Opinion

What will 2008 bring?

It will be interesting to see what 2008 will bring to Snoqualmie Valley. It looks as though we may get water but as rosy as some reports in daily newspapers have made this out to be, don't hold your breath until the current appeal is satisfied.

The only positive thing about the water battle in North Bend is that it can't get any worse. Whatever happens will be an improvement. North Bend needs a shot in the arm, as is evident by the number of vacant and decrepit buildings downtown. I would love to see an effort where building owners with safety hazards are fined by the city and their buildings condemned or placed under lien for failure to pay the fines. Let's face it, we are all getting tired of looking at some of the junk buildings in downtown North Bend.

I also think that those who have improved their buildings ought to be applauded. When the water comes, there will be no more excuses for run-down buildings. My mantra for 2008 when the water moratorium is lifted is put up or sell your building.

The ULID for sewer expansion east of North Bend will also bring significant changes. Unfortunately, some will not be able to afford the improvements, or the taxes, and be forced to sell. It was inevitable that North Bend's urban growth boundary would be developed. It's been a slow process coming, so nobody can plead ignorance.

Let's hope that 2008 doesn't bring any flooding to the Valley. The county has a flood improvement plan with a funding source, so maybe we will start to see some real change with rivers dredged and levees strengthened. I do believe the PSE project at Snoqualmie Falls will continue to lower flood elevations and hopefully get a good chunk of historic Snoqualmie out of the flood plain. If this is the case, then I think the city should really look at adding retail- and service-oriented businesses in historic Snoqualmie rather than the Ridge. I even think the parcels that may be identified for rezoning should be held off for change until new flood elevations can be determined. Then let's make the push for downtown.

I think it will be a year of change for Snoqualmie, some good and some not so good. I think the downtown revitalization efforts will be good, but I am thinking there will be a backlash for some of the restrictive regulations that the city is imposing. The city has its arms wide open, but most developers I talk to are wary of the sincerity of the city to actually be a partner in improvement rather than a "big brother."

We will be voting once again on a school levy. Mount Si High School is bursting at the seams. We need a new second high school and it needs to be in North Bend, preferably east of town in the urban growth area. Maybe the old airport east of town near the truck plaza is a good spot. One thing is for sure, wherever it is, neighbors won't be happy so the goal should be to impact as few as possible.

What about you? What are you going to change? Are you going to be a better Snoqualmie Valley neighbor by waving at people, saying hi, or letting them merge in front of you as you head onto the freeway? Will you be a better neighbor by getting involved in various community organizations or spending more time in your own community rather than Issaquah? If you answered no to the above, then maybe the Valley isn't the place for you.

I hope you had a great Christmas and have an even better 2008.

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