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.

2 minute read

June 25, 2018, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Twin Peaks

Maurice / Shutterstock

"[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."

Sunday, June 24, 2018 in KUOW

View of Interstate 205 bridge over Columbia River with Mt. Hood in background.

The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project

The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.

September 19, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A derelict sign on a barbed wire fence reads “Golf Course, Private, No Admittance.”

Converting Golf Courses to Housing Never as Easy as the Market Would Like

Thousands of golf courses have closed in recent years, but the obvious redevelopment opportunity represented by many defunct courses isn’t always easy to realize.

September 19, 2023 - The Business Journals

Close-up of red Houston BCycle bike share bikes parked at a station

Houston To End Bike Share Program

Lacking the funding it needs to continue, Houston’s BCycle bike share system will end operations in the coming months.

September 18, 2023 - Houston Chronicle

Close-up of Unalakleet, Alaska on map.

FTA Announces Tribal Transit Program Grants

The agency awarded close to $10 million to 22 communities around the country for transit improvements.

2 hours ago - Mass Transit

View from inside glass top floor of Amtrak passenger train with Rocky Mountains scenery outside.

Making Colorado’s Front Range Rail a Reality

Local leaders are scrambling to bring together the funding and political support to create new intercity rail service in the fast-growing region.

3 hours ago - Governing

Students walking on sunny walkway on college campus.

How College Campuses Fulfill an Urbanist Dream

Most college campuses in the United States are inherently walkable, mixing various uses with diverse housing options and transit networks.

4 hours ago - The Daily

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.