Friday, July 14, 2017

Changes in the Sammamish Valley - Pictures worth a thousand words

Image result for lake sammamish images

To help visualize how Redmond's landscape has changed over time, the City of Redmond Natural Resources Division asked the Seattle nonprofit Common Space to help create a series of time-lapse computer visualizations. They reflect how three different views of the Redmond would have changed from 1890 through 1936 to the year 2000. 
  • Looking northwest from Lake Sammamish down the Sammamish River Valley
    1890 - 1936 - 2000
  • Looking northeast across the Sammamish River Valley towards downtown Redmond
    1890 - 1936 - 2000
  • Looking southeast from the location of today's Willows Run Golf Course down the Sammamish River Valley towards Lake Sammamish and Mount Rainier
    1890 - 1936 - 2000

Redmond City Council Candidates Primary Profiles

The Primary Election is Tuesday, August 1st.  PLEASE VOTE!

City of Redmond, Council Position 2
Osama Hamdan   
Byron Shutz
Steve Fields
City of Redmond, Council Position 6

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pianos in the Parks Event

Redmond Pianos in the Parks Event is July 22

REDMOND, WA - In partnership with One Reel, The City of Redmond will host the Pianos in the Parks event at the Redmond Central Connector Park on Saturday, July 22. Leading arts, music and community organizations are working together on this one-day event to bring a piano to the park that has been painted by local artist, Melanie Smith. Redmond’s Pianos in the Parks is a free music and arts programming event open to the community.
The event is located along the Redmond Central Connector Trail, making it a great destination to walk or bike. The day’s activities consist of the following schedule:
     10:00 a.m. - Yoga in the Park
     11:30 a.m. - Free Youth Piano Lessons with Kristina Lee Music
     2:30 p.m. - Vis-a-Vis Society 
     4:00 p.m. OK Sweetheart
“Pianos in the Parks is a key way to celebrate arts,” states Mayor John Marchione. “It brings us in accord with the outdoors and our Redmond community. The Redmond Central Connector Park resonates as a grand showcase for public art and scores a successful event that reverberates the vibrancy and diversity of Redmond’s noted artistic culture.”
In addition to the July 22 piano at the Redmond Central Connector Park, the Pianos in the Parks series will have 11 pianos on view at locations around King County between July 13 and July 30. More information on the events and locations of the pianos can be found at  
For more information on the Redmond Pianos in the Parks event, please visit For questions and more information contact Lisa Maher, Communications & Marketing Manager, at or 425-556-2427. This press release is available on

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mayor Marchione's annual "State of the City" address

A few highlights:

Affordable housing is a very big problem.

Change in travel time:
+ 7 minutes on Red-Wood
+ 3 minutes on Willows
- 1 minute on Avondale

655 on-street parking spaces
92 on "sky painting" parking lot (across from the Saturday Market)
116 spaces on 160th.

Redmond housing prices soaring:
2010 - $385,000
2017 - $785,000
Eastside median - $880,000

Lake Washington School District Superintendent's June Message

Dr. Traci Pierce, LWSD Superintendent 
Great communities make schools great, and we very much appreciate the support of our parents, community members, and city and business leaders in supporting the 2016 bond measure that passed, making the new schools a reality today.
Formal portrait of LWSD Superintendent, Dr. Traci Pierce
Dr. Pierce
At the groundbreaking ceremony for Juanita High School, I had the opportunity to share a few words, and talked a bit about yesterday and the past – specifically about 1971. In 1971 a gallon of gas cost 40 cents and a US stamp was 8 cents. Popular films included Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Dirty Harry, and Fiddler on the Roof. Flare jeans and belted turtlenecks were popular. Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World topped Billboard’s list of hot 100 singles.
1971 was also a time of growth and change. In 1971, Apollo 14 lifted off on the third successful lunar landing mission. Back in 1971, Walt Disney World opened in Orlando Florida. Intel released the world’s commercially available microprocessor, the Intel 4004. And back in 1971, Juanita High School originally opened as a groundbreaking new school in Lake Washington School District.
Since 1971 the current Juanita High School has proudly served thousands and thousands of students. Over the past 46 years I estimate approximately 69,000 students have graduated from Juanita. Today we recognize and honor the past as we look to the future and to 2020, when a new Juanita High School will open and continue a great legacy of proudly serving the Juanita Learning Community.
As superintendent, each June I have the honor and privilege of sharing a few words with all Lake Washington School District graduates in the form of a letter to graduates. This year was an especially meaningful time for me to share with graduates as I prepare to attend my 30th high school reunion this summer. This year I was also inspired by 2017 being the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. My letter to the Class of 2017 is posted here if you would like to read it.
Thank you for another great school year. We are looking forward to 2017-18.
---Excerpt from Superintendent Pierce's June message

Monday, July 10, 2017

New Lake Washington School District Website is launched

It's been 10 years since the Lake Washington School District website has been updated.  Kathryn Reith, Director of Communications, spearheaded the project to create a new website.  She is narrating this video.  Ms. Reith recently retired and a new Communications/Engagement Director has been hired to replace her. Ms. Reith's efforts were invaluable to our community.  She was always willing and eager to work with the public and local media. She will be really missed.

Bob Yoder

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Redmond Kiwanis embraces our community

Club Meeting

"Kiwanis Is All About Helping Children"  

The Redmond Kiwanis Club is composed of men and women who, at the local level, take part in a variety of youth-focused service projects for the community and fund raising activities to support these projects. 

To raise funds to support their youth projects, Redmond Kiwanis are preparing and selling food and ice-cream for the "Rockn' On The River" (video) summer concert series.  The concerts are held on the Outdoor Plaza of the Senior Center.  Remaining concerts are Thursday evenings, 6 - 8:30pm on July 13, 20th, 27th and August 10th.  My wife and I have been to several concerts in the past.  It's a gem.  The music is lively and inviting to children and families wanting to dance.    

Many of their service projects involve serving food for the vulnerable.  On July 17th they will prepare and serve food for the homeless youth and young adults at the Landing, a
shelter run by Friends of Youth.  

Redmond Kiwanis hold their meetings at the Family Pancake House on Redmond Way every Friday at 7am.  Often they will host a guest speaker who talks about child-related organizations.  On Friday, July 14th the Outreach Coordinator for "ARC" will present.  ARC works with advocacy groups to educate people about the legislative process for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.   On July 21st a speaker from "Havens Community Connections" will describe how they help women in domestic abuse situations.  

Their website is robust and  updated every month with information about the club, their activities, speakers, and service projects.  Redmond Kiwanis embraces our community and welcomes new members.  If you'd like to be a guest at one of our meetings please call Pat Vache' at 425-883-2314.  

Bob Yoder

Thursday, June 29, 2017

UPDATED, 7/4: My personal experience with mental health

Image result for Dale Chihuly art installation images
"The many colors of  bipolar mood disorder"
Dale Chihuly art (Internet) 
The National Association of Mental Health says 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental health condition in a given year and only half get treated. EvergreenHealth Public Hospital provides an "in -home" mental health service; that's it.  They sponsored a community awareness event last year emphasizing 1 in 4 have a mental health "disease." (Don't worry, it's not contagious :)  For your friends and family living outside the community please know Overlake Medical Center offers a wide variety of premier services for the entire Eastside.  Very important, they have great doctors.  Poor mental health is often inherited.  My mother, brother, sister, two cousins, and I have struggled with a spectrum of  mood disorders and co-morbidities for most of our lives. It's difficult to talk about it because some still consider disorders like bipolar, major depression, and serious anxiety a shameful health condition. Employers may discriminate ... so to get hired and protect one's career many with "the disease" have to be silent. 

Dale Chihuly, too, has struggled with his mental health. Now 75 and still in the thrall of a decades-long glass artist career, he discussed his bipolar mood disorder in detail for the first time publicly in an interview with The Associated Press.   Several  photos of his amazing glass art are included.  

Bob Yoder

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The "Overlake Neighborhood" Is Booming

Esterra Master Park
It appears "flat top" buildings are envisioned for the Overlake Urban Village

Woah!  Downtown construction of the 6-story rental buildings and the couplet road conversion are totally distracting us (at least me) from what's going on in the Overlake Urban Center. To catch up, I'll be posting a series of reports on this "neighborhood" over the next several weeks.

Right now, Education Hill is the most populous neighborhood in the City.  Soon the Downtown will be the most populated; finally in the end, Overlake will be number one.  Five thousand new homes and 95,000 new jobs are are expected between 2010 - 2030.  Overlake is the third largest jobs center in Puget Sound!  Light rail will arrive in six years further stimulating growth.

Yes, the 9-story twin towers proposed for the old post office site are tall but be prepared for Overlake! Commercial buildings are zoned 8-10 stories and residential buildings, 8-12 stories. According the city's old Overlake Urban Center web page seven projects have already been completed.

A few months ago Steve Fischer, City Development Manager, gave Council a status update on projects currently underway:

1)  Capstone Lofts Hotel, 274 rooms, completed by this summer.

2) Avalon Block 4, 230 apartments, partially occupied, near 152nd.

3)  Red 148, old Asteca site, 244 units, 24 "affordable," [Impact fees:  fire $46,872, park $686,984, transportation $360,000]

4) Block 7, partially occupied, 260 apartments and about 13,000 square feet of retail

5 ) Lincoln Park:  Blocks 5, 6A, 9 -- 156th Ave. NE & NE Turing St.  3 multi-family housing buildings:  6-story w/ 215 homes, 8-story w/ 212 homes, 6-story, w/ 231 homes, just starting, 150,000 cubic yards removed.

6) Avalon Block 8 on NE 24th & 152nd, 330 units, just starting, 25,000 cubic yards removed.

More to come...

Bob Yoder

Thursday, June 22, 2017

UPDATED 6/25: "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 "browns and mustards" - Councilmembers Hank Myers and Kim Allen in particular. But nothing was done. 

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. Oscar said blue was more sophisticated and red shouts.  Chair David Scott Mead -- very influential -- jokingly said he'd see the red from his house, summarizing 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

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