Check out my column in the July 7 issue of The Issaquah Press! You can read it below or on The Issaquah Press’ website here. Happy reading!
Issaquah is not in Southern California, if all the rain and forests didn’t give it away. But our town on the edge of the greater Seattle area is linked to its fair share of recognizable and famous people. Some have moved here, others used to live here and some just drop in from time to time.
So, just who are these famous folks who graced Issaquah at one time or another, you ask? Modest Mouse front man Isaac Brock; Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki; sportscaster Rick Rizzs; former Mariners Jay Buhner, Ken Griffey Jr., Paul Sorrento, J.J. Putz, Omar Vizquel, Dave Valle and Jeff Nelson; former Seattle Supersonics Detlef Schrempf and Ray Allen; Pulitzer-winning playwright Brian Yorkey; authors Deb Caletti and Serena Rolan; actress Cynthia Geary, who played Shelly Marie Tambo on “Northern Exposure”; Lockergnome founder Chris Pirillo; and Red and Rover comic strip artist Brian Basset.
Also, don’t forget Colin Curtis, who graduated from Issaquah High School and now plays for the New York Yankees. Oh, and Train lead singer Pat Monahan lives somewhere up on Lake Sammamish as well, although that may be just out of city limits.
Others who have been said to live here include The Decemberists’ bassist Nate Query, NBC news correspondent Margaret Larson and filmmaker Phil Lucas, who passed away in 2007.
Many of the city’s notable residents have been featured in The Issaquah Press before, and it may not be unusual to see some of them around town. However, the more famous people in the area aren’t seen around town as often, and their exact whereabouts can be hard to pinpoint.
However, one highly publicized celebrity home in Issaquah was Ichiro’s.
Ichiro put his multimillion-dollar home, at 4409 164th Lane S.E., up for sale last year and moved closer to Lake Sammamish. I have a hunch the real reason he moved was to put himself in the heart of the Lake Sammamish underground sweater-vest-swapping circle, which I’ve been trying to break into for years with little luck.
Growing up, I always heard about Griffey and Buhner’s neighborhood on the Sammamish Plateau near the Issaquah Highlands. Occasionally, my parents or my friends’ parents would take us to the street on which they lived. We called it Mansion Lane.
We would ogle out the window at the massive houses and try to figure out which one was which, trying to see through their gates as we crept down the street, hoping we’d catch a glimpse of one of our favorite Mariners.
Recently, a friend and I were bored and passing by, and we decided to take a trip back down Mansion Lane for old time’s sake. It looked the same as I remembered, only this time I half-expected to see Griffey buzzing across the street in an electric wheelchair or slumped over on his porch. Then again, it was after 5 p.m., so he may have been asleep in his bed, his joints coated with thick slabs of Bengay.
I still love Griffey, but any of these situations would not have come as a surprise.
I may be missing some other celebrities, so I welcome you to let me know of any I missed. Of course, I want to respect their privacy and not reveal too much information about where they live within the city, or one of their Hummers might “accidentally” run me down in a dark parking lot.