By Miki Mullor
The Sammamish Comment interviewed Kent Treen, a Sammamish City Council candidate running for Position 4, currently held by Council Member Ramiro Valderrama, who is not seeking re-election.
Treen is opposing Karen Howe, who ran for City Council in 2017 and lost to Deputy Mayor Karen Moran.
Why are you running for City Council?
I am running for Sammamish City Council in order to preserve and protect the qualities and character that first attracted my wife, Debbie, and I to move to Sammamish nine years ago.
I’m truly passionate and knowledgeable about our environment. I have an associate degree in Forestry and I am restoring a wetland on our property through a joint project with the City of Sammamish and Sammamish Stormwater Stewards. In the past, I worked seasonally with King County parks and had the opportunity to work in Klahanie Park before it was transferred to the City of Sammamish.
When I was a bit younger I have fought forest fires in California and Nevada.
What is your professional background?
I have a BA in Religion and Theology from Calvin College and earned a master’s degree in Education. I currently work for the Bellevue School District with at-risk students. I also run my own painting company, Sherwood Paint.
You are a newcomer to Sammamish local politics. What experience do you have in community involvement?
I have experienced local politics in Bothell when my wife for 25 years, Debbie, served as a City Council Member and Mayor for 6 years. In Sammamish, I have been attending and speaking in City Council meetings several times in the last couple years.
I am actively involved with the Northwest Kidney Center’s Gala to raise money for Kidney research. My step-daughter had a kidney transplant and my wife Debbie was the donor. I have run the Tough Mudder 5 years in a row: 10 miles and 28 military obstacles in support of the Wounded Warriors charity.
I have coached basketball, baseball, and one year of soccer and have been a board member for Little League, Parks and Rec Bothell.
What are your top priorities ?
My top priorities are to improve new neighborhoods’ character, bring in infrastructure and protect the environment.
Is there any specific policy that council has enacted this year that you oppose or want to change?
Not really. I would look at and reconsider not exempting East Lake Sammamish Parkway from concurrency. (Editor’s note: the current council has exempted ELSP from V/C concurrency, effectively exempting the northbound traffic from concurrency.)
I would like to talk with Tom Hornish and the Director of Public Works about the projects on the TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan) and what would be respectful, reasonable and doable projects in the next six years.
I support the currently enacted Development regulation that address design standards but would like to continue the work started by this council and improve those further.
There is a balancing act of growth and infrastructure. Some voices say we should pause development until we catch up on infrastructure. Some voices say we need more development to pay for infrastructure. And there are some voices who don’t want growth at all. Where do you fall?
I support the position to pause development until we catch up on infrastructure.
Concurrency has paused development because infrastructure has not kept up. A new city council can come in and say we are going to change concurrency and allow development to resume, or they can say they are going to keep it the way it is, or make it even stricter. What’s your position?
I would have advocated to make it stricter and set the Volume over Capacity at 1.0 capacity (100%). I view the current 1.1 (110%) capacity standard adopted by the current council as a reasonable compromise.
The controversy around the Town Center is not the services — its the 2,200 units that come with it, approved based on concurrency that we now know was fraudulent. Would you support a revisit to the Town Center plan and number of dwelling units?
The current Town Center conceptual drawings/photos do not align with my vision of Sammamish. I am not interested in recycling the Redmond Town Center plans for the city of Sammamish. I would support a revisit of the Town Center plans.
Tell us something people may not know about you
I have stood on the top of Mt. Baker, Mt Adams, Mt St Helens, and Mt Rainier several times. I have explored lava tube caves on Mt St. Helens, Sea caves in La Jolla and did bungee jumping in Nanaimo and locally. I used to be an EMT, but my certificate expired.
Related: Interview with candidate Rituja Indapure
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I have met Kent and he is truly an advocate for protecting our trees and caring about Sammamish. He is not in the pockets of anyone and wants to keep Sammamish beautiful. He is smart and had been one of the people who helped advocate for the tree ordinances and other issues at many city council meetings. How many other candidates attended many city council meetings just as an average citizen? He would be a great addition to the council.
Go Mr. Treen!! Thank you so much for running. You have my full support. We need a minimum five year moratorium on *all* further development in Sammamish until infrastructure catches up, and no more “grandfathering” of any project either, thank you very much. And please, lower the Volume Over Capacity to 1.0.