The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

August 19, 2010

Some Newspaper That Shouldn’t Be Recycled

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 11:51 am

With the close proximity of my new apartment to the Bellevue Library and its extensive microfilm collection, I have been meaning to get over there more often to do some research and put up some more Recycled Newspaper posts.  Now it turns out that it may not even be necessary to walk the 2 blocks to the library.  Last week, I had a meeting with Nao Hardy of the Redmond Historical Society, where I was able to acquire a copy of her digital archives with all sorts of interesting historic photos and documents from Redmond’s history.  I still haven’t gone through all of this, but I expect that there should be a number of interesting items in this which will eventually find their way here.  Perhaps more interesting (to me at least) is this giant book, which I have been loaned:

This rather large book contains all of the 1979 issues of the Sammamish Valley News (Redmond’s former weekly newspaper) in bound form, and is one of several that were donated to the Historical Society by the King County Library System several years ago.  I haven’t had time to do a whole lot of looking through this, but given the fact that these are the original papers, there should be plenty of interesting material here.  Among the highlights from this year are a lot of coverage of the controversial Evergreen East mall proposed but never built on the site of what eventually became Microsoft campus (you can find some more info on this on this earlier Blog post,) the beginnings of what eventually became a fifteen-year fight over what eventually became Redmond Town Center, and a Mayoral election that ultimately resulted in three-term mayor Selwyn “Bud” Young being voted out of office.  In addition to this, there’s also plenty of the usual local interest stuff, the advertising and the aspect of inadvertent documentary that comes from the most mundane things. 

There is also some degree of responsibility that comes with this, as it needs to be handled carefully.  As far as I am aware, this may be the only physical copy of these papers remaining in existence (I’m not sure if the 1979 issues are in the microfilm) and although they aren’t going to crumble into dust if I look at them funny, I do need to exercise a certain amount of caution while dealing with them.  Pages need to be turned carefully to avoid ripping them (after all, even though it’s all in book form, it’s still newsprint.)  I am told that the binding of these papers is not archival, so at some point further preservation steps will need to be taken.  Ideally, the best way to deal with this would be to digitize it all, but even a single volume of this woud require a significant effort and probably more equipment than I have available.  I’m sure that someone will figure out some way to do this eventually, but for the time being, it looks like I’ll be doing my searching the old-fashioned way.  Naturally, you’ll be seeing the results of this appearing here soon.

August 29, 2009

The New Redmond Center Takes Shape (Updated)

Filed under: Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 10:10 pm


Update (9/20):  An article in the Redmond Reporter gives an opening date of October 9th for the Trader Joe’s store.

As you may have noticed if you drive through Redmond on a regular basis, construction activity at Redmond Center has been winding down, and a number of new stores are preparing to move in. 

Less than seven months after demolition work began on the site, Niko Teriyaki was able to reopen was able to reopen in their new location at the beginning of August, and seems to have settled in with little trouble.  Although it isn’t entirely certain what all of the spaces will be used for just yet, there is a coming soon sign up for an HSBC bank branch next door to Niko.  This might seem a bit odd, since the only HSBC branch I am aware of around here is the one in downtown Seattle.  Aside from that, there really isn’t much to say.  It’s a bank.  And a rather large (multi-national) one at that. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the newly constructed portion of the center is a Qdoba Mexican Grill.  This is another one that might be familiar to people around here, as a number of locations exist in the area already, including a Redmond location in the Overlake neighborhood on Northeast 24th Street.  I used to eat there fairly often when I worked in building 44 at Microsoft, and although the food was decent, I went there mostly because I could get there to grab something and get back to my desk within fifteen minutes (yeah, I seem to have the bad habit of eating at my desk way too often.)  I do still make it over there every once in a while, but not all that often.  Since they took my favorite item (the Chicken Mole Burrito) off the menu, I don’t really find all that many compelling reasons to head over there (the fact that the Taqueria Guadalajara taco truck is just a couple of blocks away and a lot easier to get to from a traffic standpoint doesn’t help either.)  Still, as long as you don’t set your expectations too high it’s decent.  Based on what was going on inside, I’d say this one’s ready to open just about any day now.  There are a couple of spaces in between here and the Niko Teriyaki that don’t show any obvious signs of what they are going to contain yet.


Finally, the one that everyone’s waiting for: Trader Joe’s.  Earlier this week a “coming soon” sign showed up, and subsequently came back down.  Nonetheless, the forthcoming Redmond location is now being listed under the “coming soon” section of their website.  There’s still a fair bit of construction going on inside, and I suspect they’ve still got a fair bit of work to do before this store will open.  Trader Joe’s should be familiar to most people around here (in fact, the historical timeline on their site mentions the Bellevue store as the first in Washington, and the second in the Pacific Northwest) but with the two closest locations being on 156th in Bellevue and at Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland, they tend to be a bit tough to get to.  Nonetheless, TJs has a pretty devoted following of budget-minded foodies, and they should do well in this location.  It will be interesting to see if this store has any effect on the QFC store in this shopping center though.  Although the two stores won’t be directly competing with each other (Trader Joe’s sells mostly their own store brand products,) it’s rare to see two grocery stores in one shopping center these days, and this particular QFC store is a bit of an oddity already because it’s located three blocks from another QFC (the one in Bella Bottega, which originally opened as an Olson’s in 1993 and was converted to a QFC when they merged in 1996.) 


There are also a couple of additional spaces behind the Trader Joe’s store, but there’s pretty much nothing going on here.  Just four semi-finished walls, a roof and a floor.  I’m guessing these ones haven’t been leased out yet.  Nonetheless, there seems to be quite a bit going on around here still, and the Trader Joe’s store should bring a fair bit of traffic to this shopping center.  It’ll be interesting to see what else pops up here…

May 25, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: The Great Redmond Bank Robbery That Wasn’t

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 12:40 am

Update 5/26/09:  Added  details on the sentencing of the seven co-conspirators in this plot based on a Seattle Times article I was able to find.

It sounds like a plot straight out a Hollywood blockbuster. Seven members of an extremist organization devise an elaborate plot to rob three small town banks in one day. And we’re not talking your run-of-the-mill bank robberies either. Surely there would be no way that a small-town police force would be able to respond to three banks being robbed simultaneously. Nonetheless, just to make sure that the police wouldn’t be able to interfere with their plans, they were going to take the police force out of commission. To do this, they were going to bomb the police station and take control of the police airwaves, which would then be used to coordinate the plot. Not only that, but they also planned to bomb the city’s main power transmission lines to cut the city’s power and prevent whatever police remained from being able to call for outside help. In the ensuing chaos, they would rob the three banks, andescape in stolen getaway cars before anyone could even respond.

Even in the movies, an elaborate plot like this sounds farfetched, but this is exactly what seven members of a right-wing extremist organization known as the Minutemen planned to do in Redmond in January of 1968. In the last Recycled Newspaper post, I covered a number of crime stories from Redmond as reported by the Sammamish Valley News in May of 1968. Although stories of a high-speed car chase around Education Hill and a quickly foiled armed robbery attempt certainly grab the headlines, it turns out that just a few months previous to these, there was a much bigger crime story in Redmond that I managed to miss completely.

Unfortunately for the would-be bank robbers, the FBI had been tipped off to their plot several weeks in advance, and an elaborate investigation by the FBI ultimately resulted in all seven co-conspirators being arrested before their plot could be carried out, with significant amounts of weapons andexplosives in their possession. Ultimately, not only would the seven men be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, but the leader of the Minutemen would also face conspiracy charges related to the robbery plot. As it turns out, this plot was covered not only by the Sammamish Valley News, but also received extensive coverage from the Seattle Times and P-I as well, and the story even reached a number of national papers, including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Much of the local coverage of this story can be found in the Redmond Historical Society’s archives in printed form. As with many of the items found here, the Internet also helps fill in a number of additional details, mostly in the form of court documents related to the criminal proceedings resulting from this plot. After the jump, a look at the Great Redmond Bank Robbery That Wasn’t. Oh, and you might want to grab a drink or something, because this one is long.


May 2, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Redmond Crime in 1968

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 11:54 pm

This week’s Recycled Newspaper draws from several May 1968 issues of the Sammamish Valley News, which is one of the relatively few years of the SVNcurrently available on microfilm.  As I skimmed through these issues, I foundthat there seemed to be plenty going on in Redmond to keep the police busy at this particular time, and for this week’s feature I will be drawing from a few of those stores.  I can’t tell if these stories represent anything more than the usual background  dose of criminal activity andbad driving, but a fair bit of what was going on at this time seemed to be noteworthy enough to write up in the local paper, often in a fair bit of detail.  In addition to what has been included here, the paper also included stories on several  instances of traffic fatalities in Redmond around this particular time, but I have chosen not to include those articles here.  There were also a number of other articles and ads of note within the SVN issues in question, and I will most likely be using some of those items for next week’s Recycled Newspaper.   For the time being, hit the jump for a look at some of the assorted miscreantismgoing on here in Redmond back in 1968.


March 28, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: The Fight Over Evergreen East, and Other Tidbits From 1978

Filed under: Bellevue, History, Malls, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 2:31 pm

Although 1978 might seem like a bit of a random choice for a subject for this week’s Recycled Newspaper, the original reason I chose it was because March 21st 1953 was the day that the City of Bellevue was incorporated, and as such, the City’s 25th birthday would fall during that time period.  Before anyone thinks that I have a memory for such useless facts or anything like that, I do have to confess that the only reason I even knew about it was that I had been previously looking through some papers from 1973 and found a couple of things about a 20th birthday celebration for the city going on at Bellevue Square, but the microfilm was too blurry to get any good images from.  This is unfortunate, because it also included a complete map and directory of Bellevue Square at the time which would have been quite useful for my research if not for the fact that it was hardly readable. 

I figured that if there was a party going on for Bellevue’s 20th birthday, then the one for the 25th birthday would be even bigger, right?  Unfortunately, in the Journal-Americans for that week (by 1978, the East Side Journal and Bellevue American had merged together and began publishing six days a week, although there would be no Sunday editions for several years still.) there wasn’t even a mention of the occasion that I could find, much less anything about any civic celebrations that might have resulted from the event.  Even so, I found did find some historically newsworthy articles, particularly in regards to the planned but never constructed Evergreen East mall in what was then an unincorporated area (which later became part of Redmond,) but which eventually got put to use in a manner which is arguably more notable than the proposed shopping mall would have been.  At this point  This, plus a number of other interesting items I came across, will follow after the jump.


March 20, 2009

Theno’s Dairy is Back in Business

Filed under: Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 1:01 pm

Update 8/19/13:  Even though it’s been over a year since Theno’s closed down, it looks like a comeback of sorts may be in the works.  It’s not clear exactly what form this will take at this point, but the plan for now the plan seems to call for a food truck, with potential for a new physical location at some point.  Additional details can be found at this Redmond Reporter story.

Update 5/31/2012:  Unfortunately, it appears that Theno’s is ending its 70+ year run.  More information, as well as a farewell letter from the owners, can be found here.

Theno’s Dairy has been a longtime fixture at the corner of Redmond-Woodinville Road and 124th, having held this spot in the Sammamish Valley since 1944.   Although there haven’t been any cows here since 1985 (with the notable exception of the fiberglass one that takes up residence in front of the shop,) Theno’s continues to be well known among locals for their ice cream, which is made on site.  Especially popular are their seasonal flavors, which include cantaloupe ice cream in the summer, and pumpkin ice cream in the Fall.  Unfortunately, back in December Theno’s suffered a minor fire in their building which has put them out of commission for three months.  Redmond’s ice cream enthusiasts will be happy to know that as of today, Theno’s is once again open for business and scooping up their Vivan’s Pride ice cream.

The building in which Theno’s resides looks every single day of its 65 years, but some would argue that its age is part of its charm.  After all, it’s the ice cream that people are coming for.  In addition to the ice cream, Theno’s also sells milk the old fashioned way in glass bottles with the cream top, and recently they have begun making fudge here as well.  Still, not much has changed here over the years.

One thing that has inevitably changed is the prices.  This is an ad from the August 19th, 1965 edition of the Sammamish Valley news, advertising raw milk for 67 cents a gallon, with pasteurized milk running three cents more (although I don’t even think you’re allowed to legally sell raw milk anymore.)  Incidentally, The phone number found in the ad (TU 5-2339, which translates to 885-2339) is the exact same phone number that Theno’s uses today.  For more info and updates on what’s going on at Theno’s, be sure to check out their Facebook page.

March 17, 2009

Redmond Center Update: The Walls Come Tumbling Down

Filed under: Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 2:18 pm

Roughly two weeks ago, the relocation of the existing businesses in the east half of Redmond Center was completed, making way for demolition.  During the time in between, the demolition of this portion of the center has been mostly completed, with only cleanup work remaining on the site.  With the exception of Niko Teriyaki (which won’t be reopening until the new building under construction on Redmond Way is completed) the businesses from this portion of the center have now been relocated.  VitaminLife has moved just a couple of spaces over, into the portion of the former Lakeside Drug store vacated during the remodel and change to Pharmaca.  Hill’s Barber Shop is currently found in the Redmond Mall just across the street from the now demolished former location that they have occupied since 1965.  I can’t be 100% certain of this, but I believe that this is a temporary location for them, since there appears to be a space in the new building that looks to be just about the right size for a barber shop.  Hair FX  has also been moved into a temporary location in the Redmond Shopping Square next to the Mailbox, and will also presumably be returning to Redmond Center when construction is completed.  Redmond Shopping Square itself will soon be facing the wrecking ball, as the City of Redmond plans to expand 161st Avenue NE through its property to join up with the new Bear Creek Parkway extension, but that’s another post that will come later.

The photos you see here were taken last week, as demolition of the old building was in progress.  The facades you see here were the result of a facelift of the center that took place in the early part of this decade which accompanied the redevelopment of the center’s west half and the construction of the Staples store.  As of yesterday, everything but the rubble was gone from this site.

Meanwhile, back on Redmond Way, construction work continues on the new building.  Here, you can see concrete forms for what appears to be the new building’s foundation through the fence.  Given the tight deadlines on this project (the sign on Niko’s door after they closed down indicated that occupancy of the new building is expected by late July or early August) I would expect this to begin going up rather quickly.  Behind this, you can see yet another block of condos going up in an unrelated development.  There is also road construction work going on in this part of town, making it a not-so-great place to be trying to drive through right now if you can help it.

Although Redmond still has a long way to go if it ever wants to catch up to downtown Bellevue (and I suspect that Redmond doesn’t have any intention of even attempting to do  so) there seems to be a lot of change happening in downtown Redmond right now.  Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to look at a couple of other projects going on in Redmond, and discuss how they might impact the town’s residents.  Watch for this coming soon.

March 7, 2009

Spring Forward, Snow’s Back

Filed under: Redmond, weather — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 7:29 pm

For the most part, since the great big weather mess we had back in December and early January, the weather has actually been fairly reasonable most of the time.  This evening, we got a reminder that Winter isn’t quite over yet here.  Me, my Dad and my brother Jared have been spending a good portion of the day messing around with some of those micro RC helicopters and micro RC planes, and since the living room at my parents’ house wasn’t providing enough space to fly the things in without maiming someone (more on that later), we went up to the church for a while to try flying them in the gym instead.   The weather has been dropping small little petulant chunks of snow to a small degree for much of the day, but just as we were getting away from the church, it began dumping.  By the time we got back to my parents’ house, here’s what the stuff looked like:

Fortunately, my car was just barely able to make it up the street thanks to a couple of areas shielded by trees and the fact that the accumulation hadn’t quite covered everything yet. The rest of the drive home was a bit dicey, and I saw a big truck do what I would presume to be a couple of unintentional donuts in the middle of an intersection over by the 7-eleven in downtown Redmond.  Fortunately, I made it home OK, and upon reaching home here’s what I found at my place:

I’d say that the total accumulation here is around a half inch or so, but all of it fell within the space of about fifteen minutes (and I think there might have been some hail mixed in at the top of the hill too, it was a pretty intense storm.)

If this had happened on a weekday evening, it would have made one serious mess out of things, but thankfully this is on a Saturday evening, and there weren’t a lot of people on the road.  The forecast is saying there could be chances for more snow over the course of the next couple of days, as well as some cold overnight lows to keep it hanging around for a while.  I don’t really care much either way as long as none of the neighbors decide to build obscene snow sculptures this time around…

February 26, 2009

Recycled Newspaper: Redmond Gets a Free Golf Course, a Dangerous Curve, and a Shotgun Wedding

Filed under: History, Recycled Newspaper, Redmond — Brian Lutz @ 12:48 am

Last week I began what I am hoping to turn into a regular feature on this Blog; a look at some of the stores I run across in my research through the newspaper archives available on microfilm at the Bellevue Library.  For this week, I originally intended to follow up last week’s look at the newspapers from 50 years ago with a look at the Journal-American  from 25 years ago, but quite frankly, it was boring.  In 1977, the Bellevue American and the East Side Journal (Bellevue and Kirkland’s respective weekly papers) merged to form the Journal-American, which was published daily and began covering world and national news, which seems to have relegated much of the local news to the back pages.  On this particular day in 1984 most of the headlines seemed to have been focused on the presidential primaries (Spoiler alert: Reagan won,) the beginning of Konstantin Chernenko‘s short term as the leader of the Soviet Union (his most notworthy accomplishment seems to have been a retaliatory boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics after the US boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow,) and stories about the Mariners’ Spring Training on the sports page.  Since there wasn’t really much of interest in the Journal-American, I decided to take a look in the library’s fragmented collection of Redmond’s Sammamish Valley News to see what I could find, and I ended up landing in the February 24th, 1966 edition. 

At this time, Redmond was a small but growing community,still based largely on farming, but with designs on bigger and better things.  Microsoft was still 20 years away (the company’s move to its Redmond campus happened in February of 1986) but a plan was in the works to turn what was then undeveloped land into a major regional shopping mall known as Maingate (this plan, which would have covered much of what is now downtown Redmond, obviously never came to fruition) and the town was definitely growing.  After the jump, a look at some of the stories from the February 24th, 1966 edition of the Sammamish Valley News.


February 5, 2009

An Early Look at the New Redmond Center

Filed under: Redmond, shopping — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 7:52 pm

Update 3/17/09:  An update on construction (or more accurately, demolition) work at the site can be found at this post:

It seems that I’m not the only person who noticed the sudden disappearance of the Pizza Hut that spent thirty years sitting in front of Redmond Center, and the former physical therapist’s office/Payless Shoe store next door.  As I blogged about last week, construction has now begun on a major redevelopment of the Eastern  half of Redmond Center, which will completely replace a portion of the center originally constructed in 1965 with newly constructed buildings and add a new larger building with space for 5 businesses along Redmond Way.  Now, thanks to Rick Driftmier of The Driftmier Architects and with the generous permission of Nelson Legacy Group (the locally-based owner of the Redmond Center property,) I have been able to find out some new details regarding the redevelopment of Redmond Center, and what Redmond can expect from  the upgraded shopping center.

Over in the comments on the previous post, Mr. Driftmier has posted the following news release regarding the Redmond Center construction:

Construction started on Redmond Center

The remodel of Redmond Center will expand the shopping center and bring an upscale look to the Nelson Legacy Group property. Three buildings on the eastern portion of the site, along 160th Avenue NE and NE Redmond Way, are being demolished. A fourth building is being updated for occupancy to house an integrated pharmacy and another tenant. Nelson Legacy Group has found new spaces for all but one of the existing tenants in either Redmond Center or in other Nelson properties. The Nelsons are working to find a new location for the one remaining tenant.

The design by The Driftmier Architects of Redmond includes two new retail buildings totaling about 30,000 SF of retail restaurant space. The building along Redmond Way will house two new restaurants, a bank and other tenants. The other building on 160thwill bring a specialty grocery store to the center and provide for two more tenants. The first building is expected to open in early fall ‘09, withthe other following a month later.

The Driftmier Architects has received demolition and construction permits for the projects. Woodman Construction of Bellevue has started work on the expansion to the center.

To learn more and see views of the new buildings go to:

In further correspondence by e-mail he has also given me permission to repost the renderings available on his site, and some further information on the current Redmond Center tenants being displaced by this redevelopment.

As mentioned in the previous post, Niko Teriyaki (which has occupied Redmond Center for thirteen years) will be moving to a new location as part of this move.  It turns out that they will be one of the two restaurants in the building on Redmond Way (no information on the other one is available at this time.)  At this time, I have no information on where any of the other soon-to-be-displaced businesses in this section of Redmond Center will be relocated to (unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with the other properties owned by Nelson Legacy Group within Redmond,) but it sounds like some of them shouldn’t be moving far.  There is some information that cannot currently be shared due to regulations regarding publically traded companies, but I will be sure to update this if any more information does become available.

Perhaps of more interest is what will be coming to the updated Redmond Center.  According to the site plan on the City of Redmond website, there will be five retail spaces in the new building along Redmond Way, and in addition to the two restaurants there will be a bank, and two other retail spaces for which no specific use has been specified at this time.  Based on the rendering above (this is looking roughly Southward from the location of the QFC) it looks like the bank branch will be at the far end at the corner of 160th and Redmond Way. The small structure at the end looks like it could be a small alcove for an ATM or something similar, but it looks too small to be a drive-thru.  It also appears that this building should be going up fairly quickly, since occupancy is expected by late Summer or early Fall of this year.  Demolition and construction of the other building should be beginning soon, as completion of that construction is expected a month later.

Back in the main shopping center, construction has been underway on the Lakeside Drug / Pharmaca store for some time now.  One detail that I missed until seeing the architectural renderings is that the Pharmaca store has actually reduced its size by half in the process of remodeling, and the space that has been vacated will become another store (as shown on the rendering at the top of the post.)  The future occupant of that store is currently unknown.  What I suspect will be of more interest to most people reading this is what’s over in the corner:

It appears that most of the newly constructed space in the center itself will be occupied by a brand new Trader Joe’s store, a prospect that will surely excite Redmond’s budget-minded foodies.  There are already Trader Joe’s stores in Kirkland (at Totem Lake Mall) and in Bellevue (on 156th a few blocks northof Crossroads)  but from downtown Redmond those stores are both rather distant.  If I’m in the area I might stop in on occasion for a few things (I have to admit a certain weakness for their dark chocolate covered Macadamia nuts) but never find myself going out of my way to shop there.

Of course, with Trader Joe’s moving into Redmond Center, this presents a rather odd scenario:  Two grocery stores in one shopping center.  The QFC at Redmond Center is already a bit of an oddity as is, since it is located a mere three blocks away from another QFC store over at Bella Bottega (which originally opened as an Olson’s but was converted to a QFC when the two chains merged in 1995.)  Both of these QFC stores have been operating simultaneously for nearly fourteen years now, so obviously this arrangement works out, but    Having two grocery stores in one shopping center is nothing new (in fact, in some areas it was fairly common practice up until the 1960s,) but nowit is incredibly rare for a second grocery store to be added to a center with an existing store.  Granted, QFC and Trader Joes will not be directly competing with each other (Trader Joe’s has a much smaller store format and focuses on carrying its own store-brand merchandise rather than mainstream grocery products,) but it will be interesting to see just what kind of effect that Trader Joe’s will have on the QFC store.  In addition to these, there are a couple of other architectural renderings of the project available on the Driftmier Architects website if you would like to see the overall site and the other retail space (currently of unknown use) that will be behind the Trader Joe’s store. 

Once again, I would like to thank Rick Driftmier and Nelson Legacy Group for allowing me to use these renderings and find out more about what is going on here.  In the meantime, I will be sure to keep an eye on the construction here and let you know if I find out any new information.  With all the big property management groups and commercial real estate brokers out there, it’s nice to see someone keeping things local for a change…

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