Saturday, July 16, 2022

7-Acre Parcel For Sale In Downtown Carnation

 



As of 2021, the population of Carnation is 2,200.

A 7.1-acre parcel is available for sale in downtown Carnation, according to the city.

“This property presents a great economic development opportunity for the future of Carnation,” said Mayor Kim Lisk in the release, noting that the city expects to welcome in over 200 new homes in the future.

The property is currently zoned for light industrial/manufacturing use, but the RFI states that the city is considering amending the zoning designation for the property to agritourism. Desired uses include corporate offices, hotels, breweries or restaurants. 

The Schefer Riverfront Park parcel is located at 4301 Larson Avenue, Carnation, near Tolt-MacDonald Park and Carnation Market. The property is currently owned by the city.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Chicago Firm Bought Redmond Town Center For $192 Million

The open-air Redmond Town Center has often struggled to keep up with tawnier local shopping centers and has suffered from the rise of e-commerce. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

You may have heard Redmond Town Center was purchased by Chicago-based Fairbourne Properties in 12/31/2019.  Fairbourne owns or manages 16 other properties. The Center was on the market for 1.5 years. In 2013, the sellers purchased the 120 acre property for $127 million.  

The property has three parcels:  a two-story shopping center, former Macy's (now housing Amazon engineers,) and adjacent commercial property.  The three parcels combined are 21.5 acres.  

According to a Seattle Times article, "Redmond Town Center suffered from e-commerce.  The "village style" open-air mall struggled to keep up with "tonier" Bellevue Square."  (Is a large, covered pedestrian place in the offing?)  The Times reports the tenant mix will lean heavily towards local retailers, restaurants, and health and fitness.

-- Bob Yoder, 7/15/2022 

Source:  Seattle Times, Paul Roberts, 12/31/2019

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Updated, 7/15/2022: Redmond Town Center's Early History, Part 1

Pat Vache' in early days / courtesy of Arnie Tomac

Check this out, as some of you know, just prior to the pandemic the Redmond Town Center
 was purchased by Fairbourne Properties of Chicago for $192 million.  Fairbourne's vision is to redevelop Redmond Town Center from "an auto-centric suburban campus to a walkable mixed-use urban neighborhood.”  ​Light rail is a major driver.  ​

This post is one of​ three on ​Redmond ​Town Center:  1) The Early history. 2) How Town Center came​ to be (what makes it work?​)​ and  3) Visualizing "Town Center."​  The magnitude and significance of "Town Center" is deserving of several town hall meetings.  I hope this series gives a solid grounding for visioning and participation. 

THE EARLY HISTORY - a quick story

Town Center’s modern history began in late 1978 when the Old Redmond Golf Course​ (in King County)​ was purchased by Winmar, a Safeco company.  A total of 120 pristine acres was purchased, including the 87 acre golf course. Forty-three acres would remain open space. The acreage was cherished!  Open space is a very big part of Redmond culture. 

Winmar proposed development​ of the 87 acre golf course twice, once in 1979​ ​for $4 million (per Town Center Associates) and again in **1982 for $6 million ($16.5 million in today's dollars.)  Though open space was desirable,​ The Sammamish Valley News​,​​businessmen​ and many residents wanted shopping and commercial​development.

To counter development, in 1978 a coalition of preservationists​,​ “Civic Action for Redmond Environment” (C.A.R.E.) formed to retain the golf course and influence public opinion.​  One of the C.A.R.E. Presidents Richard Grubb, Pat Vache', Arnie Tomac, Chris Himes, the Beasons and other citizen activists organized the coalition. Grubb, Vache' and Tomac became councilmembers. Himes  became Redmond's first full time Mayor.  Nothing ever came of the 1979, $4 million Town Center Associates offer, probably because of C.A.R.E.  

​​"Old Redmond" vs. "New Redmond" issues were reaching a boiling point. So, in 1982 Council​,​ led by President Arnie Tomac​ and councilmember Pat Vache',​ proposed a $6 million bond measure to “let the voters” decide if they wanted to purchase the land for preservation or take Winmar’s offer and develop it.  According to Rosemarie Ives, the 60% supermajority bond failed by 2%​.​  

Mayor Doreen Marchione is quoted in the Sammamish Valley News, “we have no choice but to annex the property for reasonable development.”  Former Mayor Rosemarie Ives​ felt the city ​should​​ have immediately​ gone out for a second​ vote​. ​ 

Pat Vache', Redmond's first planning commissioner and councilmember of 16 years, stated ​for over eight years ​"the public, planning staff, Policy Advisory Commission​ ​(planning commission) had a series of public meetings, visioning exercises and just about any type of public process imaginable.  What is known as “Town Center” didn’t just happen.  It has history.”​  

With that, ​​Vache' notes by 198​6​, (Ord. 1328) 120 acres were annexed from King County, pre-annexation zoning was completed, the ***Master Plan was approved, and the property was incorporated into the City of Redmond. ​ ​*Seven years following the City’s 1988 approval (Ord. 1416) Winmar didn’t develop anything with Town Center, though there still was much debate and talk. In 1994, Winmar proposed an outdoor mall of 1.3M square feet of shopping and offices. The proposal was approved by Council in 1995 (Ord. 1841.) Construction started in 1996.  

Pat concludes, “Throughout the history two issues were foremost, 1) protecting open space and 2) creating a major retail facility for all to enjoy. If history taught us nothing else, it is clear that  three elements were important then and are critical today:  

1) Redmond residents want and deserve the opportunity to engage, 2) A robust retail environment is a necessity for Redmond residents and the economic sustainability of the City of Redmond, and 3) Redmond residents demand a sustainable environment, an environment characterized by trees, lots of trees and open space, lots of open space," in fact a minimum of 43 acres.

-- written by Bob Yoder, 7/15/2022

Sources:  Sammamish Valley News, Pat Vache, Arnie Tomac, Nancy McCormick, Rosemarie Ives, Holly Plackett, 4/8/2022 Fairbourne Properties Letter to Redmond City Council, Seattle Times, 8/10/1997.

* Quick story:  Though, not directly related to Town Center, past councilmember and planning commissioner Holly Plackett noted Winmar's seven "idle" years were spent developing Target, Mervyns, and Bella Bottega cinema.

###

** The MASTER PLAN was approved in 1986:  "The design and development of this zone is controlled by a Master Plan established to ensure that development here integrates with and positively influences future development of the Greater downtown area and retains traditional building styles, street patterns, variety of uses, and public amenities."  (Ord. 1328.)  

The MASTER PLAN was scrapped in 2022.  New language:  "Design and development of this zone is controlled by zone-based regulations and additional  special design standards for development projects located within the downtown urban core."

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Lime e-bikes On Powerline Trail

 


click to enlarge

They're back! (with graffiti.)  This Lime e-bike rests at the bottom of the Powerline trail near the river.

There's  Lime e-scooter information on the city website but no information on Lime e-bikes.  If you want to report a problem with Lime or make requests and find answers email info@redmond.gov.

-- Bob Yoder, 7/12/2022

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Update: 2022 Derby Days Grand Parade


Our City Council members are rounding the corner!  Council member Jessica Forsythe is the festive one in yellow sneakers.  She's Council President.  Do you see Council member Vanessa Kritzer with the baby bump?  She's making modern history in Redmond as the first ever pregnant Council member! 👶 Vanessa is Council Vice President in a very challenging year.  (Rent regulations, Tree regulations, Public Safety Levy, Town Center amendments, Evans Creek realignment, Senior Center funding decisions and on.)  Councilmember David Carson marches as the senior member with over 13 years under his belt.  Councilmember Melissa Stuart (in red) lives in Overlake Urban Center where representation is sorely needed.  Varisha Kahn is back from a long illness marching with hat. Jaralee Anderson poured OJ at the firefighters' breakfast.  Steve Fields wasn't seen. 
 
click to enlarge

Former Mayor of 16 years, Rosemarie Ives and Jerry Torell hold the banner as the Redmond Historical Society members march with organic vegetable and fruit costumes, in concert with the parade's sustainability theme.  

-- Bob Yoder, picture and video, 7/9/2022

Updated, 7/21/2022 Imagining Town Center's Redevelopment

Pam relaxing on our way to the Center after dinner at BJ's / credit Bob Yoder / click to enlarge
 
Check this out: As we walked through Redmond Town Center today enjoying the VALA Eastside Arts Festival we found this beautiful plaza walkway.  Former Mayor Ives calls it "a sliver of oasis."  The landscaping is gorgeous (and even more so with my wife in the scene!)  Almost a promenade, it separates two large parking lots functioning as a pedestrian friendly Town Center connecter.  (But where are the pedestrians?)  The row of benches and potted flowers are a great ornamental touch to the beautiful, treed  landscaping. Notice the lamp posts.  

I've become more aware of Redmond Town Center (RTC) since word got out the new owner, President David Harvey of Fairbourne Properties, LLC is planning a "re-make."  In fact, if you can believe it, RTC was built in 1997 and is a quarter century old.  The structure is sound and architecture modern but it's 2022, and light rail is coming, along with thousands of jobs.

According to a Mr. Harvey's letter to Council,  "Fairbourne will make much-needed capital investments including streetscapes, entry points, and the center-facing downtown, the new Light Rail station, landscaping and pedestrian access and building facades." Before & after renderings of  the entry points show off exciting, creative improvements.   

Harvey says his intent is not to "tear it down and start over."  This may be the case for the most part,  but once the parking lots (either side of my wife) are dozed this attractive walkway could go with it.  

It's rumored 12+-story building(s) with lots of commercial and some residential may be sited on these old parking lots.  One or two levels of public parking is a possibility.  A "SR 520 gateway" at Bear Creek Parkway could improve vehicular circulation.

The good news?  According to Mr. Harvey, "20% of new units would be priced at more affordable rents using the city's inclusionary and Multifamily Tax Exemption programs."  Fairbourne can do better.

Harvey sees an opportunity to "elevate Town Center above the Bellevue Square of the Eastside."  He wants to "keep it as a homebase for local restaurants and shops as well as unique national tenants."  His goal is to double restaurant space.  Retail space?  Unknown.  Could there be indoor shopping and recreational space? 

The Arts Festival was a fun stroll, meeting friends along the way.  It will be open again tomorrow, along with Derby Days.  Cheers!

-- Bob Yoder, 7/8/2022

Source:  Letter to Redmond City Council Members, Co-Signed by David Harvey, President Fairbourne Properties and Patrick Woodruff, Managing Director, Pacific NW Hines Interests. April 8, 2022 

Friday, July 8, 2022

OPINION: Vote "No" On Public Safety Levy, Rosemarie Ives


Redmond Police in library watching over the Community Court
Credit: Yoder / click to enlarge

On July 16th,
Redmond City Council is making their decision on the Public Safety Levy.  You may give them your comments and opinion at this email:  Council@redmond.gov  BY

Good evening Mayor and Council,

Opinion:  My name is Rosemarie Ives, former Redmond mayor, 1992 through the end of 2007

I am here tonight to discourage the council from proposing a new levy to fund staff and programs in both police and fire departments.  At a time with the highest inflation rate in 40 years, the threat of a recession, rising gas, food and housing costs, this is hardly the time for the City to ask the people to increase what they already pay in taxes.  An additional levy will worsen an already unaffordable Redmond.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

11th Annual Redmond Arts Festival

 

Redmond Town Center, 2022

VALA Eastside and Redmond Town Center are excited to gather artists, craftspeople, and designers for the 11th Annual Redmond Arts Festival at Redmond Town Center. This two-day outdoor festival takes place July 8th-9th, 2022, and features approximately 60 artist booths, a community art project, and live entertainment. The festival is produced in conjunction with Redmond’s annual Derby Days celebration at Redmond City Hall which features a parade, music, food, and kids' activities, and has an expected combined attendance of over 15,000 people. The entire City of Redmond is activated with art and festivities on these days. 


ARTS FESTIVAL DATES/TIMES

Friday, July 8th            12pm-8pm
Saturday, July 9th        12pm-8pm

Commissioner Gary Smith Given High Honors By Mayor Birney

Gary Smith teaching child about trees

July is "Parks and Recreation" month.  During "Special Orders of the Day"  Mayor Birney honored  four citizens for their contributions to the City Parks & Rec.  One of them is a friend of mine, Gary Smith.

Allow me to paraphrase the Mayor's recognition of Gary.

  • Parks and Trails Commission (2018 - present) Chair
  • Advanced Sustainably pushing forward the East Redmond Corridor.
  • ADA stakeholder working to improve access to all users of Parks and Trails
  • Green Redmond Forest Volunteer for many years leading and working numerous forest restoration projects. Gary is the Forest Steward at Westside and Idlewood Parks. 
  • Gives valuable input on the "Tree Canopy Strategic Plan." 
  • Significant contribution to the pond restoration at Smith Woods Park (and project manager of the program honoring the owner who gifted the land.)
  • Advocate for fish and fish habitat in and around the City. 
The Mayor praised Gary noting "this only scratches the surface" of his contributions to the City.   A list of posts on Gary's contributions and activities are HERE

Gary spoke to the Council and audience after the Mayor's recognition.  He thanked the Parks and Trails commission saying "the commission was his platform for multiplying efforts I might have given."

Gary gave thanks to the "Green Redmond" program kindly saying it was "started by Mayor Rosemarie Ives fifteen years ago."

Gary Smith is a public speaker extraordinaire - intelligent, whitty, powerful voice, emotionally controlled, with great presence.  His likable personality, deep passion for  Redmond's environment and ecology, and long-time commitment to the community makes him very special.  Thank you, Gary.  

-- Bob Yoder, 7/7/2022

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

UPDATED: Council Studies Impact Of Construction On Drinking Water

Station House Lofts, downtown aquifer dig, 3/2017 / credit Bob Yoder

The  proposed goal of  the temporary de-watering regulations is "to ease tensions between "compact growth" and drinking water." (Jessica Alakson)

Downtown Redmond and Marymoor Village lies over a shallow, sandy aquifer from which the City  gets 40% of our drinking water.  Jessica Alakson, the City geological scientist gave Council a brief report on actions the City is taking to protect the aquifer from development of 1-2 stories of underground parking garages.   

The aquifer is mapped by "Critical Area Recharge Areas" (C.A.R.A.).  One day, Redmond Town Center will be redeveloped with 12-story buildings and one or two levels of underground parking. Town Center is in the high priority C.A.R.A. Type 1 zone.  The proposed "Nelson Village" is in the C.A.R.A. Type 1 zone, as well.

Ms. Alakson said excavating the sandy aquifer artificially lowers the ground water-table. Water will be purchased from Cascade Water Alliance if water table significantly drops.  [When water levels drop significantly, it's my understanding the developer may have to pay for the difference.] 

Jessica stated "Temporary Construction Dewatering" will be amended to include the following limitations within the Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA):

 · Limit rate to 5,500 gallons per minute; and · Limit cumulative duration to a maximum of 1 year; and · Limit depth to a maximum of 9 feet below season high groundwater elevation. 

Council member Jeralee Anderson asked Jessica how long it takes to recharge the aquifer?  Jessica said if it's raining heavily, less than a month. The average recharge time is 2-4 months.  Ms. Anderson asked how many projects would be vested from the more restrictive regulations.  Jessica said hardly any.  

No decisions were made.

-- Bob Yoder, 7/6/2022

Source:  Council Committee of the Whole, Public Works, Presiding Officer CM Malissa Stewart

"The Challenge And Need for De-watering"  (a summary of all my posts on Redmond's water.)  BY

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

UPDATED: Priority Stream Proposed For Toxin Testing

City staff Roger Dane & Steve Fix bookend Tosh Creek, 8/30/2016 
credit: Bob Yoder

This project is under consideration.

"Restoring Tosh Creek" Bob Yoder (great background on the creek.)

$6.5 Million Restoration, Redmond Reporter

Tosh Creek is a Type 2 Priority watershed destined for complete restoration.  It's headwaters are Overlake neighborhood residential adjacent West Lake Sammamish Parkway.  The creek runs through acres of undeveloped land (prime recharge area); it's mouth is the Lake Sammamish River.  At the mouth the creek provides spawning and backwater for Coho Salmon rearing and cool water for Chinook.

The City's environmental biologist, Jessica Atlakson, presented to Council a Tosh Creek street- sweeping project that could remove copper toxins from vehicular tires.  The specific toxin is "6ppdq."  A $55,500 King County Waterworks grant would determine the effectiveness of street-sweeping on toxin removal.  3.54 miles of West Lake Sammamish will be swept beginning 10/22 until 9/24. 

OLD NEWS:  

Friday, July 1, 2022

Redmond Opens Street To Celebrate And Foster Street Pride

 

Let’s Move Redmond is an Open Street Festival that promotes healthy, active transportation by transforming 161st Street into a place where people can bike, walk, scoot, roll and play. Let’s Move Redmond is an event that celebrates local businesses, community organizations and fosters civic pride in our streets.

There will be a pop-up protected bike lane, kid’s bike rodeo, community organizations, opportunities to play, learn, and connect with community....and booths.

-- Move Redmond, 7/2022

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Challenges Of Crafting Redmond Tree Regulations

AustinChronicle.com

It's been a long 24 years since a Redmond updated our Tree Regulations.  Trees are a big part of our culture.  They populate our parks, open spaces, trails, neighborhoods, and even downtown with greenery. They contribute to the riparian habitat of Bear Creek's salmon. We cherish them for their ecological benefits.  A few of our treed parks and trails are regional destinations. 

City Council, the Planning Commission, expert city staff, and community volunteers worked long and hard - 1.5 years in fact - to update the tree regulations.  Council was willing to approve the proposed regulations but unfortunately a Master Builder lawsuit against Kirkland's new tree regulations caused them to delay.  Read Mayor Birney's response at the end of this article.  

Redmond's proposed Tree Regulation Update took ~ 12 meetings!

The Update is a lot about tree replacements and penalties:   
  • For every one Landmark tree (30 inches or more) removed, six "replacement trees" (saplings) must be planted either on-site, off-site, or fee in-lieu. ($2,000.) in that order.
  • For every one "Significant" tree  (6 inches in diameter at breast height) removed three saplings must be planted either on-site, off-site, or fee in-lieu ($500) in that order.
  • The idea is to build canopy.  Redmond's goal is 40% canopy.  Canopy provides  cooling, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, aesthetics, raises property values, improves mental health, lowers blood pressure and more. Most Washington cities have a 40% canopy goal.
  • For each tree removed illegally by topping the contractor's penalty will be tripled. 
  • Single Family Homes don't qualify for off-site or fee-in lieu options. Saplings must be shoe-horned into the parcel.  If an evergreen is removed, it must be replaced by a six-foot evergreen tree.  The requirements can never be enforced; no penalties. 
  • Find the proposed updates here:  www.LetsConnectRedmond.com/Trees
The "Master Builders of King and Snohomish County" argument against Redmond's Update is, in part: 
  1. "Redmond is at odds with another critically important goal for the community (and requirement under the Growth Management Act.); insuring adequate supply of housing."
  2. "Concerned enhanced retention and replacement requirements will significantly increase review times and construction costs; hampering new home construction and driving up costs."  
  3. "This will make it increasingly difficult for the City to meet it's own housing targets and provide a range of affordable housing options."
  4. "The trees are getting the same protection as critical areas."
  5.  "Reconsider a 40% canopy requirement since "American Forest" in 2017 no longer recognizes this as standard."  
  6. "The Growth Management Act requires Redmond to responsibly provide dense housing totaling 8897 units by 2040."  
The Master Builder lawsuit against Kirkland's Tree Regulation Update as described by Mayor Birney (edited excerpt.)


Mayor Birney:  "The Master Builders claim Kirkland's tree protection ordinance violates the Growth Management Act (GMA) because it failed to consider private property rights, created vague implementation standards, treated trees like critical areas without consideration of Best Available Science and will decrease housing production. 


Mayor Birney:  "Although we do not believe these arguments have merit, staff want to take the "Growth Management Hearings Board" conclusions into account before finalizing the ordinance for Council approval. The final Board decision on the matter is expected in November.  In the meantime, staff are proposing to update the Redmond fee schedule for tree replacement and the enforcement codes to ensure that unpermitted removal is appropriately deterred until the substantive regulations can be finalized for Council adoption early in 2023."


Owing to the strength of the Planning Director's advice to Council, it was decided not to take action on the Proposal until November at which time the Kirkland law suit will be resolved. Council will wait until early January before implementing the new ordinance. In the process of this timeline, developers will be vested under the more lenient ordinance for over 2.3 years. Hmm, how much canopy will be removed before the new more restrictive ordinance takes place?


The Planning Director will not hire a "Code Compliance Officer."


-- Bob Yoder, 6/29/2022


For details on penalties for illegal tree removal, and to comment  "Read More"

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Council Reviews "Senior & Community Centers" Expenses


At today's Committee of the Whole meeting Council reviewed Opsis Architecture’s "contract supplement for construction administration services." It totals $1,412,392.  Opsis is the primary architecture firm for the new Senior & Community Centers. 

Council also took note of the $5,211,638 "maximum amount" payable to Opsis Architecture upon completion..  

2023-2024 Funding sources for the new Senior & Community Centers are, as follows:

$17.116 million: Capital Improvement Program

$1.25 million State Capital Adopted Budget  

$1.648 million Surplus Park Impact Fees from 2019-2020

$2.486 million General Fund available cash from the 2019-2020 biennium and the 2021 fiscal year, 

$9.5 million Surplus REET and park impact fees from the 2021 fiscal year. 

$16 million Councilmanic bonds:  (Councilmanic bonds do not require a vote of the people.  Council members praised Finance Director Chip Corder for managing the issue and locking in a very low rate.

Total:  $48,000,000

-- Bob Yoder,  6/28/2022


Monday, June 27, 2022

Car Stack Parking Amenity Offered In Two Redmond Hotels.



The ARIA boutique apartment west of Anderson Park uses a car stacker. 

Sunrise Hue Apartments 164th and NE 85th Street when complete will have 3-level car stackers.  


This link gives a good description of car stackers with video:

https://parkplusinc.com/products/mechanical/#  The concept may have originated in Australia. 

-- Bob Yoder, 6/27/2022

ARIA Apartments, One Of Redmond's Finest

Credit: Bob Yoder

ARIA is a new boutique apartment across the street from Anderson Park.  It's one of my favorite downtown buildings by design, materials and architecture.  Note the wood-like materials.  

Modera, across the street from City Hall uses wood extensively and looks gorgeous.  Wood was sadly lacking in most of Redmond's earlier developments. Redmond was originally a logging town so it's fitting to include timber textures in design. 

ARIA has some incredible amenities.  My favorite is their terraced green rooftop; relaxing by the fire pit is a suggestion.  A "car stacker" to facilitates parking. Walk your dog in the park directly across the street.  Mountain views.  Peloton. Coffee bar.  Restaurant soon.  

Only one unit is available at this writing.  One bedroom, one bath, 691 s.f.  $2465/month.  Utilities? parking? garbage?

-- Bob Yoder, opinion, 6/27/2022

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Former Mayor Ives Challenges Staff On Puget Sound Energy Plan

Rosemarie Ives

Good evening Mayor and Council Members,

Rosemarie Ives, former mayor 1992-2007

I am speaking again against the Sammamish Juanita Transmission Line.  Though much information was provided,  I have one question:  why did City staff support Puget Sound Energy’s business interests over the environmental interests of the people of Redmond AND the Puget Sound region who have committed to preserve the Sammamish Valley farmlands and open spaces for decades? 

After becoming mayor in 1992, the  Comprehensive Plan  identified  the east-west Transmission line at NE 95th Street as the northern boundary for manufacturing and industrial uses and with everything north  remaining  rural.  The owners of the land north of that transmission line  approached the City with a proposal for a golf course that is Willows Run today.  After  extensive  negotiations, the City agreed to zone the property “urban recreation” with the understanding that this land would remain “open space,”  with the owners required to uphold a long list of environmental regulations and responsibilities, and that in perpetuity, the golf course would remain open to the public.  I believed strongly that zoning for a golf course was the best way to preserve the historically rural Valley, protecting it from any kind of business, manufacturing or industrial intrusion.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

LW School District Board Names New Officers and Legislative Representative

l-r Mark Stuart, Siri Bliesner, Eric Lalibert, Chris Carlson, Leah Choi


Redmond, Wash. – The Lake Washington School District Board of Directors named a new President, Vice President and Legislative Representative during their regular board meeting on Tuesday, June 21, 2023.

  • Siri Bliesner (Director, District Five) will now serve as the Board President, replacing Eric Laliberte, who had been president for the past two years.
  • Leah Choi (Director, District Three) will now serve as the Board Vice President, a role that was previously filled by Mark Stuart.
  • Mark Stuart (Director, District Four) will begin serving as the Legislative Representative, a role that was previously filled by Siri Bliesner.

Board reorganization takes place once per year, at the second School Board Meeting in June.


Comments (BY):  


Siri Bliesner has been been very involved in City of Redmond governmental activities. She is on the Redmond Vision 2050 Committee and the Council compensation committee, to name two. 


Leah Choi was elected in 2021, has young family and appears to be rising fast within the Board.  She was supported by Redmond Councilmember Jeralee Anderson during her campaign.  


Mark Stuart is a people person with a great sense of humor. He is extremely popular in the community with endless endorsements.  The Board listen's to him.  


IMO, Eric Laliberte is the "most improved leader" and one of  the best Presidents

I've seen. He did a fantastic job leading the Board through the pandemic.  A true asset to the District.  


--Bob Yoder, opinion, 6/21/2022

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Opinion: Councilmember Varisha Kahn Is Back!

Varisha Kahn

Breaking news!  Councilmember Varisha Kahn  physically, in-person attended both Council meetings last night for the first time in over 20 months. Here's a June, 2020 snippet from Crosscut praising her: 

The New Normal: When your living room becomes City Hall / Crosscut:

"Redmond City Councilmember Varisha Khan is navigating her first term from home while supporting her community through the pandemic.

Varisha Khan is a first-time city council member in Redmond. She drafted, proposed and passed recent legislation that protects Redmond residents from late fees and evictions, and offers support during other hardships. She recognizes this pandemic as a collective trauma for society and the only way she feels she can cope is by doing what she knows: helping her community through writing humane policy that mends a frayed social safety net."

-- Dorothy Edwards, June 22, 2020, Crosscut.

In addition to remote attendance Varisha presided over the Public Safety Committee for several months and coordinated the new Safety and Sustainability work plan. Other than that, her in-person attendance was rare until last night.

Since not everyone participates when attending remotely, the Mayor started a roll call policy for accountability.

Councilmember Kahn's constituents are diverse and her representation is critical.  Ms. Kahn is the youngest councilmember in the history of this City.  She's a woman in her mid-twenties (the average age in Redmond is 34.5 yrs.)  She's a Muslim.  And, she's a native, having graduated from Horace Mann Elementary.

The six councilmembers have worked hard to carry her load.  Varisha is pretty confident. She is articulate, likes to talk, and eventually makes her point heard. 

-- Bob Yoder, 6/22/2022


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Facebook "Oculus" Expansion Underway

The Facebook Oculus development is not solely "Building X."  Facebook Oculus has permits for eleven buildings on Willows Road totaling $106 million.

Thus, the  need for the "10 Minute Community" on 124th and Willows, which is currently under construction. 6/21/2022,

A picture of a model of Facebook’s proposed Building X in Redmond. It will include trees on rooftops to help it blend into the surrounding forest.The rooftop forest will cover 2.5 acres. The remaining roof will have solar panels.
Credit:  Redmond Reporter

In the documents, Building X is planned to be constructed in a way that makes it hard to see, if not invisible, from the road and [Willows Run] golf course. It will be set back from the road in addition to having trees planted on many of its roofs. Two existing buildings onsite will be demolished.

Facebook is hiring, looking to fill more than 170 positions in Redmond, including nearly 70 for Facebook Reality Labs and 38 for Oculus, its virtual reality program. Facebook already has space in Redmond near the Microsoft campus and it is unclear how many of these positions would be placed at Building X. It also remains unknown exactly what will be researched at the Building X facility, but plans call for several of its labs to have high, glass ceilings to let in natural light.

-- By Aron Kunkler, Redmond Reporter, 11/16/2018

"Building X" is directly across from Willows Run Golf course. It will have 1,400 parking spaces under the building and 678,000 square feet of space.  Photo, Bob Yoder

What is Oculus?  

-- Compiled by Yoder, 6/21/2022



Sunday, June 19, 2022

UPDATED: Big-time Construction Is Creeping Into Education Hill


Well, it looks like they're advancing into our neighborhoods; ever so slowly, just creeping & crawling along.  This one made it as far as Herfy's hamburgers  (164th & NE 85 Street.) before catching it's breath. 😃

6-story "Sunrise Apartments" will replace a grungy, old mall.

Yoder / 6/19/2022