Ride to Remember Oso on March 19

The communities of Arlington and Darrington are hosting a bicycle ride and community event on March 19 to commemorate the third anniversary of  the Oso slide.

Sign up for the bicycle ride to remember Oso on March 19, 2017.

The ride will “remember those who were lost and affected by the slide, recognize how far our communities have come, by celebrating our resilience and the completion of Arlington and Darrington’s America’s Best Communities projects,” said Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert and Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin.

The towns have been competing in the America’s Best Communities program. As quarter finalists, they received $50,000 to develop a community revitalization plan.

Twelve economic revitalization projects were borne out of that plan and as the communities advanced to the finals, they received $100,000 to begin implementing them. To date this has included, place making improvements, community wi-fi hot spots and development of a youth council.

On April 19, the towns will find out if they have been awarded the grand prize of up to $3 million for first place, $2 million for second, or $1 million for third.

Congratulations, Arlington and Darrington on your success with this grant program and on coming together to rebuild after the tragic events of March 22, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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Stillaguamish Valley looks ahead after Oso slide

PSRC’s Executive Board welcomed the Mayors of Arlington and Darrington, Barbara Tolbert and Dan Rankin, for a presentation on the new North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan.

The new North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan highlights the area's natural beauty as an important resource.

The new North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan highlights the area’s natural beauty as an important resource.

“The way the Stillaguamish Valley has come together to chart its economic future is another great example of leadership following the Oso slide.” said PSRC Executive Director Josh Brown.

The economic analysis supporting the plan showed a declining resource economy, an increasing role for industry, and more population close to the urban area.

The goals of the plan are to develop infrastructure to better connect the community, build jobs, support community and workforce development, improve resilience, create a stronger sense of place, and develop rural innovations.

Some strategies to achieve these goals include improvements to recreational infrastructure to attract people to the area, foster a innovation ecosystem around Valley entrepreneurialism, and advancement resource based industry clusters.

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Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci, Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert and Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin at the Executive Board today.

The presentation to the Executive Board helped shine a spotlight on the Valley with coverage from KIRO-TV and KOMO-TV.

In other action, the Executive Board granted projects in Kent and Tacoma exceptions that will allow each to keep federal funds managed by PSRC.

The Board also did its annual performance review of PSRC’s Executive Director.

You can see the full agenda here, and watch the meeting here.

 

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Region takes another step towards Eastside light rail

Two East Link light rail projects have cleared environmental, financial and planning requirements to move forward.

East Link is expected to have 50,000 daily riders by 2030.

East Link is expected to have 50,000 daily riders by 2030.

“This is a great day for the region to take another step in finally connecting the Eastside to the light rail system. A big part of the job and population growth in the region will take place on the Eastside, and East Link is an extremely important piece of how we’re going to support the jobs and people headed our way,” said Redmond Mayor John Marchione, President of the Puget Sound Regional Council. 

PSRC’s Executive Board authorized the change in Transportation 2040 project status for Sound Transit East Link Light Rail Extension and Bellevue Way HOV Lanes and Transit Priority.

The board was briefed on the just enacted 2015 state transportation package that could result in an estimated $26 billion in transportation improvements within the region.

About $1.2 billion in funding could be at risk according to a staff analysis by PSRC.  Should the state proceed with enforcement of a new cleaner fuel standard, funds collected for about $1.2 billion in transit, freight, school safety, rail, special needs and other transportation programs would be transferred to a fund restricted for highway purposes starting July 1, 2016.

It is unclear when Governor Jay Inslee will make what he’s called, “a tough decision.”

The board also approved $3 million in funding for Rural Town Centers and Corridors projects and conferred on the results of the 2014 Puget Sound Regional Travel Study.

 

 

 


Darrington completes key school project

Just after school broke for lunch yesterday the Town of Darrington cut the ribbon on a new street just out front.

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Whitehorse Mountain looms big over ribbon cutting for Darrington’s new Fir Street.

The town’s new Fir Street has sidewalks and drainage and will make for a much safer route to school.

The project wound up being completed on time even after the town was overwhelmed by the Oso landslide in March.

The state’s Transportation Improvement Board took emergency action to fully fund the project and keep it on track.

Mayor Dan Rankin said yesterday that recreational businesses hit pre-recession levels this past summer.

He credited a state funded ad campaign with keeping people coming through despite major reconstruction of Highway 530.

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Sidewalks, drainage, striping and parking make Fir Street a safer route to school.

The state expects to complete work on the main route to Darrington by next month.

Streets around town were rehabbed the summer – with part of $5 million in emergency funding from the PSRC.

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State helps Darrington get project to bid

The state’s Transportation Improvement Board took emergency action last Friday – and today it paid off for the Town of Darrington when it put its Fir Street project out for bid.

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Fir Street project in Darrington to bid thanks to Transportation Improvement Board

The town was able to keep the project moving forward just one week behind schedule, despite all the calamity caused by the Oso mudslide.

The project was in danger because the town’s strapped budget was hit hard by the slide.  This project will construct curb, gutter, and accessible sidewalks – a new storm drainage system will be added.

Last week in Yakima, the TIB waived a requirement for about $80,000 in matching funds, and agreed to pick up all the $584,000 in anticipated costs.

The swift move will dramatically reduce paperwork in addition to green-lighting bids.

The project was initially a target for $5 million in federal funds from the PSRC to assist with the economic recovery of the area.

Snohomish County is working with local leaders to quickly identify uses for those funds.

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PSRC approves $5 million for Darrington, Oso and Arlington area

The Puget Sound Regional Council’s Executive Board unanimously gave final approval of $5 million in federal transportation funds to support the economic recovery of the Stillaguamish valley communities impacted by the Oso landslide.

The Executive Board unanimously gave final approval of $5 million in federal transportation funds to support the economic recovery of the Stillaguamish valley communities impacted by the Oso landslide.

The Executive Board approved $5 million in federal transportation funds to support the economic recovery of the Stillaguamish valley communities impacted by the Oso landslide.

The PSRC funding will be made available to Snohomish County, which will work with local communities to make transportation investments which will best support local economic recovery.

“As we in Snohomish County have been responding to the tragic events of the Oso landslide disaster, it is apparent that the Town of Darrington will need ongoing support for its economic recovery in the months and years to come.  This funding award will be an important first step,” said Snohomish County Executive John Lovick.

“With this action, we have an opportunity to meet real needs in the Town of Darrington at this time and to set the stage for its economic recovery,” said Snohomish County Councilmember Dave Somers.

“This tragedy has impacted the entire Arlington, Oso and Darrington area and this assistance is important,” Snohomish Councilmember Ken Klein told the board.   “It helps toward building the economy of Darrington and surrounding communities.  We are very grateful.”

Read more about what happened at the Executive Board meeting here.


PSRC recommends $5 million for Darrington, Oso, Arlington area recovery

Responding to the landslide tragedy in the Oso area, the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Transportation Policy Board today unanimously recommended an emergency funding action to provide $5 million of PSRC’s federal transportation funds to Snohomish County.

PSRC's transportation board today unanimously recommended $5 million in emergency funding to help economic recovery of Darrington, Oso and Arlington areas.

PSRC’s transportation board unanimously recommended $5 million in emergency funding to help economic recovery in areas affected by the Oso landslide.

“As we in Snohomish County have been responding to the tragic events of the Oso landslide disaster, it is apparent that the Town of Darrington will need ongoing support for its economic recovery in the months and years to come.  This funding award will be an important first step,” said Snohomish County Executive John Lovick.

These funds will be awarded to Snohomish County’s North Road, SR 524 – 164th Street SW project for immediate use.  In turn, Snohomish County will use an equal amount of county funding for key transportation projects in the Town of Darrington and its vicinity to support the economic recovery of the valley.

Read the rest

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