Snoqualmie today and tomorrow

Town hall meeting ponders current city trends and potential future outcomes.

About 40 residents attended a town hall meeting on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Mount Si High School, held by the Snoqualmie City Council. A buffet of food was provided by the school’s culinary students, and guests were asked to weigh in on their values and community ideals in order to provide the council with input for planning for the future.

Council members were present to observe the discussion as well as Police Chief Perry Phipps, Fire Chief Mark Correira and several city staff.

The evening’s program was kicked off by Councilmember Bob Jeans, who explained that events like the town hall meeting help the city council to get constituent perspectives and feedback they can take into account when planning.

“Please think about the future,” he said.

The meeting discussion was led by Una McAlinden, certified facilitator, who said she is independently contracted for company retreats and other similar events.

“It’s important at this point to get perspectives,” she said.

Participants were split into groups of six. They were asked questions such as, “What is happening now? And how does it inform our plans for the future of our community?,” and “What do we need to heed as we look ahead?”

She guided everyone through an exercise, first identifying what they love about their unique community, then thinking about different phases of trends that work like a wave, sweeping into the future.

People listed things like the town’s natural beauty and small town charm. They mentioned important aspects of their quality of life such as health and safety, quiet, mobility and green spaces.

They organized current trends into the categories of on the horizon, emerging, established or disappearing.

They considered new ideas — perhaps deemed radical by some — on the edge of acceptance. They also thought about trends that are becoming newly popular, trends that are standard without a doubt, and trends that are outdated or have become irrelevant.

Looking at the natural progression of trends, and some items that have made the whole cycle, they could try to predict how some items in various stages would advance to more relevancy over time.

Some of the many topics discussed were affordable housing, democracy, regional growth, development, environmental stewardship, education, taxes, tourism, transportation, traffic, technology and health care.

Finally, they considered together which trends they could leverage, which trends point to issues needing addressing, and which trends could implicate their unique community.

Jeans thanked everyone at the end.

“This is a treat for us to listen to this and get this kind of input as we plan for our future. Thank you very much,” he said.

Councilmember Bryan Holloway echoed the sentiment.

“This is continuing opportunities for council to listen to community members,” Holloway said.