Top 10 City Projects, Tree Code Updates, City Honors Community Hero

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this week in kirkland

December 19, 2018

city of kirkland washington

2018 Top 10 Capital Improvement Projects

Kathy Brown

With 2018 quickly coming to a close, the Public Works Department wanted to take a moment to share with you a few of the projects we've been working hard on this past year. The projects highlighted are part of our Capital Improvement Program. The City of Kirkland's Capital Improvement Program lays the groundwork, sometimes quite literally,  for a safe, healthy and vibrant community. You can view our 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Program on the City website. 

We've ranked the projects in the video below in a New Year's Eve Top 10 style for your viewing pleasure, but we must admit, we're pretty proud of all of them. We hope that you enjoy seeing your local government tax dollars at work.

On behalf of the entire Public Works Department, I'd like to wish you and yours a happy new year. 


Kathy Brown

Public Works Director

CIP Video

Tree Code Updates

The City of Kirkland is currently undergoing a project to update its tree code. Trees provide numerous public benefits, which is why communities protect and maintain urban forests through tree codes.The purpose of the 2018 tree code revision is to support the goals established in Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan and the Urban Forestry Strategic Management Plan, to address issues and challenges that have arisen since the last tree code revision (2010) and to update the code so that it is effective and practical to use. On February 14, 2019, the Planning Commission will discuss proposed revisions to the tree code. Over the next few weeks we will be providing you a series of short articles with background information to help understand the issues involved with the current discussions. 

When the tree code was first adopted, the goal of the code was to achieve an overall 40% tree canopy cover citywide. That goal has since expanded through updates to our Comprehensive Plan to include the goal of achieving a healthy and resilient urban forest. You may be wondering, how can the City measure what is healthy and resilient? The City uses three performance measures to determine urban forest health and resiliency:

  1. Canopy cover – the 2-D outline of tree leaves as seen from above
  2. Species diversity – more variety lowers the risk of losing entire tree populations
  3. Uneven-aged trees – so that old and new trees provide an even succession of benefits over time

In this article, we’ll be talking about canopy cover. A new Urban Tree Canopy Assessment shows there was a slight decrease in Kirkland’s canopy cover from 40% in 2010 to 38% citywide in 2018. This decrease amounts to about 270 acres of tree canopy - the size of two Juanita Bay Parks. The decrease in canopy cover may not be surprising given the unprecedented development that occurred in Kirkland during this timeframe. 

When looking at the pre-annexed city boundary, canopy cover increased from 32% in 2002 to 36% in 2010, then dropped to only 35% in 2018, showing that within the same boundary area, Kirkland’s canopy cover didn’t drop dramatically in the last 8-year measurement cycle. But, even though a city within 75-100% of its canopy cover goal is considered in the “optimal” range of performance, we still need to look at ways to slow the loss of canopy cover. The City is taking that into account while considering changes to the tree code.         

In the next articles we'll be discussing the other two performance measures we use to determine urban forest health and resiliency. 

Tree Canopy Assessment

City Honors Community Hero

On Thursday July 12, 2018, Kirkland residents Joshua Reiss and Dean Wilson were playing a spirited game of Ultimate Frisbee when Wilson unexpectedly collapsed to the ground. Noticing that Wilson was in distress, Reiss immediately sprang into action and initiated CPR, performing approximately six to eight minutes of CPR as other bystanders contacted 9-1-1. Reiss rendered aid until the arrival of Kirkland Fire Department EMTs and Redmond Fire Department paramedics. Wilson was transported to Bellevue’s Overlake Hospital, where he made a full recovery.   

On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the City of Kirkland and the Kirkland Fire Department presented Reiss with the Community Hero Award, for his willingness and ability to provide lifesaving assistance to a community member in need. The honor was presented by Kirkland Fire Department Deputy Chief Dave Van Valkenburg.

Van Valkenburg explained that Wilson experienced a life-threatening condition known as sudden cardiac arrest, in which a person’s heart stops beating suddenly. It is one of the leading causes of death in adults, Van Valkenburg said, with over 300,000 cases every year nationwide. Survival is dependent on immediate medical assistance, often coming in the form of bystander CPR.  

“This evening we're recognizing Mr. Reiss, for his actions that exemplify what is best about our community, and remind us of the effectiveness of our region's tiered emergency medical response,” Van Valkenburg said.

It is brave citizens like Reiss who form the first link in the chain of survival, he added.

Reiss, who spent 20 years with automated CPR equipment manufacturer Physio-Control, told the Kirkland City Council that his training kicked in immediately when he saw Wilson fall to the ground. Both of his children were with him at the park that night, his daughter playing in the playground while his son played with him in the Ultimate Frisbee game. Both saw their father do his part to save a life.

He and Wilson were on opposing teams, Reiss said. One minute they were fighting each other for the win, and the next minute one was fighting for the life of the other. Is was a surreal experience, he said.   

His daughter Emma beamed as her father was honored, but perhaps the greatest reward of all was Wilson’s presence during the proceedings.

For more information about the Kirkland Fire Department, please visit the city website.

Community Hero Award

Upcoming Events

Let's Talk: Bike Share Pilot 

Survey Deadline: January 18

We want to hear from you regarding how the City should respond to bike share bikes in our community.

Please visit and provide feedback through our online survey

Bike Share Survey

Let's Talk: Off-Leash Dogs

The City is discussing how we should respond to off-leash dogs. 

Please visit and provide feedback through our online survey

Off-Leash Dog Survey

City Hall Holiday Closures

City Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on December 24 and December 31.

City Hall will be closed all day on December 25 and January 1.

Passport offices will be closed all day on December 24, 25, 31 and January 1.

Happy Holidays!

City Hall Holiday Clo