January 24, 2000
New Year's photos document rapid changeby Lisa Allen, Valley View editor
DUVALL--While much of the Valley spent New Year's Day watching football, Duvall Historical Society President Don Williams was out taking pictures.
His intent was to record the area for posterity, but some of what he photographed just three weeks ago is already in transition. Safeway is under construction, the face of Main Street is changing, and a 100-year-old bridge will soon be coming down.
In Duvall, if you blink your eyes, you run the risk of missing something. For those who might not be able to keep up with it all, here's the latest on some of what is happening or has happened in town.
New drugstore comingOn January 1, workers cut down the tall fir (formerly the town Christmas tree) on the vacant lot across the street from the Methodist Church to make way for a new drugstore.
Duvall Family Drugs will be breaking ground for the new store in the next couple of weeks, said owner Kari VanderHouwen. "The new building will include a 4,000-square-foot pharmacy and five retail spaces," she said.
VanderHouwen said construction is expected to take about six months.
'The Victorian' closesLocated just north of the Safeway construction, "The Victorian," an internationally-known bed & breakfast and local landmark, closed its doors for good on December 31. Owners Bill and Helen Losleben had operated the bed and breakfast for the last seven years. "We have thoroughly enjoyed it," said Helen. "But we thought it was time to close."
Declining to cite any specific reason, she said, "They are doing a nice job on Safeway, but it's a changing way of life here. We never know what is happening and it's noisy. But we love this old house and will enjoy it as long as we are here."
The Loslebens moved to the Valley 30 years ago, devoting much of their time to remodeling the old farmhouse.
Helen said they have hosted lots of wonderful guests over the years, many from distant places. "Some have become friends and come back year after year," she said. "People come from all over ... it seems like all roads lead to Duvall."
This one won't--at least for six monthsBeginning March 15, commuters using NE 124th will have to find another route. On that date, the Novelty Bridge replacement project begins, which is expected to take six to seven months.
Work designed to help move traffic during the bridge closure is continuing in Duvall. Last week, bases were poured for new traffic lights at the intersection of Main and Stephens.
"The light should be working by February 22," said Duvall City Director Jim Bourasa. "And at Main Street and Virginia, lanes and traffic light timing will be changing to give motorists more time to make it through the intersection."
Bourasa said that when the bridge is closed, motorists going downhill on Virginia will be able to make right turns only, and those on Main Street going north will be able to turn right onto Virginia. Virginia traffic will not be allowed to go in any other direction. He said cars that are now using the light at Virginia to cross Main Street will be able to go over to Stephens.
Although the work being done in Duvall is designed to help with expected traffic congestion, Bourasa emphasized that "it (the bridge) is a county project, and Duvall has no control over traffic outside its boundaries."
Rochelle Ogershok, spokesperson for King County Department of Transportation, said the Novelty Bridge project is "on target," with preparation work set for the weeks prior to the actual closure. "We are looking at substantial completion by mid-October," she said.
County engineer Gwen Lewis said there are many concerns about the flow of traffic. "We are hoping that people will implement alternatives, such as ride pooling or avoiding peak hours," she said. "And when the new bridge reopens, it will be so much better."
She emphasized the 100-year-old bridge is in bad condition. "You can see the rust on it," she said. "It's crying out for relief."
County engineers and transportation staff will be discussing the project at the January 27 Duvall council meeting.
Novelty Bridge, built in 1899, will be torn down in March. NE 124th will be closed for six to seven months while a new bridge is being constructed.
"The Victorian" bed & breakfast closed December 31.
This tall fir came down New Year's day to make way for a new drugstore.