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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Governor vetoes B&O tax break; Eastside Business Alliance candidate endorsements; Grand Connection art and cultural plan

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, July 24, 2017

Governor vetoes B&O tax break

The state budget deal negotiated on June 30 included a proposed reduction in the B&O tax rate for manufacturing, from the current 0.484 to 0.2904 over four years. As reported in the last Bellevue Blitz Roundup, the Governor vetoed these provisions, as contained in Part II of 2SSB 5977.

This same tax rate was granted to Boeing in 2003 and extended in 2040. If offered to other manufacturers, the proposal would have amounted to an estimated $64 million over the next two biennia.

Legislators weighed whether or not to override the Governor’s veto, but ultimately, with the clock ticking on the 3rd Special Session, elected not to do so. However, the Legislature subsequently adjourned without adopting a $4.2 billion capital budget.

For additional background on the B&O tax reduction proposal, please see this op-ed by the Washington Research Council.

Eastside Business Alliance candidate endorsements

With just a week to go until the 2017 Primary Election, the Eastside Business Alliance has announced endorsements for the following candidates:

Bellevue City Council, Position 4: Jared Nieuwenhuis

Port of Seattle Commission, Position 1: John Creighton

Port of Seattle Commission, Position 3: Stephanie Bowman

Bellevue City Council, Position 2: Conrad Lee

Kirkland Mayor: Amy Walen


The Eastside Business Alliance supports candidates for local, non-partisan office, who advocate business-friendly public policies. Chamber members may elect to make a donation to the Eastside Business Political Action Committee, as part of their monthly dues remittance.

Grand Connection art and cultural plan

Last year, Bellevue residents were invited to shape design concepts for the Grand Connection, linking Meydenbauer Bay with Old Bellevue, the Civic Center District and ultimately, the Wilburton neighborhood. Now the City has issued a draft Art and Cultural Plan, offering a vision for creative opportunities along the corridor.

Learn more about the Art and Cultural Plan or provide feedback on the Grand Connection Framework Plan at the project website.


Download File (PDF)

Tags:  B&O tax break for manufacturing veto 

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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Sound Transit construction closures continue; East King Chambers support B&O tax reduction; Eastside Business Alliance early endorsements

Posted By Chris Johnson, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sound Transit construction closures continue

Last month, the I-90 center roadway was permanently close to vehicle traffic, in preparation for conversion to light rail operations in 2023.

Motorists utilizing the new HOV lanes on the bridge deck between Mercer Island and Seattle should take note of the following:

I-90 Westbound HOV lane will close between East Mercer Way and Interstate 5 in Seattle. Closures will occur nightly between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., from Wednesday July 12 until Friday July 14.

Check Sound Transit’s East Link project webpage for more details.

East King Chambers support B&O tax reduction

Included in the budget deal agreed to by Governor Inslee on June 30, was a proposed reduction in the B&O tax rate for manufacturing, from the current 0.484 to 0.2904 over four years. However, the Governor bowed to pressure from 24 legislators and agreed to veto these provisions, as contained in a separate revenue bill.

The East King Chambers have long offered strong support for targeted B&O tax reduction for life sciences and technology firms, as well as the aerospace and commercial space sectors. Please see the attached letter from the Coalition, urging Governor Inslee not to veto this proposal.

To learn more about the adopted biennial operating budget, read SSB 5883. For information about the proposed B&O tax reduction for manufacturing, see Part II of 2SSB 5977.


Eastside Business Alliance early endorsements

The Eastside Business Alliance recently announced three early candidate endorsements, for the 2017 election cycle. A political action committee which supports business-friendly candidates for local, non-partisan offices, EBA was pleased to renew endorsements for the following longtime friends of business:

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman
  • Bellevue City Councilmember Conrad Lee
  • Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen

Please see the attached news release for additional details. EBA will be back with additional endorsements for business-friendly incumbents and challengers alike, in the coming weeks. 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative   Eastside Business Alliance 

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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Bellevue names new CIO and Transportation Technology Partnership Manager; City lands key federal grant; I-90 closures continue.

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, June 16, 2017

Bellevue names new CIO and Transportation Technology Partnership Manager

The City of Bellevue has announced the hiring of Sabra Schneider as chief information officer. A longtime IT professional with experience on both sides of Lake Washington, Ms. Schneider joined the City in January 2015, as chief operations officer in ITD and became interim CIO last summer.

To launch its new transportation technologies partnership, the City hired Steve Marshall, a longtime friend of the Chamber. Among other assignments, Mr. Marshall practiced law with Perkins Coie for many years, served as general legal counsel at Snohomish PUD and co-founded the Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions.

We expect great things from these two hires as Bellevue participates in the Smart Cities Initiative and rolls out new ITS partnerships, in part funded by Bellevue Proposition 2.

City lands key federal grant

Bellevue has exciting news when it comes to funding transportation projects, having just landing a $99.6 million federal grant. The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TFIA, provides long-term loans at 2.86% – a relative low rate. The loan, part of the federal sFAST Act – Fixing America’s Surface Transportation, will fund key mobility projects in the emerging Spring District, Bel-Red corridor and Wilburton Commercial areas. Learn more about the TFIA loan and the projects it will fund.

Bellevue Way lane closures continue

As with the last several weekends, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians should seek alternatives to travel on Bellevue Way SE, Saturday June 24 – Sunday, June 25. Three lanes will be closed and access will be reduced to one lane northbound, south of the “Y” at 112th SE. In addition, ramps connecting Bellevue Way SE to I-90 will be closed. Learn more at the Sound Transit project webpage.




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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Homeless Shelter 45 Day Review; New City website; Opening on Planning Commission

Posted By Chris Johnson, Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Updated: Monday, June 5, 2017

Homeless Shelter 45 Day Review

At the June 5 Regular Study Session, the Bellevue Council again discussed possible sites for the proposed Men’s Homeless Shelter and Supportive Housing Project. This date marks the conclusion of a 45 day review period, during which additional analysis was performed on alternative locations, including Lincoln Center, the site of the current emergency shelter, and the Sound Transit Operations and Maintenance Facility.

At its April 17 meeting, Council gave preliminary approval to the site adjacent to the Eastgate Park and Ride Lot and Public Health facility at 14350 SE Eastgate Way, but agreed to take a closer look at the other locations.

See the staff memo relating to this discussion item and other background materials here.

New City Website

After an extensive effort by Bellevue staff, including outreach to the general public, the City has now unveiled its new and more user-friendly website. Replacing architecture first rolled out over a decade ago, the City’s new online presence is specifically designed to be accessed through mobile platforms. Information is organized under the following categories: City Government; Discover Bellevue; Doing Business; Public Safety and Resident Resources. The new site does seem like quite an improvement, but check it out yourself at and take the online survey here.

Opening on Planning Commission

Earlier this spring, Bellevue announced its periodic process for filling vacancies on a variety of volunteer advisory bodies. Now the City is back with a more specific invitation to fill a vacancy on the Planning Commission. Over the past year, this commission has provided strategic advice to Council on such important issues as the Downtown Livability Initiative and Land Use Code Amendments, Low Impact Development and potential land use changes to the Newport Hills Shopping Center.

If you have a passion for land use planning, consider applying for this vacancy here; due date is June 23 at 5 PM.

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Policy Committees on Hiatus; More on Meydenbauer Bay Park; East Link Construction in high gear; I-90 Center Lane changes coming soon.

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, May 15, 2017

Policy Committees on Hiatus

As a reminder, we’re taking the month of May off from Chamber policy committee meetings. But. we’ll be back in June with fresh topics and speakers! Keep your eyes on these pages for more information. 

More on Meydenbauer Bay Park

Bellevue has long been known as the “City in a Park,” with nearly 100 open spaces to enjoy. Now, new and longtime residents alike can celebrate the groundbreaking of Meydenbauer Bay Park. Three decades in the making, this new project will connect Meydenbauer Beach Park with Meydenbauer Marina and open up a quarter mile of waterfront property to permanent public access.

Here are a few highlights of the project:

  • Construction of a new beach house with restroom and showers;
  • A new pier with hand-carry boat launch;
  • An expanded swimming area;
  • Additional parking capacity.

Total cost is projected to be $17.2 million and the park is expected to open in late 2018.

Bel-Red East Link Construction in high gear

Beginning May 15, work crews will begin demolishing buildings on the site of the future Bel-Red/130th light rail station. Take a look at a map of affected properties here. To learn more about light rail-related construction in the Bel-Red area, Sound Transit is planning a construction kick-off open house during the month of June. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we have additional details.

I-90 Center Lane changes coming soon

Over the last month, we’ve experienced a series of partial lane closures on I-90, as work crews performed re-striping and other tasks related to addition of one new HOV lane in each direction, between Mercer Island and the Mount Baker tunnel.

Now, Sound Transit and WSDOT are on track to permanently close reversible operation of center lanes across I-90 on June 3, for conversion to light rail operations. Learn more on from WSDOT here.

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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Transportation Business Forum; Bellevue Boards and Commissions; Transportation Budget; I-90 Center Lanes Update.

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, April 14, 2017

Transportation Business Forum April 25

Do you have a business in the Bel-Red Corridor? Come to the upcoming Business Resource Forum, scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, 4:30 – 7:00 PM. Staff from Sound Transit and the City of Bellevue will be on hand to help you navigate through the many transportation projects coming your way, including Overlake Park Ride Closure, East Link light rail and more. Learn more and register here.

Bellevue Boards and Commissions Openings

Would you like to serve your community and have a direct impact on public policy? The Bellevue City Council is now taking applications for openings on the following advisory bodies:

  • Environmental Services Commission;
  • Human Services Commission;
  • Parks and Community Services Board;
  • Transportation Commission.

Apply online or pick up hard copy at the City Clerk’s office; deadline is April 21 at 5 PM.

Transportation Budget

As reported in #TheBizVoice, the state House has adopted a transportation budget for the 2017-19 Biennium, amending a proposal sent over by the Senate. ESB 5096 includes important investments for the Eastside.

  • Sec. 1106(11) – Appropriations for -405/Kirkland Vicinity State 2, I-405/SR 167 Interchange, I-405 Renton/Bellevue;
  • Sec. 1006(11) – Preliminary engineering for adding capacity between SR 522 and I-5;
  • Sec. 1006 (29) – Revised appropriations for hard shoulder running from SR 527 to I-5.

Also included in Section 204 is funding for a third-party traffic study of I-405 express toll and general purpose lanes. Stay tuned as final details are negotiated.

I-90 Center Lanes Update

After two and a half years of work, WSDOT and Sound Transit are preparing to open one new HOV lane in each direction across I-90, between Seattle and Bellevue. This will be accomplished by shifting existing GP lanes in the outer roadway to the right – and then re-striping.

Once the new lanes are open on Saturday, June 3, the center roadway will be converted for East Link light rail operations. On the following weekends, motorist should be prepared for center lane closures and rerouting of traffic to the outer roadways:

  • April 21–24 (westbound)
  • May 5–8 (westbound)
  • May 12–15 (eastbound)

See the WSDOT I-90 project web page for more information.


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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: State Budget Revenue Proposals; Men’s Homeless Shelter Due Diligence; Changes to I-90 center lanes; Temporary closure of 114th Avenue

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, April 3, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 31, 2017

State Budget Revenue Proposals

As reported in this week’s edition of #TheBizVoice, the WA State Legislature is considering two competing budget proposals. On the revenue side, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus is proposing a new statewide uniform property tax or “local effort levy” of $1.55 per 1,000.00 A/V, to fund basic education. This would replace all current local school levies in support of basic education; residents of the Bellevue School District would see their rate increased thirty cents from $1.25 to $1.55 per $1,000.00 A/V.

The House has its own proposal, relying on new sources of revenue to pay for basic education, as well as human services. Here’s a summary of the details:

  • B&O Tax increase of 20% for businesses with taxable income over $ 250 K, an exemption for less than $250 K and $1000 deduction for $250 to $500 K;
  • Capital Gains Tax of 7% on sale of securities above $25 K for individuals, $50 K for couples filing jointly;
  • Graduated Real Estate Excise Tax rate of .75% for home with less than $250 K value, 1.28% for homes priced $250 K to $1.0 million, 2.0% for $1 to $5 million, and 2.5% for above $5 million.

Take a deeper dive with the latest report by the WA Research Council.

Men’s Homeless Shelter Due Diligence

For the past year, we’ve been following the proposal to build a new men’s homeless shelter and transitional housing facility in Bellevue. The primary site currently under consideration is at 14350 SE Eastgate Way – immediately adjacent to the Eastgate Park and Ride Lot.

Council will review due diligence reports as prepared by staff, at the Regular Study Session on Monday, April 3, 6 PM at City Hall. You can watch the discussion on Bellevue TV Channel 21 or via live streaming.

Changes to I-90 center roadway

Sound Transit has announced that it is on track to close the I-90 center roadway in June, making it available for conversion to light rail operations. In order to make this deadline, crews must first complete the addition of new HOV lanes in the either direction, on the outer roadway of the bridge deck between Mercer Island and Seattle.

Consequently, motorists should be prepared for partial center roadway closures on the following weekends:

  • April 7–10 (eastbound)
  • April 21–24 (westbound)
  • May 5–8 (westbound)
  • May 12–15 (eastbound)

See the WSDOT I-90 project web page for more information.

Temporary closure of 114th Avenue

After nearly three months of continuing operations, 114th Avenue will once again be closed in both directions between SE 6th and SE 8th for utility work. The closure is scheduled to begin on April 10 and continue for two weeks.

For a view from the ground, take a look at the map located on the project website.



Tags:  State Budget Revenue Proposals; Men’s Homeless She 

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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Newport Way Improvements

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, March 20, 2017

Newport Way Improvements

Last spring, City staff held an open house at South Bellevue Community Center, relating to proposed bike and pedestrian investments along Newport Way SE. With traffic volumes estimated at 7,000 vehicles per day, area residents have long requested non-motorized improvements to this busy corridor.

Council will receive an update on design alternatives to the Newport Way Improvements Project – Somerset to 150th SE (PW-R-166), at its March 20 Study Session. Members of the Public can tune in to live coverage on Channel 21 – Bellevue Television and view background materials online.


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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Fire Station 10 Update; Green Light for Meydenbauer Beach Park; S. Bellevue Park and Ride Alert.

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, March 13, 2017

Fire Station 10 Update

Last November, Prop 1 – the fire services levy, was approved by 57% of the voters. Site acquisition costs for a new Fire Station 10 were already in the CIP, but the levy provided resources to actually build the new station. Last week, Council was briefed on public feedback regarding the preferred site – the northwest corner of 112th Avenue NE and NE 12th.

A total of nine parcels will be acquired in order to proceed with this option. Upon reviewing the site selection criteria, including fire services response time and coverage, Council affirmed its earlier decision and staff will proceed with property acquisition. View site selection criteria here or public meeting materials from last October.

Green Light for Meydenbauer Beach Park

After years of planning, Council has given the green light for phase one construction of the Meydenauer Beach Park expansion project. With its action last week, Council has authorized a $14.6 million construction contract, with work to begin in May.

Longtime Bellevue residents know this process began with adoption of the 1987 Parks and Open Spaces Plan, continuing with the Meydenbauer Bay Park and Land Use Plan of 2010. For those who can’t wait until the sun is out to visit the Park, drop in and see the Meydenbauer Bay Sewer Line Replacement Project – scheduled to be completed in time for Park expansion.

S. Bellevue Park and Ride Alert

March 11 marked the day for spring transit service changes – including routes which serve the South Bellevue Park and Ride Lot. However, there will be no interruption in service to this park and ride, until the facility closes later this spring.

To find out if your bus route has been affected by the spring service changes, check here. Learn more about alternate park and ride locations and subscribe to East Link construction alerts. Regardless, we’ll let you know as soon as a final closure date for S. Bellevue Park and Ride is confirmed.

Tags:  Bellevue Fire Station 10; Meydenbauer Beach Park;  

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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Council funds EBBC petition for review; Propositions 1 and 2 projects funded; Chamber briefed on Bellevue Way SE Project

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, February 24, 2017

Council funds EBBC petition for review

By a split vote, the Council on Tuesday approved a resolution authorizing up to $27,000 for the East Bellevue Community Council's petition to the Washington Supreme Court. Resolution No. 9235 affirms that appellate litigation costs are a “legitimate expense” of the EBBC and the City is therefore obligated to provide funding under state law.

The ongoing litigation concerns the Lake Hills Transmission Line Project – Puget Sound Energy’s proposal to increase electrical distribution reliability. If implemented, the project would install a second 115-kilovolt overhead transmission line on a 2.89 mile route along SE 16th, 148th SE, and NE 8th. The original PSE permit applications for a conditional use permit were submitted in 2011, approved by the Hearing Examiner in 2014 and granted by the City Council in 2014.

To review details of the proposal, including community mitigation, see Ordinance 6226. For the record, the Chamber has not taken a positon on the litigation or proposed petition for review, but strongly agrees with the need for the underlying project.

Propositions 1 and 2 projects funded

The Bellevue City Council has approved the first allocation of revenues from Propositions 1 and 2. With adoption of Ordinance 6346, Council added $95,026,995 to the adopted 2017-23 Capital Investment Program (CIP). Categories to be funded include the following:

  • PW-R-198 Neighborhood Congestion Management - $2 million in 2017, $14 million overall
  • PW-R-199 Neighborhood Safety & Connectivity - $5.4 million, $37,800,000 million overall
  • PS-64 – Fire Station 10 - $6.15 million in 2017, $18.45 million overall
  • PS-65 – Fire Station 4 - $6.15 million in 2020, $24.6 million overall

To learn more about the individual projects to be funded in the “neighborhood congestion management” bucket, come to your Chamber Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 14, 7:30 AM at the Chamber office. In the meantime, take a look at the following project list.

 Chamber briefed on Bellevue Way SE Project

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Chamber Transportation Committee members were treated to briefing by the Bellevue Way SE project team. Staff confirmed the following project goals, per Council direction:

  • Reduce congestion along Bellevue Way SE southbound during the 3 – 6 PM peak period
  • Reduce delay for transit operations in the corridor
  • Improve multi-modal access to the corridor (including S. Bellevue Station, I-90 Center Roadway).

Much of our discussion focused on the projected costs and benefits associated with project alternatives and we reached the following conclusions.

  • Option 4 “narrow” will cost $30.8 million, while Option 4 “wide” would be $40 million, but there is no difference in travel time savings or person throughput for the additional $ 9 million.
  • Options 1, 2 & 4 assume travel time benefits based on unfunded “high levels of bus ridership” – 8 buses per hour on Bellevue Way and 13 per hour on     112th (in addition to light rail) – we’ve asked the staff team to re-run the model at the “medium scenario.”
  • Before recommending one of the existing project alternatives, we’d like to know what the underlying “BKR model” tells us about the following: Origin and destination of trips in the corridor; GP vs HOV mode split; Transit vs. carpool split; Local vs. regional trips

We think answers to these questions will help us determine which alternative will best balance project costs with total person throughput, prevent neighborhood cut-through and provide fairness for local taxpayers. Check out project background materials online and let us know what you think.

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