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New signs will be appearing in downtown North Bend soon, announcing a two-hour parking limit. The North Bend City Council Community and Economic Development Committee reviewed existing parking regulations this fall and discussed setting the limit in the city’s most congested areas. “The code’s already in there, it’s just never been implemented,” committee member David Cook told the North Bend City Council. The committee is requesting authorization to purchase signs that will mark areas with the twohour limit.

Artists team up with merchants for holiday spark on the Ridge Page 11

Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo


Pointing out damaged trees, Snoqualmie farmer Marilyn Kassian walks along a new creek bed caused by flooding last summer. Kassian’s Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm opens Friday, Nov. 26.

For Valley girl, dancing in big Nutcracker ballet is plain ‘awesome.’ Page 7



Vol. 97, No. 26

Waiting game for flooded farm Snoqualmie’s Kassian family ready for holiday tree shoppers, despite damage BY CAROL LADWIG Staff Reporter

The floodwaters that marred Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm are long gone. But the land, and the trees, still bear the signs. Sand and rocks litter the grounds, small trees are dying, and the picturesque creek running through the property has left its bed in places, winding instead through the growing trees, under a fence, and onto a neighboring field. Farm owner Marilyn Kassian

“We’re a small business. We can’t afford thousands in costs.” Marilyn Kassian, Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm owner toured one of the hardest-hit section of trees, and sighed, frustrated. “If my son had time, he’d get rid of all of ‘em, because he says it’s not very good-looking,” she said. The 2010 crop is good, and the farm will open, as always, on the day after Thanksgiving. The Kassian family, who has run this Snoqualmie farm for 30 years, is ready for the season. A busy holiday stretch

will offset a miserable summer: On June 9, floodwaters from a busted beaver dam upstream deluged much of the farm. Scars from the flood are still evident. Luckily for the Kassians, there wasn’t any real damage to the trees they expect to sell during this holiday season. “We have plenty of trees for this year,” Kassian said. The family made use of some clearly damaged trees, using the limbs to make their richly varied wreaths and swags. Kassian estimates they’ve lost 500 trees, but to know for sure, “We’ll have to wait until next year... we’ll have to wait and see.” The family is also waiting for some type of assistance from SEE FARM, 2

Riverview school group dials for dollars Education Foundation Phone-athon to maximize school grants By Valley Record Staff

The Riverview Education Foundation is holding its first-ever phone-athon in hopes of increasing the funds it distributes to schools in the Riverview School District. “Our goal this year is to give out $60,000,” said REF Treasurer Robyn Vergillo—about $25,000 more than last year. “Our stretch goal is $60,000 and with the phone-athon, I think we’ll make it.” All of the donations from the phone-athon will be distributed back to the school as grants. The phone-athon will go for two days, Monday, Nov. 29 and Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. both days. Cedarcrest High School students and REF board members will make the calls, asking for pledges to support the grants that fund qualifying classroom projects and activities. District residents who make a pledge can pay by check, with a credit card over the phone or through PayPal by visiting REF has awarded grants to projects at every school in the district. Grants are awarded in January. To apply for a grant, visit REF’s website. To volunteer, contact Vergillo at


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Two-hour parking limits now in place in downtown North Bend

2 • November 24, 2010 • Snoqualmie Valley Record


Council talks budget, bombs

FARM FROM 1 state and county agencies, from the Department of Fish and Wildlife to the Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES), on cleaning up most of the debris from the flood. “We do not get floods,” said Kassian, who’s owned the farm with her husband, Bill, since 1968. Naturally, they didn’t know what to do when the 60-acre Lake McLeod sent part of its contents gushing down the hill. According to Jamie Hartley, an environmental scientist with DDES, they did the right thing by contacting his agency first. “We can issue an emergency authorization to do some work that would normally require a permit first,” Hartley said. “The after-the-fact permit is still required,” he added, and property-owners have to apply for the permit within a specific time limit. The Kassians were among several flooded property owners to get the emergency authorization in June, so they were permitted to clean off their small bridge over the stream and clear debris from the stream for about 20 feet in either direction. It definitely helped, Kassian said, but there is still a lot to do, especially to get ready for next year’s planting. “This ground... used to be beautiful, black soil,” Kassian said, navigating a rocky patch of trees. The family hauled in new soil each year to replenish the ground for new plantings. They’ll have to haul in a

Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Getting ready for the holiday season, Marilyn Kassian puts together a swag of branches from many different evergreens grown on the farm. lot more next year, Kassian thinks, because “You can’t plant trees in a rock pile.” The stream, and the fish in it, will be another big job. Kassian has talked with neighbors also going through the clean-up process, and she met with staff from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and multiple county agencies representing roads, wetlands and surface water divisions in October, and now she’s not certain how or even if she’ll be allowed to

clean up the stream. She’s also not sure how much it will cost her family to get the job done, which is a big concern. “We’re a small business. We can’t afford thousands of dollars in costs,” she said. So far, the agencies she’s met with haven’t been able to give her any definite answers about how or when the clean-up can begin, or how much it will cost. “It’s very situation-driven,” said Hartley, explaining why they don’t have a good cost estimate. County fees will be changing in January, plus, the Kassians’ property may have special circumstances, requiring additional repairs to the bridge or shoring-up of the stream bed. “This is not unusual at all that some mitigation needs to be done,” Hartley said. The clean-up and the mitigation, though, will have to wait for the county agencies’ response, and for spring, when the creek is running lower and the holidays are over. “We can’t do anything until June,” says Kassian, “We can’t do anything now, anyway, we’re busy.” Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 6821 440th Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie, in the Ernie’s Grove neighborhood. To contact the farm, visit the website at

North Bend’s 2011 plan has safety net for dips BY CAROL LADWIG Staff Reporter

North Bend City Council members approved a first draft of the 2011 city budget and discussed pipe bombs in a brief meeting Tuesday evening, Nov. 16. The latter received some light-hearted treatment when Council Member Ross Loudenback asked Mark Toner, Chief of Police Services, to discuss an incident with an explosive on Thursday, Nov. 4, that was being widely reported in regional newspapers, and to reassure the council that the city was not a “terrorist target.” Toner explained that the explosive was not a pipe bomb in the traditional sense, but was reported as such because the department has only two categories for disturbances of this type, fireworks or bombs. The bomb squad was investigating the remains of the device that exploded Nov. 4, but Toner assured the council that “It’s not as exciting as it sounds.” He then turned to a topic that was more concerning. “We have had several of what we call ‘Drano bombs’ and these are of more interest to me,” Toner said. “They aren’t stable and someone could lose a finger or other body part with one of them.” On a related note, Council Member Jeanne Petterson updated the council on the status of the police services contract with King County. She said the city was waiting for additional information from King County, but hoped to have it in time for the council’s Nov. 30 study session. A first draft of the city’s 2011 budget was reviewed and approved with one dissenting vote (Council Member Greg Garcia). Mayor Ken Hearing was pleased to report in his budget message that the budget include a 10 percent reserve amount in the general fund “with a significant safety net to protect against unusual revenue dips or unexpected expenses.” City Manager Duncan Wilson emphasized that the revenue and expense figures were estimates and “we’re still trying to find a way to bring down the expenses.”

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Waiting game for flooded farm  

Months later, a Christmas tree farm recovers from a fdestructive flood

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