Garden District" 

Molbak’s Garden + Home plans to transform its 20-acre property in downtown Woodinville into a “city within a garden,” according to CEO Julie Kouhia. 

The company will break ground on the new development, aptly named the Gardens District, in less than a year.

Molbak’s unveiled its vision for the project during a Woodinville Chamber of Commerce luncheon at 21 Acres on Thursday, April 21.  

“We have a current location that we love, but we recognize that it's getting old and it's going to need improvement,” Kouhia said. “We decided we didn't want to just rebuild.”

The construction site will be located between Northeast 171st Street and Northeast 175th Street. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 or early 2023, depending on permitting. 

Molbak’s is expected to celebrate the grand openings of its new store in 2025, Kouhia said. Until then, the original store will remain open.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Redmond Council Approves $7.5 million Homicide Settlement

 Message from Chief Lowe on Settlement with Churna Family

Chief Darrell Lowe

Dear Redmond Community,

At a special meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, Redmond City Council approved a $7.5 million settlement to the family of Andrea Thomas Churna, who was shot and killed by a Redmond Police officer on Sept. 20, 2020.

The original Redmond Police Department news release on Sept. 21, 2020, included an error, stating, "During the interaction, she confronted officers with a handgun, multiple shots were fired, and the subject was struck several times." 

While Churna was armed with a handgun earlier in the encounter with Redmond officers, when she was shot and killed in the hallway just outside of her apartment, Churna was unarmed. Following the shooting, the officers found Churna’s gun on the balcony of her apartment. I apologize to Andrea Thomas Churna's family and loved ones for the inaccurate statement made regarding the circumstances surrounding her death.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Challenge And Sorrow Of Cutting Down My Tree

 The city is updating their tree regulations soon. City council is reviewing the tree permit and considering community donations to a "Tree Fund" for tree planting events. 

Pam on Landmark tree stump in our front yard.
UPDATED: 04/2022  As much as I love trees, it was time to remove this Doug fir from our front yard. With the high winds and rain we get the tree was hazardous being only 20 feet from our house.  So, after much thought and some pain I filed for a city tree removal permit and hired Rudy Schulze of "Top Notch Tree Service" to do the work. Removing my tree was a heartbreak.

When we moved into our "East Firs" Burnstead home 25 years ago, the tree was maybe half the size?  But in the last 7-10 summers the tree sucked up every drop of water around it, killing a small tree, some shrubs and our lawn.  Acidic pine cones, Needles and branches dropped like rain on the roof.  Our street appeal was suffocating.  

           My double-trunked fir on the left was removed
after getting a permit from the city.
Pam and I wanted to salvage one of the forked  trunks, but Rudy and one of his arborists said no, that felling only one trunk would be like pruning more than 50% of the tree. Rudy called it out as a hazardous Landmark and removed the entire tree and checked it off on the permit.  Not an Exception since hazardous. 

Some tips:  Be careful of Evergreen arborist companies(s). IMO only one is professional, the others not so much.  A few aren't  arborists and over-cut to raise their profits. One quoted over $2,500 for the tree.  I paid Rudy from Top Notch, $950 and a tip.  He dropped the trunks and limbs next to my vine maple and house with precision.  The very next day, Rudy's partners hauled away all the wood for free and offered affordable stump grinding services. I also highly recommend Paul Harvold, 425-748-4649. Visit the International Society of Arboriculture website to find an ISA certified arborist.

Redmond requires a permit for removing "significant trees" and Landmark Trees. There's no fee. I  heard about the permit by word-of-mouth.  You're allowed  to remove up to two healthy or hazardous "significant" trees (six - to less than 30 inches in diameter) or one healthy, non-hazardous Landmark every 365 days with a permit.  

found the permit hereRead it carefully. For every tree removed you're required to replace it in your yard with small native trees even if there's no space for it. Arborists don't tell you.  If this is a hardship in any way, and you love trees, please know, the City Council is updating their tree regulations and considering a neighborhood "Tree Fund" for community Park planting events. 

Photos & Story By Bob Yoder, 03/2011
Updated:  4/29/2022, 7:30am

Councilmembers value your input.   If  you want to donate to a community "Tree Fund" for tree planting events send council your wishes by emailing council@redmond.gov or email customer service at Info@redmond.gov.  Your feedback will make a huge difference. 

Redmond's Threatening Spills Reported To Ecology

An excerpt from Redmond's Environmental Sustainability Action Plan Implementation Update


 • The City of Redmond and other agencies investigated 164 illicit discharge (spill) reports in 2021. Of these, 55 calls came through the City Spill Hotline.

• 46 of the spills were located within City rights-of-way. 25 of the spills we responded to were determined to “constitute a threat to human health or the environment” and were reported to the Department of Ecology. Four discharges resulted in water quality impacts to receiving waters and were also reported to the Department of Ecology.

• One City response was related to an illicit connection (associated with new construction) discovered by City staff.

• One hundred percent of the MS4 has been checked for illicit connections since the permit became effective (August 2019). These checks are integrated into biennial catch basin inspections.

-- Council Committee Of The Whole Memo, 4/27/2022

COVID Cases Rising in King County

COVID cases are rising a tad in King County.   DEFCON YELLOW!

Pam and I were vaccinated yesterday for a second Modera booster!😇 (Read KIRO'S article.)  After the shot, I read immunity is strengthened in the first four months but then wanes by the eighth month. This was disappointing, especially after having a reaction. (mild fatigue and achiness for a day.)  Pam was fine.  I'm happy having the shot and not as concerned about masks.  

Getting vaccinated is much easier now. Our hassle-free appointment for our Modera was quicker than the first; less paperwork, shorter waits, and still time to ask questions.  

-- Bob Yoder, 4/25/2022

SEATTLE — COVID cases are again on the rise in King County. It’s pushed King County from the “green” to the “yellow” zone – meaning the county is back in the CDC’s medium COVID-19 community level.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Tesla STEM High School Top School in Washington


Tesla STEM High School in Redmond is the top school in Washington, according to a new national ranking by U.S. News and World Report. This year's list of best high schools evaluated more than 17,800 schools nationwide, including hundreds in the Evergreen State.

The 2022 ranking of best high schools is intended to show how well the nation's public schools serve all students, regardless of achievement level, by teaching them basic skills and preparing them for college-level work, according to a news release from U.S. News.

-- Lucas Combos, PATCH, 4/26  (Abridged)  

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Small Business Holds Fundraiser For Ukrainian Relief Efforts


Redmond Councilmember Steve Fields sponsored a Ukrainian art fundraiser April 16 at "Down Pour Coffee Bar," a small business owned by his wife Roni. The event was a heart throb; yet so cheerful and fun!  The art was created and sold by Ukrainian locals, music played, and the weather was great.  On first count, the Ukrainians and their friends outnumbered the supporters when I was there.   

Julia, the Ukrainian event organizer advertised,  "All proceeds go directly to Ukrainian relief efforts."  Good to know!  So, I doubled down on my art purchases and enjoy our kitchen nook that much more. 

Mr. Fields invited Margo Shiromyama, Special Projects for OneRedmond to test the waters. Steve thinks the event could be a good model for other small businesses.  He remarked he's presently having good discussions with OneRedmond.

I met a lady who finds support and resources for local Ukrainians. (Her family's in this picture.) She says Ukrainian refugees have yet to arrive in numbers but it's only a matter of time.  Afghans are first in line for now.  Washington state has at least 6,200 Ukrainians, behind only California and New York.  

The Ukrainian population in Washington State is high because their social networks and our human services are more attractive than California and other states.  Redmond ranks 49th of cities with the highest percentage of Ukrainians in Washington State.  When the door opens to Ukrainian refugees many will find their families here.     

-- Bob Yoder, 4/24/2022 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Our Stories | Redmond Police / April 2022

Have you ever seen the city police team patrolling the downtown on their bicycles?  

Friday, April 22, 2022

PATCH: Silver Cloud To Temporarily House Refugees

King County will temporally use Redmond's Silver Cloud Hotel to house refugees from Afghanistan and elsewhere.  The county plans to welcome the first guests to the hotel by the first week of May and will host them through September. 

King County Constantine's office said temporary use of the hotel will not impact the timeline for transforming the hotel into a supportive site for people experiencing long-term homelessness

-- Lucas Combos, PATCH, 4/21/2022  (excerpted and edited.)

Read the complete PATCH article here.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Coyotes Abound In Our Neighborhood

"Ring" photo of our coyote visitor

Last night a friendly critter visited our front walkway.  First, we thought it was a cat, but look at those legs.  And the legs look a bit skinny for a dog. "It could be a deer," Pam sighed.  😕  No, it's a coyote!  You can almost see it's bushy tail and pointed ears.

Is he chasing down a cat, a squirrel, a bunny?  Lots of coyotes roam Education Hill neighborhoods, the woods and Powerline trail.  Check this photo of feasting coyote on South Education Hill.

Important to know:  Coyotes will chase down and eat cats and dogs (up to 50 pounds.)  They can hit 40 mph.  Hundreds of  unseen wild (feral) cats live in our neighborhoods so they're probably a primary food source.  

According to the Internet, coyotes run in packs of 3-7 adults and 2-7 pups.  Hmm, not so sure about that. They mate between January and March and are commonly seen then.

Be vigil when your cat or pup is out at dusk.

-- Bob Yoder, 4/15/2022
   Education Hill