Northwest NEWS

December 31, 2001

Front Page


Looking back at 2001

by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   € Dominating the news of the Lower Valley early in the year were Duvall's proposed medical clinic and the opening of the town's long-awaited Safeway store.
   Residents had voted in November 2000 to annex the Duvall area into the Evergreen Hospital District based on the promises of a medical facility for the growing town, which had been without one since Medalia HealthCare closed its office on Valley Street almost three years ago.
   Property owners agreed to be taxed 30 cents per $1,000, or about $78 per year for a $200,000 house.
   The push for a clinic began shortly after Medalia closed its Duvall office. In a quest to bring back medical services, Duvall's then Fire Chief Bud Backer initiated discussions with Rex Lindquist-then Evergreen Board President. When Backer left to take the Deputy Chief position at Woodinville Fire and Life Safety, he passed the torch to a group of Duvall professionals who determined the answer lay in annexing the Duvall area into the Evergreen Hospital District.
   During public meetings in January, residents told Evergreen Healthcare officials that they would like the new facility to offer extended hours, a variety of options and keep a real presence in the community.
   In March, Evergreen Healthcare awarded their 2000 exemplary service award to the Citizens of Duvall for their efforts in bringing health services to their town.
   In October, Evergreen Healthcare entered a five-year lease agreement for the new facility, which will be located in the Copper Hill development at SR-203 and N.E. 145th. It will consist of more than 3,100 square feet with seven exam rooms, one procedure room and an X-ray room and laboratory.
   On Dec. 8, citizens and Evergreen staff members bolted a wood plank in place in a symbolic gesture of partnership. The event gave citizens an opportunity to get a peek of the floor plan of the clinic through artists' renderings and meet Luba Kihichak, M.D., who will be the physician at the new clinic. The facility is scheduled to open in March of 2002.
   € In mid-January, a huge crowd attended the grand opening of Duvall's new Safeway store ‹ a welcome addition to the growing community. City officials and community members are hoping to add a Cedarcrest High School activities sign at the Safeway entrance on SR-203 sometime in the future.
   € February's news included the announcement of a taxpayer-funded widening of N.E. Novelty Hill Road. King County Road Services Division told residents that the costs would run around $43 million to widen the two-lane road from Avondale Road east through the developments currently being constructed on the top of the hill.
   The developments include Redmond Ridge on the south side of Novelty Hill Road, and Trilogy on the north, built by Quadrant, a Weyerhaeuser company. The developments have been on the receiving end of lawsuits for a number of years by a citizens' group, Friends of the Law, which claimed most recently that the county allowed the developments to proceed with the two-lane road because of traffic evaluations that said the road as it was would be sufficient. Novelty Hill Road will now be widened at taxpayer expense.
   € In mid-February, many Duvall residents were heartened to hear that the building application moratorium, in place since July 1999, may be lifted by summer. The moratorium meant some longtime residents and business owners who had hoped to sell or subdivide their property to help fund their retirement would be unable to do so. Their revived hopes were dashed later in the year when the city announced that only about 140 sewer hookups would be allowed until a major sewer plant expansion is completed, about five years down the road.
   The 140 possible hookups were contingent on improvements being completed to the sewage treatment plant's outfall pipe, allowing the city's discharge permit to be revised by the Department of Ecology.
   All residents could do was request to be included should those 140 hookups become available. The news left many shaking their heads as they watched massive commercial construction ­ approved before the moratorium ­ continue unabated.
   € Late in February, Conrad Robertson, superintendent of Lewistown (Mont.) Public Schools, was named the new head of the Riverview School District. Robertson wasted no time in getting to work and becoming involved in community activities ­ attending barbecues and riding in the Carnation July 4 parade.
   € The March 1 dedication of the new Tolt Water Treatment Facility was overshadowed by the previous day's earthquake which shook up the entire Puget Sound area, causing millions of dollars in damage. The Tolt facility's dedication went forward without many of the expected guests, including Seattle Mayor Paul Schell who spent the day surveying the earthquake damage. The temblor also cracked a 1,000-foot section of SR-202 near Snoqualmie Falls, resulting in the closure of the road, which wasn't reopened until May.
   € Also in March, Riverview School District officials decided to try again to pass an athletic field bond issue. Voters had turned down five previous attempts at building sports fields at Cedarcrest High School. This time the district included it in a $5,750,000 20-year capital projects bond that would also pay for roof repairs at three schools, some structural repairs and seismic upgrades to Tolt Middle School and complete the Cedarcrest Performing Arts Center.
   Supporters were jubilant after voters approved the measure by 65 percent on May 15. The ballot issue needed 60 percent approval to pass. The amount slated for the athletic fields will pay for clearing and grading of the 9.6-acre site, construction of a PE, football/soccer field, a track and field facility, bleachers and a 1,200 square-foot concession/restroom building.
   School officials reported in November that work on the performing arts center is ongoing, and some re-roofing is complete with more expected to begin next summer. Work on the design of the sports facilities was near conclusion. Construction is expected to begin this spring on the athletic fields with an anticipated grand opening in the fall of 2002.
   € The November election brought significant change to the leadership of Duvall. In a surprise upset, Becky Nixon, new to the political arena, was victorious in her effort to unseat longtime Mayor Glen Kuntz.
   € And, just in time for the holidays, King County officials gave Duvall residents an unwanted Christmas present when they announced that the Woodinville-Duvall Bridge will be closed all next summer for repairs, guaranteeing yet another three months of traffic jams. And just when we were all getting used to having two bridges again.