North Bend City Council walks back water ordinance

North Bend will work to improve conservation education and revise proposed ordinance.

A proposed city ordinance to enforce water conservation was unanimously rejected by the North Bend City Council after public hearing testimony and additional discussion.

The ordinance, introduced on April 2, would have imposed restrictions to water usage from the beginning of August to the end of October through limits on watering property to certain times and days per week.

At a May 7 city council meeting, the public hearing continued. The majority of citizens speaking were opposed to the ordinance for a variety of reasons including enforcement rules, insufficient data to show it would improve conservation and unconsidered risks.

Many of the citizens who gave comment did speak in favor of the city pursuing additional education efforts to improve the usage of water in the city. Some suggested creating a reimbursement program to promote citizens installing water-conserving technology in their homes, and those suggestions were received positively by the council.

In the council discussion, the majority of members stated their opposition to the ordinance as well. Councilmember Jonathan Rosen said an ordinance was the wrong way to approach the issue. Legislation should be a last resort to implement community behavior changes, he said.

Councilmember Alan Gothlef agreed but added that irrigation is the largest part of water use, and steps homeowners can take to improve their conservation efforts will result in a smaller amount saved than changes to irrigation use.

Also in agreement was Councilmember Brenden Elwood who suggested the ordinance go back to the work study process to reshape it into a form with a greater focus on education. Councilmember Ross Loudenback suggested directing staff to create a more robust conservation education program as soon as possible to reach out to as many residents and water customers as possible.

“If education has been a part of everybody’s comment here as well as other aspects of the ordinance, I see it as critical enough that we should not wait until it comes back from the planning commission,” Loudenback said. “Education is never going to be out of step from what we are trying to do here. So why not start an education program immediately?”

With the council in agreement on a direction, it unanimously voted to remand the ordinance back to a council work study for further discussion and also to begin work on an education program.

Councilmember Chris Garcia also addressed the audience at the meeting and suggested citizens send emails to the city about what they would like to see in an ordinance to address the issue of conservation.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
A construction crew works on the site of the new Snoqualmie Valley Athletic Center in North Bend on Oct. 6. Construction began in September on the multi-field sports complex. It is expected to be completed in May 2021, and provide space for four Little League baseball fields, or two soccer, football or lacrosse fields. The baseball fields will be able to accommodate high school, junior league and softball teams. In other athletics news, the Sno-King Snoqualmie ice hockey rink is also hosting grand opening on Oct. 18.
News around the valley: Athletic center construction, Highway 18 death, candidate forum

Wildfire smoke kills hundreds of WA residents A recent report by the… Continue reading

File photo
State Supreme Court strikes down $30 car-tab initiative

Justices unanimously agreed that voter-approved Initiative 976 is unconstitutional.

(Stock photo)
Rent, utilities moratorium extended

They were extended through Dec. 31.

Andy Hobbs / staff photo
Valley merchants and the cities of North Bend, Snoqualmie and Fall City are co-hosting a Quarantine-O-Ween for Halloween festivities this year. Pictured left to right: Earl Bell, Board President, SnoValley Chamber of Commerce; Rachelle Armstrong, owner of The Bindlestick coffee shop in downtown Snoqualmie; and Kelly Coughlin, director of the SnoValley Chamber.
Halloween trek comes to the valley

Local businesses and cities will be holding a scavenger hunt and candy pick up on Halloween.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
COVID-19 guidelines for Halloween

Halloween will undoubtedly look different this year, with public health agencies warning… Continue reading

Courtesy of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
Camp Brown opens in the Snoqualmie Valley

A new trail and day use area is open for public use… Continue reading

Screenshot of a Google search for apartments in Snoqualmie.
North Bend, Snoqualmie enact their own affordable housing tax

Homelessness advocates worry that suburban cities acting on their own undermine regional approach.

Hilary Franz (left) and Sue Kuehl Pederson
Wildfires, forest health are key issues in race to lead DNR

Republican Sue Kuehl Pederson is challenging incumbent Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

power grid electricity power lines blackouts PG&E (Shutterstock)
State extends moratorium on some electric, gas shutoffs

Investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in WA can’t disconnect customers through April.

Most Read