Wednesday, September 20, 2017

OPINION: The importance and value of Redmond's trees

Image result for trees in redmond, WA images
Tree Art in Anderson Park / Credit B.Yoder
Urban tree canopy cover is the percent of a city covered by the leaves, branches, and stems of trees as seen in an aerial view. Trees have a positive impact on the physical health and well-being of those living in urban communities. We should try to maintain and increase the many benefits trees provide to current and future generations. There are many important benefits of trees.

Trees have public health and social benefits:
Trees clean the air. They produce oxygen, intercept airborne particulates, and reduce smog, enhancing a community’s respiratory health. The urban tree canopy directly contributes to meeting a city’s regulatory clean air requirements.

Access to trees, green spaces, and parks promotes greater physical activity, and reduces stress, while improving our quality of life. Urban landscaping, including trees, helps lower crime rates. Studies show that urban vegetation slows heartbeats, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes brain wave patterns. People with a view of nature and trees score higher on tests of self-discipline.

Trees have environmental benefits. Trees help reduce climate change by absorbing CO2 and sequestering carbon. Healthy forests are our most efficient, inexpensive, and natural systems to combat climate change.

Trees help us conserve energy use. A single tree can produce the cooling effect of ten room-size, residential air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. .Acting as a natural air-conditioner, a city’s lush tree canopy ensures that summer temperatures are several degrees lower than in comparable neighborhoods without trees. Trees can reduce residential heating costs 10-15%; while shading and evaporative cooling from trees can cut residential air-conditioning costs 20-50%.

Trees filter and retain water. Urban forests promote beneficial water quality and reduce storm water management costs. Street and park trees in Redmond can intercept millions of gallons of rainwater. Trees capture and slow rainfall and their roots filter water and recharge the aquifer. Trees reduce storm water runoff, which reduces flooding, and decreases the flow of polluted water into and protects the banks of our rivers and creeks.

Trees provide important wildlife habitats for numerous birds, insects and other animals.

Trees have economic benefits. Communities and business districts with healthy tree-cover attract new residents, industry, and commercial activity. Homes landscaped with trees sell more quickly and are worth 5 to 15% more than homes without trees. Where the entire street is tree-lined, homes may be worth 25% more. Trees enhance economic stability by attracting businesses; people linger and shop longer when trees are present. Where a canopy of trees exists, apartments and offices rent more quickly and have a higher occupancy rate; workers report more productivity and less absenteeism.

Trees provide inviting and cool areas for recreation and relaxation such as playgrounds and parks.
Trees create a tapestry of color and interesting form that changes throughout the year. The color green is calming and relieves eye strain. Trees screen unattractive views and soften the harsh outline of masonry, metal, asphalt, steel and glass. People walk and jog more on shaded streets, encouraging interaction with neighbors and improving the sense of community. Trees absorb and block sound, reducing noise pollution by as much as 40 percent.

Please complete the city’s online poll at by September 29.

David Morton, PhD
Redmond, WA

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Steve Fields' and Byron Shutz's "Vision Statements"

Mr. Shutz's and Mr. Fields' "Vision Statements" were harvested from their Candidate Websites and City Candidate videos.

Byron Shutz's Vision:  "Redmond's Mayor and City Council continue to lay the ground work for Redmond's next 100 years, and beyond. My email byline reads:   

Redmond -- a great place to live, work, and play for over 10,000 years" -- all true, and keeping the long view in mind --the archaeological site on Bear Creek dates to over 10,000 years ago."  

As your Council member, I'll continue to work City aims to:  

  • Serve each resident and visitor with respect, dignity, and trust.
  • Collaborate regionally on all municipal issues, and continue my focus on strengthening ongoing human service infrastructures for every resident.
  • Improve connections to area transportation and transit infrastructures - lightrail arrives in Overlake 2023 and Downtown in 2024.
  • Connect our residents and businesses with regional aspirations and expectations.
  • Facilitate transparency and continual improvement in collaboration among city, county and state services.

-- Byron Shutz's Candidate Website

Steve Fields' Vision:  "Build Community, not Just Buildings." 

Promote a Smart and Sharing City
Our quality of life is good, but as we’ve grown, we’ve been steadily losing ground. We can choose to be smarter and do a better job of managing our growth. This begins with reevaluating how we make our decisions and improve our current approaches and methods to be more inclusive and more comprehensive. Our best city planning resources are the people who live and work in Redmond. If elected, I will be an advocate for community involvement in determining what our city will look like and what amenities we will insist on.

Plan Growth with Innovative Ideas

Our buildings, streets, public gathering places should be placed to enhance our everyday lives and the beauty of our built and natural environment. We should not be stuck in traffic congestion every time we want to get somewhere. Our city government should be innovative, creative and thoughtful. We need to take the time to plan and understand what is best not just do what is quick and easy. I will ensure that Redmond uses the most advanced analytical tools and information to plan our growth with innovative ideas.

Cities are for People

Our urban centers should make people feel invited, safe and secure. Our public spaces should be fun and convenient for people to gather and strengthen and express our values of diversity and a sense of belonging. Our streets, sidewalks, parking areas, and curb space should be built for people to easily get around town, whether they are drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, or users of public or hired transportation. Innovative design is needed as new travel modes and technologies change. This did not happen in Redmond during our recent chaotic and very rapid growth and that is a clear, missed opportunity. But with new leadership we can begin to fix the problems that have been created. It is not too late to make Redmond a City for People. Let’s not miss any more opportunities!

School District builds gigantic vaults on North Redmond Elementary project site.

Image result for north redmond elementary school imagesConstruction continues at the New Elementary School in North Redmond. Steel construction is expected to begin in the next 30 days. Two newly installed underground vaults will keep storm water clean at the school. The north vault has 138 panels with a capacity of 920,000 gallons of water (that’s the size of 1.4 Olympic-sized swimming pools). Watch a time-lapse of the construction on YouTube. This vault was built between August 14-22, 2017. Because this vault was built out of pre-fabricated panels, the installation time was shortened by four months.

Principal Barker is in the process of interviewing and hiring 12 general education staff members, and one of each specialist (counselor, PE teacher, music teacher, librarian and Special Education teacher).


Friday, September 15, 2017

Green Redmond forest restoration is coming to our neighborhoods.

High school students also attended -- great workers!  (click to enlarge)

Last Saturday we clipped and shoveled out  the blackberry bushes invading the neighborhood forest patch off of 104rth St. near Avondale in the "East Valley Heights Natural Area."  Besides this important habitat restorative work it was a great opportunity to hang out with Sue Stewart, Susan Cripps, Rachel Molloy and Jake --  all very active community volunteers living in the neighborhood.

King Conservation District, Forterra, and Green Redmond are partnering together to launch a new pilot Neighborhood Steward program If you’re interested in volunteering or would like more information, please email Nicole Marcotte at or call 206-905-6924!

This link gives information on the Monticello work party planned for this Saturday, 9/15. 9-12 AM

If you want to be a forest steward go here for information:

--B. Yoder

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Osama Hamdan endorses Steve Fields for Redmond City Council

Osama Hamdan
The theme for my race for Redmond City Council was #ConnectingRedmond. I believe we need to prioritize better planning and more community parks in order to better connect our communities. Even though I am no longer a candidate, my priorities have not changed and I am actively looking to continue the efforts of #ConnectingRedmond.

While the results of the race did not get me into the general election, the results did make it very clear that voters are looking for change. Redmond is at a crossroads and the City Council needs to ensure it is making the right decisions for the residents it serves.

I have had the opportunity to meet with both Byron Shutz and Steve Fields to better understand their positions and how they align with my own vision. While I believe both candidates have the best intentions for our city, Steve Field’s vision is more aligned with my own and can help us be more focused on building the city we need.  Steve wants to “Build Community, not Just Buildings” and he aims to have the city be more engaged with the residents of the community.  These positions reflect the spirit of #ConnectingRedmond and have therefore led me to endorse Steve Fields for Redmond City Council Position 2. 

This November, I plan to vote for Steve Fields. I encourage supporters to do the same and help get Steve elected to the Redmond City Council. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

UPDATED: The importance and methods of communicating with LWSD

Are you a school district taxpayer and supporter of our schools and would like to be more informed about upcoming bond measures?   (Remember the capital bond measure didn't pass twice until after community Task Force was formed?)  Did your child graduate from the district and now wants to know what's going on with their school?  Are you interested in updates and information of community gatherings like Boundary Review Community meetings?  If so, then you definitely want to sign up for the "Connections e-Newsletter."  Click HERE to subscribe.

Public School Board meetings are an excellent venue to comment about bond measures, describe any problem your student is having in the classroom,  propose improvements, and yes, even thank the Board and Dr. Pierce for the work they do!  The school board volunteers  many hours to represent us (while working at their day jobs.)

If  you decide to attend a public Board Meeting to comment on an issue this link gives a convenient notice and reminder of upcoming Board Meetings. The meetings start at 7 pm and are held in the District Resource Center.  Go here.for a timely and convenient notice of upcoming Board meetings. 

You may e-mail the Board. at  

Bethany Pendergrass is an excellent person to talk to about any school issue you have.. She's the  "Director of Communications and Public Engagement".  Her e-mail is or call 425-936-1342


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

City of Redmond achieves favorable State audit

Redmond, WA – For nine consecutive years the City of Redmond has achieved a favorable audit and in 2015 was awarded the State Auditor’s Stewardship Award in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the stewardship of public resources. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Important Redmond area boundary community meetings

To Sign-up for information and updates on boundary review meetings click here.

Dear Redmond Parents, Families, [and Community], 

Please join us at one of the following meetings to provide feedback on new scenarios for the Redmond area boundary review process.

Community Feedback Meetings:
• September 26: 6:30-8 p.m., Redmond Middle School
• September 28: 6:30-8 p.m., Evergreen Middle School 

In January 2017, LWSD started the work to redraw attendance boundaries for Redmond area schools. Two new elementary schools are on schedule to open September 2018 and a new middle school is scheduled to open September 2019. With the opening of new schools, new attendance boundaries must be drawn. Additionally, many schools in the Redmond area are currently over or are projected to be over capacity.

LWSD Statement on DACA

Lake Washington School District Statement on DACA

All Lake Washington School District students have the right to public education. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plyler vs. Doe (457 U.S. 202 (1982)) that undocumented children and young adults have the same right to attend public primary and secondary schools as do U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Lake Washington does not ask for or collect immigration status information.
Lake Washington remains committed to serving all students and providing educational opportunities for all. We will continue to uphold the U.S. Supreme Court ruling and serve all students, regardless of their status.

"Walking School Buses" have many benefits, Apps make them easy

A Walking Bus is a form of student transport for schoolchildren who, chaperoned by two adults (a "Driver" leads and a "conductor" follows),walk to school along a set route, in much the same way a school bus would drive them to school.  Like a traditional bus, walking buses have a fixed route and designated "bus stops" and "pick up times" in which they pick up children.  

Walking contributes to overall good health and fitness and students who walk to school arrive at school alert and ready to learn.  A walking school bus adds in a fun and social aspect to walking as well as flexibility for the parents by sharing the walking duties. It takes cars off the roads and reduces carbon footprint.

The School Board and Traci are holding a public meeting tonight, September 11th, 7 pm at the School Resource Center in Redmond Town Center.  I hope some of you will turn-out to encourage Walking Buses at LWSD  There's a 3-minute "comment period" on the agenda where you're invited to talk to the Board and Traci about anything you want.  I hope to see you there!

 -- B. Yoder   

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Climate Change & Wildfires, by John Reinke

Photo of a fire burning trees and shrubs.
John Reinke is my friend and a frequent contributor to this blog. His portfolio of Sammamish River nature photographs and general interest stories are found here.  

As you know, the Pacific Northwest has been stricken with a rash wildfires;  the Seattle Times published an article on September 6th about the largest wildfires in Washington and Oregon state.  Find some amazing pictures and fire mapping here:

In response, John wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Seattle Times that was published on September 8th titled "Wildfires:  Climate Change,"  Here it is:  

-- B. Yoder

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Lake Washington students shine on Smarter Balanced Assessments

Students continue to score well-above state averages

Redmond, Wash. –Lake Washington School District (LWSD) students continue to score well-above the state average in all areas tested by the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA).

“Student performance on state assessments is one important measure of academic achievement and progress,” noted Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent. “We are pleased with our results and our teachers, building administrators will continue to work hard to ensure that every single student in our district is learning, growing, and succeeding.”

Students in grades 3-8 and in grade 11 took the Smarter Balanced Assessments in English Language Arts and in Math. In English Language Arts, the percent of LWSD students meeting the new standards ranged from 79 percent in sixth grade to a high of 87 percent in 11th grade. At the state level, the percent of students meeting the standard in English Language Arts ranged from 53 percent in grade 3 to a high of 74 percent in grade 11. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

45th & 48th District Legislative Candidate Forum

This Forum was organized and moderated by Paige Norman and was sponsored by the "Education Hill Neighborhood Association." Paige did an awesome job.  All of the candidates attended and there was an opportunity to "meet and greet."  The event was held at the Baptist Church on Education Hill. 

WA Senator Dst.#45Manka Dhingra
WA Senator Dst.#48Patty Kuderer

WA  Dst.#48, Pos.#1Vandana Slatter
Manka did well.  My wife had a good talk with Patty and Vandana.. Vandana encouraged me to work with EvergreenHealth to improve mental health care.  We felt Patty was the star of the show.  She's exceptionable.    

- B. Yoder

Thursday, September 7, 2017

UPDATED: Mayor Marchione stimulates talk on mental health and substance abuse recovery

Image result for national recovery month images
Mayor Marchione read a proclamation last week to recognize September as "National Recovery Month"   The purpose is to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. 

I know something about mental health disorders. For three years I sold an SSRI for OCD, slow-release Ritalin for ADHD and  sustained-release lithium for bipolar disorder.   Poor mental health is rampant in my family, especially on my mother's side. Many of my relatives have recovered (myself included) some better than others, with the exception of my younger brother Rick. He died at 46, from complications of severe bipolar disorder, co-morbid alcoholism, and prescription drug self-medication.

The Eastside has many good recovery and treatment programs.  Kent Hay, Redmond's Outreach Specialist provides psychiatric and social services for the vulnerable and homeless. Youth Eastside Services, Friends of Youth, HERO House. NAMI Eastside and other Eastside non-profits have recovery programs. Therapeutic Health Services in Bellevue offers opioid  addiction treatment.. 425-328-3757

I can't stress highly enough the importance of finding a science-oriented doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Overlake Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic in Bellevue provides excellent doctors (20) who accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.

EvergreenHealth doesn't employ psychiatrists or psychiatric nurses or have an out-patient clinic. However, they provide an "In-Home" program operated by trained social workers.. Evergreen opened a 14-bed "Transitional Care Unit" this year to attend to  their Emergency Department patients awaiting transfer to a mental health facility..In the past some of these patients had to be "boarded." (strapped to a gurney for hours or even days.) 

Evergreen is a public hospital and supported in part, by King County taxes. Unfortunately. this year the State legislature reduced mental health funding in King County by over 8% from last year.  Washington State has the lowest access to mental healthcare in the Nation!

There's far to little "talk" to mitigate the stigma associated with poor brain health. Discrimination in the workplace occurs. Doctors, medications, counseling and family support can only go so far and it's easy to lose hope. Spiritual support can help a lot.. Two churches on the Eastside offer support programs. A group in Bothell meets once a month at St. Brandon's Catholic Church.  The  "Celebrate Recovery" group at Overlake Christian Church on Willows Road in Redmond has an excellent program. They meet every Thursday at 7 pm  About 125 citizens attend their meetings. 

One in five Americans have a mental health condition and only half are treated.  Please tell your friends and neighbors about the recovery programs available in our community and celebrate with those who have recovered!

Bob Yoder 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

UPDATED: Steve Fields and Byron Shutz's preliminary positions on "transportation"

Campaign signs:  Let the games begin!

"Redmond City Government MUST immediately take actions to improve our capability to move in and around our city centers and neighborhoods. We are growing past our capacity to handle the impact of traffic congestion with the current infrastructure and transit capabilities. This is an immediate priority. Our prosperity, health, and well-being greatly depends on the effort and time it takes to get to all those places that make our everyday lives enjoyable and successful.
Our downtown areas are very fragmented. We need to improve our spatial planning and make typical trips more convenient and less spread out.
There are also things we can do immediately to make things better such as investment in information technology to inform commuters on real-time traffic issues and placing better visual cues for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to improve traffic flow."
 -- Steve Fields transportation Issue statement on Mr. Field's candidate website

To find Mr. Shutz's position

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Trestle bridge connector trail is almost complete

Steps going up from the Sammamish River Trail to the Trestle bridge  Credit John Reinke

I took this photo today along the Sammamish River Trail, looking south.  As you can see, work is nearly completed on the Redmond Central Connector where spans the railroad trestle bridge.  Note the new aluminum staircase which provides access from the River Trail to the Connector.

I spoke to a man who was working there, and he said this section will open sometime next week, with the official opening occurring on Saturday, September 23.

-- John Reinke

Total cost of Central Trail Connector Phase 11 is:  $6,411,600  ( $5,561,000 grants)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

UPDATED: No safe injection sites for Redmond

Redmond Press Release:   It has been brought to the City's attention that our residents have recently been solicited via a telephone poll regarding a safe injection site in Redmond. This poll includes false statements. The City is not considering allowing a safe injection site in Redmond, as the poll alleges. Please be aware the poll is not sponsored by the City of Redmond. We appreciate residents alerting the City to this matter and relaying the information to us.
Image result for opium injection sites imageIf you, or someone you know, does receive a call, you can report your concerns to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).  You can find their contact information and report online at The PDC has advised residents to document the call to the best of their ability and to listen for the sponsoring organization of the poll if that information is provided. They noted the sponsoring organization might not be provided until the end of the poll.
For questions and more information contact Lisa Maher, Communications & Marketing Manager, at or 425-556-2427. This press release is available on   


Redmond has NO  Opioid Treatment Program. Why not? Bellevue, Bothell, Kent and Shoreline have programs  ---Samshsa     B. Yoder

Ombuds. Redmond Council member David Carson responded on August 31st. -- Therapeutic Health Services Eastside" offers opioid treatment for the Eastside.  (412-140th Place N.E. Bellevue, WA  425-328-3757)  


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The City of Redmond's History

Redmond sits in a fertile basin created by ancient glaciers that once covered much of King County. Thousands of years before the first fur trappers entered the area's dense forests, the rich bottomland of the Sammamish Valley provided shelter and food for Native Americans. Salmon were so abundant in the Sammamish River when the first pioneers arrived in 1871, they called their settlement Salmonberg. 

A primary activity for early homesteaders was clearing the vast tracts of towering trees. During the 1880's, loggers who poured into the area built lumber and shingle mills. Their substantial payrolls created a demand for products and services. In 1888, the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railway reached the town, and with it, the marketability of the area's timber was insured. 

In its logging heydays, Redmond was a rollicking town with a stagecoach office, saloons and hotels, blacksmiths and eateries. In 1912, the community of 300 needed a modern waterworks system and, in order to tax its thriving saloons, Redmond incorporated. Soon, many new buildings rose in the downtown area, automobiles became a frequent sight on Main Street, the first doctor took up residence in town, and a two-story brick schoolhouse was built. 

As virgin forests were exhausted in the 1920's, local logging faded. In the following decades, agriculture became the mainstay of Redmond's economy. Dairy and chicken farms abounded, and farmers plowed fertile bottomland for profitable truck farms. The town's population grew very little during this period, with many young adults seeking jobs elsewhere during the Depression. 

Cleveland Street two-way traffic expected soon

Redmond  Way & 166th Ave NE
Credit, Bob Yoder
Council candidate comments on traffic are footnoted below
Redmond, WA – The much-anticipated conversion to two-way travel on Downtown Redmond’s Cleveland Street and Redmond Way begins soon. Cleveland Street’s two-way travel is expected to start on Friday, September 8 and Redmond Way will follow on Tuesday, October 10. These dates are approximate and are subject to change due to unanticipated changes in weather or construction delays. The full project is expected to be complete by the end of the year. During this conversion, drivers should be alert, aware of traffic rerouting, and ongoing work by private developers.
The work already completed at the eleven intersections includes utility improvements, new traffic signals, lighting, paving and sidewalk improvements, the addition of plazas near Anderson Park and much more. Cleveland Street is now Redmond’s signature “main street” with wide sidewalks inviting pedestrians and encouraging outdoor dining while Redmond Way will carry the majority of traffic as the main arterial through Downtown. Bear Creek Parkway and SR520 offer options for drivers who choose to bypass Downtown and the Redmond Central Connector urban trail provides a beautiful and quieter choice for bicyclists and pedestrians. These options, paired with the previous street connections at 161st Avenue NE and 164th Avenue NE, complete the City’s planned transportation grid in Downtown Redmond.
Ongoing construction by private developers on the north side of Redmond Way will continue. Developers investing in the City of Redmond will be building the second westbound lane of Redmond Way east of 164th Avenue, improving remaining sidewalks and parking areas as well as completing frontage improvements. 
Source: Lisa Mayer,

I scoured the Council candidate websites to find their positions on traffic:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Redmond Historical Society launches 2017 - 2018 Speaker series

The Redmond Historical Society hosts six speakers a year (September - November  and February - April ) Programs are scheduled on the second Saturday of each month, 10:30 am - noon in the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center. The programs are free and  donations are encouraged. Patricia Bailey is the first speaker this year.

Saturday, September 9, 2017 @ 10:30 AM
Washington’s Healthcare Pioneer: Group Health Cooperative
Patricia Bailey
Marketing and Communications Strategist
Kaiser Permanente

"Group Health: An Early Voice for Affordable Care"

Friday, August 25, 2017

UPDATED: School Superintendent Dr. Pierce Promotes Key Executives

Dr. Jon Holmen, Deputy SuperintendentDr. Jon Holmen | Deputy Superintendent

425-936-1310 |
Dr. Holmen serves as Chief of Staff, overseeing the district’s student and school support services and key operational functions within the district. He provides vision, leadership, and direction, assuming responsibility for success of the district’s departments of School Support, Student Services, Human Resources, Technology Operations, and Communications. He works to ensure effective and efficient district operations in accomplishing strategic goals. Dr. Holmen assists the superintendent in achieving district objectives and key performance indicators, assuring alignment with law, policy, and priorities established by the Board of Directors.
Student and School Support Services contact information and organizational charts

Barbara Posthumus, Associate SuperintendentBarbara Posthumus | Associate Superintendent
Business and Support Services

425-936-1211 |
Ms. Posthumus serves as Chief Financial Officer, providing direct oversight of the district’s financial, business, and related auxiliary services. She ensures the district’s overall financial integrity and stability, assuming leadership in the development and administration of annual and multi-year budgets. She provides leadership and direction to the department of Support Services, ensuring efficacy of capital resources and investments and support for accomplishment of strategic goals. She also oversees the departments of transportation services and nutrition services. Ms. Posthumus assists the superintendent in achieving district objectives and key performance indicators, assuring alignment with law, policy, and priorities established by the Board of Directors.
Business and Support Services contact information and organizational charts

Read More>>  Chief Success Officer / Chief Academic Officer // Salaries & Benefits