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2017 East King Chambers Legislative Wrap-Up

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, August 7, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2016 | 4:00 – 7:00 PM
The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, Cascadia Room/Ballroom
36005 SE Ridge Street, Snoqualmie, WA 98065
(I-90 east to exit 18, 2.5 miles on SR 18/Snoqualmie Parkway)

Register Online at or call (425) 454-2464.

The Third Special Session is over and legislators have left the state capitol. Here is your chance to catch up with them and find out the real story behind the 11th hour budget deal, K-12 funding and more.

Come join Delegates to the East King Chambers Coalition, local business leaders and our Eastside legislators for the Coalition’s annual Legislative Wrap-Up. Emcee Randy Bannecker will moderate a panel of legislators, as they discuss how to get things done in a closely divided state capitol, take a look ahead to 2018 and respond to your questions.

For more information contact Bellevue Chamber Director of Government Relations Chris Johnson or (425) 213-1208.


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Bellevue Blitz Roundup: Food Truck Roundup; Air Quality Warning; Summer Construction Alerts

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, August 3, 2017

Food Truck Roundup

Why labor over a hot stove when it’s ninety degrees outside? Throw off your apron and head to the annual Bellevue Parks & Community Services Food Truck Roundup on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 4-8 PM at Bellevue’s Ashwood Park. Vendors will serve up everything from traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, to vegetarian sandwiches, falafel and ice cream treats.

Park at the Bellevue Library and enjoy live music from 5:30 – 8:00 PM. Learn more at

Air Quality Warning

While temperatures continue to climb to historic levels, the heat wave has been somewhat dampened by “HEATZILLA,” the flow of smoke from British Columbia fires into our area. Consequently, the Puget Sound Air Quality Agency has issued a summertime air quality burn ban. This means no barbecues, bonfires or free-standing fire pits. And if you can, stay indoors and use air conditioning.

Learn more about the ban and how to stay safe at

 Summer Construction Alerts

During the weekdays of August 7 – 10, watch for ongoing Sound Transit construction-related closures:

Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: One NB lane of Bellevue Way SE may be closed from South Bellevue Station to the “Y” at 112th Avenue Southeast;

Monday-Friday 8 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Daily/overnight closure of the Bellevue Way Southeast to I-90 west HOV ramp.

During the weekend of August 12-13, Bellevue Way SE and ramps to I-90 closed:

All lanes of Bellevue Way SE in both directions, between the “Y” at 112th Ave SE and I-90 will be closed;

All ramps between Bellevue Way SE and I-90 will be closed.

See the latest East Link construction alert bulletin online.

Additional local traffic revisions include:

NE 2nd Pl between 108th & 110th Ave NE: Mon - Fri, 8/8-25, 7 am - 4 pm. Road closure to install sewer and water connections.

Downtown Park - NE 1st St between 99th Ave NE & 100th Ave NE: Mon - Tues, 8/7-8, 7 am - 4 pm. Road closure to do grind & overlay.

For more information on other local closures, see Bellevue’s traffic advisories page.

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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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