Duvall Mayor Amy Ocklerander, Carnation Mayor Kim Lusk, Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, and North Bend’s Rob McFarland have banded together to request Gov. Jay Inslee allow the valley cities to move into Phase 2 of the Safe Start recovery plan.
A May 29 letter drafted to Inslee informs the governor they feel strongly that many of their small business can and should be able to open in advance of the remainder of King County.
“We agree with the phased approach for re-opening the state safely, but we respectfully and strongly request that the Snoqualmie Valley be evaluated, and restrictions loosened separate from King County as a whole,” the letter reads. “The cities of North Bend, Snoqualmie, Carnation and Duvall are relatively isolated in east King County, without the density issues and challenges of larger cities, and have seen infection rates far lower than big cities in the King County. In many ways, our small cities are very similar to the small counties that have already been able to open for Phase 2.”
The governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order ended on May 31. On June 1, Washington’s phased reopening began. Counties across the state, however, are to remain in their current phase but they can apply to the Secretary of Health and demonstrate how they can safely allow additional economic activity based on target metrics and a holistic review of their COVID-19 activity and ability to respond.
The valley mayors believe they can and have met those requirements.
“We have come together to keep our communities safe, encouraging compliance with public health recommendations. We have all been meeting with our small businesses and know without a shadow of a doubt that the overwhelming majority can reopen safety, taking all recommended precautions, and many going even further.”
If the cities of the Snoqualmie Valley are not allowed to move into to Phase 2 ahead of the rest of King County, the mayors believe it could be the final nail in their economic coffin’s, which would lead to a total collapse of infrastructure as well.
“In our cities, these businesses are our heart and soul. They support our community events, hold food drives, are always helping people in need and truly are the foundation of our communities," the city's website states. "The Snoqualmie Valley exemplifies what healthy, happy and supportive communities are better than anywhere else in the state." If the county failed to treat the valley differently, it would lose a significant amount of the economic core our cities that businesses owners have worked for decades to develop.
"We are ready, willing and able to work with your staff to ensure our communities can get to Phase 2 now, which will prevent our communities from a literal economic and communal implosion," the letter states. "If these businesses close, they are not likely to return. Our cities cannot afford economically or socially to see this happen. It is critical (moving into Phase 2) for our future, and we hope that despite the overwhelming nature of the tasks and responsibilities that you have before you, that you will help us take this step, and save our communities."