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Upper Kittitas County


A Special Directory Supplement to the

Find Area: • Contractors • Sub-Contractors • Architects • Remodelers • Suppliers • Realty Services


Over 59 Years of Service to Kittitas County and North Central Washington




Always Excavating, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Columbia Asphalt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

All City Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Bator Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Cascade Door & Remodel . . . . . . . . . .35 Harper Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Knudson Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Marson & Marson Lumber, Inc. . . . . . . . .2 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19

BUILDING MATERIALS AND HARDWARE All City Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Bator Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Cle Elum Hardware & Rental . . . . . . . . .23 Harper Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Knudson Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Marson & Marson Lumber, Inc. . . . . . . . .2

BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS BEK Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Clover Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 McIntosh Pole Building Inc. . . . . . . . . .17 Merle Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Paradise Mountain Log Homes . . . . . . .26 Scott Equipment & Hauling, LLC . . . . . .39 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19 WoodRidge Custom Homes . . . . . . . . .39

CABINETRY Bator Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Marson & Marson Lumber, Inc. . . . . . . . .2 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19




All City Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Inland Pipe & Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Merle Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Mountain Elegance Home Furnishing . .26 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19

Bogy’s Construction & Landscaping . . .38

LANDSCAPE & NURSERY Bogy’s Construction & Landscaping . . .38 Valley Turf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

Cabin Creek Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Harper Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10


Cle Elum Hardware & Rental . . . . . . . . .23 Dick Miller and Son Painting . . . . . . . . .33 Harper Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Wine Valley Siding Supply, Inc. . . . . . . .11

EXCAVATING All Around Underground, Inc. . . . . . . .16 Always Excavating, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Bogy’s Construction & Landscaping . . .38 C.F. Arends & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Ford Excavating & Trucking . . . . . . . . .30 Scott Equipment & Hauling, LLC . . . . . .39 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19 Vezzoni Logging & Excavating . . . . . . .22


MM Wood Restoration & Protection . . .30 Vezzoni Logging & Excavating . . . . . . .22

CONCRETE, ROCK, SAND AND GRAVEL Ascent Foundations & More . . . . . . . . .23 Always Excavating, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Bogy’s Construction & Landscaping . . .38 C.F. Arends & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Columbia Asphalt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Harper Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

DECKS AND PORCHES Bator Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Clover Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19

DESIGN AND CONSULTING All Around Underground, Inc. . . . . . . .16 Merle Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Montgomery Building Design LLC . . . . .13 Paradise Mountain Log Homes . . . . . . .26 SC Design & Construction Consulting . . .5 Stone River Engineering Co. . . . . . . . . .14



PRINTING, ADVERTISING, NEWS & OFFICE SUPPLIES N.K.C. Tribune . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Ruby’s Printing, Scrapbooking & Things 35 Tribune Office Supply & Printing . . . . .37




Embellish Interiors & Gifts . . . . . . . . . . .9 Mountain Elegance Home Furnishing . .26

BEK Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Cascade Door & Remodel . . . . . . . . . .35 Grant Mechanical, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Merle Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19 WoodRidge Custom Homes . . . . . . . . .39

HOT TUBS & POOLS Central WA Hot Tub & Spa, LLC. . . . . . .19

INTERIOR DESIGN, BLINDS & DRAPERIES All City Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Embellish Interiors & Gifts . . . . . . . . . . .9 Mountain Elegance Home Furnishing . .26 Valley Floor Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Always Excavating, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Columbia Asphalt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Vezzoni Logging & Excavating . . . . . . .22

AmeriTitle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

AmeriTitle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Larry Scholl, John L. Scott Real Estate .40

BID Mechanical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Grant Mechanical, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .33


Cle Elum Hardware & Rental . . . . . . . . .23 Grant Mechanical, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Harper Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Inland Pipe & Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Ascent Foundations & More . . . . . . . . .23




Valley Floor Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9


C.F. Arends & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 McIntosh Pole Building Inc. . . . . . . . . .17

Stone River Engineering Co. . . . . . . . . .14


Cle Elum Hardware & Rental . . . . . . . . .23


TRUCKING SERVICES Ford Excavating & Trucking . . . . . . . . .30

TRUSS AND BEAM Marson & Marson Lumber, Inc. . . . . . . . .2

UTILITIES All Around Underground, Inc. . . . . . . .16 Grant Mechanical, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Puget Sound Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Scott Equipment & Hauling, LLC . . . . . .39

VEHICLES Kelleher Motor Company . . . . . . . . . . .38

WOOD RESTORATION Dick Miller and Son Painting . . . . . . . . .33 MM Wood Restoration & Protection . . .30

SEPTIC SERVICES All Around Underground, Inc. . . . . . . .16 C.F. Arends & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Grant Mechanical, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

SIDING, ROOFING, AND GUTTERS Bator Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Harper Lumber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 TRS Construction & Consulting, LLC. . . .19 Wine Valley Siding Supply, Inc. . . . . . . .11

Did you miss out on ADVERTISING in this year’s Builders’ Guide? Contact us by March 1st for the 2015 edition H H (509) 674-2511


For Building Permit Seekers

Water issue changing in Kittitas County Early March saw rounds of hearings and comment periods close on a two-part proposal aimed to make the county’s use of ground water compliant with the Growth Management Act, but recently the Eastern Washington Growth Man-

2014 Upper Kittitas Co.


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agement Board gave the county a little more time to think about that proposal. On Friday, March 7, Kittitas County Commissioner Paul Jewell said the Board granted a 60-day reprieve so that commissioners could process comments from the general public and various other stakeholders involved. Jewell said the reprieve expires on May 14. On or before that deadline commissioners have the opportunity to vote yea or nay on the original proposal or an amended version of it. If in fact an amended version evolves from deliberations between now and May 14 Jewell said it would be subject to the public process, with a whole new round of hearings and comment periods. For those just tuning in, the current proposal is outlined on the county’s website by way of an easyto-understand Q&A format. View it with a visit to WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? In 2008 the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board found that the County’s Comprehensive Plan and Code did not protect quantity or quality of water. The State Supreme Court agreed with that decision in 2011. County commissioners have proposed a two-part plan to address those issues. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CURRENT PROPOSAL Highlights of the current proposal are provided below, with text taken directly from the county’s website and edited for space.

• What’s this all about? In 2008 the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board found that the County’s Comprehensive Plan and Code did not protect quantity or quality of water. The State Supreme Court agreed with that decision in 2011, so the County is now in the process of addressing those issues. • What’s being proposed? As part of the settlement the County agreed to consider regulations which would require mitigation for new uses of ground water in lower Kittitas County. The current proposal is to implement the new requirement in two phases. • Phase 1 provides for interim measures to last over an 18-month period commencing on the effective date of the new regulations. Mitigation would be required for all new uses of ground water for domestic (including lawns and gardens), commercial, irrigation and industrial purposes in lower Kittitas County. The county government would be in a position to offer mitigation for new domestic uses through a county-secured, leased water right. New uses mitigated through such a program would be limited to indoor domestic and up to 500 square feet of outdoor use only. Building permit applicants would be required to record their

water use restrictions as a deed restriction prior to a building permit being issued. Upper Kittitas County would remain under the moratorium imposed by Chapter 173-539A WAC. • Phase 2 would implement permanent measures intended to replace interim measures at the conclusion of the 18-month period. Mitigation would be required for all new uses of ground water countywide. Mitigation would only be valid if it is determined to be water-budget neutral by the Washington State Department of Ecology. For up to five years the County would be in a position to continue offering leased water for mitigation if the water-budget neutrality standard is met. Building permit applicants would be required to record their water use restrictions as a deed restriction prior to any building permit being issued. Metering, monitoring and reporting of new ground water uses would be required. Ecology would begin the process of repealing the Upper County ground water moratorium within 180 days. HAVE QUESTIONS? Visit or call Kittitas County Community Development 509-962-7506.




Wildland Urban Interface Code may affect where you build Within the unincorporated areas of Kittitas County all properties have been designated as areas regulated by the county’s Wildland Urban Interface Code (WUIC). Why should that matter to you? If you live or own property in an unincorporated area, the new code applies to you. The WUIC outlines specific building construction and property maintenance requirements that apply to structures built on your property. Kittitas County has published a colorcoded map that categorizes unincorporated lands as Ignition Resistant (IR) 1-A or IR1-B or IR-2. There is a third category … IR-3 … but that category is simply the one used to identify those lands without risk factors and therefore exempt from WUIC restrictions.

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Where are the wildland urban interface areas? View the county’s map with a visit to

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS Construction in IR1A, IR1B and IR2 areas must meet certain requirements, such as non-combustible or one-hour exterior siding materials, enclosed non-combustible soffits, a fire suppression sprinkler system and mod-

What is the WUIC’s objective? It aims to mitigate damage and risk to life and property and to reduce the risk of forest fires due to structure fires in hazard areas (and vice versa). Experts believe fuel reduction at the in-

ifications to the property that meet defensible space requirements. To get a permit builders must submit two sets of plans to the county: A site plan showing defensible space and a plan for management of the property. As of March 2014 the application fee is $130. After a permit is issued and during the construction process, a county-approved inspection of the property must be conducted to verify the defensible space plan and to see that building construction requirements have been met.


terface between natural lands and developments can reduce the intensity of fires before they enter populated areas. How does WUIC affect construction? Any building constructed on, or moved to property in an urban wild-land area must meet WUIC requirements. Any new structure built in an IR1-A or IR1-B fire area must have a sprinkler system installed. Exception: If the property is in an IR1-A designation, the property owner may provide 2.5 times the defensible space in lieu of the sprinkler system. Defensible space plans must be submitted to the Kittitas County Fire Marshal along with the building plans. All chimneys must be provided with spark arresters. LPG tanks shall be located within the defensible space listed for that property. Storage of firewood and combustible materials shall be stored within defensible space, but no closer than 20 feet to any structure.

City of Roslyn • 100 E. Pennsylvania Ave. | POB 451, Roslyn, WA 98941 Phone 509-649-3105 • FAX 509-649-3174 E-mail • For planning/building info and permit applications, visit

Building permits for projects sited on unincorporated lands are available at Kittitas County Community Development Services. Municipal governments in Cle Elum, Roslyn, South Cle Elum, Ellensburg and Kittitas routinely process building permits. Following is the current information per jurisdiction:

Town of South Cle Elum

Kittitas County Community Development Services (CDS)

City of Ellensburg • 501 N. Anderson St., Ellensburg, WA 98926

411 N. Ruby St., Suite 2, Ellensburg, WA 98926 Phone 509-962-7506 • FAX 509-962-7682 • Email: For the county’s permit process or to download an application, visit

523 Lincoln Ave. | POB 160, South Cle Elum, WA 98943 Phone 509-674-4322 • FAX 509-674-5942 • E-mail Phone 509-962-7239 • WEB • Contact info for city building officials is available at For a rundown on the city’s permit process visit • To download a building permit application visit

City of Cle Elum, Building Department 119 W. First St., Cle Elum, WA 98922 Phone 509-674-2262 • FAX 509-674-4097 Email • City building codes and downloadable permit applications, visit

City of Kittitas • 207 N. Main St., Kittitas, WA 98934 Phone 509-968-0220 • FAX 509-968-0223 • WEB E-mail: • Note: Kittitas does not offer downloadable permit applications at this time.


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Save on home energy bills by planting the RIGHT TREES in the RIGHT PLACES If you could design a home that would save you $1,000 a year in heating and cooling bills and it would only cost you the price and labor of strategically planting a few trees – would you do it? Said Jheri Ketcham, co-executive director of the Yakima Area Arboretum, “Reducing the lawn footprint, planting plants that don’t need as much water, and adding trees that provide shade and protection are all characteristics of an energy-efficient landscape.” For years builders and homeowners have been doing that with some degree of accuracy, but today an innovation of computer science serves to lessen the guesswork. The i-Tree software suite, developed by the U.S. Forest Service, is a free, easy to use, peer-reviewed software tool that has become a popular resource for homeowners, builders, city planners and forest managers. The software is, once again, free. It can used online, downloaded to your computer, or mailed to you on a CD. To get started visit August 2006 milestoned the first release of i-Tree, the generic cover name for six software applications and six software utilities, each briefly described below. Software Applications i-Tree Design is especially useful to homeowners and builders. It allows you to make a simple estimation of the benefits provided by individual and groupings of trees that already exist or ones you’re planning to plant. The software then crunches the numbers and displays your savings in terms of heating and air conditioning bills, and in terms of things such as greenhouse gas mitigation, air quality improvements, and stormwater interception. To get started you type in an address and a Google Earth map of the address appears. Then you experiment by placing various species of trees chosen from a list at various locations around the existing or proposed building(s) on the lot. At each stage of experimentation the software calculates your savings and, eventually, you wind up with the most energy-efficient design. i-Tree Eco is designed to use field data from complete inventories or randomly located plots throughout a community along with local hourly air pollution and meteorological data to quantify urban forest structure, environmental effects and value to

Plant to Conserve Energy Arbor Day Foundation experts say planting large deciduous trees on the east, west and northwest sides of your home can create soothing shade and reduce air-conditioning costs by up to 35%. Windbreaks deliver about the same results to reduce winter heating SOURCE: Arbor Day Foundation. bills. communities. i-Tree Streets is an analysis tool for urban forest managers that uses tree inventory data to quantify the dollar value of annual environmental and aesthetic benefits: Energy conservation, air quality improvement, CO2 reduction, stormwater control, and property value increase. i-Tree Hydro is designed for users interested in watershed scale analyses of vegetation and impervious cover effects on hydrology. i-Tree Vue allows you to make use of the freely available National Land Cover Database (NLCD) satellitebased imagery to assess your community’s land cover, including tree canopy and some of the ecosystem services provided by your urban forest. The effects of planting scenarios on future benefits can also be modeled. i-Tree Canopy lets you review Google Maps aerial photography at random points to conduct a cover assessment within a defined project area. You draw your project area boundaries right onto Google Maps or you load an ESRI polygon shape-file in latitudelongitude coordinates. If estimating tree cover, tree benefits can also be estimated.

Software Utilities i-Tree Species aids users in selecting proper species given the environmental tree functions they desire. i-Tree Community Tree Inventory allows communities to conduct tree inventories and analyses at various levels of detail and effort. i-Tree Pest Detection is a portable, accessible and standardized protocol for observing a tree for possible insect or disease problems. i-Tree Storm provides a standardized method to assess widespread storm damage. i-Tree Mobile Data Collection provides two options for mobile data collection including a new web-based system for smartphones and other web-enabled devices. EDITOR’S NOTE: Sources for this material, edited for space and paraphrased for clarity in some cases, are i-Tree, the U.S. Forest Service and the Yakima Area Arboretum.

i-Tree Partners The partnership that develops and distributes the i-Tree software suite is comprised of the U.S. Forest Service, Davey Tree Expert Company, National Arbor Day Foundation, the Society of Municipal Arborists, the International Society of Arboriculture, and Casey Trees. A sprinkling of power companies across the nation have joined the partnership.


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Designing, remodeling homes to fit owners as they age The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conducts educational programs to adapt builders to the changing times. One of its recent offerings certifies builders to build or remodel homes for aging baby boomers, who, according to a study conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), “overwhelmingly prefer to agein-place,” which means living in their homes safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. “As this consumer group expands,” the NAHB writes, “more and more are interested in remodeling their home to fit their changing lifestyles and abilities.” According to the description of the Association’s Aging-in-Place Remodeling Certification program, the idea is to provide a homeowner with solutions, such as identifying common barriers, tapping knowledge bases for proven remodeling projects that fit particular needs, and even consulting with health professionals to address unique needs. Modifications range from the installation of bathroom bars and adjusting countertop heights to the creation of first-floor bedrooms and the installation of elevators.


Building green can mean designing ‘The Not So Big House’ As one local builder has said, the trend to build “McMansions” (huge homes produced in volume like hamburgers) isn’t what it used to be because Americans are discovering homes are about space not spacious, and with that is coming a newfound respect for resources for building materials and home energy consumption. In her book series entitled The Not So Big House best-selling author and architect Sarah Susanka explores the “new way of thinking about what makes a place feel like home.” Susanka’s pitch is to “design and build in a way that is perfectly suited to the way you live.” As she points out, her books “provide homeowners the language they need to ask for the house that they want, one that values quality over quantity and that emphasizes comfort, beauty and a high level of detail.” How has Susanka’s approach been received? Amazon Books hailed Not So Big Remodeling as one of the best books of 2009. In the same year Builder Magazine honored her with its Innovator Award, and Mother Earth Living, a magazine devoted to natural home and healthy life, put her ideologies in the ranks of those forecasting for the next ten years of green building. One of the homes featured in Susanka’s series was designed by Bainbridge Island architect Bernie Baker and built in Washington state. Other industry writers report Not So Big homes are catching on in Oregon, too.


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Ductless heating and air conditioning catch on Two northern Kittitas County homebuilders interviewed for this story say the use of energy-efficient, ductless, zone-controlled heating and air-conditioning technology is common in many places around the world, but that in America it’s just beginning to get a foothold. Both agree the technology has proven itself in homes they’ve built here. “Today,” said Thad Vaughn, “roughly 95% of the building in China and Japan is done with ductless. We Americans are way behind the curve. To me it’s incredible technology.” Don Tate agrees. “In Europe there’s ductless everywhere you look. I’d say it has reached only 10% of the heating and air-conditioning market here. “What we often run into are clients who’ve never heard of it and for that reason take some convincing. “Personally, after using it in 20 homes or so and in our home office, I swear by it.” HOW DOES IT WORK? Tate provided a simple, layperson’s explanation. “In the simplest of configurations, say for a 900 square foot rental, you have an outdoor unit that feeds a smaller indoor unit. “Via copper tubes, Freon and air are circulated to either heat in winter or cool in summer. “The whole point of ductless is ridding yourself of warm and cool air losses you risk with ducts in the attic or ceilings, or with ducts beneath the home. Ducts are notorious for heat loss.” Said Vaughn, “There are a number of ductless configurations available, depending on home design and size. “For instance, in a 2,000 square foot home I’m building at Peoh Point, I have one large unit outside feeding four smaller ones placed inside – in strategic zones. “The whole point of zone-controlled heating and air-conditioning is energy efficiency and cost savings. “Look at the zone strategy like this: You walk into a room and turn on the light switch for that room, not for all the rooms in your home. Same principle is at work with zonecontrolled heating and cooling.”

DUCTLESS HVAC CONFIGURATIONS like this one heat and cool a 971-square foot home with the larger, main unit installed outside (at left), and the smaller unit on a first-floor living room wall (above). Jim Fossett and Lou Kincade photos

COST SAVINGS Both Tate and Vaughn say they’ve witnessed the savings. Said Tate, “An installation that heats and cools a 900-square-foot rental lowered the monthly heating bill by $175. I’ve seen comparable savings in homes I’ve built and with the unit we installed in our home office.” Lou Kinkade, the owner of a 971-squarefoot home in Cle Elum that Vaughn helped design and build features a single indoor and outdoor unit. Said Kinkade, “In summer I run air-conditioning all the time and my monthly bill’s been averaging $54. In winter I keep it at 68degrees all the time and it’s anywhere between $100 and $180. “What I’ve noticed is that the unit works better when I keep it on. It hasn’t worked well when I turned it on and off at different times.”

Vaughn said homes are, by code, better insulated these days and that works in favor of ductless technology. “Without ducts breaching areas of a home prone to loss of heat or cool air, you get better control of each zone, and that translates directly to energy efficiency and cost savings.”

NOT JUST FOR HOMES Ductless heating and air-conditioning technology has advanced enough that it’s commonly used in commercial development and larger buildings. Tate said at this writing he’s renovating the NWI Building in Roslyn and, if funding for HVAC is availed, ductless technology is an option on the table.


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Renovating the historic Roslyn NWI Building ROSLYN – Roslyn Downtown Association’s (RDA) $485,000 renovation of the city’s Northwest Improvement (NWI) Building came to life in early March 2014 when crews led by TRS Construction owner Don Tate appeared on site. Funding for the project came from a state capital appropriation. “We started Monday, February 24,” Tate said. “We’ve got two months. We’re going to start with selective demolition avoiding anything structural at this point. So far we’ve removed some walls, discovered a bump in the floor that needs attention, and we found some rotting wood in places.” Tate said the RDA wanted local contractors on the job and that obviously he’s happy about that. “We’ll put as many as a half dozen to work on this depending on the phase.” Tate said the work required is

THE IRON COLUMNS that grace the front of the NWI Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Roslyn also fascinated work crews. Where were they manufactured? E-mail if you have the answer. N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Jim Fossett photo

aimed at the interior, though ADA-accessible entries and some minor re-pointing of exterior brick walls is all part of the plan. If you recall from a previous story published in the NKC Tribune, the goal is to transform the interior of the building into a mall-like walk, with special attention to storefront windows and entrances – and with particular attention paid to preserving the historical landmark the NWI building has become. “All totaled, the project entails renovating 5,000 square feet on the left-hand side of the building as you’re looking toward it from the front.” Tate said initial inspections of the building’s attic and cellar were promising. CONTINUED ON PAGE 37

TRS CONSTRUCTION CO-OWNER DON TATE (at left) reviews plans for the section of Roslyn’s NWI Building his company is renovating. Shown with Don: TRS longtime employee Terry Reynolds. Note the taste of history that the load-bearing pillars and beam provide the building. N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Jim Fossett photo

SHUTTERS IN STORAGE. Others like them still adorn windows on the Northwest Improvement Building exterior in historic downtown Roslyn. N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Jim Fossett photo


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Veteran builder and designer offers practical insights into building green KITTITAS COUNTY – By 2008 local Steve Senger had amassed a 32-year career building and designing custom homes, but something was about to change. “I found myself sitting in a built-green seminar hosted by the Building Industry Association of Washington. “I’ll never forget it,” he said. “I left the meeting inspired and over the next few years spent most of my time exploring the technology and networking with experts. “I’ve become a believer and though I’m sold on green, my thing is to find a way to build green at a nominal cost.” We sat down with Senger not too long ago to field a variety of questions. Here’s what he had to say:

PRACTICAL INSIGHTS • Net Zero. Senger said Net Zero building, meaning constructing a home that produces as much or more of the energy needed, is largely dependent on lifestyle. Why? Because it’s a challenge to maintain a Net Zero home. “No hot tubs and swimming pools,” he said. “No fancy fountains. None of that is conducive to Net Zero, but you can build Net Zero for a nominal increase over the cost of a standard home and get a very short payback.” • Are Net Zero homes the rage with builders? Senger said, “Yes and no. The ones saying no aren’t comfortable with the minimal cost savings, but what they don’t understand is that a Net Zero home is healthier and more comfortable. At any rate, they’re going to lose out when the energy codes change – and they do have a way of catching up to you.” • Ductless HVAC. Senger said he believes ductless heating and airconditioning technology – readily available now – is a good way to go if you want energy efficiency and savings on your monthly utility bill. • Passive Solar is back in the mainstream, Senger said. “Builders

are orienting homes properly whenever possible. Cement floors, even on top of wood, are a big deal in terms of the way they can absorb heat from the sun. Builders are leaning toward more radiant-heat designs for those reasons. Solar heaters provide water for radiant-heated floors and domestic use, which accounts for up to 30% of the average do- YOU MAY have read all the hype about building green, mestic need.” but what’s a home designer

find them to be about 30% more efficient.” • Solar vs. Wind Power is a continuing debate in this country. At this stage of the debate’s evolution Senger believes – based on a variety of studies he’s reviewed – solar is twice as efficient.

• Advanced Framing. By removing unnecessary studs and headers like Steve Senger got to say you can save a lot of • Heat Recovery Ven- about green from the per- wood and increase entilators. Airtight homes spective of someone who has ergy performance by milestone the era we live hands-on experience with it? making more room for Courtesy photo in. “With Heat Recovery insulation. The techVentilators you can build nique is called advanced framing, but a healthy home that breathes. They as Senger pointed out, it really doeshave the added benefit of allowing n’t work in our region because of the you to condition the air coming into higher snow loads. However, you can the house, so you don’t have to rebuild Net Zero walls. In a 2-by-6 wall heat or re-cool it.” you can inject a two-inch rigid, closed-cell spray foam. Then you put • Insulation has become a coma mesh over the studs and fill cavities mon denominator in the buildingwith Blown in Batts (BIBS), a loosegreen equation. “There are lots of fill insulation that has a type of glue different materials out there. For exin it so it won’t settle or sag. With ample, there’s Faswall®, which that technique you can get an R26 inlooks like a concrete block measursulation rating, which is exceptional. ing 12-by-12-by-24, is made from No air gets through.” chipped-up, recycled wood pallets and concrete to give the block a • How do you start with the dethermal mass on the inside of the sign of a Net Zero home? “Go elechouse. These blocks can radiate heat tric,” Senger said, “and start with the or cold for hours. They’re installed size home you want. Determine enlike a concrete block. You can use a ergy requirements. Consider solar and sustainable American clay stucco inhow much you’ll need, and then use side and outside, or you can screw the other things we’ve been talking drywall right to it.” about to reduce load. You know, as for size, smaller homes are more energy • Energy Efficient Appliances are efficient and greener. So design a saturating the market, but as Senger home with only the space you need. points out, some don’t yet cut the Actually, people are coming around to mustard. “Electric on-demand water that way of thinking. The trend for heaters fit that category. Instead you rolling mansions out like fast-food might consider using an evacuatedhamburgers isn’t like it used to be.” tube solar panel and a super-efficient storage tank or water heater that’ll • What kinds of costs are inbring your temperature back up a volved with building green? “You few degrees. I’ve been using tankless can do it for the cost of a normal gas models for the last 30 years and home or you can go overboard to get

a five-star rating, but you pay big money for that because it requires lot of recycled products. For me it’s all about paying attention to the products you’re buying, energy efficiency and creating a home environment that’s comfortable and healthy. “There are many other things that go into building green that have nothing to do with the structure. You get more points, for example, if you plant trees in a way that provides shade or wind block or storm drainage or drought resistance or a smaller footprint for the yard you’ll need to irrigate. If you build Net Zero and look at the cost of your utilities over a 30-year mortgage – you’ll save more money than you paid for the house.” • Today is it possible or practical to become 100% energy independent and live off the grid? “No. You can’t divorce yourself from the grid. You can put electricity back on the grid and get credit for it.” Senger tells the story of a Salmon La Sac resident who lived off the grid with solar power, a bank of over 20 batteries, a backup generator and a pricey soapstone wood burning stove. “He was a weekender and he only lived in the house two or three days a week. He was off the grid for that period of time. Actually, he had no choice. Where he sited his home there was no grid to plug into. The disadvantage is that if you’re off the grid you don’t have the option for rebates, which in some cases could be fairly substantial. ABOUT SENGER Steve Senger is a Certified Green Professional, a Master Certified Green Professional and a Certified Third-party Built Green Verifier. He holds a Green Advantage Environmental certification, a National Assoc. of Realtors Green certification and a National Assoc. of Home Builders Certified Aging-in-Place certification, which qualifies him to build or design a home the owner can grow old in, or to remodel an existing home to adjust to the needs of an aging owner.


Green energyefficiency at work

BABYBOOMERS REMEMBER the days when we wrestled with rolls of insulation. This home underway at Suncadia illustrates the new way of doing things: Green and sustainable construction with Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF), meaning Styrofoam on the interior and exterior with concrete in between, for a total thickness of up to 12 inches.

RADIANT-HEATED FLOORS IN A HOME designed by Steve Senger. These floors are considered part of the energy-efficient equation. Courtesy photo

NEW STANDARD? Some say yes. Some say no about the new tankless water heaters on the market. The old electric water heaters are rated for about 0.09 energy efficiency. The old gas versions about 0.6. Depending on the model, tankless systems like this one fetch upwards of an 82% efficiency rating. Photo taken in a Suncadia home under construction in January.

N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Jim Fossett photo

N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Jim Fossett photo

FASWALL®, BLOCKS OF CONCRETE and recycled (chipped) wooden pallets. The mix gives the blocks a thermal mass on the inside of the house. The blocks can radiate heat or cold for hours. Photo taken on a home designed by Steve Senger. Courtesy photo

YOU’RE LOOKING AT a squared section of wall over a fireplace inside a Suncadia home under construction in January. The builder has used Blown in Batts (BIB), a loose-fill insulation that has a type of glue in it so it won't settle or sag. A fabric you can barely see covers it. With the technique, used in many other places in this home, you get an exceptional R26 insulation rating. No air gets through. N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Jim Fossett photo

SOAPSTONE FIREPLACES like this one require little wood and are valued for their ability to retain and radiate soothing heat. EPA-certified tests have shown some models to be 82% efficient. Photo taken on a home designed by Steve Senger. Courtesy photo


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Residential real estate activity According to numbers crunched by the Bureau of Census and the National Association of Realtors, permits for single family housing units rose 57.3% in Kittitas County last year. Statewide and nationwide the numbers came in at 7.8% and 20.1%. Here are the raw numbers, rounded. Total Permits Issued for Single Family Units (rounded) KITTITAS COUNTY 2011......................................140 2012......................................130 2013......................................200 WASHINGTON 2011.................................13,400 2012.................................17,000 2013.................................18,000 UNITED STATES 2011...............................414,000 2012...............................514,000 2013...............................618,000 Other Permits Issued by Kittitas County in 2013 Re-roof....................................25 Repair .....................................11 Plumbing................................11 Mechanical ...........................103 Mfg. Home Placement ...........12 Demolition .............................14 Commercial Addition...............3 Change of Occupancy ............20 Building Permit Revision ......45 Building Permit Renewal ......20 Alteration/Addition ................97 Accessory Building...............169

How to create a rainwater harvesting system at home Rainwater collection is a way to conserve water that can be adopted by both private homeowners and businesses. Harvesting water during peak times of precipitation ensures water will be on hand during drought or when water restrictions are implemented. Making use of rainwater reduces reliance on underground wells or municipal water systems. Harvesting rainwater also can help prevent flooding and soil erosion. The average homeowner can collect thousands of gallons of rainwater each year. To learn just how much water can be harvested, as well as how many natural resources can be produced from that rain, visit, where men and women can calculate their rain collection potential by geographic location and average rainfall. Afterward, homeowners may be inclined to establish their own rainwater harvesting systems. Here is how to get started. • Determine your roofing material. Potable water can

HOME ENERGY CONSUMPTION chart developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Illustration courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Energy

be harvested from homes with sheet metal or slate roofing. Clay or adobe tiles also may be acceptable. Asphalt, wood shingles and tar roofs may leach toxic chemicals into the water, making it unsafe for drinking. This rainwater may only be collected to use for irrigation methods or washing cars and outdoor items. • Check gutter materials. Some gutters are made with lead soldering components. A commercial lead swab test can help you determine if there is lead present in your gutters. At a later time you can choose to replace the gutters if you desire a potable supply of water. • Invest in a collection tank or barrel. A number of manufacturers offer prefabricated rain collection systems complete with collection barrels. Otherwise, you can use your own barrel or tank to house the collected water. Ensure it is large enough to handle the volume of water collected. • Purchase and install leaf guards. If your home is surrounded by many trees, you probably accumulate leaf and tree debris in your home gutters and downspouts. Leaf guards will help keep the gutters clear and increase water flow through the water collection system. • Create a water collection area. A portion of the gutter system should be removed so that it connects to the collection barrel or tank. As the rain falls, it will run down the roof and into the gutters before it streams into the downspouts. The downspout connected to the tank will deposit the water

RATHER THAN HAVE rainwater flow out of downspouts to the ground, homeowners can collect that rainwater in barrels to use it as a sustainable source of water. Photo courtesy of Irina Pak

directly inside. Filters can be installed to help block the flow of debris. • Outfit the tank for overflow and water usage. A spigot and hose connection makes it easy to use the collected water for outdoor purposes. Many rainwater collection systems are designed with an overflow safeguard that will prevent the water from backing up through the system. It will divert the rainwater back out of

the downspout when the barrel or tank is full. A rainwater collection system harnesses a natural source of water to be used for gardens and other outdoor purposes. This water doesn’t contain chlorine or other additives, making it relatively clean and safe to use. Homeowners should check to see if a permit is necessary to install a rainwater collection system and then begin gathering water for various uses.





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Four reasons to keep up with Home Maintenance After a busy work week, it can be hard to get motivated to complete chores and tasks around the house. And knowing what tasks to do and when to do them may not come intuitively for everyone. But neglecting home maintenance is a mistake, say experts. “Regular home maintenance can benefit your family’s health, safety and pocketbook,” says Elizabeth Dodson, Co-Founder of HomeZada, a digital hub to store pertinent information about your home. “Consider creating a home maintenance schedule to stay organized and motivated.” With this in mind, here are several examples of how to maintain your home and why it’s important: AVOIDING REPLACEMENTS • Mineral deposit build-up in your refrigerator’s ice maker can eventually cause a leak that could damage the refrigerator and its contents. Annually clean water lines to prevent the

need for a major appliance replacement. • Lubricate your garage door for smooth operation and to delay the need for parts replacement. IMPROVING SAFETY • Lint build-up in dryer ducts is flammable and a common cause of house fires. An annual cleaning eliminates this dangerous situation. You should also regularly clean your dryer’s lint filter after every couple of loads. Likewise, you can prevent fires with checks on electrical and gas equipment and fireplaces. • Maintain the air quality of your home by replacing or cleaning the filters on your home’s heating system quarterly, or as needed. • A regular schedule of battery replacement in your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors could be life-saving.

ANNUAL MAINTENANCE inside and out keeps your home in tip top shape.

Photo courtesy of (c)

REDUCING UTILITY BILLS • Periodically ensuring that your home is properly sealed and insulated can lower utility bills. Use weatherstripping to close gaps around windows and doors. • On an annual basis, inspect heating and cooling equipment to ensure it’s running optimally. • Ensure your fireplace damper closes and opens properly. When your fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed to maximize your climate controlled environment. IMPROVING VALUE A house in worn condition can lose 10 percent of its previous appraised value, whereas proactive maintenance can increase the appraised value each year by one percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. And you don’t have to invest a ton to improve your home’s value. Plenty of projects offer great returns on investment. This becomes especially important if your home is on the market. From replacing elements of your home’s exterior to updating your kitchen, your realtor can offer suggestions for updates that can help you sell. Consider new tools to help you track home improvement projects in one place. For example, by signing up for HomeZada, you will automatically receive comprehensive home maintenance checklists, as well as automated alerts and reminders when it’s time to complete a task, so you never miss anything important. Additionally, the site provides how-to videos and other free resources for do-ityourselfers. For more information, visit Don’t let key maintenance tasks fall by the wayside. Let new tools help you keep your home safe and up-to-date. (StatePoint)


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What is a Net Zero energy building? According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the term describes a building with very low energy demand and utilization of renewable resources. There are multiple variations as outlined below: • A Net Zero Site Energy Building is one that gets all necessary power through renewable resources, with no dependence on fossil fuels or an existing power infrastructure. It can also be defined as a balance of what is economically feasible for building energy based on what is available on site. • A Net Zero Source Energy Building generates on site the same amount of energy it uses, including transmission losses. These buildings need to generate more energy than a Net Zero Site Energy Building to offset the total amount of energy used by both building and the utility

in providing power to the building. • A Net Zero Energy Cost Building generates electricity on-site to sell back to the utility provider, completely offsetting the cost of energy consumed. This arrangement is heavily dependent on the local utility's willingness to partner with consumers and the available infrastructure to sell energy back to the grid. • A Net Zero Energy Emissions Building offsets the amount of carbon produced from both off-site and on-site energy use by utilizing non-carbon producing renewable resources on-site. NREL officials say the most common of the options above is the Net Zero Site Energy Building because it can be measured and because of the direct impact these buildings have on reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Basic considerations for building a Net Zero home Last year Scientific American published a story outlining what you have to think about if you’re going to build a Net Zero home, that’s one that produces the power it consumes, though the industry has several classes of Net Zero depending on criteria used. With that said, in the magazine article the following considerations were cited from work done by the Ecological Development Foundation, a 501(c)3 founded by Bend, Oregon’s Joe Emerson and Ann Brayfield to support ecological development in the United States. For the uninitiated, this list serves as

a ‘101’ introduction to the subject. If You’re Going to Build a Net Zero Home … • Don’t build more space than you need. • Super-seal the home’s envelope and super-insulate. • Minimize thermal bridging, which is the transfer of heat into or out of your home via things like metal pipes. • Use highly insulated windows and doors. • Allow the sun to significantly contribute to heating your home, provide you with hot water, and augment your supplier of electricity.

• Heat Recovery Ventilators are a must to keep air healthy and to circulate the air already heated or cooled. • Invest in an energy-efficient HVAC system, lights and appliances. Net Zero Quick Fact Why are zero-energy buildings important? According to the U.S Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Program, “Commercial and residential buildings consume 40% of the primary energy and 71% of the total electricity in the United States.”

Six Keys to Net Zero designs: Experts contributing to Sustainability Workshop, a popular website for experts and the exchange of ideas, say there are six steps to designing Net Zero energy buildings. 1. Reduce energy loads. 2. Optimize design for passive strategies. 3. Optimize design of active systems. 4. Recover energy. 5. Generate energy on-site. 6. Buy energy/carbon offsets.

Efficiency Comparisons of Water Heaters on the Market Today Based on studies conducted in 2012 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Water Heater Type

Efficiency (EF)

Installed Cost1

Yearly Energy Cost2

Life (years)3

Total Cost (Over 13 Years)4

Conventional gas storage






High-efficiency gas storage






Condensing gas storage






Conventional oil-fired storage






Minimum Efficiency electric storage






High-eff. electric storage






Demand gas (no pilot) 5






Electric heat pump water heater






Solar with electric back-up






1. Purchase costs include our best estimates of installation labor and do not include financial incentives. 2. Operating cost based on hot water needs for typical family of four and energy costs of 9.5¢/kWh for electricity, $1.40/therm for gas, $2.40/gallon for oil. 3. Life expectancy for water heaters is highly variable, largely dependent on water hardness, and on maintenance. 4. Future operating costs are neither discounted nor adjusted for inflation. 5. Currently, there is too little data to accurately estimate life expectancy for tankless water heaters, but preliminary data shows that tankless water heaters could last up to 20 years. For all water heaters, life expectancy will depend on local variables such as water chemistry and homeowner maintenance.



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What every homeowner needs to know about mold and windows

What's growing on your windows? If you have wood windows, or even dirty window sills, the answer could be mold. “When materials in the home, such as wood window frames or wood window sills, come in contact with moisture for an extended period of time, mold can grow,” says John Stark, marketing manager for Simonton Windows. “The key is the presence of an organic food source.” And mold growth can be hazardous to your health, causing respiratory problems and allergic reactions. So how do you reduce your home’s risk for mold? • You may see your windows “sweat” during the winter or summer months because of varying humidity levels inside the home. Without proper ventilation, moisture can accumulate on windows and walls from daily household activities such as hot showers, boiling water and opening dishwashers after a cleaning cycle. Use ventilation fans and dehumidifiers to minimize condensation and help reduce humidity in the home. • If your windows have major air leaks, don’t close properly or are failing to act as a solid barrier to the environment, then it’s time

to replace them. Opt for vinyl window frames, such as those from Simonton Windows, which won’t provide an organic food source for mold. More information can be found at • Keep window frame surfaces clean. Even if tiny particles of organic debris are found on or around the surfaces of a vinyl window in a moisture-rich area, you could potentially find mold growth. What makes up this debris? It can be anything from fragments of pollen to animal dander to insect pieces to normal household dust. • Reduce the chance of condensation in your home. Use ceiling fans, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom to increase ventilation. Leave interior room and closet doors open. Consider reducing the number of house plants in your home. • If your blinds or window coverings are closed all the time, condensation can get “trapped” in between the window treatments and the windows, creating a damp environment that may encourage mold growth. Routinely open window coverings to increase ventilation near windows. Additionally, ensure air vent deflectors are placed on floor vents to reroute air into the room rather than straight up against a window. While installing vinyl windows in the home is a smart start, homeowners also have to do their part -- keep the home well ventilated and clean during all seasons to reduce mold. (StatePoint)

Is it time to replace your home’s windows? Looking for a home improvement project that is both a shortand long-term investment? One easy upgrade that can help you save money on your energy bills today, as well as increase your home’s value in the future, is to replace your windows. But how do you know it’s time to give your current windows the boot? An annual performance check is good practice, say experts. “Virtually every building component in a home needs to be replaced at some point, and windows are no exception,” says Matt Minerd of Simonton Windows, a leading vinyl window and patio door manufacturer. With that in mind, Minerd is offering some do-it-yourself tips to discover how well your current windows and patio doors are functioning: • Examine the inside of your windows and patio doors for hot and cold “drafty” spots or areas. This indicates air infiltration, which can lead to reduced energy efficiency. • Check every window for adequate weatherstripping and caulking around the units, which help eliminate air infiltration and ensure a weather tight, secure seal. • Look for “burnt out” or faded areas on your furnishings and carpeting. This could indicate that harmful, damaging UV rays are entering your home through windows and glass doors. You may want to consider more energy efficient options containing Low E, which is a special glass coating designed to reduce heat transfer. • If your windows no longer open or close easily, or if they need to be propped open, it could mean key components within the

units are damaged or need adjustment. It could also mean the unit needs to be replaced entirely. • If you have wood windows, look carefully at the frames for signs of rotting, warped wood or other problems with the frame itself. These are an indication the window has exceeded its lifespan. Should your evaluation turn up one or more problem areas, and it’s time to replace your windows, do your homework. While price is important, it shouldn’t be a sole decision factor, as functionality is a critical consideration. Look for low-maintenance materials that offer energy efficiency. For example, vinyl is an excellent insulator and many people choose low-maintenance vinyl frames with a Low E glass coating and an Argon or Krypton gas fill. These harmless gasses are denser than air and serve as an excellent thermal barrier. More information about energy-efficient glass options is available at When the time is right, consider replacing your windows for a home with great long- and short-term returns on investment. (StatePoint)


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“They’re both pretty clean for a building constructed in the late 1800s. We’re all impressed with the building as a whole: The rows of wooden pillars, the weight-bearing beams, the period tin ceilings edged with crown molding, and the tongue and groove flooring planks, likely fir, but I’m not 100% sure.” Tate said one of his priorities, as prime contractor, is to shave costs “We’re going to see that the walls and ceiling and electrical requirements of the contract are fulfilled, but if we can find ways to cut costs for all that, we’ll tackle HVAC, which is on the RDA’s wish list.” IT’S RELATIVE Coincidentally, Tate’s mother is tied to the history of the building. Brother Cameron told this story: “When she was a 16-year-old,” he began, “mom asked her dad how she could get a job working for the butcher who kept his shop inside the NWI Building. He told her to come here every day and sit on the railing – until she got the job. So she did. After four days the butcher suffered an injury and hired her on to help him out.” ABOUT THE CREW For history, TRS Construction is a decade-old this year. Crewmen on the job included Don and Cameron Tate – and longtime employee Terry Reynolds, brother of Erik Reynolds, Don’s business partner.


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THESE “VENTS” MYSTIFIED WORKMEN. They are inside and outside the display window that fronts the building. One guess is that back in the day the display window showcased fresh vegetables and that these were air vents built to counter the heat building up inside the display area on sunny days. If you can positively identify these “vents” and their purpose e-mail

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PHOTOS OF THE CELLAR in the NWI Building reveal an interesting history. The work crew said this 100-year-old-plus cellar appears to be in good condition. N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Jim Fossett photo

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EXPERIENCE AND TRUST • 33 years experience in the local real estate market, specializing in recreational, investment, and retirement properties. • Knowledgeable of county codes, financing, market trends, comparable market values, short sale and foreclosure markets. • Experienced negotiator on behalf of clients; Certified Negotiation Expert. • Skilled coordinator of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and tests; clients experience stress-reduction through effective, full-service support. • 90% repeat customers attest to exemplary service; highest level of client referrals from satisfied buyers and sellers. • Personal website, links to buying and selling information and instant changes in Kittitas County listings. • Notary Public; Certified/Bonded by National Notary Association.

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2014 UKC Builders Guide  

Guide for anyone building in the Upper Kittitas County region of Central Washington state - Residential, Commercial, Agricultural. Includes...

2014 UKC Builders Guide  

Guide for anyone building in the Upper Kittitas County region of Central Washington state - Residential, Commercial, Agricultural. Includes...