Looking back on 2005 - January

The year 2005 has brought many changes. The beginning of the year saw the Valley hit with intense flooding, the worst in many years, and new school boundaries for elementary-school students.

The city of Snoqualmie had its City Hall building renovated and two-term Snoqualmie Mayor Fuzzy Fletcher decided not to run for another term; Snoqualmie and North Bend city councils added a few new members and lost a few others. The future of the Weyerhaeuser mill site was left undecided and Snoqualmie got a new fire hall.

Spring brought with it three new school principals and a fire at the Snoqualmie Inn, as well as a first-ever Kingco 3A regular season championship title for the Mount Si High School Wildcats' baseball team.

Summer brought us the passing of loved ones, as well as the excitement of first-time activities such as when the Ridge hosted the newest addition to the PGA Champions' tour.

Washington State Department of Transportation officials declared that a portion of state Route 202 would be repaved in 2007 and the school district said goodbye to its old superintendent and hello to a new one. North Bend announced plans to develop another middle school and the Northwest Railway Museum broke ground on its conservation and restoration center.

Fall brought Mount Si High School a new, first-class athletic complex; the school also tacked on a $75 "pay to play" fee for extracurricular activities. A new elementary school opened this year on the Ridge. The state announced its plans to build a roundabout at the intersection of Interstate 90 and state Route 202 by 2007 and Mount Si High School science teacher Eugene Clegg received a state education award.

Winter, in its 2005 infancy, introduced retirements from well-known community members such as food-bank manager Ken McCarty, as well as new leaders in local government, announcing Matt Larson as Snoqualmie's mayor-elect. Marine James Crossan was the first local to be injured in Iraq. Smokers stubbed out their cigarettes indoors for the new indoor smoking ban and the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital opened its surgery wing.

None of the constant events, life, death, choices and changes is pigeon-holed into a season, but the passing of time seems to tell its tale in waves.

Each year passes into the next and once momentous occasions may sometimes fade into oblivion given enough time, while others burn their marks. Through it all, the effects of each year are everlasting. 2005 was no exception.

As the Valley rounds into the new year, take this time to look back on all that has happened and allow yourself to imagine all that is to come. Who knows what's in store for 2006.

Happy New Year.

- Introduction by Sarah Haas


City Hall gets facelift

Renovations to the historic City Hall building in Snoqualmie at Falls Avenue and River Street were completed. The building was restored to match what it looked like in the 1920s, and the project included windows from France to match the building's original windows. The building first opened in 1923 and was then the State Bank of Snoqualmie. While there had been several attempts over the years to fix up the building, none of those projects was as thorough as this one. Most of the original structure was intact and architects used historic photos to add details from the building's early years.

City debates attorney services

The city looked at the possibility of replacing its city attorney after Councilman Bill Wittress expressed doubts regarding the service of Mike Kenyon, who has been the city's attorney since 1996.

North Bend posted a request for qualifications notice and allowed firms to submit proposals until Jan. 18. Candidates were then screened by the council and mayor.

The council decided in April to renew Kenyon's contract.

North Bend man dies in avalanche

Erik Lewis of North Bend died Jan. 12 while skiing in the Alpental ski area.

Lewis was originally from Woodinville and was the general manager at The Nursery at Mount Si. He had a reputation as a knowledgeable and helpful horticulture expert and was an experienced skier. He worked at the nursery for two years after being scouted and recruited from another nursery for his skill set. He had a degree in horticulture from the University of Washington.

A hillside of loose snow collapsed into an avalanche that covered and asphyxiated him. Lewis was skiing with a friend at the time of the accident; his friend was partially buried by the avalanche but dug himself out and then unsuccessfully tried to dig Lewis out.

Flood waters hit Snoqualmie Valley

The Valley was hit with the worst flooding in nine years after warm temperatures and rain brought the Snoqualmie River over its banks. Water rose quickly and public safety crews worked fast to warn residents and close roads where necessary. Low-lying roads in Snoqualmie, North Bend and the surrounding unincorporated areas were closed throughout the first day of flooding.

No major damage was reported because of the flooding, but a few cars parked on water-covered roads wouldn't start. Some basements were also damaged by groundwater coming in through the homes' foundations.

Residents were grateful that the flood, which saw the river flowing at 36,300 cfs, was nowhere near the flood of November 1990, which saw the river at 78,000 cfs.

"You saw what gets covered at 38,000. At 78,000, the city is covered," said Snoqualmie Police Chief Jim Schaffer, who was a Snoqualmie police officer during the 1990 flooding.

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