July 2, 2014
Mark Rigos and his positive impact will truly be missed
Thanks for your first-rate coverage of the departure of Mark Rigos, Newcastle’s Public Works director. Mark is an extraordinary individual who made a huge positive impact on the city and its residents, especially in expanding and improving Newcastle’s trail system, as members of Newcastle Trails can attest.
Projects that had been deferred for years were completed during Mark’s three-year tenure, often on his initiative (without prodding from Newcastle Trails). These included easements for the Horse Trail, drainage on the Highlands Trail, and surveys that helped prevent encroachment on our parks and trails.
Mark played a major role in the completion of the May Creek Trail, and cooperated effectively with the city of Renton in planning a May Creek Greenway from Lake Washington to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. His efforts have ensured the near-term completion of Newcastle’s part of the Greenway from Renton to Cougar Mountain. His support — with negotiations, logistics and materials — has been vital to our 2014 work in extending the CrossTown Trail Southeast from Newcastle Vista.
Mark accelerated trail construction and improvement by making effective use of city staff and outside agencies (like the Washington Conservation Corps) and working closely with Newcastle Trails and other trail supporters (including the Boy Scouts and Weed Warriors). He provided material support to volunteer work parties, and applied his engineering skills to construction problems on the May Creek Trail and elsewhere.
Mark is a great communicator, sometimes beyond any reasonable expectation. An email sent to him at 6 p.m. on a Friday might well get a clear, detailed reply a short time later. And be followed up by action. He was proactive: If something of interest to Newcastle Trails reached him, he’d send a message right away, with relevant documents attached.
Mark is a nice guy who finishes first, with a great work ethic and exceptional gifts in people skills, management ability and engineering expertise. We wish him well in his new job. The city hit a home run when they hired him: We hope our heavy hitters can score again with his successor.
President, Newcastle Trails
Other Energy Eastside options need to be studied independently
Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside Community Advisory Group process is deeply flawed and does not represent the preferences of the neighborhoods. It is now well-acknowledged that the data collected is statistically invalid, as even PSE’s own CAG representative said it is “meaningless to the process of scoring neighborhood values for the purposes of determining a preferred route.”
PSE unilaterally eliminated several viable alternative solutions to support growth on the Eastside before it began the CAG process.
The neighborhood members of the CAG respectfully ask all five cities to formally notify PSE that the CAG process does not represent the will of the neighborhoods, that this project would significantly violate neighborhood character, and to either stop wasting time on it or restart it with other options for the CAG to consider.
There are too many non-neighborhood stakeholders on the CAG and not enough of the affected neighborhoods are represented, thus PSE stacked the deck against the neighborhoods. PSE and its consultant Enviroissues have purposely manipulated a process that is not fair, accurate, thorough or transparent.
The neighborhoods need the city of Bellevue (the lead agency) to have several other options independently studied prior to the Environmental Impact Statement and State Environmental Policy Act review process commencing.
The PSE Community Advisory Group Members and/or Alternates signed below:
Steve O’Donnell, Somerset, Ruth Marsh, Somerset, John Merrill, Somerset, Norm Hansen, Bridle Trails, Warren Halverson, Bridle Trails, Lindy Bruce, Sunset Hills, Dick Morris, Sunset Hills, David T. Edmonds, Olympus, Sean McNamara, Olympus, Larry Johnson, Olympus, Jeff Dubois, Greenwich Crest, Scott Kaseburg, Lake Lanes, Donald Miller, Lake Lanes, Sally McCray, Lake Lanes, Dr. Richard Kaner, Lake Lanes, Darius Richards, Kennydale, Mark Hancock, Kennydale