Commission Meeting Minutes 5-9-22

Commission Meeting Minutes 5-9-22

(Hybrid Meeting)            May 9, 2022

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

Angela Harris – 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


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


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





Andor Boeck, Edmonds Yacht Club, said he is looking forward to having Port representatives attend their general meeting in May to present the plans for the North Portwalk and Seawall Project. He also requested an opportunity to talk about how the yacht club could stay engaged in the process.

There were no other public comments.


Mr. Baker advised that National Safe Boating Week will be May 21st through 27th. The observance week is the annual kick-off of the Safe Boating Campaign. He announced that, similar to last year, the Port will partner with the local chapter of the USCG Auxiliary Unit to provide educational materials, vessel inspections and boat tours. Staff is recommending that, in support of this event, the Port offer complimentary moorage for the USCG vessel from May 21st to May 23rd. He summarized that the event is consistent with the Port’s mission of promoting personal safety on the water and boat operation safety. Any education and outreach the Port can do yields benefits.


Commissioner Preston asked if the USCG could be available for the remaining days of the week to do more vessel inspections. Mr. Baker said it is possible, but not likely. However, boaters may be able to coordinate specific appointment times outside of the weekend.

Commissioner Preston asked how the Port would promote the program, and Ms. Williams answered that it would be advertised online and in the next newsletter, which will go out before the event. They will also post on social media throughout that week. Commissioner Preston asked if the event would be advertised in My Edmonds News, and Ms. Williams agreed they could. Mr. Baker said they could send out a marina text, as well, for people who have previously registered for event information.

Commissioner Grant asked if all of the moorage tenants are on the Newsletter mailing list, and Ms. Williams answered yes, unless they opt out. About 60% of the distribution list are tenants, and the rest is community members who have signed up.



Ms. Williams presented the 1st Quarter 2022 Harbor Square Report, highlighting the following:

• Gross projected revenue was up 4.11% or roughly $20,000 over the same period in 2021.
• The occupancy rate at the end of the 1st Quarter was 90.37%, up .74% from the occupancy rate of 89.63 in 1st Quarter 2021.
• No leases ended in Quarter 1, and there was one new, 1-year lease in Building 3. There were two lease extensions and one lease expansion. A tenant in Building 2 took over an additional 110 square feet.
• Major projects included water heater installation in Building 5 and preparation of unoccupied suites. One was for the new tenant moving into Building 3, and the preparation work included painting and kitchenette repair.
• In preparation for the new HVAC quarterly service contract, staff did a complete inventory and indexing of all of the HVAC systems on all buildings. This included labeling the outside of all of them and writing down complete information about each one. This will enable the Port to keep better track of repairs.
• There were no incidents to report.

Commissioner Grant observed that there are bubbles coming up under the paint on Building 2. He asked if the Port has set aside funds for painting and other repairs at Harbor Square. Ms. Williams answered that projects are identified and funding allocated when the budget is done each year. Mr. McChesney added that the budget doesn’t specifically set aside funding for paint. Commissioner Grant noted that some other ports he has worked with actually forecast their repairs and reserve funding for both near-term and long-term maintenance. Mr. McChesney said the Capital Budget identifies the anticipated capital projects and provides an estimated timeframe. He acknowledged that the buildings at Harbor Square will need to be painted soon. Commissioner Grant voiced concern that the situation could result in water intrusion into the buildings, and Mr. McChesney invited him to share the location of the potential problems with staff. Commissioner Grant noted that there is exposed glulam on the Anthony’s Building, too, and Mr. McChesney advised that Anthony’s is responsible for maintaining the exterior of that building. He agreed to look into the situation.


Councilmember Tibbott reported that the City Council is working with United States Representative Rick Larsen’s office on opportunities to address stormwater situations in areas throughout the City. He asked if there are any stormwater issues that he should be aware of that impact the Port. Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Port has installed oyster-shell canisters in the catch basins to provide filtration. The real key to addressing stormwater is source control, and the Port has implemented a sweeping program to eliminate as much grit, heavy metals and other types of contaminants as possible. He summarized that, at this time, there aren’t any outstanding water-quality issues that he is aware of. Councilmember Tibbott noted that significant rainstorms are impacting streams. He asked if the Port has experienced this issue. Mr. McChesney answered that the Port has experienced occasional flooding at SR-104 and Dayton Street, which is a low spot that collects runoff from the hill. The City installed a sump pump on Dayton Street a few years ago that has proven to be effective in mitigating stormwater flooding at the Harbor Square site.

Councilmember Tibbott announced that the City recently completed an 8-month repair project at the Brackett’s Landing North restroom, which included a waste line replacement. He advised that the City is using a new contracting method. Instead of waiting for City staff to fit in small projects between other jobs, smaller contracts can be awarded to outside entities to get the projects done in a more efficient manner.

Councilmember Tibbott announced that on May 11th, he will attend a meeting with a cyber security expert from Microsoft who will talk about what is being done by Microsoft and others to handle cyber security issues. He suggested that cyber security and emergency preparation will be important for both the waterfront and the City of Edmonds.

Councilmember Tibbott reported that the City Council has been working on an unauthorized occupants ordinance for City parks and public spaces. Some of the public spaces (highway rights-of-way, roadways, trails, etc.) have been occupied by persons who set up camps. The intent is to encourage them to get help and take shelter in other places. Knowing that the Port has a lot of public space, he asked what level of unauthorized occupants they have experienced. Mr. McChesney answered that a person living in a vehicle parks every day on Admiral Way, which isn’t within the Port’s jurisdiction. The person has been contacted by both Port Security and the Edmonds Police Department. However, lacking an ordinance, there isn’t any way to move the person along. That said, the person hasn’t created any issues or problems to date.

Councilmember Tibbott said this type of situation is covered under other City ordinances. The proposed ordinance is seeking to address those who stay multiple nights. One of the concerns is that the situation will proliferate. Mr. McChesney advised that the Port hasn’t had that experience yet, and they don’t want it. He said the Port would support the ordinance. Commissioner Preston suggested that the City Council look seriously at how Marysville and other cities have effectively addressed the situation, and get an ordinance passed as soon as possible.


Mr. McChesney reported that he has been in contact with the City’s Building Department over the past few weeks regarding the building permit for the new Administration/Maintenance Building Project. The permit was supposed to be finished today, but it is now anticipated to be completed tomorrow. He reviewed that by May 13th, all of the plans and specifications will have gone through the quality-control review and will be ready to be released. The packet will be put together and forwarded to the Builder’s Exchange on May 16th, and they will post it by May 19th. An advertisement will also be published on May 19th in THE EVERETT HERALD, soliciting bids. The bid packet will be mailed to everyone on the roster and interested parties on May 18th. The last day for questions from bidders will be June 1st. The consultants will then assemble an addendum by June 9th, with responses to questions. Bids will be due by June 17th, and they anticipate a special Commission Meeting on June 20th to approve releasing the contract to the low bidder. Also on June 20th, the Port will send out a letter to the low bidder requesting bonds, insurance and a contract. The bid will be officially awarded on July 1st, followed by pre-construction meetings with the contractor and finalizing the schedule and mobilization. Work is anticipated to start July 11th through the 15th. He acknowledged the schedule is tight, but it is important to complete the earthwork before the end of September.

Given the aggressive schedule and the backlog of work that many contractors have right now, Commissioner Johnston asked if the Port would limit the bid response to contractors that have the capacity to start the project as scheduled. Mr. McChesney answered no, and explained that the Port must use an open bid process, without any real limitations.

Commissioner Grant asked if Mr. McChesney is aware of some of the problems raised by the Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPA) Attorney regarding bidding, etc. Port Attorney Stephens said the WPPA Attorney wrote an article about the topic a few months ago that she could share with Port staff and Commissioners. The article offers practical advice such as shortening the bidding time and other ways to make the process more efficient. Mr. McChesney agreed to review the article and said the team is interested in learning how to condense the schedule without compromising the bid result. Because it is a large job, the team felt a month-long bid process would be necessary to give the contractors time to review the specifications, raise questions, etc. If the process is condensed too much, it could work to the Port’s disadvantage, particularly in the current bidding environment. Mr. McChesney said he believes the proposed schedule is realistic, but he acknowledged there are still a lot of unknowns.

Mr. McChesney reported that the energy model for the new Administration/Maintenance Building was reviewed by the Green Energy Council, and it does fulfill all of the points the Port asked for. He has asked the architect to identify how many more points would be needed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. He expects to have this information within a day or two.

Mr. McChesney reported that the Edmonds Planning Board met last week to study potential changes to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. He attended the meeting and the comments he provided were well received. There will be additional opportunities to comment as the process moves forward. One proposed change would acknowledge that the Washington State Ferries Landing Project is a nullity by excising all references to it in the Comprehensive Plan.

Commissioner Orvis asked if the City is still considering opportunities for a connector over the railroad tracks. Mr. McChesney said that, as per the conceptual plan, the connector would come off of SR-104, along the bluff, and land on Admiral Way. He said he raised issue with the conceptual plan, noting that it wasn’t practical for a variety of reasons and was never part of the conversation in the stakeholder meetings that he participated in previously. He said he doesn’t anticipate the plan will go forward as part of the Comprehensive Plan. Commissioner Johnston pointed out that Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) would likely oppose this solution, as well, since the bridge would land on the portion of Admiral Way that is owned by BNSF. Mr. McChesney added that it would obstruct access to Marina Beach Park and encroach on the Dry Stack Storage operation, too.


Commissioner Johnston reported that he attended the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Spring Meeting at Skamania Lodge. The presentations focused on the changing face of communications and how people access and use information. He learned that putting out printed information twice a year is surging back to popularity. He also learned that office spaces are changing dramatically, as companies are reconfiguring them to be more efficient and even downsizing due to a growing number of employees working remotely. He also participated in a joint discussion about the state of the WPPA. They are hemorrhaging staff, and something needs to change fast or the organization will implode. The solution for now is to bring Patsy Martin out of retirement to serve as interim director until a qualified new director can be hired. Commissioner Grant reported that, at the Board of Trustees meeting, the Vice President quit, and the WPPA has an aggressive timeline for hiring a new director. He expressed his belief that they have enough challenges that they need to get a strategic plan in place. The Commissioners voiced disappointment that the WPPA Communications Committee no longer exists.

Commissioner Johnston commented that most in attendance at the WPPA Spring Meeting were in favor of a 5-member commission, and Commissioner Grant added that the Port of Olympia is currently going through the process of preparing a ballot measure to change to a 5-member commission.

Commissioner Grant said he met earlier in the day with a member of the Edmonds Planning Board. They discussed ideas for dealing with the waterfront on a long-term basis as changes are made to the Comprehensive Plan. He made it clear that the discussion should involve not only the Port of Edmonds, but the owners of Salish Crossing, as well. Commissioner Orvis added that the Senior Center should be involved, too. It was suggested that the Port may want to solicit public input. Commissioner Orvis agreed that it is important for the Port to understand what is being proposed and provide input, as some of the changes could significantly impact Port property.

Commissioner Grant reported that he also attended the WPPA Spring Meeting, including a session on communications. He said he was a bit disappointed that it primarily focused on regulatory requirements, which were addressed at the last WPPA meeting he attended. He was hoping they would also address how to effectively reach out. He said he attended the Legal Committee meeting where they talked about contract issues, tax issues, and the governor’s emergency authority relative to the pandemic, which ends June 1st. They also discussed House Bill 1329 (Open Public Meetings Act), noting that small portions of the bill were effective upon signing, and the rest will be effective June 9th. The bill codifies a lot of what the state and local governments have had to do during the pandemic, such as hybrid meetings. It requires that accommodations must be made for people to attend meetings in person.

Commissioner Orvis asked what happens if there are more people in attendance at a public meeting than the room can accommodate. Commissioner Grant said the Port must do reasonable accommodation. Port Attorney Stephens said she has reviewed HB 1329 and believes the Port’s current hybrid meeting model, offering in-person and Zoom or telephonic participation options, meets the requirements of the updates. Many of the changes outlined in the Municipal Research and Services Center (MSRC) summary rarely come up, and she doesn’t believe the changes will significantly impact the Port’s day-to-day meetings. She said it was somewhat surprising that a number of people in the municipal sphere noticed that public participation by Zoom has increased and there has been a lot of positive feedback. Municipal attorneys anticipated that the legislation would require government entities to allow public participation via Zoom going forward, but that didn’t happen. Commissioner Johnston said that every port he talked to indicated they would continue the hybrid model going forward.

Commissioner Grant said he attended a roundtable discussion at the WPPA Spring Meeting that focused on the WPPA’s efforts to set up a cyber community. He volunteered to help and has already started his research. The Information Security & Analysis Center (ISAC) consists of members from organizations that represent industries. They get official status from the Federal Government in sharing information and doing cyber intelligence. He has submitted an inquiry about what they do and what they charge for participation.

Commissioner Preston noted that the last meeting in May was moved to May 31st to accommodate the Memorial Day holiday.

Commissioner Preston suggested that the Port consider re-establishing the annual Family Day at the Port event this summer. Mr. McChesney said the internal Communications Committee has discussed the idea, but were still reluctant to advance schedule the event in light of the continuing pandemic situation. Rather than the Family Day event this summer, they decided to reenergize the holiday event. Staff hopes the Family Day event can resume in 2023. Ms. Williams said, this year, staff has poured its efforts into the Sea Jazz summer music program, as these events are of reasonable size and work well with the pandemic. The schedule will be finalized and publicized soon. A full advertising campaign is planned. Commissioner Orvis suggested it would be worthwhile to coordinate the schedule and advertisements for all of the jazz events that are planned in Edmonds during the summer. Commissioner Grant noted that the event schedule will need to be coordinated with the anticipated construction projects. Mr. McChesney suggested that perhaps the open house for the new Administration/Maintenance Building, which is anticipated for 2023, could be a family event. Ms. Williams added that the Port also plans to have a ground breaking event when construction is started this summer.

Commissioner Grant asked if staff would prepare a schedule for the construction projects so the Port could notify the tenants and public and keep them informed of when disruptions might occur. Mr. McChesney answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Orvis asked how quickly the current Administration Building will be demolished after the new building is completed, and Mr. McChesney said it is likely that the permit will require that demolition must occur as soon as the Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the City for the new building. This will require the Port to address other marina infrastructure issues because the water and electricity is on the outside of the building.

Commissioner Preston asked if the Port would once again invite artists to share their talents on the Portwalk on weekends. Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Artists in Action Program was spearheaded by former Commissioner Ken Reid as an echo of the Edmonds Arts Festival. Artists signed up to share their art during the Sea Jazz events. As participation waned, the Port decided to discontinue the program.

Commissioner Preston reported that there was some discussion about derelict vessels at the WPPA Spring Meeting, noting that there will be a lot more money available to remove derelict boats from marinas. He said cyber security was also a common thread in a number of discussions. He learned that training must be mandatory in order to address the risk management aspect of cyber security. Commissioner Grant added that it is illegal for entities to pay a ransom, and they talked about who to notify and when.

Commissioner Preston said he was recently contacted regarding car thefts at Harbor Square Athletic Club. He asked if the athletic club or Harbor Square Hotel has contacted the Port about the possibility of installing their own security cameras. Mr. McChesney said the owners of the athletic club haven’t mentioned the problem to him. He suggested that the thefts are more incidental than rampant.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Orvis
Port Commission Secretary