Bear Creek Rehabilitation

Location: Between SR 520 and Bear Creek Parkway, East of the Sammamish River and North of the current Bear Creek Channel in Redmond.
Project Phase: Construction Complete
Contact: Mike Haley, PE, Project Manager, 425-556-2723


The Bear Creek Rehabilitation project is located between SR 520 and Bear Creek Parkway, East of the Sammamish River and North of the current Bear Creek Channel in Redmond.

The second phase of the Bear Creek Rehabilitation project was completed in early summer of 2015. This work consisted of final grading of the new stream channel, shifting of the main channel flow into the new channel and completion of the native plantings for the new stream buffer. In July 2014, the main channel flow was transferred to the new channel and the existing channel was backfilled to prevent flow from returning to the abandoned channel. The remaining work completed the native plantings for the stream buffer. Additionally, the City of Redmond will complete the archaeological testing and reporting in 2015.

In 2013, the City of Redmond completed the first phase of the Bear Creek Rehabilitation project. This phase included:

  • Rough grading of 2,600 feet of the new stream channel,
  • Recovery and protection of cultural resources,
  • Finished construction of 1,000 feet of new stream channel, and
  • Connection of the new stream channel to the Sammamish River
Project Map


The Bear Creek Rehabilitation project rehabilitated the lower, channelized part of Bear Creek starting at the Sammamish River and going upstream on Bear Creek to the Bear Creek enhancement work previously completed. About 3,000 feet of Bear Creek was completely relocated from the mostly straight, channelized “stream” to a meandering, reshaped and re-planted channel in the existing adjacent open space.

The project established stream buffers consistent with the City’s Critical Areas Ordinance with allowance for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) “Stage 3” widening of the SR520 freeway adjacent to Bear Creek. The existing asphalt path has been relocated as part of the first phase of the project and has been augmented with a soft-surface parallel path and “side-routes” that will allow people to walk over to the stream and to view and interact with (a much improved) Bear Creek.

The rehabilitated overbank areas will address flood conveyance issues and will provide other habitat improvements.


Rehabilitation of lower Bear Creek was identified in the Bear Creek Basin Plan, jointly completed by the City and King County in 1990. Funding was not available at that time and this work has been pursued as funding opportunities occurred.

Approximately 1996 through 1999, the City worked together with WSDOT when that agency agreed to provide funding to enhance part of Bear Creek in the vicinity of Larry’s Market. This previous project has been successfully completed and is to be a model in many ways for the remaining work to be addressed by the final two phase of the Bear Creek Rehabilitation project.

Around 1996, the City began to work with the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to undertake rehabilitation of the remaining lower Bear Creek. Unfortunately, the Corps’ rehabilitation program (designated 1135) stresses minimum stream improvements, requires an agency agreement which presented legal issues, and presented very strict and difficult real property issues. While the Corps would provide 75 percent of the funding for eligible costs, the overall quality of the Corps design and accompanying legal and property issues led to mutual agreement to terminate this joint project effort.

September 2008, the City of Redmond and WSDOT entered into an agreement to fully fund the design and construction of Bear Creek Rehabilitation in coordination with the “Stage 3” widening of the SR520 freeway adjacent to the creek.

In early summer 2015, the City of Redmond completed the Bear Creek Rehabilitation project.

View interpretive graphics of the history of Bear Creek for a brief historical overview of the area:  Bear Creek Interpretive Graphics

Archaeology for the Curious
On May 18th, 2013, experts from the Washington State Department of Transportation, Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation, Muckleshoot, Snoqualmie and Stillaguamish Tribes, and SWCA Environmental Consultants presented a special workshop titled Archaeology for the Curious about archaeology basics and what Redmond was like 10,000 years ago and the local history of the Bear Creek site.

The following links will direct you to videos of that presentation: 

Archaeology For The Curious - Stories of traditional life & resources (Warren King George, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe)

Archaeology For The Curious - Paleoindian period in Redmond & Western Washington 10,000 years ago (Ken Ames, Professor Emeritus Portland State University)

Archaeology For The Curious - Citizen Involvement in Cultural Resources & Historic Preservation 
(Matthew Sterner, WA Dept. of Archaeology & Historical Preservation)

Archaeology For The Curious -Archaeology of the Bear Creek Site (Bob Kopperl with NWAA/SWCA)

Archaeology For The Curious -Roundtable discussion with Agency Tribal & Consultant Cultural Resources Staff

Archaeology For The Curious -Archaeology 101 in 45 minutes or less (Steve Archer & Scott Williams with WSDOT)

Redmond During the Ice Age: Bear Creek Excavation Seminar (Bob Kopperl with SWCA/Willamette CRA)