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Hello North Bend Residents,
Happy Fall. This is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Snoqualmie Valley and I hope you’re enjoying the colors all around us. The changing colors are a reminder that we are heading into our stormy season when the rain and our notorious gap winds return. I encourage you to help our Public Works Department by ensuring falling leaves don’t block storm drains in your neighborhood. Your neighbors and your streets will thank you.
Here at City Hall, we’re back to business as usual. If you remember from my last quarterly update, we reopened City Hall to the public in July. We were one of the earliest cities in our region to accomplish this and were happy to welcome the community and staff back to the building. Yes, we still have to mask up, but we have found it to be a small price in our return to a new normal in serving the community.
Due to the Delta variant, we have not yet returned to in-person City Council, committee and commission meetings. As we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, flexibility is our friend. We hope to transition to hybrid in-person/online meetings in the coming months, but until then we will continue to utilize virtual platforms. In the meantime, planning and training for those hybrid meetings is underway – and we appreciate the silver lining in knowing that future hybrid meetings will allow for increased flexibility.
As we move into the last quarter of 2021, we wanted to highlight and share with you City accomplishments that occurred during the past quarter.
Summer is an active time for road improvement projects in the City of North Bend and this year was no exception. Our Public Works Department was busy overseeing many projects that will make getting around town easier, including a new roundabout at the intersection of North Bend Way and 436th Avenue which is scheduled to wrap up in mid-November; new roadway surfacing on Park Street between Bendigo Blvd and North Bend Way; and new channelization striping on Tanner Road. In addition, several transportation capital projects are being engineered such as the roundabout at Bendigo Blvd. and Mt. Si Blvd.
Over the summer, Phase 2 of the Wastewater Treatment Plant High Priorities Improvement Project was contracted, concurrently with engineering and permitting. The project is expected to take two years and when complete in late 2023, will add capacity and redundancy, improve employee safety, increase treatment and hydraulic capacities, replace aging facilities and make important environmental updates that meet strict Department of Ecology requirements to protect the environment and Snoqualmie River.
We are close to finishing work on the Hobo Springs Water Mitigation Expansion project. A new pump will increase the available supply of mitigation water. As I’ve mentioned before, we continue evaluating other multiple long-term mitigation water options to meet all future requirements of our Centennial Well Water Right.
The City recently completed a Water Distribution System Leak Study which identified approximately 35 leaks, the majority of which have already been repaired. The remaining are targeted to be repaired by the end of the year. And our crews continue replacing aging water meters in older neighborhoods to help reduce water loss.
We are firmly committed to being good stewards of our local environment, an effort we know many of you join us in. In addition to our leak repairs and mitigation efforts to protect in-stream flows of the Snoqualmie River, the second year of our Water Conservation Ordinance has been successful – something made possible only through your efforts. Additionally, the City joined Seattle Public Utilities Saving Water Partnership, which offers water saving tools and tips, along with valuable rebates, to help us with our year-round conservation efforts. As a City, we feel our water conservation policies set a standard for surrounding cities and thank all of you for partnering with us.
Community Development Projects
So, what’s going on around town when it comes to development? There are some projects you may see in construction stages and others still in planning stages. As stated in our economic development goals, these projects will bring jobs, services and housing diversity to our City.
Sitework continues on the Cade Vu condominium project on E. Park Street. These are the first new condos built in the City in approximately 25 years. Habitat for Humanity recently held the official launch of its new North Bend community called Taylor Town. I was honored to speak at the event and along with your Council, am pleased that this new affordable housing community will provide homes to seven deserving families.
In the eastern part of town, sitework continues on the Cedar River Partners project that will bring 212 new multi-family rental homes. The new roundabout at North Bend Way and 436th is being built by this project’s developer to mitigate associated traffic. Next year, a new 4-acre City park – called Dahlgren Family Park - will be constructed on adjacent donated land that will have direct access to Tanner Landing Park with its Snoqualmie River access for outdoor enthusiasts.
On the business front, Karakorum, a local snowboard binding company, moved into its new headquarters on North Bend Way behind Napa Auto Parts, and construction commenced on the new King County Loop Facility near Truck Town.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, a dual-brand Wyndham Hotel has been proposed by a private developer inside the Outlet Mall, located where the Vanity Fair store is situated. The project – which includes 91 rooms under the La Quinta brand and 31 under the Hawthorn brand - is in planning review.
Puget Sound Energy is in planning review for a new natural gas workforce training facility. The project located near Nintendo also includes a 72,000 sq. ft. conference center. Planning review is also underway for multiple light industrial/commercial businesses, including SeaCon, Alpental Logistics and Bio-Therapeutics, a medical device maker that is looking to relocate from Seattle to our beautiful city.
The Finance Department has been busy working on the Mid-biennium adjustment to the 2021-22 Biennial Budget adopted by your Council in late 2020. Unlike last year when we were faced with revenue declines and cutbacks related to the pandemic, this year revenue sources are strong, pivoting in the right direction. In fact, sales tax revenue, which is a major source of our general fund, is exceeding our forecasts. As the economy continues to rebound, the trends in 2021 have been positive, putting us in a much better place than we were just one year ago.
City Council Legislation Wins State Award
Some great news to share: Council legislation adopting Form-based Code for our Downtown Commercial zone was honored by Gov. Inslee and the Dept. of Commerce with a Smart Communities Award in the Smart Project category. The award-winning North Bend Downtown Commercial Zone project- undertaken by our Planning Department - included innovative form-based code to ensure future redevelopment fits the character of the community and provides more housing options. This is a huge honor for our City and was a collaborative effort of your elected officials and our hard-working staff.
As we adjust to living in this ongoing pandemic, we’re discovering – thanks to vaccinations and public health safety measures – that we can continue our near-normal lives. Here in North Bend zip code 98045, approximately 76% of us are now fully vaccinated and 81% have begun the Covid-19 vaccination process. We’re still wearing our masks, but that seems a small sacrifice if it means we can come together as a community on a regular basis, send our children back to the classroom, join our friends for a dinner out at a favorite restaurant, or cheer on our favorite team.
This summer these measures allowed us, in partnership with community organizations, to hold events such as the Meadowbrook Drive-in and Sip, Suds & [Little] Si, which was a well-attended, successful fundraiser for the North Bend Downtown Foundation. And mark your calendars, on October 16 the North Bend Blues Walk returns with 17 downtown venues and 22 bands. Then on October 30th, Trick or Treat Street returns with over 40 participating downtown businesses. This year the popular event will run in tandem with Si View Park’s Harvest Festival, making the day even more spirited for our youngest residents. Holly Days and Light up North Bend will return in December to make the season extra bright. Watch the City website for more details.
As you might have guessed, positivity is in the air here at City Hall. Your City Council, myself, and staff remain dedicated to the livability and character of our small mountain town. It is our unique community that makes North Bend a desirable place to call home and also attracts new families and businesses. We continually strive to make improvements - while at the same time respecting Citizens’ voices and our City’s history - that we hope enhance your daily lives. This City is our job, and the work of serving our community is something we feel lucky to do.