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Contributed photo: Duvall stands in solidarity

Upward of 70 citizens showed up in force on Main Street in Duvall throughout last week to join the world in protesting racism and police brutality. The gatherings were organized by Erin Rodgers who said she was inspired by the Stand for Solidarity movement. Its message in part, is accepting the common responsibility of protecting people of color by recognizing and reforming the inherent racism worldwide. The crowds were cheered on by honking horns and waving drivers. Photo courtesy of Lisa Allen.

Carnation appoints interim city manager

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

Small BobJeanCARNATION — Bob Jean is Carnation’s new interim city manager. Jean takes over for Amy Arrington who stepped down from the position on May 19.

Jean had previously served Carnation in the interim city manager role in 2017 prior to Arrington’s appointment. He was on board when the Tolt Avenue design work began and he will now be with the city through the Tolt Avenue Project construction. The transition should be seamless, as Jean knows most of the city staff and many of the council and community leaders, he sad.

“I love the small-town character and community spirit in Carnation. It reminds me of my first city manager job years ago in Troutdale, Oregon when it was just about Carnation’s size at 3,000 facing pressures of regional growth and change,” Jean said. “I hope I can add some of my experience to that of the Council and staff as Carnation looks to its future while maintaining that small-town spirit.”

Jean is a seasoned veteran of governmental affairs having served more than 40 years in city government. He first served as a budget analyst for the city of Seattle in 1975. He has held the position of city manager in Oregon, Kansas and California.

Jean was the city manager in Puyallup from 1990-94 and was the first city manager in Newcastle during its startup in 1995. He then served as the first city manager of newly incorporated University Place from 1995 to 2010, after which he retired.

Jean has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Puget Sound and a bachelor's from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

No decision has been made as to when to begin the recruitment of the regular city manager position.

Time running out for local radio station

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Valley 104.9’s Heather Stark interviewed state Treasurer Duane Davidson on Friday, Feb. 14. Stock photo

  

CARNATION —The writing is on the wall for Valley 104.9 FM as the popular radio station is at a major crossroad: Find a piece of property to relocate its transmission tower within the next 24 days or shut the doors and sign off the air for the final time.

“Things are kind of a mess right now,” Heather Stark with 104.9 FM, said. “We’ve sent out registered letters to property owners in the area informing them of what we are doing and needing, but so far haven’t received a reply from anyone.”

The search for a new piece of property began back in March when Stark and her people got word the land it had been sitting on for years was up for sale. On June 3, the station got word it had been sold.

“We’ve been we have been told to remove it from the property by July 6, when the sale of the property closes,” Stark said, “But as of now, we’ve been unable to secure another place for it.”

Housing the transmission tower and it’s 40-foot container, which is much like what you’d see on a cargo ship, presents somewhat of an obstacle as they have to be located on a piece of property that is at least 500 feet in elevation in order for the signal to be transmitted, and easily accessible.

With virtually no luck whatsoever with her mailing to area residents, Stark enlisted to help of a local real estate agent. But still no word.

“People need to understand that there is a tax benefit for someone who donates their property to us for the use of housing the transmission tower,” Stark said. “They can deduct the cost they would be able to get for renting the piece of property it would be sitting on.”

The station does have a couple of other options to pursue, but the clock is ticking so they need to secure a place as soon as possible.

“One of things we are hoping to do is make contact with the buyer of the property its currently siting on to see if there is any interest in letting it remain there,” Stark said. “We haven’t been able to do that at this point because we don’t know who that buyer us. We do know the property is expected to close in July — things are still very much up in the air.”

Another possibility, Stark said, is an adjacent lot that is co-owned with a neighbor.

“It’s in the process of being surveyed and split within the two properties so an option might be is to contact that neighbor and ask if the transmitter can be moved down to the unused portion of their property. Since its been next door already they might not object,” Stark said. “We’ve been given the neighbors name and contact info so we’re going to try and get a hold of that person.”

Valley 104.9 FM serves the Carnation, Duvall and Redmond Ridge areas.

Ultimately, Stark said, if no property is found to relocate the transmission tower and container, the radio station will cease to exist.

Stark is asking anyone who has space for the station to place its transmission tower in the radios’ broadcast area to reach out to her at 425-351-0682 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stayed tuned.

Valley mayors send joint letter to governor

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

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."

Officials ease off King County COVID restrictions

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

Communities across King County received good news on Friday, May 5 as state Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman approved a plan drafted by King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, and King County Board of Health Chair Joe McDermott to immediately allow limited and modified openings for a wide range of businesses, recreation, and personal activities as the county begins transitioning to Phase 2.

According to a King County news release, outdoor dining activities at restaurants are now allowed at 50 percent of capacity so long as tables and chairs maintaining six feet of distance. Additional seating will be allowed provided restaurants follow Public Health and Seattle and King County’s best practices. Restaurants will also need to go through the normal process within their city, or King County if the establishment is located within unincorporated King County.

Indoor dining services may now operate at 25 percent of capacity provided tables and chairs are more than six feet away from each other.

All non-essential retail activities may now operate but an establishment's occupancy cannot exceed 15 percent of normal capacity. Businesses must also provide signage encouraging indoor visits to less than 30 minutes, with face-to-face interactions limited to 30 minutes.

Personal services such a cosmetologists, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tattoo artists, and cosmetology and esthetics schools can also operate but the number of clients served will be limited to no more than 25 percent of capacity or one person if it is a single bed/chair studio.

Accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other office-based occupations that are typically serving a client base can now operate as well, but establishment's occupancy cannot not be higher than 25 percent of capacity.

All personal service businesses must also provide signage encouraging indoor visits to be less than 30 minutes, with face to face interactions limited to 30 minutes.

All construction, including those activities where social distancing may not be maintained is also authorized to resume.

“This important step in our COVID-19 response reflects all the sacrifice and hard work that our community has put into fighting this disease. The success of this guidance depends on business owners and community members embracing public health best practices, and understanding that one size doesn’t fit all,” said Executive Constantine. “By opening our economy carefully and deliberately, we make sure to stay healthy and continue down the path to full recovery.”

For more information, call Public Health's Business Compliance Line at (206) 296-1608.