Northwest NEWS

December 27, 1999

Front Page

The year that was--and some questions for 2000

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   The efforts and accomplishments of citizen activists in the Snoqualmie Valley dominated the news in 1999.

   In January, Fall City residents came together to protest King County's urban reserve zoning around the town. Community members feared the designation threatened to change their cherished rural area forever.

   The Fall City Citizens Action Committee brainstormed, and by September, their recommendations became part of Ron Sims' new Fall City Subarea Plan. The recommendations included zoning changes and adding a rural character protection program.

   In March, Duvall-area residents learned for the first time that a rock quarry was planned that would, if it proceeded, eventually remove an entire cliffside from the Valley. Gearing up for the long fight, the residents formed into a group they called Friends of Cherry Valley.

   The group filed a lawsuit against King County, contending that zoning for the quarry was obtained without the necessary environmental studies. They claim the quarry will cause traffic congestion and adversely affect water tables, air quality, and fish habitat.

   The city of Carnation decided it wasn't going down without a fight, either. After a police department scandal shook up City Hall, the town contracted with King County for police services. Town officials did not stop there in their cleanup campaign, however, and decided to ask the voters if they wanted to change their form of government from mayor/council to council/manager. Residents approved the change in May.

   In February, the Duvall City Council heard from Olympic Pipe Line representatives who told the council that the proposed pipeline designed to run from Woodinville, through Duvall and Carnation and over the Cascade mountain range, is "the safest, most reliable, and cheapest way to ship petroleum."

   Then, on June 10, a leak in the pipeline near Bellingham resulted in an explosion that killed two 10-year-old boys and a teenager. Later that month, and a day after Duvall City Engineer Elizabeth Goode recommended that the City Council oppose the project, Olympic Pipe Line withdrew its application for the new fuel line.

   In April, the Snoqualmie Tribe packed their bags and moved their offices to a much-needed and more spacious facility on the Preston-Fall City Road. Even better news came early in October when the tribe learned it had finally been granted legal status. Tribal members celebrated in their new quarters.

   In May, Riverview Supervisor Dr. Jack Ernst announced he was accepting a job with a school district in Missouri. The District then launched a search for an interim superintendent.

   Just before the Fourth of July, the historic Grange Store in Carnation burned to the ground, consuming two businesses with it--NAPA Auto Parts and Eldorado Stone Corp. Two more fires later in the year destroyed another building used by Eldorado Stone and a popular restaurant.

   By midsummer, the long-awaited construction of the new Safeway in Duvall began. The massive project is continuing to cause minor traffic holdups along SR-203.

   Early in August, the Duvall City Council became alarmed with how fast the city was growing, and enacted a six-month emergency moratorium on development until the sewage treatment plant could be studied.

   And county traffic engineers told Duvall-area residents that the Novelty Bridge replacement project was still on schedule for 2000. In 1899, the original bridge was completed over the Snoqualmie River at a cost of $6,000. It was referred to in accounts of the opening event as "a great accommodation to the people of that place."

   Today, it is not only an accommodation, it is a necessity for the 7,000 drivers who use the bridge on NE 124th every day. But during the last couple of weeks of 1999, those drivers got a glimpse of what life could be like for them from March to October next year.

   During mid-December, NE 124th was closed due to high water. During the evening commutes, traffic was backed up on the Woodinville-Duvall Road halfway to Cottage Lake.

   County engineers claim traffic improvements, such as additional lights and turn lanes at critical intersections, will mitigate the impacts. But many residents aren't buying it. Traffic lights, scheduled to be installed in 1999, are still not in place. And the area continues to grow at a staggering pace.

   In 1900, the first wagon road was completed between Snohomish and Fall City. It took days to go anywhere. Now, when NE 124th is flooded over, it just seems like days.

   It's all part of a growing and changing Snoqualmie Valley. The State Growth Management Act required road capacity to keep up with population growth. But that didn't happen, and dealing with the results will be a huge challenge for the year 2000 and beyond.