Landowner proposes Washington Technology University campus in Bellevue

  • Saturday, August 26, 2017 8:00am
  • News

Mount Si runner Lyndsey Sydnor races at Mountain Meadows Farm in a 2013 home meet for the team. (File Photo)

A North Bend landowner is seeking to create a Washington Technology University campus in Bellevue, with a branch campus just outside North Bend city limits.

Part of that proposal is to bring the 210-acre Mountain Meadows Farm back into agricultural production, as well as into the education field, which has raised many questions in the communities of North Bend and Snoqualmie. Brad Owen, representing Mountain Meadows Farm owner and resident Chunlai Hou, said Hou and his staff intend to answer those questions, and ask some of their own at a 6:30 p.m. open house meeting Thursday, Aug. 31, at the farm, 42122 SE 102nd St., North Bend.

“The purpose of the meeting is to get people to come in and tell us their concerns,” said Owen, as well as what they think of the proposal.

The other piece the proposal is to create a campus of the future Washington Technology University, to be launched by Hou in Bellevue this January. Courses will cover high tech, viniculture, agriculture and hotel management.

The branch campus, located just outside North Bend city limits in unincorporated King County on the Mountain Meadows property, would focus on agricultural education for up to 350 students at a time, and possibly offer night classes to local residents. It would also put a large piece of the property back into farm production, under the guidance of school professors and through the labors of the students.

It would not, Owen said in response to rumors, bring 2,000 cars daily to the property, disturb existing wetlands, or grow into a full college campus with dormitories for 2,000 students. The code for the property won’t allow it.

Most of the property can’t legally be developed, because former owner Raymond Damazzo sold the property’s future development rights on 187 acres, to King County Aug. 25, 1986, for $685,000. The terms of the transfer allow only three single-family homes on the site and allow up to 5 percent of the property to be non-tillable land.

Details about the proposal will be presented at the meeting Aug. 31, and people will be asked for their feedback then. This will be the only public meeting on the project, Owen said, but community members can also provide their input online on The Future of Mountain Meadows Farm website, http://thefutureofmountainmeadowsfarm.com.

Mountain Meadows Farm was foreclosed by King County in December, 2015 and sold to Hou in February, 2016. Prior to foreclosure, the land had been used in dairy farming, as an equestrian events center and as a corporate events venue, with thousands of people on site each day. It also hosted Mount Si High School’s cross country home meets.

In its future, the property could start hosting a four-year degree program, offering bachelor of science degrees in agriculture technology and viniculture. These will follow the opening of Hou’s Washington Technology University in leased space in Bellevue.

Owen said Hou’s original plan had been to eventually locate the college in North Bend, but that won’t be possible.

He added that in Bellevue, “There is no property purchased at this time for the university.”

The North Bend campus would eventually host up to 350 students on site at any one time. The college’s total enrollment is projected to be between 200 and 1,000 students.

“Down the road, they are planning to put in some housing, but not for 1,000 students,” Owen added.

The traffic impact of hundreds of students travelling to and from the campus is also being considered, Owen said. One possibility to limit traffic challenges on 420th Ave. SE by making a new entrance to the farm on SE 100th St.

None of these changes are expected to happen soon, though, Owen said. The farm has only recently applied for a conditional use permit, which is only the start of a lengthy process.

“We don’t see the doors opening for the ag school for a few years down the road,” he added.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Pineapple-clutching racers struggle through tunnels in the Hawaiian-themed Winter Pineapple Classic, a five-kilometer fun run benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, held at Mount Meadows Farm in 2014. (File Photo)

Mountain Meadows Farm, with its amazing views, is the proposed site for a future branch campus of Washington Technology University. A public meeting about the proposal is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at Mountain Meadows Farm. (File Photo)

Mountain Meadows Farm, with its amazing views, is the proposed site for a future branch campus of Washington Technology University. A public meeting about the proposal is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at Mountain Meadows Farm. (File Photo)

More in News

Bellevue Police car
Bellevue police officer placed on administrative leave for social media posts

Department is investigating the posts, which included conspiracy theory about George Floyd’s death.

King County assessor wants Legislature to fix laws to help small businesses

Changes needed because of COVID-19 impact on commercial properties

File photo.
Bellevue police investigating fatal stabbings

The city announced in a news release an ongoing investigation of a June 1 domestic disturbance.

King County could be in Phase 2 in two weeks

The county is also hoping the state lets them reopen several businesses by Friday.

Bellevue lifts curfew scheduled through Saturday

The city no longer has a curfew in the downtown area, as of June 4

Bellevue Chamber CEO: Volunteers help with downtown cleanup

Update: They are not seeking additional volunteers at this time. Cleanup comes after a few stores in Bellevue faced property damage from looters.

Bellevue City Hall. Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
How is COVID-19 impacting Bellevue?

New King County data dashboard breaks down case rates, number of unemployment filings and more.

Kabal Gill, owner of East India Grill in Federal Way, wears gloves to hand over take-out orders at his restaurant on March 23. File photo
New guidelines for Phase 2 reopenings in King County

All workers will need to wear masks as restaurants, retail shops and other businesses reopen.

Most Read