With 2020 ushered in, we would like to continue our annual tradition of looking back on the news of the past year.
This past year, 2019, saw suspected gang violence, development (including a new park) and a month of snow.
“More neo-nazi flyers appear in Bellevue,” published Jan. 18, 2019. A sad trend on the Eastside as people find flyers with hate speech in their yards. It’s not limited to Bellevue residents. While some people put the apparent garbage in a garbage can, others understandably are concerned and potentially intimidated by the hateful messages. City representatives and neighbors were outspoken in opposition to the flyers.
Snow, snow and more snow. Significant snowfall generated several headlines in the Reporter in February 2019. Headlines included: “Snow hits lowland areas of King County” published Feb. 8, 2019, along with “One of the snowiest months on record,” and “Overlake staff gets hotel rooms during snow storm,” both published Feb. 15, 2019.
“Meydenbauer Bay Park grand opening,” published March 22, 2019 (headline typo fixed for this recap). Following 30 years of planning, preparation and anticipation, a new flagship park on the waterfront was unveiled and opened to the public. Terraces, walkways, a beach, a picnic area, a playground, a beach house with restrooms, and a pier — what more could anyone ask for?
Gang violence took center stage in April 2019. First, an 18-year-old male was killed when shots were fired at Goldsmith Park, as reported on April 5, 2019. two weeks later, “Increased Crossroads violent acts may be gang related,” published on April 19, 2019, detailed a news conference with Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett who said he believes the uptick in violence — including the Goldsmith Park shooting — is gang related. He vowed increased police presence in the neighborhood.
“Firearm safety program rejected,” published May 31, 2019. Gun violence prevention groups were upset when the city’s planning commission rejected a citizen-proposed comprehensive plan amendment for a “Vision Zero for gun safety” program. City staff recommended the commission reject the amendment because it was not consistent with zoning.
“Why is Bellevue taking so long to finish its shelter?” published June 21, 2019. Reporter Aaron Kunkler took a close look at the situation behind the shelter’s construction. The city made a commitment in 2012, but a permanent site wouldn’t be ready until 2022. The story noted the setbacks and roadblocks the project has faced, and the ongoing complications that has kept the project stalled.
“Amazon’s tower plans reveal serious commitment to Bellevue expansion,” published July 12, 2019. The 43-story, 1 million square foot tower made headlines in nearly every major media publication and outlet when it was announced in July. Earlier in the year, the company’s plans for a second headquarters in New York (HQ2) became complicated, and in the recent past the company and the city of Seattle had battled over proposed taxes. However, The company was quick to note that its expansion plans into Bellevue had long been in the works and were unrelated to those complications.
“City council proceeds with bike lane, sidewalk project despite pushback,” published Aug. 9, 2019. The city of Bellevue continued to make investments in pedestrian infrastructure, even in the face of limited opposition. The opposition to that particular project noted that other streets would be more appropriate. The city council disagreed and decided to move forward. While the story seemed like it was minimally important at the time, stories of accidents between vehicles and pedestrians would surface during the next several months to close out 2019.
“Cyclist dies after car collision on 145th Avenue,” published Sept. 27, 2019. Tragedy struck when a bicycling resident (a 72-year-old man) was killed in a traffic accident by a Kenmore motorist. It was the second fatal accident of 2019 in Bellevue between a motorist and a cyclist.
“Police arrest 4 in connection to Goldsmith Park murder,” published Oct. 4, 2019. Following a six-month investigation, police arrested four people connected to the Goldsmith Park murder (see listing above for the month of April). Chief Mylett noted that he confidently believed the murder was gang related. It was the first murder in Bellevue in more than three years.
“Twelve arrested in police prostitution sting,” published Nov. 22, 2019. Salacious or just plain interesting? Whatever the case may be, the Bellevue Police Department held a sting operation by luring would-be Johns to an undercover Jane at a Bellevue hotel. When the suspect knocked on the hotel room door, he was believed to be completing the act of soliciting sex.
“Police exercise educates drivers and pedestrians on safety,” published Dec. 13, 2019. In 2019, five traffic fatalities were recorded in the city of Bellevue. Two were pedestrians on foot, two were cyclists, and one was a single vehicle accident. In an effort to curb the trend, the Bellevue Police Department held an exercise, pulling people over — both drivers and pedestrians — to educate them after they broke a traffic rule.