Sunday, August 6, 2017

Preston and Mitchell Hill

We were up early to ride before it got too hot.  I hate early starts, it interferes with my coffee consumption.  The area is still full of smoke.  We’ll all probably have brown lung by the time this moves out.

The river was, as always, very pleasant to see.


On the way home, we drove through Preston.  It’s a defunct mill town.  In the 1970s the mill closed and everybody was laid off at once.  Then the old mill burned down. 

Here we have a young male deer.  He has tiny little antlers.


There is a cemetery up the hill.


This man lived a full life.  He made it to 90, which considering his service in WWI and the state of medicine at the time, is an amazing accomplishment.


It’s an interesting area.  Preston and the land up the hill is called Mitchell Hill.  It was King County’s first Transfer of Development Rights.  The county wants to keep open space for the animals.  The developers want to put houses on every square inch.  Here is a description of what happened in the area.  The entire article from 2000 can be found here.

Mitchell Hill became the point of an arrow called Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs), which could be the model for a countywide policy intended to contain growth and save green space. It's too early to say if TDRs are going to show up in anything but small, specific cases, but the first one is a doozy.

TDRs work like this: A builder buys development rights to a forest or open space, most likely somewhere in east King County. Those rights are then shifted back west to the developer's project, ensuring the open land will never be developed. Essentially, the money goes to lock up forests from development. In exchange, the builder puts more square footage into another site.

The Mitchell Hill Connector is the first TDR enacted and becomes a tale of county, local government and the developer doing a square dance of revolving partners. King County agreed to the sale of development rights on 315 acres of forested land to Port Blakely Development Co., creator of Issaquah Highlands - formerly known as Grand Ridge. For $2.75 million, Port Blakely acquires rights that are transferred from Mitchell Hill into Issaquah Highlands, which then adds 500,000 square feet to the 2.9 million square feet of commercial space Microsoft plans to use. An additional $250,000 from King County goes to the land owners to round out the full cost of the TDR to $3 million.

The city of Issaquah had to sign off on the deal because it's getting more density. Port Blakely agreed to put $1 million into a bypass to help with easing traffic out of Issaquah Highlands, which is expected to generate about 7,000 car trips a day onto environs of Issaquah.

There are many private roads leading off the main route up the hill.  According to descriptions of the area, there are many Microsoft millionaires and NBA stars with mansions back in the woods.  I think this would not be one of those mansions.  I could not get a complete picture of all the stuff these people have in their yard, but there is more off to the right.  They can never move.


This is currently on the market for $860,000, which is actually not a terrible price.  It sits on 5 acres, has room for horses, and a three car garage.  The price per square foot is $255, which is really good for King Country.  And it’s air conditioned.  I do wonder how much of the surrounding hills they can see, or if they just look at the trees.

preston house two

Other than this, I have nothing to report of much interest. 


  1. It'll take them ages to declutter that yard, I know, as we moved after 30 years in the same house.

  2. " I hate early starts, it interferes with my coffee consumption. " <--- I could have written this. The best we're managing now in Florida is 9 am. As hot as it is, we should get going at 8, but it's just not happening. Even 9 is a struggle, and we get up at 7ish, so it's not like we're sleeping really late. We just take a long time getting going in the morning.