Commission Meeting 6-10-19

Commission Meeting 6-10-19


June 10, 2019

Steve Johnston, President,  Jim Orvis, Vice President,  Angela Harris, Secretary
Bruce Faires,  David Preston
Bob McChesney, Executive Director,  Marla Kempf, Deputy Director,  Tina Drennan, Finance Manager

Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney


President Johnson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.


All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.






Denise Miller, Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition (ENAC), said she presents the information she learns at the Commission meetings to the groups she belongs to. She invited Commissioners Orvis and Preston to participate in the candidate’s forum on September 8th, which is sponsored by the coalition.

Ms. Miller recalled that, at the last meeting, a Commissioner shared a discussion from a recent Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) meeting regarding homelessness and that some funding from the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) goes to towards addressing homelessness in Washington State. She observed that no one knows who is responsible for allocating this funding in Edmonds, and most of the money goes to Snohomish County. Oftentimes, political issues keep the funds from getting to the right place. At last count, there were approximately 200 homeless people in Edmonds, but most aren’t drug addicted, street people like in Seattle. Most tend to be couch surfers or people who live in their cars/recreational vehicles for various reasons.

Ms. Miller stressed the need to educate the citizens of Edmonds, particularly those who are cost burdened and those who do not want affordable housing (or any changes) in Edmonds. The focus in Edmonds is more about keeping people housed than finding housing for everyone. A large number of Edmonds residents, particularly seniors, are cost burdened (30% of renters and 60% of homeowners). She shared an example of an 82-year-old woman who must vacate her apartment by September because the development was sold and her rent will nearly double. While there are resources in Edmonds, they are not enough and they are hard to find. Homelessness will never go away, and they need to focus on being more sympathetic and making sure people on the verge of losing their housing find ways to stay where they are.

Given the restrictions, legal and otherwise, Commissioner Faires asked if Ms. Miller has any specific suggestions for how the Port can help to address the homeless issue. Ms. Miller said she doesn’t think the Port needs to put a line item in their budget, but it is important to exercise tolerance. Homelessness is a citywide issue, and the efforts currently taking place are intended to educate the public. Commissioner Johnston summarized that Ms. Miller is asking for more personal awareness, tolerance and education regarding the issue.

Commissioner Orvis recalled that in discussions in Edmonds relative to homelessness, concern has been raised that using a 30% number to identify people who are cost burdened doesn’t really work. He suggested that those working to educate the public should be a little more rigorous when collecting and presenting statistics to make sure they are accurate and realistic.

Commissioner Preston commented that at some meetings he has attended, presenters have explained the different types of people and reasons for homelessness, but that isn’t always the case. It’s a big disservice to not clearly identify these categories, and particularly those that will be the topic of discussion at that meeting.

Commissioner Faires asked if any element of the general discussions on homelessness apply specifically to young people. Ms. Miller advised that Washington Kids in Transition raises funds to provide backpacks, school supplies, etc. There are services available, but not enough. Commissioner Orvis asked if perhaps there are too many without a central control, which tends to dilute the efforts. Ms. Miller pointed out that the City of Edmonds does not have a Human Services Department, so it is difficult to obtain any of the available funding and make sure it gets to the right people.

Commissioner Johnston commented that the ENAC forum a few years ago was the best he has attended. It offered candidates three minutes to say anything they felt was important for the audience to hear. The candidates handled the opportunity very well, and he suggested this same format should be used for the upcoming forum.


Mr. McChesney advised that the Maintenance Manager recently reported that the coil failed on the winch motor on the south public launcher. In addition, there were other operational issues with the variable-frequency drive and motor for the trolley that required troubleshooting. Staff consulted with Everett Engineering, an MSRC roster member, to fabricate and install new motor rain covers to help shield the motor assembly from the elements. Troubleshooting and installation of a new brake coil was also required to address the failures. The total cost of the project exceeded his spending authority, and it is being presented to the Commission for approval. The work has been accomplished, and the invoice is attached. The service record for the machine was also attached to the Staff Report and tells an unhappy story. As discussed at the last meeting, the intent is to take a comprehensive look at how to make the machine more reliable. He recommended the Commission authorize him to disperse payment to Everett Engineering in the amount of $9,631.71 plus sales tax.


Commissioner Orvis recalled previous discussions about purchasing a new launcher and asked if staff has considered this option further or if they believe the current launcher can be repaired to be more reliable. Mr. McChesney said he is hopeful that it can be fixed. However, before he can answer this question conclusively, Everett Engineering will be asked to take a holistic look at every element of the machine. He will come back with a full report at some point in the near future. He emphasized that the machine has been fixed and is currently operational. The Commissioners commended Mr. Osterman for preparing the information that was attached to the Staff Report.

Mr. McChesney reminded the Commissioners that the Port now has a unit-price contract with Everett Engineering. He explained that the current machine was not designed for outside use, and Everett Engineering will be tasked with examining whether or not it can be modified to serve the Port better.

Commissioner Orvis noted that the machines at dry storage have also had problems. Mr. McChesney said the Hoist machine went into failure mode two weeks ago, and the diagnostics indicate a faulty wiring harness, and the repair will be costly. Since the Wiggins machine is already on order, they had decided to park the Hoist. It is operational, but not reliable. The Wiggins will most likely be delivered the first week of July and the Port’s Maintenance Manager will visit the factory to do a pre-delivery inspection. Over the weekend, the Taylor machine sprung a hydraulic leak in one of the main cylinders. The machine is likely repairable, but he does not know the details at this stage. He concluded that they are struggling with the current equipment but are keeping operations going.

Commissioner Orvis asked about the hydraulic lifts at dry storage. Mr. McChesney reported that the Minute Man launchers are working properly and the operational modifications that staff recommended last year have worked out well. In the past, they relied almost exclusively on the north launcher, and the south launcher was rarely used. The changes were intended to create a better balance, using the south launcher to put boats in the water and the north launcher to take them out.



Mr. McChesney reported that, every year, the Port tries to do some paving at Harbor Square. They have determined that it is not cost effective or practical to redo the entire parking lot all at once because of the disruption that occurs and because doing too much overburdens the tenants because the cost is recovered through Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges. To make it manageable from an operational standpoint and more workable from the tenant’s point of view, the intent is to continue with the program of doing what can be accomplished in one day. He provided an illustration of the area that will be paved in 2019 (south side of Building 2). He explained that the process involves grinding off the top pavement down to the subgrade, removing unsuitable subgrade materials, resetting the grade elevations, and then laying the asphalt. The subgrade and asphalt materials will meet Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) specifications. He recalled that no base material was used when the original pavement was put down, so the new pavement will be much better.

Mr. McChesney advised that staff will be putting the paving project out to bid soon, and will bring a proposal back to the Commission for approval on June 24th. He expects the work will be completed in September. He explained that it is important to set clear boundaries. In addition, the project will be unit-price based for the subgrade and asphalt materials because it is difficult to estimate precisely how much will be needed. This method has been proven effective for previous paving projects.


Mr. McChesney said staff has observed that the central portion of the mid marina breakwater (not the wing walls) is starting to rot. While it is not in failure mode, a few of the boards are missing. He reviewed that a Mid Marina Conditions Survey was conducted by Berger/ABAM in 2003 (attached to the Staff Report), and many of the observations, recommendations and conclusions contained in the report need to be addressed again.

Mr. McChesney reported that the recommended repairs were completed in 2006 at a cost of $683,673 with a design life of 25 years. The depreciated net book value is $149,650, and the replacement schedule forecasted by the Cash Flow Model anticipates $1.4 million replacement in 2030. He advised that, at this time, staff is not expecting a full rehabilitation as a result of the new survey. The vertical steel sheet piles on the wings appear to be sound and serviceable, and the steel H-beam batter piles are in good conditions. In addition, they have a contract with Norton Corrosion to perform annual inspections to the steel components, and there is “impressed current” and anti-corrosion and cathodic protection for the metal structures. The area of concern is focused on the wooden horizontal slats that are through-bolted to the steel H-beam batter piles. A recent inspection by Port staff observed that the treated lumber in the intertidal zone that is exposed to wind, waves, water and air is in an advanced stage of decay in some locations. At least two boards are completely missing, and others are almost ready to go. He provided some photographs to illustrate the situation.

Mr. McChesney explained that staff cannot see what is below the waterline or what is buried behind the rip-rap rock barrier on either the inside or outside of the wooden face. However, what can be observed causes staff some concern. Since the breakwater serves as a protective barrier that absorbs continuous wave energy, staff is concerned to address any weaknesses or deficiencies before they result in a potentially catastrophic blow out. Staff has asked PND Engineers to update the previous condition survey and make recommendations for repairs, including estimated costs and permitting requirements.

Mr. McChesney cautioned that this will be a significant undertaking. The intent is to figure out a better way to install the central portion of the mid marina breakwater. He is not sure wooden boards is the correct solution, and other types of material may be more serviceable and longer life. He believes that PND can make these recommendations.

Commissioner Orvis recalled while the Commission and staff were making plans to repair the north breakwater, it blew out and they nearly lost a small building and the restrooms to erosion. He suggested that, while the condition survey is being updated, they should also start making plans for fixing the problems they know exist. Mr. McChesney advised that immediately following the conditions survey, the Port will enter into the permitting process and design work. He summarized that it might take a year to reach the point of actual construction.

Commissioner Faires recalled that Berger/ABAM was unable to estimate the condition of the wooden horizontal structures below the rip-rap. He asked if they know what is going on two feet below the west-facing rip-rap now. Mr. McChesney answered only by inference, and he expects that it is starting to rot, too. He commented that the idea is to use another material that is more durable than wood, such as concrete or steel.

Commissioner Johnston pointed out that Norton Corrosion was at the Port earlier in the day completing its yearly inspection. Commissioner Faires added that the corrosion abatement program appears to be working on the steel H-beams. Mr. McChesney agreed and said the Port receives a report from Norton Corrosion every year. He explained that rust and blemishes are to be expected, and he is not worried about the aesthetic appearance. The steel H-Beams appear to be in good shape.

Commissioner Faires asked about the estimated cost of PND’s survey. Mr. McChesney said he doesn’t have that number yet. PND’s representative just recently completed the initial walk about, and he anticipates a proposal to present to the Commission on June 24th.

Commissioner Preston reviewed that the mid-marina breakwater was built in 1984 as part of the marina expansion. Mr. McChesney added that in 2006 the steel sheet piles on the wings were stripped. It was not a pleasant experience and the work resulted in lawsuits.


Ms. Kempf thanked Port staff for their cooperation and support in planning and executing the event. It took the entire team to make the event a success. The Marina Operations and Maintenance staff cleaned the landscape beds, pressure washed the plaza and painted the tables and benches to prepare for the event, and a number of Port staff participated at the actual event including Brittany, Karin, Renae, Bob and Tina. The operations team did a great job of coordinating with Classic Yachts.

Ms. Kempf provided a report of the event, starting with a list of the participants and exhibitors that included the Classic Yacht Association (14th year), Freedom Boat Club, Annie Crawley’s Dive Team, Edmonds Coast Guard Auxiliary, University of Washington Department of Biology, Students Saving Salmon, Washington State Parks Boating Safety, City of Edmonds Beach Rangers, Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Combo, and the Port’s staff.

Ms. Kempf advised that Anthony’s also had a party event at their facility that day, and she spoke with Dave Olsen, the Manager, who indicated that everything went just fine. He reported that they served more kids meals that day than they do on Mother’s Day. They got a lot of good business and thought it was a successful event. The Port also received an email from Janis Palmer, coordinator for the Classic Yachts, commending Port staff and congratulating the Port on its first year of a new Port activity that seemed much more family-oriented than in previous years.

Ms. Kempf provided a number of pictures and a brief description of the activities that took place that day:

• Classic Yachts: Most boat owners reported between 200 and 300 visitors, and one boat owner reported 450 visitors came on board the vessel.
• Freedom Boats had one vessel available, and there was a long waiting line.
• Washington State Parks has been a good partner with the Port. They weren’t able to bring the vessel Walter this year because it has been put into a new training program, but they still had a booth and provided good outreach.
• The Coast Guard Auxiliary had a trailer full of water they could flood to show people how to plug a hole in a boat when out on the water.
• The Port’s booth provided a fish print activity for kids and was staffed by Ms. Ebel, Ms. Drennan and Ms. Michaud.
• Dr. Amanda Schivell from the University of Washington provided a table with tubs of sea life for observation. Between the University of Washington and the community colleges in the area, between 400 and 500 college students visit the marina every year.
• The Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Combo provided music at the public plaza. Placing Sea Jazz at the end worked well and took them out of the pressing crowd.
• Annie Crawley’s clean up dive took place in the south marina and was very successful. It was a difficult dive because of low tide. The 16 divers were between 13 and 14 years old. About half of the divers indicated it is their favorite dive because it gives them a sense of pride and they feel they are doing something more than just learning how to dive. The next dive has already been scheduled for October, date to be determined.

Mr. McChesney advised that the Port’s booth served as a platform to solicit input from the public regarding the walkway, and they received about 40 more survey responses. He commented that the plaza area is a good place to hold public events, but it is a bit cramped. They may want to consider modifying the plaza to eliminate one of the grassy berms to create more flat space. While the berms look nice, they are difficult to maintain and they limit the amount of event space. Commissioner Orvis said they also attract pet owners who don’t want to walk all the way to the dog area. The Commissioners agreed to consider removing the south berm using in-house staff.

Ms. Kempf commented that staff was purposeful in choosing the participants, making sure they were water-related. They will continue to do this in coming years to make sure the event is something that the tenants and the community can enjoy.


Mr. McChesney announced that the Edmonds Arts Festival is June 14th through 16th and the Port will have a booth. The idea is to engage the community, provide useful information about the Port and expand the survey. Commissioners are invited to join he and Ms. Williams at the booth.

Mr. McChesney advised that the Facilities Maintenance Manager will be going to California to do a pre-delivery inspection of the new Wiggins Forklift.

Mr. McChesney asked for direction relative to the July Commission meeting schedule. He recalled that, often, they only have one meeting in July to do accounts payable. The Commission agreed to have just one meeting in July (July 29th at 9:00 a.m.) for accounts payable only.

Ms. Drennan reported that, as requested by the Commission at their last meeting, she followed up with the Executive Director of the Port of Brownsfield, who indicated they were not having any issues with Enduris. She also talked to the Executive Director from the Port of Allyn, who explained that their 18-year old dock was damaged in a windstorm, but Enduris determined it was due to wear and tear and poor maintenance. They are currently suing Enduris for dock replacement of $45,000. She expressed her belief that the Port is in a good position with their current insurance program.


Commissioner Faires commented that the Family Day at the Port was very much marine related rather than a carnival. It appealed to a different demographic than the Waterfront Festival, and he really appreciates staff’s efforts to make the event successful. Because it was such a success, he suggested they consider having it twice each year to continue the effort of community relations. The Port can and should do more to continue to engage and expand the marine-related community activities at the Port. Mr. McChesney agreed and noted that the Port’s Christmas event was successful, as well. Both events are cost effective and doable from staff’s point of view. Commissioner Faires said he would be receptive to catering part of the event, if necessary. He felt the Port should spend more resources on marine-related activities to get the owners (Port District residents) to the marina to see what a jewel it is.

Commissioner Preston reported that he would attend the WPPA Commissioner Seminar. He also reported that the Sea Scout program is progressing, but is somewhat stalled. They plan to get rid of one of the boats. He asked the Commissioners to consider offering some moorage relief that would not be a gifting of public funds, but helping a young training organization that has been around since prior to 2010.

Commissioner Preston commented that the Classic Yachts were much better this year. Some of the vessels were breathtaking.

Commissioner Orvis said he also enjoyed Family Day at the Port. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and very well done. He also announced that the Edmonds Arts Festival is June 14th through 16th. He invited interested Port Commissioners and staff to help mark the parking lot at Civic Field at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12th. He advised that he would attend the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County’s Economic Affairs Committee meeting on June 11th.

Commissioner Orvis reported that a few weeks ago, he met with Cameron Caldwell, Maria Cantwell’s new legislative representative, to show him around the marina. He showed him the marsh, as well, to give him a better understanding of what the issues are. Mr. Caldwell sent him an announcement of the $3.5 million rail grant for the Meadowdale Beach Restoration. The plan is to re-engineer the berm for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and open up the area for better public access to the beach. He found it interesting that the funding for the project came from transportation funds. He commented that when considering funding requests for marsh restoration, it is important to keep in mind that funding for environmental restoration is very tight, and it appears it will be used primarily to replace culverts on big fish producing streams where they can document that the culverts are impeding flow.

Commissioner Johnston said he also enjoyed Family Day at the Port. This event, combined with the holiday event, is a good combination.

Commissioner Johnston said he met with a representative from the Edmonds Economic Development Commission who had a lot of good ideas about parking, the marsh, etc. His overriding comment was that the Port could have a greater voice. He indicated that the Port Commission seems to have a reasonable amount of credibility and could be speaking on issues outside of its normal responsibility.

Commissioner Johnston said he participated in the second Orca Recovery Task Force meeting of the year. He recalled that the task force did a lot of heavy lifting over the past year, coming up with what they considered a very effective package of regulations to protect orca whales and chinook salmon. Moving forward, the task force talked about the impacts of climate change and the rapid growth of human population around the Salish Sea and how it impacts water quality and the orca’s food stock. The good news is that they are now up to 76 beautiful orcas in the JKL pod, with a new baby who is doing fine. Of the three orcas that were being watched very carefully for malnutrition, one seems to be struggling and the others seem to be getting better. The orcas are also foraging further out. The task force is hoping the new stand-off requirements will make a difference, and other regulations are still being considered related to commercial vessel noise and protecting the orca from oil spills in a variety of different ways.

Commissioner Johnston said he talked to a gentleman from the Port of Tacoma who is livid over the developments with the Model Toxic Control Act (MTCA). He reviewed that the legislature solidified funding for MTCA to clean up toxic properties. They semi protected the funding for future raids and made it more stable by linking the revenues that accrued to MTCA based on volume rather than price. The representative from Tacoma was concerned that there were last minute changes that scuttled some of the money away, but he has not been able to confirm that the changes actually occurred.

Commissioner Johnston commented that there are limited funds available for salmon recovery, and most are being targeted towards chinook to enhance the food stocks for the J, K, and L pods, the southern regional killer whales. Much of the funding will be used to replace culverts. Some money was transferred from the transportation budget for this purpose, but the project is still underfunded. He voiced his concern that the culverts lower in the system should be replaced first, and the task force agreed to monitor the program to make sure that happens. Commissioner Orvis said he heard that one alternative is to coordinate the state’s effort with those of the counties and cities. Commissioner Johnston pointed out that local jurisdictions do not have culvert money, and it is estimated to cost $14 billion to expand all of the culverts in the state to allow fish passage. The state’s part is $4 billion, and the legislature allocated $275 million, with eight years to go. They are not on pace to get the culvert work done on schedule.

Commissioner Johnston announced that he will present at the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association meeting regarding the Orca Recovery Task Force developments and the state of the pods on June 26th. He will also attend the Edmonds Arts Festival Gala on June 12th.

Commissioner Harris agreed that Family Day at the Port was a great event. It was a great atmosphere, and she loved the energy.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Steve Johnston Commission President for Angela Harris Commission Secretary