North Bend's building moratorium extended

The North Bend City Council again passed an ordinance

extending the long-running building moratorium, which prevents construction

of most buildings and subdivisions for another six months.

The moratorium restricts the issuance of any new building permits,

especially for subdivisions and businesses that require major water

use, such as restaurants. Some remodel projects are also affected by the


The restrictions are the result of the city using more water than allotted

and the lack of the availability of additional water rights.

The moratorium began in April of 1999 and could continue for at

least another two years.

Habitat dedicates Snoqualmie site

Habitat for Humanity of East King County officially dedicated its

50-acre Snoqualmie Ridge site on Nov. 29 where 20 homes will be built for

low-to mid-income families next summer.

Members of the non-profit group gathered at the Home Finding

Center on the Ridge, with representatives of the city of Snoqualmie,

Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co., and representatives from area businesses and families

that have been selected to move into a new Habitat home.

More homes will be built after next summer's building spree, to bring

the site's total to 50 houses.

North Bend sets tax cap at 2 percent

The North Bend City Council voted on Nov. 21 to prevent

property taxes from exceeding 2 percent next year, a move that chopped

$78,000 from the $4.5 million general fund budget for 2001.

The entire budget is $15.2 million, but the only part affected by the

tax cap is the general fund.

The decision was made despite talk that Initiative 722 — which

was passed by Washington voters Nov. 7 — could be ruled unconstitutional

or overturned in court. I-722 puts a 2 percent limit on property

assessment tax increases and, if upheld, would

roll back any tax and fee increases not approved by voters from July

through Dec. of 1999.

The cities of Carnation, Snoqualmie and Duvall stuck with

the maximum-allowable 6 percent raise in taxes on their lawyers' advice that

I-722 would be thrown out.

Local kayaker drowns in rapids

Chris Ringsven, a music teacher who moved to Snoqualmie in

August, drowned this month while kayaking down the Nisqually River in

Pierce County. Authorities aren't sure how or why he drowned.

Ringsven had led a group of five kayakers down the 1.7-mile run of

rapids on Dec. 2. The trip was part of the final weekend of the final year of

the three-year trial period to evaluate the safety and demand for the water

releases, which were intended to provide whitewater rafters and kayakers a

periodic taste of rapids in LaGrande Canyon.

Ringsven was 27 and taught music at middle and high schools in

Cle Elum.

Sammamish joins EFR consortium; Fall City

loses revenue

After months of controversy, the city of Sammamish was

officially added to the consortium of fire departments and districts known as

Eastside Fire & Rescue (EFR).

EFR now includes the cities of North Bend, Issaquah,

Sammamish, and King County Fire Protection Districts No. 38, which serves the

unincorporated county area between Snoqualmie and North Bend and

No. 10, which provides service for the unincorporated Pine Lake/Plateau

area and Carnation.

Sammamish established itself as a city one year ago and its officials

had until Dec. 31 to decide whether to create an independent fire department

or contract for services with EFR.

EFR would have lost $3.2 million of its $14 million in funding

if Sammamish had not joined.

The move was not positive for every Valley city — Fire Protection

District No. 27 of Fall City lost a portion of its funding when Sammamish

went with EFR and decided not to continue paying District 27 for protecting

part of the new city. Fall City-area residents will face increased levy rates in

2001 as a result of the cut, but will not suffer a loss of services.

Fire guts historic Fall City home

A fire broke out Dec. 14 in a historic home near Fall City that

once belonged to the Boeing family, causing an estimated $300,000 in damage.

The former Boeing family home currently serves as the offices for

The Members Club at Alderra, a golf course being built by

Wisconsin-based Oliphant Golf Construction Inc.

Fire Protection District No. 27 Chief Chris Connor said the

fire started in the basement, near a broiler, and worked its way up through

the house, reaching all the way to the attic.

It took 45 minutes to get the fire under control. No one was injured

in the blaze.

Budget passes; community centers saved

The Metropolitan King County Council Dec. 15 unanimously

approved a $2.45 billion budget for 2001, saving the Si View pool

and Community Center in North Bend and the Preston Community Center

in Preston from closing their doors.

It was the second time in a month that the County Council adopted

a spending plan for next year. Ten days after the first budget ordinance

passed on Nov. 20, King County Executive Ron Sims vetoed the measure,

saying it was $54 million out of balance and would force the closure of

four county-run community centers, including those in the Valley.

Before council members voted on the budget, they approved

several amendments to be included in the ordinance. One from Councilman

David Irons, who represents the majority of the Valley, called on Sims to keep

the Si View Pool and Community Center and the Preston Community

Center open.

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