Bellevue City Councilmember Lynne Robinson Media Mentions

The Seattle Times
The Times recommends: Lynne Robinson for Bellevue City Council, Position 6

Lynne Robinson should be re-elected to the Bellevue City Council for many reasons, but one that stands out after spending time with her and her opponent in the race for Position 6 is the other’s candidate’s prickly demeanor.

Microsoft assistant general counsel and neighborhood activist Steve Fricke is passionate about prioritizing neighborhood interests and feels the incumbent doesn’t do that enough. But his communication style could get in the way of the council’s collegial, consensus-building approach.

After a successful four-year term on the council, Robinson says she is under pressure from Fricke, who wants to stop any city action that neighborhood groups oppose, most recently the proposal to build a permanent men’s homeless shelter next to the Eastgate Park and Ride.

The Bellevue City Council has been criticized for the process it followed toward this much-needed shelter, but the city and the region clearly need to move forward on the project.

During her tenure, Robinson, a physical therapist and small-business owner, has focused on affordable housing, human services and the environment. She encouraged Bellevue to join the King County Cities Climate Collaboration. She helped establish a city-owned business incubator. She proposed a property tax exemption, which was passed by the council, for apartment complexes that include affordable housing and has more ideas for expanding affordable housing. And Robinson has been involved in developing a new bike and pedestrian trail system, and is seeking both low-tech and high-tech solutions for traffic congestion.

With Robinson’s previous five years on the Bellevue Parks and Community Services Board and the Bellevue Network on Aging, she was deeply involved in the city before taking a seat on the council. She has a long volunteer résumé, including work at her church, in public schools, with Girl Scouts, Little League and youth theater.

She is clearly the right choice for Bellevue and should be reelected. … Read More

425 Business
The Circle Is Complete At Bellevue’s Downtown Park

Bellevue bills itself as a “city in a park.” It was difficult to argue with that on Wednesday when City leaders officially celebrated the completion of the latest phase of Downtown Park. A postcard setting that typifies the “city in a park” moniker, Downtown Park is a 22-acre felt green sanctuary that sits in the southwest shadows of downtown’s towering glass and steel skyscrapers. The park dates to the early 1980s, when the City of Bellevue acquired the land from the Bellevue School District. A master plan for the park was developed, and voters approved a levy in 2008 to help pay for the $20 million project. While the City completed phased improvements as funding became available, visitors have enjoyed elements of the unfinished open space for many years (it is a popular location for watching 4th of July fireworks). Still, Downtown Park as envisioned was never fully completed: a circular, tree-lined pedestrian promenade and a water canal that border the park were only three-fourths complete, and a popular playground was too small and became outdated. That changed last summer when the City moved forward on construction of Downtown Park’s latest phase. On Wednesday, local residents and visitors were invited to experience Downtown Park’s latest incarnation and its new amenities. For starters, the canal and tree-lined promenade that ring the park are now finished, the circle complete. The park now also includes a grand entrance and water feature at the south end, ample plaza space, comfortable terraced seating, navigable stairways, and landscaped accessible paths. Children of all ages and abilities now can play at Inspiration Playground, a partnership project between the City of Bellevue and Bellevue Rotary Club that doubles the existing play area, and includes many interactive play features: tactile sculptures for touching and climbing, a music plaza that encourages visitors to create and respond to sound, and the central “Whimsy Plaza.” The project also added a new changing table to the restrooms near the playground, and expanded the playground’s adjacent parking lot after the parking lot near 102nd Avenue Northeast was closed to complete the circle. “Finishing the circle completes the 35-year vision of beloved Downtown Park,” said Mayor John Stokes, who joined city councilmembers and park advocates during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 28 to mark the completed improvements. Bellevue Downtown Park is located at 10201 NE Fourth Street. More information is available online here. NOTE: This story was updated to more accurately reflect the square footage of Inspiration Playground’s play area, as well as restroom and parking facilities. … Read More

Bellevue Reporter
City secures $99.6 million TIFIA loan

The city of Bellevue has secured a $99.6 million federal loan for major transportation efforts. The city secured the loan on June 9 under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) after a year-long process in applying for the loan. The TIFIA loan, administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau, will aid the construction of an additional five mobility projects to support projected growth in the BelRed, Downtown and Wilburton areas. This fiscal action supports the City Council’s two-year vision priorities regarding transportation plans. The TIFIA loan will assist in the creation of a comprehensive BelRed street network, which will provide nearly 10 new lane miles of roadway, 25,000 linear feet of sidewalk, 21,000 linear feet of bike lanes, more than 5.5 acres of water quality treatment facilities and approximately 90 new or upgraded curb ramps and approximately 90 other pedestrian access improvements that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Securing this TIFIA loan really ramps up our efforts to transform the BelRed area into a connected hub that’s both an economic engine and a residential neighborhood,” said Mayor John Stokes. “I want to thank my fellow councilmembers for their financial savvy and vision for the future, and thank city staff for their work in helping to secure the loan.” The development of the street network will coincide with Sound Transit’s East Link light rail construction, helping to improve mobility in Bellevue and take advantage of construction efficiencies. By linking these two major infrastructure build-outs, the city and the region will benefit from a robust transportation network that facilitates further private sector investment in the BelRed area. The transportation improvements will enhance the overall redevelopment plan, which includes open space upgrades, new trails, neighborhood parks, water quality improvements and other public infrastructure. Each councilmember played a critical role in positioning the city to pursue a TIFIA loan, recognizing the advantages of this innovative loan and taking action to make it possible. The council adopted budget adjustments to fund phases of the projects in conjunction with the anticipated loan in June 2016; budgeted funds to pay the administrative costs of obtaining the loan in October 2016; and formally adopted a bond ordinance that authorized the loan in February. The low-interest loan – at 2.86 percent – provides more favorable terms than traditional bonds. Bellevue will draw down loan disbursements as needed to pay costs of the project, but the city can wait until 2024 to begin paying principal of or interest on the loan. The loan will then be repaid over a 35-year period following substantial completion of the road projects, but no later than 2056. Bellevue is securing the loan through the issuance of a limited tax general obligation bond. The loan will finance approximately one-third of the projects’ costs, and the city will fund the rest. Bellevue’s matching share of the funding is already included in the city’s Capital Investment Program budget. The FAST Act – Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act – continued the TIFIA program and required the development of an expedited application process for secured loans such as the one acquired by Bellevue. For more information about the TIFIA program, visit the U.S. Department of Transportation website.
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The Seattle Times
Bellevue starts work on $17.5M renovation of Meydenbauer Bay waterfront

Just three blocks from Bellevue Square and Old Main Street, but unbeknown to many visitors, lies Bellevue’s picturesque Meydenbauer Bay, one of the city’s few access points to its Lake Washington waterfront and its maritime history.

Now construction is underway to expand an existing waterfront park and connect it with the city’s historic marina and a whaling building, once the winter port for a Puget Sound whaling fleet.

When it’s completed in fall 2018, the new $17.5 million Meydenbauer Bay Park will feature a quarter mile of Lake Washington waterfront, a swimming beach, a curved pier extending into the lake and a hilltop overlook with views west to Seattle.

“This is going to be a jewel in the Bellevue parks system,” said Sherry Grindeland, a city parks commissioner for the past eight years. “To walk from downtown to Meydenbauer Bay is going to be magnificent.”

Meydenbauer Bay Park is part of the city’s ambitious vision to construct a broad pedestrian boulevard and bike path connecting Bellevue’s waterfront to its downtown and eventually across Interstate 405 to the Eastside Rail Corridor. The city hopes to select a distinctive design for the freeway crossing by early next year.

The completed Grand Connection, as the city calls the plan, may be years in the making, but Patrick Foran, Bellevue parks and community services director, said a succession of city councils has stayed true to the promise of expanding the city’s public waterfront and making the new park at one end of the future boulevard.

“Bellevue has a pretty good track record of seeing its visions come to fruition,” he said.

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Bellevue Reporter
Sparc Apartments open, ushering in Bellevue’s Spring District

For years, the Spring District has been a bold plan for the city of Bellevue to draw residents and businesses in a transit-oriented area. Last Thursday, a major step in the project officially opened. Sparc Apartments opened amid “the sound of progress” of construction vehicles on May 18, as elected leaders helped cut the ribbon on the live, work and play community. Sparc has 309 apartments ranging from studios to three bedrooms, and is the first in a long line of projects in the Spring District to open its doors. The leasing office opened earlier this month and residents are already moving into the five-building complex. Studios start at $1,459 a month, and larger units go up to more than $3,400 a month. Mayor John Stokes, Bellevue council members Conrad lee and Lynne Robinson and King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci all helped kick off Sparc’s grand opening, which has already leased more than 14,000-square feet to Bright Horizons, an early education center with a playground that is public after school lets out. John Marasco, Chief Development Officer of investor Security Properties, said his company was excited to be on board with the Spring District. “We could not be happier that the Spring District is finally opening its doors with the arrival of Sparc Apartments,” he said. “Our vision of shaping this new neighborhood into a destination for urban living has come into fruition.” Sparc’s amenities, include a rooftop court yard with a putting green, a fitness center, pet washing station, bike storage and maintenance, WiFi cafe, and event space complete with a demonstration kitchen, game room and media lounge. The Spring District is a 16-block, 36-acre development project under developer Wright-Runstad which is intended to be a transit-oriented mixed-use urban neighborhood located located on a former Safeway grocery distribution center between the Bel-Red corridor and State Route 520 in Bellevue, overlooking downtown Bellevue. The campus, modeled after Portland’s thriving Pearl District, will be home to future retailers, restaurants, hotels and more than 2,000 residents and 13,000 employees. Outdoor goods company REI signed a non-binding letter of agreement last year to move its headquarters from Kent to the Spring District by 2020. One of the draws for the company was a network of interconnected bike trails and green spaces Bellevue had promised. Mayor Stokes said he was in discussions early on with REI to help reassure the co-op. “They asked ‘are you going to make this happen?’” he said. “I said ‘you’re damn right.’” The Grand Connection — a path of interconnected green spaces from Meydenbauer Bay Park to the Spring District through Downtown — and the Snohomish County-to-Renton Eastside Rail Corridor will be two major projects intended to improve non-vehicular transportation in the Eastside. The Spring District was partially planned around them. Perhaps an even larger draw is the proximity of the Spring District to a proposed light rail station dedicated to the development, scheduled to open for service in 2023. Balducci said work on improving the Bel-Red corridor started back in 2006, and the Spring District was a long time coming. Later this year the Global Innovation Exchange – a partnership between the University of Washington, China’s Tsinghua University and Microsoft – will welcome its first students for a graduate degree program that combines project-based learning in design thinking, technology development and entrepreneurship. Adjacent to Sparc, Security Properties is building Phase II of their Spring District mixed-use residential development. Scheduled to open in late 2018, Phase II will consist of three buildings and 279 units of studio-, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The project will include two ground-floor commercial spaces, totaling 3,700 square feet, designed to attract neighborhood oriented retailers and other service providers. … Read More

Bellevue Reporter
Eastside businesses earn awards for innovation

Hundreds of people in the Bellevue business community gathered last Wednesday, March 29 to honor the newest group of the Eastside’s best businesses. David Masin, chair of the Bellevue Chamber Board, spoke to the diverse nature of the four businesses honored. “It took an army of judges to select this year’s businesses,” he said. Masin, the brand ambassador for Selden’s Home Furnishings, applauded the many businesses nominated for the awards at The Westin Bellevue. The nominees were: Acute Pain Therapies, Alive & Shine Center, Allegro Pediatrics, Apptio, Asterride Limousine, ATLAS Workbase, Audian, Bala Yoga, Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA), Blueprint Consulting Services, Burtelson Technology Group, CardTapp, CoBuy, LLC, Chiropractic Concept of Bellevue, Edifecs, Expedia CruiseShipCenters Bellevue, extraSlice, Guidant Financial, Hanson Consulting Group, HyGen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., iSpot.tv, Juetten Personal Financial Planning LLC, Limeade, Lochwood-Lozier Custom Homes, MZA Architecture, NewSky Security LLC, Northwest Cryotherapy Institute, Pacific Bag, Inc., Point Inside, Poke MIX, Premier Media Group, RedCloud Consulting, RBC Signals, Smartsheet, Splainers, Inc., Synergy Construction, Twelve Baskets Catering, Unify Square, Verity Consulting, Inc. and WiggleWorks Kids Bellevue. Bellevue City Councilmember Lynne Robinson helped introduced some of the speakers and pointed out the pro-business climate in the city. “By 2019 we hope to double the number of small businesses in the city,” she said. “We have four business incubators, including extraSlice in Eastgate.” ExtraSlice, along with WeWork, ImpactHUB and Orange Studios and any other startup and small business incubators helped foster the first award winner. Kris Wilson, managing partner of the Bellevue location of Perkins Coie, LLP announced the winner of the Entrepreneurial Spirit award. RBC Signals, a satellite transmission company, helped space-bound satellites communicate more effectively with the ground. The Innovative Product or Service of the Year award was presented by ARVR Studio CEO and founder Michael Nassirian. The company iSpot.tv, a real-time ad analytics company, walked away with the award after its five years in business. For the Small Business of the Year award, Senior Vice President of KeyBank John Roehm was able to hand the award off to a truly unique Eastside business. WiggleWorks Kids Bellevue provides an experience for children to grow and learn during the day. It wiggled its way to the award after starting with a smart business loan through the city of Bellevue. The centerpiece of the evening was the Eastside Business of the Year award, presented by Jim Hill, senior vice president of the Kemper Development Company. The companies in the category ranged from as young as four years to as old as 50. These businesses all employed more than 100 people and all made a significant impact on the Eastside and Bellevue’s economy. This year’s business of the year was Point Inside, a tech company which specializes in pinpointing where consumer goods can be found inside retail stores, thus saving time and effort while shopping. … Read More

Belleve Reporter
Councilmember Robinson launches re-election Campaign

In her tenure on the council, small business development, affordable housing and Bellevue’s parks have been her largest motivators. “It has been my honor to serve Bellevue as a member of our City Council,” Robinson said in a press release. “I am proud of the work we have started, but there is still a great deal to be done. I hope I have earned the continued support of our community so that we can ensure Bellevue remains a great place to be.” … Read More

The Seattle Times
Bellevue picked for federal program that helps low-income residents get high-tech jobs

Being designated a TechHire community will allow the city to apply for federal grants for coding classes for low-income people, and to do outreach to those underserved communities, said City Councilwoman Lynne Robinson. Expedia and Microsoft are partnering with the city on the program, she said, and two other Eastside tech companies are expected to join the effort. “If somebody is capable of learning the programming skills to work at one of those companies, the TechHire initiative will facilitate their hiring,” Robinson said. … Read More

Belleve Reporter
Bellevue Council votes to support Sound Transit 3

Councilmember Lynne Robinson gave a slideshow of her own and was matter-of-fact with the region’s transportation needs. “We hardly have the capacity now and we don’t have capacity for future growth,” she said. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area is growing by more than 80,000 people every year and commutes on certain major thoroughfares (such as Mercer Street in Seattle and the I-405 bottleneck in Bothell) have ballooned. … Read More