$9 million to address Dayton Street flooding and daylight Willow Creek, Edmonds City Council told

Peter Gibson captured flooding at Dayton Street, a fairly common occurrence when Edmonds gets heavy rain.
Peter Gibson captured flooding at Dayton Street, a fairly common occurrence when Edmonds gets heavy rain.

Anyone who has spent time in Edmonds during a heavy rainstorm is aware of the perennial flooding that occurs at the corner of Highway 104 and Dayton Street. The intersection is often shut down during those events, and kayakers have even been know to traverse the temporary body of water created by the floodwaters. The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night listened to a staff proposal to solve the issue, but it won’t come cheap.

The fix is estimated at nearly $9 million, but that also includes a plan to daylight Willow Creek as it travels through the Edmonds Marsh. That would remove the creek from a 1,600-foot piping system that now prevents salmon from returning to Willow Creek to spawn, and also contributes to the lack of proper water flow through the marsh.

201210_willow creek
Willow Creek is shown on the map as a blue line traveling through the Edmonds Marsh. The creek then enters a 1,600-foot pipe (shown as a green line on the map) where it goes under the railroad tracks, under the marina parking lot, under the beach, and into Puget Sound.

“It looks like it’s good for fish and good for flooding,” Stormwater Engineering Program Manager Jerry Shuster said of the Willow Creek daylighting proposal, after it was explained by Keeley O’Connell, a restoration ecologist and project manager for Earth Corps. O’Connell is on contract with the City of Edmonds as a project manager for marsh-related funding the city has acquired through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

It’s that piping system that prevents salmon from being able to return to Willow Creek to spawn, O’Connell said. So after lengthy study, officials think the best solution is to eliminating the piped portion and have the creek open — or “daylighted” — all the way to Puget Sound.

Immediately following the Willow Creek presentation, Shuster explained a complementary idea — to tackle another creek, Shellabarger, that also flows into the marsh but during heavy rains ends up traveling along a ditch line north along Highway 104 to Dayton, where it overwhelms the stormwater system. That flow, coupled with the fact that Dayton Street’s stormwater line at Highway 104 “is lower than the water level in Puget Sound during much of the tidal cycle,” means the water can’t flow to Puget Sound — hence the flooding events, Shuster noted.

To address the Shellabarger Creek issue, staff proposes plugging the existing pipe that extends along Highway 104 toward Dayton, to divert the flow back to the marsh, and incorporating a sediment trap to get rid of the silt that now clogs the culvert crossing. In addition, the proposal includes installing a large pump station in the city/Port of Edmonds-owned Beach Place parking lot to move peak flows into Puget Sound.

The cost just to daylight Willow Creek would be $4.35 million for construction, plus $1.1 million for design, and O’Connell indicated that the city has already begun the process of seeking grants to cover the cost. Shuster said that the price tag to address both the Dayton Street flooding and Willow Creek daylighting would be $8.97 million, which also includes the cost of the pump station.

A public meeting will be held in late spring or early summer to present the detailed analysis of alternatives and get input, with further study on the issue expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2013.

Here is cost breakdown, as presented by Shuster Tuesday night:

Item          Estimated Cost
Isolate the two main drainage systems (incl. sediment pond)
Improve Conveyance
Dayton St System
  Pump Station  $1,173,000
  Connect Salish Crossing flow and Harbor Square Overflow
  WQ Treatment for Ferry Holding Lanes
Edmonds Marsh System
  Willow Creek Daylighting (incl. channel restoration)
  Harbor Square flap gates and berm
  Rehab existing pipe/outlet improvements
  Self-regulating tidegate (TBD)
Estimated Total

In other action, the council:

– Heard Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite explain that the city-owned outdoor Yost Park Pool is likely to open at least a week late — an anticipated date of June 10 rather than June 3 — due to a water tank malfunction that was just discovered. Hite recommended that the city use the $120,000 the council had budgeted to repair the pool’s aging boiler, which could “limp along” for another year while the tank was repaired. The exact cost of repairs won’t be known until a suitable replacement tank unit is found, she said.

– Voted 4-2 (Councilmembers Lora Petso and Joan Bloom against, and Councilmember Diane Buckshnis absent) to hire land-use attorney Carol Morris to represent the council in any upcoming closed record reviews of land-use matters, so that the City Attorney can provide legal counsel to staff without a perceived conflict of interest.



  1. This article provides background information about the Dayton Street Stormwater issue.

    Much detailed information can be found by searching the internet for “Dayton Street Stormwater Pump Station predesign report 6/1/15”.

    That 6/1/15 report contains two estimates of total project costs, both between $1.5 and $1.6 million dollars.

    Minutes from the April 13, 2021 Parks and Public Works Committee indicate the bulk of construction work was completed in early 2020.

    The same Committee Minutes indicate that during pump startup and testing, it was determined the three pumps provided by the contractor were drawing more electricity than specified by the construction contract.

    City Council approved a Settlement Agreement related to the three pumps during the May 11, 2021 Council Meeting.

    This is a complex issue that is hard to research. The July 20, 2021 minutes include the following:

    Councilmember Buckshnis asked if the Dayton Street pump station, a costly addition to the stormwater system, had an impact on the Edmonds Way flooding.

    I watched the related video this morning and wasn’t able to understand the discussion that followed her question.

    Hopefully the City will inform the public whether the performance of the Dayton Street Stormwater Pump Station is as expected.

  2. Looks like I might just live to have that waterfront property I always wanted, without even having to buy it. How’s that Ebb Tide beach walk coming along?

  3. While we’re on the subject of flooding, let’s not forget the lower Perrinville Creek flood situation. The city had to address the problem again on Tuesday with the heavy rains. It’s been declared a near emergency condition by the Public Works Department on multiple occasions at City Council meetings. Yet, in the final iteration of the 2023 budget the Mayor and Council proposed and adopted a budget which actually took $2M that was earmarked to help solve the problem and instead used it for “green streets” as well as other pet project wants rather than declared city needs. What’s going on here?

  4. Easy answer Jim. The usual placing of wants above needs in Edmonds and no budgeting by priorities. See Darrol Haug on that subject.

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