Snoqualmie Valley In The Face Of Change

There is one thing I have noticed in my 41 years.  One of the hardest things to deal with is change.  I am not just referring to a huge political or idea shift/change.   I am referring to any kind of change.  Even the smallest ones.

Moving to a new house, starting a new school, making new friends.  These are all relatively small changes in the world-scope of things, yet they can be life-altering.  I have experienced such changes this year.  I complain about them sometimes, but in the end I adapted.  Created a new normal.  Tried to find the positive in them.

Even small, normal family changes are hard.  My daughter is 16 now.  It seems overnight her attitude toward me changed.  I am no longer her center – not that I am sure I ever was.  She’s is ready to go, fly away.  Her friends are it.  They took my place.  It takes something major to make me her rock, the person she turns to.  You learn to find beauty in those moments.  I do miss the younger days, though.

It seems many people I talk to these days are looking for some change in our valley.  Most of it revolves around the schools… change in vision, change in learning standards, change in expectations from our students and possibly change in leadership.  I understand why some fight the change.  It is scary and  life-altering.  Snoqualmie Valley is strong in its roots, as are the people who founded this beautiful place.  Some feel if it’s not broken then it doesn’t need fixing.

But does changing really mean fixing?  Sometimes can’t it just be a small shift?  Or a series of small changes that lead to something bigger, greater?  A new, different way of thinking doesn’t mean silencing the old way.  It simply means letting new ideas, ways of doing things, enter the conversation.  Maybe combining the two and really listening is the key.

Some might ask why our valley even needs the sometimes dreaded word, “change.”  I thought hard and here is my answer.  I believe the idea of change is surfacing  because the valley’s landscape changed.  The City of Snoqualmie is the perfect example.  It is a completely different city than it was 13 years ago.  Like it or not, Snoqualmie Ridge was built.  The valley is now a bedroom community to Bellevue.   People moved here because it is a stunningly beautiful place that offered new construction homes.  Those homes were more affordable than Bellevue, Kirkland, Bothell – while offering less congestion, more parks, beautiful vistas.  The same thing happened in North Bend in the early 1990’s.

So if the face of the valley and the demographics changed, isn’t it safe to say other things might change, too?  New ideas and ways of doing things might surface?  That doesn’t mean those changes are easy and not opposed, but there is definitely change.  I think it’s important to know why things are changing.  Understand that it isn’t coming out of the blue.  It started 20 years ago with North Bend’s development and continued through the past decade with Snoqualmie’s growth.

What if the call for change in our school district could be viewed as a comprise?  Throw out the whole notion of someone winning and someone losing.  I see this school bond election (round 2) as a compromise.  One side sees the new middle school as not needed quite yet.  Yes, the growth is there, but they feel we can make it a couple years longer.  They worry district leaders are bullying parents with a firm time line for annexation of SMS.  I have looked at the enrollment numbers.  I can see their point.  I also see the point of our district.   We need more room at the high school.  We need a new middle school to get that room.  Voters have rejected a second high school on 3 separate occasions.   Our high school will bust its seems in the near future.  A 9th grade campus is a compromise with voters.  I don’t need to fight about whether it’s 2013 or 2015.  I am looking at the big picture – which for me is that growth IS happening – regardless of the exact date on a calendar.

I know development is a bad word for many valley long-timers – as is growth.  It probably changed a way of valley life that seemed more peaceful, easier.  Am I sorry I picked this valley as my place to live?  To raise my kids?  No.  It’s a decision I don’t regret.   Do I hope for some “compromise” inside our school district?  Yes, I will admit I do.  I don’t feel the school board is representative of today’s Snoqualmie Valley.  I am not asking for a brand new school board.  Just one that is more representative of its whole population.  Possibly infused with some new blood, new ideas, new standards.

Above all else, please don’t forget to vote this Tuesday, April 26th.  I know many of you have already.  According to King County stats, thus far turnout is even higher than February’s record voter turnout.  Keep reminding your neighbors.  Yes or no, just mail in the ballot and have your say.  Ballots must be postmarked by April 26th to count in this election.  For more info visit King County Elections.†

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  • You have a very healthy view on this subject. Thanks for summing things up so simply.

  • Sounds like fair reasoning. It seems to me that we don’t want change to have the unintended consequence of changing all the things that are great, and also don’t want a lack-of-change to stifle moving ahead. I’m for roofs and rigor and hope to see both in our future.

  • Living Snoqualmie