City of Bellevue Latest News Releases en-us Firefighters battle three-alarm office building fire Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

A three-alarm fire destroyed a significant portion of a commercial building at the Columbia Business Park Tuesday evening. Located at 13427 NE 20th St., in North Bellevue, nine businesses were believed to be affected, with several suffering major damage by fire and smoke. Several calls were made by area businesses reporting fire coming from the building's windows.

Image of the fire at the Columbia Business Park.

At approximately 9:22 p.m., Bellevue Fire units were dispatched; Engine 6 arrived within three minutes from time of dispatch and began a fire attack from the exterior of the building, declaring a defensive stand.

The fire was upgraded twice, resulting ultimately in a three-alarm fire response. A total of 21 units from Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Mercer Island responded to the fire.

During the defensive stand, Bellevue's truck companies, Lighforce 3 and 7, were able to cut several strategic holes in the structure's roof to stop the spread of fire to the rest of the building. Working cooperatively with hose streams from the engine companies below, they were able to limit fire spread to approximately one half of the building.

Preliminary damage estimates are around $1 million. The building was not equipped with fire protection systems. The fire cause was under investigation Wednesday morning.

Council Roundup: City approves Highland Village preservation funds Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

Plus, Transportation technology update

On Monday night, the City Council authorized a $2 million contribution for King County Housing Authority's acquisition of the Bellevue Highland Village Apartments. The vote marks the culmination of a joint effort by the city, state, King County and KCHA to preserve 76 apartments as affordable housing. Thanks to the agreement, spearheaded by KCHA, 85 children living at Highland Village will be able to continue their education in Bellevue schools.

Highland Village gained widespread community attention last summer when the complex's owner announced plans to redevelop the property into new market-rate townhomes. Due to the affordability of the units and high proportion of families with children in the schools, KCHA stepped forward to coordinate a public purchase of the property for $20 million.

Mayor John Stokes in his remarks before the vote noted that the Highland Village preservation marked an "amazing collaborative effort."

Earlier in the meeting, the council joined other local governments in proclaiming May 15-21 "Affordable Housing Week." The city is currently in the process of developing an Affordable Housing Strategy, which is set for council action in early June.

Planning for the city's future transportation system
Also on Monday, the council reviewed progress on updating the city's Intelligent Transportation System master plan, which guides how technology is integrated into the transportation system.

The original plan was written in 2004 and called for several improvements that have since become part of Bellevue's street network. They include traffic monitoring cameras, updating traffic signals citywide to an adaptive system and installing a fiber optic communications network to support the technology. The adaptive system allows signal timing to change, or adapt, constantly based on traffic conditions.

Emerging technologies to be considered in the updated master plan are driverless vehicles, data analytics that can improve safety and efficiency, and connected vehicles that communicate with each other and with the transportation system. The plan will be completed by the end of 2017.

Councilmembers also greeted Steve Marshall, the city's first transportation technology partnership manager, who started work on May 1. The council approved creating the new position in December to develop public-private partnerships in support of new transportation technology.

Marshall will work with a cross-departmental team on different facets of the partnership, such as regional connections, information technology, economic development and traffic engineering.

Youth Link announces leadership award winners Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

To celebrate Bellevue Youth Link’s 27th anniversary of providing nationally recognized programs and services to Bellevue teens, Youth Link requested nominations of children and teens for their positive influence in the community.

The following young people will be honored at the annual Community Leadership Awards celebration on Wednesday, May 24, 7-8 p.m., at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE. Public officials will present the awards.

  • Most Inspirational - Boy: George Thompson, International School
  • Most Inspirational - Girl: Clarice Rhatigan, Tyee Middle School
  • Outstanding Athlete - Boy: Mani Sanaiekhah, Newport High School
  • Outstanding Athlete - Girl: Amy Tang, Odle Middle School
  • Outstanding Scholar - Boy: Christopher Watson, International School
  • Outstanding Scholar - Girl: Eshika Saxena, Interlake High School
  • Outstanding Youth Leader - Boy: Jack Brunell, International School
  • Outstanding Youth Leader - Girl: Sarah Inh, Bellevue High School
  • Diversity Champion: Sally Nyambura, Interlake High School                   
  • Environmental Champion: Veenadhari Kollipara, Interlake High School       
  • Outstanding Youth in Arts: Kate Leach, St. Louise School
  • Outstanding Youth Volunteer - Boy: Adien Mendoza, Sammamish High School
  • Outstanding Youth Volunteer - Girl: Isabella Laws, Sammamish High School
  • Outstanding Elementary School Student: Ezekiel Sambula, Stevenson Elementary
  • Outstanding Middle School Student: Sydney Vernon, Open Window School
  • Outstanding High School Student: Gador Aliseda-Canton, Newport High School
  • "Warming Hearts" Award: Mjracle Sheppard, Tyee Middle School
  • Bellevue Youth Court Norm Maleng Award: To Be Announced
  • Youth Link Phil Kushlan Award: To Be Announced

Youth Link will recognize all nominees in the evening’s program, as well as its own volunteers. The Community Leadership Awards celebration is free and open to the public; seating is limited and requires an RSVP. The award reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. All winners, nominees and their guests are invited to attend the awards ceremony. Please RSVP with Bellevue Youth Link by 5 p.m., May 19.

Innovation Triangle launches survey on carsharing Tue, 16 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

Eastside cities looking to meet employee commute needs

The partners in the Innovation Triangle today launched a new survey designed to gauge demand for carsharing service on the Eastside. The carsharing survey is now available through Aug. 1. The Innovation Triangle is a partnership between Bellevue, Kirkland and OneRedmond to address common economic development initiatives for the Eastside communities.

The short survey asks commuters about travel patterns and neighborhoods they frequently visit. The goal is to determine the viability of possible carsharing services, such as car2go, ReachNow, and Zipcar, as part of the Innovation Triangle's transportation infrastructure.

"This survey is really focused on the mobility needs of employees in our three communities," said Augusta DeVries, transportation program director at TransManage, a service of the Bellevue Downtown Association. "We have high rates of public transit usage in places like downtown Bellevue, but sometimes those transit commuters need a car in the middle of the day to run errands or join a meeting in another neighborhood."

Carsharing fills a gap between taxis, transportation network companies (such as Uber or Lyft) and traditional car rentals, allowing commuters to choose a short-term rental at hourly or daily rates. Some large firms sponsor corporate accounts or even carsharing fleets hosted near their offices for employees to utilize. The ability to take a quick trip in a carsharing vehicle can make daily commuting options, such as public transportation and bicycling, more accessible to employees.

"Getting around without having your car at work is all about having the right option easily available for the type of trip you want to take." said Joel Pfundt, transportation manager, City of Kirkland. "Carsharing can be one of those options."

While carsharing service Zipcar has operated in Bellevue for several years, popular services like ReachNow and car2go, though active in Seattle, have not yet expanded to the Eastside. Once the survey is complete, the partner cities and organizations intend to coordinate with interested carsharing companies to possibly implement pilot projects, where viable.

"Our neighborhoods are really evolving fast. As areas like downtown Bellevue, Overlake and downtown Kirkland develop into more urban places, services like ReachNow and others start to make more sense," said Bart Phillips, CEO of OneRedmond. "We want to be sure workers, residents and visitors have access to the transportation resources they're looking for."

BTV highlights State of the City address Mon, 15 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

On this month's Lake to Lake television show:

  • Mayor John Stokes and Deputy Mayor John Chelminiak share how Bellevue is "Living for Today, Ready for Tomorrow;"
  • Learn how to turn your trash into treasure; and
  • Discover a fun family biking event.

Lake to Lake is produced by Bellevue Television.  Programming airs on BTV Channel 21 and on the Bellevue YouTube channel. For more information, email

Mayor Stokes

Gear up for Lake to Lake Bike Ride Fri, 12 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

The Lake to Lake Bike ride on Saturday, June 3, will provide riders of all levels and abilities with an opportunity to experience Bellevue by bicycle. Riders can choose between two different routes -- a mostly flat, approximately eight-mile Greenbelt Loop perfect for families or less experienced cyclists, and a more challenging 22-mile Lake to Lake loop with some climbs.

To register, visit and enter activity code #117822 or call 425-452-6885. Space is limited, so preregistration is recommended. Pending availability, on-site registration will take place 8 to 9 a.m. on event day.

Both rides start between 9 and 10 a.m. at Lake Hills Community Park, 1200 164th Ave. SE. Terrain on both routes includes low-traffic roads, bike lanes and gravel trails. The course will be well-marked and supported by staff and volunteers until noon.

All riders under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and the event is not suggested for children under nine years old, unless riding in a trailer or tag-along.

The event will feature prize raffles, refreshments and freebies for all participants. All participants will receive an event T-shirt.

The cost is $15 per rider with preregistration, and $20 per rider on the day of event. Proceeds will benefit the City of Bellevue Youth Camp scholarship fund to help make healthy and fun recreation accessible to all kids.

Chaplin's Bellevue Subaru and Overlake Medical Center are the title sponsors. Event sponsors include the Bellevue Downtown Association, Choose Your Way Bellevue, Cycle the Wave, Skout Back Country, Zico Water, Soulcycle, Cascade Culture, John Duggan Cycling Attorney, Organic Valley, Therapeutic Associates, Crossroads Bellevue, Gregg’s Bellevue, Blue Steel, Whole Foods and State Farm agent Malinda Zampera.

For more information, call 425-452-4882, email or visit Lake to Lake Bike Ride.

City kicks off Meydenbauer Bay Park construction Fri, 12 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

The City of Bellevue broke ground last week on the long-awaited Meydenbauer Bay Park, which will improve the connection between Bellevue's bustling downtown and its scenic Lake Washington waterfront.

With a quarter mile of waterfront, the 10-acre park considerably expands the current Meydenbauer Bay Beach Park. A large public swimming beach, pedestrian pier, historic whaling building and new beach house will make the park a destination for residents and visitors.

Rendering of Meydenbauer Bay Park

"We are one step closer to fulfilling a 30-year council vision," said Mayor John Stokes. "This project is a testament to the patience and tenacity of city leaders who wouldn't give up on their dream of increasing waterfront access and connections to the heart of our city."

In 1987, Bellevue officials made acquisition of Meydenbauer Bay waterfront a major focus of the city's Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan. Between 1992 and 2007, the city acquired 12 properties along the bay to add to the land that King County transferred to Bellevue when the city was incorporated in 1953. The city purchased the Bellevue Marina in 1992.

In 2007, the City Council appointed a 13-member steering committee representing various neighborhoods and citywide interests to engage with staff and the public through the long-range planning process. A master plan was adopted in 2010.

Key elements of the project include:

  • Relocation and expansion of the public swimming beach;
  • Construction of a new beach house with restrooms and showers;
  • A curvilinear pedestrian pier and hand-carry boat launch;
  • Pedestrian, pathways and picnic areas;
  • Remodeling the historic Whaling Building to include accessible restrooms, a small meeting room and boat rentals.
  • Shoreline restoration to improve ecological functions; and
  • Parking and overlooks.

Meydenbauer Bay, the site of a small village in the early 1900s, has a rich history. From 1914 to 1952, the inlet was the off-season home to a whaling fleet that plied Puget Sound.

The new park responds to the community's long-held interest in additional public water access. Despite Bellevue's 14 miles of shoreline along Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, total shoreline in public ownership is limited to approximately 1.6 miles, or 12 percent, with the majority along Lake Washington.

IMCO General Construction will work primarily west and northwest of 99th Avenue Northeast to connect with and expand the existing park between Lake Washington Boulevard and the Meydenbauer Bay shoreline. Meydenbauer Beach Park will be closed during the project, and the Bellevue Marina will remain open.

Construction is expected to be completed in late fall 2018.

Comment period open for Energize Eastside draft EIS Fri, 12 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

Three public hearings to be held, including one in Bellevue on May 25

The Phase 2 draft environmental impact statement for Puget Sound Energy's proposed Energize Eastside project has been published and is now in the 45-day public comment period. Residents can comment on the draft report through Wednesday, June 21. There are multiple ways to submit feedback:

  • Via online comment form;
  • Mail or email; or
  • By giving oral comments during one of three public hearings.

The City of Bellevue will host the second public hearing on Thursday, May 25, at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE, 6-9 p.m. Additional hearings will be in Renton at Oliver Hazen High School on Tuesday, May 23, and Rose Hill Elementary School in Kirkland on Saturday, June 3. Attendance is optional -- you can provide comments without attending a public hearing.

Each meeting will begin with an open house, followed by a short presentation and an oral comment period. The comment period will begin approximately 45 minutes after the start of the meeting. The order of speakers will be chosen at random.

The Energize Eastside EIS preparation is being led by the City of Bellevue in cooperation with the partner cities of Kirkland, Newcastle, Redmond and Renton. The EIS will provide environmental review under the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) of PSE's proposed Energize Eastside project. Although PSE has conducted extensive outreach on the project, the SEPA process is a separate requirement that must be completed before any permits may be issued. The EIS is not a permit -- it is one of many sets of information permitting agencies will consider as they decide whether to approve the project and issue necessary permits.

Visit the Phase 2 Draft EIS page to learn more about the Phase 2 draft EIS and download the files. Residents can also visit the Participate page for commenting instructions and tips on ways to make comments most effective.

Council Roundup: East Link construction about to 'get more real' Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

Plus, Mercer Island I-90 access

In a presentation to the City Council Monday night, Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff stated East Link light rail construction is about to "get more real," and encouraged residents and businesses to remember that "better days are ahead" once the project is operational. Rogoff was joined by Ron Lewis, deputy executive director of East Link, and other Sound Transit staff to give an update on the segments of East Link.

During the update, Sound Transit noted that it has awarded construction contracts for all of the segments and expects work along the entire 14-mile alignment this summer. Major upcoming construction activities include:

  • Closure of the I-90 center lanes leading to south Bellevue;
  • Closure of the South Bellevue Park and Ride on Tuesday, May 30;
  • Utility work in preparation of the four stations in central Bellevue and similar work in the BelRed segment; and
  • Ongoing tunnel excavation from the East Main Station to the Bellevue Downtown Station (about 150 feet having already been excavated). 

Additionally, in the Overlake segment, Sound Transit pledged to monitor operations in the wake of the closure of the Overlake Transit Center Park and Ride on May 1. The agency will be removing trees and demolishing commercial buildings in the area. These activities along State Route 520 are expected to begin in June.

Lewis explained construction traffic management, requiring lane closures on Bellevue Way, will become necessary later this year. However the timing of the lane closures on 112th Avenue Southeast is unknown since the contractor is in the stages of finalizing the schedule.

During the discussion, councilmembers expressed their satisfaction over mitigation measures agreed to by the City of Bellevue and Sound Transit. These measures specifically target noise, traffic and environmental impacts. The council further noted that this work will make a positive difference in the delivery of light rail to the residents.

An update was also provided on the Operations and Maintenance Facility-East,to be located in the BelRed area near the Spring District/120th light rail station. The maintenance facililty will operate "24/7, 365" to store, service and deploy 96 light rail vehicles, serve as the maintenance center, and be the administrative facility that supports 250 full-time employees. Sound Transit is finalizing negotiations with the design-builder and anticipates the Sound Transit Board awarding the contract at its May 25 meeting, with construction to begin later this year.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for updates on the Sound Transit East Link web page.

Mercer Island I-90 access
The council was later briefed on an issue surrounding single-occupancy vehicle access to I-90 via high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Mercer Island.

In preparation for East Link light rail construction in the center roadway of I-90 scheduled to begin this June, the state Department of Transportation and Sound Transit are implementing a plan to add new HOV lanes alongside the general purpose lanes of the I-90 outer roadway between Seattle and Bellevue. WSDOT has also built new HOV on- and off-ramps on Mercer Island and modified I-90 access at Bellevue Way.

In an August 2016 letter to Mercer Island and WSDOT, the Federal Highway Administration clarified that Mercer Island single-occupancy vehicles having access to HOV lanes on I-90 is in conflict with federal law. Since that time, WSDOT, Mercer Island and Sound Transit have been working together to resolve access concerns. Mercer Island has developed a potential solution and requested Bellevue's participation in a letter addressed to U.S. Department of Transportation asking for approval.

While noting their empathy for Mercer Island residents, councilmembers brought up a number of concerns regarding the proposal, including increased accident rates, added travel times for morning commuters from the Eastside heading into Seattle and a need for further traffic modeling. Given these questions, and the need for more information, the city did not sign on to the letter at this time.

Planning and Community Development director appointed Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:59 -0800

Mac CumminsMac Cummins to join city in July

City Manager Brad Miyake is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael "Mac" Cummins as Bellevue's Planning and Community Development director. Cummins comes to Bellevue from the City of Westminster, Colo., where he's served as the planning manager since 2008. He has also worked for the cities of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Seal Beach, Calif., as well as the Southern California Association of Governments. Cummins will begin his new position in early July.

"Mac Cummins' vast experience in city planning, housing-related issues and community development, especially in urban growth, makes him an ideal fit for Bellevue," said City Manager Miyake. "Not only does he have the technical know-how, but Mac also understands the opportunities and challenges that face a growing city like ours and how to address them as a community."

"I look forward to leading Bellevue's efforts to grow and develop smartly while retaining its 'City in a Park' character," said Cummins. "I enjoy local municipal planning and working with the community as we address big picture topics together such as the Wilburton-Grand Connection initiative and affordable housing, making sure the implementation appropriately reflects the city's values and vision."

Cummins' broad experience during his nearly 20 years in the public sector has included land use planning, transit-oriented development, economic development and housing. Cummins has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy and Management with honors from the University of Southern California and two master's degrees -- one in Public Administration and one in Planning -- also from USC. In addition, he's a certified planner, having achieved this designation through the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Miyake expressed his appreciation to Dan Stroh, who's been serving as PCD's acting director since Chris Salomone retired in September 2016.

The Planning and Community Development Department guides growth and change in Bellevue to enhance the character of the community; helps to create a quality natural and built environment; and works in partnership with residents to address their interests and preserve vibrant, healthy neighborhoods. PCD is made up of the following divisions: Comprehensive Planning, Strategic Planning, Neighborhood Programs, Arts and Culture, Mediation, Community Development, Environmental Stewardship, Economic Development and Housing.