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State of the City of Issaquah

January 19, 1999

A year ago I spoke about commitments and our form of government, which is built on pledges, on trust, and on the knowledge that any power government has, is derived from its people.  Tonight I want to share with you a glimpse into the future based on what the people of Issaquah have said their vision is.

The year is 2008.  What is Issaquah like?  There are more of us, close to thirty thousand residents living in well-established neighborhoods such as old downtown, Squak Mountain, Sycamore, Issaquah Highlands, Montreux, and East Village.  We may have been joined by Overdale Park and Providence Point, perhaps even by other neighborhoods further afield on the Plateau.

As has been the case for close to twenty years, we are proud of our treasures and have protected them for future generations to cherish.  The treed hillsides have been retained through a strengthened tree preservation plan and through the protection of existing native growth protection easements.  The high quality of Issaquah Creek has been maintained through upstream acquisition of wooded properties and by the city's implementation of the Issaquah Creek Basin Plan.  Fewer places are flood prone and the creek meanders according to its nature.  Tibbetts Creek floods less often with less siltation than in the past.  Now, as in years gone by, Coho make their way up Tibbetts Creek each fall to spawn.  The Issaquah Hatchery, thanks to the efforts of community volunteers and the State's recognition of the value the facility adds to weak and endangered wild stock recovery, houses a state-of-the-art incubation program in the historic Works Progress Administration Building.

Issaquah provides a match between housing and jobs as our long adopted Comprehensive Plan vision of high tech, environment-sparing businesses located in Issaquah.  Our local economy remains strong.  A wide range of housing is available to Issaquah residents of varying income levels.  The City keeps its commitment to retaining subsidized, affordable housing within our town.  Each of our newer neighborhoods has housing that teachers, firefighters, and police officers can afford.  Young families starting out can live here.  Our adult children are not forced to move away.

An increasing number of Issaquah residents make a difference in their own lives and the City's through environmental stewardship.  From fewer than a dozen Eco-teams in 1998, there are more than one hundred.  Issaquah is a sustainable City, a healthy place to live, work, and play thanks to responsible citizens taking charge of their own actions.  Public support for the use of transit has increased.  Traffic has been reduced as those who are able to use regional and countywide buses and rail to get places throughout the tri-county region.  Locally, our shuttle has grown in ridership and takes people where they need to go within Issaquah and on the Plateau.  The trolley provides an entertaining way to go from old downtown to points north.

Downtown continues to be a vibrant, cultural and historical heart for Issaquah as it, too, is one of our treasures.  The expanded Library, the Police Station, the Community Center, Pool, the enlarged Senior Center, and City Hall, along with the Hatchery, are part of a dynamic old downtown that has services and stores within easy walking distance of one another.


Traffic is less of a problem as more capacity has been added through improvements to State Route 900 and Newport Way, as well as by the SE Bypass.  Fewer commuters take up space on Issaquah's streets.  Thanks to the City's concurrency ordinance and transportation improvement planning, we have made up for previous street deficiencies and have an additional means of crossing I-90 from north to south.  Although it does not significantly change traffic, our additional trails and walkways let people get to work without getting into their cars, if they so choose.


Although we have grown in numbers and size, we remain a caring community willing to help and look out for one another.  We recognize that we are one of Issaquah's treasures and that our lives are enriched by one another.


What has happened in 1998 that gives me confidence that ten years in the future Issaquah will be as the Comprehensive Plan has envisioned it and I have described it?  Let me share with you advances and improvements made during 1998 thanks to your input, the policy direction of our City Council, and the carrying out of those policies by Issaquah's dedicated and professional staff under my leadership and direction.

•           Commitment to Public Health and Safety

–      Consolidation of Fire Department

–      Construction of Police Facility

–      Defibrillator Program

–      Citizen Police Academy

–      Traffic Concurrency

–      Participation in regional water supply to meet Issaquah’s planned need for safe water.

•           Human Service Programs enhance the quality of life for the entire Community

–      Support of local Human Service Agencies such as CEI, Eastside Adult Day Center, Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, Issaquah Valley Senior Center, Friends of Youth and Eastside Baby Corner.

–      Support provided by Finance to the Issaquah Youth and Family Network by acting as their fiscal agent.

–      Special Population programs are gaining momentum at the Community Center.

•           Cultural Activities

–      Continued support of the Village Theatre--Capital and Operational

–      Brought two performances of the King County Dance Network

–      Added Gillda the Coho as partner to Finley--Salmon Sculpture at the Hatchery

–      Partnered with King County and the Issaquah School District to place an Artist in all Elementary Schools.

–      The First Annual Fine Arts Fest was attended by 5000 individuals

–      The First Annual Jazz Festival was attended by over 1,000 individuals

–      Weekly Concerts on the Green throughout the summer were attended by over 3000 individuals

–      The Cultural Plan became an element of our Comprehensive Plan

•           Recreation Activities

–      Provided service to community

–      Thousands of adults and youth participated in the City-run athletic programs--highly popular programs.

–      One hundred seniors per day participated in aquatics  programs

•           High Standards for Development

–      Issaquah Highlands Evergreen Builder’s Manual recognized regionally (WA, OR, and British Columbia) as valuable tool for environment sparing construction practices


•           Enhanced Environment

–      City funding, part contributor/funding for the Watershed Waltz/Sammamish Swing working with nature to avoid lake damage.

–      Minimized flood damage in an environment-sparing and restoring way.  Implemented basin plan through purchase of additional flood prone properties.  Partnered with King County to restore bought-out property as a model of what owners can do to minimize flood damage, and work with nature.

–      Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

–      Park Maintenance

–      Road Repairs

–      Facility Maintenance Stream and Riparian Restorations

•           Improved Service Improves

–      Technical improvements such as intranet and internet improved our ability to serve

–      Improved Web site provided additional information to citizens

–      Standardized Building code requirement for Eastside cities


I remain certain that with respect for one another, trust in one another, and continuing to work together for the benefit of the community, Issaquah will be a city we will continue to be proud to call home in 2008, and proud to leave as a legacy to future generations.


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