Commission Meeting Minutes 6-26-23

Commission Meeting Minutes 6-26-23

(Via Zoom, Hybrid Meeting)     June 26, 2023

Steve Johnston, President
Jim Orvis, Vice President
Jay Grant, Secretary
Janelle Cass (via Zoom)
David Preston

Angela Harris, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Director of Marina Operations
Tina Drennan, Manager of Finance and Accounting
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Economic Development

Selena Killin, Prospective Port Commissioner
Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Dave Teitzel, 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.








Darrol Haug, Edmonds, commented that the Port District will be well served with the appointment of Ms. Harris as the new Executive Director. The appointment of Commissioner Cass will also be a great addition to the Port. He also thanked Commissioner Orvis for his years of service to the community. One of the questions asked of the candidates at the recent mayor’s debate was how to deal with access across the railroad tracks in the case of emergency. All of the candidates spoke, but no one had any ideas of any real solutions. The Port is the largest land owner west of the tracks and was part of the original studies. Many of the potential solutions would have a significant impact on Port property, and the Port could be a main driver going forward. He said candidates were also asked about the marsh, and all of them said they wanted to follow science. Hopefully, that might also give them the science to change the setbacks at Harbor Square, which would be better for the entire community. As they move forward with the 2024 budget work, he encouraged the Commission to solicit public ideas and solutions earlier in the process so they can be considered for inclusion in the budget. It would be helpful for the community to understand what the Port can do to meet its strategic goals of economic development, environmental stewardship and public access.

There were no other public comments.


Ms. Drennan reviewed the 2024 Budget Meeting Schedule, starting with a staff meeting on June 28th and a Commission workshop on July 31st. The Commission will have a second workshop on October 10th where the Preliminary 2024 Budget will be presented and public comments will be accepted. A public hearing is scheduled for October 30th, and the Commission will be asked to approve the 2024 tax levy, budget, and rate and fee schedules on November 13th.

Ms. Drennan said she would provide forms for the Commissioners to use to suggest potential items to add to the budget, noting that they would be due on July 24th.


Ms. Williams reviewed that the Commission previously authorized the Executive Director to enter into a contract for rebranding and website development services with People People, a brand strategy and interactive studio located in Seattle. The purpose of the rebrand is to redefine the Port’s overall brand identity, resulting in a new logo, taglines, color scheme, style guide and website. She introduced Shannon Palmer, Creative Director, and Lara Green, Creative Producer and Strategist, from People People. She explained that the goal of the workshop is to garner thoughts and opinions from the Commissioners and staff regarding the Port’s value propositions, vision for the future, key messages and brand personality. She also introduced Selena Killin, Prospective Port Commissioner, and Dave Teitzel, Edmonds City Council.

Ms. Palmer explained that the purpose of this brand identity workshop is to get to know the personality and essence of the Port. She cautioned that they want to discuss what makes the Port unique and special without getting into a lot of details at this point. As the project progresses through design, the Commissioners will have additional opportunities to provide feedback. She and Ms. Green led those present through a series of activities intended to solicit ideas and feedback.

Activity 1 – Celebrity Spokesperson.

Ms. Green explained that any great brand has a voice and/or personality, and sometimes it is easiest to embody that with an actual person. Each person was asked to imagine who might be the perfect spokesperson for the Port and then describe their personality and voice. The following were their responses:

• Commissioner Johnston – George Clooney, calm but fun-loving demeanor, inviting and compelling voice. Tagline: Welcome to the Port of Edmonds, Your home port.
• Commissioner Orvis – Samuel Gravely, strong, demands attention, warm, reassuring voice. Tagline: Welcome to the Port of Edmonds, Your home port.
• Commissioner Preston – Russell Wilson, calm, trustworthy, inviting, and people want to be on his team. Always positive and encouraging. Tagline: Welcome to the Port of Edmonds. Come play and stay for the day.
• Commissioner Grant – Sean Connery, convincing, exciting, and authoritative. Tagline: Welcome to the Port of Edmonds, Where your adventure begins.
• Commissioner Cass – Harrison Ford, adventurous, charming, classic but with a modern twist. Tagline: Welcome to the Port of Edmonds, Your local spot for adventure.
• Prospective Commissioner Killin – Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, both warm and inviting with an affable and friendly demeanor. Tagline: Welcome to the Port of Edmonds, Where the community and coastline meet.
• Ms. Drennan – Tim Allen, outdoorsy and adventurous, nice tone of voice that is inviting, calming and relaxing voice. Tagline: Welcome to the Port of Edmonds. Make time to relax and enjoy yourself. Leave your work and worries behind.

Ms. Green summarized that multiple people commented that the voice should be calm, assuring and trustworthy. Ms. Palmer advised that there were also a lot of commonalities in the survey results, particularly when it comes to what makes the Port unique (connection to a vibrant downtown, connective waterfront, well-run facility, welcoming and inviting, premiere and picturesque, great for the economy and community). There was less commonality when it comes to visual attributes like logo ideas.

Activity 2 – Overarching Messaging Statements

Ms. Palmer said this exercise focuses on how to prioritize the messages. She provided a list of statements and asked those present to place a sticker beside the five that they think encapsulate the Port of Edmonds the best. Following the exercise, Ms. Palmer said the results indicate a pull towards messaging that lifts up the sense of energy, the positive vibes and public interactions/activities. There seemed to be support for evocative, feeling words like “heart.” Some ideas that were shared included:

• Use “Puget Sound” rather than “Edmonds” in phrases such as “Heart of Puget Sound” or “Gem of Puget Sound.)
• Using the word “destination” is good, but recognize they are trying to attract two different groups of people, tenant and visiting boaters and people who come to the Port for the waterfront restaurants, portwalk, etc.
• Use the word “welcoming” rather that “vibrant,” which could be interpreted to mean hectic.

Activity 3 – Port vs. Tourism

Ms. Palmer shared a number of sample port and city logos and invited those present to share their thoughts. She specifically sought direction as to whether the Port was seeking to align with other ports or move towards a tourism approach with the thought of positioning the Port as a unique destination. The following comments were shared:

• Most of the port logos were various colors of blue, and none did a great job of communicating the essence of that particular port.
• Some of the city logos failed to include anything to communicate any of the distinct characteristics of that city.
• You can spend so much time trying to figure out what the logo is that you miss the important information about the city or port.
• Color and text can also convey a message.
• Some indicated a preference for a more classic logo as opposed to one that is geared towards tourism.
• The Port of Anacortes logo uses the word “experience,” which can be seen as a call to action.
• Rather than using shades of blue, it would be good to capture some of the sunset colors from photographs that are shared on My Edmonds News.
• The current logo conveys more holistically what the Port is rather than just using a picture of a boat. Maybe mountains or some feature that conveys the waterfront could be added.

Ms. Palmer summarized that they appear to be leaning towards a logo that captures the essence of a place. There was a preference for a more colorful logo as opposed to the current blue shades.

Activity 4 – Visual Spectrums

Ms. Green shared examples of logos that illustrate classic vs. modern design. Rather than being distracted by the words or illustrations, she asked them to focus on style and personality. She asked those present to place a sticker where they want the new visual brand to fall on the spectrum. Most of them were leaning somewhat towards the modern design. Next, Ms. Green shared examples of logos that illustrate reserved (understated) vs. exuberant (full of personality) design. She asked them to focus more on the tone of the content vs. the way it is rendered stylistically. Most of them were leaning towards the middle of the spectrum. They shared the following comments:

• The Oregon Coast logo is good, but there needs to be more color. There are some strong shapes, but most felt it was too framed and confined. They would prefer a more open design.
• Likes how meaningful each piece of the Sao Jose logo is.
• The Pacific City logo leans towards being more classic, as well as exuberant.
• The Washington State Parks logo is good and conveys a lot. It looks fun, but also is consistent with what a government agency needs to convey.
• Many of the examples appear utilitarian and lack personality.
• The Port is in the hospitality business, and its logo should convey that.
• The logo needs to be simple enough in design to utilize on letterhead, signs, etc. It was pointed out that a brand system usually incorporates multiple iterations of a logo (type only, icon, badges, taglines, etc.).

Ms. Palmer thanked the Commissioners and staff for their input, including their participation in the online survey. As a next step, she and Ms. Green will continue to work with Director Harris, Ms. Williams and Mr. Baker, as well as solicit input from a broader audience (i.e., staff, tenants, etc.). Then they will prepare some strategic recommendations for positioning, tone and voice, personality, etc. of the brand. Ms. Williams invited the Commissioners to email additional feedback to her and she would forward it to the consultant. Commissioner Preston suggested that they also solicit input from the Edmonds Yacht Club.


Councilmember Teitzel announced that, at its June 27th meeting, the City Council will be discussing the option of increasing its portion of the car tab fee from $20 to $40 per vehicle. This would result in an additional $700,000 that would have to be used solely for road maintenance (streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, etc.), which the City is currently behind on.

Councilmember Teitzel reported that the City’s current prosecuting attorney submitted a resignation letter in March, effective July 8th. The City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in March, and received one response from Walls Law Firm. The City Council signed the contract last week.

Councilmember Teitzel reported that the City is working with a consultant to design 14 new stormwater detention vaults along SR-104 at the marsh, seven on each side. There will be a filtration cartridge in the vaults, and he has asked the City’s Public Works Director to talk to the Port about their crushed oyster shell filtration system. The vaults will not solve the stormwater pollution problem, but they will help.

Councilmember Teitzel advised that, last Thursday, Mayor Nelson announced that the City is considering purchasing the Burlington Coat Factory property, which is just under 11 acres. The agreement includes a refundable deposit of $100,000 for six months, which would allow the City time to evaluate the property. After the first six months, the City would have an additional year to decide whether or not to complete the purchase. The total cost of the property is $37 million. There was discussion about what the property might be used for, including park and/or public space, a satellite police station, housing, retail, etc.


Director Harris shared a summary of the recent change orders associated with the new Administration/Maintenance Building: a walk-off mat was installed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements ($2,900), a slip sheet was required on the roof under the solar array ($6,900), additional drywall was done in the shop area ($1,800), and additional fiberoptic cabling supplies and labor were necessary ($47,000). She noted that the finished building would be eligible for LEED Silver Certification.


Commissioner Grant announced that he has been working on cyber issues and would attend the June 27th Edmonds City Council meeting.

Commissioner Preston reported that he attended the Civic Field Opening and will attend the Edmonds Yacht Club’s Change of Watch on June 27th. He also attended the Edmonds Economic Development Commission meeting last week. He advised that the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) has advised that two companies in Mukilteo are doing fusion, which could make wind and solar obsolete.

Commissioner Johnston referred to the recent Commission/staff training and advised that he and Port Attorney Stephens will be putting together a draft set of rules for Commission approval. He also announced that he will be working with staff to prepare an agenda for the Commission/Staff Strategic Retreat on July 31st.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:29 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jay Grant
Port Commission Secretary