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Dear North Bend Residents,
This fall, I had the pleasure of joining community members for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the North Bend Train Depot. It was on this stunning fall afternoon in September that we welcomed the North Bend Downtown Foundation’s first ever executive director, Jessica Self, and cut the ribbon to officially open the foundation’s first ever home, at the depot.
As I stood there on the depot platform alongside foundation members, businesses, city staff, and the SnoValley Chamber, I observed so much support; claps on the back, smiles all around, and genuine appreciation and recognition for one another. It is this small-town sense of care that makes our highly livable community so special.
In partnership with the City, the Downtown Foundation is embarking on a new journey. In addition to taking the helm of community event planning, they have been working to reach full Mainstreet accreditation, an achievement that will stimulate long-term economic growth in the way of grant opportunities and programs that are built around our downtown’s unique heritage and brand. I look forward to seeing the foundation continue pursuing their mission of supporting and strengthening downtown businesses, beautification and tourism, and delivering high-level communication support between the City and local businesses.
Like the Downtown Foundation, the steady decrease in daylight hours has not slowed down local entrepreneurs. All of us here at the City offer a great, big welcome to many new businesses this fall, including storefronts such as Kinship Dog Training, Crispy Fried Chicken, Falling River Meats, and Yama Si Japanese Kitchen.
Community Development Projects
Every month, we get closer to completing the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Update. Foundational documents such as this are integral in ensuring projects – even those up to 20 years in the future – are in line with our community’s vision and goals. In October, Council approved the Critical Areas element and the Shoreline element of the Plan, while staff are continuing their work with Council right now on the Housing element. There are many opportunities to make your voice heard in this, our fundamental guidebook for our future. Learn more by visiting the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Comp Plan Updates webpage.
In September, Council approved the North Bend Housing Action Plan (HAP). Supported by a Washington State Department of Commerce grant, the HAP will serve as a guiding document in the form of one report that
Strategies within the HAP will be incorporated into the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Update.
At the August 15 Council meeting, results of the city-wide Community Survey were shared. The survey was a worthy investment in public engagement, providing insight into how you perceive your community needs are being met. Results will provide guidance on many fronts, including financial choices, service adjustments, direction of our City Council and Administration, and day-to-day work for city staff. Residents gave North Bend high marks for quality of life, including recreational opportunities, a place to raise children, fire, police and other emergency services, and parks and recreation. You can find the complete report on the Community Survey webpage.
Parks and Recreation
Accessible parks, trails, and open spaces are an integral part of our healthy community, and this quarter I am pleased to share with you several exciting updates.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the City, anticipates completing the Dahlgren Family Park this spring. The new, four-acre city park will include everything from playground equipment, a picnic shelter, and a sand volleyball court, to trails, a restroom, and a future roadway connection into King County’s existing adjacent Tanner Landing Park, where the County is also planning river access improvements for whitewater users.
Thanks to community-minded forethought, in 2010 the Dahlgren family and the City worked together to create the Tanner Landing Master Plan Overlay, ensuring the property would allow for residential use while requiring the addition of a public park – a great example of successful long-range planning in action!
So many of these projects involve the collaboration of several organizations, and Tennant Trailhead Park is one of them. Si View Metropolitan Parks District and the City are nearing completion of this new, forested, 32-acre park that, when open in the spring, will provide trails for mountain bikers and hikers of varying skill levels. The park will eventually connect to Snoqualmie Point Park, Rattlesnake Ridge, and Tiger Mountain.
Equally exciting is seeing the City’s investment in existing parks progress through to tangible, conceptual plans. Such is happening right now, with two cherished local parks: Taylor and Riverfront. Following several well-attended workshops and a popular online survey, Council approved the conceptual plans this month, which include community requested amenities such as a plaza, native plantings, a holiday tree, a splash pad or interactive fountain, and more.
Riverfront Park, a four-acre, protected river riparian corridor on the South Fork Snoqualmie River adjacent to Bendigo Boulevard, is also being redesigned, with conceptual plans that include trails along the levy and through the natural forest area, the removal of invasive species and the replanting of native species, a pathway down to the river with river-view seating, and more.
Infrastructure and Transportation Improvements
On October 7, I joined many of you to celebrate Arbor Day at E.J. Roberts Park. Together, we learned about the importance of native species and planted two Garry Oak trees. It was on this fall afternoon that North Bend clocked in at 86 degrees.
Our valley has endured wild weather this year that has resulted in lower than typical Snoqualmie River flows. Recent rain has helped, but Stage 3 of our Water Conservation Ordinance (WCO) will remain in effect until river flows improve. North Bend is the only water mitigation purveyor in the Snoqualmie Watershed, so our water must be compensated drop-for-drop by other sources into the river when Centennial Well is active and the Snoqualmie River is below the ‘Base In-stream Flow’ as defined by the City’s Centennial Water Right. And truly, conserving natural resources is the right thing to do. By adding cold, filtered water when the river is low, we are actively improving the health of the Snoqualmie River and salmon downstream of Snoqualmie Falls.
The future of local water conservation is also looking great. Now 15 years in the making, the City and Sallal Water Association are working together to ensure both water purveyors will be able to meet the water needs of all residents and property owners even during hotter and drier seasons, while also meeting the City’s mitigation requirements for the Snoqualmie River. The end result will be two water interties: Sallal’s domestic water intertie, and the City’s mitigation water intertie. Together, these will serve as a means to share water, allowing the City to sell domestic water to Sallal and allowing Sallal to sell mitigation water to the City. We anticipate that this project will be operational by 2025.
On the transportation front, crews have been busy with a variety of preservation and safety enhancement projects, which include:
In the way of infrastructure, you may remember some heightened activity at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in September. This was a critical and challenging part of the two-phase project that makes up the 36 million-dollar WWTP High Priority Improvements project. After much preparation, crews transferred the contents of the 600,000-gallon existing aeration basin to the new and improved aeration basin. The existing basin was originally built in the 1980s and had never before been emptied.
Next steps include dismantling the aeration basin and constructing an aerobic digester, which will further treat the solids that are wasted from the plant each day so that they can be beneficially re-used as opposed to the current method of landfilling the solids. This project is expected to wrap up in the spring.
Looking back at this quarter, I am reminded of how full of community spirit our North Bend community is. Pride in our mountain town and support of local businesses and organizations is clear when you attend a community event such as North Bend Art and Industry’s Art Off the Rails festival, or JazzClubsNW’s Blues Walk. And just this past week I was honored to join valley residents at their Dussehra festival, a Indian Hindu celebration traditionally held in the fall. Events such as these enliven our streets and parks, and they support our local businesses.
On another front, your city’s grant-supported service events also add to that proverbial cup. This quarter wrapped up the seasonal Yard Waste Recycling event, and in September, our annual Shred-it event. We appreciate the opportunity to say hello while helping you.
October 28 will mark North Bend’s sixth Trick-Or-Treat Street, once again in collaboration with Si View’s annual Harvest Festival. Goblins, ghouls, and creatives of all shapes and sizes will trick-or-treat with local businesses.
Please join us. Your participation and input, feedback, and care leave a legacy in our highly livable community. Keep up the good work, and happy fall, North Bend.