Mayors deliver State of City addresses

Economic development, new parks and affordable housing were discussed by mayors of Snoqualmie and North Bend.

Snoqualmie Mayor Katherine Ross and North Bend Mayor Mary Miller took to the podium on April 24 at the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge to deliver their annual State of the City addresses.

State of Snoqualmie

Ross shared a video compilation of several city departments summarizing their past efforts and future projects to balance the city’s livability with economic efficiency.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to provide an overview of the work our councilmembers, board commissioners, city staff, and I are doing on behalf of the city of Snoqualmie residents and businesses to maintain Snoqualmie’s high quality of life and to keep our beautiful city one of the best places to live,” Ross said.

In 2023, the city of Snoqualmie launched a two-year project to update its comprehensive plan, which will guide future development, policies on land use, housing, economic development and spending on parks, roads and public safety.

“Affordable housing remains a city priority,” said Emily Arteche, the community development director for Snoqualmie. “Our affordable housing task force continues its work to leverage available funding and programs so more people who work here can afford to live here.”

Arteche went on to preview two development projects moving forward in 2024: The Rails, a mixed-use building with market-rate apartment units, and Timber Trails, the final housing subdivision in the Snoqualmie Ridge master-planned community.

The city expects to break ground on the Snoqualmie Mill Site Project — a mixed-use, commercial retail space area — in the near future. Two-thirds of the project space will remain open space, while the developed portion will bring 160 units of multi-family housing, 22% of which will be designated for low-income residents.

As far as transportation, Ross shared that the major reconstruction of the 1-90/SR-18 interchange should be completed in early 2025. Ross reminded residents of the recent addition of a new route to Snoqualmie Valley Transportation’s bus system.

The mayor went on to preview the opening of two long-awaited park projects within the city. The all-inclusive playground at Centennial Fields is now open for all ages and abilities, and the splash pad at Snoqualmie Community Park is expected to open in July.

State of North Bend

Mayor Miller echoed the sentiments she first shared on March 19 when addressing the North Bend City Council.

In February, the council approved the North Bend Complete Street Corridor Plan, which will work to improve or integrate trails, sidewalks, pedestrian rest areas and intersections throughout downtown while maintaining its rural small-town character.

Miller said the city council approved grant-funded work to restore the Tollgate Forest, involving the removal of invasive weeds and the addition of native plants to improve more than 100 acres of city property. The mayor looks forward to joining community volunteers in upcoming work parties.

North Bend residents will soon see fresh pavement overlays on several city streets while three roundabout projects at Mt. Si Boulevard and State Route 202, Mt. Si Road and North Bend Way, and North Bend Way and South Fork Avenue move into the design phase this year.

The city recently celebrated the opening of Tennant Trailhead Park and looks forward to the spring opening of the new four-acre Dahlgren Family Park, which will offer mountain views, a playground, a sand volleyball court and trail connections to Tanner Landing Park.

Affordable housing is coming to the city at 230 Main Avenue to accommodate low-income residents, and construction is moving forward at the outlet mall of the 121-room Wyndham Hotel.

“As we navigate the opportunities and challenges of 2024, let us remember that our greatest strength lies in our unity,” Miller said in closing. “By working together, we will thrive as the vibrant, resilient, highly livable community that we are.”

Police and fire

Snoqualmie Police Chief Brian Lynch noted the department’s milestone of reaching full officer staffing levels for the first time in several years, its new peer support program, and its ongoing commitment to serving the community.

In response to the recent increase in crime at the North Bend outlets, and in anticipation of the soon-to-be-built hotel, a satellite police station will move to the outlets to combat property crimes and traffic violations in the area, Lynch said.

Snoqualmie Fire Chief Mike Bailey shared that the department completed nearly 5,000 hours of training over the last year. He announced the arrival of a new fire engine in the coming month and encouraged residents to explore courses offered by the department.