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News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Council Roundup: Bellevue still among safest cities

Also, Larsen Lake wetland to be restored, neighborhoods get generous and city gears up for census

Bellevue Police officer in action.Bellevue continues to be a very safe city, with the lowest per capita violent and property crime rate among the state's 10 largest cities, City Manager Steve Sarkozy told the City Council on Monday.

Sarkozy noted that statistics recently released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that while the total number of violent crimes increased from 138 in 2007 to 168 in 2008, the number remained low for a city the size of Bellevue. The fifth largest city in the state, Bellevue experienced no homicides for the second year in a row in 2008.

The FBI's 2008 property crime statistics showed burglary incidents in Bellevue increased from 583 in 2007 to 687 in 2008. However, motor vehicle thefts continued to decrease, from 446 in 2007 to 275 in 2008. Car thefts have decreased for five consecutive years.
 
The city's own statistics show that since 1996, the overall number of major crimes has trended downward despite Bellevue's population growth.

Feedback: Tim Waters, Communications Director, 425-452-4090 or trwaters@bellevuewa.gov

Larsen Lake wetland to be restored
The council hired Buckley Nursery Co. to restore degraded wetlands around Larsen Lake. A majority of the $92,560 project, which includes removal of noxious weeds, planting of native species and the addition of large woody debris to the shoreline, will be paid for with an $89,000 grant from the King County Conservation District.

In 2006 the city identified the Larsen Lake shoreline as a critical area in need of natural resource restoration. This project, in line with Bellevue's Environmental Stewardship initiative, will serve as a pilot for other wetlands restoration planned for the Lake Hills Greenbelt area.

The restoration, off 148th Avenue Southeast, will provide additional food and nesting habitat for birds, additional shading and cover for fish and help stabilize the shoreline to reduce erosion and protect water quality. 

The project is scheduled for completion in December, but Bellevue will establish an ongoing stewardship training program for volunteers to assist in the protection, preservation and enhancement of urban natural systems. Graduates could lead community planting projects, monitor wetlands and help develop community education and outreach about wetlands.

Feedback: Dan DeWald, Natural Resource Manager, 425-452-6048 or ddewald@bellevuewa.gov

Council praises neighborhoods and businesses for public service
The council commended Bellevue neighborhoods and Whole Foods Market for their successful efforts to generate food, money and other resources for needy families this summer.
 
Council members heard a recap of activities conducted under the banner of Neighbor Link, a program designed to build a sense of community and unite neighborhoods in public service. This summer, working with the city's Neighborhood Outreach Team, neighborhoods:

  • Collected more than 5,000 pounds of food for local food banks and 500 pounds of pet food for the Humane Society;
  • Raised $1,500 in cash for Hopelink and Congregations for the Homeless;
  • Conducted drives to collect school supplies, toiletries and cell phones for charities;
  • Conducted workshops and litter clean-ups, and sponsored community concerts; and
  • Established Neighborhood Watch programs and compiled neighborhood directories to create closer ties among neighbors.

Feedback: Cheryl Kuhn, Neighborhood Outreach Manager, 425-452-4089 or ckuhn@bellevuewa.gov

Committee to help make sure everyone's counted in census
The council threw its support behind a "Complete Count" Committee formed to raise awareness among residents of the safety, ease and importance of the 2010 census. 

In March, the U.S. Census Bureau will send a questionnaire to every household in the country for its 10-year tally of people who live in the United States. Almost 30 percent of Bellevue's residents are foreign-born and may have difficulty with or be leery about responding.

If the city's population is undercounted, it could cost Bellevue millions over the next 10 years in federal and state grants, and mean less representation for the city in the federal and state government. In addition, the picture of Bellevue captured by the census would be incomplete.

The Complete Count Committee, to include city staff as well as community leaders, will work with the Census Bureau to make sure people are comfortable filling out the Census form.

In the coming months, the committee will reach out to neighborhood, cultural and faith-based groups to deliver the message to hard-to-reach populations that the census is easy and that information about individuals or individual families will be confidential.

In a proclamation Monday, the council pledged the city to join the Census Bureau "in issuing a call to action to every resident in this city, state and nation to be counted, especially members of population groups that are traditionally undercounted."

Feedback: Gwen Rousseau, Associate Planner-Demographer, 425-452-2743 or grousseau@bellevuewa.gov

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