Mayor Writes Letter for Issaquah Residents—100 Years From Now

Time Capsule

What will Issaquah think of its history when it looks back, 100 years from now? Mayor Mary Lou Pauly explored the future in a letter she left in a time capsule recently that was included in Rowley’s newly opened 2005 Poplar mixed use office building in Issaquah.

You can read the letter below or at


Dear Future Issaquah Residents,

My name is Mary Lou Pauly, and I am honored to serve as the Mayor of the City of Issaquah.

We are currently living in an extremely challenging and extraordinary time, as we face the coronavirus pandemic. Our community is living with fear, uncertainty and isolation. We have seen hundreds of cases of COVID-19 right here in our community, and my heart goes out to the patients and their families.

The painful statistics show the real danger of this virus, and why the precautions we are taking matter. Our lives now include physical distancing from those that don’t live in our houses, minimizing contact with others outside of our homes and using face coverings in public.

Despite these trying times, this pandemic has also demonstrated, once again, Issaquah’s amazing strength. I’m forever thankful for the willingness of our community members to support people and businesses in need.

I am hopeful an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 is available soon. In the meantime, I am confident Issaquah’s historic resilience will once again lead to a bright future for our community.

Just a few years ago, we celebrated the City’s 125th anniversary with a huge community party at our new Confluence Park. As part of our celebrations, we looked back into our own history, and memories of Issaquah even 20 years ago were much different than the Issaquah we know today.

In 1990, the completion of our City Hall and Police Station at 130 East Sunset Way was almost complete. Home construction began in Issaquah’s first urban village – the Issaquah Highlands – but stores, restaurants and Swedish Hospital were still years away.

At that time, Issaquah was facing a tremendous amount of change, and by 2003 our City was named the fastest growing community in the state.

Now in 2020, our region is still growing at a significant pace, and we are managing a different kind of transition. A time of redevelopment on the valley floor, around Interstate 90. A new urban form of construction that is more vertical and will accommodate Issaquah’s future residents in a mixed-use residential and retail area, serviced by current and future transportation hubs (we are planning now for future light rail in Central Issaquah!).

Redevelopment can be much more challenging to do, and to do well, than new development in open areas. How do we protect what makes Issaquah special, while we are planning for the growth we know is inevitable? Our community is so lucky to be gifted with forested hillsides, creeks and lakes, and abundant wildlife, and we need to preserve, protect and enhance these treasures as our city grows.

To ensure our community’s values are reflected in future decision making, the City recently completed its first ever strategic plan.

We heard from the community that they want us to preserve existing neighborhoods; focus on making getting around town more manageable; and be intentional in managing growth and development as the valley floor transitions to a more urban style neighborhood.

Our collective community vision is simply stated: Issaquah thrives as a welcoming community, creating a sustainable legacy for future generations that honors its rich history and passion for the natural environment.

I hope that 100 years from now, our careful planning today helped to shape the Issaquah you now know – a community that is resilient to challenges; honors our history; savors the jaw-dropping natural beauty of the Issaquah Alps; and is proud to build a life here.

Yours in Service,

Mayor Mary Lou Pauly