Saturday, February 18, 2017

Couplet construction - Junction of Cleveland and Redmond Way

Nice the storm drain (lower right) is somewhat protected with construction cloth.  Watch the bicyclist - a rare sight to see on Redmond Way.  How long will the Subway stay?

A flashback to Councilmember Richard Cole

 President Richard Cole during a Council study session  Credit: Bob Yoder
I like this picture because it captures President Cole's frequent mannerism while making a point.* 

Richard Cole is probably my most favorite and beloved Council member since I've been reporting. He served the City for an incredible six terms and with a stint on the Planning Commission.  What I liked most about Richard, a C.P.A., was his frugal approach to spending taxpayer dollars. He was very involved in regional growth management yet had time and interest in neighborhood growth issues. I'll never forget him pointing out the R-! zoning of North Redmond -- urging protection and  preservation of Redmond's few remaining 5-acre horse farms. A staunch advocate for the Urban Growth Boundary he was adamant about not laying sewer and water lines into County property for the Egyptian Coptic Church. Richard didn't agree with the Chee's 6-story project location near the Marymoor Park Storage Center.  He argued the location was too far away from the urban center and a bad fit for the City.

A few odd memories:  Beril, a volunteer administrator for the Redmond Historical Society, insisted Richard said the Downtown Park was intended for the urban residents, not the neighborhoods. Richard didn't walk the woods with the Mayor Ives, other council members, and about 100 residents to evaluate the Steep Slope sewer line planned for Camwest's proposed "Perrigo Heights" subdivision.


*Council President Pat Vache' had a "tea pot" mannerism -- leaning with open hand on cheek and arm cocked on hip.  Jim Robinson had the annoying habit of playing with his mustache.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

UPDATED: Podcast of 13 candidates interviewing for Council Position #4 is enlightening

Thirteen candidates were interviewed by City Council for Position #4 last Saturday.  The position was vacated owing to Ms. Kim Allen's retirement on January 31st, 2017.  Council now has to appoint a replacement.  These are screening interviews to pick finalists.  The interviewing took place at City Hall, during a Special Meeting that was open to the public. For objectivity and under City Clerk guidance, the order of interviews and question topics were randomly selected.  President Hank Margeson did a masterful job developing this selection process.

In my opinion, in order of  interviews, Amy Mayes (1:23) Stephanie Rodriguez (1:38)  Tracy Sullivan Prock and A.J. Taylor will be the finalist picks.  The woman candidates are highly favored owing to a serious gender imbalance.

Ms. Rodriquez is a strong contender and I'm guessing she'll be "the chosen one." Stephanie got by far the most interview time. She's smart (Mr. Stilin's requirement.)  She's a Harvard graduate (2001) in history and economics with a law degree from Seattle Pacific Univ. The only weakness I see in her is a dearth of passion for the environment and local culture. She's a step-mom with two boys that play basketball. One of her boys graduated from Redmond High.  Her work at Microsoft blends finance with marketing and she has a worldly perspective from work in international investor relations. She's worked on a multi-million dollar budget at is budget ready. I especially like that she considers conflict healthy; perhaps council would be more transparent in their "three-touch meeting" deliberations and Dias voting.  Her focus is "thinking beyond."  Though 30-year planning appears her interest and strength this may distract her attention to the neighborhoods, as what happened to John Marchione in his last term.

It's important to note that with this podcast (and my blog) Mr. Mayor can listen in to all the interviews putting him in a position to advise Council before their final interviews.  I don't see a thing wrong with this since he has to work and get-along with the appointment.  

Bob, opinion

My earlier interview report 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Brainstorming the repurposing of "Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center"

Credit, LWSD
The City is losing the lease on the old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center (ORSCC) in 2018 which may displace 48,000 annual visitors; while the district will regain 40,000 square feet -- some of it to be used for pre-school classes.   

The School district specifically states on their website that space is needed for 10 pre-school classes, a gym, and cafeteria/commons.  Storage, lockers, ramps and bathrooms designed for special needs students will also be needed. They may want a lobby, who knows what else.  

The City is dying for feedback on our community centers, in particular ORSCC.  So upon request by city staff I volunteered to dig in and help with a blog story. I was ignorant of ORSCC activities and how the building was laid out, so I toured it three times last week and studied their website:

Some of my ideas on how the City can create space for LWSD needs:    
  • Move the Parks and Recreation administrative offices to City Hall for a lobby? 
  • For the Classes:  Eliminate "weddings, auctions, memorials, dances, meetings, birthdays and small exercise classes" from the 3,174 square foot auditorium.  In anticipation of rapid Redmond Historical Society membership growth, move the society's eight, 3-hour Saturday Speaker Programs  to the higher capacity Emerald Heights or RHS "Performing Arts Center" auditoriums. Should rapid membership growth be unlikely, the 4 spacious meeting rooms downstairs might work for the pre-school classes, and the Historical Society could continue to use the auditorium.   
  • For the Gym & cafeteria/commons:  Eliminate the stand-alone exercise room. Membership at the Eastside Gym is only $18/month and it's open seven days a week at most hours.  Eliminate 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Jazzercise and other loud school-time activities from the gym.   
Hopefully, by creating the above space, the District will allow the City to:
  • Use the gym for weekend sports activities, weekday evening sports, 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m Jazzercise.    
  • Temporarily keep the Redmond Historical Society office and museum in the Center and move it to the Justice White Building at a later date.     
  • Keep the "Adoptive Recreation and Inclusion" special needs members in the Center; perhaps the HERO House could accommodate the older autistic members.
  • Keep the Iqra Academy Islamic Pre-School  
  • Keep the Tasveer non-profit office (Check out their exciting Environmental Festival event scheduled for Feb. 18-19!);   .  
  • Keep the 4 (or 8) spacious upstairs rooms for District, City and Community meeting spaces. e.g. day care, cultural centers, visual & digital arts, private parties, public meetings, churches, non-profits. 
  • Keep the clay studio for elementary-aged art classes and community "throwing."  
  • Build a downstairs community cafeteria and gathering place, security office and social-needs facility.
I hope the District and City can salvage the "public works" art.

Bob, opinion

Upcoming community conversations about the Center (All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, Rose Hill Middle School
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, VALA at Redmond Town Center

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Demolition of the Claim Jumper at RTC is underway

At a recent Council meeting, CM John Stilin said the demolition of Claim Jumper was underway.  It will be replaced by the "Archer Hotel" (generic name.)  Mr. Stilin said it will be one of only four "boutique hotels" of its kind in the nation.  The hotel will be 7-stories, with parking on the first floor.  Parking can't be underground owing to the aquifer.   
Is it remotely  possible this event is the genesis of Redmond Town Center gentrification?  
Archer Hotel
Address: 7210 - 164th Ave NE
Project Type and Number: Site Plan Entitlement-LAND-2015-01974
Click on "Critical Areas" for a complete description.

Vicinity MapNotice of ApplicationProcess Flow Chart

Initial Submittal

Site Plan
Tree Preservation Plan

Additional Project Notices 
SEPA-2016-00779Critical AreasCulturalGeotechnicalTraffic

Monday, February 13, 2017

Native American Settlement at Bear Creek Site -- An informational meeting.

Bear Creek Excavation
Credit:  City of Redmond
WHEN:      February 25, 2017 – 11:00 am -1:00 pm

WHERE:    Western Most Overlook of the Lower Bear Creek Project

Join project director Dr. Robert Kopperl at the edge of the restoration area overlooking the site to find out more about the study and what we have learned from it, and about the broader picture of the past as seen in our archaeological heritage. 

On Saturday, February 25, 2017, Dr. Kopperl will be on-hand to informally provide information about the Bear Creek site, answer questions about the project, and any other questions you may have about Washington State’s shared archaeological heritage. He will be at the new overlook of the Lower Bear Creek habitat restoration area along the Bear Creek recreational trail (west of World Market) between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Parking is available at the Redmond Town Center shopping mall lots across Bear Creek Parkway from the recreational trail and presentation location. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

UPDATED, 2/16 City Council interviews candidates for Allen's vacated position

(l-r) Hank Margeson, Angela Birney, Brian Shutz, John Stilin, David Carson. Hank Myers is behind Carson.
Stephanie Rodriquea is in blue.

Listen to all 13 interviews on a You Tube below  this text.
UPDATED:  Council worked from 1:00 - 5:30 on Saturday screening 13 candidates applying for Council Position #4, vacated by Ms. Kim Allen. Of the few screening interviews I watched, a couple of my favorites were A.J. Taylor and Amy Mayes.  .

A.J. is a lawyer at Microsoft. (No lawyers now on Council)  He's very smart and with big heart.  He demonstrated strong leadership skills.  A.J.'s lived in Redmond for 12 years -- two children -- and didn't have to study the city website to know what was going on.  A.J." is civicly minded, a proud member of the Redmond Rotary.  I chatted with him before his interview; he is very personable.

I was very impressed with Amy Mayes, a City Arts Commissioner.  Her passion is creating affordable housing choices for those in the lower-paying service industries. Amy was well prepared, succinct, with a good grasp of City workings.  When asked, she said her strengths were: "loyalty, strength and calm."

I hope A.J. and Amy will be finalists for the public Interviews on March 7th.

During one of the interviews CM Hank Myers mentioned their responsibility to the Open Public Meetings Act.  He said council members sometimes meet for dinner before their business meetings for team-building purposes.  They also use a "3-touch" process for consensus building, wherein all items of importance are discussed at committee meetings, study sessions, and business meetings. CM David Carson said pretty much everything "gets ironed out" by then.  6-1 and 5-2 votes are indeed very rare. The City Clerk would probably have to dust an inch off her records to find a 4-3.

According to President Hank Margeson, it's been nine years since Council's had to make a Councilmember appointment.   Mr. Margeson did a superlative job putting the process in place and building public trust.

Bob, opinion.

I didn't watch Paige Norman interview or anyone else I know.  Paige is the founder of "Education Hill Neighborhood Association" and writes a blog "Paige's Prattle."   She posted a thorough report of the meeting, including names of those interviewed and a schedule for future meetings.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Brainstorming Version 4.0: Renovation of the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center

Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center
The City is losing the lease on the old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center (ORSCC) in 2018, which may displace 48,000 annual visitors; while the district will regain 40,000 square feet -- some of it to be used for pre-school classes.   

The District specifically states on their website that space is needed for 10 pre-school classes, a gym, and cafeteria/commons.  Storage, lockers, ramps and bathrooms designed for special needs students will also be needed. They may want a lobby, who knows what else.  

The City is dying for feedback on our community centers and ORSCC in particular.  I volunteered to dig in and help.  But, I was ignorant of ORSCC activities and how the building was laid out, so I toured it three times last week to get a feel:   

Some ideas on how the City can create space for LWSD needs:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

PUBLIC MEETING, Council Candidate Interviews

Hank Margeson
Hank Margeson
City Council "Committee of the Whole" will conduct interviews of Council Candidates for Ms. Kim Allen's Vacant Position #4; term ending 12/31/2017

City Council Special Meeting
Council Chambers, City Hall
Saturday, February 11th
1 p.m.

"We execute the process in as public a way possible at every step along the way."
   --Council President Hank Margeson, 1/11/2017

Evergreen Gala to support EvergreenHealth's "Transitional Care Unit for Behavioral Health"

Image result for Evergreen Gala imagesKirkland, WA.  Join us for the 16th Annual Evergreen Gala on Saturday, April 29, 2017! The theme for this year’s Spectacular Black-Tie Gala is "Let’s Rock ‘n Roll" – so get ready for one fabulously fun evening and secure your spot today

Help us build our Gala Playlist HERE to support EvergreenHealth

The charitable focus of the 2017 Evergreen Gala is EvergreenHealth’s "Transitional Care Unit for Behavioral Health."  Our community is experiencing an alarming increase in the number of patients with behavioral health needs.  The safety and security of these patients and our staff present some distinctive challenges. Proceeds from this year’s gala will enable EvergreenHealth to redesign care in a setting that better supports these patients.  The Transitional Care Unit for behavioral health will be designed to provide for the patient’s unique needs while we transition their care to their final treatment setting.

Evening Festivities
6:00pm     Welcome Reception, Cocktails, and Silent Auction
7:45pm     Gourmet Dinner, Surprise Entertainment, and Live Auction 10:30pm
Late Night Dancing

I picked up a Gala flyer at EvergreenHealth's Feb. 2nd event: "Community Conversation on Ending Mental Illness Stigma."  Over 80 registered from all over the Eastside, with only two weeks notice.  B.Y. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Volunteer Opportunities at Redmond Historical Society

Old Redmond Schoolhouse  Community Center
OLD REDMOND SCHOOLHOUSE COMMUNITY CENTER -- Home of the Redmond Historical Society
Contact:  Halee Turner,

(1) Society Secretary, Society Office and Director
What: Leadership Position
Member of Executive Committee and Member of the Board of Directors. 
Attends Exec Board meetings and RHS Board meetings
Attends and takes minutes of Executive Board Meetings and RHS Board Meetings.  Compiles minutes within two weeks of meetings and sends out to respective members of Exec Board and Board members.  Provides final copy of minutes for permanent record.
When: Executive Board meets monthly, on Thursdays before Board meetings.

(2)     Society Director-at-Large, Board Member
What: Leadership Position (3 positions open)
Actively participates in RHS Board meetings and activities.  Willing to volunteer for tasks outside of Board meetings.
When: RHS Board meets Monthly (except July, Aug, Dec) on Tuesdays prior to the Speaker program. 
                Outside time will be required to fulfill Committee work, other tasks.


Heavy snowfall today!

Image may contain: snow, tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature

View from our front door.  Largest snowfall since 2012!  School's out! Just the right temperatures for snowballs and snow persons!  

Friday, February 3, 2017

Updated: Redmond Kiwanis to hold informational meeting

The Redmond Kiwanis Club Story

The Redmond Kiwanis Club is holding an "informational meeting for prospective members" on Friday, March 10  I'm very proud to say I've recently become a member. The Redmond Kiwanis Club is a part of Kiwanis International, a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.  Every year, more than 600,000 Kiwanis-family members in over 80 countries give more than 18.5 million volunteer hours and millions of dollars for community service projects.
The meeting for prospective members will be held at the Family Pancake House, 17621 Redmond Way, Redmond.  It will start at 7:00 a.m. and end at about 8:00 a.m.  The meeting will include a speaker program by Kent Hay, the Homeless Outreach Specialist for Redmond.“The Redmond Kiwanis Club is a snapshot of our community,” Ken Ormiston, membership chairperson, said.  “We are unified in the belief that children and our community benefits from the efforts of caring and involved volunteers sharing their talents in service to others."

Anyone interested in attending the the Kiwanis meeting for prospective members, or learning more about the Redmond Kiwanis Club, contact Membership Chairperson Ken Ormiston by e-mail at ( or at 425-307-1891, 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kim Allen's last council meeting -- eleven remarkable years of public service

Ms. Kim Allen's last Council meeting, retiring after 11 years of service.

I best remember Kim when she was on the Ive's Planning Commission deliberating the Critical Areas Ordinance Update.  Lately, Kim's been heavily involved in regional transportation and growth issues, but I'll always remember her as our spokesperson for the environment -- our *trees, streams and open spaces.

Kim was the only councilmember voting against waiving the long standing 35% tree retention ordinance for the massive Group Health - Overlake project.

Quite a few of my stories and reports about Kim are tagged here. and more will be added as I find them. (I'm editing them for accuracy, spelling, grammar, formatting,and sentence structure.)

It's been a helluva run.  Thanks for all you've done for us Kim.


Washington State blocks Trump's immigration order - King County's Claudia Balducci speaks up

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci speaking up at Council meeting.  

Updated: Lake Washington School District seeks new board member

l-r  Mark Stuart (legislative rep,) Siri Bliesner (V.P.) Nancy Bernard, Christopher Carlson, Phd. (President)
Serving on the school board: An informational meeting

Lake Washington School District board member leads session for those interested in learning more
Redmond, Wash. – Have you ever considered serving on your local school board? As elected officials, school boards provide a vital link between their communities and public schools. Their governance role is about the “big picture.” They set school district direction and allocate resources. They monitor performance and hold the district accountable for progress.

Nancy Bernard, a member of the Lake Washington School District Board of Directors, will lead an informational meeting for those interested in learning more about Board service and the process of running for school board. She will provide information on the role of the school board and what it is like to serve in Lake Washington. She will also cover the basic information about running for school board.

Ms. Bernard’s term ends in November 2017. Ms. Bernard, who has served on the board since 1997, has announced that this term will be her last and she will not run again. She lives in District Three.(Kamiakan region, unincorporated.)  Board members must live in their director district but represent the district as a whole. Prospective candidates who live in Director District Three are especially encouraged to attend.

Mark Stuart's term also ends November, 2017.  Mr. Stuart has served on the Board since 2016.. As yet, he hasn't said if he'll run again, but it's probable. Mark lives in District Four -- Evergreen Region (Evergreen MS/Eastlake/Alcott) -- and like Ms.Bernard represents the District as a whole. 

Candidates for school board file with King County Elections and there is no filing fee. Candidate filing for the August primary may be submitted by mail between May 1 and 19. Online filing takes place between May 15 and 19. More information is available on the King County Elections website Running for Office page.

School Board Service Informational Meeting
Monday, February 277-8 p.m.
Bob Hughes Room
Lake Washington School District Resource Center
16250 NE 74th St., Redmond

Monday, January 30, 2017

2016 Council Accomplishments

Updated: Redmond Way 2-Way Conversion

5 minute walk east on Redmond Way.  No evidence of "We Dig Downtown" signs.   1/30/2017

"City Helps Business during Redmond Way construction,"  Alison Grande KIRO 7, 9/12/2016

Balancing traffic flow with stoplights for pedestrian mobility will be a tremendous challenge once the conversion is completed.  Think about it.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump's shenanigans

Credit, Atlantic 
                      It's time to speak up and say NO to Mr. Trump's shenanigans.

In the early '70's I piled into a U-Haul truck with my Denison classmates to participate in the candlelight march for peace. What's going on today, in my opinion, palls to the Vietnam war era.

If you need one, this Atlantic opinion-piece  is a good summary of what's happened in the first five day's of the Trump presidency.  (The piece leaves out his efforts for job creation.)

Next time there's a regional or D.C.march count me in.

Bob, opinion

P.S.  I'm proud to say, I didn't vote for him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Updated: EvergreenHealth Event to Discuss Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness

According to, one in five Americans have a mental health condition.  I'm very interested in mental health disorders because the illness is generational in my family; and I've had to cope with it myself.  

EvergreenHealth Medical Center
I once had a job selling medicines for bipolar, OCD and ADHD. In coping with serious disorders, not only is it critical to find a good doctor for treatment, but you have to deal with the sickening shame known as "stigma."   
On Thursday, February 2nd, 6-8 p.m. EvergreenHealth is hosting a free Community Event to discuss ending the stigma of mental illness.  I hope the more who register and turn-out, the greater the chance CEO Bob Malte will offer acute Behavioral Health services in Redmond, Kirkland, and the surrounding cities.  Please tell your friends and neighbors;  the capacity of the room is over 100.     
To register call: 425-899-3000 option #1 or register online.  
Bob Yoder