Saturday, December 3, 2022

Exciting News About the "Justice White House!", Iconic Centerpiece of Historic Redmond


The Justice White House pictured with a photo from the Redmond Historical Society's archives, showing Doctors Keiffer and Davis parked in front of the Hotel Redmond (c.1907), courtesy of Redmond Historical Society.

Dear Redmond Historical Society Members and Redmond History Fans,


I am writing to share our excitement about an opportunity you will soon hear more about that would enable the Redmond Historical Society to receive an incredible gift—the Justice White House!


Our Society has been collecting and preserving Redmond’s past since 1999, and while we are finally back in the Old Redmond Schoolhouse, our long-time goal has been to somehow achieve a presence in the Justice White House, the iconic centerpiece of Historic Redmond.


This unique opportunity which will be explained at a later date is perhaps our last chance to acquire this property as a gift and turn it into a focal point for Redmond citizens and visitors alike—where they will find our history, a place to meet and learn, and celebrate our fair city. As Redmond’s finest hotel in the late 1800s, the building hosted dignitaries such as William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan, and Percy Rockefeller.


Ideally situated near the terminus of the new Light Rail Station, Town Center, and the Redmond Central Connector, future generations will be able to catch a glimpse of our unique history from our 1871 beginnings. The structure has recently been repaired and refurbished by the current owners, and it looks terrific.


This would be a wonderful asset for the Redmond Historical Society.


Thank you in advance for your interest in this endeavor,


John Oftebro, President
Redmond Historical Society, 12/1/2022


Board Members: Laura Lee Bennett, Edward O’Brien, Deborah Oftebro, Jo Ann Potter, Paige Norman, Deb Akerstrom

Administrative and Collections Manager, Halee Turner
Advisory Council Members: Joe Townsend, Chris Himes, Panfilo Morelli, Diana Gardner Morelli

Friday, December 2, 2022

City Salaries Under Review, Bonuses Unknown

The 2023 Pay Plans are being approved by Council this week. Below, is a review of the proposed Pay Plans for the city executives.

EXECUTIVE PAY PLAN  (does not include Bonuses, Benefits and Perks)

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)   $178,000, $213,000, $250,000 / year -  low, middle, high range

Fire Chief, Police Chief, Public Works Director:   $223,000 (high-end)

Directors:  Human Resources, Finance, Information Officer, Parks, and Planning & Development.  $215,000 (high-end.) 

Deputy Directors:  Fire, Police, Public Works, Information Services.  $195,000.  

Deputy Directors: Finance, Parks, Executive, H.R, Planning & Development Public Works. $187,000.

Mayor Birney pushed hard for a Deputy Director in every every department.

Carol Helland, JD

From personal observations, I believe Director of Planning & Community Development Carol Helland is the most influential executive in the City.  She is driven to fulfill the demands of the Growth Management Act.  She decides how fast and high the city will grow while being firm on zoning and innovative with design.  Look around the city.  If you question it's growth, e-mail customer service at  They are very helpful.  

-- Bob Yoder, opinion, 12/2/2022

Awesome Art Planned For Redmond Lights, "Luminary Walk" Goes by the Wayside

Michael Dylan Welch was a Redmond Poet In Residence

"Thank you for your inquiry on Redmond Lights. This year’s Redmond Lights will consist of a month-long celebration of light and art in Redmond’s Downtown Park from December 1 – January 4. Enjoy art and light installations every night from 5 – 11 p.m. and Friday night celebrations Dec. 2, 9, 16 from 6 – 9 p.m.
This does not include a luminary walk like past Redmond Light Celebrations. For more information on Redmond Lights art installations and Friday night celebrations, please visit Redmond Lights | Redmond, WA."

-- Redmond Customer Service, 12/2/2022

Comment/ Bob Yoder:

Judging by the site map it appears all the outdoor art is installed in the Downtown park.  Find descriptions of the art elsewhere on the site or probably by QR code.  

The Luminary Walk first started under Mayor Rosemarie Ive's Administration decades ago.  I'm assuming the Walk was cancelled owing to Senior and Community Center construction.  

-- posted by B. Yoder

Snippet From Hank Myers City Hall Complaint

Hank Myers, retired Redmond Councilmember

Hank Myers is a retired Redmond council member of over a decade.  Several weeks ago he addressed our elected officials on a variety of topics:  1)  "the 53 - 47% Safety Levy loss, 2) the high cost of Redmond government as compared to other cities, 3) He accused some past tone-deaf councils for punishing businesses and residents for not approving even higher taxes."  4) His talk on COVID is summarized below:  

Redmond firefighters

Hank Myers says....

Hello Mayor Birney and Council members, 

"We just celebrated Veteran's Day and as a veteran I can say the leaders most appreciated are those who support their troops."

"Two years after the COVID pandemic science taught us vaccines don't dramatically lessen it's effect.  That's why I'm triple vexed."  

"The City of Redmond did not handle the pandemic well:

  1. From the mishandling of Fire Chief Tommy....
  2. To the firing of many good firefighters who served the city honorably.
At long last the official COVID emergency is over. The city can do the right thing and reinstate their dedicated and highly trained firefighters who have been proven to be correct in their beliefs." 


And of course, my 2-cents  ☝

* 1)  Week after week in City Hall I watched firefighters, highly trained medics, and their families plead for their jobs and rights. It was heartbreaking and very sad to watch.  I had hoped the Mayor would maintain exemptions as did many other cities. Freedom was at stake and it hurt to see a little of it taken away. In the meantime, the new Fire Chief rushed to hire and train replacements.

  2) Jumping forward, my 31-year old daughter got COVID last week.  She was primary vaxxed with two boosters.  Her infection was very mild.  However, her husband was only primary vaxxed and he was bed-ridden for over a week with a serious infection.  The *COVID emergency may be over (as defined by mask mandates and Myers) but the Omicron "long haul" looms for seniors like me. I have the primary vaxx and three boosters.  Cutting edge science amazingly protects me!  Variants aside, I chose not to wear a mask. Free at last!

-- Bob Yoder, opinion, 12/2/2022

Thursday, December 1, 2022

"Crazy Canyon"

Cleveland Street & 161 Ave.

 How Did the City Let This Happen?
"Crazy Canyon"  

FB Comments:

"Giving professional urban planners free rein? My guess is that such ugly monotony would not occur in a free market, but only when an elite believes it knows better than everyone and imposes its will -- and people aren't paying attention and let it happen. Unfortunately those who believe in freedom don't have much power right now."  -- Kirkland Council Member  

"You said it well. In addition density does not need to mean ugly buildings."
Former King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert

Opinion & Photo by Bob Yoder, 12/1/2022

Redmond Resident Reinke Reports Destructive Beaver Chewing


The wire mesh protecting this alder from chewing beavers was pulled away.

Location:  Sammamish River Trail across from the Opportunity Building.  Photo and report by John Reinke 

Tom Hardy says...

Thanks for the photos John Reinke.  Yes, sometimes the beavers figure out a way to get over/under or crush the caging we put up, especially older cages. Because of all the recent beaver activity along the trail, over the next few weeks, the City’s WCC crew will be installing some new cages and improving older ones between Redmond Way and 90th Street. This has more to do with public safety along the trail versus trying to stop the beaver from felling trees altogether.


All of the Red alders along the trail and Sammamish River are volunteer trees (planted by mother nature not us), and for the most part we are ok with those being taken down. It makes the shoreline more complex and provides a little more space and light for the long-lived conifers. Because the beavers are chewing a lot of trees right along the trail though, we are going to try and encourage them to leave those alone and choose trees that won’t fall onto the trail.


Happy Holidays, 




Tom Hardy 

Stream & Habitat Planner, City of Redmond

Monday, November 28, 2022

Opinion: Redmond Is Losing It's Charm; Will woonerfs Bring It Back?

Six-story Redmond Square on 166th Ave. neighborhood arterial 

"I live across from new apartments being built…more high rises , more traffic , etc etc . Too much and the charm disappears ! Redmond Downtown Park a nice meeting place and events like Redmond Lights great! But noise is increasing and traffic is worse … and charm may disappear!!"

Linda T.   11/28'2022
Source: "Friends Who Like Redmond Neighborhood Blog"

"Our small, semi-rural town. Whatever happened to the Woonerfs with which Planning Staff confronted us poor Planning Commission Schmucks for months?"  I'm tired of thinking of my time spent there.

F. W. 11/28/2022  FWLRNB

Mr. Pantly, a "green developer" of value is very pleased that his woonerf aka "living street" is the first in the city.  It's adjacent to his "micro" apartment building covered with art.  Last time I heard, Council is very excited about the prospects of a woonerf for the huge "Value Village" apartment project.  And a woonerf is planned for Redmond Square!  Trending!!  However, please know woonerfs slow traffic considerably.
-- Response by Bob Yoder, 11/28/2022

What's a wooderf?  Also known as "Living Streets."  They began in the Netherlands.  Pedestrians can use the full width of the public road; bicycling and playing is also allowed.  Drivers may not endanger pedestrians or hinder them; if necessary they must stop. Furthermore, they need to be twice as careful regarding children. Pedestrians may not obstruct traffic unnecessarily.  Speed is limited to 20 km per hour.  Parking is forbidden, except where there are visual markings.  B.Y.

This has to be one of the worst ideas that I’ve ever heard of, especially with the deplorable driving habits that have become the norm here. And have we forgotten the tragic death of the toddler a few years ago in Redmond Town Center (by a slow speed vehicle)?  -- Blog reader.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Friday, November 25, 2022

Arnold Tomac's Early Involvement in the Founding of Redmond Town Center

Arnie Tomac at Soul Food Coffee, 6/2022

Former Council President Arnold Tomac and the early years of Redmond Town Center go hand-in-glove.  Below, in Arnie's words, is a recounting of his early involvement with the city. 

In 1973, when we moved to Redmond, I noticed we did not have a neighborhood park so I started going to City Park Board meetings. In 1977, I, wife Mary and future mayor Chris Himes called over 500 residents asking for their support of a $2.5 million Park Bond. The bond measure passed and Viewpoint neighborhood park was built.

I also got involved with C.A.R.E. "Civic Action on Redmond Environment," which later led me into running for City Council.  (C.A.R.E. was a coalition of residents with a goal of saving the golf course from development.)  In 1977, Mayor Bud Young appointed me to Chair the City's first Development Guide.

In 1978, several land use issues brewed.  One was an uproar over completing the construction of SR 520.  The other was more serious.  A developer purchased the Old Redmond Golf Course and announced they planned to develop the site. Concerned citizens, many of whom had never attended a Council meeting (moi) descended on City Hall asking the City to stop development.  

I was elected President of Council in 1981.  The population of Redmond was 23,000. The downtown was separated by an operating railway. It served the grain elevator in Redmond and the milk processing Dairygold facility in Issaquah. Everything north of City Hall was blueberry fields.

There were only two roads leading through Redmond that being Cleveland and Redmond Way.  Basically, the downtown with minimal service.  The rest of the Council and I wanted to create a downtown.  

Just before I attended my first Council meeting, we got to review Mayor Young's budget. Every department was listed with number and dollars amount. (ie 87340 $12500.)  So I knew I needed to create a readable budget. We had a surplus the end of the year so we created the Capital Improvement Plan. (C.I.P.)  We also created a new Hearing Examiner position and a Technical Design Committee.  (Tomac has degrees in engineering mathematics.)

In the 1982 election, another CARE candidate Pat Vache' was elected to the Council and Arnold Tomac was elected Council President.  

Tomac's involvement in Redmond Town Center Politics and Purchase.  Excerpts from the Sammamish Valley News. Circa 1982-83.  & Arnold Tomac's writings.

Town Center Associates offered the city $6 million for the 89-acre golf course.  There was a misunderstanding about a 4.62-acre parcel north of Leary Way.  Town Center thought the sliver of land was theirs;  Councilmembers Vache', President Tomac and the city lawyer felt otherwise and negotiated the final purchase option.  It was approved 6-0 by Council. 

"Councilmember Pat Vache' called me (Tomac) one day and asked if I would come to his office to talk about the golf course. "I said definitely!"  I think the golf course is going to remain controversial until people have a chance to address a ballot issue on the purchase of the property." said Tomac. "Pat and I informed Winmar (the owners) if the bond did not pass we would support "reasonable development" of the property."  The bond did not pass. "Pat and I stuck to our commitment to move forward with development of the property. Of course we received push-back from our supporters who wanted who wanted to keep the golf course open."

"Marchione, Vache' and Tomac all indicated they thought "reasonable development" included keeping some of the green space around the golf course as a condition of development should the voters elect not to buy the property.  "I'd like to keep it (the links) as is," concluded Tomac.  "But, are we willing to pay to keep it?" 

The $6 million measure went out for vote; it lost by 2%.  Master planning of the site came with 37 goals and policies, with 50% of the property to be preserved as open space.  

Tomac's recommendation for the enhanced RTC:  "I believe we are lacking vibrant centers in the evenings.  The nighttime activity at Redmond Overlake and downtown is negligible.  It turns out 70% of business income comes from the evening sales.  To have vibrant Urban Centers, policies and zoning regulations must be in place that supports businesses being successful."

-- Bob Yoder, 11/25/2022

Monday, November 21, 2022



It's fun and enlightening to learn the origins of Redmond residents.  

  • 60% are native born and have voting rights.
  • 40% are foreign born, welcome!
  • of those 40%, 13% naturalize and can vote (it takes over 14 months to naturalize)
  • the rest are non-citizens and can't vote
  • Factoid: 37% of Redmond residents are Asian (includes East Indians.)
It's clear Redmond enjoys the richness of diversity but with that comes the responsibility of inclusion and equity.  I pulled a page off the City of Redmond website to give you an idea of their welcoming resources:

THE CITY WEBSITE:  The City of Redmond partners with various local organizations to support our newly arrived residents and immigrant community. Here you will find information about various local organizations, resources, and services to assist you as you make Redmond your home.

CC:, Timberlake, MAPS, boardmembers@lwsd, Superintendent Holmen, EvergreenHealth community hospital, Lake Washington PTSA, Redmond Cricket association, neighborhood social media groups.

-- Bob Yoder, 11/21/2022


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Redmond Town Center Consultant Wants Feedback On Coming Enhancements


Do you know Redmond Town Center will be enhanced in the next few years?  The plan is to transform the current Center into a true mixed-use, transit-oriented, walkable. outdoor mall with special focus on strengthening the retail core.

This link gives additional information on the enhanced Center, including renderings, an interactive poll, the construction timeline, and information on the new Owner. 

The consultant wants to know if you are supportive of enhancements to the retail and public spaces at the core of Redmond Town Center?

Comment and give feedback HERE

-- Bob Yoder, 11/20/2022


Friday, November 11, 2022

"Flatstick Pub" Coming To RTC

Flatstick worker installing screening (click pic to enlarge)

 Much needed entertainment in Redmond is on the way!  Opening day could be as early as the first week in January.

Flatstick serves-up craft beer, pizza and entertainment in the form of golf-like games!

Every Sunday all year Flastick donates to charity $2 for every beer sold.

Address:  7530 164th Ave. NE

Just what is a flatstick?  Bring your own.  

Budget Priority: "Vibrant & Connected"


Vibrant & Connected  Priority Total:  $249,361,974

Vibrant & Connected Priority: The Vibrant and Connected priority supports a well-planned community that provides a sense of place by funding programs and services, including:

Does a new $110 million "Maintenance and Operations Facility" provide a vibrant sense of place for the community?  It's going to cost over twice as much as the Senior Center!

• Fund Maintenance and Operations Center Master Plan ($500,000) to inform the future design and construction of facility replacement ($109,800,000) 

• Support 1.00 FTE Maintenance Technician for Redmond Senior & Community Center ($196,364)

 • Provide funding to further the City’s affordable housing goals ($10,000,000) 

• Invest additional dollars in human service programs, including the expanded senior lunch program ($2,000,000) 

• Support for small business grants ($800,000) through non-profit organizations helping small businesses, including small business advice, marketing, planning, and translation services 

• Invest in a facilities condition assessment ($200,000) and enhanced building security ($200,000) to protect the City’s infrastructure 

• Fund business technology enhancements for audio-visual infrastructure and homeless outreach case management system ($1,166,500) 

These investments will allow Redmond to continue its commitments to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, environmental sustainability, infrastructure, housing choices, and public safety. 

Select Service Enhancements:  Development Services $17,815,678; Facilities Management $7,631,000; Capital Investment Delivery $7,439,000; Housing & Human Services $6,901,000; Community Economic Delivery $4,616,000; Microsoft Campus Refresh 4,505,000; Lite Rail $2,613,000; Arts & Community events $1,715,000, totaling $53,000,000.

-- Excerpt from Mayor Birney's 23-24 Preliminary Budget

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

UPDATED: A Tribute to Council Member Steve Fields

OPINION:  I occasionally watch Redmond City Council members deliberate.  I've seen a complete turnaround in Council member Steve Fields' demeanor with the Mayor. He's polite, respectful, always agreeable, yet holds his own.  And, the Mayor is reciprocating. 

Mr. Fields' more peaceful approach may be attributed to his post on the Council Finance, Administration and Communications Committee.  He's the  Presiding Officer so in control of the budget meetings and with humility has earned a satisfying amount of power.  And rightly so.  Mr. Fields' career and Council experience is indispensable on budgetary matters and Mayor Birney knows it.  Steve's in his wheelhouse, with Council and Mayor in tow.  He's respected by all.  

Steve ran for Mayor twice and lost;  impossible to stomach for most. Over time his resentment and bitterness wore off.  His ego healed and he found his true place on Council.

I've never seen a public official so resilient and driven.  I know Steve well from supporting him in three campaigns.  I've heard Steve may not run again, yet he's still giving his all.  Thanks to Council member Fields for all that he does.  Steve's good works on Council are surely appreciated and won't be forgotten.  

 -- B. Yoder  11/10/2022

FB Comment:

He worked on the County budget and was a great voice of reason and fiscal responsibility in a sea of people who were not so concerned about unintended consequences or bow wave impacts of some expenditures. He knows budgeting well and will do a fabulous job as he approaches this with the utmost of integrity.  -- Kathy Lambert, 12/2

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

OPINION: Budget Priority: "Healthy & Sustainable"

After consulting with the community, staff and City officials on October 4th Redmond Mayor Angela Birney presented her 2023- 2024 Preliminary Budget. The Council members are working an extra 2-3 meetings a week on this budget in what they call their most important City duty.  Council must approve the Mayor's proposed budget. 

Mayor Birney, staff and the community at large have identified four budget priorities:  1) Healthy & Sustainable, 2) Safe and Resilient, 3) Strategic and Responsive, and 4) Vibrant and Connected.  I'll write four posts, one on each priority.    

Healthy & Sustainable - $2,988,000

The Healthy and Sustainable priority supports those programs and services that promote a healthy environment for an active community including: 

• Support 2.00 FTEs for the new Redmond Senior & Community Center ($359,629) 

 • Restore ongoing funding for street tree replacement ($30,000) 

• Restore one-time funding for the Green Redmond Partnership in Parks ($50,000) 

• Restore volunteer planting events and support invasive plant species removal ($122,000)

 • Establish community gardens ($77,500) and pilot pop-up dog parks ($102,000) 

• Fund a consultant for assistance with the SE Redmond Park Master Plan ($75,000)

 • Fund 1.00 FTE to support state-regulated utility locates ($266,856) 

• Restore park maintenance dollars and analyze vegetation management systems ($1,166,998)

 • Continue implementation of the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan ($825,000), including clean building programming, building efficiency and decarbonization, and waste diversion. 

Select Service Enhancements:  Wastewater $53,000,000; Drinking water $36,000,000; Stormwater 18,000,000; Parks & Trails 15,000,000, Community Recreation $13,000,000.

 -- B. Yoder  11/8/2022

Monday, November 7, 2022

L.W School District Board of Directors named "Board of Distinction"


30 school boards across the state recognized


Redmond, Wash. – For the second consecutive year, the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Board of Directors has been named a “Board of Distinction” by the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA). Only 30 of that state’s 295 school boards received recognition as Boards of Distinction. LWSD is one of 13 recognized in the “Large School Districts (9,001+ students FTE)” category.

The annual Boards of Distinction program honors school boards that demonstrate effective use of the Washington School Board Standards. These standards promote research-based governance practices that lead to high levels of student and district achievement and help close gaps that impact student success.

“Governance of a large school system is complex,” stated Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent. “I am proud of the LWSD Board of Directors for their continued focus on students and issues of equity as they seek to create a more just educational system that aims at all students achieving excellence.” 

“The LWSD Board of Directors is honored to once again be recognized as a Board of Distinction,” stated Siri Bliesner, President, LWSD Board of Directors. “The Board is committed to supporting all of our students and to ensuring our students are at the center of our decisions and actions.”

-- Press release, 11/7/2022

Two Student Representatives (center in photo) were added to the Board in 2022 in order to provide student voices to Board conversations. High school students are encouraged to apply. Board members interview students and select one representative from the east side and another from the west side to serve on the Board. Most students will serve two-year terms. For the 2022-23 school year, the west side representative will only serve one year. A new west side representative will be selected in 2023., -website.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Council Measures Safety Levy From all Angles


Redmond City Hall, credit Bob Yoder

In the foreground from l-r, the city clerk, city attorney, Mayor Birney, Council members Steve Fields, Melissa Stuart, Vice President Vanessa Kritzer, Jeralee Anderson (in red,) and David Carson (the senior member.)  President Jessica Forsythe is on the virtual screen. Ms. Kahn is missing. 

A good (though distant, fuzzy) view of senior staff from l-r is COO Malisa Files, Carol Helland, Director of Planning and Community Development.  Chip Corder, Director of Finance. and Fire Chief Sheppard.  In total, the Mayor has 11 Directors and 11 Deputy Directors.  Angela Birney's come a long way since her days as a Parks Commissioner. 

Meet Fire Chief Sheppard and Police Chief Lowe up close and personal HERE 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Almost Half of High School Seniors Felt Sad or Hopeless in Past Year


Youth mental health is in a state – 45% of high school seniors reported feeling sad or hopeless in the past year, according to the statewide Healthy Youth Survey. If nearly half of youths grapple with feelings of depression, every youth is due some education to help them recognize and overcome those feelings.

Washington state schools and leaders are building a variety of supports to improve the school climate, strengthen student resiliency, and intervene with supports when youth need them most.

“Mental health is getting talked about. That’s probably why students are recognizing, ‘Maybe I’m not alone in this, maybe there’s something that can help me,’” said Staci Cornwell, youth mental health coordinator for the Mead School District.

From bus drivers to teachers to parents to legislators, every Washingtonian can play a critical role in supporting youth and improving their mental health.

Read the full story on Gov. Jay Inslee's Medium here.

Remember that here in Redmond and across the Eastside, we have an awesome organization for our kiddos, namely Youth Eastside Services or YES. They treat kids from birth to age 22 for any mental illness, depression, suicidal thoughts and/or substance abuse. They have a sliding scale that goes to zero, (thanks to generous donations), they accept all insurance plans and Apple Health. Whether it’s in the schools or in one of their offices in Redmond, Kirkland or Bellevue, they are great at intervening with our kids, Supporting families, and educating the community. Don’t forget about this important resource -- Comment by Cami.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Utility-Box-Art -Wraps On Leary, the City Can Do Better

from sidewalk 

facing Leary Way

Traffic Operations and Cultural Arts doesn't seem like a good mix.  Just look at it.  IMHO, the Cultural Arts Administrator and Commission need to up their game for things to come, like Redmond Town Center and Overlake and downtown buildings with plazas. Box art can be cool (library) but the 2050 goal for equity and inclusion will require a myriad of significant cross-cultural art works. 

According to the Cultural Arts Administrator, the utility box artworks were selected from a public art call as part of a pilot program by the City (a partnership between Traffic Operations and Cultural Arts) 

The utility box artworks were selected from a public art call as part of a pilot program by the City (a partnership between Traffic Operations and Cultural Arts)


Info on the artist can be found on the Cultural Art web pages -- Arts & Culture | Redmond, WA

and our communications team is working on some stories and posts coming soon. We will also be adding signage next to the boxes in the coming months.

The artists were paid $250 each.  

-- Photos and opinion by Bob Yoder, 10/31/2022

   click on the photos to enlarge