Commission Meeting Minutes 1-13-2020

Commission Meeting Minutes 1-13-2020


Jim Orvis, President
Angela Harris, Vice President (by phone)
David Preston, Secretary
Bruce Faires
Steve Johnston (by phone)

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Marla Kempf, Deputy Director
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Marketing



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


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






There were no public comments.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Commission was previously briefed on structural issues in Building 3 on July 29th, and an engineer’s assessment and investigation followed, with temporary shoring put in place. The Port advertised the project for bid on November 21st to address beam replacement, window replacement and siding replacement. On December 6th, a pre-bid meeting and walkthrough was held with 12 attendees. A bid opening was held on January 9, and three bids were received. The low bidder was AM Exteriors, LLC in the amount of $697,295.50 plus tax. Staff will work with the contractor to minimize the disruption to tenants during the project, as there will likely be potential parking displacement during the demolition phase. They expect substantial completion by June 25th, barring any unexpected discoveries or delays. He referred to the bid tabulations that were attached to the staff report, specifically noting the three lowest bids. He advised that the total cost of the project, including sales tax, is $769,814.23. He recommended the Commission authorize him to enter into a contract with AM Exteriors, LLC as presented.

Mr. McChesney said the bid is in the range that was predicted, but they don’t know what might be discovered as the project moves forward. He said it is likely that change orders or force account work will increase the total cost by 15% to 20%. These changes will be brought forward to the Commission as they occur. Commissioner Preston asked if it is possible the final cost would be lower than the bid, and Mr. McChesney said no. The higher likelihood is that the cost will be greater. It is a fixed-price contract.

Commissioner Preston asked about the expected outcome of the project. Mr. McChesney said they will have a very nice building that will last for another 40 to 50 years. All of the stucco siding will be replaced, and all of the structural issues will be addressed. The building will be reinsulated and re-sheeted.

Commissioner Faires observed that this project will set the tone for the future look of the other buildings at Harbor Square. He asked what siding would be used, and Mr. McChesney responded that it would be Hardy plank panels to more closely match the other buildings. Commissioner Faires commented that Hardy plank is a more modern material, and the plan is to use the same material on the other buildings when needed. Mr. McChesney noted that a couple of the buildings are tilt-up design and won’t require the same remedies. However, they may have other issues to deal with.

Mr. McChesney reported that the permit has been approved by the City, and it will be issued as soon as the Port names the contractor.

Commissioner Faires asked if staff is still using a mechanism to track Harbor Square costs, and Ms. Drennan answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Orvis asked what staff knows about the contractor. Mr. McChesney said he is not personally familiar with the contractor, but the engineers have done a reference check and believe they are suitable for the job. No reasons have been found that would disqualify them.

Commissioner Johnston said he shares the interest of the rest of the Commissioners that this project will be used as a gauge going forward with work on the other buildings. It is a good proposal and he is ready to move ahead. Commissioner Harris agreed.



Mr. McChesney reminded the Commission that the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 39.04.200 requires that any state agency or local government using the small works roster process in RCW 39.04.155 to award contracts for construction, building, renovation, remodeling, alteration, repair or improvement of real property must make available a list of the contracts awarded under that process at least every year. The list must contain the name of the contractor or vendor awarded the contract, the amount of the contract, a brief description of the type of work performed or items purchased under the contract, and the date it was awarded. The list must also state the location where the bid quotations for the contracts are available for public inspection.

Mr. McChesney referred the Commission to the 2019 Small Works Roster Contracts Awarded List, which was attached to the Staff Report and requested that the Commission accept. The Commission indicated support for the list as presented.


Commissioner Orvis presented the proposed committee assignments for the Commission’s review and feedback. He reviewed the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) and Port Commission committee assignments and proposed that Ms. Kempf would continue to serve as the Port’s Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) representative and Mr. McChesney would continue to coordinate the internal staff committees. He invited the Commissioners to provide feedback regarding the proposed assignments, noting that they could be changed as appropriate.

Commissioner Preston pointed out that the WPPA now has an official Communications Committee and both he and Commissioner Harris have attended the committee meetings. Commissioner Orvis indicated he would assign Commissioner Preston as the representative for the WPPA Communications Committee and Commissioner Harris and Ms. Williams as the alternates.

Commissioner Preston asked if Ms. Williams has attended any of the Edmonds Downtown Assoc. (ED) or Downtown Edmonds Merchant Association (DEMA) meetings. Ms. Williams said she occasionally attends and is on the Chamber Board, which receives regular reports from the two groups. She said she also serves on the Edmonds Creative District Committee.

Commissioner Orvis advised that the Committee assignments would be formally approved at the January 27th meeting, but they could be adjusted throughout the year as needed.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that Makers Architecture and Urban Design presented the comprehensive Port of Edmonds Public Access Plan to the Commission on November 12th, and the final version of the plan was delivered to Port staff on November 22nd. He explained that the plan highlights numerous aspects of the marina, shares community feedback, and provides many ideas and plans for projects that aim to improve public access at the Port. The next step is to prioritize the projects and develop possible timelines for implementation. He said he, Ms. Kempf, Ms. Williams and Commissioner Harris will present a proposal for the initial next steps and lead a discussion regarding the implementation strategy for the plan.

Ms. Williams explained that, after receiving the final plan, Commissioner Harris met with staff to formulate an implementation plan. Initially, implementation has been divided into three separate phases:

• Phase 1 — 2020. These projects include replacing the existing cement planter boxes in the North and South Marina with wood-like ones, updating the bins in the north lot garbage/recycling station, providing a permanent awning or structure for Sea Jazz and other Port events, and moving forward with the signage program.

• Phase 2 – 2020 and 2021. The projects include a boardwalk discussion and landscaping and seating changes at the plaza. Commissioner Faires commented that the boardwalk discussion will be a significant effort, and they need the structural analysis and feasibility study first.

• Phase 3 – 2021 and beyond. The projects include planter boxes throughout the entire marina, starting with a test pilot, replacing the boardwalk railing, lighting upgrades, gate replacement and/or updates and boardwalk replacement.

Commissioner Faires suggested that Phase 1 should also include a structural integrity analysis of the north marina boardwalk and a cost and practicality analysis on potentially eliminating the punched-out gate endings in the north marina that protrude into the walkway. Ms. Williams pointed out that the Boardwalk discussion was identified as part of Phase 2, which will also start in 2020 and continue into 2021. The gate endings could be included as part of this discussion, as well. Commissioner Faires said he would like to complete both of the analyses by the end of 2020. Commissioner Harris commented that, based on survey feedback, the committee questioned if the boardwalk project is something the Port wants to proceed with right now.

Commissioner Orvis asked if moving the punch-out gate endings to widen the sidewalk would be a significant project. Mr. McChesney responded that it would create problems with the existing transformers. Commissioner Orvis asked if there is a requirement that the transformers be fenced. He said he is not ready to move forward with boardwalk replacement in 2020, but like Commissioner Faires, he is interested in doing a feasibility study and structural analysis this year. Absent this information, the Commission cannot make any decisions relative to the boardwalk.

Commissioner Johnston asked if the constriction on the mid-marina boardwalk that is created by the garbage and recycling containers that are located immediately southwest of the Administration Building has been addressed. The boardwalk in this location needs to be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Mr. McChesney agreed that this portion of the boardwalk (near M/N Docks) should be a priority.

Commissioner Faires noted that the consultant’s presentation discussed alternatives for a performance venue at the plaza. The committee is talking about an awning for the plaza, whereas the alternatives presented in the plan included a fixed structure. He asked if staff is proposing a moveable awning, a retractable awning, or a permanent awning. Ms. Williams said they haven’t made this determination, but the intent is that the Port’s maintenance team would be able to install a permanent shed roof and retractable awning over the existing trellis structure. Commissioner Orvis asked if this would dictate the configuration of the plaza. Mr. McChesney responded that the two are not mutually exclusive. The awning could be easily and cost-effectively installed using the existing trellis, but that would not preclude adding a type of sound stage as a permanent solution at some point in the future.

Commissioner Faires asked if the shed roof and attached awning would be constructed with the idea that it might be replaced at some point in the future with a more permanent solution. Mr. McChesney answered that the shed roof would be permanent and built on top of the existing trellis structure, and the retractable awning would be attached to the face of the shed roof. The Port could still construct a venue at the southeast corner of the plaza, and the shed roof would be very complimentary.

Commissioner Faires asked how many garbage enclosures in the north marina would be replaced as part of Phase 1. Ms. Kempf said the intent is to replace the garbage dumpsters located next to the gates where people are entering the docks. These containers block the walkway. She reviewed that the Port’s initial plan was to replace the garbage and recycling containers in the north end with containers similar to those used in the south end. The project was budgeted in 2012, but was later cut. The Commission discussed implementing the plan again in 2017, and Makers was hired to prepare some drawings for how to solve the garbage and recycling issues in the north end. The plan called for a new enclosure by the Landing Building that included three separate areas for garbage and recycling. The intent is to move forward with plans to solve the garbage and recycling issues in the north marina as part of Phase 1. Commissioner Faires said he would feel more comfortable if they were to implement one new enclosure in Phase 1 as a trial and then move forward with the other enclosures as part of Phase 2.

Ms. Williams suggested that, rather than replacing the planter boxes along the entire marina, staff is recommending they choose a product to use in a specific area first to see if they like the look before installing them throughout the entire marina. The style identified in the plan is costly, and changing out the existing cement planters will be a huge undertaking. Commissioner Faires said he is not sure that replacing the existing planter boxes is a high priority. He said he would be more comfortable with looking at this project as part of Phase 2 or Phase 3. While the existing planter boxes are not beautiful, they are functional and he hasn’t heard any complaints about them.

Ms. Williams said the intent behind replacing the planter boxes was to warm the look of the marina and to create a more cohesive look. The wood added to the new garbage structures would match the planter boxes and top boardwalk railings. While replacing the planter boxes is not a huge priority, the location of the some the current boxes blocks the walkway. They also lost some planter boxes near the forklifts that have cracked. Commissioner Preston said he likes the idea of replacing the planter boxes as soon as possible, since it will provide a lot of visual improvement for a minimal cost. Commissioner Faires said he would support that approach, but he cautioned against starting with just one area as a trial. If the boxes are fairly expensive, they will not likely be changed out if they don’t like the look of them. Ms. Williams said staff would work closely with the Port’s landscape professional when deciding on the style of planter boxes, as well as the plant materials that are used. A fair amount of research will go into the project.

Commissioner Preston asked if the aggregate planter boxes on the north side of Anthony’s are owned and maintained by the Port. Mr. McChesney said Anthony’s maintains the boxes, but he isn’t sure who owns them. Commissioner Preston suggested staff seek input from Anthony’s about how the boxes could be replaced with a different size or rearranged so they don’t block off the walkway.

Commissioner Johnston asked if the cost estimate includes replacement of the planters next to Anthony’s. Ms. Williams answered no. Commissioner Johnston noted that the cost estimate for replacing the planters that the Port is responsible for is estimated at about $100,000. Ms. Williams said the cost estimate is $73,000 to $148,000 to replace all of the planters based on a product selected by the consultant. Commissioner Johnston commented that the money might be well spent as part of Phase 1. New or refurbished planter boxes would go a long way to spruce up the entire boardwalk.

Mr. McChesney said there are some budget constraints, as the Commission has determined that the public access improvements would be primarily funded via tax revenue. The Port no longer has a debt service obligation at Harbor Square, which frees up an additional $170,000 of tax revenue that could be used for public amenities, including implementation of the Public Access Plan. Commissioner Faires reminded Ms. Drennan to set up a fund to track how much of the tax revenue is spent on public amenities.

Commissioner Orvis commented that he doesn’t want implementation of the Public Access Plan to be constrained by tax revenue resources. Mr. McChesney agreed but commented that the $170,000 number could be used as a benchmark. Commissioner Orvis observed that the Port has the financial resources to execute elements of the plan earlier if the Commission deems it appropriate. The expense could be recovered over a number of years. Commissioner Faires agreed but added that, over a period of time (5 to 10 years), the expenditure needs to average nearly that which is funded by the tax revenue that is allocated for public amenities.

Commissioner Johnston pointed out that construction costs increase significantly each year. The more they can accomplish in the early phases, the more they will save in the long run. Commissioner Orvis suggested they consider using a portion of the capital reserve to implement the plan on a quicker timeline, with the idea that the funds would be replaced over time with tax revenue. He said he doesn’t have a problem using marina revenue to implement the plan, as well. The marina tenants benefit from improvements such as relocating the trash and recycling facilities, relocating and updating the gates, etc. While the Commission agreed that the funds that were previously used for the Harbor Square debt payment would be used for public amenities, he doesn’t believe they agreed that is the only funds that would be used. Commissioner Faires agreed it would be appropriate for the Commission to consider the advantages of implementing more of the plan upfront. As pointed out by Commissioner Johnston, construction costs will continue to increase.

Ms. Drennan said it would be helpful for the Commission to provide clear direction as to the range of funding from the capital reserve account they might want to use to implement the Public Access Plan. This information will be necessary as she invests funds over time, as she only maintains a cash reserve of between $3 and $4 million, and the rest is invested. The Commissioners did not foresee a problem in this regard.

Ms. Williams summarized that the Commission agrees the planter boxes are a higher priority because of the difference they can make. The estimate for the 36 planter boxes in the north marina is between $32,000 and $66,000, and the estimate for the 44 boxes in the south marina is between $40,000 to $81,000. The cement planter boxes in the plaza area were not included in the estimate. The estimated cost for each resin planter is about $910.

Commissioner Preston asked if it would be possible to make the new garbage enclosures more nautical looking. Mr. McChesney said there is a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to the design. The proposal in the plan is more of a generic design.

Ms. Williams asked for feedback on the proposed shelter/awning over the existing trellis at the public plaza as part of Phase 1. Commissioner Orvis commented that covering the trellis with a shed-style roof and a retractable awning would solve the weather problem for the Sea Jazz performances, but he would like to do all of the plaza improvements at the same time per a cohesive design. The plaza improvements do not need to be done immediately. Commissioner Faires concurred. Mr. McChesney said the idea was to use the existing trellis to add a cover for Sea Jazz and other events. The performance venue shown in the plan would be a separate and more involved project that would be done later. The Commissioners indicated support for covering the trellis right away, but the rest of the plaza upgrades should be done in a later phase as part of a cohesive plan.

Ms. Williams reiterated that the Commissioners support moving forward with a feasibility study and condition survey of the wood portion of the boardwalk (starting at M/N Dock and going north) in 2020. This will enable them to make decisions related to the future of the boardwalk. Mr. McChesney cautioned that replacement of the boardwalk will be a big-ticket item.

Ms. Williams summarized, as per the Commission’s feedback, the Phase 1 projects would be adjusted to include replacement of the planter boxes in the north and south marinas; upgrades to the garbage/recycling bins in the north marina, including the bins by M/N Dock to make sure the passage way is ADA approved; a condition survey and feasibility study of the boardwalk, including the cost of cantilevering the heads of the dock out another 3 or 4 feet; and a temporary awning above the trellis in the plaza. The Commissioners would like to approach the plaza upgrades as a cohesive project in a later phase.

Ms. Williams pointed out that implementation of Phase 1 will have to be worked into staff’s schedule as they moved forward with a number of other projects that are already part of the Port’s work plan.

Commissioner Harris asked what phase the plaza upgrades would fall into. Commissioner Faires said the discussion is that the plaza upgrades would be part of Phase 3, which will occur starting in 2021 and beyond. They agreed that the plaza upgrades should occur before the boardwalk improvements. Mr. McChesney suggested that they at least move forward with design of the plaza upgrades in 2020. Commissioner Orvis reminded them that the goal of Phase 1 is to pluck the low-hanging fruit; projects that will have an impact but are not complicated or costly. Phase 1 will also include a conditions survey and feasibility study for the boardwalk. He felt this was a fairly robust implementation plan for 2020 that will allow them to move into a cohesive design plan for the plaza in 2021. The Commissioners all agreed on this approach.


Mr. McChesney said he doesn’t think there are enough items to warrant a formal Commission retreat in the spring. He suggested they skip this year and move forward with the plans they have already discussed. Commissioner Faires agreed that the retreat should at least be postponed. However, a retreat in the fall might be appropriate to discuss the results of the north marina condition survey, boardwalk condition survey and feasibility study, and preliminary design of the plaza.

Commissioner Preston said he appreciates the reports that are provided periodically by the Maintenance Manager on projects that have been completed, but a list of projects he would like to accomplish going forward would also be helpful to discuss in a workshop setting. Commissioner Harris concurred.

Commissioner Harris said she would like the Environmental Committee to meet in the next few months before the Port kicks off the next phase of the pilot project. The Committee can then come before the full Commission for a workshop discussion on environmental issues and practices. Mr. McChesney agreed to schedule the meeting in the next few weeks.

Commissioner Orvis suggested there is sufficient time in regular meetings to have workshop discussions rather than having half-day retreats. Retreats take up staff time that could be used more effectively than duplicating what could be done in a regular Commission meeting. As he lays out agendas for the year, he intends to schedule individual items for discussions in a workshop atmosphere and only have a retreat if there is a pressing need. The business meetings are relatively short because the Port is running smoothly.

Mr. McChesney said completion of the Admiral Way Crosswalk Project is weather related. Dry conditions are required to paint the stripes. Port staff has spoken to the project manager, and the signals and stripes are ready to go as soon as there is good weather. Commissioner Johnston commented that if the project had been done expeditiously, weather wouldn’t have been a problem.

Mr. McChesney reported that the option agreement with Puget Sound Express (PSE) for the vacant parcel has terminated, and PSE has advised it will not exercise the option. It still might come to pass at some point in the future, but PSE is not ready to move forward yet. Although the Shoreline permit will expire in May of 2020, it is important for the Port to take its time and wait for the right user for this last developable parcel. The permit can be reenergized if a fresh proposal comes forward. He recommended they retain the site in its current condition. It is useful for parking and laydown at this time. Commissioner Faires asked about the status of PSE’s deposit, and Mr. McChesney said it is non-refundable.

Commissioner Preston asked if the Port would actively market the property, and Mr. McChesney said they will continue to market the property, but he isn’t sure they will find someone before the permit expires. Commissioner Preston suggested that the parcel could be marketed at the boat show. Given the lessons the Commission has learned over the past year with parking and the revenue that has been generated, Commissioner Orvis said he is not sure the Port needs to be in a hurry to put a building on that lot unless an ideal situation comes along. They are reaching the point where the Port’s laydown areas are being constrained. Parking is stretched in the summer, as well, and it is important to provide space for paying tenants to park.

Commissioner Johnston requested more information about PSE’s decision to not exercise the option agreement. Mr. McChesney said there are no issues between PSE and the Port. PSE is completely committed to continuing its operations out of the Port of Edmonds.

Ms. Drennan announced that the Port paid off the Harbor Square loan, and for the first time in more than 20 years, the Port doesn’t not have any outstanding debt.


Commissioner Johnston said he, Commissioner Harris and Mr. McChesney will meet with the Climate Interfaith Council on January 22nd to discuss solar opportunities. He plans to attend opening day of the Seattle Boat Show on January 24th. Also, on January 24th he will attend the Engineering in Excellence Awards Dinner where awards will be given to the top engineering and environmental projects in the State of Washington.

Commissioner Harris announced that she would also attend the Climate Interfaith Council meeting on solar power on January 22nd.

Commissioner Preston requested an update on the Port’s plans for the Seattle Boat Show. Ms. Williams said the Seattle Boat Show will take place January 24th through February 1st. There is a good crew of staff members signed up and ready to go, and some adjustments were made to the schedule. A kick-off meeting for staff will take place on January 22nd. The focus will be on filling up the available in-water and dry-storage spaces. Ms. Kempf said there aren’t very many vacant slips (about 25) to offer during the show. Ms. Williams said the Port will offer the boat show special again, and it will be offered to dry storage tenants, as well. Ms. Kempf said four dry storage customers have already moved to the water. They will be handing out some of the bags that are no longer used for the Destination Port of Edmonds Program, and there will be contests for both tenants and the public.

Commissioner Preston announced that he plans to attend the boat show, too. In addition, he will attend the Chamber’s annual meeting on January 23rd.

Commissioner Preston noted that some of the trees along the Harbor Square end of the marsh are looking precarious. Mr. McChesney said some can be identified as hazard trees, which can be removed. There is also a good opportunity to plant something new. He said that, led by Keely O’Connell, the Earth Corps volunteers spent a lot of time at one point clearing out invasive plants and planting willow sticks. However, he hasn’t spoken with Ms. O’Connell about this issue for a number of years.

Commissioner Faires announced that he would attend the Edmonds Economic Development Commission meeting on January 15th as the Port’s liaison.

Commissioner Orvis reported that he and Commissioner Preston were sworn in on January 7th by the Port Attorney, who said some very nice things privately about the Commission and the Port. He thinks very highly of everyone at the Port and the way the Commission does business.

Commissioner Orvis advised that the Harbor Square Conference Room is rarely used and it is easy to reserve with a short phone call to Ms. Williams.

Commissioner Orvis thanked Mr. McChesney and the Port staff. The Port is great and it has been made that way by the staff. People comment from many areas about how well they are treated, how professional the staff is, and how well they work with others. That is due entirely to the superb people that work at the Port. The Commissioners really appreciate them. The remainder of the Commission concurred.

Commissioner Orvis announced that Port Day for the Washington Public Port Association is January 28th. Instead of having a series of programs, they are having a reception in the evening from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Olympia Yacht Club. The rest of the day, participants are expected to talk to their local legislators. In Edmonds, the Commissioners have the ability to talk personally with legislators in times that are a little more flexible. He said that, in his opinion, it isn’t worth the Commissioners’ time to attend the event.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

David Preston,  Port Commission Secretary