December 12, 2011
A Bellevue-based development company has filed paperwork with North Bend to begin the permitting process for construction of a new hotel complex along Bendigo Boulevard next to the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.
The company, New Sky wants to build at least one and possibly two hotels on the nine-acre site. Most of the land would be left untouched as a buffer.
According to the development proposal that the company filed with the city in early November, New Sky would first build a 106-room Holiday Inn Express hotel on a 1.91 acre site, and potentially build an 85-room Hampton Inn and Suites on a 1.32 acre site in the future.
October 26, 2011
In November, voters in King County, including those in Snoqualmie Valley, will be asked to choose from among four candidates hoping to serve as commissioners for the Port of Seattle.
The port includes both the seaport in downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport. According to the port’s annual report for 2010, the port collected $75.6 million in property taxes in 2009. The projection for 2010 was $73.5 million. Those collections come from all King County residents.
“The port is an economic engine for the entire county, not just the city of Seattle,” said Charla Skaggs, corporate media officer for the port.
Both Skaggs and other port officials said thousands of jobs depend directly and indirectly on port operations. According to what is billed by the port as an independent report released in 2009, the port was directly and indirectly responsible for 190,000 jobs in the Puget Sound region.
Port facilities generated more than $17 billion in revenue for businesses who deal with the port or the port tenants who operate the maritime terminals. All in all, those employers and employees pay about $867 million in state and local taxes.
Finally, the 2009 report stated that more than 135,000 people are employed at regional businesses that have cargo moving through the Port of Seattle.
July 6, 2011
When Geoff Doy moved from London to North Bend in the 1980s, he said it was an easy decision.
“The town had so much to offer, we didn’t want to leave,” he said.
He couldn’t have known the move embodied a tagline he would help craft as a citizen volunteer for North Bend’s marketing and branding efforts 20 years later.
Doy is one example of someone who happened upon North Bend and decided to stay. Gina Estep, North Bend’s economic development director, decided to capitalize upon the trend when she approached the mayor last year.
On the eve of North Bend’s centennial, Estep said, “It’s been a great 100 years. What are we going to do to build the city for the next 100?”
That question kicked off North Bend’s first formal brand initiative. Before the year was out, Estep had assembled a team of business owners, city officials and volunteer citizens with marketing and branding experience.
April 19, 2011
Financing problems have stalled one North Bend hotel project but another one appears ready to go ahead.
North Bend city officials hope that a hotel in the city will bring in revenue and help the city’s branding campaign.
Snoqualmie Valley resident George Wyrsch wants to develop a hotel near Interstate 90’s Exit 31, but has had difficulty securing financing.
“I’m waiting for the financial markets to loosen up some,” he said.
North Bend City Council votes against proposed zoning change to allow event venues in some residential areas
April 6, 2011
North Bend City Council voted 1-5 against a proposed change to the city’s zoning code to allow a venue for weddings and other events to be built near downtown.
The proposal would have allowed event venues to be built on parcels zoned as cottage residential, a designation created in 2006 to encourage more affordable housing near downtown.
Several City Council members said the zoning had not had time to be effective. The city had a self-imposed building moratorium until 2009. By the time the ban was lifted, the housing market had fallen apart, leaving little demand for new homes.
March 23, 2011
It has been a long time since the sun shined on Snoqualmie Ridge’s housing market.
The outlook for 2011 isn’t any better, according to market analysts.
Home prices in King County fell in February to a new low since the real estate boom collapsed in 2008.
Prices have been pulled down by short sales and foreclosures, which are often priced below market value. That is especially true of the Ridge, which has a higher rate of distressed properties — bank-owned homes and short sales listed for less than the owner owes the lender — than the rest of the county.
The number of distressed properties is expected by analysts to rise in 2011, meaning prices will likely continue declining for the rest of the year.
Experts don’t expect prices to stabilize before 2012.
March 23, 2011
North Bend is getting extreme this summer.
The city is hosting at least two extreme sports events this summer — the Warrior Dash in July and North Bend Multisport Festival in August.
A third event is in the works but hasn’t been finalized.
February 22, 2011
North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing painted a muted picture of 2011 dotted with bright spots in his State of the City address at City Council’s Feb. 15 meeting.
The Great Recession and sluggish recovery have forced the city to get used to a “new normal,” Hearing said.
With reduced revenues, North Bend passed an austere 2011 budget, which included cuts to programs and staff.
The city’s position is not likely to rebound quickly, he said. “Neither the council nor I have any delusions that our local economy will rebound in a single year.”
But there is hope for the future.
January 12, 2011
Lunchtime at Isadora’s Café in Snoqualmie was busier than usual the week after Christmas. Regulars pulled up chairs on the restaurant’s well-worn wood floors to get a last meal before Isadora’s closed with the new year.
For the owners, Jody and Michael Sands, the decision to close the doors after two years was a long time coming.
January 5, 2011
Building for the future and the sour economy were the dominant theme in the SnoValley Star’s news coverage last year.
News about the economic recession and sluggish recovery took on a different tone from the previous year, when it was breaking news.
By 2010, they had become facts of life. Budgets were cut, houses were foreclosed on, businesses closed and demand rose at food banks, toy drives and other charities.