Energize Eastside, traffic calming, dominate town hall

July 2, 2015

Speed bumps and power lines were the hot topics of conversation at the city of Newcastle’s annual town hall meeting June 16.

By Christina Corrales-Toy Deputy Mayor John Drescher (right) answers an audience question, as City Councilman Rich Crispo listens beside him.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Deputy Mayor John Drescher (right) answers an audience question, as City Councilman Rich Crispo listens beside him.

During the meeting’s second hour, the Newcastle City Council fielded audience questions, with a sizable group of neighbors from in and around Southeast 75th Street using the time to express concerns about speeding on the street. Read more

Editorial — It’s your city; get involved in decisions

March 5, 2015

Sue Stronk. Larry Johnson. Jessaca Jacobson. Sonny Putter.

With the exception of the last name, you’ve likely never heard of these people. But make no mistake, the Newcastle City Council knows who they are, at least they should.

They are examples of just a few Newcastle residents who have come to at least one council meeting in the past year to voice their opinions.

They are, essentially, examples of democracy in action, a far too rare scene witnessed in the perpetually empty Newcastle council chambers. Read more

2014 was a year of change for Newcastle

January 2, 2015

In 2014, the city of Newcastle celebrated a birthday, lost an icon and set the stage for the future. Here are some of the top stories of the year, in no particular order:

Newcastle pioneer Milt Swanson passes away

Family, neighbors and community leaders gathered Jan. 25 to honor the life of Milt Swanson, a titan of Newcastle history and a man with an unceasing, warming smile.

The Newcastle pioneer, born and raised in this community, spent all of his 95 years in the same area, 90 of which were in the same company house that still stands at the edge of town near the Cougar Mountain trailhead. Read more

Advisory group endorses Energize Eastside route

January 2, 2015

Suggested routes go through Newcastle

The Community Advisory Group working on Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside transmission line upgrade project has made its final route recommendations and both include Segment M, which goes through Newcastle.

The panel — comprised of neighborhood, business and civic leaders — selected routes Oak and Willow at its final meeting Dec. 10. The advisory group’s final recommendation is based on its work over the past year, including discussion of community feedback collected throughout 2014.

Of the 20 advisory group members and residential alternates present at the meeting, 17 supported the final recommendation. Of those 17, eight expressed preference for the Oak route and five expressed preference for the Willow route, while four supported either route. Read more

Energize Eastside concerns shared

July 31, 2014

Energize Eastside was back on the Newcastle City Council agenda for the first time since Puget Sound Energy introduced the project April 1.

But this time, it was a pair of resident groups who had the opportunity to voice their concerns about the plan to bring new, higher capacity electric transmission lines to the Eastside in response to the region’s growing power demands.

The Olympus Homeowners Association and the Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Energy countered PSE’s proposal and questioned the project’s true requirement at the July 1 and 15 City Council meetings. Read more

Get involved in PSE ‘Energize Eastside’ decision

June 5, 2014

Guest column

After having lived in Newcastle for the past 10 years next to the Puget Sound Energy power lines and the Olympic gas pipelines, my wife and I first gave little thought to PSE’s proposed “Energize Eastside” project that contemplates Olympus as part of one of two pre-selected routes an upgrade in PSE’s equipment might take. After all, these “H” poles date back to the 1960s and need to be replaced or removed at some point, we figured.

But then we learned things. The proposed new poles would be twice the height of the current ones, as high as 12-story buildings, and the increase in voltage from 115,000 volts to 230,000 volts would quadruple the power flowing through the lines and add to dangerous EMFs (electromagnetic fields). In addition, the new poles would require much bigger cement foundations that would require heavy equipment and massive vibrations to settle them into the soil, all within narrow 100-foot easements and over and near gas pipelines that are 50-plus years old. Read more

Letters — June 6

June 5, 2014

PSE power lines will lower property values

Puget Sound Energy plans to more than double the power lines in height and in voltage will not only increase the potential ills effects on our health in Olympus, but will destroy the natural beauty of our area.

Our skyline will be blocked by these ugly structures, and the property values will impact not only the homes by the power lines, but for the entire area. Keep in mind that property values are not isolated, but reflect the demand for housing and the prices that future homeowners will be willing to pay. Read more

Neighbors voice concerns about Energize Eastside

May 1, 2014

UPDATED — 9:45 p.m. May 1, 2014

*This story has been updated to reflect the following change: The initial version, and the one seen in the May 2 print edition, stated that Larry Johnson and the Olympus Homeowners Association would get a chance to give their own presentation about Energize Eastside at the May 6 Newcastle City Council. That has now been rescheduled for a later date to be determined*

Upgrades to infrastructure needed

When Newcastle neighbors Larry Johnson and Dave Edmonds peer into the backyards of their Olympus homes, transmission lines and power poles greet them.

It’s not the best view, but residents have learned to live with the 60-foot beams that carry 115 kilovolt power lines. The infrastructure has been there since long before the city was incorporated 20 years ago.

Those poles could get a lot taller, with lines that carry even more power, if Puget Sound Energy upgrades that corridor as part of its Energize Eastside project.

Courtesy Puget Sound Energy At left, a growing Eastside, especially the area west of Lake Sammamish, is putting a strain on the region’s electric system, as seen in this future growth map. Above, PSE’s solution to the region’s growing power demand is to build about 18 miles of 230 kilovolt transmission lines from Redmond to Renton.

Courtesy Puget Sound Energy
At left, a growing Eastside, especially the area west of Lake Sammamish, is putting a strain on the region’s electric system, as seen in this future growth map. Above, PSE’s solution to the region’s growing power demand is to build about 18 miles of 230 kilovolt transmission lines from Redmond to Renton.

Read more

Notes from Newcastle

May 1, 2014

For once, I’m not the only one at meeting

I’m used to being the only one at Newcastle City Council meetings.

I sit there, alone, as the council conducts its business in front of an audience of one.

Christina Corrales-Toy

Christina Corrales-Toy

It can get lonely, I’ll admit, watching council members deliberate as I sit surrounded by a sea of empty chairs.

Read more