The website saveedmondsbeach.com has been up a little more than a week, but it’s fast become a rallying point for those in the community who don’t like the proposed Edmonds Waterfront Connector project. It’s bringing together folks who feel the project is too expensive with others who see it as unsightly, a detriment to the beach environment, and simply the wrong solution to address waterfront access concerns during an emergency.
Linked to the website is a change.org petition asking the mayor and council to “halt the project and make a better choice.” It has already gained more than 1,500 signatures.
The driving force behind this is Edmonds resident Cam Tripp, who lives a short walk from the beach with his wife and two kids. He grew up in Tiburon, Calif., where his parents were active in local environmental issues, and upon moving here in 2011 he found an early resonance with Edmonds’ deeply-held environmental values. “It’s one of the things that makes me feel so good about living here,” he explains.
Soft-spoken and bookish, Tripp doesn’t exactly fit the image of an activist.
“I’m really not a political kind of guy, and to be honest doing something like this is more than a bit out of my comfort zone,” he said. “But I’ve walked the beach with my kids since they were little, and it’s been a big part of their growing up. When I heard about the connector project, I did my homework and looked at the all the various reports and documentation.
“I was appalled at the final design that would plunk this huge, expensive, ugly and (in my opinion) unnecessary concrete structure along the beach between Edmonds Street and Brackett’s Landing. You have to choose your battles, I guess, and this one just hit my tipping point,” he said.
After reading the background materials available on the city Waterfront Connector website, Tripp said it became clear to him that better, less expensive, less environmentally destructive options were available, which to him make more sense.
“The mid-block option of a footbridge across the tracks from the railroad station to the current senior center site solves the access problem, and has no impact on our beach environment, all at less than a quarter of the cost of the connector,” he explains. “We save the environment, we save money and we solve the problem. Sound like a win-win-win to me!”
Tripp goes out of his way to stress that the effort to find a better solution is not about him.
“I’m not interested in taking credit for this or being the face of the effort to move to a less expensive, more environmentally-friendly solution,” he said. “It’s about our community and our values; it’s not about Cam. I just really love this place, and I feel this project is wrong in so many ways. Doing this is a way I can give back to my community.”
— By Larry Vogel