Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Photo by John Reinke, November 2011 near Redmond library

Seismic Upgrades Recommended for 1996 City Water Storage Tank

The City owns and operates a four and half million-gallon (4.5 MG) water storage tank in SE Redmond. The tank is located at 18609 NE 65th St., near Fire Station 16 and Genie Industries. 

The steel tank was constructed in 1996 and is scheduled for exterior and interior paint recoating. The contract consultant, Gray & Osborne Engineers, has completed their preliminary evaluation of the existing tank coatings and the seismic structural design from 1996. 

The evaluation report recommends that the tank re-coatings move forward, and the seismic design be updated to higher structural performance level. 

This project will also make other improvements to the tank, installing new safety railings, storm gutters, support piping and telemetry system updates. The water tank will need to be taken off line and drained during construction to re-coat the interior surfaces and to upgrade the seismic system. The temporary shutdown will occur outside of the summer peak period. The shutdown will have no impact to water service because of the built-in redundancy of the City water system. 

-- Council Public Works Committee memo 

The Great ShakeOut And EvergreenHealth

Millions of people worldwide will practice how to drop, cover and hold on, on Oct. 17 during Great ShakeOut earthquake drills. Lake Washington School District is participating as well as Kaiser Permanente.
Washingtonians can join them by registering for the 2019 Great Washington ShakeOut. Participating is a great way for EvergreenHealth employees, their patients and others to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes.
I wrote our seven elected officials at EvergreenHealth to encourage them to participate in the program since the hospital is so concerned about seismic retrofitting, as per the failed $345 million bond. They never responded how and if they are preparing their employees for the big one. EvergreenHealth’s lack of planning doesn’t encourage me to go there. Hopefully, our community hospital will take its head out of the sand and join other hospitals participating in the Great ShakeOut.
Bob Yoder
This Letter to the Editor was published in the Redmond Reporter, 10/13

Thursday, October 10, 2019

EvergreenHealth Seeking Community Advisor Candidates

Volunteers provide counsel to EvergreenHealth Board of Commissioners and Administration

Kirkland, Wash. – EvergreenHealth is now recruiting volunteers for its Community Advisor program, who play a vital role in advancing the health system’s mission to enrich the health and well-being of its community. Community Advisors serve as ambassadors for the organization, helping to shape future services and programs through direct consultation with EvergreenHealth’s elected board and administrative leaders.

Community Advisors attend nine educational sessions throughout the year focusing on health care issues that impact the Eastside community and explore the services EvergreenHealth offers to address those issues. Additionally, they serve on internal EvergreenHealth committees, such as the Ethics and Board Quality committees, and represent EvergreenHealth at community events and organizations.

Board-appointed volunteers serve three-year terms beginning in January, with the option to renew after each three-year term and serving up to nine years. Qualifications include community involvement, professional and/or volunteer experience, strong communication skills and an interest in health care delivery. Advisors must be residents of the EvergreenHealth District, which encompasses Bothell, Duvall, Kenmore, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish and Woodinville.

Please submit applications online by October 31st, available online at www.evergreenhealth.com/advisors; by calling 425.899.2613 or by emailing cmchamberlin@evergreenhealth.com.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Sections Of Education Hill Homes May Be Subject To ReZoning

Take a look at a City of Redmond draft document “City of Redmond Community Strategic Plan 2019”.

On page 10, under 2019-2020 Actions, there is is a bullet for “explore rezones that allow increased density in return for increased affordable housing production”.  Look under Objective 3, ‘Not started’ on page 10 to see the proposed rezone statement. It is mid-page.

There is no explanation of which city locations might be under scrutiny.  

This is is something for the Education Hill neighborhood to be aware of, since there are sections of older homes that may be vulnerable to ‘upzoning’. (Ironically, the older homes are ‘affordable' single family housing).

-Susan Robertson, Education Hill resident

Thursday, October 3, 2019

UPDATED: Exciting Art Planned for Overlake Village

In the October 1st Council Committee meeting some exciting news was reviewed about two large-scale Overlake Village art projects in the vicinity of 152nd Ave. NE.

152nd Ave NE  is planned to become the main street, pedestrian and retail focused corridor in Overlake Village that connects Bellevue, the bus transit center, two city parks and the Overlake Village Light Rail Station.  Bike/Pedestrian and Gateway art are planned.

Gateway "wall art" is planned for the corner of 152nd Ave. NE and 124th Street S.to welcome travelers coming to Redmond by light rail. Council member David Carson (running for re-election) recommended focusing the art on the north wall to greet the incoming light rail travelers. Parks Committee Chair Councilmember Hank Myers (also running for re-election) was concerned  the current SW and NW walls would be cut into existing properties, like Goodwill. He was re-assured the walls would remain at the same level, that it was more of a Department of Transpiration issue, not affecting art. Staff assured council the art wall will be small and fit well with the landscape design.

The Bike/Pedestrian SR520 Bike/Ped bridge to Microsoft has exciting large scale art in the design stage. It's a square tunnel decorated with tiles made, by a robot. with rainbow colors arched over the tunnel and two rows of palm trees leading up to the tunnel. Staff coined it "a celebration of the LGBPQ community." Staff assured Mr. Myers and Mr. Margeson tagging with graffiti wouldn't be a problem.

I was put off staff labeled and pigeonholed this art as they did. Personally, it made me feel happy like I was heading off from our dreary weather to a vacation in Florida. Council President Angela Birney (running for Mayor) thought it was cool too.  Councilmember Steve Fields asked what inspired the City to install it as is?  He referenced his knowledge of art in Santa Clara.  

Hank Meyers said he has a lesbian daughter but Redmond had many other cultural opportunities; that LGBPQ didn't represent our greater community.  Staff answered that Redmond already has a diversity of art! Can you believe it?!  He and Councilmember Steve Fields (running for mayor ) were disappointed by the poor public notice, saying community feedback was insufficient. I agree! Staff responded with a very weak response, referencing: an arts commission review, a 2013 "public process,"  a 2015 survey and a hearing in 2014.

The total budget for this public art project is $180,000, including a one percent allocation from the project. As usual, Steve Fields brought up the budget. $90,000 was spent on the tiles through a $32,000 grant and the general fund bringing the city over-budget. Councilmember Hank Margeson (running for council) said adjustments to the general fund weren't unusual. He appeared to be the go-to man for knowledge on city finances.

-- Bob Yoder


Monday, September 30, 2019

Join Redmond Fire Department For An Open House

Image result for Redmond fires Department imagesRedmond, WA – The Redmond Fire Department is joining the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in observing national Fire Prevention Week, October 7 – 12. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” The campaign works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.
The Redmond Fire Department will host a series of open houses at local fire stations throughout Fire Prevention Week. The open houses provide an opportunity for residents to make a home escape plan, meet Sparky the Fire Dog, tour a local fire station, try on bunker gear, and climb aboard the fire engines that Redmond Fire uses to serve the City.
NFPA statistics show that in 2017, U.S. Fire Departments responded to 357,000 structure fires. These fires caused 2,630 fire deaths and 10,600 fire injuries. On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day during 2012 to 2016 in the United States.
“Home fires continue to be a serious risk, but planning and preparation improves safety and saves lives,” said Redmond Fire Chief Tommy Smith. “Fire Prevention Week is a great opportunity for community members to meet their local firefighters and learn about fire safety.”
For the complete schedule of fire station open houses and to read more about Fire Prevention Week, visit www.redmond.gov/FireWeek.

Cleveland Street Wins "Great Place" Award - Celebration Planned October 10th

Map of Bear Creek Pkwy, Redmond, WA 98052Cleveland Street in Redmond, Washington Named One of 13 Great Places by the American Planning Association (APA.)

“As part of Redmond’s 20-year vision, the Cleveland Street project was a catalyst for creating a vibrant 18-hour urban environment in Downtown Redmond,” stated Redmond Mayor John Marchione. “This project helped further facilitate private investment in Downtown; creates progressive accommodations for the City’s share of regional growth; encourages biking, walking and soon light rail in 2024; and the curbless festival street design supports opportunities for events, arts and culture.”

 “The streets recognized this year demonstrate the importance of planning in creating vibrant and sustainable communities,” said Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, APA president. “Cleveland Street is a national example of how planning for a people-oriented, multi-modal environment can revitalize a community.” Once an uninviting one-way couplet, Cleveland Street was often seen by residents and visitors of Redmond as a place to travel through, rather than a place to go. Despite the recession of the national economy, Redmond continued its long-term plan for a walkable, bikeable and transit-supportive downtown area that would bolster local and commercial business.

The Cleveland Street redevelopment project was completed in 2018 and has already proven itself a highly desirable place for small businesses to locate. The space features a pedestrian-oriented streetscape populated with street furniture, unique design and artistic features, and an adjacent new downtown park and urban trail. Cleveland Street has supported further development that has transformed the city of Redmond into a vibrant, dynamic downtown destination. The community will come together to celebrate Cleveland Street’s designation as a Great Street in America on Thursday, October 10 at 6 p.m. on Cleveland Street adjacent to the Downtown Park.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating great communities for all. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning – physical, economic and social – to foster quality of life for all residents. The 45,000 members work in concert with community members, civic leaders and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. Through its philanthropic work, the APA Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to planning. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Learn more at www.planning.org. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Earthquake Preparedness In LWSD


Lake Washington School District (LWSD) works with all its schools to ensure that earthquake response plans are in place. Our buildings are built to seismic codes, and older buildings have been retrofitted. All natural gas lines have seismic shut-off valves. The district has a Safety Advisory Committee that meets monthly to discuss emergency planning and safety. As part of those plans, the district follows guidance from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and currently recommends “drop, cover and hold” as the state-approved response to earthquakes. Students practice this method during earthquake drills. LWSD will also participate in the Great Washington ShakeOut on October 17 at 10:17 a.m. This is a state-wide earthquake drill.

Source:  LWSD Connections

What is EvergreenHealth doing to retrofit their buildings?.... many of them built to 1968 - 2010 standards.  The $345M August, 2019 bond was intended to provide seismic retrofits. It failed. To date, their leadership has lacked transparency - not providing solutions to how they will be earthquake ready.  

On another note, the Redmond fire department is retrofitting their stations.  

Thursday, September 26, 2019

UPDATED: A small opportunity for affordable housing?

Open green space on 83rd and 166th

About a half a year ago I posted a photo of  the downtown "pocket park" on 83rd and 166th Ave. It obviously isn't a park but for the downtown it seemed a pleasant patch of green "open space."

I explored the place and counted 9 trees on the property, some of which appeared dangerous so I contacted the code enforcement officer.  It took quite a while to hear back because the city real estate division was trying identify the owner.  Well, wouldn't  you know -- the city owns the property! (Currently the city is assessing the trees for safety.)

So what are the possible uses of this open space?  The above photo  was taken at 10:30 a.m. today and we see it's filled with parked cars....perhaps construction worker's cars.  Personally, I don't think parking is best use.  Affordable housing is a huge need in the city. Why not build "tiny houses" here or even a small pod multi-family apartment building?

If you think tiny houses or some other use is a good idea write city council at:  council@redmond.gov.  I just asked the Council to consider an apodment.

(An "apodment" is a separately rentable bedroom-bathroom suite in an apartment, with use of the apartment's kitchen, in a building full of such units. A typical apodment has 150 - 275 square feet of private space, not including shared kitchens, hallways, stairs, and entries)

-- Bob Yoder

Monday, September 23, 2019

Gull Feasting On Huge Salmon - Sammamish River

Gull with Chinook salmon
At first I thought it must be a log or a piece of driftwood.  However, as I drew closer to it, I could see that it was actually a large dead Chinook salmon – indeed, one of the biggest I have ever seen.  It had likely been on its way back to breed at the Issaquah Hatchery, when it somehow met its demise.
It was clearly a male, as evidenced by the noticeable ‘kype’ located at the tip of the lower jaw.  This is a hook-like secondary sex characteristic which develops in some male salmonids prior to the spawning season.  I estimated its size as about three feet in length.
As I drew closer, I noticed a couple of gulls circling overhead. One landed in the water and swam over to the salmon.  After inspecting it for a few moments, it sank its beak deep into the eye socket area, as I snapped off a few photos.
The gull appeared to me to be an immature glaucous-winged gull.  This species is very common in our area and takes four years to become an adult.  In the immature phase, the feather coloration is an admixture of cream-colored white and a mottled tan, with a black beak. 
The gull continued to paddle along beside the salmon and occasionally peck at it.  After observing the two for a while longer, I finally decided to continue on my way, leaving nature to take its inevitable course.


Story and Photos by John Reinke

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Young Mink Spotted On Sammamish River

Young mink spotted on Sammamish River across from the fishing pier at Luke McRedmond Landing
The mink is scampering into the grasses
During a break in the rain showers on Monday afternoon, I went for a stroll south along the Sammamish River Trail.  I started from the promontory located opposite the Opportunity Building, near the Ben Franklin store.
After a few minutes, I passed underneath Redmond Way and entered the park area known as the Luke McRedmond Landing.  Continuing southward, I bypassed the short concrete walkway that branches off and descends to the river’s edge, where anglers sometimes cast for fish.
Glancing directly across the river at that point, I thought I saw some movement on a small ‘island’ of tangled logs and branches up against the opposite bank.  Slowing my stride, I took a closer look.  Sure enough, I spotted what I quickly realized was a young mink, dark brown in color.  It was much smaller than the otters which I have also occasionally seen in here the river.  I would guess it was about 15 or 16 inches in length.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Success For Every Student

King County Councilmembers Aim To Provide Relief To The People Of The Bahamas

Image result for King County logoToday, King County Councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Larry Gossett introduced a motion that would provide relief to the people of the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

This legislation aims to allow County employees to donate their vacation time in the form of a cash donation to victims of natural disasters. Additionally, it requests research into other ways that King County could provide disaster relief to the Bahamas, such as by providing personnel, technical expertise, or medical supplies to aid relief efforts.

“It is the American way to give generously when we see others in need,” Dunn said. “This donation program gives King County employees a means to help Bahamian families and communities who have a long recovery ahead.” A part of King County code allows for the conversion of vacation time into donations to nonprofits.

“King County and our employees have a long history in helping people around the world and in the US in the face of devastating natural disasters,” Gossett said. “I hope our employees will give generously to the people of the Bahamas in their time of need and in their efforts to rebuild their communities and their country.”

Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane that devastated the Bahamas when it struck the islands of Great Abaco, Grand Bahama, and others on September 1. The hurricane was one of the strongest Atlantic storms on record. As of Thursday, September 12, the Bahamas Health Minister has confirmed that 50 people have died as a result of the storm, and thousands of people are still missing. Officials estimate that approximately 70,000 people are left without homes.

The legislation will be presented to the King County Council on Wednesday, September 18.

Perhaps the City of Redmond Councilmembers could follow suit.

Scooter Safety

Welcome to San Diego -- Don't mind the scooters

"... scooter safety has become a big issue. A three-month study published in May from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Public Health and Transportation departments of Austin, Texas, found that for every 100,000 scooter rides, 20 people were injured. Nearly half of the injuries were to the head; 15% of those showed evidence of traumatic brain injury."

-- Erin Griffith, 9/5/2019

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Puget Sound Vision 2050

Based on forecast data prepared by Puget Sound Regional Council, the region is expected to grow by 1.8 million people by 2050 and reach a total population of 5.8 million. An anticipated 1.2 million more jobs are forecast by 2050. VISION 2050 is intended to provide a framework for how and where development will occur and how the region will support efforts to manage growth.

Redmond City Council memo, 9/10


Kathy Lambert, King County Councilmember, September 5th:

"Vision 2050 report comment period ends Sept 16. My concerns are that rural areas seem to be undervalued and that local comprehensive plans are being held hostage to transportation funding. The sustainability of unincorporated areas has no clear agreed path to how that can happen after 30 years of not being implemented. The school districts came in to talk about the need for more rural schools and the push back was that they should be in urban areas and that pits unincorporated area students on longer and longer bus rides 🚌 when there are students for to a full school. The other comment was that the schools should use eminent domain inside the cities pitting cities against school districts. Lots of big and important decisions."

-- Kathy's Facebook site

Friday, September 6, 2019

Major Upheaval Of LWSD General Leadership Team

In looking at Superintendent Dr Jane Stevam's new Organizational Chart major changes have been made to the structure, titles and names of the General Leadership Team.  Progress!

The General Leadership members are described here.  Find many new faces.

Some of the notable changes are:

Matt Gillingham, Student Services has been promoted to Associate Superintendent of Student and Community Services.  A new position he oversees is Gloria Henderson, Director of  Opportunity, Equity and Inclusion.

The four Learning Community Directors have been broken into two Elementary Education Directors and two Secondary School Directors - no change in personnel.  Susan Ann Sullivan is a Director of Elementary Education.  Previously, her title was Director of Redmond Learning Community.

Director Dr. Traci Pierce -- past Superintendent -- has been removed from the chart.

Mike Van Orden's title has changed to Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning and he has assumed greater responsibility.  Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Matt M. isn't on the chart.

Source:  School Board packet and district website


Collective Bargaining Unit Raises Select LWSD Salaries 4-17%

The current Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) ran from August 2016 through August 2019. Bargaining for a successor agreement started in April 2019 and recently concluded. The District and SEIU reached a tentative agreement on a successor CBA. 

The SEIU represents Instructional Assistants, Extended Day Instructional Assistants, Technical Support Specialists, Headstart Assistant Teachers, Headstart/Readystart Teachers, and Family Support Specialists. The settlement is within the parameter discussed with the board earlier this year. 

Duration: August 16, 2019 – August 15, 2022 (three-year agreement). 

Wages: 2019-20: Employees will receive pay increases between 4% and 17% on a restructured salary schedule. This includes the state determined inflationary adjustment, which is 2.0%. These increases were based on comparable salaries from neighboring Districts and allows our District to maintain our ability to attract and retain high quality staff. 

Source:  September 9, 2019 Board memo 

Senior Center Temporarily Closed

Redmond, WA – The Redmond Senior Center (RSC), located at 8703 160th Avenue NE recently underwent an exterior building evaluation in preparation for long term maintenance and repairs outlined in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). RSC’s mechanical systems, roof, and building exterior are scheduled to be replaced in 2021. This evaluation conducted by a contracted structural engineering firm confirmed extensive structural damage to the exterior walls and substantial impact to both the lateral and gravity systems.
To allow for the ongoing investigation of the building interior and roof, the building has been vacated and will have limited entry for building inspectors and engineers to conduct further assessment. Programs, rentals, and events will be relocated to alternative locations with the goal of minimal impact to service.
“We will continue to keep the community informed and we are working to minimize impact to services,” said Parks and Recreation Director, Carrie Hite.
The Redmond Senior Center (RSC) was constructed in 1991 and serves an estimated 45,000 visitors per year. The center provides a variety of classes and activities for active adults age 50 or better throughout the day. In the evening and weekends, the center offers multi-generational programs and rentals for gathering and events.