Opinion | Streets and Water – Open Letter to North Bend City Council

[Letter by Chris Lodahl– North Bend, WA. Views expressed are those of the author, not the Living Snoqualmie website. You may submit letters to the editor or opinion posts to info@livingsnoqualmie.com]

Last week there was another major water main break on Riverside Drive in Old Si View, where I reside. I wrote city council members regarding the professionalism of the crew and their excellent response time being a Saturday. As another issue – I further wrote about infrastructure policy failure, particularly outdated “asbestos” water mains and streets within the old parts of town, Silver Creek, Old Si View and parts of downtown and the lack of priority by the council. 

Their reply (within 20 minutes of my email on a Sunday) was a policy of no street improvement/paving and water main replacement until these areas voted to approve and pay for ULID sewer. 

This open letter on Living Snoqualmie is my attempt to provide public input/response to our elected officials on this sewer first policy. If you reside in the “Old Town,” – how do you feel about this sewer first policy before your streets and/or water mains are replaced or maintained?

North Bend City Council Members,

Thank you for your policy reply to my email on water line replacement and street replacement. I appreciate knowing your policy intentions for these important infrastructure issues.

However, I look at these two issues differently from a policy perspective. There needs to be a more short-term approach with a current plan in place to commence upgrades with an emphasis on replacement for streets and water mains in the older parts of town, such as Silver Creek, Old Si View and downtown residential. The excuse that streets mainly and water secondly will not be repaired/replaced until sewer is installed is a good concept – but it is just a concept that translates to poor policy in the real world of North Bend. 

Citizens deserve your attention not only for construction east of town and the new growth area but also the “Old Town” – which made the growth possible. This council has already violated its own sewer first policy – Meadow Brook ULID given council exemptions for residential hookups in order to appease business growth. Prior to this, the city ordinance for no residential building requiring city sewer hookup was repealed, and the infill lots could be constructed on with a septic tank system. With the recent replacement of water mains on a few side streets off Sixth Street and the recent third water main repair on Riverside Drive in the last eighteen months, the city is aware there is a growing problem with old “asbestos” pipes.

To deny citizens good roads and replacement of outdated “asbestos” water mains, using sewer as a reason is poor policy/planning. Compare what Old Town Snoqualmie recently did – block after block of complete rebuild of streets, sidewalks, water mains and sewer mains. 

Where sewer construction is paid for on a ULID by the affected property owners, water and streets are different funding structures. Nor will the city ever get the percentage property approval mark from property owners for ULIDs in Silver Creek or Old SI View – even though the first-time construction is the cheapest vs. replacement of a line.   The Social Media posts on these issues clearly show a lack of interest from North Bend city leaders. There was one post a while back from a Silver Creek resident who purchased a new car, and after two weeks on the neighborhood roads, it rattled all the time. Now for the challenge – drive around Silver Creek and the older city areas you represent– feel and see. Hopefully, fix.


Chris Lodahl, North Bend Mayor 1992-1995, City Council 1990-1991

Comments are closed.


  • The residents of Old Si View and Silver Creek currently pay taxes to the city, correct? I’m not sure how the city can legally have a policy of withholding services and improvements from residents?

  • As a resident of Silver Creek I voted against sewer many years ago. I knew the city wouldn’t upgrade our roads till we approved it, but i was fine with that. Cause our property size, it would cost me over 100k to hook up to city sewer. That cost doesn’t include decommissioning our septic tank which is about 5k.

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