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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Call To Order:


Chairperson Don Cohen called the meeting to order at 6:06 pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.


Roll Call:


Don Cohen, Chairperson; Fletch Waller, Vice Chairperson; Liz Sanderson, Secretary; Tina Lanzinger; Elliot Newman and Dan Grausz were present.  Rita Moore was absent, but arrived later in the meeting.


Staff Present:


Pete Mayer, Assistant City Manager, Director Parks and Recreation

Paul West, Parks Natural Resource Coordinator

Deborah Alexander, Senior Admin. Assistant, were present.




(1)                 It was moved by Trustee Newman, seconded by Trustee Lanzinger, to:

Approve the minutes of April 17, 2008.

Motion passed 6-0


Chairperson Cohen announced that Trustee Waller needs to leave early, and therefore the order of the agenda may be modified. He also stated that Trustee Lanzinger and he have been reappointed to another 4 year term on the Open Space Conservancy Trust.




An appearance was made by Loralee Byrnes on behalf of her family to petition for a park bench in Pioneer Park’s northwest quadrant. She read a letter that talked about the illness of her late mother and the importance of Pioneer Park to her parents and family. She explained that all of the designated bench locations in the northwest quadrant of Pioneer Park have already been taken, and requests that the Trust consider an additional location for their bench in the interior of the quadrant.


Chairperson Cohen asked Ms. Byrnes if she had met with staff on this issue and she replied that she met with several members of the Parks Maintenance staff and she was told she would need to look at a map which illustrated designated locations (at the time there were two spots still available in the northwest quadrant). The two open locations in the northwest quadrant were quickly taken, and the location in the interior that they were interested in was in fact one of the locations the Trust Board had previously decided not to adopt for the list of final approved locations.


Trustee Newman requested that since some members of the Trust are unfamiliar with the policy relating to bench donations, that staff do a presentation at the next meeting bringing everyone up to speed on the issue.


Chairperson Cohen requested that Ms. Byrnes submit her formal request to staff, and then at the next meeting staff would give the Trustees an update on the history of the Trust Board’s decisions on this subject and include in the next agenda packet the minutes from the meeting when the decision was made.


Vice Chairperson Waller commented on the powerful letter and informed Ms. Byrnes that her letter would be carefully considered.


Regular Business:


(2)                 Update on Summer Celebration! Booth  - Liz Sanderson


Trustee Sanderson gave a presentation on the work that she and Trustee Moore have been doing in preparation for the Trust Board’s Summer Celebration! booth, which they are working on in partnership with Earth Corp. They hope to hand out western red cedar seedlings and wear “cowboy” hats. They are working with some visuals identifying “good guys and bad guys” (friendly and “outlaw” species). She displayed some boards which show photos of various wildlife including deer, hummingbirds and an eagle. They plan to get some Audubon Society handouts and various other themed giveaways. Trustee Sanderson distributed a schedule of shifts for the booth and solicited for volunteers. Chairperson Cohen asked about whether the park maps have donation information on the back. Paul West stated that we have not been printing them this way, but can for Summer Celebration! Chairperson Cohen requested that we print them this way for Summer Celebration! and revisit whether or not to continue this at a later date.


Trustee Sanderson stated that residents of Mercer Island can be certified for Wildlife Habitat Certification. She stated that she and some neighbors share a gully and may be able to get a tax deduction if this land can be designated as a Wildlife Habitat neighborhood.


Trustee Sanderson gave a brief overview of the charges related to the booth. The total budget will be around $400, which includes the booth rental, seedlings, and other miscellaneous supplies.


Vice Chairperson Waller stated that the last time the Trust had a booth, it was way down at the end. He requested that their booth be more centrally located if possible. Pete Mayer said he will contact Amber Britton to inquire about getting a better location. Paul West stated that the layout of the booths may be somewhat out of our control based on the way it has been organized in the past. Vice Chairperson Waller suggested using the back of the map be used as much as possible to advertise a calendar of events, how to donate etc.


(3)        Parks Levy Stakeholders Update – Fletch Waller


Vice Chairperson Waller stated that the Stakeholders Committee reported to Council with a recommendation for a two part fundraising mechanism. One is a levy for permanent funding for maintenance and repairs of Luther Burbank and Pioneer Park and a few other items. The other would be a capital project bond which would be focused on the playfields and improving some of the recreational facilities on the Island. In the levy, the Pioneer Park portion of this would be an additional $65,000 a year in funds for the forest management program including replanting and restoration and not just invasive removals. There was broad support for the work in Pioneer Park and trail development in the Engstrom Open Space. City Council reviewed the report and they will discuss this subject at their upcoming retreat. Vice Chairperson Waller asked Council Liaison Dan Grausz for his comments. Council Liaison Grausz stated that it is hard to get a true reading on the Council’s feeling about this project but it he feels that Council will ultimately approve it. He stated that the most difficult part will be to get together a support group to help get this passed. Under state law, City staff and resources cannot help support this.


There was some discussion about trying to illustrate the blow down area of the southeast quadrant and use Summer Celebration! as an opportunity to educate the public about the problems in the park. Council Liaison Grausz remarked about the importance of the timing with the Levy potentially coming up this fall, and suggested compiling some statistics on the damage sustained in the park. These statistics should also include some positive statistics regarding the value of the park.


(3)           Island Crest Way Trail Lighting– Paul West


Paul West gave a presentation regarding an April inquiry from Ze’ev Young about the possibility of lighting the pathway along Island Crest Way in the northeast quadrant of Pioneer Park. He is a member of a conservative Jewish congregation that meet up in the area by the Yeshiva High School and they live south of Pioneer Park. They use the park trails to get to the Synagogue on the Sabbath and other religious holidays when they cannot drive. Another thing that is prohibited is the use of electric lights, which includes the use of a flashlight. The trail in question is the bike trail down the east side of Island Crest Way. It is a paved asphalt trail that is about 5 feet wide and has some areas where the trees have heaved and there are some potential trip hazards. They would also like to see some lighting on the pathway south of SE 68th to SE 71st. Motion activated lights are also prohibited as that constitutes the use of electric lights. This area is particularily dark because it is completely wooded and there is no light spillage from businesses.


Paul gave an overview of the level of lights to be considered and the various technologies available that could potentially be used. He also talked about the issues involving power supply and financial impacts. He talked with Mr. Young about the possibility of a different route which would add a substantial distance.


Pete Mayer suggested that there may be a broader policy consideration here as there are many trails that could arguably be lit as well.


Chairperson Cohen reported that he had inquired with Interim City Attorney Katie Knight about any possible legal considerations regarding this issue and she did not seem to think there would be any. He opened up the discussion to the Trust Board to see what the feeling is about the possibility of lighting.


Several of the Trustees felt that some lighting could increase the use of the park, which could be a positive thing. Trustee Sanderson expressed some concern about the lighting impacting the animal life. Trustee Newman commented, with regards to sustainability, that the Trust take into consideration that this path could conceivably allow students to walk to school during winter months instead of having their parents drive them to school.


Chairperson Cohen summarized that some of the Trustees would like staff to research what are the least intrusive options that can be used, the spacing and types of lights, costs and sources for funding for it, and any legal issues that must be considered.


It was moved by Trustee Newman, seconded by Trustee Moore:

That staff analyze and bring back to the Board the pros and cons of installing the least intrusive lighting on the bike path in the northeast quadrant along Island Crest Way consistent with legal and regulatory requirements, cost, and other policy considerations.

Motion passed 6-0


Paul West indicated he could have something for the Trustees by September, and that he would inform the Youngs on the action taken on this topic.


(4)           Norman e-mail exchange re: forest health – Paul West


Paul West summarized the observations of Mr. Norman regarding an experience he had witnessing a tree fall in Deans Children’s Park. Paul indicated that the City staff inspect the developed parts of Pioneer Park but not other trails looking for hazard trees. Chairperson Cohen remarked that various Trustees have been assigned Pioneer Park quadrants to monitor, but perhaps they do not always know what to look for in a hazard tree. Paul commented that the lean must be toward a path to be considered for removal. Paul offered to bring in some photographs of what to look for in a hazard tree. This will be discussed at the next meeting.


(5)           Ivy herbicide trial report – Paul West


Paul West showed some photographs which illustrated the before and after of a test patch where an herbicide was used to kill ivy. The photos clearly illustrate that the ivy was almost completely dead and there has been some native regeneration. Paul feels this has been a successful trial.


(6)           2007 Retreat Follow UpDon Cohen


The materials from the April 2007 retreat were distributed with the agenda packets to review. Chairperson Cohen remarked that one goal identified that less progress has been made is “make it valued.” Chairperson Cohen talked about a few unsuccessful attempts and some ideas that have not been fully explored to achieve this goal. He feels the education component is the key to the next year, and feels the Trust Board could develop a work plan. Council Liaison Grausz reminded the Trustees that Pete Mayer is in the process of preparing the next City biennium budget and any considerations for use of staff resources should be promptly identified so they can be included.


There was some discussion and interest in exploring options for trail markers, general signage, and kiosk usage. These issues will be discussed at the next meeting along with any other budgetary considerations.


(7)           Next MeetingDon Cohen


Chairperson Cohen asked the Trustees if there were any known scheduling conflicts for the July 17th. Trustee Sanderson stated she would be out of town. All other present Trustees did not indicate any scheduling conflicts.


Adjournment:   7:58 pm





Don Cohen, Chairperson







Deborah Alexander, Scribe



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