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More big rigs for North Bend? City seeks public views at hearing on Tanner trucking expansion BY ALLISON ESPIRITU


Preview the season with Mount Si, Cedarcrest, Pages 6-12


Staff Reporter

For the love of books: Shop owner finds fiction recession-proof Page 15


Vol. 97, No. 16

Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

History moves on for Fall City artist Don Fels, who holds up his last surviving photo viewer at the historic Reinig Road sycamore corridor near Snoqualmie. Vandals took the rest, but Fels believes his big concrete-mounted model is still around because it was too heavy to steal. He is replacing it to promote an ongoing Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society museum exhibit.

Vanishing history Vandals can’t stop Fall City artist from questioning mill town’s past BY SETH TRUSCOTT Editor

Outside of a thin line of trees, English ivy covers everything along the historic Sycamore Corridor. Planted by an unwitting gardener three generations ago, the noxious weed has strangled

most of the trees beside the lane of giant, gnarled sycamores that mark a last vestige of the old company town of Snoqualmie Falls. To historians like Fall City public artist Don Fels, history itself is under siege in the corridor. “It’s being eaten up,” said Fels. Last month, Fels installed a row of viewing devices, small cones that show views of the corridor, past and present, this summer. The viewers, which included three foot-long, SEE HISTORY, 2

City planners are weighing approval this fall of a proposed expansion of trucking services in North Bend. A group of landowners led by Puget Western, Inc., are in talks with the city about new tractor-trailer parking and services next to the existing TravelCenters of America hub off Interstate 90’s exit 34. The discussion comes as North Bend considers how the recently annexed Tanner neighborhood will grow. North Bend’s TravelCenter has capacity for about 170 trucks. But on busy days, overflow semi-trailer traffic leads to trucks parking on side streets. With the proposal, the city is working to identify what expansion would mean for the wider community. “It’s become a question of what is better,” said Gina Estep, North Bend’s Director of Planning and Development. “Plan for accommodating trucks using North Bend as a service area? Or limit it and address the overflow impacts that could occur 20 years from now in a need for additional truck space.” The city has already created an overlay district that would allow expansion of about 12 acres. Estep said property owners want more land than that. Estep’s department recommends that additional expansion be based on a development agreement and analysis of economic and truck parking impacts. Wear and tear on city streets would also have to be mitigated. Estep also stressed the need to consider the wider impacts of increased truck traffic. “It needs to be done in conjunction with a regional plan,” she said. Such a regional freight mobility plan might require a trucking developer to consult with the Port of Seattle, Washington State Department of Transportation and the State Patrol.

Quality of life

Some North Bend residents who have followed the expansion issue have questioned what it would mean for local quality of life. “The noise and, most of all, the pollution from the trucks idling during their layover, which could be up to 10 hours, is a significant health concern,” said resident Frank Cranney. Former North Bend planning commissioner and Wood River resident Sherwood Korssjoen questions how the expansion will shape North Bend’s future. SEE TRUCKS, 3



bright-yellow cardboard cones and a more-substantial wood and metal construction, were an addition to Fels’ current exhibit on the lost community of Snoqualmie Falls, on view through October at the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum. The smaller cones showed how ivy has transformed the landscape along Reinig Road, a rural road that was once a suburban neighborhood called Riverside. His largest viewer shows how the scene looked during the company town’s heyday in the early 20th century. Snoqualmie Falls vanished altogether by the early ‘80s, but King County declared the leafy corridor an official historic landmark. Besides showing visitors new vistas, Fels’ viewers were also marked with signs calling attention to invisible legacies. His largest sign tells passerby, in bright, primary colors, “Look, houses were here.” “I wanted people to think,” Fels said. “My intention was to add questions. I wasn’t going to get any answers, because I don’t have the answers.” In his exhibits, Fels explored the meaning behind the company town, a task he suspects is a Valley first. “Why the town was built?” he asked. “Why was it taken apart? And what do we do

when we memorialize something here? There’s no memorial to the town itself, which was here for 50 years. There’s only a memorial to some trees, which are really incidental to the whole issue of why there were houses here.” Fels wasn’t finished. He planned to post thought-provoking questions on the town and legacy next to the viewers. “But I never got to that place, because they got destroyed,” he said.

Smashed viewers Fels’ Reinig Road exhibit itself is now a thing of the past. Two weeks after he installed it, vandals tore down his large viewer and made off with the three smaller ones. While his outdoor exhibit wasn’t built to last, Fels is mystified about why it was destroyed so quickly. “I thought the weather would kill them,” he said. Fels built the viewers to last a summer season, but lousy weather delayed installation until August. Still, he thought, “that’s a couple months they can be up there. A bunch of people travel that road. Maybe they’ll get out,” take a look, and be inspired to visit the museum. But at least a few passersby didn’t understand the objects. Visiting the site one day, Fels corrected a driver who believed the installation heralded a new housing development.

Courtesy photo

One of Don Fels’ viewers, as it appeared on the Reinig Road historic sycamore corridor prior to a spate of vandalism. Inset, the corridor as it looked circa 1940. “She thought houses were going to be built here,” he said. The vandals didn’t destroy a lot in monetary value, but Fels said he spent many weeks on the project. “I was really disappointed,” he said. “To destroy the whole thing—why? Did someone want to take the viewers home? Were they upset because I asked about ivy?”

New looks Fels plans to refurbish his largest viewer and return it to the corridor, helping to promote the ongoing exhibition. “I would love for people to take a look, just because it asks a lot of questions,” he said. “I want people to be interested.” Dave Battey, the museum’s

unofficial mill town historian, was able to look through Fels’ viewers before they were knocked out. “To me, it was really valuable stuff,” Battey said. “The houses have been gone for a long time. People lose track of the fact, of why we have this living landmark.” “It gives people clues,” he added. “The other issue is, what’s native and what isn’t? He asked the question, are sycamores native? What about ivy?” Fels is fascinated by the what-might-have-beens of the lost town, and what it still rep-

resents for the Valley. “It’s important to know about the past,” he said. “If you don’t know about it, are you going to repeat the mistakes that were already made?” At Snoqualmie Falls, residents had free heat and electricity, a hospital, a community center, entertainment. “They had everything,” Fels said. “Everybody walked to work. It was sustainable by today’s standards.” But by mid-century, company town living wasn’t good enough. “Everybody wanted to be connected,” he said. Fels still wonders whether Snoqualmie Falls could have adapted to the new century. “Almost 50 years later, they built Snoqualmie Ridge,” he said. “People have to drive everywhere. It’s almost the antithesis. You might ask, were no lessons learned from the town? What happened to that model? Did it all just go up in smoke?” • Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum’s Snoqualmie Falls exhibit remains on view through October at 320 Bendigo Boulevard S., North Bend. Open hours are 1 to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Learn more at

Life Recovery Skills ™ The legacy continues … … … … … .

Upcoming Fall Classes

“Healing the Wounded Child”

Women’s class begins Sunday, November 7th, 6:00 PM Men’s class begins Monday, November 8th, 7:00 PM

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Text by Drs. Cloud and Townsend Men’s Class begins Thursday, September 30th, 7:00 PM Contact LRS at 425-888-9617 or 425-888-1670

Visit website for more info:

Dr. Leslie Bedell, D.C., C. Ad. Suite 119, 209 Main Avenue South • North Bend


Residents can learn how Snoqualmie works when the Citizens Academy returns for another fall session. The city of Snoqualmie offers the free seven-week course for citizens to get a first-hand look at government in action. Interactive, informal sessions are led by officials and include tours of city facilities. The course will begin with looks at Snoqualmie’s history future. Over the seven weeks, participants will learn what a mayorcouncil form of government is; where city revenues come from; where property taxes go; who is responsible for capital planning; how public safety programs are put into action; and how citizens can be more involved in the decisions that influence quality of life. The course begins Thursday, Sept. 16, and continues with two Wednesday and one Saturday session.Space for this free course is limited to 30 participants. Applications are available at www.cityofsnoqualmie. org and City Hall, 38624 S.E. River Street.


Look for our flyer and our truckload sale in today’s Snoqualmie Valley Record

7730 Center blvd. s.e. snoqualmie ridge marketplace

For great savings, go to:


Learn about city at citizen academy



2 • September 15, 2010 • Snoqualmie Valley Record

Vanishing history  

A Fall City artist reacts when vandals destroy his though-provoking history installation on a vanished community

Vanishing history  

A Fall City artist reacts when vandals destroy his though-provoking history installation on a vanished community