The decision on the Greens appeals was issued in favor of the appellant in October 1998. A vote on whether to incorporate the City of Sammamish was scheduled just a few weeks later, on Election Day in November 1998.
The big driver toward incorporation was the unbridled growth King County had been approving for years on what was then known as the Issaquah and Redmond plateaus.
The area was in potential annexation areas (PAA) for Redmond, north of SE 8th St., and Issaquah, South of SE 8th. The options open to residents at the time were to incorporate, stay unincorporated, or hopes for annexation on the North to Redmond and on the South t Issaquah. Neither city was prepared at that time to annex, nor was there any indication from them when annexation might be considered. So the only true options were incorporate or remain with King County.
Momentum to incorporate
There was great momentum for incorporation. Residents were tired, and alarmed, at all the white billboards going up all over the Plateau announcing development applications. (King County used white signs for this purpose; later, Sammamish would use blue signs.)
Despite all the growth, the County wasn’t investing in roads or parks to accommodate the growth. The rural, two-lane roads were becoming overwhelmed. The Plateau was split among two County Council Districts. One seat, to the North of NE 8th/Inglewood Hill Road, was held by Louise Miller. Her District went to Woodinville and the North end of the Plateau held few votes and was largely ignored by Miller, who was viewed as pro-development.
To the South of Inglewood, the District seat was held by Brian Derdowski, an environmentalist, who was anti-growth. Derdowski held the belief that if roads weren’t improved, it would stop development (the concurrency theory outlined previously), so he actively fought any money allocation for the Plateau for road improvements. This was fine with County officials, who were pressed for money anyway, and were more than happy to allocate money elsewhere.
The problem with Derdowski’s theory was that development came here anyway.
With offensive growth, County policies that crammed growth into the Plateau, no infrastructure to support the growth and deaf ears of County government and our local representatives, the momentum to incorporate picked up steam.
The Greens decision, stopping development of the two projects over traffic issues, added to this momentum.
Rival Groups, and developer opposition
There were two citizen groups promoting incorporation, and they were bitter rivals. One was SHOUT, Sammamish Home Owners United Together. The logo was a cartoon character shouting into a megaphone. From a branding standpoint (something that wasn’t really considering in the true marketing sense), the name and logo were offensive, but it was what it was.
The other group was called SING, which if memory serves, stood for Sammamish Incorporation Neighborhood Group, or something like that. SING was a better brand than SHOUT, but depending on your perspective, the SHOUT people were more idealistic and the SING people were more ruthless. SHOUT tended to be Democrats and SING were Republicans. SHOUT were viewed as the slow-or-no growth environmentalists and SING, although not strictly pro-development, were viewed as such because of their general political affiliations with the GOP.
(The GOP of then was far different than the GOP of today. The SING GOPers would be view today as RINOs, Republicans in Name Only.)
A developers group called WAIT opposed incorporation. WAIT was largely funded by Murray Franklyn, the largest developer of the Plateau.
WAIT received $50,000 in funds to oppose incorporation. There was a pro-incorporation political action committee formed, which raised $18,000.
Fueled by anti-growth, anti-King County sentiment boosted by the Greens victory, incorporation won with about 66% of the vote in November.
Organizing the city and becoming official came next. A new City Council had to be elected. Ordinances had to be adopted. A comprehensive plan had to be written. And a building moratorium had to be imposed.
The next year began the hard work of creating a new city. The first step was electing the first City Council.
It would be the bitterest election in Sammamish history, filled with a counterfeit newsletter, phony political action committees and amateurs against professionals.