Reader view: Perrinville Woods property purchase a better choice for environment

The Edmonds City Council last Tuesday evening was given a presentation about a 1.09-acre site the city hopes to purchase in south Edmonds for additional parkland. The asking price is said to be $1.3 million. If the city does move forward to buy the property, the parks director has said, that acquisition would fill the park systems needs as outlined in the 2022 Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan.

Before the city council signs off on the purchase of that property, consideration should be given to the amount of impact any potential parkland property would have on the city’s Climate Action Plan, the Perrinville Creek Watershed Stormwater Management Action Plan and PROS, the city’s long term parks plan.

Based on that reasoning, it would be a better alternative for the city to purchase the Perrinville Woods, a 4.95-acre, heavily wooded site located in the Perrinville/Seaview area. It is a mixed woodland with a substantial stand of mature Douglas fir trees. It is also the last privately owned undeveloped area of the Perrinville Creek watershed.

There are many benefits of the city owning this property.

  1. Enables the development of a trail system beginning at the NE corner of Seaview Park down to Olympic View Drive, providing for a convenient walking route from the Seaview area to all of the local businesses in Perrinville. Walking as opposed to driving helps the environment and supports the city’s Climate Action Plan by reducing vehicle GHG emissions. Perrinville then becomes a mixed-use hub, with several good eateries, bakeries, small grocery store, dental office, veterinary clinic, yarn shop, bookstore, post office and much more. There are also several pop-up spring/summer markets that have a growing local interest in the area. Also, Community Transit provides public transportation for the area. The trail system would also allow Perrinville residents to make use of Seaview Park and its amenities thereby creating fewer miles travelled by vehicle.
  2. Any wooded property is important in achieving the city’s net zero carbon goals because trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide. However, based on acreage, and the number of and density of mature trees, it is likely these woods would absorb substantially more than five times the amount of CO2 than the 1.09-acre parcel in south Edmonds.
  3. Preservation of the woods through city ownership is also important to the success of the Perrinville Creek Watershed Stormwater Management Project. The amount of stormwater retention offered by this forested area in mitigating further damage to the creek is extremely important.
  4. Saving 4.95 acres of tree canopy from future development is also a very important step in the right direction to reaching the city’s goal of net-zero emissions.

I understand the city may have previously considered this wooded parcel but the owner had wanted more than the city was willing to pay. However, the city needs to reconsider purchasing the property despite the fact it may cost between $4 and $5 million. On a cost-per-acre basis, it is basically the same as the cost of the 1.09-acre site being considered at a cost of $1.3 million.

If the City of Edmonds administration, the city council, and its residents are truly committed to their Climate Action Plan goal of  net-zero emissions by 2050, then the net value of any property bought to serve as additional parkland needs to have a substantial impact on that goal.

With regard to the Perrinville Creek Watershed project, the question that needs to be answered is, is the preservation of the woods significantly important in achieving the city’s goal of protecting Perrinville Creek from further stormwater damage? I think the answer is yes!

By Duane Farmen

Duane Farmen is a resident of Edmonds’ Seaview neighborhood.

  1. Perrinville has plenty of park space, we have nothing within walking distance down here, unless you count schools, which aren’t really parks. In terms of equity it makes much more sense to prioritize creating the park on 233nd St SW.

  2. I agree with Duane’s assessment that the City of Edmonds should purchase the larger piece of property, save the tree canopy, and help restore the general Perrinville Creek Watershed.

  3. Bingo Duane! Perrinville Woods is the right decision for the environment, our native wildlife and for housing.

  4. Great letter Duane, thank you for your tireless efforts over the years to save the Perrinville Woods!
    With all the trouble in the Perrinville Creek, it seems like a no-brainer to save this large stand of mature evergreens.
    The Perrinvillw Woods property should be declared an environmental preserve and saved forever. It should be classified as “Unbuildable” because of its steep slopes and its location right above the Perrinville Creek.
    This does not negate the need for a heavily wooded Park in South Edmonds. This is a false “choice”. Both properties should be saved.
    Our town is nearly “built out”. Edmonds needs more percentage of its land classified as parkland.
    These heavily treed properties are precious. Once they are gone, they are gone for good.
    Save the Perrinville Woods !
    Thank you.

  5. The sad truth is Edmonds really needs both these purchases and can probably really afford neither; without lots of grants and gifts from deep pockets somewhere. It would be nice to get that County park too, but maybe smarter to let the County keep maintaining it to the extent they do. As noted elsewhere, we also need to get city control of the Unocal property too.

  6. I would buy both parcels of land and hold off on any improvement at all to the acres in Perrinville. I am assuming this 4 acres is all in Edmonds and none in Lynwood? Then the 1 acres treed area in Edmonds where a park is desperately needed we start with that parcel . We finish our business with the watershed situation before we start more equip…trails whatever in Perrinville. For now you need a park for kids and parents etc and the one now being considered is a good compromise on location. I think. Its not ideal for me but this isn’t about ME its about our city and the ones with NO parks at all to speak of, right? I hope so. Yeah buy them both. I am serious. Good investment.

  7. My one concern with the 1.3 acres is the same as the Perrinville purchase ha. WE need a park not another trail system. Sure both are good but some of this New park needs to have space for playground equipment and family friendly events. It should be accessible for anyone with disabilities etc. Maybe things like the Taste and other venues that some feel Francis Anderson should no longer accommodate. IS that somehow possible? I am a bit confused by that part of the purchase. Info??

  8. I live near the property on 232nd ST SW. I would love to, at the very least, love to see the vehicles removed (2 in front yard, 3 behind the first house), the apple trees cleaned up or removed, and the evergreen trees stay. The neighborhood doesn’t need any additional evergreen trees removed or have any more McMansions. The neighborhood could use a park.

    1. Sounds reasonable Melissa. Two houses and 5 cars is enough space with the cleared land around them to have playground equip, a bit of a family park and still keep all of the evergreen trees intact. And yes no building of any type of housing in that parcel.

  9. I agree with Duane on the environmental importance of preventing Perrinville Woods from being developed. We are already in a crisis state in the Perrinville watershed that resulted in the City essentially taking illegal action to block salmon from entering the creek in order to protect its citizens. Further, the City has yet to develop a comprehensive restoration plan to fix this problem, and I’m sure that preserving the last privately-owned underdeveloped area in the upper watershed will be a very high priority in the restoration plan as well as a priority in the upcoming update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan in 2024.
    Although I’m sure everyone in Edmonds supports more neighborhood Parks, the City has to consider costs, timing, and negative impacts of developers purchasing Perrinville Woods while the City considered purchasing other properties. Thus, City staff should be presenting the Council with the alternative of purchasing Perrinville Woods before (or concurrently??) considering other property for “real” neighborhood Parks (I’m not so sure about the “‘use-ability” of the proposed 232nd Ave property and the yet to be determined additional costs for family access).

    1. Joe – It’s 232nd ST SW not Ave. Once the houses, cars, and apple trees are removed, I could see it as a park the size of Hutt or Hummingbird Park. There could be parking for 3 or 4 cars at the front edge of the park. However, walking to it would be the better option. I just don’t want to see the evergreen trees removed and have narrow homes built on the property. I’ve already seen way too many trees removed in the 17 years I’ve lived in the neighborhood.

  10. There are a number of worthy projects that we may all want to consider creating a Levy to support. Edmonds has a total Assessed Value of $16B and a $.10/1000 (that 10 cents/1000) we can raise $1.6m. For a $500,000 home that is $50. A levy would give us the ability to direct the funds.

  11. What a wonderful letter Duane. You hit all the major points as to why the Seaview Woods parcels should be purchased by the City. I recall that one of the deterrents was the need to remove some structures and old equipment that had been lying around for years perhaps with contaminants involved. Based on what I heard at Tuesday’s meeting the same would apply to the parcel under consideration. Why is staff so eager to jump in tear down, remove, and clean up that site when back when there was so much hesitation about doing that very same thing at the time. The preservation of the mature complex ecosystem that still exists in Seaview Woods is essential for wildlife and our own wellbeing in the Edmonds community. Just think of the rich educational opportunities the trails and a nature center would provide. The Perrinville watershed there is fragile and Edmonds citizens need to elevate the importance of acquiring some of those key parcels for parkland. There’s more funding for Salmon Recovery now. Couple that with available park grants and it’s a win win.

  12. Let’s not do the “one or the other” thing again. Remember the “they got Hickman Park” so we should get “Haines Wharf Park” fiasco?

  13. South Edmonds needs a park. I guess the “Edmonds that Edmonds forgot” can soldier on paying those Edmonds property taxes to maintain and improve everywhere else in Edmonds. Luckily Shoreline has a few parks nearby… they also have decent sidewalks to walk on. Throw us a bone this year and move on to the Perrinville purchase next year.

  14. Thanks, Connie. I also subsidize Edmonds parks with my taxes despite having no parks in my area in Edmonds. (East side of 99) I am grateful for MLT’s awesome parks and would happily pay them for using them. I eagerly await the day when Edmonds will consider providing amenities to those of us in the Other Edmonds who pay a truckload of property taxes to subsidize the “real” Edmonds.

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