Commission Meeting Minutes 5-10-21

Commission Meeting Minutes 5-10-21

(Via Zoom)    May 10, 2021

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

Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Marina Manager
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager

Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney


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


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


President Harris announced that the Commission would have an executive session at the end of the regular meeting.





Mr. McChesney entered the following letter from Charles Malmgren into the record:

Good evening Commissioners, my name is Charles Malmgren and I lease space in your Dry Storage facility.

I am a sports fisherman and work hard to be effective and successful. On most trips, there is a tight time for being in the water. Sometimes it is sunrise, others it is a tide and others a bit of both. In any event, there is always an optimum time for leaving the dock on any fishing trip.

Dry Stack has initiated two new regulations making it unlikely to acquire an adequate departure time without paying a new fee. First is the newly written-in-stone appointment schedule for launching. This started as a Covid 19 change for staff and tenant safety. You can only launch before 3 p.m. by appointment. Appointments can be made for 4 quarter hour segments and only 2 boats per segment. This limitation of 8 boats per hour, 7am to 3pm, makes it unlikely that on any given salmon fishing day an appropriate departure can be obtained. Especially since much fishing is completed before Dry Storage opens.

Second is the new fee assessed on Pre-Launch. Tenants at Dry Stack could previously request a free pre-launch, which would have their boat on a dock the night before. Space available of course. Now pre-launch is a paid event, either with a tenant’s one free night or $35 fee. Management also added a “late return” fee, which I am sure will be addressed by others.

Last week, I decided to try out a 7am launch appointment and was not happy at the results. Apparently, my launch was complicated by a “bathroom emergency” and a missing work vest, which had me leaving A Dock at 7:30am, missing my window. I was out bait, fuel and time with nothing but frustration to show for it.

These two new changes are by design, Boater Suppression. Port Management has previously identified the boater these changes are trying to create:

“Some sectors of our business depend upon high activity to produce positive bottom lines. Alternatively, dry storage produces the most positive bottom line from customers that are low activity. In fact, our marketing plan identifies the ideal dry storage customer as being a low user that stays year-round.”

From September until mid-April, I was an ideal low user. I promptly paid my lease each month in the anticipation of next year’s fishing, which now looks much worse for these new changes. Undoubtably, the changes will suppress activity at Dry Stack. No one I know can blithely toss an additional $35 on a fishing trip. Please consider these changes.


Mr. McChesney reported that he hasn’t taken any action under the emergency authority.


Mr. Baker reviewed the proposed Marina Rules and Regulations amendments presented to the Commission a few weeks ago, and the Commission raised some questions and requested further clarification. The amendments have been updated and are being presented for the Commission’s information. He noted that, because the changes are simply clarification, no formal action by the Commission is required.

Mr. Baker advised that the proposed amendments are intended to address rules and regulations that have been enforced for a long time, but have never been formalized. He reviewed the changes as follows:

• 6.13.1 – Dock Accessories & Gear. Item H was added to clarify that the Port prohibits vessel storage devices such as boat lifts or hull protection apparatus in the slips. For further clarification, the language that was originally presented on April 12th was modified to specifically identify products that are permanently under the boat in the water. As proposed, it would read, “The Port prohibits additional vessel storage devices in the slip, such as boat lifts or hull protection systems below the waterline. Any accessory device not integral to the vessel that is permanently submerged in the water is not permitted for use within the marina.”

• 10.2.1 – Authorized Businesses/Unauthorized Businesses. The proposed amendment clarifies that the Port does not permit user-to-user boat sharing or rentals or short-term and long-term hospitality or housing rental. To address concern raised by the Commission about how the provision would apply to charter boat operators, specific language was added that excludes them, as they operate under a separate agreement. Questions were also raised about how the rule would impact Freedom Boat Club. To address this concern, the term “rental” was defined to help bring clarity. Freedom Boat Club is a membership rather than a rental fleet, so the rule would not apply. It is also important to note that Regulation 10.2.2. allows the Executive Director to overrule any of the rules upon written request.


Mr. McChesney advised that staff is working to prepare for the retreat on May 12th, which will include presentations by a number of consultants who have been working on the North Portwalk and Seawall Reconstruction and the Administration/Maintenance Building. The intent is to dive deeper into the projects and consider design criteria, permit processes, floor plans, LEED Certification and solar. The meeting packet have been prepared and can be picked up by the Commissioners prior to the meeting.

Commissioner Faires asked if the retreat would be conducted in-person or via Zoom. Mr. McChesney explained that, because they didn’t have clear direction about whether Snohomish County would be in Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the Governor’s pandemic plan, staff determined that all of the consultant presentations would be made via Zoom. The Commissioners are invited to attend in person, recognizing that it would be a personal decision. He noted that interested members of the public would be invited to participate via Zoom.


Commissioner Preston reported that he attended the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County’s (EASC) May 4th Coffee Chat. He also attended the May 4th Edmonds City Council Meeting where a number of topics were discussed. He said he plans to attend the May 12th retreat in person.

Commissioner Orvis advised that he would attend the Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPA) Spring Meeting, as well as the EASC’s Snohomish County Update. He said he also plans to attend the retreat in person.

Commissioner Johnston said he would attend the retreat in person. He reported that he participated in the EASC’s Coffee Chat, which discussed the advancement of broadband infrastructure and accessibility, not only in the rural parts of the County, but the state as a whole. Things are moving very rapidly in that regard. He reported that he also attended the EASC’s Coffee Chat on May 4th that focused on impacts to the life science industry in Snohomish County. It was narrated by Leslie Alexandra, President and CEO of Life Sciences Washington, the industry association. He was surprised to learn that over 5,000 people are employed in the biotechnology and medical device industry in Snohomish County alone, and it is growing every day. Several hundred companies are represented in Snohomish County.

Commissioner Johnston announced that he would attend the WPPA Roundtable on redistricting on May 11th. He also plans to attend the Commission’s retreat in person. Lastly, he said he would attend the WPPA’s virtual Spring meeting next week.

Commissioner Faires asked if Commissioner Johnston had any insights to pass along relative to which of the broadband initiatives (house or senate) will end up being approved, or if it will be a compromise between them. Commissioner Johnston said there wasn’t a lot of speculation in the Coffee Chat, which focused on infrastructure development. He suggested that perhaps Commissioner Orvis could answer that question. Commissioner Orvis responded that it may end up being decided in the courts. The big tech companies have opposed the involvement of ports and public utility districts in the retail business, using the argument that they are making plans to serve it. However, they have never moved forward with their plans.

Commissioner Faires said he would attend the retreat in person. He advised that he would also attend the Edmonds Economic Development Commission meeting on May 19th.

Commissioner Harris reported that she met with representatives from the Waterfront Center and City Council Member Buckshnis. She was able to walk through the center and is excited for the time when the community can fully use the space. Currently, most of the activities are offered remotely, and they are finding that a certain amount of the population has indicated a desire for remote opportunities to continue post pandemic. She advised that the group would meet again in a few weeks to brainstorm opportunities for how the Port and City could engage in the Waterfront Center Activities. She recalled the intent of her initial meeting was to walk through the facility and gain a better understanding of their LEED Certification and solar program, and she will share information with the Commission at the retreat.

Commissioner Harris said she has been attending some of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) general assembly meetings in an effort to become more engaged and gain more understanding of what is going on at that level. She will share her notes with the Commission. She also said she plans to attend the retreat in person. She will also participate in the EASC and WPPA meetings on May 11th and the EASC’s Snohomish County update on May 13th. In addition, she will meet with Gerry O’Keefe, Senior Director Environmental Affairs, WPPA, on May 13th to discuss how she can become more involved in the WPPA’s Environmental Committee.

Lastly, Commissioner Harris reported that Sound Salmon has announced another release of Coho from the net pen on May 22nd around noon. Sound Salmon has done a fair number of updates at the Willow Creek Hatchery, and she is working to schedule a tour the last week of May, at which time she will talk with their stewardship manager about marsh restoration efforts. Commissioner Faires expressed a desire to participate in the hatchery tour.

Council Member Olson announced that the Chamber of Commerce has indicated there will not be a firework display this year. They had intended to go forward with the event, but the companies that offer the service cannot meet the demand. She advised that the bike lane project is moving forward, and the proposal will likely be on the Council’s agenda in a week with the recommendations put forth in the May 4th presentation. She encouraged the Commissioners to review the recommendations and provide comment. She reported that Mayor Nelson announced that the Walkable Main Street Program would continue on both Saturday and Sunday from June 19th through Labor Day. Lastly, she reported that the City Council held its budget retreat on May 8th, where they discussed initial input and priorities. At their May 11th meeting, Council Members will discuss prioritization of the Housing Commission’s recommendations.


At 7:31 p.m. Commissioner Harris announced that the Commission would recess into an Executive Session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(i) to discuss with legal counsel representing agency matters relating to agency enforcement actions, or to discuss the legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation to which the agency, the governing body, or member acting in an official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party. She advised that the Executive Session would last approximately 30 minutes, and the Commission would resume the public portion of the meeting after the Executive Session. She further advised that no action would be taken after the Executive Session, and the meeting would be adjourned at the end of the Executive Session.

The Executive Session started at 7:35 p.m. At 8:05 p.m., the Commission reconvened the regular meeting to announce that the executive session would be extended for 15 minutes. The Executive Session was adjourned at 8:18 p.m., and the business portion of the regular meeting was reconvened immediately.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Johnston, Port Commission Secretary