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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
February 9, 1983     The Issaquah Press
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February 9, 1983

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Opinion Editorial Letters Pickering Farm development Congratulations, Ella Ella Moore, our hats are off to you for a job well done in alternatives are unrealistic Those who would "keep Issaquah green" told the city council on January 31 about a slew of alternatives to developing the Pickering Farm proper- ty. One look at these alternatives reveals them as both implausible and unrealistic. The King County farmlands preser- vation program was suggested. The Pickering Farm property does qualify for that program, but, says LeRoy Jones, it&apos;s not a priority piece. In fact, the county would buy 58,000 acres of more desirable county farmland before considering the Pickering farm proper- ty. 0 The county won't even consider the property until 1984, if the bond rates drop to eight percent. They have not been at that rate since 1979. Other alternatives offered at the public meeting Monday night included community trusts, the Trust for Public Lands and the Nature Conservancy. The first implies that there would be a group of people willing to buy the land to keep it open. The second is an agency which would negotiate the cost of the land between the two parties. The third is an organization that buys land in- habited by endangered species or con- sidered valuable wilderness. Much as environmentalists would like to call the Pickering property itself an endangered species (vacant land), the Nature Conservancy would probably not be interested. Even though community trusts have been very successful elsewhere in the na- tion, no one has stepped forward and offered to buy up the 140 acres for open space, at $40,000 a year in property taxes. And while the Trust for Public Lands has negotiated the sale of thousands of acres nationwide for use as open space, the agency is a bargain hunter. The owners of the Pickering property have repeatedly said they are not in- terested in donating the property tb anyone. General partner Eugene Ek- blad suggested the city buy the property if it wants it open. He later said no one is going to get it for under $10 million. It is unlikely the city, school district, county, state or any other collected group of people would buy the property for that price. The city has condemnation rights, and can, of course, take the land by eminent domain. At what cost? The county assessors office has the property on record as worth about $3 million. Ekblad says he won't let it go for three times that. If the city gets involved in a condemnation procedure, it would get very'sticky. A court would undoubtedly make the final'decision. Clearly, any amount of millions would not be easily swallowed by city taxpayers, who would soon realize they were footing the bill for a regional park. While proponants of protecting the land repeatedly implored the council to "consider alternatives," their ideas, at this point, do not pass the plausibility test. Public meetings School Board, Wednesday, February 9, 7 p.m., Administration Service Center. A public hearins, on4he, closing of May Valley Elementary will be held, architect's draw- ings for Liberty High Phase II will be presented and a decision may be made on whether or not to replace aging boilers at lssaquah Junior High and broken down washers at Maywood Junior High and lssa- quah High. Planning Commission, Wednesday, February 9, 8 p.m., Community Hall. Final plans for Skipper's Restaurant will be reviewed. City Council, Monday, February 14, 7:30 p.m., Community Hall. This is a special ses- sion to discuss the city's proposed com- prehensive plan. A decision is possible but not definite. ,  :. o :. River and Streams Board, Tuesday, February 15, 7:30 p.m.,, City Hall Con- ference Room. Design Commission, Wednesday, February 16, 7:30 p.m., Community Hall. Plans for Gilman Square, the expanded Hi- Lo Shopping Center, will be presented. An eight-unit condominium project planned for 165 1st Ave. N.W. will also be discussed. Owners of the Texaco station on Front Street will present plans for complete remodeling. Plans are expected to include a car wash and mini mart. Meeting follow-up Planning Commission, January 26. The Commission decided unanimously not to act on the city park comprehensive plan, saying action on the plan was not in their juris- diction. School Board, January 26. The board ap- proved the removal of a fence around the lssaxluah High football field, approved reserved parking for seniors at Issaquah High, agreed to close May Valley subject to a public hearing, and delayed a decision on transportation cutbacks until February 23. Design Commission, Wednesday, February 2. The commissioners reviewed plans for the future Gilman Square, now Hi-Lo Shopping Center, and suggested to developers they had come prematurely to the commission because they still need three major variances on the project which the Design Commission does not control. Developers for that project have decided to t come back to the commission on February 16 with more information. City Council, Monday, February 7. The council sent a fee schedule to the public safety committee outlining the cost of fire services in the area. The fees, if adopted by the city, will be levied against convicted ar- sonists, persons reporting false alarms and companies or individuals who call on the fire department for service that is beyond normal duty. The council passed on to the utilities com- mittee review of Interstate 90 culverts in the area where Tibbetts Creek crosses the freeway. Potential flooding problems were brought to the council's attention and the committee will review culvert size and make a recommendation to the council. The council adopted ,an ordinance pro- viding for a "suggestion award" program. In the program, anyone with an idea which increases efficiency or saves the city money, will be paid $25. helping gain improvements at Issaquah High School athletic facilities. ,- After so many years of sensible ideas being presented to deaf ears, your presentation has now won. This fence that so mysteriously appeared in 1979 during reconstruction of I.H.S. football-soccer field was a total waste of taxpayers' funds. Issaquah High School sports fields are completely fenced at this time and the need for additional monies being spent to reconstruct this fence is absurd. It is certainly a sad day when members of our school board feel intimidated and lose respect of the community when it takes such action as Ella Moore's to get a job done. Ken Russell past president, Issaquah High Boosters Club Alice didn't sing I thoroughly agree with Fred Marler's column in the Jan- uary 26 issue of the Press in all respects but one. Alice Faye was out in "San Francisco." The stars in that were Jeanette MacDonald, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. The date it came out was 1936, as I remember. It can be seen every so often on television. Your tribute to Alice Faye was apt, though I don't remember the names of the movies that had the songs you mentioned in them. However, she was extremely effective singing in closeups because of flawless beauty and a great ability to project feeling. Rock and roll is damaging to the hearing of the children who listen to it. As their hearing declines, they need it louder and louder to hear it at all. I suggest Fred Marler and Rodi Shemeta Ludlum combine columns. Put Fred's stuff in the column and Rodi's picture on top. Fred's stuff is better, but she is prettier. You could alter- nate names, which should fascinate the readers. Sincerely, Edmund J. Pinney Orinda, Calif. Land use is in the eye of the user I'd like to comment on a couple of things that have been written in the newspapers and said at the city council hearing on the 31 st. The first thing has to do with the thought that the farm might be purchased as part of the King County farmland preservation program. This just doesn't make sense. In 1940 the military came in and took over part of the farm because they said they needed it and told us that it wasn't much good as farm l.and anyway.: Then, when 1-90 came t!arough, the state took the property because theywanted it and theysaid it wasn't much goodas farm land and that it was in a natural line for development. They said it wouldn't last much longer as a farm due to the pressures for growth and they needed to put 1-90 in to meet the demand for that growth. Since 1-90 went through, farming in the valley has stopped. Of course, when the Pickering family tried to get a fair pi'ice for the property, the state said it wasn't worth much since it was only farm land. Our family spent nearly every cent it had only to lose a court battle because the state convinced a jury that although it wasn't good as farm land (and, therefore, not worth much of a price at the time) we'd make a ton of money once development began.., a couple of years after 1-90 was completed. And now, because a few people don't want any develop- ment, we're being told that the fads were wrong in 1940, the state was wrong when 1-90 came through and the jury was wrong when it agreed with the state. It really is a farm land, after all. It"s interesting how the land is always something else to whoever wants it for their own use. Maybe all the people, the feds, and the state would like to reimburse the family for all the taxes we've paid -- based on a non-agricultural use. So far, it's only been us and the new owners. I got upset when I heard one of the speakers on the 31st tell about how much he enjoyed laying in the grass of our fields and marveling at the beautiful blue sky above. When this same guy tells the city council that it "turns (his) guts" to think that he might not be able to do this anymore because the land might be developed, then does everything he can to keep I IIII I I THE ISSAQUAH PRESS Published every Wednesday since 1900 45 Front St. S. (Box HH), Issaquah, King Co., WA 98027 Phone (206) 392-6434 $10 per year. $17.50 for two years in King County; $10.75 per year outside King County; $5.00 for senior citizens. Deborah Berto, managing editor; Rodl Shemeta Ludlum, associate editor; Rhoda Donkln, reporter; Brian Bretland and Joan BIIncoe, display advertising; Wllma Coleman, classifieds; Marilyn Boyden, circulation; Myrtle Wlnslow, bookkeep- per; Roxalne Reynolds, Norma Starks, contributing writers; Fred Marler, con- trlbutlng writer, darkroom technician. DEADLINES News ............................. Friday, 5 p.m. Display Advertising... ". ........... Mooday, 3 p.m. Classified Advertising ............. Monday, 3 p.m. Office Hours ............... Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. OFFICIAL PAPER FOR THE CITY OF ISSAQUAH Entered as second class matter at the Issa- quah Post Office underact of March 2, 1897. A Division of Murray Publishing Company my family from someday enjoying the frfiits of more than 125 years of hard work, I get very angry. Maybe we should put up a little "contribution box" in the barn for hir and his friends so we can make enough money to join them in the field and stare at the beautiful blue sky. The only thing I have to say about the wetlands we hear so much about is that they were never wetlands until the drainage ditches and tiles became so plugged up that the surface water wouldn't drain. If they were unplugged there would be not wetlands. There weren't any all the years the drains were working, so there's no reason to believe there would be today if they were working. I guess vhat I'm trying to say is that I wish everyone would stop looking at just the negative side of what developing the farm could bring to the area. Throughout the history of the farm and during all the "wars" the Pickering family has been through, the city (even though they've promised, time and again) has never stepped forward to offer assistance or to do something positive. Now they have a chance. The city council can take the first important step by approving the entire farm, including the airfield, as a development district. Sincerely, Robert Pickering 'Established' saves one business I didn't speak January 31 at the Pickering Farm meeting held at the high school, but I was surprised to hear that the Ci- ty Council was even considering leaving it-as an "established" zone. There's nothing there except the airfield! Then I hear all the parachute supporters say how we'vegot to keep it so they can keep coming to Issaquah to parachute. Nobody ever ask- ed how many of them come to Issaquah to shop, or for dinner or to support our schools. After listening until everything began to sound like everything that had already been said, we left. But one thing was very clear. And that is this: if the airport was not there to- day, there would be no discussion of making it an established zone. It would be a development zone without any question. No one would have been arguing. So, if the city council is thinking about making it an established zone it's only because they want to save one man's business. There is no other reason. Of course, that man would be happy. Why not? But if I owned that property and they zoned it so only one person could benefit and that one person wasn't me, the owner, I'd be so mad I'd probably get ar- rested. Now I understand why the owners are so frustrated. I repeat, there just can't be any reason to leave that land like it is except to save one man's business and if the city coun- cil does that I'll be convinced that there's only one man in this whole thing they've listened to. And it wouldn't have been the people who own the land. Sincerely, Barbara Davis Airport could stay either way I enjoyed attending the special city council meeting January 31 to listen to the many, varied thoughts concerning the 1-90 subarea plan. It was interesting that of all the speakers, only a few really understood exactly what the city council is going to do with the testimony. Most people believe the council's decision will determine whether or not the airport will continue operation. Most peo- ple believe that if the airport property is designated as an established district, the airport will automatically be saved. They believe that if it is designated as a "development district" it will aiatomatically be eliminated. I believe nothing could be farther from the truth. In the first place, the city council is not taking testimony to approve any specific use of that property. They can not; it would be patently illegal for them to do so. As the attorney, Mr. Hillis, pointed out, the city council certainly could not approve a comprehensive plan which was specifically designed to preserve the McDonald's restaurant business, (or any other business), so they cannot legally approve any action which is designed specifically to guarantee the airport will continue to do business. The city council must decide what types of development will be allowed on that property, and what types will not be allow- ed. They are approving a plan which will set not only the land use, but the standards which must be used if development is ever proposed. Nothing more or less. As Mr. Hillis said, the council has no application for development before them and regardless of what stated in the past by proponents of the airport, their to designate it as one "district" or another will havei ing on the continued operation of the airport. That is a decision which must be made by the who own the property and the operator of the air private business and a private contract. The cit not do anything which could be construed as either side. If they were to designate that "established district" just to perpetuate the air would be in violation of the law. I hope the city told them that. What really is interesting is that there is nothing to airport from continuing to operate (if the operator were to sign a lease) if the property "development district." Just as it could go away becomes "established," it could stay if it "developed" district. In that case, why not let "development" district, plan for its future use and Emrich and the owners decide if they want to keep open? David A valentine for the city We would like to present a valentine to Issac proud to live in such a caring, responsive communit constantly in need of a special reinforcer to students or a place outside the classroom to dent's special talents and raise their self-esteem. We ed businesses in the community for the world and been turned down yet. Issaquah Junior High Lower Cam Here's an idea for downtowr I noticed that article in your issue of November 10,: which some attention is being given by the Chamber merce to revitalize the old downtown of Issaquah. no means a new subject to me. 1 can't remember too I believe it must have been about 50 years ago when tive in business and in some organizations like the Commerce. Anyway, a committee was formed to the possibilities of obtaining some professional help up a plan to make downtown Issaquah the real and less the permanent downtown. I recall I was committee, but I forget who the others were. About that time there was a County Planning which had hired a planner-engineer by name of mark. I contacted him and he in turn contacted a engineer who was employed by some association dedicated more or less to problems of the smaller cities. We had a meting with them and they agreed to! with thconty engineers for maps< etc. and This they did and in effectthis is their report, ..... In the real old days, surveyors measured land by are 16.5', so all properties on the west side are rods, or 165'. That 165' extends to about that street west of Front Street. Of course, this of the area has been used as a street so long that owners could in no way claim it. No buildings in this J tend further than 100 feet west of Front Street. These planners proposed that these property claim this 65' to the city, and the city acquire width to make 100' of street to give sufficient room ing area on both sides and still leave room in the necessary traffic. With this setup, the stores and whatever, could not much cost, construct an opening to their stores one sees in the new modern malls. Then that whole area to the further west, to the Creek or beyond to Newport way should be groups as we see today seeking good locations for a center. Then they added that the intersection where N. and Rainier Way meet as well as the street coming in west could be widened to accommodate all traffic from all directions to customers from everywhere. I inject this idea into your considerations to see make Some common sense. GullJble's travels: or how not to get there from here Rodi Shemeta Ludlum "Do you have a pencil, dear? Alright, come up the hill past the cemetery, go past a couple of streets on the left and then take the first right, except not the one that's a dead end. You'll go past that house that burned down last year -- remember? -- and they repainted it? Then you kind of veer left where the road sort of ends and it turns into another street -- two hundred and something or other -- you'll know it because you'll pass a mailbox shaped like a barn. Then you take a... let's see.., a right -- no left -- on'to a little dirt road. There's a lot of bushes growing around it and some kids knocked the sign down on Halloween. I keep asking the county to put up a new one and they still haven't been out here yet. Well, anyway, you'll know you've gone too far if you pass a little store on the right. Just come down the dirt road and we're right toward the end. You can't see the house from the road, but just look for a really big cedar tree with lots of ferns under it..." The final phrase is always the same and it's another clue to look out for trouble: "You can't miss it." One of the nicest things about working for a newspaper is having the chance to get out of the office and meet inter- viewees in their homes. One of the worst things about going "on location," however, is actually getting on location. There are multitudes of people hidden out in the hills and valleys of Issaquah who cannot tell a stranger how to get to their homes. You've heard the phrase about knowing something like the. back of your hand. Think about that. How well do you know the back of your hand? You never think about it until a nurse tries to stick you with an IV needle. It's the same way with your home. You don't have to think about where you live. You've gone home so often you switch to automatic pilot and the car steers itself into the driveway. It's not easy to articulate that fog-bound journey. It was worse when I first came to work here. I believed people when they'd say, "Oh, we're really easy to find." Now I know that's the first sign of trouble. Consider this typical set of directions. At first, I would listen carefully to these directions, trying to picture them in my mind, dutifully scribbling down the key points: "Cemetery road.., veer left.., barn mailbox, uh-huh.., bushes.., store..." Then, for the next hour and a half, I'd drive up one hill after another, wondering what happened to the cemetery. I'd look for barn mailboxes and find only standard issue. I'd puzzle if veering left is the same as turning left or if the store was Abigail's Knit N' Stitch or Bob's Used Auto Parts. After a number of these merry romps through the countryside, I demanded, somewhat testily, to be given street names, mileage, and house numbers. No landmarks, A.J please. "I can't miss," I'd congratulate myself as I directions filled with facts and figures. Then I'd I'd gotten directions from a native. Natives are know nothing about correct street names. "Take Highway 10 out toward Goode's Corner. "Head up Vaughn's Hill Road until the fork...' "Come up to Cemetery Road..." Natives still haven't accepted the fact that Hi really Gilman Boulevard, that Vaugn's Hill Road is Issaquah-Fall City Road and Cemetery Road is West Way. To make matters worse, people in the south talk about a cemetery road. I still haven't found that One of the worst places to find a home, no specific the directions, i.s South Cove. Streets marked to cause maximum confusion. Within a few hundred yards of each other, the unwary seeker can S.E. 44th Place, S.E. 44th Way and S.E. 44th slow cruise down each cul-de-sac searching for all the Neighborhood Block Watchers peeking out behind the curtains and making a mental note of mY number. I can always tell which people have a lot of parties at their homes. They are professional givers. Without the slightest hesitation, they say, Press, head south on Front Street until it turns into lssaquah-Hobart Road. Drive 2.7 miles until you Tiger Mountain Road ..." They never say "you it" because experience has taught them that even the specific directions can be misunderstood. Instead, conclude with a reassuring, "And if you get lost, phone number..." I I II I II