Letter to the Editor: Support current Port Commission

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Editor:

I am writing in the interests of city residents to address the current unacceptable level of miscommunication and misunderstanding regarding the Port of Edmonds, Edmonds Marsh, and related factors influencing our upcoming elections. By way of validation that ‘I know of which I speak’, this writer is still an active member and past chair of the Edmonds Planning Board. Matters regarding Edmonds Marsh, Port Harbor Square Master Plan, Edmonds Shoreline Master Program, and downtown waterfront area have been documented, presented, discussed, reviewed, and acted upon by our board [including myself] many times over the years, but most intensely over the period of 2010 – 2013. Two of our current city council members were on our board during the previously cited period. Furthermore, two additional current council members were council members over that same time period. I’m sure that these council members can recall the following facts regarding the marsh and Harbor Square property.

Regarding the Edmonds Marsh– The city owns and is responsible for plans and implementation of programs/projects towards restoring and further improving sustainable environmental conditions in this area of our waterfront. These publically available plans with funding targets include “Willow Creek Daylighting”, “Edmonds Marsh Channel Improvements”, and “Dayton Street Pump Station”—all contained within the city’s Capital Facilities and Capital Improvement Plans [2018 – 2013].   The port led by its current commissioners has always been and remains in support of plans and measures intended to improve the marsh environment, but they are NOT responsible for leading these efforts. If citizens and/or candidates for public office want to help the Edmonds Marsh they should join a relative support group, volunteer, or assist in fundraising, but don’t harangue the Port of Edmonds and/or their commissioners regarding their posture or responsibilities towards the marsh.

Regarding the Port’s Harbor Square Master Plan—One of the Port’s primary missions is to promote economic development within their district, and by inclusion, our city. The port owns the Harbor Square land and related buildings and improvements within this district. In compliance with Chapter 20.00 of the Edmonds Community Development Code the port prepared and submitted a detailed request [April, 2012] that the city incorporate a Harbor Square Master Plan into the city’s Comprehensive Plan.  Preparation of this conceptual plan involved considerable effort by the Port over several years [2009 – 2012] including professional design and financial consultants, an oversight committee, the public, and, of course, the current port commissioners. This Plan was NOT a project-level proposal. Had it been adopted by the city [as voted by our council] it would only have laid a foundation for a future rezone and/or development agreement for the property.

Following an extended review period culminating in a public hearing on Nov. 14, 2012, the Edmonds Planning Board voted to forward this plan with 14 specific conditions to council recommending approval. With city planning staff memorandum of Supportive Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations, council took up review of the plan extensively into early 2013. During their review, council encountered several challenges including internal conflict, public feedback, and also attempted preparation of a council-generated [replacement] master plan. The outgrowth of this process for whatever reasons led to the port’s withdrawal of their proposal and they shelved the 2012 plan. The port has no intentions or plans at this time to either ‘revive’ or prepare/propose redevelopment of Harbor Square with this ‘shelved’ or alternative plan.

Current pre-election rhetoric and/or assertions that the port is not supporting Edmonds Marsh improvements or intends to ‘revive’ a Harbor Square Master Plan are NOT factual. Existing and highly experienced port commissioners and management structure are doing a great job and deserve our support in the upcoming election.

— P.B. Lovell

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. “the Port has no intentions or plans AT THIS TIME” (my emphasis) to propose development of Harbor Square. This equivocal expression is likely what worries some folks about future Port plans. It does rather keep the door open…

    I received my election ballot, and discovered my Edmonds neighborhood can’t vote for Port of Edmonds commissioners; we are outside the boundaries, as are many Edmonds voters. I’d like to know how the boundaries were historically drawn, and if they will ever be revised to include all Edmonds residents.

    • It would be nice to expand the Port District to include all of Edmonds. It would give the port a bigger footprint. That would be good for all of Edmonds to have the Port work on economic development issues for all of Edmonds.

  2. When the Port was formed your area was not part of Edmonds. The good news is that you don’t need to pay Port taxes. It is unlikely that residents would now vote to join the Port and pay the taxes.

  3. Please stop distorting the facts! The Port owns 100% of the Marsh buffer along Harbor Square. Port Commission actions and inactions have had and will have huge impacts on the Marsh. The scientific literature is very clear that human activities adjacent to wetlands (the Edmonds Marsh in this instance) can have significant impacts.

    The incumbent Port Commissioner’s desperate attempts to reduce the Marsh buffer down to 25 feet clearly demonstrated a total disregard for the environment and the preservation of the Marsh and its wildlife.

    The Port conducted a cleanup of Bunker C oil under Harbor Square in 2005, but left adjacent oil-contaminated soil along the Marsh edge on property that the Port owns (not the City). Does that demonstrate any care or concern about the well being of the Marsh or our environment? We now have carcinogenic petroleum compounds in the Marsh that exceed State criteria.

    It should not be a lost fact to the public that the Willow Creek Daylighting Project is an effort by the City to fix the environmental damage caused by the construction of the Port’s marina in the 60’s. The Port Commissioners have done a lot of lip-service to support this project, when in reality they should have been taking the lead in mitigating the impact the Marina had on salmon that used to utilize the Marsh and the Willow and Shellabarger Creek watersheds.

    The bottom line is its time for a change at the Port. The incumbents actions and inactions (not their lip-service during this election campaign) demonstrate they need to be replaced.

  4. I also thank you, Phil. I had a feeling that the rhetoric supporting the three challengers was fallacious. I feel that the challengers lack the expertise and experience compared to the incumbents and I resent the constant misleading statements in My Edmonds News on this issue.

  5. I read all of Mr. Scordino’s posts and I see a lot of hyperbole in his INTERPRETATION of the stewardship of the incumbents. He opines with statements like “The incumbent Port Commissioner’s desperate attempts to reduce the Marsh buffer down to 25 feet clearly demonstrated a total disregard for the environment and the preservation of the Marsh and its wildlife”.

    • Voters need to recognize the incumbent Port Commissioners’ past efforts to damage the Edmonds Marsh and ignore elected official responsibility for our environment. It is well documented in Port Commission meeting minutes, records and campaign statements. Hopefully, Edmonds voters are informed and will vote accordingly for a change.

  6. Thanks Phil for the great review of all the steps necessary to make almost anything happen in Edmonds. There seem to be forces that would like to have the marsh return to it’s earlier size. To do so would require the elimination of HS including the cost of tear it down and reconstruction of the marsh would be quite large. I don’t have the number of taxpayers in the Port district but if there were around 7500 it would mean the individual taxpayer share would be around $4000. (in 2008 HS had a value of $30m) With values in that range these taxpayers should be compensated for what would be taken away. That is one reason the commission challenged proposed new setbacks was to protect the value of it’s taxpayers. That is their job.

  7. Mr. Haug-
    Wow. Talk about misinformation. None of us who support preserving the marsh have ever proposed or considered tearing down Harbor Square to return that area to marsh. It’s 80 years too late for that! If you have documentation to support your claim, please share it with the readers of Edmonds News.

    What we want is to preserve our current marsh and make it as ecologically functional as possible. Any development that takes place adjacent to the Edmonds Marsh should protect and enhance the health of the current marsh and the wildlife who depend on it. There are many examples of economic development that have actually improved the surrounding natural environment and been profitable for both the business and our one and only Earth. Edmonds should take advantage of the opportunity to be a leader in that type of progress.

    • Thanks for the comment Mr. Jones. I made my comment about restoring the marsh to what it was in the old days based on a length coffee discussion with Council Member Bloom 6 months after she took office. For the record I attended one of her fund raising and sign painting sessions and made a contribution to her campaign. While she was council member I had several conversations and email exchanges about a number of topics presenting ideas for her council work. From my point of view I had a very good relationship with her and while we may have had different opinions she was one of the few council members who would openly discuss and share emails.

      Back to the meeting 6 months after her election. We had a discussion of a number of things some of which she asked me to not disclose so I will not. But our conversation about the marsh was at a time when the HS development was moving along. Her views about building in a flood plan area and the seismic issues are well known. During that conversation I asked her specifically about the demolition of HS and returning it to the days of old and she was supportive of the idea and said, “I did not know you supported the elimination of HS” (I probably did not get the quote 100% accurate word for word but it is very close to an exact quote.) I answered her question with comments similar to those presented in this blog.

      Hopefully, Mr. Jones, that will help you understand my “documentation” for my statements. So I do not think I misspoke or created in “misinformation”. You have the right to call my comments anything you want and you have the right to challenge my statements and hopefully I have added information that will explain why I made the comments I did. That will be up to you to decide but for me I provided no misinformation. I have heard comments from other supports of the marsh that would lead me to believe they wish we would never have done the fill and build that we did but my observations are just that. So that is my response to paragraph one.

      Mr. Jones, you second paragraph is very interesting and has much to agree with. Council member Teitzel said about the same thing and was attacked for his comments. My read of his comments suggested the same outcome as your comments. Unless there is some hidden meaning to what has been written we may well be on the same page. I do believe that if one set of taxpayers take from another set of taxpayers their should be some compensation for the “taking” I have had a discussion with at least 3 council members who have agreed with my statements but did so in a setting that I would consider confidential so I will not give their names.
      Mr. Jones, I have always tried to be honest an through in my comments for these blogs and did so with my comments that caused you to suggest my “misinformation”. If I have answered you concerns and challenges I would appreciate a comment. If you do not agree then that is life and we can all move along and I will get over it someday.

      • Wow, indeed. Mr Haug is a very thoughtful and polite person. He presents facts well and notes when he is presenting his opinion. He certainly doesn’t present misinformation and of course he has an opinion but in my dealings with him over the years any difference in opinion I have had with him resulted in me learning a whole lot even if at the end we still held different opinions. Maybe it is time to start listening and learning rather than calling everything with which you disagree “fake” or “misinformation”. That and Mr Haug is a very nice and knowledgeable guy.

  8. Thanks to the person named Bill Anderson. Growing up I only knew one Marty from Spin and Marty. Sorry about getting the gender wrong. My sincere apologies to Ms. Jones.

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