Making dollars — and sense — of Bothell past and present

Another tax day in America has come and gone (with the property tax deadline just around the corner). It brought to mind the vast difference in Bothell’s tax base today compared to when Bothell was designated as merely a town in the eyes of state government. That would have been in the late 1950s, when the primary tax dollars were being generated by three car dealerships — Green Ford, HasBrouck Chevrolet and Ericksen Motors.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2008 12:00am
  • Opinion

Another tax day in America has come and gone (with the property tax deadline just around the corner). It brought to mind the vast difference in Bothell’s tax base today compared to when Bothell was designated as merely a town in the eyes of state government. That would have been in the late 1950s, when the primary tax dollars were being generated by three car dealerships — Green Ford, HasBrouck Chevrolet and Ericksen Motors.

If town clerk Bill Caldwell were still alive, he could have told us to the penny how much tax they generated and whether it would have permitted town constable Les Brewer to hire a deputy, or if the volunteer fire department could think about replacing a fire truck. Just over 2,000 populated Bothell at the time.

What a difference today brings!

As an example of the city’s growing tax base, how many times have you driven north on Interstate 405 at Canyon Park and State Route 527 (Bothell-Everett Highway) and noticed on your right the imposing sign of “Philips.” You probably have been as curious as I to learn what goes on across that imposing campus, originally housing one of the area’s first hi-tech occupants — Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL). Today, it is the national headquarters for successor Philips Medical Systems, where between 300 and 400 employees handle futuristic research, manufacture and sales of technically sophisticated imaging systems so popular throughout the medical world.

Annual sales in Sonicare dental devices, heart defibrillators and imaging systems are in the range of $5 billion.

Sub-Blurbs

Won’t close — So Woodin elementary (the school with the Bothell address, but closer ties to Woodinville) won’t be closing after all! The proposed cost-cutting measure had been met with a resounding hue and cry of displeasure from parents and others. I noted this recently on the school district’s Web site in reference to the Northshore School Board: “Board members appreciate community involvement and input regarding the operation of the district. The board can better represent the community when district residents, students, staff members and parents take the time to express their opinions and raise questions.” The Board certainly got an earful on that one.

At last — With visions of a modern, new, first permanent home in sight, friends of Kenmore Library are scheduling a 50th anniversary celebration July 21. The new library will be located on property presently housing the Kenmore Post Office. Postal authorities have indicated they will speed up their departure to permit construction to start a year sooner than expected.

Retired, maybe — A fixture among the Dutch entrepreneurial population in Bothell, Les VanderVeen, has apparently packed away his clippers and scissors and retired from his familiar stomping grounds at Main Street Hair Design. Who’s going to keep track of the important local goings on about town? Les has been a fixture in town for well over 30 years.

On hold — Inglewood Golf Club President Gary Corum has informed his membership that the city of Kenmore has informed him that the city will not be moving forward soon on major road improvements to Juanita Way, bordering much of the golf course. The reason: an estimated cost of $20 million.

Knows kids – Larry Francois, the eighth individual to serve as superintendent of Northshore schools is one of 12 children, grew up in Brier and has spent 20 years in secondary education. He and his wife and their three children live in Snohomish and were one-time residents in the Lockwood elementary area in the Northshore district. He assumes duties in July, arriving from the Lakewood district covering the area between Marysville and Arlington.

Last elected — Carlton “Bud” Ericksen was the last elected mayor prior to the Bothell’s adopting the city manager form of government. Bud died earlier this month at age 92. Although well known as member of a pioneer family, highway booster, auto dealer and devoted Husky football loyalist, we’ll best remember Bud as a most enthusiastic member in the 1960s of the Royal Order of the Bothell Vikings, where he joined other fun-loving Scandinavians in constantly arguing the virtues of his Norwegian ancestry.

50th anniversary — The only local flip-flop Rotarian I know is Bill Grift, the semi-retired Bothell appliance dealer, who is busily organizing a party for May 29 in celebration of the Northshore Rotary Club’s 50th anniversary. The club’s first president, Bob Walters, and another charter member, Egon Molbak, will be among honored guests. Grift was a member of the Northshore club who bolted in 1986 for a charter membership in the Woodinville Rotary Club, then decided two years later to devote his considerable civic energy to Northshore’s club, where he later served a term as president.

John B. Hughes was owner-publisher of the Northshore Citizen from 1961 to 1988 and is active in local nonprofit organizations.

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