Commission Meeting Minutes 6-14-21

Commission Meeting Minutes 6-14-21

(Via Zoom)  June 14, 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
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Marketing

Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Vivian Olson, City of Edmonds Representative


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.


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





There were no public comments.


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


Ms. Williams provided a progress report on the 30% design submittals for the project. She advised that Port staff and Commissioner Orvis met with CG Engineering last week to review the architectural, civil engineering and structural engineering design submittals and prepare feedback for the consultants. The consultants will use this feedback to prepare the 60% design submittals that should be ready for review in about six weeks.

Ms. Williams shared the architectural design submittal first, which shows the anticipated location of planter boxes, benches, bump outs, gates, etc. Design concepts have been provided for the planter boxes and other specific elements. Some dimensions were provided, but the 60% design will provide full dimensions and materials. Ms. Williams also shared the civil engineering design submittal, which includes the utility plan and identifies some structural components.

Ms. Williams advised that some initial cost estimates were provided, but they weren’t synced with one another and it didn’t make sense to review them at this time. Instead, CG Engineering has asked that all the consultants submit their bare construction costs with the 60% design. They will then add the supplemental costs (taxes, general contractor profit, and overhead) and present all of the information to the Port at the same time.

Ms. Williams recalled that the Commission discussed the proposed new bump-out locations at their retreat, and these still need to be noted in the 30% design. They also talked about adjustments to the gate designs and guardrail. Staff has asked that each of the submittals use plan labels that are the same across the board.

Lastly, Ms. Williams said they started discussing what phasing and site closure might look like. The original thought was that the project would be done in multiple phases, and only small areas would be closed at any given time. However, they now believe it might make more sense to close a larger portion to protect walkers and provide a larger lay-down area for the crews. She summarized that the project is currently on schedule, and the 60% design submittals are due on August 8th.

Mr. McChesney added that he is happy with the progress being made on the project. The 60% design submittal will be a crucial milestone, as it will allow them to start the Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) process. Simultaneous with that permit process will be the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and Shoreline Permit application review. He reported that the City of Edmonds has been very cooperative and helpful, and he expects the SEPA review and Shoreline Permit will be completed in a reasonable period of time. However, the timeline for the JARPA process is still unknown.

Commissioner Faires pointed out that once the 60% designs have been submitted to the Federal Government for the JARPA Permit, it will be difficult for the Port to change anything. He asked if the schedule includes an opportunity for the Commission and staff to have a robust discussion with the consultants about the 60% designs before they are submitted as part of permit applications. Mr. McChesney answered that the designs would be presented to the Commission for review and comment prior to submitting the permit applications.

Commissioner Faires asked if the Port owes anything to the consultants that could hold them up at all with regard to the 60% design. Ms. Williams answered that the consultants are waiting for the Port’s feedback regarding the 30% designs, and staff is working with CG Engineering to prepare that information now. Mr. McChesney summarized that the Port’s obligations to the consultants have all been met, and there haven’t been any major hang ups that will impact the schedule.

Commissioner Johnston pointed out that the Port would be the lead agency for the SEPA review. He observed that, once the 30% designs have been submitted, the process will be iterative and decisions, and likely amendments, will need to be made as the project progresses.

Commissioner Harris commented that it is important to have touchpoints built into the schedule for the Administration/Maintenance Building Project as they consider opportunities for LEED. Mr. McChesney announced that the project received approval from the Architectural Design Review Board. It is now moving forward to final design, and there will likely be several iterations. The Commission will have an opportunity to review the plans before they go out to bid. He advised that LEED will impact the design schedule a little, but they expect to have building permits in hand before the end of 2021. The plan is to start construction in the 1st quarter of 2022.

Commissioner Faires asked if the Architectural Design Board was interested in the LEED elements that might be included in the project. Mr. McChesney said he was careful to point out that the building would be LEED Certified, and the Board was very encouraged by that. Absent LEED Certification, the Board may have been a bit more forceful with their design questions and issues. It helped to elevate their confidence in the project, and they approved it without any additional conditions.

Commissioner Preston asked if the contracts for the project will address the volatility of the supply prices. Mr. McChesney responded that they won’t know this until they go out for bid, but it would be unusual for a contract to have escalator/de-escalator clauses to protect the contractor and Port.


Council Member Olsen reported that the City Council is currently considering a master permit for a 5G project, and she welcomed input from the Commissioners and Port staff.


Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Commission and staff have discussed a plan for going back to in-person Commission meetings. No specific date has been identified yet, but he recommended starting on June 28th. He noted that staff members who can demonstrate vaccination are no longer required to wear masks.

Commissioner Harris recalled that they previously discussed using a hybrid approach so that people who aren’t comfortable attending in-person meetings can still participate. Port Attorney Stephens advised that, while in-person meetings are allowed to resume, there is still a mandatory remote component that must be provided. The Commissioners agreed to switch to hybrid meetings starting June 28th, with the Commissioners and staff attending in person and the public participating via Zoom. Commissioner Orvis noted that the Commission meetings will likely be some form of hybrid for some time into the future, since it allows people to participate without the stress of coming to the actual meeting.

Mr. McChesney advised that he would be setting up a Finance Committee meeting sometime in the next few weeks to start focusing on project financing. Although cost estimates are a way off, it is time to start putting together some scenarios and models. Ms. Drennan has prepared some possible options to share with the Finance Committee.


Commissioner Orvis said he participated in the meeting with CG Engineering to review the 30% designs for the North Portwalk and Seawall Reconstruction. He is looking forward to the 60% designs that will include the comments provided at that meeting.

Commissioner Orvis announced that he would participate in the virtual Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPAs) Legislative Affairs Meeting on June 17th. The discussion will focus on potential items of discussion at the next legislative session. Commissioner Johnston announced that he would participate in the legislative session, as well.

Commissioner Faires asked if any of Commissioner Orvis’ discussion with CG Engineering led him to conclusions about construction costs. Commissioner Orvis said he estimates the project will likely cost $20 million, and the Port needs to start looking for grant opportunities.

Commissioner Faires reported that he attended a tour and presentation of the Willow Creek Fish Hatchery with Commissioner Harris on June 7th. In addition to showing them around the hatchery, they explained their activities and how the Port plays a role in their work. He more fully appreciates the hatchery’s contribution to the local environment now. Commissioner Johnston said he participated in a tour of the Willow Creek Fish Hatchery last year and agreed that it is a fantastic facility, and the Port’s support is highly valued. Commissioner Harris added that they had a great discussion with Lisa Syravong and Brooke Skowyra. Having worked for the Port of Edmonds, Ms. Skowyra had fantastic things to say about the Port’s support of the hatchery. She also shared some great ideas that she discussed with Ms. Williams last week. Ms. Williams will be contacting both Ms. Syravong and Ms. Skowyra to discuss opportunities to highlight the hatchery’s activities via social media. She asked that Ms. Williams forward the information and videos that were provided in the email to the Commissioners.

Commissioner Faires announced that he would attend the Edmonds Economic Development Commission Meeting on June 16th. He said he is still trying to set up a meeting with Commissioner Harris, Mr. McChesney, and the president of the EDC to discuss economic business development at the waterfront, and particularly the Waterfront Center.

Commissioner Johnston reported that he attended the Architectural Design Board Meeting on June 2nd, where the Board reviewed the Port’s design for the new administration/maintenance building. The review went smoothly, and he agreed that the prospect of a LEED Certified building was very attractive to them and allowed them to reach final approval without conditions.

Commissioner Johnston further reported that he attended a WPPA Virtual Roundtable on June 8th on how small businesses faired in the latter stages of the pandemic. It was reported that most are recovering. About 75% of them applied for government assistance to get them through and most are expected to get relief in total from their obligations. Nationally and regionally, the availability of labor is in short supply, but more people are starting to look for work as unemployment benefits are slowly phased out. There are also severe supply chains shortages, particularly lumber and other building materials. However, lumber prices have trended in the right direction over the past few weeks. They can expect increased fuel and food costs, and ultimately higher inflation overall. Businesses are generally looking for sales and inventories to start trending up, but it will take a while. They expect compensation and salaries to start trending up, as well, to attract workers in a tough labor market. They have significant inflation worries as the recovery continues.

Commissioner Johnston said he attended the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County’s (EASCs) Annual Meeting on June 10th, where they celebrated their 10th anniversary. It was reported that Snohomish County’s economy is springing back to life, and there is much optimism across most sectors of the economy throughout the County, but it will take time. The new CEO, Gary Clark, appears to be a vibrant leader who will take the EASC forward in the right direction.

Commissioner Johnston said he visited the Edmonds Waterfront Center on June 11th. He encouraged other Commissioners to tour the new facility, too, as it provides a good example of how feasible it will be for the Port to get to LEED Silver and possibly Gold Certification with the new Administration/Maintenance Building. For example, using more recycled materials could springboard the project to a higher certification. Commissioner Harris added that participating in a tour of the Edmonds Waterfront Center got her excited about the possibilities for LEED Certification, as well.

Commissioner Preston said he also attended the EASC’s Annual Meeting on June 10th, as well as the Edmonds Yacht Club’s virtual meeting on June 11th where they discussed the responsibilities of the different levels of officers. They have been doing a lot of cruising already this year, and they have a full summer schedule. The facility can once again be rented for events. The yacht club was very interested in the anticipated closures and disruptions associated with the Portwalk construction, and he suggested they contact Ms. Williams for details.


At 7:39 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 to. She advised that the Executive Session would last approximately 20 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 7:40 p.m. The Executive Session was adjourned at 8:00 p.m., and the business portion of the regular meeting was adjourned immediately after.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Johnston
Port Commission Secretary