10 Jan Commission Meeting Minutes 12/12/22
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
DECEMBER 12, 2022 (Via Zoom, Hybrid Meeting)
David Preston, President
Steve Johnston, Vice President
Jim Orvis, Secretary
Angela Harris (via Zoom)
Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Director of Marina Operations
Tina Drennan, Manager of Finance and Accounting
Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Neil Tibbott, Edmonds City Council
CALL TO ORDER
President Preston called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
COMMISSIONER GRANT MOVED THAT THE CONSENT AGENDA BE APPROVED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
B. APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 28, 2022 MEETING MINUTES, AS SUBMITTED
C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $275,935.75
COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Fred Ehrlich, Corinthian Yacht Club, commented that the club has sailboats in the marina and sponsors events like sailboat races and cruises. The club is undergoing a change of officers, as well as the way it conducts its sailboat races. In the past, the club has enjoyed the Port’s cooperation, and it is hoped that support will continue into the future.
Commissioner Preston asked if the Corinthian Yacht Club has a winter event, and Mr. Ehrlich answered that there will be races every other Sunday starting in February. During the summer, races are conducted on Wednesday evenings. The races require the club to put out buoys that are held in place by lines and anchors, and signaling is done with flags. The club is looking for a new location for equipment storage, as its current shipping container has been displaced by the new Administration/Maintenance Building. He is hoping for Port assistance to address this situation. He concluded that the club attracts good publicity for Edmonds by putting on races throughout the year. Some of the races are very widely attended by boats from the Puget Sound area, as well as some Canadian boats. Their biggest race is the Foul Weather Bluff event, which was moved to Kingston two years ago due to lack of space at the Edmonds marina.
There were no other public comments.
PRESENTATION BY ANNIE CRAWLEY ON MARINA CLEANUP PROGRAM
Mr. Baker introduced Annie Crawley, who has been leading cleanup dives at the Port of Edmonds for a number of years. The cleanup dives are a unique part of the Port’s environmental program. He advised that Ms. Crawley was present to report on the most recent dive, as well as share some of the other educational endeavors she has going around the Edmonds community.
Annie Crawley reminded that every breath we take connects us to the ocean because it produces 50% to 70% of the oxygen we breath. Sometimes we forget this connection and think that everyone knows what we know, but they don’t. She commented that the Port’s environmental program is unique but stressed the importance of expanding the effort beyond the marina. She provided an aerial view of the Edmonds community, noting there isn’t a lot of green space. The Marsh is very unique in the community, and she thanked the Port for partnering with the City and the community to protect it. She noted that the youth who participate in the dives come from throughout the region, and they do it to raise awareness. For every diver in the water, there are usually two volunteers on the surface. Safety is a very important responsibility, as divers are as young as 10 years old. The environment is very silty, and she has to mitigate the danger so that all youth divers are diving with professionals. She usually does a survey dive prior to the actual event. They are always surprised by what they bring up from the water. She shared pictures that were taken at the event, and said she believes most of the rubbish going into the ocean from the Edmonds community is accidental.
On a bigger level, Ms. Crawley advised that there is a movement to clean up the tire reefs that were put in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, including one near the fishing pier in Edmonds. Commissioner Preston asked if the tires could be pulled up in one piece or if they would disintegrate. Ms. Crawley answered that the tires would likely come up in one piece, but they would be heavy with a lot of growth. She suggested they could do a reconnaissance dive to see how much growth was on them. Ms. Crawley asked that the Port partner with the City to come up with a solution and be a leader in the movement to remove the tire reefs. She noted that there are a number of reef-safe systems that could replace the current tire reef.
Ms. Crawley also suggested the Port work with businesses and tenants to come up with ten ideas to go green in the marina. Rather than simply identifying the problems, they need to identify solutions to the problems. She shared an example of laundry soap that comes in sheets that dissolve in the washing machine, eliminating the need for large plastic containers. She said there are a number of products available that the Port could be a leader within the community. This could stretch out to partnerships that get the entire population involved. She recommended the Commissioners watch a show by John Oliver about this issue, noting that it is really up to corporations to change their packaging.
Ms. Crawley said she visits classrooms, letting the children know how important their voices are. She won a small grant to purchase a book and do a pilot program in an Edmonds School District classroom, and the plan is to invite the students to the April cleanup dive. She said she is also working on projects with a number of different scientists, including conservation biologists. She recently spent three months on a sailboat off the coast of Columbia working on a project. She recalled that she spoke at a Port Commission meeting in 2018 when the Commission asked what they should be doing about climate change. At the time, it was a new concept, but it is now built into everything they are doing. The small things they do in the community are important, and the Port Commissioners can be leaders in so many things that will influence the community.
Mr. McChesney asked if the divers are finding less each time they dive in an area. Ms. Crawley said they haven’t repeated in any area yet. However, because of the silty environment, visibility can be difficult and they never get everything up during a dive. They simply get what they can, and they plan to begin repeat dives soon. Mr. McChesney asked what happens to items that are too heavy to pull up, such as batteries, and Ms. Crawley answered that they have only found a few batteries. From a safety perspective, they don’t bring up things that are too heavy, and they aren’t acting in a role of commercial diving. The dives raise amazing public awareness for the community, and people look forward to them.
Ms. Crawley pointed out that, while the Port is held to a high standard from an environmental standpoint, residential households are not held to that same strict standard. The Port is downstream from properties uphill, and the herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. that are used by private property owners flow down to the marsh and ocean via stormwater runoff. She suggested the climate of the community is such that the Port could gain support of a well-thought-out program. She offered to provide support to both the Port and the City as they collaborate on programs to help the community become greener.
Council Member Tibbott suggested that Ms. Crawley provide a similar presentation to the Edmonds City Council. She could talk about the impact that the uphill properties have on the ocean environment. Ms. Crawley agreed and stressed the importance of working together. Commissioner Orvis commented that society tends to spend a lot of money on the superficial things that make them feel good, but they avoid doing the harder things because they are expensive. The City of Edmonds has done a number of things, including improvements to the water treatment plant, but there aren’t enough communities making the necessary changes. Aside from providing information, Ms. Crawley said it is important to get the community into action. The Port could be a leader by identifying what else they could do and then take action.
Commissioner Preston commented that it was impressive how the adults interacted with the youth divers to keep them safe. It was amazing to watch Ms. Crawley leading and teaching them, as they are the future. Ms. Crawley emphasized that safety is the most important thing for her. Commissioner Preston suggested that perhaps the WPPA could become a sponsor of similar dives in other marinas. Ms. Crawley said the special thing about her program is that she knows all of the divers, and she has trained them on how to dive safely in the marina. While she’d love to see similar dives in other marinas, there are safety issues that must be considered when diving around boats. Commissioner Harris suggested, and the other Commissioners concurred, that they could share details about the program’s success at the spring WPPA Environmental Conference.
Commissioner Harris said she loves how Ms. Crawley interacts and teaches the students, increasing their confidence. She also appreciates all of the work done by the divers to clean up the marina.
N DOCK ELECTRICAL REPAIR CONTRACT 2022-432 – APPROVE AS COMPLETE
Mr. McChesney recalled that the Commission approved an emergency resolution to address the electrical problems on N Dock. However, supply chain issues delayed the work and the emergency resolution was mooted by circumstances. A contract was issued to Valley Electric Co. in September, and the project is now complete. It has been inspected and is operational. He recommended the Commission approve the contract with Valley Electric Co. in the amount of $55,986 plus sales tax (Contract Number 2022-432) as complete. He noted that more work is needed on the electrical junction boxes from B through H Docks.
COMMISSIONER ORVIS MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION ACCEPT CONTRACT NUMBER 2022-432 WITH VALLEY ELECTRIC CO. IN THE AMOUNT OF $55,986.00 PLUS TAX FOR THE N DOCK ELECTRICAL FEEDER REPAIR CONTRACT AS COMPLETE. COMMISSIONER HARRIS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
At the request of Commissioner Grant, Mr. McChesney reviewed that it was initially thought the entirety of N Dock plus the extension would have to be replaced at an estimated cost of $100,000. Because of the delay time in getting parts, etc., further testing discovered that the only part in failure mode was the N Dock extension, and the main feeder down N Dock was still good. That is why the contract cost is less than what was originally discussed with the Commission.
APPROVAL OF INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTY FIRE AND RESCUE REGIONAL FIRE AUTHORITY AND PORT OF EDMONDS FOR MOORAGE OF A FIRE RESCUE BOAT
Ms. Drennan reviewed that in 2006, the City of Edmonds received grant funding to purchase a fire/rescue boat and expressed a desire to moor it at the Port of Edmonds. On March 27, 2006, the Commission authorized the Executive Director to sign an Interlocal Agreement between the City and the Port for moorage of a fire/rescue boat. In 2010, the City contracted with the South County Fire and Rescue Regional Fire Authority to provide fire, emergency, medical and fire prevention services to the City and the boat was transferred to them. This past summer, staff realized that the most recent interlocal agreement for moorage of the boat expired in 2018, and they have been working with Deputy Chiefs Isotalo and Eastman to update the agreement. Staff is recommending the Commission approve the Interlocal Agreement for moorage of the fire rescue boat.
Mr. McChesney noted that there have been no material changes from the agreement that was originally signed in 2006. Ms. Drennan agreed that only minor changes have been made.
Commissioner Grant asked if the insurance amounts are current, and Ms. Drennan answered affirmatively. Commissioner Grant asked if the agreement has been reviewed by the Port Attorney, and Ms. Drennan answered that the Port Attorney reviewed the original 2006 agreement. Commissioner Orvis pointed out that the previous agreement was with the City, and the new agreement will be with the South County Fire and Rescue Regional Fire Authority. In 2006, the original thought was that the Port would offer the moorage free of charge, but it was later discovered that wasn’t legally allowed. That is why the agreement includes a provision that they will clean the breakwater and share in maintenance costs.
COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION APPROVE THE ATTACHED INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTY FIRE AND RESCUE REGIONAL FIRE AUTHORITY AND PORT OF EDMONDS FOR MOORAGE OF A FIRE RESCUE BOAT. COMMISSIONER ORVIS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
2023 ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Mr. McChesney reviewed that, at the end of each year, the Commission elects its officers for the upcoming year. He recalled that past practice has been that the Vice President becomes the President.
COMMISSIONER ORVIS NOMINATED COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT OF THE COMMISSION FOR 2023. COMMISSIONER GRANT SECONDED THE NOMINATION, WHICH WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON NOMINATED COMMISSIONER ORVIS TO SERVE AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COMMISSION FOR 2023. COMMISSIONER GRANT SECONDED THE NOMINATION, WHICH WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
COMMISSIONER ORVIS NOMINATED COMMISSIONER GRANT TO SERVE AS SECRETARY OF THE COMMISSION FOR 2023. COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON SECONDED THE NOMINATION, WHICH WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
2023 COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS – TO BE APPROVED ON JANUARY 9, 2023
Commissioner Johnston said that, from his discussions with Commissioners, they want to maintain the same responsibilities as this year. He said there has been some discussion about re-energizing or standing up a new committee looking at strategic planning and real estate purchase possibilities. Mr. McChesney suggested that all of these issues could fall under the newly-named Economic Development/Real Estate/Business Development Committee.
Commissioner Preston asked if the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau is still active, and Mr. McChesney answered that the Tourism Bureau was primarily absorbed by Snohomish County. However, the Sports Promotion Element is still active and funded differently from how the Bureau was funded. Ms. Williams is the Port’s delegate to the Bureau, which meets once a year as a formality.
Commissioner Harris commented she has had very limited engagement with the Edmonds Citizens Economic Development Commission, as the Wednesday evening meetings are very difficult for her to attend. She suggested they designated another Commissioner as the lead, and Commissioner Preston agreed to fulfill this role.
Commissioner Orvis advised that it is important for the Commission to keep track of the WPPA’s Legislative Committee activities. Due to his obligations at home, he suggested they may want to change the delegate. Although she is listed as an alternate for this committee, Commissioner Harris advised that Commissioner Orvis has attended most of the meetings. She said she would be happy to take on a larger role. Commissioner Orvis agreed to continue as the representative, with the help of Commissioner Harris.
Commissioner Johnston agreed to work with Mr. McChesney to finalize the committee assignments for final approval at the January 9th meeting.
2023 COMMISSION MEETING SCHEDULE – TO BE APPROVED ON JANUARY 9, 2023
Mr. McChesney presented the 2023 Commission Meeting Schedule, which would be approved by the Commission at the January 9th meeting, as well.
Since there were no significant agenda items pending, the Commission, Mr. McChesney recommended the Commission cancel the December 27th meeting. Commissioner Orvis asked if a formal meeting is required in order for the Commission to approve Accounts Payable. Ms. Drennan answered affirmatively, but explained that the Commission previously approved a resolution that allows staff to send out checks prior to Commission approval. The Commissioners agreed to cancel the meeting as recommended by staff.
COMMISSIONER ORVIS MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION CANCEL THE DECEMBER 27, 2022 MEETING. COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
NEW ADMINISTRATION/MAINTENANCE BUILDING UPDATE
Mr. McChesney announced that the construction of the new building remains on schedule. He referred to the Staff Report, which provides an itemized list of the change orders approved to date for a total cost of $26,670. He hopes to keep change orders to a minimum, but he anticipates there will be more.
CITY OF EDMONDS REPORT
Council Member Tibbott said he found Ms. Crawley’s report on the recent cleanup dive to be interesting. He also appreciated the Commission’s response to the broader environmental impact the Port can have in the region. He reported that the City Council passed a budget item, using grant funding from the State, to reduce the level of pollutants flowing from SR-104 into the marsh. Commissioner Preston asked where the additional filtration would be located, and Council Member Tibbott answered that it would be in the storm drains. Mr. McChesney added that the City also plans to do something at the outfalls. Other than providing some grant funding, Commissioner Grant asked if the State would get involved in other ways. Council Member Tibbott said it isn’t likely. He explained that there aren’t a lot of other cities that are impacted by stormwater runoff from a highway flowing into a sensitive environmental area such as the marsh. He suggested they could tell the story and see if any of the legislators take interest.
Commissioner Grant referred to the Waterfront Study, which is part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan Update and voiced concern that there haven’t been any meetings with stakeholders. He noted that the Port may not be in support of some of the things brought up in the plan. As a stakeholder, the City needs to engage the Port in the discussions. He also voiced concern that, other than a brief initial discussion, the City’s Planning Board hasn’t really gotten started on the Comprehensive Plan update. Council Member Tibbott responded that Makers did the initial piece (Waterfront Study), but the City needs to hire a consultant to take it the rest of the way through the Comprehensive Plan process. The City’s Planning Division Manager, Kernen Lien, has advised City Council that all consultants with waterfront expertise are already engaged. He suggested the State of Washington needs to stagger the assignment because cities with waterfronts are being left without the needed expertise to update their plans.
Commissioner Orvis said one benefit of serving on the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Legislative Committee is that you get a sense of what is coming down the road. Ports felt the heat in 2005 with their boatyards. Edmonds has been proactive in dealing with stormwater because stormwater flows directly into the Sound, but other cities in the State, particularly those with waterfronts, will soon have to start addressing stormwater issues, too. The regulations that have been applied to ports and other smaller entities for a number of years will soon start being applied to the larger cities.
Council Member Tibbott advised that a proposal to do green streets in Edmonds was not included in the 2023 budget because the price tag was too hefty (about $4 million). Before going in that direction, the City Council wanted more information about the benefits. His comment at the last Council meeting was that, if it is 70% more than doing a typical sidewalk with some garden features, he would rather do a sidewalk to beautify an area without the stormwater collection elements and then spend the excess on stormwater treatment in the parts of the City that need it the most.
EDMONDS YACHT CLUB REPORT
Andor Boeck, Edmonds Yacht Club (EYC), thanked Ms. Williams and Mr. Baker, who did a fantastic job with the presentation they made to the EYC regarding the North Seawall and Portwalk Project. He also thanked the Port for their cooperation for the Holiday on the Docks Event, which has been a great success. He said the Board’s general consensus is that they would like to know more than two years out on the project. It is important for them to consider how to approach customers about the possibility that there could be some impact if they rent the facility during construction. He noted that the tentative plan is to start the project in mid-2024, and asked when the Port would have a better idea of the timeline. Mr. McChesney answered that permit issuance is the major milestone that will provide a lot more clarity for the schedule. The Port can’t do anything from a design point of view until they know what the permit package looks like. They are hoping to have the permits in hand sometime in the first half of 2023. At that time, Port staff could report back to the EYC membership with a lot more clarity on project timing.
Mr. Boeck asked how soon the Port could start breaking ground once permits have been issued. Mr. McChesney said he anticipates a two-year timeframe after permits before the project will start. He explained that timing will be driven by financial considerations, as the Port still needs to perfect its financial plan, which will include a combination of reserves, tax-supported bonds, and grants. Once the permits are in hand, Mr. Boeck agreed it would be helpful for Port staff to pay another visit to the EYC Board to discuss project timing.
Commissioner Orvis said his friend, who is a Puget Sound pilot, has voiced concern that it has gotten a little less safe for sailboats and merchant vessels. He referred to the Puget Sound Sailboat Safety Regulations, which have been adopted by the Seattle Yacht Club, Shilshole Bay Yacht Club, Sloop Tavern Yacht Club and the Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle. It seems that more and more sail boaters believe the myth that sailboats always have the right-of-way. He suggested that perhaps the EYC could review the rules with their members before boating season starts next year. Mr. Boeck agreed that would be a good topic to present at a membership meeting.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. McChesney reported that there is a piece of channel iron along the top of the Mid Marina Breakwater that is cracked, corroded and failing and will need to be replaced. A preliminary condition survey was done a few weeks ago, and sometime in January he will bring a proposal to the Commission to change it out. He explained that the channel iron pins all of the vertical piles together at the top. If it fails, wave action will increase and the life of the structure will be significantly diminished. The work will have to be contracted out, and a barge-mounted derrick will likely be required. He said staff would be happy to assist Commissioners in a visual inspection of the situation.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Johnston reported on his attendance at the annual Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Annual Meeting. Highlights included:
• A keynote speech by Denny Heck, Washington State Lieutenant Governor, who talked about the need for everyone to get along to get things done.
• A roundtable discussion on changing from a gas tax to a vehicle miles traveled formula. The state is currently testing a number of mechanisms, including some very intrusive ones of tracking how far a person drives each year so they can apply taxes to that distance or applying global positioning systems (GPS) to cars. Some less intrusive ways include taking a picture of your odometer on January 1st and December 31st. The intent is that this tax will eventually replace the gas tax. However, it won’t necessarily be dedicated to roads.
• A session on the changing agricultural outlet in the State of Washington as the climate changes. Washington State is now the premier agricultural region in the west, and it is anticipated this will continue.
• Immerging from the work done by ports is a very strong recognition of public access as being one of the main missions of public ports.
• The WPPA has gone through some significant leadership changes over the last few years, and Patsy Martin did a great job stepping in as the Interim Executive Director to reorganize the group, solidify the staff and make the organization more efficient. Eric ffitch was recently hired as the WPPA’s new Executive Director.
Commissioner Grant said he also enjoyed the WPPA Annual Meeting. The roundtable discussions were good, and there were some interesting topics. It was good to talk to the new Executive Director, as well. He said he currently spends most of his time watching budgets and codes at the City of Edmonds, and he was pleased that the City Council put the green street program on hold for the time being. The thing that bothered him was that they wanted the money but forgot to tell the legislators what they would do with it. He said he hopes that the good relationship between the Port and the City can continue.
Commissioner Preston thanked Ms. Crawley for her work on the cleanup dive and for the presentation she made to the Commission earlier in the meeting.
Commissioner Preston suggested that staff put out another social media blast for the Port’s holiday event on December 15th.
Commissioner Preston said he also attended the WPPA Annual Meeting, where he particularly enjoyed the roundtable discussion about derelict vessels.
As plastics collect in the marina, Commissioner Preston suggested the Port take a serious look at purchasing some skimmers. Ms. Drennan said they looked into them at one point, but found they were costly and impractical.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Jay Grant, Port Commission Secretary