Commission Meeting Minutes 1-27-2020

Commission Meeting Minutes 1-27-2020


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


Angela Harris, Vice President (Excused)

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Marla Kempf, Deputy Director
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager

Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney


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.






Councilmember Paine introduced herself as the Edmonds City Council Representative to the Port Commission. She said she is interested in having a healthy relationship going back and forth as new projects come forward that involve areas where the City and Port properties touch.

Commissioner Preston asked Councilmember Paine to follow up on the crosswalk project on Admiral Way that has been in limbo for several months. Councilmember Paine said she serves on the Public Works Committee and will contact the Public Works Director for information and report back. Mr. McChesney said the delay is weather related, as the striping requires dry pavement and heat to lay it down. He said City staff has been relatively attentive and diligent in trying to complete the project, but there is nothing that can be done about the weather. All of the hardscape work has been done, and only the signal and stripes remain.

Commissioner Johnston congratulated the City on the work that has been done to date on the crosswalk. He also congratulated Councilmember Paine on being elected to the City Council.


The Committee assignments were accepted as presented.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Commission has been briefed several times over the last few years regarding the ongoing mechanical issues with the South Public Launcher. The electrical control cabinet that holds sensitive electronics requires replacement as the existing installation is inadequate for the internal components. Temporary repairs and modifications have been made by staff to confirm the deficiencies of the existing cabinet, but the entire box needs to be overhauled. Everett Engineering has submitted a quote for addressing the issues, and install a new enclosure. The quote for the work is $21,573.09. He recommended they move forward with the repair so it can be done before the new fishing season starts.

Mr. McChesney reminded the Commission that, for the Port, the better part of quality is reliability, and they need to have the launcher in good order by spring. He recommended they approve the repairs as proposed.

Commissioner Faires recalled earlier discussions about the motor not being sealed. Mr. McChesney explained that the manufacturer sent a motor that was designed for inside use. It was not sealed, and it filled up with water. They purchased another motor, which also filled up with water. The second motor was rebuilt and sealed, and a weather cover was added on top. The water issue has been resolved, but the electrical problem has not.



Ms. Kempf referred to the written report that was attached to the Staff Report, noting the new first page that corrects the narrative below the graph and provides data for the total number of moves. She explained that the 5-year annual trend shows that one-ways have remained relatively consistent, and the increase that was reflected in 2019 can mostly be attributed to a change in the way the Port charges Jacobsen’s Marine.

Ms. Kempf recalled that 2015 was a big year due to very good weather during July, August and September, along with exceptional Coho, pink and Chinook Salmon runs. The opposite happened in 2016 with the closure of Coho and a slow Chinook run. There have been steady increases in launcher usage over the past three years. Since launch report numbers are calculated based upon revenue codes, the numbers for round trips do not truly account for activity associated with them. It is worth noting that, from a total number of moves standpoint, staff handled 280 more moves in 2019 than in 2017 and 231 more moves than 2018.

Ms. Kempf reported that the 5-year annual trend for guest moorage is good. The number of group reservations is high in the years when fishing projections are bad, since there is more space for group reservations when there are fewer rafted fishing boats. Although projections for fish openings were not good in the beginning of 2019, it ended up being a pretty good fishing season, reducing the Port’s ability to accommodate group reservations. However, we had the highest number of individual reservations (144) for the past five year period in 2019. She observed that, without the Loan-a-Slip Program, the Port would not have been able to accommodate nearly as much guest moorage. In 2019, the number of guest boats was down from 2018, but the nights stayed was up. There were 4,868 nights stayed in guest moorage, and 1,115 of those nights were accommodated in Loan-a-Slips.

Commissioner Faires asked if information is available relative to the number of people who put their slips in the Loan-a-Slip Program when they are away. Ms. Kempf responded that 225 slips were placed in the program in 2019, and there are 670 slips. However, it would be very hard to calculate the percentage of tenants who use the Loan-a-Slip Program. Commissioner Faires said he is interested in knowing how many tenants simply don’t think to put their slips in the program when they leave for a time. Ms. Kempf noted the significant increase in the number of Loan-a-Slips in 2019 and said staff walked the docks and contacted tenants when they found empty slips. The goal was to accommodate as many guests as possible.

Ms. Kempf said Travelift activity is trending upward and has shown steady increases over the past five years. While the number of Travelift-to-yard was down slightly in 2019, sling times were up by about the same amount. Boatyard lay days are trending upwards over the past five years, with 2019 having the most lay days of the five-year timeline (2,500). Commissioner Orvis asked if the increase is due to more vendor work. Ms. Kempf responded that there are about 80 vendors on the list, and the amount of vendor work increases when the yard is full.

Commissioner Faires asked how many workyard users are do-it-yourselfers now as opposed to 10 years ago. Ms. Kempf said the boatyard is a do-it-yourself yard, but probably 90% of the people that go in the yard hire a vendor to do at least some of the work. Commissioner Faires commented that ten years ago, it was important to maintain the do-it-yourself boatyard, but he questioned if that is something they need to worry about in the future. Ms. Kempf said the Port is one of just five boatyards in the state that allow do-it-yourself work, and she felt it was important to retain that status. The Port has trained and educated people well on Best Management Practices in the yard, and staff does more inspections than required by the State. They work hard to ensure that problems are addressed quickly, and she didn’t think you could find a cleaner yard in the State. Commissioner Orvis pointed out that the vendors are part of the do-it-yourself culture. A lot of the work done by vendors is work hired by people who are working on their boats themselves. This type of vendor work is only feasible in a do-it-yourself yard. Ms. Kempf pointed out that if the yard no longer allowed do-it-yourself, it would have to be operated by either the Port or a private company, and a private company would have control over which vendors can work in the yard.

Commissioner Faires recalled that, many years ago, the Port Commission entertained the idea of leasing the boatyard to a private operator, and one of the major stumbling blocks was the loss of do-it-yourself capability. Ms. Kempf pointed out that costs would increase if the yard was operated by a private company. Commissioner Orvis added that a number of small businesses (vendors) would go out of business if it wasn’t for the few do-it-yourself yards.

Ms. Kempf reported that 700,000 gallons of water crossing the pressure wash pad was properly treated and disposed of in the lasts five years, including stormwater. All of the water that flows over the pressure wash pad is treated and sent to the sanitary sewer. On average, Port staff completed about 151 treatments per year, but in 2019, they completed 135. Commissioner Johnston asked why less water was treated in 2019, and Ms. Kempf expressed her belief that it was related to less rainfall in 2019. She pointed out that sling times and Travelift activity is up. Mr. McChesney noted that the workyard was shut down briefly in 2019 when the pad was repaved.

Ms. Kempf explained that the treated pressure wash water has limits placed on it because it is discharged to the sanitary sewer. When limits are exceeded, there is an associated fine. In the 16 years she has been at the Port, there has only been one violation. Staff is required to monitor PH, zinc, copper and lead limits. She reported PH, zinc and copper levels have always been within the limits allowed, and lead is nearly non-existent. Commissioner Preston asked if the copper comes from boats or from car brakes on the roadways. Ms. Kempf recalled that when the pad was resurfaced, it was angled so the majority of the water is captured and goes towards the vault, but there are vehicles that go on the pressure wash pad at times, too. The likelihood of street runoff going onto the pad is low.

Ms. Kempf advised that the sludge that was filtered out from the pressure wash water is tested annually to verify its waste designation. It was exposed to a 96-hour bioassay test that concluded it should not be classified as either “extremely hazardous waste” or “dangerous waste.” Therefore, staff continues to dispose of sludge as a solid waste.

Commissioner Orvis explained how the water is treated to remove all of the solids before it is drained to the sanitary sewer. Ms. Kempf pointed out that the system was designed to treat pressure wash water, but not stormwater, but it has worked amazingly well for both. Commissioner Johnston recalled that the engineer who designed the facility was very zealous and overengineered the system. It acts as a miniature municipal treatment facility.

Ms. Kempf explained that boatyard stormwater samples are required as part of the Boatyard General Permit. The current permit was effective August 8, 2016 and is set to expire July 31, 2021. The Department of Ecology (DOE) has established stormwater runoff benchmark levels for both copper and zinc. The maximum daily benchmark for copper is 147 ug/L and for zinc it is 90 ug/L. There is a seasonal average benchmark of 50 ug/L for copper and 85 ug/L for zinc. Five samples are taken each year during the rainy season and averages are reported in May. If the Port is unable to meet the benchmarks, paperwork must be submitted showing the Port’s plan for meeting the levels the next time. As reported in May 2019, the Port’s seasonal average for copper (37.3 ug/L) met the DOE’s benchmark requirement. The seasonal average for zinc (88 ug/L) exceeded the DOE’s benchmark by 3 ug/L and an updated Level Three Response was submitted to the DOE as required. The plan calls for changing the oyster shells more frequently. Zinc levels at the boatyard fall within the benchmark, but the zinc levels at the outfall under the administration building are too high. This tells them that something is happening between the boatyard and the administration building. To address the issue, they have placed oyster shell cartridges into the drains in the parking lot.

Commissioner Faires asked if boat zinc anodes are a major cause of increased zinc levels. Ms. Kempf said it is just one of the sources, but anything that is galvanized has zinc in it (fences, roofs, tires, etc.). She noted that the Port collects zincs from boaters and disposes of them, so changing from zinc anodes to aluminum would likely make a significant difference in the seasonal averages.

Ms. Kempf reported that the Port collected and properly disposed of 107,719 pounds of hazardous waste from 2015 through 2019. She provided a graph showing the types of hazardous waste, noting that the largest contributors were non-contaminated and contaminated bilge water. They disposed of 734 pounds of zinc anodes in 2017, but the canister is only filled up every fourth year.

Commissioner Faires noted that the amount of antifreeze varies, and 2019 was a good year compared to previous years. Ms. Kempf said the higher numbers in 2016 and 2017 had to do with maintenance on Port equipment.

Ms. Kempf explained that, when looking at the simple average price of fuel, which is based on the price on the last day of each quarter before the tenant discount, gasoline prices were at their highest of the 5-year picture in 2019 when gasoline averaged around $3.96 per gallon. The highest price for diesel was in 2018, averaging $3.34 per gallon. Fuel prices crept upward in 2018 and 2019, almost reaching the 2014 highest level of $4.00 per gallon. She reported that the total gallons of fuel sold in 2019 is about 27% greater than five years ago in 2015. Commissioner Faires asked how much of the increase in diesel fuel sold could be attributed to Puget Sound Express (PSE). Ms. Kempf answered a good percentage of the increase could be attributed to PSE, and a good percentage of the increase in gasoline sold could be attributed to the Freedom Boat Club that did 1,300 trips out of the marina in 2019. However, the Port also installed a high-speed nozzle on one of the diesel pumps, which attracted additional customers.

Ms. Kempf reported that the turnover ratio in water moorage was at its highest in 2016 (26.74%), and was 7% lower in 2019 (19.79%). This is the first year that the turnover has been under 20% in the past five years. The financial occupancy number will be reported in the Finance Manager’s year-end report. Terminations in dry storage were at their highest in 2017 and reduced in 2018 by 7, bringing the turnover ratio slightly down to 38.7%. However, in 2019, the terminations were the lowest they have been in the past five years, with 25 fewer terminations than in 2017. This brought the turnover ratio down to 31.7%. In 2019, inventory in dry storage was adjusted to provide space for trailers on wait lists. The boats that were on stands along the fence were removed and consolidated into the racks so that trailer storage could be opened up. Trailer spaces increased to 51 and the boat space inventory was reduced from 230 to 224.

Ms. Kempf advised that maintaining current insurance and registration for each tenant requires continuous and frequent follow up. In 2019, Port staff utilized email notifications to remind tenants, creating some efficiencies in the process. Compliance numbers change daily, depending on a number of factors. The numbers in the chart are a snapshot of the last day of the year. The 5-year trend shows improvement in insurance compliance, mainly due to insurance companies sending copies directly to the Port. Registration compliance is down by 19% for 2018, and she doesn’t know why. At the beginning of each year, parking permits are not issued until current documentation (registration and insurance) have been received.

Commissioner Preston asked if it is possible to have more insurance companies send copies of insurance policies directly to the Port. Ms. Kempf said that is what insurance companies are supposed to do, but it doesn’t always happen. They encourage tenants to request their insurance companies send the documentation.

Commissioner Faires asked if staff could walk the docks in July and look at registration stickers to see which tenants have renewed. Ms. Kempf agreed that is possible. However, some people don’t put the stickers on their boats right away. She didn’t feel it was staff’s responsibility to enforce registration. That’s the state’s job. However, they are required to have a copy of the current registration on file, and they try not to let the noncompliance go on for too long. Commissioner Orvis recalled that the issue of registration was brought up several years ago at a Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) meeting, and neither the marinas nor the law enforcement agencies were interested in marina staff becoming law-enforcement professionals. It was decided that marinas should require registrations to be on file, but enforcement was not within their purview. Ms. Kempf commented that insurance is the most important requirement, and it is good to see that compliance is going up.

Ms. Kempf said the 5-year trend shows an increase in waitlist applicants. At the end of 2019, there were 160 names on the combined wait list. About 67% of the in-water inventory is 32 feet and under, yet only 25 of the 160 names on the wait list are for slips in these size categories. About 33% of in-water inventory is over 32 feet, and the highest demand is in the 40-foot covered and 50-foot open slips. In 2019, the total names on the wait list increased by 8.84% over 2018, and the total increased by 56% over the 5-year time frame. The numbers include people who may be on more than one list and/or existing customers who need a larger or smaller slip. There are currently 60 who fall in these categories. Commissioner Faires commented that the obvious solution is to put in more large slips, but the current fairways won’t allow it.

Ms. Kempf reported that security officers made 17 calls to 911 in 2019, and there were only 8 reported thefts. There were 50 unusual incidents, which are events that security witnessed or responded to that did not involve theft or calls to 911. She briefly shared some of the events that occurred in 2019.

Ms. Kempf advised that the number of vehicle courtesy notices (910) increased significantly in 2019. She explained that parking enforcement has always been targeted to peak times and towing of vehicles is a last resort. There has been a steady increase in parking demand over the past five years. Although the Port provides commuter parking monthly passes in a designated area, there is a waiting list for them, and full commuter parking areas have caused ferry and Sound Transit commuters to overflow into the marina lots. It is clearly outlined on the marina parking passes that they are for marina-related business parking only. To ensure adequate availability to the variety of users in 2020 and beyond, the Port will put stricter parking enforcement into effect. To that end, the Port has reduced the maximum number of parking permits a tenant can receive from 4 to 3 and repeat parking offenders will be towed after the third offense. This reduction in leniency is required and will assist with meeting parking demands.

Commissioner Orvis asked if the new parking restrictions would apply to Harbor Square, too, or just to the parking areas on the west side of the railroad tracks. Ms. Kempf said Harbor Square will be handled separately. Staff has been monitoring and a plan will be put in place for Harbor Square moving forward, mainly to address commuter parking that overflows into the lot. Commissioner Preston asked it the Port could ticket violators for a financial fine rather than towing their vehicles. Commissioner Orvis observed that Elliott Bay Marina hires a parking management company to handle their parking lots from May through Labor Day. They issue tickets that carry a $50 fine, but the only way they can enforce the fine is to boot the car if it returns to the lot. Mr. Cattle said the Port could also enter into an interlocal agreement with the City of Edmonds to give them jurisdiction over the Port property for parking enforcement.

Ms. Kempf pointed out that, in previous years, the Port’s policy was to only tow vehicles after the fifth offense, and there were only about 10 days per year when parking was a significant problem. However, the problem is getting worse, and that is why the policy was changed to tow vehicles after the third offense. She expressed her belief that reducing leniency with repeat offenders will help, but she suspects parking will continue to be an issue going forward.

Commissioner Preston said he would like further consideration to be given to ticketing violators, with an associated fine, before towing a vehicle. Staff resources are required to implement the parking restrictions, and tickets with associated fines would create revenue to help finance the effort. Commissioner Orvis commented that, until the last few years, everyone knew that you could park at the Port anywhere for free without any consequences. That is no longer the case. The Port cannot, on its own, require violators to pay a fine. The only alternative is to hire a company or enter into an interlocal agreement with the City to enforce the parking restrictions. After receiving three notices, it doesn’t bother him that it will cost violators a substantial amount to retrieve vehicles that have been towed. Sound Transit used this approach to solve the parking problem at Salish Crossing. He expressed his belief that, unless the fine is substantial, it won’t be a deterrent for repeat violators. Ms. Kempf emphasized that a letter would be sent when a second violation occurs, informing the vehicle owner that their car will be towed if another violation occurs. Previously, only one vehicle has been towed after letters were sent out.


Mr. McChesney reported that the Port was informed by the City of Edmonds that the Dayton Street Stormwater Pump Station Project is just about ready to get underway. They are currently mobilizing, and construction will likely take four months, depending on the weather. It should be a good solution to a persistent problem. Just a few weeks ago there was some flooding at SR-104 and Dayton, so he is glad to see the project moving forward.

Mr. McChesney reported that he and Commissioners Johnston and Harris met with the Interfaith Group on Climate Change last week to discuss some preliminary ideas related to solar energy. Representatives from the Snohomish County Public Utility District and the City of Edmonds were present, as well. At this stage, the group is working to gather information.

Mr. McChesney announced that there will be a preconstruction meeting for the Harbor Square Building 3 Renovation Project on January 29th. The goal is to complete the project by the end of May.

Ms. Kempf advised that the Seattle Boat Show is currently in progress. Attendance was good through the weekend, and Monday, as well. They have received three sign ups so far, and there are only 10 to 12 in-water slips available. There are only 7 spaces available in the dry storage mid-size and large-size categories and 32 spaces available in the dry storage small-size category.

Ms. Kempf provided information about the Boating Seminar that the Port is co-sponsoring with the Edmonds Yacht Club (EYC) on February 4th from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The topic will be docking knots and lines and will include tips for docking within the Edmonds Marina. It is a free seminar and open to all.


Commissioner Johnston reported that he attended a meeting of the Interfaith Group on Climate Change as mentioned previously by Mr. McChesney. Before they meet again in March, the goal is to come up with some potential locations for solar arrays in the greater Port area. He said he would work on this task with Mr. McChesney.

Commissioner Johnston reported that he attended the boat show on January 24th, where he met with representatives from the Freedom Boat Club. He learned that Edmonds is going to get a 24-foot Ranger Tug, that will give the club’s clientele more flexibility. Ms. Kempf advised that the Freedom Boat Club just leased additional slips, for a total of eight boats operating from the Edmonds Marina.

Commissioner Johnston said he attended the American Council of Engineering Companies awards banquet. This is the first time in five years that no port projects received awards. The closest was the gold medal winner, which was a City of Everett Project on the trestle that comes down into the Port of Everett. He suggested the Port might be in a good position, depending on the results of continued stormwater and boatyard monitoring, to offer up the canisters as an excellent candidate for an Engineering in Excellence Award. The submittal date will be sometime in November.

Commissioner Faires said the January Edmonds Economic Development Commission Meeting was cancelled due to weather. He said he will attend the Boat Show on January 30th. Commissioner Orvis said he plans to attend the Boat Show, as well.

Commissioner Preston said he would also attend the Boat Show on January 30th. He also attended the ribbon cutting to celebrate the new location of DME CPA Group in Edmonds. The event was sponsored by the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) and Edmonds Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioner Orvis welcomed Council Member Paine as the Edmonds City Council Liaison to the Port.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, David Preston, Port Commission Secretary