Opinion

Things to contemplate

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Last week's front page brought both hope and concern to many Valley residents. Hope that the hospital, which has been closed several years, will survive and flourish, hope that it will run without

large infusions of taxpayer dollars and hope that residents will take advantage

of great medical facilities here locally.

It is nice to have a staff that knows who you are when you enter,

understands your health-related issues and may even say "hi" to you at the

store. But more importantly, as our population base grows, it's important to

have emergency medical facilities available locally, rather than having to travel

to an emergency room in Bellevue.

Despite the hopefulness in the hospital story, several other stories

bring concern. The county, in looking at its budget, once again fails to provide

funding for the Si View Pool and Community Center. How many times can such

a great facility be on the chopping block? Why is it always the Si View

Community Center?

Let's target a community center near the home of one of the council

members and see what their reaction would be. Generations of Valley children

have learned to swim at Si View Pool, myself included, thanks to the talents

of instructors like Georgia Kramer. In a Valley surrounded by swift-current

rivers, you would think the county might realize that swimming lessons

locally have likely saved countless lives.

Maybe it's time for the Upper Valley to create a parks and recreation

taxing district and take facilities like Si View out of county coffers,

managing them locally. North Bend has wrangled with the idea for years. The benefits

of Si View reach well beyond the borders of the city, and a parks district for

the Upper Valley makes sense. Heck, it might even be able to fund a portion of

the development efforts for the Snoqualmie Community Center.

Beyond the lack of foresight by the county is the increasing pressure

that Puget Western is putting on the city of Snoqualmie to make a decision on

their Falls Crossing project. What kind of legal wrangling is Puget Western

throwing at us now?

Touting a deadline to push something through with the carrot that a

portion of the property may be sold to a conservancy group is nothing more

than blackmail. Hey, I'm the first to tell you that it sounds great, but the

project should be approved or denied based on the record from the Planning

Commission and the deliberations of the council, not on the comments or direction

of a developer's desires.

Puget Western has been asking for a fair and equitable review of the

project based on the law, the city's comprehensive plan and the Planning

Commission's recommendations. Let it happen. If a conservancy group wants the

property badly enough, and Puget Western truly desires a portion be held out of

development, it can be done when the project is either rejected or approved as

it currently exists. If major changes are being proposed in writing to the city

by Puget Western regarding the project, then it needs to go back to the

Planning Commission for re-evaluation. End of story.

Finally, the Riverview athletic bond has failed, much to the despair of

many Lower Valley athletes and their families. What will it take to authorize

the development of a usable athletic facility in the Lower Valley? Is it the desire

of residents, opposing the current bond, to see Howard Miller Field

expanded? The tax implications to the typical homeowner were negligible. If

penalizing the district is the intention, the opposition is failing. The only ones being

penalized are the student-athletes of the Lower Valley.

There are a lot of things happening in the Valley, stay tuned and

keep reading the Record.

Jim McKiernan

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