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Even in the Pacific Northwest, Developments Conflict With Water

The Seattle region would seem to have plenty of water to go around. That doesn't mean there aren't environmental consequences for more development.
June 25, 2018, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Twin Peaks

"[E]ven in rainy, water-abundant Seattle, the region’s astronomical growth has given rise to new conflicts over water rights for people and salmon," according to an article and on-air report by Joshua McNichols.

The case study for the pressure between sprawl and water supply is set along the Snoqualmie River, found about 30 miles outside of Seattle and in the opening credits of the television show Twin Peaks. The city of Snoqualmie has been growing quickly, but upstream the city of North Bend, where Twin Peaks was mostly filmed, is stuck in the past due to a 1999 housing construction moratorium, implemented when the city got caught drawing more water than permitted from wells.

Now, developers have proposed a 212-unit development in North Bend, but "local environmental activists are demanding to know whether that building would put new strain on an already-overburdened waterway."

According to North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing, the development will bring workers, many of whom now commute from much farther south in King County, closer to North Bend's "struggling" commercial core. Mayor Hearing is also motivated to generate revenue from development that North Bend lacks, but other cities nearby have managed to collect on for years.

Jean Buckner represents the Friends of the Snoqualmie Trail and River, the environmental group opposing the apartment development. According to McNichols, "Buckner said she’s not against growth in North Bend. She just wants to see the city demonstrate that the river can withstand this new development."

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