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Bear Creek: An Oral History of a Changing Landscape

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

View the full video interviews with Terry Lavender, and John Marchione HERE.


Gary Smith
Gary Smith

A research project and supporting materials compiled by Gary Smith Video by Nils Cowan

Bear Creek a small stream east of Seattle – some Redmond residents don’t even know it runs through town ending at the Sammamish River between Marymoor Park and Redmond Town Center -- but Bear Creek is notable for its historically strong runs of wild salmon. In the past half-century those runs have declined, especially that of the threatened Puget Sound Chinook. That trend is sadly common in Northwest waterways, but in this case the decline has been slowed by local efforts to support the fish.

This collection of oral histories taps seven people in the community, fish experts as well as ordinary citizens with experience stewarding the creek. You can listen to their individual stories, supplemented by varied sources they referenced, all presented on the online platforms of the Eastside Heritage Center and Redmond Historical Society.

For website visitors with limited knowledge of Bear Creek and no acquaintance with the seven stewards, we have provided a narrative storyline. It includes their brief biographies and describes their views of urban impacts to the creek and their efforts to mitigate the worst effects and preserve the best of the natural world remaining in the creek basin.

We hope you will enjoy and learn from their experiences, whether or not you find hope in the prospects for these marvelous fish.

Pictured from left to right: Survey map showing how Bear Creek was moved away from Avondale Road - ca. 1914, Willowmoor Farm - ca. 1914, Bear Creek Under Union Hill Road - Present Day


A full bibliography of works cited is available HERE or can be downloaded below.

Works Cited - Bear Creek
Download XLSX • 21KB

Works cited or additional information may be available on request, particularly when a URL is not provided. Please contact our office at or (425) 885-2919 for more information.


One advisory note: this oral history should not be considered a comprehensive study of Bear Creek, but rather an introduction to further inquiries and perhaps contributions to efforts at extending the salmon population on a stream where they have been running for millennia.


Oral History Materials, and Recordings

Roger Dane

Dane, Roger:

Shirley Doolittle-Egerdahl

Doolittle-Egerdahl, Shirley:

Ray Heller

Heller, Ray:

Terry Lavender

Lavender, Terry:

John Marchione

Marchione, John:

Tom Murdoch

Murdoch, Tom

Dick Schaetzel

Schaetzel, Dick

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