Commission Meeting Minutes 2-10-2020

Commission Meeting Minutes 2-10-2020


Jim Orvis, President
Angela Harris, Vice President
David Preston, Secretary
Bruce Faires
Steve Johnston

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

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.






Stan Gent, Edmonds Interfaith Climate Action (ICA) Committee, which brings together people from diverse faith traditions to advocate for the moral imperative of creating a just and sustainable world. He thanked the Port for participating with ICA, the City of Edmonds, and Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) to jointly explore the potential of a large community solar project that will benefit the citizens of Edmonds.

Commissioner Faires asked if Mr. Gent sees any aspect related to sustainability or the environment that the Port could do a better job at. Mr. Gent said he is not an expert on what the Port is doing specifically, but he emphasized that it is very reassuring that the Port is willing to work together with the ICA and the City of Edmonds. More can be done by acting together as opposed to working singularly. The Port is already a leader, but it does no harm to look at what more they can do.

Susan Paine, Edmonds City Council, reported that the City is considering a code amendment that will change the uses allowed along the waterfront to include hotels. The change may have some impact on Port property, and the City Council has inquired about the occupancy at the Harbor Inn.

Commissioner Preston asked if a private entity has seriously considered developing a hotel in the bowl given the current height restrictions. City Council Member Paine said that, very recently, there was an inquiry about the potential of adapting an existing building into a hotel use, but it was determined that it would not be an allowed use in the Commercial Waterfront zone. The City is now considering adding “hotel” as an allowable use in certain parts of the Commercial Waterfront zone. She invited the Commissioners and Port staff to provide input via the City’s Economic Development Director.

Commissioner Faires recalled that the Edmonds Economic Development Commission considered the potential for a hotel in the bowl a few years ago, and one option was the present City Administration Building, which is a nice building with a great view. However, about 80% of the population of the bowl expressed a desire that City offices should remain in the bowl. Council Member Paine emphasized that the current proposed amendment would only apply to the Commercial Waterfront zone.

Commissioner Johnston commented that there have been proposals, both soft and hard, for hotels in the downtown bowl. However, none of these proposals came to fruition.

Will Chin, Edmonds Housing Commission, announced an open house on February 12th in the Great Room at the Edmonds Woodway High School. He invited the Commissioners to attend and encourage their neighbors to attend, as well.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Port recently purchased a new Travelift, which has been delivered and is in use. As part of the safety and maintenance program, a taller scissor lift is required to accomplish the required monthly maintenance tasks. Monthly maintenance and inspection of the equipment would make rental fees prohibitive. Staff obtained three quotes for a new scissor lift, and the lowest was from Star Rentals for an electric Genie GS-2632 scissor lift for $15,403 plus tax and freight. He noted that $28,000 was allocated in the 2020 Capital Budget for this expense. He recommended the Commission authorize the Executive Director to disperse payment to Star Rentals for the quoted new scissor lift. He explained that the intent is to retain the smaller scissor lift, as the new one won’t go down the ramps and onto the docks to do required maintenance.

Commissioner Preston asked how often the taller scissor lift would be needed. Mr. McChesney answered that, in addition to monthly maintenance, other incidental work needs to be done on Port facilities. On average, he estimated the new scissor lift would be used three to four times each month. Commissioner Preston asked if the Port has been renting a taller scissor lift when needed, and Mr. McChesney answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Johnston asked how susceptible scissor lifts are to weather. He noted that the new lift would not be sheltered for the time being. Mr. McChesney said the Port doesn’t like to store equipment outside, but they don’t currently have an equipment storage shed. This will be a topic of discussion later in the meeting. Commissioner Preston pointed out that the equipment could be covered until a storage shed is available.


Commissioner Faires asked about the anticipated life expectancy of the new scissor lift, and Mr. McChesney answered approximately 15 years. It is a simple unit, but it would last longer if it was stored in an equipment shed.


Ms. Williams presented the Harbor Square 4th Quarter 2019 Report, specifically noting the following:

• Gross projected revenue was up 2.41%, or roughly $12,521 over the same period in 2018.
• Occupancy at the end of Quarter 4 was 98.55%, up .43% over the same time period in 2018.
• No leases expired or ended in Quarter 4, but there were two new leases, one in Building 1 and the other in Building 2. There were four lease extensions, as well.
• No tenant improvements were done during the quarter, but major projects included the annual fire extinguisher testing, updating bathroom lighting and new hallway lighting in Building 1. Many of the projects done over the past few years were accomplished in house by the Port’s Maintenance crew. She is impressed with the number of things maintenance staff takes care of on a daily basis.
• There were no incidents to report, but the Dayton Street entrance was closed for a few hours when the street flooded on December 20th. The issue is now being addressed by the City’s Dayton Street Stormwater Pump Station Project.

Commissioner Orvis requested a status update on the Harbor Inn. Ms. Williams said she doesn’t have firm numbers, but from her conversations with them, they are doing well. Mr. McChesney said the information is generally proprietary.

Mr. McChesney advised that the Port is working on a parking management plan for Harbor Square. They have been working with the Harbor Square Athletic Club management to change some of their scheduling. The club has oversubscribed their capacity relative to parking. They understand the problem, but the solutions will be a challenge. The goal is to create a good balance that provides all Harbor Square tenants a reasonable expectation of parking for employees and customers.

Commissioner Orvis requested a progress report on Building 3, and Mr. McChesney reported that the project schedule is in flux at this stage. The critical path is the windows. During the preconstruction meeting last week, the contractor tried to convince them that the lead time on the windows was 12 weeks, which would have pushed the completion schedule out until the end of September. That is not acceptable to the Port and is outside the bounds of what the contract calls for (June 25th completion date). Staff is working with the contractor to resolve the issue.


Ms. Williams reviewed the Port’s 2019 marketing and communications efforts. She explained that the Port does community events, communications, promotions, on-line campaigns, etc. because they help to enforce the Port’s overall mission of economic development, public benefit and tourism. Marketing is a great way to help with environmental stewardship, marina operations and property management.

Ms. Williams reviewed the 2019 promotions, which included March on In, which offered tenants 50% off Travelift. Forty-six tenants took advantage of the promotion, and they spent a total of 173 days in the boatyard. In October, the Port offered participants in the Foul Weather Bluff Race 50% off sling/wash, and five participants took advantage of the promotion. To get more activity in the Boatyard, the Port offered 20% off Travelift to anyone, not just tenants. They also offered discounted progressive days in the Boatyard. Fifty-one people took advantage of the promotion, and 39 were tenants.

Ms. Williams said the Port’s communications goal is to approach all different people. They try to nurture their customers, but they also want to communicate with the public to raise awareness. Two public mailers were sent out in 2019, one in late summer (Current Tidings), which was an information-heavy piece, and another in late November (postcard) inviting the public to Port events and wishing them Happy Holidays. Both went out to over 26,000 residents, and good feedback was received. They plan to do two mailings in 2020, as well. The Port also does regular press releases when there is information to share, and they are primarily featured in My Edmonds News, The Beacon and The Everett Herald. The Port also publishes a newsletter with a circulation of over 12,000.

Ms. Williams said social media has become a big part of the Port’s communications program. It is a great way for the Port to share news with followers, and the Port’s following doubled over the past year. They have over 500 followers on Facebook. Facebook has also shown it is a great opportunity for inexpensive advertising. She shared examples of recent Facebook posts, noting that the top post reached about 4,200 people and had 413 engagements (liking, sharing, commenting). A paid advertisement was done for the Port’s top event (Family Day at the Marina), and it reached 29,000 people and generated 2,200 responses. The cost of the ad was less than $50. She added that the Port has generated 193 Google reviews with a 4.4 rating. She is looking to get more reviews on Yelp next year, and there are currently only 7.

Ms. Williams said the Port continues with advertising that is fish and boating focused, and many of the groups they have advertised with in the past now have a digital component, as well. She shared a list of the local, regional and industry focused advertising that was done in 2019.

Commissioner Faires asked the cost of running an add in the Waggoner Cruising Guide and Northwest Boat Travel. Ms. William said the ads cost between $800 and $1,200 each. The Port used to do more ads in Northwest Sportsman, and last year she was able to negotiate a lower rate.

Commissioner Preston asked if Ms. Williams has considered pulling all of the non-digital ads and putting the money towards digital ads. Ms. Williams commented that a number of the sources offer a digital component now, and she continues to take advantage of these opportunities. She said she hasn’t spent the full advertising budget the last two years because she has pulled back a little on the print ones.

Ms. Williams advised that partnerships have always been important to the Port. She is on the Board of Directors for the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, and she is able to let them know what is happening at the Port and learn about different local businesses. The Port provides facilities for their meetings. The Port also participates on the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. While the Bureau is no longer contracting with Snohomish County, it is still active. During the last year, she was able to participate in a stakeholder group representing Edmonds for the Coastal Communities. A representative from the Port also participates on the Arts Designation Committee, which was created to determine how the City’s art designation will roll out.

Ms. Williams reported that the Port is in the second year of the 2019-2020 Destination Port of Edmonds Program, and an estimated 515 bags were given out in 2019. The cost of the two-year program is $17,421.24, with $6,735.00 coming from contributions from Anthony’s and paid advertising from merchants. The Ports cost for the two-year program is $10,686,24.

Ms. Williams said the Port was able to promote the Freedom Boat Club at their booth at the 2019 Seattle International Boat Show, and Freedom Boat Club sponsored a drawing. In addition, Anthony’s and Puget Sound Express partnered with the Port on a drawing, and there were 215 entries. About 80 of those who entered the drawing also signed up to receive the Port’s newsletter. The Boat Show special was offered again in 2019 ($20.19 for the 1st and 12th months). There were 58 sign ups, and 31 of them remained at the end of 4th Quarter.

Ms. Williams advised that the Port conducted an on-line environmental campaign in the spring of 2019 to engage with the on-line audience. They engaged with tenants via the newsletter about ocean conservation tips. The conservation tips were also given out at the Family Day at the Marina and Edmonds Arts Festival.

Ms. Williams reported that the Port held the first Family Day at the Marina on June 1st, and the intent was to create an event that was truly marina related. The Classic Yachts were featured, and a variety of other groups were also represented, including the Beach Ranger Program, Boating Safety Program, United States Coast Guard and Students Saving Salmon. The Port provided a craft table, and there was live music and food trucks, too. They are starting to work on the 2020 event that is scheduled for May 30th.

Ms. Williams said a big part of the Family Day at the Marina and the Port’s outreach program is working with Annie Crawley’s team on Marina Clean Up Dives. She shared a picture of the dive participants, as well as some of their findings. Ms. Kempf said the group did C/D dock in 2019, and they plan to move north in 2020.

Ms. Williams said a postcard flyer was made available at the Marina Operations Office, Administration Office, Family Day at the Marina and Edmonds Arts Festival to advertise the summer events and activities scheduled for 2019.

Ms. Williams said the 8th Annual Sea Jazz event occurred in 2019. The music schedule was coordinated by Pete Bennett, with participants from Edmonds-Woodway, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and Meadowdale High Schools. Other community events the Port participated in included Puget Sound Bird Fest, Edmonds Coho Derby, Foul Weather Bluff Race, and Scarecrow Festival. Winter events included a holiday food drive, Edmonds Yacht Club Holiday on the Docks, Christmas Ship Night at the Marina, and 2020 Seattle International Boat Show. She reminded them that live music, cider and cookies were offered by the Port on Christmas Ship Night, which was a good way to feature all of the boats that were decked out for Holiday on the Docks. Puget Sound Express offered an open house, too. Commissioner Preston observed that all of the participants in Holiday on the Docks did a great job.

Commissioner Faires questioned if more should be done to make the food drive available to everyone in the community. Ms. Williams agreed that more could be done to promote the food drive. She said it was advertised on the holiday mailer in an effort to reach more people. The previous year, a lot of people brought food to the Christmas Ship Night at the Marina after the drive was mentioned on Facebook. This year, they used the Christmas Ship event to expand the food drive. She said she kept the collection box at Harbor Square a little bit longer to encourage additional traffic. Commissioner Orvis commented that a number of other groups are collecting donations at the same time, and the Port’s program provides an opportunity for tenants, staff and visitors of the marina to contribute. If anything, it would be helpful to coordinate all of the food drives to be a citywide effort.

Council Member Paine announced that the City would hire a Human Services Coordinator in the next few months to chaperone all of the services for people who are in need. This person’s effort will be primarily focused on housing services, but other supportive services, as well.

Commissioner Preston suggested they do a food drive as part of Family Day at the Marina. The Commissioners agreed it would make sense to conduct the drives as part of an event that is already scheduled. Commissioner Faires suggested they could try leaving the donation boxes out all year, and Ms. Williams said she is trying this approach with the box at Harbor Square. However, she likes the idea of putting some promotion and excitement behind the program to remind people and get them involved.

Commissioner Orvis commented that staff does a terrific job during events at the Port, and they should be rewarded for their efforts. Mr. McChesney advised that staff is paid overtime or receive compensation days when they work late for events. They try to be reasonable and fair and encourage participation.

Commissioner Harris pointed out that the staff appreciation event was held on the same night as the Christmas Ship Night at the Marina. She suggested that, in the future, perhaps these events should be held on different nights. Ms. Williams said they have already decided to have the events on separate nights. They also want to move the Santa’s Arrival event up earlier in the evening to accommodate families with younger children.

The Commissioners thanked Ms. Williams for her efforts to raise the profile of the Port. She has done a great job.

Denise Miller, Edmonds, said the environmental information the Port has provided recently has been well received when she shares it. The Port hasn’t always been known for its environmental effort, but that is changing. All of the events and information shows that the Port is part of the community. Commissioner Johnston reviewed that the Port stepped up its communications effort in 2016. Since that time, the Port has done an excellent job of getting the word out of things the Port has always known. He specifically thanked Ms. Williams for her efforts.


Mr. McChesney said one of the follow-on activities of the recently-adopted Public Access Plan is to make sure the plan was received and approved by the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), which is a granting agency. Staff dutifully sent the plan to them a few weeks ago. They liked it a lot, but in order for it to be accepted by them as actionable for potential future grants, the Port must demonstrate that it has been fully approved by the Commission and is part of the capital budget. Staff will bring the plan back to the Commission at the next meeting for formal adoption into the Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements. A public hearing will be required and the capital budget will need to be modified.

Mr. McChesney said that, as they move forward with implementation of the Public Access Plan, there has been a lot of discussion about the board walk (its current condition and what it could be). It was determined that an engineering assessment will be needed, and he met with a local engineering firm, C & G Engineering, who will prepare a proposal for the Commission’s consideration. While the scope of work and budget is not yet available, he estimates a 6-week project timeline.

Mr. McChesney reminded them that the South Public Launch will be taken out of service for Everett Engineering to replace the electronics.

Mr. McChesney recalled that a new Travelift ramp was discussed as part of the 2020 Capital Budget. The current ramp is very old and the intent is to make the ramp longer so it doesn’t have such as sharp pitch at low tide. This will help staff go up and down the ramp and also be an advantage to Puget Sound Express. Acquiring a generic ramp will not work, and specifications are needed to bid the project out. Staff is in the process of working with C & G Engineering to design the project. He anticipates the ramp will take at least three months to design, fabricate and install.

Mr. McChesney said a new Dry Storage Office was included in the capital budget. The current building is a modular trailer that is rat infested and unhealthy. It will be difficult to bid the new building out because every manufacturer makes them differently. They are currently looking at generic models, but the lead time is three months. Staff will bring a proposal back to the Commission for approval in the near future.

Mr. McChesney said staff’s initial thought relative to an equipment storage shed was to convert some of the existing dry storage structure. However, it is now believed that the needs are greater and the engineering to convert the space would not be as easy as originally thought. Staff will likely recommend a kit building that is designed to accommodate the Port’s needs. However, this will require a Shoreline Permit and some of the racks at Dry Storage will need to be rearranged. He anticipates that the project will take 18 months to design, permit and construct.

Now that Puget Sound Express has withdrawn interest in the vacant property on the west side of Admiral Way, Commissioner Orvis suggested that they consider a pre-fabricated maintenance building on this site to store all of the Port’s equipment. He noted that a building on this site has already been permitted. Mr. McChesney agreed that is a reasonable option to consider further. Commissioner Faires added that a building in this location could provide for equipment storage, as well as floor space that could be leased out. Commissioner Orvis observed that a maintenance building would take up parking spaces, but it wouldn’t add to the parking demand. The Commission has had several discussions over the past months that the Port has nearly exhausted its parking potential.

Mr. McChesney recalled that the Commission has been advised that the front porch and stairs leading to the Administration Building need to be replaced. It will not be easy to replace the structure as is, since the concrete steps are not off the shelf and would have to be fabricated. They may need to consider using a different type of material, perhaps steel.

Mr. McChesney said that some of the timber members on the Mid-Marina Breakwater have deteriorated, particularly in the intertidal zone. The maintenance crew replaced some of the wood in 2019. PN&D was hired to do a condition assessment, and a report was prepared that confirmed what the Port already knew. One of the unknown factors in deciding how to address the issue is the condition of the steel batter piles. PN&D took this concern under advisement, and without any actual data, decided there is about 15 years of life in the steel. However, he doesn’t think that is reliable. He suggested that Norton Corrosion needs to do actual testing to identify how long the steel will last. In the meantime, rather than replacing all of the wooden pieces all at once, staff will fix them as they see a need. The idea is to have pre-treated timber on hand and ready to go, and maintenance staff knows how to do the work. At this time, there isn’t enough justification to ask the Commission to approve a project to overhaul the Mid-Marina Breakwater.

Commissioner Faires said he supports the plan to patch the existing timber members, but they need to make a strategic decision once they figure out the life expectancy of the steel batter piles and rip rap. Again, Mr. McChesney suggested they maintain what is there now and replace the wooden timbers when they are in failure mode. They are not in any danger of a blow out or collapse at this time.


Commissioner Faires announced that he would attend the Edmonds Economic Development Commission Meeting on February 19th as a representative of the Port. Commissioner Preston said he may attend the meeting, as well.

Commissioner Faires reported that he and his wife attended the Boat Show and he found it confusing. It seemed to be a lot bigger and he felt it was disorganized. The booths and boats were not in any logical order for perusal. He suggested that the Port provide feedback if given an opportunity. Ms. Williams said the Boat Show sponsors send out a survey asking for feedback, and she can pass this information along.

Commissioner Preston said he also attended the Boat Show, which was great. He raised the idea of having two interns (college or high school students) to study how the Port runs from both an internal and external standpoint. Mr. McChesney said Port staff is open to using interns and have utilized them in the past. He suggested they do outreach with Edmonds Community College to research the idea further.

Commissioner Johnston advised that he would attend the Communications Committee Meeting on February 11th. He said he also attended the Boat Show and agreed that it wasn’t organized well. It was good to speak with representatives from the Freedom Boat Club and learn that they will be bringing a Ranger Tug to Edmonds. They reported that operations are going well for them at the Edmonds Marina.

Commissioner Harris announced that she would attend the Communications Committee Meeting on February 11th, too.

Commissioner Orvis reported that he attended the first meeting of the Snohomish County Maritime Roundtable, which was started by the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County. Representatives from Marysville and Arlington participated, as well, and the two cities are working jointly on a large industrial park. He and Mr. McChesney were concerned that the roundtable was a way to expand the Port of Everett’s influence. However, they learned that the group was started to address complaints from the maritime industry, itself, that the waterfront businesses weren’t getting the attention they wanted or expected. There is a new shipyard at the Port of Everett and there are a lot of fishing fleets operating out of the Port of Seattle. The roundtable will facilitate discussions about education and training and how to interest high school and college students in the waterfront/maritime industry. There are some really terrific, high-paying maritime jobs, but a qualified workforce is in short supply.

Commissioner Orvis announced that a proposal to cut funds for a Mobile Pump-Out Station that had been of concern, was limited to a mobile system which had been funded for many years by a federal grant. The grant, was originally part of the cleanup of Lake Washington and Lake Union and provide free pump-outs for boats in those waters. Over the years there had been problems with the contractor who had misused the funds and failed audits. A current state program provides pump-out stations for recreational boaters. The Port of Edmonds has two such facilities. Mobile programs are generally funded by boaters individually or through marina fees.

Commissioner Orvis commended staff for doing a terrific job during the Navy Yacht Club cruise. He was also happy to learn that the Freedom Boat Club is expanding in Edmonds. The new Ranger Tug will be capable of handling the straits and passages going north.


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

Respectfully submitted,
David Preston, Port Commission Secretary