West Lake Hills
Percentage of city: 10 percent
Under 18: 2,721 (22 percent of the area)
Housing Units: 5,225
Originally developed in the late 1950s as a planned community with the Lake Hills Shopping Center at its core, the area contains much of Bellevue’s relatively affordable single-family and multifamily housing. The richness of the community lies in its extensive system of open space, trails and wetlands.
The Lake Hills greenbelt is a wetland corridor encompassing more than 172 acres of woods and wetlands, home to coyotes, muskrats and an array of songbirds. The Lake Hills Ranger Station on Southeast 16th Street provides a convenient source of information about the greenbelt, which connects Phantom Lake on the south with Larson Lake and its surrounding blueberry fields on the north.
Looking north from office and research facilities along Interstate 90, West Lake Hills is home to the growing campus of Bellevue College and to Robinswood Community Park with its tennis center and lighted athletic fields. The neighborhood’s dominant roadway, 148th Avenue, is a busy thoroughfare not only carrying local traffic, but also accommodating a significant amount of regional traffic between I-90 and SR 520. The East Bellevue Community Council, an elected five-member body, has jurisdiction over land use decisions affecting this part of the city.
Walking the trails of West Lake Hills brings one in touch with Bellevue’s Native American and Asian American heritage. In the early 1900s, Japanese immigrants farmed the land between Larson and Phantom lakes. A glimpse of the area’s agricultural past can be seen at the Farm Fresh Produce Stand on the corner of 156th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 16th Street, and at the Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm on 148th Avenue Southeast.
Yakima Indians who had a winter encampment near Larsen Lake originally developed parts of the area. Another era in Lake Hills history was carved in the post World War II 1950s with the mass development of housing for the engineers at Boeing. The distinctive ‘50s-era rambler-style housing is commemorated in Lake Hills entry signs.
Lake Hills Shopping Center
Kelsey Creek Center
Lake Hills Greenbelt
Farm Fresh Food Stand
Sammamish High School
Lake Hills Elementary School
St. Louise Parish School