Commission Meeting Minutes 9-13-21

Commission Meeting Minutes 9-13-21

(Via Zoom)                        September 13, 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

Vivian Olson, Edmonds City Council
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.






There were no public comments.


Ms. Drennan explained that governments are required to review their voting district populations every 10 years after the census is complete. If there is a significant deviation from the ideal (equal populations in every district), governments need to redistrict the deviation to less than 1%. Port staff has been working on the redistricting project since May, but the redistricting information has been delayed as the federal government was late in releasing the census information due to COVID and some statistical anomalies.

Ms. Drennan advised that staff began by getting a few quotes for redistricting services from companies that use computerized systems to perform the redistricting process so the Port doesn’t have to do the work manually. The Port received a quote from FLO Analytics for a flat rate of $8,000 and another quote from Sammamish Data Systems for $300 for Stage 1, $300 for Stage 2, and $300 for each additional redistricting option. The Port has chosen to work with Sammamish Data Systems, the same company the Port used the last time it did redistricting.

Ms. Drennan advised that the federal government released data in the middle of August, and the Port authorized Sammamish Data Systems to proceed with Stage 1. Stage 1 was to review the districts, determine the total population of the Port District and the population of each of the three Port Districts, and calculate the deviation from the ideal. She reviewed that the Port has five Commissioners, but two are at-large positions that encompass the entire Port District. The at-large positions will not be impacted by redistricting. The Port District population grew to 19,944, which is an increase of 1,685 residents. The growth primarily occurred in District 2, and the deviation from equal is between 4% and 5%.

Ms. Drennan referred to Page 5 of the Staff Report, which is a map showing the current district boundaries. She also referred to the District Summary Report as of August 27th on Page 6 of the Staff Report, which shows that the current population of District 1 is 6,559, District 2 is 6,962 and District 3 is 6,423. The ideal population for each of the districts would be 6,648. Page 7 provides a summary of the population by race and Hispanic origin. Each of the districts are relatively small, and there are not any existing communities of related and mutual interest that cannot be split. She summarized that District is -1.34% from the ideal, District 2 is 4.72%, and District 3 is -3.38%. Again, she said the goal is to get the population in each of the districts closer to 6,648.

Ms. Drennan advised that Sammamish Data Systems has recommended the Port proceed to Stage 2 to reduce the deviation. Port staff forwarded the physical addresses of the District 1 and District 2 Commissioners and the sole applicant for District 3 to Sammamish Data Systems. Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 29a.76.010 (Counties, Municipal Corporations and Special Purpose Districts) requires that the districts be “as nearly equal in population as possible to each and every other such district…, as compact as possible…, consist of a geographically contiguous area…, not be used to favor or disfavor any racial group or political party…, coincide with existing recognized natural boundaries…, and preserve existing communities of related and mutual interest.”

Ms. Drennan advised that the proposal on Page 9 of the Staff Report meets the requirements of RCW 29a.76.010 and does not redistrict any Commissioner out of his/her district. Two precincts were split, and the proposed changes occur where all three districts meet. A portion of District 1 is changed to District 3, a portion of District 2 is changed to District 1, and a portion of District 3 is changed to District 1. Page 11 of the Staff Report shows the proposed districts by precinct, and Page 12 shows the proposed district summary report as of August 30, 2021. Page 13 shows the proposed summary of population by race and Hispanic origin, and Page 16 shows a close up of the proposed district boundaries by street.

Port Attorney Cattle clarified that the proposal before the Commission is a suggestion pending public comment during the public comment period at this meeting, as well as a public hearing at a future meeting. The Commission will not make a decision until after the public hearing.

Commissioner Orvis voiced concern that District 2 primarily encompasses the downtown bowl and doesn’t extend further up the hill. Commissioner Faires asked if the districts must be contiguous. Ms. Drennan answered affirmatively.

Commissioner Harris commented that she isn’t clear about Commissioner Orvis’ concern. While District 2 is smaller in area, it has a denser population. Commissioner Johnston observed that the adjustment would be fairly minor. Ms. Drennan cautioned that the larger the adjustment, the more scrutiny it will get from the public. Commissioner Johnston pointed out that because everyone in the Port District votes for all the positions, there isn’t any proprietary interest in being in one district over another. Ms. Drennan said the only time the district actually matters is during a primary election if there are three or more candidates.

Commissioner Preston agreed that the proposed change is minor. Commissioner Johnston reminded them that the public would have an opportunity to comment during the public hearing. He said he doesn’t see a problem with the proposal, but he agreed some questions might come up that the Port will need to be ready to answer.

Ms. Drennan said the Commission has two options. They can authorize staff to proceed to establish the metes and bounds for the proposal and then conduct a public hearing, or they can ask staff to request that Sammamish Data Systems prepare another option for the Commission’s consideration. Every adjustment would cost another $300, and the redistricting process must be completed by November 2022.

Given the constraints, Commissioner Faires suggested the Commission authorize staff to proceed with the proposal as currently presented in the Staff Report. After discussing several different options for changing the boundaries, the remaining Commissioners agreed that the current proposal is the best option.



Council Member Olson announced that the Waterfront Center made a great presentation to the City Council that can be viewed online. They are just $1.5 million away from full success on this capital project. This is impressive considering the total fundraising goal. They are still looking for donations and membership.

Council Member Olson reported that the City Council is in the process of allocating the non-profit awards from the American Rescue Plan funds, but final approval on the larger projects is still pending. In addition, the request for applications has been published for businesses that want to apply for grants based on need.

Council Member Olson announced that the City Council will begin working on the 2022 Budget in the near future, and she is currently seeking input on budget priorities. The first three of six townhall events are scheduled for September 18th in various locations around the City (Pine Ridge Park, Amphitheater at the Frances Anderson Center, and Mathay-Ballinger Park). The events have been announced via press releases in local media. She invited the Commissioners to attend and to encourage members of the community to participate, as well. All of the events will be outdoors to be COVID safe, but they will be rescheduled in the case of heavy rain.


Mr. McChesney announced that 60% design review for the North Portwalk and Seawall Reconstruction Project has been completed. There have been some coordination issues between all the design consultants (geotechnical, civil, structural, architectural, electrical and plumbing), but the plans are coming together nicely in anticipation of submitting the Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) application to the Army Corps of Engineers. Landau Associates is currently preparing the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Checklist in preparation for the Shoreline Permit with the City of Edmonds. The project is currently on schedule, but the timeline for the JARPA permit is unknown and could take up to two years.

Mr. McChesney reported that staff met with the architect for the new Administration Building (Jackson Main) and the Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED) consultant (RWDI Consulting). He referred to the scoresheet, noting that the project is on track to meet the requirements for LEED Silver Certification (52 points), and it appears that LEED Gold Certification is achievable at a modest incremental cost. A total of 60 points are needed for gold certification, but the consultant is recommending 62 points to have an extra margin for discussion during the formal LEED review. A Building Permit application for the project will be submitted to the City of Edmonds on October 1st, and he anticipates that City staff will process the application as quickly as possible. The hope is that the Building Permit will be issued in November or early December. The goal is to put the project out to bid the first part of 2022 and start construction in February or March.

Mr. McChesney announced that the Harbor Square paving project was completed last week on time and on budget.


Commissioner Faires announced that he would attend the September 15th meeting of the Edmonds Economic Development Commission (EDC) as a Port representative.

Commissioner Faires observed that the paving work that was done the past week at Harbor Square included improvements to the subgrade, which is a great improvement over the previous surface.

Commissioner Johnston said he also attended the LEED progress meeting on September 10th for the new administration building, and he was very impressed with the consultant’s presentation. They provided a lot of information and were very responsive, and he walked away feeling good about the Port’s chances of advancing the project to LEED Gold Certification. He is confident that the project can obtain Salmon Safe Certification, as well.

Commissioner Johnston announced that he would attend the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County’s (EASCs) coffee chat on September 14th titled “Back to Business After Covid.” On September 17th he will attend the Port’s Environmental Committee Meeting, along with Commissioner Harris. On September 23rd and 24th he will attend the Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPAs) Environmental Seminar at Alderbrook Inn.

Commissioner Johnston recalled that the City is working with Ms. Williams and others to commemorate a memorial to Bill Anderson, the natural photographer who spent so much time documenting conditions at the Edmonds Marsh. They have decided that a spotting scope, available to the public, would be a great asset. It would be located on Port property on an easement to the City, and they are accepting donations towards the purchase and placement costs. He said he personally intends to contribute, and he asked if the Port could legally do so, as well. Mr. McChesney agreed to take it under advisement with the Port Attorney. If there is a path for the Port to contribute, it would be at the discretion of the Commission. The Commissioners all agreed they would support a contribution from the Port if it is deemed legally possible. Commissioner Faires asked who would be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the memorial, and Commissioner Johnston answered that the City would assume that role.

Commissioner Preston reported that he attended an Edmonds Downtown Alliance (ED) meeting on September 9th. They are asking the City to delay on administration fees for ED. Walkable Main Street is over. While the streeteries have contract until the end of the year, they may be extended. There is potential tourism grant money for a trolley purchase the City may make. Mayor Nelson will send his proposed budget to the City Council on September 27th. It was discussed that Salish Crossing is trying to bring in the Business Improvement District, but a few businesses in that location do not want to participate. They received great feedback on the summer promotion, and they plan to do something similar in 2021.

Commissioner Preston said he was able to watch the SeaJazz event last Friday and have dinner at the Beach Café. The lights on the awning are unbelievable, and he suggested they consider getting a fixed-in sound system so that other groups can use the space.

Commissioner Preston reported that the Salmon Derby was held on September 11th. Both the number of fish and the weight of the fish was up. Two years ago, the weight of the winning salmon was just over eight pounds, and this time it was 11.5 pounds. He also attended the 9/11 memorial event on September 11th at the fire station. He recalled that the nation was very united after 9/11, which was 20 years ago, but they are very divided right now. His hope is that people will put their eyes and energy on uniting differences and looking at commonalities.

Commissioner Preston announced that he would attend the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) meeting in Bremerton next week.

Commissioner Orvis said he also participated in the LEED progress meeting on September 10th. As a chief doubter, he came away less concerned than he was when he went in. The information that was shared by the consultants at the meeting was far more comprehensive, and they were able to answer his questions.

Commissioner Orvis reminded those who will attend the WPPAs Environmental Seminar that, currently, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Army Corps of Engineers are unable to issue permits because they are in a contest of mutual disagreement. No one sees an end to the conflict. Perhaps the Port of Edmonds, as well as other ports with hydraulic projects, need to talk with the two state senators, one of whom proports to have tremendous influence, to see what can be done to address the problem.

Commissioner Harris said she is still working out whether or not she can attend the WPPAs Environmental Seminar. However, she is planning to attend the Port’s Environmental Committee meeting on September 17th. She will also attend the Economic Development Committee meeting later in the week, as well as a Salmon Recovery Council meeting on September 16th.

Commissioner Harris reported that she met last week with the City’s consultant for the Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan update. She thanked the Commissioners for the input they provided. She was able to consolidate the input and make sure that all of the points were made to the consultant.

Commissioner Orvis commented on an email the Commissioners received from Mr. Osterman about security training that they need to sign up for and complete regarding how to recognize email messages that do not look right. As per his recommendation, emails should be deleted if a Commissioner doesn’t recognize the sender or if information is being requested.


The Commission meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Steve Johnston
Port Commission Secretary