December 28, 1998
Nineteen ninety-eight was the year of "new" across Northshore. A new city was officially born, construction began on a new college campus, and new stores opened up at a new development.
Of course, all years tend to bring new things, and all new things bring their share of new hangovers. For example, in Woodinville, 1998 brought new traffic lights and new taxes.
New is usually a trade-off. You could go see a new movie at Woodinville's new theater if you first got through all the new red lights along the city's old main street. Then again, if you took the new back roads through the new development to the theater instead, you would probably have time to catch the previews. And in future years, access will be improved, thanks to revenue from new taxes.
There's no doubt there'll be more new in 1999, but for now, let's reflect on what made news in the year that was.
Nineteen ninety-eight saw changes in leadership in both Woodinville and Bothell. Moving in eerie parallels throughout the year, both councils chose new mayors, parted ways with their city managers, and picked new ones on the same days.
In Woodinville, Mayor Don Brocha set out to "do more," and for the most part succeeded, setting aside Thursday afternoons as a time when citizens could speak with him personally.
Halfway through the year, Brocha and three other councilmembers decided it was time for a change at the city's helm, firing manager Roy Rainey after complaints from citizens and loss of a number of city employees. By November, a new manager, Pete Rose, had been chosen. He will begin work January 4.
That's the same day Jim Thompson, Bothell's new city manager, will begin work. He replaces Rick Kirkwood as permanent manager. Not surprisingly, Kirkwood was one of the finalists for Woodinville city boss.
In Kenmore, there wasn't so much a change of leadership as there was a choosing of those who will lead. Voters elected an interim city council on April 28.
While passing the necessary ordinances and whatnot to become a city, the council there also had time to name the dahlia its official city flower and the blue heron its city bird. On August 31, Kenmore officially incorporated.
Rivaled only by the number of grand openings, there were so many groundbreakings throughout Northshore that one had to keep an eye out for flying clods of dirt heaved by overzealous officials.
Most notable was the turning of sod at the future University of Washington/Cascadia Community College campus in Bothell. Gov. Gary Locke was on hand to press the sole of a fine shoe onto the business end of a shovel. Of course, the ground had been pre-shoveled to ensure all went well.
In Woodinville, ground was broken for Wilmot Gateway Park. Construction began soon after, though there was a setback in the fall when logs planted along the Sammamish River bank for salmon habitat floated off.
The year also brought large national chain stores to Woodinville. Target, Top Foods, Barnes & Noble, and a movie theater among others, opened at the nameless downtown development. Also, the density of Starbucks in town rose to a density of .53 per square mile (there are three stores in the city's 5.65 sq. miles).
There was a backlash against King County's road numbering system. In Bothell, a little bubble on top of downtown street signs was added to denote their original names. On the east side of I-405, the Woodinville Historical Society got the city to rename two numbered streets as Mill Place and Garden Way. Garden denotes the name of a tract where the new shopping center is now. Lumber mills were an important part of the areas early economy.
Nowadays, Woodinville is more protective of its trees. It named a pair of downtown trees--a little leaf Linden and a Spanish Chestnut--as "heritage" trees, and passed regulations that stop the cutting of more than five healthy trees with diameters over eight inches a year without a permit.
Now, with 1999 just hours away, Woodinville, Bothell, and Kenmore look forward to another round of new things. Certain to make news are where a new wastewater treatment site will be built, what Woodinville will do for a city hall, and what will be done to protect salmon.
Click here for a 1998 timeline.