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Happy Friday North Bend and welcome to the latest edition of the Weekly Recap. It's been another busy week around town. It's hard to believe we're already three weeks into May. With a State reopening date on the near horizon and vaccination rates increasing, your Council and Staff are optimistic for a return to normalcy in the coming months. Of particular note - a historic milestone was reached this week with the Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement project - one that was seven years in the making and will have a lasting impact on the City's future. Remember to click linked headlines below - where applicable - to read the full new releases. Enjoy your spring weekend.
At its May 18th meeting the City Council reached a historic milestone, approving the contract for Phase 2 of the important Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) High Priority Improvements (HPI) Project, which will complete the estimated $35 million, multi-year project for which planning began seven years ago. The project is a critical component to the City’s future. The new, state-of-the-art facility will reliably serve customers for decades to come; allow the option for all residents currently on septic to hook up to sewer; better protect the Snoqualmie River; increase employee safety; improve energy efficiency; reduce odor; provide capacity for new commercial projects that create jobs, bring in additional tourism, and diversify the City’s economic base.
Last week the CDC issued new guidance for fully vaccinated people, with Gov. Inslee announcing Washington would follow - those fully vaccinated can resume activities without wearing a mask or social distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, including local business and workplace guidance. Businesses retain the right to require customers to wear masks. The guidance does not apply to health care settings like hospitals, long-term care, or doctors’ offices, jails, homeless shelters, or schools. The federal order requiring masks on public transportation also remains in place.
King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin has issued a Local Health Officer Directive that strongly urges county residents to continue wearing a face mask in indoor public settings, whether or not they are vaccinated. Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends that businesses who serve the public continue policies to ensure customers and employees wear masks indoors. Duchin said, “We have no way to know who is vaccinated and who isn’t, and it’s impractical for businesses to determine that…the most reliable way to ensure everyone is safe is for everyone to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces for a few more weeks, until we get vaccination rates higher and disease rates lower.”
Gov. Inslee announced last week that Washington is moving toward a statewide June 30 reopening date. If 70% of eligible Washington residents initiate vaccination, the reopening will happen sooner. Click linked headline to read all details of the new reopening plan.
It's back.... Snoqualmie Valley Transportation's Summer Freedom program is returning, allowing riders who are 18 or younger to ride free between June 1st and August 31st. This vital program will help local youth get to where they need to go this summer.
Love seafood? Here’s a chance to get some fresh seafood right in downtown North Bend on Friday, May 21st from 4pm - 8pm at Volition Brewing. At Premiere Catch’s popup shop you can pick up wild, sustainably caught Alaska seafood. See list of available items and pricing HERE.
Did you miss this week’s City Council meeting? If so, we’ve got you covered. A recording of the virtual Zoom meeting is now available in the City website media Center. Click linked headline to watch.
King County will begin fieldwork related to a Levee Breach Study of the South Fork Snoqualmie River in North Bend. This fieldwork will help identify areas that are vulnerable to breaching and will occur along the critical, 6.25-mile South Fork Levee system that runs thru the City. Findings from the study will be shared with residents when it is completed in March 2022.
On May 18, 2021, the City Council unanimously approved new water rates and General Facility Charges (GFCs) for the years 2022-2026. The annual 5.5% rate increase and new GFCs for water connections will help fund normal operations, maintenance and planned capital improvements to the City’s water system. The increases were determined by a Water Rate Study completed by FCS Group, a firm contracted with the City. The planned improvements funded by the increases will enhance customer reliability, ensure safe drinking water quality, decrease distribution system leakage, as well as increase and diversify mitigation sources to meet requirements of the City’s Centennial Well Water Right and protect the Snoqualmie River. New rates go into effect on January 1, 2022.
The Washington State Fire Training Academy (FTA) has notified the City that it will be hosting training exercises in early June and again in mid-July that may result in explosive noises being heard in areas of North Bend. The explosive noises are possible from 8AM to 5PM, June 1st through June 4th and from July 12th through July 16th from 8AM to 5PM.
This week Snoqualmie Valley Hospital began scheduling Pfizer vaccine appointments. The hospital recently joined the King County Covid-19 Vaccination Partnership which helped bring the Pfizer vaccine – which is now approved for 12 to 15-year-olds – to the Snoqualmie Valley. Schedule appointments HERE.
As of May 17th, over 6.4 million vaccine doses have been given across the state. In King County, roughly 2.4 million doses have been administered and 70.1% of residents 12 and over have received at least one dose. In North Bend zip code 98045, 63.6% of those 12 and over have received one dose – and 43.7% are now fully vaccinated. Statewide more than 45% of residents (16+) are now fully vaccinated and 59% have had one dose. The Pfizer vaccine became available for kids aged 12-15 on May 13th. The state reports that between May 13th and May 16th roughly 28,000 Washington 12 to 15-year-olds received their first vaccine dose, which is 7.4% of that population and more than double the national average vaccination rate of 3.6% for 12 to 15-year-olds. Vaccination appointments are now widely available locally. Find a Covid-19 vaccine HERE.
North Bend Covid-19 activity declined this past week. Over the past 14 days there were only 3 new cases reported. Neighboring Snoqualmie’s April spike continues declining, with 12 new cases reported over the past two weeks. This continued activity in the upper Snoqualmie Valley is an important reminder that the virus continues to circulate in our area. Vaccination is the critical tool to halt virus and variant spread to #KeepNorthBendHealthy and to meet the State’s June 30th reopening target.
Mother Nature has put on a magnificent sunset color show the past two nights. In case you missed it, this shot is from May 19th – taken by Brook Buchanan.