Valley leaders to host affordable housing summit

Reps from North Bend, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Tribe, Chamber will meet to discuss housing approach

Leaders from the Snoqualmie Valley will gather for the Snoqualmie Valley Housing Summit at the North Bend Theater at 1 p.m. on Sept 22.

The three-hour event will bring together representatives from the cities of North Bend Snoqualmie, the Snoqualmie Tribe and the SnoValley Chamber of Commerce alongside local and regional experts in zoning codes, affordable housing practices and financial strategies as they look for a blueprint to help address a lack of available housing in the Valley.

“The purpose of these [summits] is to bring affordable housing thought-leaders together to share their perspectives for the benefit of the Cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie and the Snoqualmie Tribe,” Snoqualmie City Councilmember and Summit host Rob Wotton wrote in an email. “We feel it is important to take a regional approach to the housing shortages and the unique challenges in rural King County.”

Wotton, who works as a branch manager at the Umpqua Bank in North Bend, has been hosting housing summits since 2015, long-before he was elected to the city council. This year he’ll be joined by SnoValley Chamber Executive Director Kelly Coughlin in hosting the Valley’s sixth such housing summit, and first since the pandemic.

Wotton said he used to hold the event at his community room space at Umpqua Bank, but has since moved to the North Bend Theater to accommodate more guests.

The summit comes as the median home prices in Snoqualmie and North Bend have skyrocketed to record highs this year, shooting up over 20% compared to last year, according to data from Seattle-based reality website Redfin. Housing prices in both Snoqualmie and North Bend have reached a median annual sale price of $1.2 million thus far in 2022.

As the Valley Record reported in May, that lack of housing availability, alongside challenges with public transit, has made it difficult for businesses, Valley schools and city governments to fill needed job vacancies. High costs also continue to displace elderly Valley residents looking to downsize.