Duvall seeks balance between old, new

Denny Redman moved to Duvall in 1971 because he and his friends planned to run an ad agency from there. He also wanted to ride his horse to work.

The ad agency worked for a while, and Redman did commute by horse a couple of times.

Today that would be difficult to do, with all the cars driving through Duvall, which is 25 miles northeast of Seattle on Highway 203. Carnation is to the south, Monroe to the north.

Just since 1990, Duvall has more than doubled in population, from 2,770 to 5,595 in 2005, according to the city.

"When I first moved here, I didn't care about development and all that, because there wasn't any," said Redman, who would prefer to keep density in the cities and places like Duvall rural.

"We've run out of places to run to."

The town is coping with the growth, and it has kept its small-town friendliness.

Continued growth is expected. In fact, the city anticipates having 10,000 residents in another 10 years or so, said Doreen Booth, City Hall administrator and planning director.

In 1999, the city enacted a growth moratorium for fear the community otherwise would outgrow its sewer capacity.

During the moratorium, officials tried to devise ways to control growth and make the best of it.

For example, the city moved to promote park development, limited home sizes based on lot sizes, required front porches and encouraged garages be built in the rear.

The city completed a $10 million sewage-treatment plant and lifted the moratorium in August.

Now, when you drive across the Snoqualmie Valley and look up at Duvall, you can see bulldozers clearing a big swath of land on the north side of town for two new developments with about 80 houses and town homes.

The city has approved 79 more homes in three other developments and is considering applications for more than 200 homes in six developments.

Duvall has three new shopping centers south of the traditional downtown and expects two more.

An 8,000-square-foot library will replace the tiny library downtown.

"We're trying to create a downtown that runs the whole city," Booth said.

Right now, someone driving from the little shops, restaurants, galleries, bookstore and other shops in the old downtown area to the Safeway shopping center in the new area would pass an old barn and fields.

Another major project for the city is a Lake Washington Technical College satellite campus, in the early stages of planning, Booth said.

The city still has plenty of space left to build even with the development, Booth said.

Despite the growth, residents still seem to know each other.

Redman was looking out the window of Duvall Books, where he works, when he saw a man drive through a stop sign. Redman said he picked up his cellphone and gave his friend a call: "We're watching you," he joked.

Duvall Books has been in the city for decades and draws a community of readers. It's easily identified by the rabbit by the door. This dapper hare stands about 3 feet tall, wears a tailcoat and top hat, and leans on a cane beside a bench made of books.

Redman points out a building across the street. It has been empty since the bank left to move to the Safeway shopping center, he said.

"I would like this part of town to be vital and for it not to spread out — not strip mall, mini-mall stuff," Redman said.

Across the street, Paula McDonald, owner of the P&G Speakeasy Cafe and president of the Duvall Chamber of Commerce, agreed as she sipped from a red mug and smoked a cigarette in front of her store, while regulars talked and relaxed inside.

"We need more life down here," said McDonald, who moved to Duvall from Orcas Island eight years ago to open her cafe.

"I don't want chains. Unique. Artistic. Handcrafted items."

Even though developers have discovered Duvall, the small city is managing to cope with growth and maintain its small-town friendliness. Duvall's population has more than doubled since 1990 and is expected to reach 10,000 in another decade. (GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES)


Population: 5,595

Schools: Duvall is served by the Riverview School District.

Housing: Of 1,784 total housing units, 1,516, or 85 percent, are owner-occupied; 175, or 9.8 percent, are renter-occupied; and 93, or 5.2 percent, are vacant.

Nearby medical facilities:

• Valley General Hospital, Monroe; • Group Health Eastside Hospital, Redmond; • Evergreen Hospital Medical Center; Kirkland.

Shopping: Downtown Duvall, where unique items abound.

Public facilities:

• Duvall Farmers Market, Wednesdays, May 3-Sept. 27, 3 to 7 p.m. Market is at the McCormick Park parking lot, next to the police station.

• McCormick Park, community/regional park with shoreline, wetlands and Coe-Clemons Creek. Park amenities include grass fields, trails, footbridge, picnic tables, benches, ADA trail access, portable restroom, covered picnic area and a sandbar along the river; 26200 N.E. Stephens St.

• Snoqualmie Valley Trail, runs from Duvall to North Bend, connects to the cross-state John Wayne Pioneer Trail in Iron Horse State Park. Points of interest include Tolt-MacDonald Park, Meadowbrook Farm, Three Forks Natural Area and the Tokul Trestle.