The two candidates running for Snoqualmie City Council Position #4 (position currently held by council member James Mayhew) – Carson Maestas & Louis Washington, submitted answers to three questions we asked.
The answers below are in candidate alphabetical order. They were asked to keep answers under 300 words. After the Q&A, you will find a short bio for each candidate and a link to their websites.
The summer primary was held on August 1st. Ballots were mailed out yesterday, and November 7th will be the general election.
Question 1: How do you plan on addressing affordable housing for seniors and our local workforce if elected?
Carson: Affordable housing for seniors and our local workforce is a real challenge for Snoqualmie as well as the rest of King County right now. The upcoming Mill Pond construction (which I’ll admit I’m not too thrilled about) promises to add 160 units, but it’s estimated to be two years after construction begins before they will be available. Furthermore, the affordability of these units remains uncertain. In the interim, we must explore innovative solutions and identify opportunities for additional city revenue streams.
The recent City Ordinance 1279, which eases restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units (like Mother-in-law apartments), is a great starting point. These units could strike the right balance between affordability, privacy, and retaining revenue within the city. However, relying solely on this won’t address the entirety of our housing challenges.
We should also consider finding ways to repurpose vacant buildings and unused space, exploring ways to offer temporary accommodations for visitors. Snoqualmie Valley is a major attraction, yet the limited hotel options often deter visitors from extending their stay beyond an afternoon. Our region boasts of its stunning Pacific Northwest landscapes, but the nearest viable camping spot is at Middlefork.
I envision creating low-impact, temporary accommodations for short-term visitors, especially during events that attract large crowds. Not only would this provide a boost to our local businesses, but the fees collected from these accommodations could be channeled back into the community, assisting those most in need. By thinking creatively and leveraging our natural assets, we can help ease some of these affordable housing challenges while not compromising on our long term objective of preserving our small town charm.
Louis: As the chair of the Affordable Housing Taskforce Policy committee, I will continue to work to develop smart affordable housing that protects the character of our community while meeting our growing needs. I think it is important that we consider affordable housing for our local workforce.
To support service workers, first responders, law enforcement and teachers, I am a proponent of workforce housing between 60% AMI – 80% AMI for our community. I support developing housing for seniors who wish to downsize and stay in the community.
Question 2: What do you feel are the city’s biggest challenges, and how do you plan to address them?
Carson: The biggest challenge is going to be the balancing act of easing the affordable housing challenge, while keeping the development that will be occurring in line with the character of our small town. This challenge, coupled with skyrocketing inflation and a city staff that is already stretched extremely thin, means that we need to find additional revenue sources or ways of reducing our non-labor costs.
So how do we do this? We need to find ways of drawing more visitors to the area and keeping them here for longer than a few hours. While I don’t like the idea of developing our limited remaining open space, I like the idea of finding ways to offer temporary outdoor recreational accommodations that allow for easy access to our downtown. This is going to require some creativity because there will likely be a myriad of logistical challenges we need to work through. So, I’m going to need to hear a lot of different perspectives that will range from city planning experts all the way to the townies at Smokey Joe’s. Every person has a perspective, and while many ideas might not be feasible, each unsuccessful suggestion brings us closer to a solution. We as a 7-person council can’t do it alone; this is going to be a community effort.
Louis: I will prioritize collaboration on public safety between law enforcement, first responders, and service providers to ensure a safe and healthy Snoqualmie. I will also lead on environmental sustainability and small business support that has kept Snoqualmie one of the best places to live. I will continue the progress on developing smart affordable housing that protects the character of our community while meeting our growing needs.
Question 3: What issue(s) made you decide to run (or run again) for the city council?
Carson: I’m running because I want to preserve the small town charm of Snoqualmie. That requires a very thoughtful and coordinated effort to find a way to navigate the delicate balance between finding solutions for our immediate concerns and our long-term objectives, particularly when they seem to conflict. I want to help continue the revitalization effort in Downtown and find new ways of bringing additional revenue from outside the Valley that are as low impact as possible.I want to find ways of supporting local artists, makers, and other creatives in whatever their craft may be. I want to foster an environment that promotes creativity and innovative thinking, because we are going to need out of the box thinking.
Affordable housing remains a pressing concern, and I am committed to exploring solutions that align with our town’s character. Partnering closely with our Police Department is paramount to ensure that Snoqualmie remains one of the safest communities in Washington. My overarching goal is to keep Snoqualmie this picturesque mountain town at the foot of the Cascades. A place where we feel safe raising our families in, and where the community and natural environment nurtures the creative spirit in each of us. But I can’t do it alone, so I hope that I can count on your support as I go against the grain and fight to preserve our scenic Snoqualmie.
Louis: The following are my priorities for our city.
- Environmental Sustainability – As a councilmember and a member of the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum, I will continue to ensure Snoqualmie remains a beautiful place for generations to come.
- Economic Development – I will continue to lead on small business support that has kept Snoqualmie one of the best places to live.
- Affordable Housing – I will continue to work to develop smart affordable housing that protects the character of our community while meeting our growing needs.
I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to have served on your City Council this year. With your vote, I am seeking to continue my service protecting our city’s amazing quality of life and working effectively with other leaders to find solutions.
Candidate Bios with websites (if available) linked to names.
Carson Maestas is a Snoqualmie local photographer, certified drone pilot, and digital artist (he also has a lame corporate job in Contracts and Procurement.) Carson served in the US Marine Corps right out of high school, but these days he prefers the quieter, more peaceful life that the Snoqualmie Valley has to offer.
With his wife Trisha, he is raising two amazing kids whose creative talents will soon exceed his own. Carson is currently running for Snoqualmie City Council on a platform centered around fostering an environment that enables artists to thrive in this beautiful part of Washington and preserving the small-town charm for future generations to enjoy.
Mr. Washington works in the Medical and Pharmaceutical industry as an Area Business Manager for Strategic Customers, with a focus on mental health. He has served on the City’s Economic Development Commission for the past year and is actively involved with the Snoqualmie Valley Affordable Housing Task Force, chairing the Community and Public Policy Committee.
Mr. Washington has lived in Snoqualmie for five years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in finance and economics from Seattle University.
Councilmember Washington was appointed to Position No. 5 by the City Council on March 28, 2023.
Service in 2023:
- Finance & Administration Committee, Member