Commission Meeting Minutes 4-11-22

Commission Meeting Minutes 4-11-22

(Via Zoom and in person)        April 11, 2022

Steve Johnston, Vice President
Jim Orvis, Secretary
Jay Grant
Angela Harris

David Preston, President – Excused

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Director of Marina Operations
Tina Drennan, Manager of finance and Accounting
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Economic Development

Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Neil Tibbott, Edmonds City Council


Vice 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.



C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $312,224.34 FOR MARCH 28, 2022 AND $1,305,535.98 FOR APRIL 11, 2022



There were no public comments.


Ms. Williams reviewed that the atrium style widows on Buildings 1, 3 and 4 are leaking, resulting in exterior and interior water damage. The Port hired CG Engineering to develop structural and design plans to replace them, and CG Engineering introduced the Port to a subcontract architectural company that prepared the renderings. She reviewed the proposed designs for each of the three buildings, explaining that the intent is to replace the atrium windows with standard roof and window systems. The existing cement walls would remain and be utilized in the new design. Inside, there would be a standard ceiling height, with new windows and lights above. Mr. McChesney added that, as a result of significant water intrusion, some interior work will be necessary. However, he doesn’t anticipate the extensive structural issues that occurred earlier at Building 3.

Commissioner Johnston asked if the extent of the water damage is expected to be the same in each of the three buildings. Ms. Williams answered no. She noted there is a decent amount of interior damage at the corner of Building 4, and the space isn’t currently rented out.

Mr. McChesney advised that the designs for Buildings 1 and 4 are straightforward, but Building 3 is more complicated and the idea is to avoid having to rebuild the entire building façade. Ms. Williams said that, because Building 3 is more complicated, staff asked the architect to prepare two options. The single-roof system that covers the entire space at the same height (Option 1) would likely be the best option from an aesthetic standpoint. However, it could cost more. The other option (Option 2) would maintain the existing three-roof system at different heights. She noted that cost estimates for the two options are not available yet.

For Building 3, Commissioner Johnston expressed his belief that Option 1 looks aesthetically superior and should be the preferred option if it is not cost prohibitive. He said he likes the window reconfiguration proposed for Buildings 1 and 4, as well as the color configuration.

Commissioner Grant asked if the buildings would be painted as part of the project. Mr. McChesney acknowledged that the buildings will need to be repainted in the next five years. Once the design work is finished, they can have a discussion about whether or not the buildings should be painted as part of this project.

Ms. Williams summarized that staff anticipates cost estimates from CG Engineering within the next few weeks. Once that information is available, they can finalize the plans and construction schedule. She explained that the project could be done in phases and will need to be done primarily with tenants in place. They discussed potential phasing options, starting with Building 4 where there is already an empty space or starting with Building 1 where there is greater water damage. Commissioner Orvis suggested that it might be better to use one contractor for all three buildings. There may be a significant savings over time as the contractor gains experience.

The Commissioners discussed whether or not the project costs could be capitalized, and Ms. Drennan answered only if the cost is more than 10% of the value of the building. They can make this determination once the cost estimates are available.


Mr. McChesney reported that Port staff has reconfigured the north gravel lot in preparation for the start of construction for the Administration/Maintenance Building. The lot was regraded and reconfigured to angle parking to maximize space efficiency for vehicle parking, provide adequate storage/staging area for Port projects and equipment and delineate restaurant employee parking and paid commuter stalls. The total number of stalls (114) is about the same, but internal circulation was improved. The project required about 160 manhours of Port labor and a cost of about $24,000. Both he and the Commissioners commended staff for their great work.


Mr. McChesney reported that the building permits for the new Administration/Maintenance Building are in final review and will be issued once a general contractor is on board. Although the Port believes that the traffic impacts associated with the project would be negligible, the City required a traffic impact analysis and he anticipates there will be some traffic impact fees, as well.

Commissioner Grant asked if the Port is still waiting for a determination on the historic status of the existing building. Mr. McChesney responded that the Cultural Resources Consultant has issued a report, which indicates the building may be designated as historic based on criteria of it being close to the shoreline and over 50 years old. The report was packaged with the Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application (JARPA) for review. As reported earlier, the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation doesn’t anticipate a problem.

Mr. McChesney said the City of Edmonds has requested a timeline for when the existing building will be demolished and will likely require that it come down as soon as they move into the new building. Commissioner Orvis asked how and when the Port would receive credit for the park space that will be created on the demolished site. Mr. McChesney said that is still unclear, but the idea is that the new park space would offset any park impact fees assessed by the City.

Commissioner Grant recalled that, at their recent retreat, it was pointed out that the significant state and building permit requirements actually took the project to the level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development (LEED) Silver Certification. At that time, the Commission requested more information about the real costs between LEED Silver and LEED Gold Certification. Mr. McChesney responded that this is still a work in progress. Once the supplemental energy model is completed in the next week or so, they will regroup and discuss how far the project is from LEED Gold Certification.

Mr. McChesney also reminded the Commission that the Port paid $5,500 to do an initial assessment of whether or not the design would qualify for Safe Salmon Certification. Salmon Safe indicated support for the plan but advised that it would cost another $12,000 to $13,000 for the Phase 2 review. He informed them that the Port was not willing to make any design changes to achieve certification, and the Phase 2 review is still pending. He explained that the building was meticulously designed to conform to all of the building codes and LEED Certification, and you would think that Salmon Safe Certification would be a companion. Commissioner Grant said he was bothered by the expectation that the Port would have to use a contractor that was certified by Salmon Safe, and Mr. McChesney said he made it clear that would not be the case as the Port is required to use an open bid process. However, once a contractor is selected, the Port agreed to encourage the contractor, during the preconstruction meeting, to abide by the Safe Salmon Guidelines.

Mr. McChesney summarized that the bid set should be ready to go by April 14th, and he anticipates the Port will receive a notice of ready-to-issue status from the City at about that same time. Theoretically, they could go out to bid shortly after, but they will still need to review the permit conditions and fee assessments. He said he anticipates the building permit fee will be about $20,000. However, there could be add-on fees (traffic impact, park impact, critical area mitigation, etc.) the Port will have to take a close look at. Upon questioning by Commissioner Orvis, Mr. McChesney said the Port intends to make the case that the new park on the current Administration Building site should count towards any park mitigation fee required for the new building. They can engage the City in these discussions once they know what the fee assessments will be.



Council Member Tibbott announced that the City continues to fund Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sidewalk ramp improvements. The Port has some beautiful walkways and it is important to ensure that they are ADA accessible.

Council Member Tibbott announced that the City has allocated significant funding for traffic-calming projects, too. He said he is interested in hearing the Port’s thoughts on how well the rapid-flashing beacon on Port property is working. Mr. McChesney responded that the one the Port partnered with the City on is working fine and is used frequently, and the Port would also like to partner with the City to build another one just like it in front of the new Administration/Maintenance Building. They anticipate there will be a lot of cross traffic in this location, with Port staff going back and forth between the new building and Marina Operations, as well as Puget Sound Express patrons crossing from the parking area to the waterfront. Council Member Tibbott indicated he understood the need and said the timing is good, as the City is currently updating its Transportation Plan. He agreed to present the request. Commissioner Orvis pointed out that it would be easier to install the beacon when the new Administration/Maintenance Building is under construction. He noted that they are quite easy to design from an engineering standpoint, and the cost is not substantial.


Mr. McChesney reported that staff is gearing up to do spring groundskeeping, and one of the priorities for this year will be rebuilding the picnic area in front of the Mary Lou Block Plaza and Anthony’s. He further reported that they are in the process of hiring seasonal staff, and Puget Sound Express started its operation in March.


Commissioner Orvis reported that he attended the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) Sound Transit brief. As expected, their current director will leave in June and a new director has not yet been hired. It was announced that the busiest Sound Transit station is Northgate, followed by the University of Washington and Westgate. They expect the Lynnwood station to be even busier. Mr. McChesney asked if the issue surrounding fare collection was brought up. Commissioner Orvis answered affirmatively, but said there were no real answers. It is estimated that less than 40% of riders are paying the fare, and security personnel is not allowed to ask for proof of payment. Adding turnstiles would cost a lot and slow down the loading process. He explained that Sound Transit is hoping for federal grants because they don’t have enough money to do what has already been promised with the latest tax. The current funding mechanism counted on 40% of the operating costs coming from fares, but that number is diminishing dramatically because fewer people are paying the fare and ridership is down significantly.

Commissioner Grant said he has been reviewing all of the Port’s interagency agreements with the City and discovered that there used to be great cooperation between the City and Port. He also learned that the Port and City jointly own a parking lot. In addition, he visited the piece of land the Port owns in the Town of Woodway.

Commissioner Grant reported that he has been watching the weekly Edmonds City Council meetings and noted that they recently passed an ordinance on electric vehicles that he thought was premature. Edmonds is a destination place and the trickle charging stations are slow. People need to be able to charge their vehicles quickly so they can drive back home. Under the current infrastructure act, the Federal Government will spend a lot of money on electric vehicle infrastructure. He requested that Council Member Tibbott, the Port’s liaison, advise the Port ahead of time when ordinances are coming before the Council for review and approval. At the same time, the Port needs to pay closer attention to the process.

Commissioner Orvis asked how the City plans to address electric vehicle infrastructure needs as new multifamily buildings are constructed in the City. Commissioner Grant responded that the ordinance addresses a lot of that, but the challenge will be retrofitting the older buildings. Council Member Tibbott agreed and pointed out that the ordinance would only apply to new construction. He noted that the City’s current budget includes ten new trickle charging stations in the City. He said he didn’t support the expenditure for the very reason pointed out earlier by Commissioner Grant. Experts and car dealers agree that the trickle charge units won’t be adequate for future needs. He said he expects that increased demand will provide enough incentive for the condominium associations to start providing charging stations in the future. Commissioner Grant questioned if the City’s current infrastructure could could handle the additional capacity needed for charging stations, and Council Member Tibbott said that concern was brought up by the City’s consultant who helped write the code. Commissioner Grant said he suggested to Council Member Tibbott and Council President Olsen that they consider forming a taskforce to study the issue further.

Commissioner Grant announced that he would attend the Puget Sound Maritime Disaster Resilience Regional Workshop on May 24th. This is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded program looking at how to plan for a potential major disaster. At the last workshop he learned it would take six to seven days before emergency response teams and supplies could reach the area. Everett is one of the most resilient ports because Jetty Island provides a buffer. You’d think that a tsunami would dissipate after reaching Puget Sound, but it actually hits and goes sideways. The ground swell alone could empty the entire marina of Bellingham.

Commissioner Grant said he enjoyed watching the recent cleanup dive that was done by Annie Crawley and her team. Commissioner Harris said she also enjoyed watching the crew complete the cleanup dive.

Commissioner Harris announced that she would attend the Edmonds Economic Development Commission Meeting on April 20th, as well as the EASC annual meeting the following week.

Commissioner Harris recalled that, at their recent retreat, the Communications Committee agreed to work with staff to draft revisions to the Port’s Mission Statement and Strategic Plan for the Commission to consider at a future meeting. She reported that she hasn’t started that review yet.

Commissioner Johnston reported that he also attended the EASC Coffee Chat on Sound Transit. On the bright side, the organization is very optimistic about the progress that is being made in actual construction as they move north. He recently rode the train from SeaTac to Northgate. It was afternoon, and none of the cars were ever more than 30% full. There are signs encouraging people to report unusual activity, but he saw nothing that caused him concern. His biggest issue was finding where to pick up his rideshare when he reached Northgate. One of the participants at the coffee chat commented that it is very expensive to park at Northgate, which is true. However, Sound Transit has a portion of those garages and offers reduced fare parking.

Commissioner Johnston announced that he would attend the EASC Coffee Chat on April 19th on infrastructure and jobs. He will also attend the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Spring Meeting on May 3rd through 5th, including the organizational module, which is extra.

Commissioners Johnston and Orvis agreed to meet later in the week to review the draft 2021 Financial Report.


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

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Orvis
Port Commission Secretary