North Bend City Council vote leaves Truck Town as is
There will be no expanding or adding to Truck Town, per a decision made April 19 by the North Bend City Council to make the city’s interim regulations on growth permanent.
It’s been four months since the council brought the proposal to the public. During every meeting or work session where the truck stop has been on the agenda, members of the community have stepped forward to either strongly support or strongly oppose the mayor, the council and the commissions involved in the decision.
Truck Town is the only full-service truck stop on the 106-mile stretch of Interstate 90 between Ellensburg and Seattle.
Ten citizens spoke at the meeting. Seven of them supported the decision not to expand Truck Town, citing environmental concerns or how the truck stop would fit in with the city’s goal of becoming a premier recreation destination.
Those that spoke in favor of expansion were former truckers and the attorney of the owners of Truck Town.
Other citizens said vitriolic responses were rooted in emotion and should be disregarded in the decision-making process.
Gary Fancher, chairman of the North Bend Planning Commission, said that there has been an increase in freight traffic, and that the city is also dealing with an influx of recreationalists who go to places like Mailbox Peak and Mount Si.
“How much can one exit bear when you have a city 35 minutes away from 3.6 million people,” he asked the crowd.
While speaking to the issue, Councilwoman Jeanne Pettersen said that the Puget Sound region has an insufficient number of full-service truck stops, and it is a danger to public safety when trucks are forced to park on Interstate 90 when Snoqualmie Pass is closed.
She noted that there’s a parcel of land at the I-90 and State Route 18 interchange in Snoqualmie that “would be perfect for a rest stop or truck stop.”
But the city is not turning its back on Truck Town.
City Clerk Londi Lindell noted that when she worked in Federal Way, the city decided to close a truck stop and rezone the land for retail.
But North Bend has embraced the truck stop, and will continue to work with its owners to ensure success, council members said.
There also haven’t been any requests for expansion from the truck stop.
“Voting in favor does not mean a vote against trucking,” Fancher said. “Voting for this does not mean the work is done, the problem is solved or the industry needs are met.
“It does not mean we have a lack of concern or care for the more than 6,000 I-90 truck drivers and their services. Rather, it is a reflection of one city of about 6,500 residents that cannot take on the need alone for a region of more than 2 million people, countless businesses and two ports.”
The decision to make the city’s interim regulations on growth permanent passed unanimously.