Commission Meeting Minutes 2-27-23

Commission Meeting Minutes 2-27-23

(Via Zoom, Hybrid Meeting)    February 27, 2023

Steve Johnston, President
Jim Orvis, Vice President
Jay Grant, Secretary
David Preston

Angela Harris- Excused

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Tina Drennan, Manager of Finance and Accounting

Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Neil Tibbott, Edmonds City Council


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


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






Charles Malmgren, recalled that at the January 30, 2023 Commission Meeting, a vote was held and passed to scrap the planned, permitted and partially completed Commission Meeting Room. This was done without regard to cost or viability. With the same stroke, the planned, permitted, leasable second-floor office was eliminated, which will have an estimated annual cost of $16,000. Heaven knows how much more the new Commission Meeting Room will ultimately cost. He said vague comments were made about this being the peoples’ building and making the meeting room available to the public. Also stated were intentions to secure the Port offices from the Commission Meeting Room. He suggested that an inspector might feel that there is justification for two readily-accessible egress stairwells to evacuate the newly-mentioned public space. Securing this space from the Port offices and providing access to both stairwells could be quite challenging.

Mr. Malmgren pointed out that the cost of the new Administration/Maintenance Building has gone from over $5 million to more than $8 million, and this hemorrhaging of Port coffers needs to stop. He said the plan to put a new forklift into service soon, along with the Portwalk project, will have all of the tenants paying more for fewer services. An example is the decision to discontinue the public weather station. The State gifted the Port with the saltwater access for thirty heavily-populated miles of shoreline, and it seems miserly to withhold the weather station service. He strongly urged the Commission to reconsider the meeting room changes. If the leasing goes well, he suspects that there would be funds later to provide for skylights or other aesthetic enhancements.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that the original contract completion date for the new Administration/Maintenance Building was July 1, 2023, but that date was extended by ten days to account for change orders. The new completion date is July 11th. He advised that so far there have been 11 approved change orders in the amount of $29,113, and a list of the change orders was attached to the Staff Report. He recalled that Change Order #15, which was a sheet metal change, was rejected. He explained that the original specifications called for a specific profile and material, and the callout was for steel. The supplier subsequently informed the contractor they could deliver the type specified by the architect, but since the new building would be situated close to a saltwater environment, they could not warranty the coating. The Port was asked to consider an alternative, but the cost of changing to a different material with a saltwater-rated coating was $81,603. In addition, there would be an 8-week lead time and consequent project delay. The project team rejected the proposal and directed the contractor to stay with the original specification. They felt the change order was not worth the cost or delay and would add no value except to buy a saltwater-coating warranty.

Mr. McChesney reported that they are still waiting for the final change order itemizing cost factors for changing the Commission Meeting Room configuration and design. The original design was not acceptable, and the primary unresolved issue is how the design modification would change the HVAC specifications. They are currently waiting for the mechanical engineer (Coffman) to finalize their redesign. Further, once all of the design changes have been identified, it will be necessary to go back to the City of Edmonds for a permit revision. There shouldn’t be any problem getting the permit revision approved, but it might take three weeks to complete. Meanwhile, in order to keep the project moving forward smoothly and to avoid a potential contractor claim for downtime, the contractor has been directed to proceed with basic framing and plumbing changes. Change Order #11 shows a deduct of $16,000 from the contract amount for work items no longer required. There will be another companion change order that increases the cost reflecting the additional work to accomplish the desired Commission Meeting Room requirements. This work will include electrical/lighting, plumbing, roof hatch relocation, HVAC modifications, flooring, fixtures and finishes.

Mr. McChesney summarized that, although the Commission Meeting Room redesign is very likely to be a significantly large contract price increase, they won’t know how much until the engineering is finished. That said, it is important to keep in mind these changes will not result in any “lost cost,” with two exceptions. They will need to relocate the roof hatch that has already been installed. Also, the mechanical contractor has advised that all of the installed equipment can work, but they will need to change some of the ductwork. He expressed his belief that the design changes would add value to the project and most of the costs items would have been realized at a later date anyway. The changes were made in time to avoid excessive lost cost. He said he believes the changes will result in a much nicer Commission Meeting Room and easily convertible public meeting space.

Commissioner Grant referred to Change Order #15. Given that the supplier would not warranty the coating, he asked if staff anticipates future problems with the material’s durability. Mr. McChesney said he has reviewed the matter with the engineering group, and they don’t anticipate a problem. The issue is that the supplier won’t warranty the standard coating given the building’s close proximity to a saltwater environment. However, it is the same material that was used on the roofs of the overwater moorage. From his point of view, it wasn’t worth an additional $81,000 to obtain the warranty. Commissioner Orvis summarized his belief that the Port would be paying for a warranty rather than any increase in value.

Commissioner Grant said he likes the proposed design change to accommodate a better Commission Meeting Room. He understands that two restrooms is a code requirement, but he is pleased they will have a room that the public can use. The Port may be able to generate some revenue from that, and there would still be about 3,500 square feet of revenue-generating space on the ground floor. Mr. McChesney agreed that the new meeting room design would be so much better. He noted that the original design for the Commission Meeting Room didn’t even include windows. Commissioner Orvis observed that the Commission missed this when reviewing the original plan. He pointed out, that as currently proposed, there would be two egress/ingress points, as well as two stairwell exits from the second floor. Mr. McChesney agreed and said the two egress/ingress points are required by code.

Regarding Mr. Malmgren’s comment about the Weather Center, Mr. McChesney clarified that the Weather Center by the public launch and Marina Operations has not been eliminated, but the content has been changed. He explained that the weather information was redundant, as the same information could be obtained just about anywhere. Mr. Malmgren disagreed and pointed out that the Weather Center information is no longer available online. Commissioner Grant commented that the Port is looking to update its website in the near future, and this is something to consider. Mr. Malmgren reminded them that the Port purchased a new Davis Weather Station, but it has been sitting in the office for weeks and no one has taken the steps to add the information back into the website. There are no weather stations with direct access to Puget Sound. The available weather sites are far from accurate and don’t have time-monitoring capabilities. He expressed his belief that this feature should be replaced. Mr. McChesney agreed to take the suggestion under advisement.

Mr. Malmgren wished the Port luck securing the Port offices. He appreciates that everyone would have a nice office and great views of the mountains and Puget Sound, but eliminating $16,000 in revenue a year is not inconsequential.

Commissioner Preston asked where the cameras would be located on the roof of the new building, and Mr. McChesney said it has yet to be determined.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that planning for the reconstruction of the North Portwalk and Seawall has been ongoing for over two years, including engineering, architectural and environmental permitting. The rough order of magnitude cost estimate for the project is approximately $20 million, but it may be higher due to rampant inflation and other unknown factors.

Mr. McChesney advised that, currently, the design and engineering elements are at 70% completion, as required for application and review by the Corps of Engineers (COE) and various resource agencies under the Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) process. The best estimate for completing this milestone is the end of 2023 or early 2024. Meanwhile, the other permits, such as the Shoreline Permit and City of Edmonds Design Review Board are also in process. Once the permits and environmental mitigation have been finalized, the design process will continue to the actual construction phase, perhaps by the 4th quarter of 2024.

Mr. McChesney advised that while the permitting, mitigation and design proceed through the process, the staff and Commission have been discussing a finance strategy. The primary elements to finance this major capital project is expected to include some combination of Limited Tax General Obligation (LTGO) Bonds, grants and cash reserves. The emphasis will be on securing grant funding. Over the past year, the Port has been actively exploring various grant opportunities. For example, they applied for a Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) Grant, the results of which won’t be known until March or April of this year. The amount of this potential grant source is relatively small, with a maximum of $1 million but likely less. Still, they hope to be successful.

Mr. McChesney reviewed that for the past several months, the Port has searched for a freelance grant writer to expand the reach of the endeavor, but the effort has been unsuccessful. Consequently, the staff and Commission have determined the best way to improve the Port’s chances to obtain major grant funding support is to hire a professional lobbyist firm. The process of identifying and selecting a qualified lobbyist began in January 2023. Staff was encouraged to streamline the process as much as reasonably possible in order to meet the February 28th deadline for a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Mr. McChesney explained that the open solicitation process works begins with an official Request For Proposals (RFP), followed by a response/review period. It was very challenging to move through the process and have a lobbyist selected in time to make the deadline for submitting a RAISE Grant application. An RFP was issued on January 25th and also sent directly to several firms. At their regular meeting of January 30th, in order to further expedite the selection process, and while the RFP solicitation was still ongoing, the Commission pre-authorized him to enter into a contract with a qualified lobbyist firm in an amount not to exceed $200,000. The RFP solicitation closed on February 8th, and three submittals were received (Washington2Advocates, Elevate, and VNF Solutions). All are well qualified and similar in many respects. Before making a final selection, the staff review committee recommended to invite two firms for direct interview. On Friday, February 17th, staff met with both Elevate and VNF Solutions. Although the objective factors between the two firms don’t exactly align in direct comparison, both are experienced, capable and qualified.

Mr. McChesney said the staff review committee felt that Elevate had the edge. For example, VNF Solutions presented their basic strategy as being more like a proactive guide along the way. They didn’t express much enthusiasm for doing the active leg work either in fundraising or in providing first-level administrative support. The committee wasn’t interested in engaging a firm that would tell them how to do it as they show the way, as Port staff would likely end up with unforeseen consequences such as over burdensome administrative support and more busy work. For the most part, VNF Solutions doesn’t organize congressional fundraisers. While VNF Solutions has the administrative capacity to write grants with their own staff, in the committee’s opinion, they would rely heavily on Port staff to perform most of the work elements so VNF Solutions could put it in finish form to send it out.

Mr. McChesney expressed his belief that the Port doesn’t have the administrative infrastructure to keep up with all the volumes of documentation, applications and presentations that will be part of the process. Staff will certainly and enthusiastically support the lobbyist effort, but they want to select a lobbyist firm that could do the politics part and most of the direct administrative support. VNF Solutions was shy about that suggestion. They are a large firm with their own established ways of doing things.

Mr. McChesney said his decision to award the lobbyist contract to Elevate was largely based on the committee’s evaluation of their overall strategies and responsiveness to what the Port was trying to accomplish. When it comes to Federal grants and/or earmarks, there is more than one good strategy and a lot of bad ones. In their proposal and interview, Elevate demonstrated a clear approach, including their pledge to maximize efforts and minimize staff support. Their proposal included a strategic work plan. They have sufficient administrative resources to support the Port’s goals, and their team demonstrated all the right connections to the Congressional delegation. Elevate has experience with election fundraising to obtain Congressional support, and that is included in their scope of work. They would likely subcontract out the actual grant writing function, which is also included in their proposal. Finally, the committee’s selection of Elevate was also based on their proposed retainer fee and level of effort. VNF Solutions proposed a $7,000/month retainer based on 20 hours/month effort, which equates to $375/hour. Elevate proposed a $10,000/month retainer based on 35 hours/month effort, which equates to $285/hour.

In retrospect, Mr. McChesney reported that the lobbyist selection process was not fully synchronized with the 2023 USDOT RAISE application deadline, and the Port was unable to get the application done in time. However, there are many different kinds of potential funding sources, including direct earmarks. The Port will be ready for the 2024 USDOT RAISE application deadline, and the timing is consistent with the current project schedule. He summarized that the committee is confident in its selection of Elevate, and staff is looking forward to working with them to achieve the Port’s grant funding goals to support the North Portwalk and Seawall Project.

Commissioner Johnston expressed his belief that the selection process was sound and the result was good. The remainder of the Commissioners concurred.


Once again, Councilmember Teitzel reminded the Commission of House Bill (HB) 1110 and Senate Bill (SB) 5190, which are both geared to eliminate single-family zoning in all cities with populations of 25,000 or more. If approved, all single-family lots in Edmonds that are not within a half mile of a major transit stop or public amenity like a school would be upzoned to a minimum of two units per lot. Lots within a half mile of a major transit stop or public amenity would be upzoned to four units or more per lot. The City Council is concerned about this legislation, as it would remove their legislative authority to govern land use. Councilmembers Tibbott, Chen and Nann met with legislators in Olympia last week to express the City Council’s concerns. He believes the concerns have been heard, but they are not being registered. He expressed his opinion that the bills would pass in some form. They have moved out of appropriations and are being considered now. They will go to the floor of both the House and Senate for a vote on March 8th. If they pass there, they will move on to a full vote on April 12th. He explained that the bills have been improved over what was originally proposed. Originally, it would have applied to all cities and towns greater than 6,000 in population, and all single-family zones would be required to host a minimum of four units per lot. While the City Council is pleased with this change, they don’t think it goes far enough. He said councilmembers have received a lot of feedback from constituents, and about 90% are opposed to the legislation.

Commissioner Grant said he read the letter the Edmonds City Council sent to the legislature. It looks like the State is trying to micromanage and take the authority away from every city in the State. Councilmember Teitzel agreed. He said the Council’s position is that if the State has a need to increase the housing supply, they should identify the problem, increase the standards in the Growth Management Act, and require cities to meet the new standards. That is not what is happening.

Commissioner Orvis agreed that the legislation would likely be approved and asked what the City is doing to reverse, or at least minimize, its potential adverse impact on the environment of the community. Potential actions could include implementing form-based zoning in all areas of the City and ensuring there is adequate off-street parking and electric vehicle charging stations. He recalled that, ten years ago, a former City leader stated that the “City didn’t like to plan; they like to have individual buildings in individual areas.” However, this results in hodgepodge development. He asked if there is any chance the City will change directions to see what can be done to mitigate the adverse impacts of the legislation. Councilmember Teitzel said the City Council will be looking at form-based zoning, but the State will be very diligent in making sure cities aren’t doing anything to get around the regulations. The legislation would also restrict the ability of cities to impose off-street parking requirements.

Councilmember Teitzel said the bills attempt to streamline the development standards so there is less subjectivity. Currently, the City’s Architectural Design Board reviews individual projects to make sure they meet the city-specific design standards, and the proposed legislation would eliminate this board in most cases. This is a serious step the State is taking in an attempt to create more housing across the spectrum.

Commissioner Johnston asked if the legislation has bipartisan support, and Councilmember Teitzel answered affirmatively. He noted that similar legislation has already been approved in Oregon, and upzoning has already happened in Seattle. Commissioner Johnston said it is happening in a number of other states, as well. Commissioner Grant said that, at the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Legislative Day, the majority of republican legislators indicated support of the bills for a variety of reasons.

Commissioner Grant said he just learned that, as of July 1st, heat pumps will be mandatory for all new construction, and the City of Seattle is no longer issuing gas permits. Commissioner Orvis said Puget Sound Energy has indicated support for this new law. Councilmember Teitzel said he is somewhat concerned because they are also talking about tearing down dams for salmon purposes. Commissioner Orvis added that, according to the most recent WPPA Legislative Report, the State has now decided to support nuclear as a source of clean energy.

Commissioner Preston questioned what would happen if the growth predictions do not materialize. There seems to be a lot of guessing going on, and there are a lot of variables. He noted that, even if the legislation to upzone single-family zones is approved, the change will not happen overnight. If the change results in negative impacts, it might keep people from moving to the State. There is a lot going on, and the current legislation should not be considered the only solution to affordable housing. Councilmember Teitzel agreed. From an economic standpoint, developers will be able to purchase a run-down home on a nice lot and construct a duplex. Each unit would likely sell for close to $1 million. He questioned if this would really create affordable housing. Commissioner Orvis agreed that would happen as long as there is a shortage of houses. From a forecaster’s perspective, you have to build enough houses and apartments that their value goes down. Cities that have low-cost housing also have a surplus of housing. He observed that Snohomish County is currently the fastest growing county in the State, and it is expected that the aerospace industry will remain strong. That means there will be jobs and the population will continue to increase.

Commissioner Preston recalled a recent comment from John Brock, Woodway Town Council, that HB 1245 could have an even greater impact as it would allow properties to be divided and split up into very small lots. He asked if the Edmonds City Council has also considered the impact of this legislation, and Councilmember Teitzel answered affirmatively. Commissioner Grant pointed out that, although the Town of Woodway has a population of less than 25,000, it could still be impacted by the proposed legislation since it would also apply to all cities and towns contiguous to an urban growth area (UGA) with a population of 200,000 or more. The question is whether the Town of Woodway is contiguous to the Seattle UGA.

Councilmember Teitzel advised that he forwarded the Commissioners a copy of the City’s updated Climate Action Plan. He encouraged them to read through it. He noted there are some things that are concerning, and he highlighted one section that talks about sea level rise. It concludes there is a 50% chance that sea level will rise by five feet by the end of the century. This creates a number of concerns. For example, would daylighting of Willow Creek result in increased flooding as sea level rises. He said he plans to ask a number of questions at the next City Council meeting.

Councilmember Teitzel pointed out that there is nothing in the Climate Action Plan about the Port’s actions. The Port has done a number of things to help the climate and environment, and these should be recognized in the plan. For example, they use crushed oyster shells in the storm drain collection boxes and eco-friendly weed killers and fertilizers, and their new building is energy efficient. He plans to raise this issue, as well.

Commissioner Orvis observed that they have done so much climate whimpering over the last 20 years, and he hopes they are reaching the point of actually mitigating for future impacts of climate change. Councilmember Teitzel commented that nothing the City does will matter if it is done in isolation. They need involvement from countries like China and India. The view is that, if they all do something, there will be a positive impact. Commissioner Preston cautioned that doing something will not matter unless they take bigger steps to make it a global effort. For example, they could partner with a sister city in India, helping them make changes.

Commissioner Grant said he appreciated the presentation from the City’s Public Works Department regarding the Dayton Street Pump Station, but it was sad to hear that six years and a lot of federal dollars were spent to study the issue, yet some things were not taken into account and they are back to square one. Some of the solutions are too complicated to actually address the problem. Councilmember Teitzel disagreed that they are back to square one. It was an unusual event that caused the recent flooding event that overwhelmed the system. In normal conditions, the pump station will operate effectively. However, he agreed that more still needs to be done.

Commissioner Orvis questioned what would be gained by daylighting Willow Creek if sea level continues to rise. Commissioner Preston pointed out that purpose of a marsh it to filter pollutants, and some of the filtration benefit would be lost if the creek is daylighted, and more pollution would go into Puget Sound. Daylighting the creek would be costly, and it might not improve the output into the Sound or benefit of the salmon coming in. Commissioner Orvis pointed out that nothing can be done until the cleanup is finished, and there is no timeline for that to occur. Councilmember Teitzel responded that the goal of the project is to make the marsh operate more like the saltwater estuary it once was. This includes both filtration and salmon rearing aspects.

Commissioner Johnston pointed out that the marsh does act as a filter, but it is slowly filling in. There is a lot of old contamination underneath the cleaner materials that were added later. His big concern is keeping the contamination that is underneath the cleaner sediments from infiltrating into the marsh. There are things that can be done, such as removing the pipe and reestablishing an inner connection between the fresh and saltwater. They have always assumed that, at one time, this was a salmon-bearing area and that the two streams that enter into the marsh were salmon streams. However, there is nothing in Native American lore that would suggest that. They mainly used the marsh for reeds, etc., but salmon do use the fringes of the marsh. No one knows, at this point, if establishing a clear connection back up through the creeks would set precedence or restore history. He pointed out that a five-foot sea level rise by 2100 would daylight the entire waterfront.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that about a month ago, they took a fieldtrip to the Port of Everett to look at their renovation project along the north marina perimeter. The project is impressive and doesn’t use glass blocks. Following the fieldtrip, questions were raised about whether it would be more economical and just as good to use a solid, precast concrete surface. The glass blocks are very expense (over 90 panels at $50,000), and an additional $35,000 to $50,000 would still be required for mitigation. The precast concrete surface would be less costly, but would require even more mitigation. The design team took the matter under consideration. The environmental consultant approached the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) about the idea and was told that they are now going to insist that glass blocks not be used. Instead, they want them to use the Fiberglass Grating and Plate (FRP) system, which the Port doesn’t like at all. It is unattractive and difficult to walk on. It isn’t something the public will appreciate. It is frustrating to find out about the DFW’s preference at this late stage. It is possible that the DFW could be persuaded to relent, but there are other agencies that will also have the opportunity to comment on the design through the application process.

Commissioner Grant said his understanding was that the glass block panels were a federal requirement. Mr. McChesney said that was his understanding, as well, and the thought was to mimic what was done at the Seattle waterfront. He said staff will continue to work to resolve the issue, but acknowledged it could slow the project timeline by as much as six months if the walkway has to be redesigned. It could also impact the grant funding process.

It was noted that the FRP material may not be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, as it would be more difficult for people with wheelchairs, walkers, etc. Commissioner Johnston agreed that more light is better and asked if there are any other options the design team might consider. Mr. McChesney said the design team would continue to problem solve, but the DFW wants direct light penetration. If the DFW has taken a hard line on the material, you can imagine what some of the other agencies might say, as well.

Commissioner Grant asked if the DFW’s preference is written into code. Mr. McChesney answered that it is in the Washington Administration Code (WAC), but it’s ambiguous. The Port has invested tens of thousands of dollars in the current design. It would be a shame to have to redesign the project at this point. Commissioner Preston asked if the DFW was involved in any of the early discussions. Mr. McChesney said there was some indirect discussions via the environmental consultant. At this point, they are still trying to figure out who said what to who, but it was represented to the Port that the glass blocks would be the preferred methodology. Although it was costly, the Port agreed to use the glass blocks. They wanted to add value to the community and do the project right.

Commissioner Grant asked when the Port of Everett did the walkway project, and Mr. McChesney answered that it wasn’t recently. He explained that the Port of Everett originally had the same two-step bulkhead that the Port has. Instead of just repairing the upper-step bulkhead, they added sheet pile to the lower-step bulkhead to build it up and then fill in behind it. Their walkway no longer cantilevers out over the waterway. It’s now on solid ground.

Commissioner Orvis asked if it might be possible to use concrete panels and pay more in mitigation. Mr. McChesney said that is the theory. However, if the DFW insists on light transmissibility and a grated system, solid, precast concrete won’t work. Commissioner Preston asked if they could give up three inches all along the boardwalk to give pure light to quite a bit of area. Commissioner Grant pointed out that they aren’t covering very much of the water. Mr. McChesney responded that it doesn’t matter; it is a very rigid evaluation process and you are at their mercy. Commissioner Orvis cautioned that individuals will be making decisions based upon how they feel about the project. Commissioner Johnston commented that what one level practitioner says you need to do isn’t always the final decision. You can always go higher, and sometimes you will get some relief. Commissioner Grant added that a federal determination would overrule the State requirement.

Mr. McChesney reported that Commissioners Grant and Harris joined staff to do a mid-marina breakwater inspection a few weeks ago, and the condition survey is ongoing. He invited Commissioners Johnston, Orvis and Preston to join staff in a visual inspection via the workboat, too. Commissioner Grant pointed out that the breakwater can’t be replaced right now so they will need to fix it. Mr. McChesney said that is why they are proposing to replace the top half. A few whalers will also need to be replaced. He anticipates this work will be easy to permit under a federal maintenance permit. Commissioner Grant suggested they need to look long-term, as well. Mr. McChesney agreed. By the time they finish the North Portwalk and Seawall Project, they should start gearing up for the mid-marina breakwater replacement. He anticipates a lifespan of 20 years if they keep making needed repairs.

Andor Boeck, Edmonds Yacht Club, said he provided the sailboat regulations for both commercial and ferry traffic to the Edmonds Yacht Club Board and did a write-up in the club’s newsletter. He said he could forward a copy of the regulations to the Commissioners, as well. He said the yacht club is in support of ensuring that its members and other boaters understand the regulations and know how to operate around traffic.

Mr. Boeck announced that the yacht club’s Youth Safety on Water Program will be on March 5th. Information was forwarded to the Port. They are excited about the event and would like the Port to help publicize the program. Mr. McChesney agreed to follow up with Ms. Williams to make sure the event is advertised.


Commissioner Orvis provided a legislative report, specifically noting the following:

• There is proposed legislation to promote tourism in Washington State, and there will be a luncheon with stakeholders to figure out how to fund the program.
• There is a bill to provide a glide path to move away from providing natural gas service as a response to concerns about carbon emissions. As of June 30, 2023, the gas decarbonization plan would require utilities to stop connecting gas customers.
• Senator King from Yakima is sponsoring a bill that would establish tax incentives for research into hydrogen. The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are working on technology to generate hydrogen for equipment. The idea is to use a windmill to create enough electricity to generate enough hydrogen for heavy vehicles. He doesn’t know how well this has progressed, but the idea is gaining traction throughout the State.
• Another bill currently on the Senate floor calendar would add advanced nuclear technology as a guiding principle for development of a State energy strategy.
• There is a measure that would streamline the process of siting clean-energy facilities to identify specific amendments that would improve the siting process.
• House Bill (HBP) 1735 would add net ecological gain as a voluntary element of comprehensive plans under the Growth Management Act. The Washington Public Port Association, public utility districts and irrigation districts are seeking an amendment to allow special purpose districts to choose whether or not to do it.
• There is union-sponsored legislation that would create a new legal privilege for communications between a union representative and a union member when the communications are made during union representation. The communications would be exempt from public disclosure and employer contact.
• There is legislation that would add climate policy to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), Growth Management Act (GMA), and Shoreline Management Act (SMA). That means the SEPA process would get more complicated as climate policy would have to be considered.
• There are bills to address the removal of derelict aquatic structures by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The bills are intended to provide money for this purpose. There is concern with the current version, likely related to funding. Councilmember Teitzel asked if the bills would impact the derelict structure at Haines Wharf, and Commissioner Orvis said he would certainly think so. That’s a classic example of a derelict structure that needs to be removed.
• There is other legislation that would change the notification requirement for derelict vessels and reduce the time that you can impose upon someone to remove it.
• Given the legislature’s timeline, a lot of interesting things should happen between now and the next Commission meeting.

Commissioner Grant said he continues to follow the City’s work on the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, as well as the code rewrite. The Council recently passed an ordinance to address miscellaneous codes that are no longer applicable, and more extensive action will follow. The City’s Climate Action Plan update is also moving forward. All three of these plans will impact the Port to some degree.

Commissioner Preston said he may attend the Edmonds Yacht Club’s monthly meeting on February 28th. He reported that he attended the February 21st Edmonds Economic Development Commission meeting where there was discussion about the term “micro mobility,” which has to do with bikes and other small vehicles. They talked about the need to regulate scooters, electric bikes and other small vehicles that are using the roads. They talked about how to get people to visit downtown Edmonds where there are parking issues. He noted that, at a recent Civic Roundtable, Councilmember Tibbott suggested that they don’t have a parking problem; but rather, a success story to tell. They discussed that the City must recertify for the creative district. It’s the first time the State has done a recertification, and they aren’t sure how to do it. There may be a way for Edmonds to help mold the process.

Commissioner Orvis said he frequently gets carryout from restaurants in the downtown, and he has never had parking problems after 6:00 p.m. The big gripe is that people aren’t able to park right in front of a business. Commissioner Preston said it was mentioned that perhaps the cost of a parking permit should be increased and employees should be required to park further away. Commissioner Johnston observed that people visiting a mall have to walk quite far from where they park to the businesses they want to visit.

Commissioner Johnston reported that the Executive Director Search Committee (Commissioners Orvis and Johnston and Mr. McChesney) has reviewed 42 applications that were received by the deadline date of February 21st. Fortunately, there are some very qualified applicants. The Committee will meet again on March 1st to create a short list of candidates and a preliminary schedule for interviews. There will be a meet-and-greet with the finalists, Commissioners and staff. They hope to have the process completed within the next three to four weeks. Commissioner Johnston said the committee is consulting with Port Attorney Stephens regarding the open public meeting requirements as they conduct the final interview process. They would like to make the resumes of either all candidates or a short list of candidates available for Commissioners Grant and Preston to review. Commissioner Harris has applied for the position, so she will be exempt from all application proceedings. By Wednesday, he anticipates the committee will have a short list of about six applicants.

Commissioner Johnston said he would attend the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) Coffee Chat on February 28th regarding the legislative session’s halfway progress.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Jay Grant,   Port Commission Secretary