Mayor Sweet Delivers State of City, Council Meeting Recap, and City Seeks Input on ADA Efforts

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this week in kirkland

February 19, 2020

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Mayor Penny Sweet Delivers State of the City

On Thursday, February 13 Mayor Penny Sweet delivered the annual State of the City address to the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, during which she declared that the state of the City is focused.

The Mayor began her speech by reminding the audience that this year we are celebrating the 100th year of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Both Councilmember Amy Falcone and Councilmember Kelli Curtis joined the Mayor in wearing white to commemorate the occasion and honor the suffragettes. Mayor Sweet also pointed out that the City of Kirkland has had a woman Mayor for the last ten consecutive years, and stated:

“I believe it is no coincidence that Kirkland has flourished during that time.”    

During her address to the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Sweet recognized the incredible achievements that occurred in 2019 and highlighted that in 2020 there are 5700 housing units, 1.3 million square feet of commercial development underway. The Mayor noted that Google and SRM are seeking permits for a Phase 3 project in Houghton, and that there are plans for the expansion of Northwest University and Evergreen Health.

“And best of all, this exciting new development is happening again, according to plan,” said Mayor Sweet. “This mix of jobs, housing and services is exactly the type of growth we want, and it is happening in urban centers served by frequent, reliable transit, exactly where we want it.”

The Mayor went on to highlight major features of the City’s 2020 work program including beginning work on the Totem Lake Connector Bridge, Totem Lake Park and boardwalk project, major multi-modal transportation improvements for 100th Ave NE and Juanita Drive, and breaking ground on the first new fire station in decades.

“…the City is doing so much more for parks, street, sidewalks, water, sewer and stormwater. Over the next six years we will complete our largest set of infrastructure improvements in Kirkland’s history,” said Mayor Sweet. “But there is a price to pay for the choices we make. If we want to prevent this boom from becoming a bust, we need to find and maintain the right balance.”

The Mayor emphasized the need to balance growth with the “small town feel” that residents cherish. She stated that the City would need to balance development and new high paying jobs with investments infrastructure and affordable housing. However, she pointed out that these investments must also be balanced with the City’s fiscal reality.

Mayor Sweet recognized the desired balance could only be achieved through action and focus. She stated that the City is focused on completing its work plan, maintaining financial sustainability, and leading locally and regionally. She recommitted to delivering on the promises made in the enhanced police services and community safety ballot measure and shared that the City would be again looking to the voters to make public safety a priority by asking them to invest in building a new fire station in Totem Lake, in addition to making essential seismic retrofits to existing stations.

She also talked about the City’s ongoing commitment to equity and inclusion. She emphasized the need to examine everything we do through a new lens of equity and inclusion, particularly in communities that are historically marginalized. She went on to share the numerous activities that the City has engaged in during the last year to continue to uphold the City’s values of being welcoming, safe and inclusive. The activities ranged from training for all City staff and police officers, to developing a diversity and bias resource webpage for businesses, to a community learning series called Kirkland Talks About Racism that is currently underway.  

The Mayor finished her speech by acknowledging that achieving these goals would not be possible without the hard work of her dedicated colleagues on the City Council.

“This work would not be possible without the leadership, passion and commitment of the entire Council. We are blessed to be coming together as a new Council that will build on the strong foundation of past Councils and take us to new heights!”

Mayor Sweet's speech can be viewed in its entirety online. 

Mayor Penny Sweet, Councilmember Kelli Curtis and Councilmember Amy Falcone

Left to Right: Councilmember Kelli Curtis, Mayor Penny Sweet, Councilmember Amy Falcone

Council Meeting Recap

City Council

The City Council covered a wide range of topics during their meeting on February 18. Council meetings can be viewed in their entirety on the City website. Here is a short summary of what was discussed. 

Big Hill Park Policing

Chief Cherie Harris presented an update on policing in Big Finn Hill Park. Big Finn Hill Park is a King County park that consists of 220 acres and 9.5 miles of trails. The King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) is currently responsible for providing police services in the park. In mutual aid or assist situations (e.g. missing children, suicides) our communications dispatch, NORCOM, forwards calls on to the Kirkland Police Department.

The City is working with King County to seek clarity on how police services are provided in the park. All parties share the goal of achieving clarity to maximize the safety of nearby residents as well as visitors to the park.

Kirkland is currently recommending the following protocol:

• 911 calls should be received by the KCSO dispatch center first.
• The Kirkland Police Department will respond to priority, in progress 911 calls that are of an urgent nature (missing child, assault, etc).
• Priority calls that are determined to be of a serious nature such as a homicide, dangerous dog or other incident that requires significant staffing would be referred to KCSO for
investigation. The Department would respond and secure the scene.
• Non-Emergency calls are handled by KCSO. These calls are most of the complaints the Department receives from the community.
• The KCSO Communications center must collaborate with NORCOM to ensure the two communication centers can implement this protocol.

The conversations with King County are ongoing. You can view the accompanying memo in the Council packet. 

Cedar Creek Culvert Traffic Detour

Public Works staff presented two options to the City Council for a temporary full closure at 100th Ave NE to construct a new culvert on Cedar Creek. In addition to improving aquatic and riparian habitat, the project will reduce the risk of flooding. This project is scheduled to be completed in July-August 2020.

In order to minimize nighttime disturbances (noise and light) to nearby neighbors, the Council approved option 1-- that the contractor work extended daytime hours from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week, which would result in a traffic detour lasting approximately three weeks.

The City will provide additional updates as it gets closer to the project construction start date.

More information is available the Council packet. 

ARCH 2019 Housing Trust Fund Recommendation

The City Council approved the ARCH Executive Board to allocate Kirkland funds as part of the Fall 2019 ARCH Housing Trust Fund. Funds will be allocated as follows:

  • $267,425 to the Imagine Housing Samma Senior Apartments
  • $118,840 to the Congregations for the Homeless East King County Men’s Permanent Shelter project;
  • $136,675 to the Inland Group Polaris at Eastgate Apartments project;
  • $653,600 to the Inland Group / Horizon Housing Alliance Together Center
    Redevelopment project;
  • $23,890 to the Community Homes Shared Living Home project;
  • $35,770 to the Community Homes Adult Family Home project; and
  • $175,000 to the Catholic Community Services with Sophia Way Women and Family
    Shelter project.

These amounts are Kirkland’s proportional share from the ARCH Housing Trust Fund and are
fully funded as part of Kirkland’s 2019-2021 budget that is allocated to ARCH. Approval by each jurisdiction is required by the ARCH interlocal agreement. More information on the individual projects being funded is available in the City Council packet. 

Upcoming Welcoming Kirkland Initiative Events

The Community Learning Series Kirkland Talks about Racism, continues tonight, February 19 with Driving While Black at Lake Washington Technical Institute from 6:30 to 8 p.m. As Kirkland Talks about Racism, we will take on one of the most controversial topics in contemporary race discussions, "Driving While Black." Many African Americans and other People of Color report they are pulled over disproportionately by police. Others believe traffic enforcement is largely fair. Our different experiences often contribute to starkly different perceptions when it comes to framing problems and solutions. How do we work towards progress together given those differences? Join us as Kirkland Talks about "Driving While Black."

Tomorrow, February 20, you're invited to the Kirkland Justice Center from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to explore and propose potential new expectations and protocols for the way businesses interact with police and community members in the kinds of situations where, historically, People of Color have felt unwelcome in public establishments. Rather than proposing a limited set of solutions at this point, the initiative is seeking broad and diverse perspectives to identify approaches that have the greatest opportunity to be successful.

Welcoming Kirkland is a collaborative effort between the City of Kirkland and Leadership Eastside to engage Kirkland residents, visitors, businesses, nonprofits, and the City – including police – regarding how we function together for the health of the overall community.

This Initiative was launched to respond to expressed concerns that People of Color in general, and Black people in particular, have lived experiences of an unwelcoming and inequitable community, in contrast to the City’s stated goal to be safe, inclusive and welcoming for all.

Your unique perspective is valued as our community works together to create a more Welcoming Kirkland. Registration for the Town Hall Meetings is not required, but is encouraged at

If you have questions, please email

Driving while black

Your Input is Needed to Guide the City's American with Disabilities Act Efforts

The City of Kirkland wants to learn more about the experiences of people with disabilities in our community and identify ways that Kirkland can be a more safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for people with disabilities. We are encouraging all community members to take a few minutes to complete an online survey. The results of this survey will be incorporated into various plans currently under development by the City of Kirkland, including:

The survey closes at 10 a.m. on March 20, 2020.

All answers are anonymous, and all information provided will only be used to help improve services and programs in Kirkland. Anyone living, working, or visiting Kirkland is invited to take this survey. We welcome responses from people with disabilities as well as people who don't experience disabilities. If you have a family member with disabilities or are employed or volunteer at an organization that provides services to people with disabilities, we welcome you to fill out this survey on behalf of someone else at their request.

To learn more about the City's ADA Transition Plan please watch our short video

For alternate survey formats (paper, large font, audio, Braille, translation), please contact David Wolbrecht at 425-587-3011 or

Chris Thomas, Human Resources Director

Traffic Alerts for February 19 through February 26

Each week we will provide an ongoing list of Kirkland’s capital projects that will affect traffic. We will list new projects first.  Please consider checking apps such as WAZE or other traffic apps before you drive.

Northeast 132nd Street surface water project (Kingsgate)

Totem Lake area drivers should expect intermittent delays this week on Northeast 132nd Street near Evergreen Hospital while a City contractor finishes installing concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk.

Forma Construction will keep two lanes of Northeast 132nd Street open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., between 121st Avenue Northeast and 122nd Place Northeast. The sidewalk on the street’s south side remains closed, as does the eastbound bicycle lane.

The contractor is repairing a failed stormwater pipe. Forma Construction is planning to repave disturbed sections of Northeast 132nd Street next week, weather permitting.

Totem Lake Boulevard daytime and nighttime work underway (Totem Lake)

Work on Totem Lake Boulevard returns to daytime hours this week while Marshbank Construction resumes its effort to rebuild the roadway along Totem Lake.

Drivers will have access to one northbound and one southbound lane, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Meanwhile, the Northshore Utility District is on pace to finish the Totem Lake Boulevard section of its sewer project this week. Its contractor plans to move south into the slip lane, which is currently closed. By early March, the Northshore Utility District’s project will close a short section of Northeast 124th Street from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Both projects are part of the overall effort to transform Totem Lake into the walkable, vibrant and green urban center that Kirkland’s leaders first envisioned two decades ago.

Visit or

Totem lake detour mapnighttime traffic plan

Upcoming Events

Apply to Serve on a Board or Commission



Application Deadline for Boards and Commissions

Thursday, February 20 at 4 p.m.

The City of Kirkland has adult and youth vacancies occurring on several of its advisory boards and commissions. 

The deadline has been extended for the following boards and commissions:

• Design Review Board
• Library Board
• Salary Commission

Interested Kirkland residents, or those meeting the eligibility requirements, are invited to apply. Eligibility requirements differ for each board or commission. Some incumbents on these boards and commissions have served one term, are eligible, and intend to apply for reappointment as noted in the descriptions.  Completed applications must be received by the City Clerk prior to 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 20, 2020. To learn more about each board and to obtain the community service application, go to the Current Recruitment Positions page, or call the City Clerk’s Office at 425-587-3190.

volunteers removing invasive species

Restore Juanita Bay Park

Friday, February 21, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join the Green Kirkland Partnership to help with the restoration of Juanita Bay Park. Volunteers will spend the morning participating in restoration activities which may include removing non-native invasive plants like English ivy and Himalayan blackberry, spreading mulch over cleared areas, and planting native trees, shrubs and ground covers.  No experience is necessary and we encourage volunteers of all ages to join us! This event is led by a volunteer Green Kirkland Steward.

This event meets most Fridays January - July 2020.

Register to volunteer on the volunteer event registration page.