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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Call To Order:


Chairperson Don Cohen called the meeting to order at 6:05 pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.


Roll Call:


Don Cohen, Chairperson, Liz Sanderson, Secretary, Dan Grausz, Council Liaison, Tina Lanzinger, Elliot Newman and Rita Moore were present.  Vice Chairperson Fletch Waller was absent.


Staff Present:


Paul West, Parks Natural Resource Coordinator

Keith Kerner, Parks Superintendent

Deborah Alexander, Senior Admin. Assistant, were present.




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

Approve the minutes of June 19, 2008.

Motion passed 6-0




Ms. Loralee Vogel was present to speak on the agenda topic of bench donations and saved her comments until that time.


Regular Business:


(2)                 Education Work Plan – Don Cohen


Chairperson Cohen went over the notes from the 2007 Retreat and identified measures already taken and goals not yet achieved. He asked staff member, Deborah Alexander, to speak to the Trustees briefly about an educational opportunity. Deborah told the Trustees about a new program on Government TV (Channel 21) called Mercer Island View. This program is produced by the City and the pilot program is now showing. Deborah spoke with Joy Johnston, Communications Coordinator for the City, about potentially using this vehicle for educating the public about the health issues of Pioneer Park. Chairperson Cohen suggested that Trustee Waller contact Joy Johnston to discuss the possibility of doing a short piece about the health of Pioneer Park. Trustee Moore also offered to assist with the process. Paul West, Park Natural Resource Coordinator, suggested that he provide technical and content support and Deborah Alexander provide administrative support for this project.


Trustee Newman spoke with the Trustees about a website called that has treasure hunts for kids. He suggested the Trustees come up with a treasure hunting concept where the children would eventually have to go down all the trails in Pioneer Park. Clues could be left for the children to find and as they collect them they learn about what they are doing. At the end of the goal they could stamp a scorecard. When they get all of their stamps they could receive some kind of certificate. The Trustees agreed to come back to the next meeting with any additional feedback, creative ideas and if the feeling is favorable, work out a subcommittee to implement it.

Trustee Moore commented about her desire to add Docent walks again soon. Paul West suggested that if the Trustees want to add Docent walks to the next Recreation Guide that they be aware of a deadline for that in November, and be mindful of targeting specific age groups so that the information is appropriate. Trustee Moore offered to develop some ideas for Docent walks with input and feedback from Trustee Lanzinger with the goal of reporting back to the Trust Board to implement.


Trustee Sanderson offered to head up the project of reprinting “Pioneer Park—an Oral History”.


(3)        2009-2010 budget request update – Paul West


Staff has made a request for $9,500 to have the Trust Board work with a consultant to determine the best solutions for wayfaring and signage. This does not include any money for implementation. Council Liaison Grausz asked the Trustees if they really want to spend money on a consultant. Paul stated that it was impossible to determine a number for implementation without some idea of scope. Chair Cohen asked Paul West if the Trustees decided not to spend that money on a consultant, could it be used in other ways. Paul West confirmed that the money could be used for implementation. Council Liaison Grausz said that when it is presented to Council that the intended use of the money be clear. Paul mentioned that this specific issue would not come before Council as it falls under the $10,000 cut off for new initiatives. Chair Cohen suggested that the use of the money be revisited after the Trustees have heard Chuck Lennox’s presentation on this topic. Chair Cohen thanked staff for their efforts on behalf of the Trust Board in regards to requesting money as a budget placeholder.


(3)           Summer Celebration! – Rita Moore and Liz Sanderson


Trustee Moore thought that many of the booths did not take advantage of the western theme. She said the “Wanted Dead not Alive” poster generated a lot of attention but not many other things did. Trustee Lanzinger suggested that next year they include something people can do while at the booth. Trustee Newman said he had a fair amount of traffic. Chair Cohen suggested that The Trust Board put together a subcommittee earlier next year to get a jump on the planning. Some of the educational ideas that were discussed tonight might be applicable for Summer Celebration! (like the treasure hunt).


(4)           Bench Placement Policy – Paul West


Chair Cohen asked that Liz Sanderson chair this particular topic as his family and friends donated a bench in Pioneer Park in his honor prior to implementation of the current bench placement policy and he wanted to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. He also stated he would abstain from voting on the issue if there were any motions. Trustee Sanderson invited Chair Cohen to participate in the discussion since he will not be voting, and she feels that since he has been through the process that he may have some useful insight. Paul West gave the Trustees a brief overview of the history of the policies and processes implemented to date which includes the Pioneer Park Master Plan, park donation and gift policy, and the adopted approved bench locations map. The Northwest Quadrant has no more available bench locations. Paul West stated that if the Trustees wanted to make a motion to add additional bench locations that they could, with the Parks Director being the final decision maker on which donations are accepted.


Paul West pointed out the location that Loralee Vogel is interested in. Paul West introduced Keith Kerner as the Interim Park Operations Superintendent. Keith said that the only park where a formal bench location map has been established is in Pioneer Park and that there are roughly 20 or fewer donation bench locations available throughout the island. The benches cost about $1,200 and then shipping and installation is added. Council Liaison Grausz asked if there might be other types of donations that could be considered if we are getting “benched out.” Deborah Alexander mentioned that the Parks Department has a brochure that lists many kinds of donation options. She also stated that the foundation which handles the donation money has expressed a willingness to work with the Parks Department to help identify what the needs are and come up with something that reflects the current needs better. Council Liaison Grausz suggested the idea of making a “master bench” which could be located in a conspicuous location where donors could get a plaque which shows they have made a contribution to the park.


Trustee Newman stated that he feels we need more benches, but that it appears there are still opportunities available. Trustee Moore posed the question that perhaps Pioneer Park could benefit from adding a bench in the location that Ms. Vogel is requesting one be placed. Trustee Lanzinger expressed that she did not personally see a need for a bench in that location at this time.


Loralee Vogel addressed the Trustees regarding her previous request for an additional bench location. She stated that she is only interested in the Northwest Quadrant for her bench location. She stated that her family might be open to an alternate idea to a bench if the Trustees decided that they did not want to add a location.


Trustee Sanderson suggested that the Trust Board take it under advisement and not cast a vote on the issue at this meeting so that alternative donation ideas can be explored. Trustee Cohen asked if there were any recent potential donors who decided not to donate because they could not find a desirable location. Staff member Deborah Alexander stated that she did not know of any potential donors in the last 6-8 months that did not make a donation.


It was moved by Trustee Newman, seconded by Trustee Lanzinger, to:

Amend the bench placement map to include an additional bench in the Northwest Quadrant where the Salmonberry Trail intersects with the Woodpecker Trail.


Council Liaison Grausz expressed his opposition to this motion because he feels that by adding a location you are changing a policy which should involve public process. He also thinks that this might be an opportunity for the Trust Board to take a look at better ways to generate some financial support for the park from the public.


Trustee Newman withdrew his motion.


Trustee Sanderson summarized that the Trustees require more information before making a change to the policy, and that by making an exception it does not address the bigger picture of how to handle future exception requests.


Chair Cohen suggested adding a topic on the next agenda to explore ideas about tapping into citizen donations and participation in Pioneer Park.


(5)           Hazard Tree Identification – Paul West


Paul West gave a brief overview of the materials collected on how to identify hazard trees. The basics involve lean, roots, cracks, weak branch attachments, cankers, cavities, and dead wood. All conifers that lean have a problem. Alders and Madronas do often lean but it is not a sign of a problem. Big Leaf Maples often have weak branch attachments. Alders die from the top down. When woodpecker cavities begin to appear in the bottom 10’ of a snag, it should be removed. Large broken branches over trails (caught up in trees) should be reported and removed. The most vulnerable locations are where the prevailing winds come from.


Trustee Lanzinger took advantage of the opportunity to thank Keith Kerner for the excellent work done on the trails in the South East Quadrant.


(6)           Forest Health Survey Update – Paul West


The part-time staff just finished the forest health survey of selected plots, and Paul shared some preliminary data on what they have seen. They counted a total of 4,166 trees in the plots, 3,000 of which are Holly. Only 3% of the trees had ivy growing on them which is good news. Douglas Fir makes up 5% and Big Leaf Maple makes up 8%. The most common invasive present is ivy, which appeared in 100% of the plots, Herb Robert in 94%, and Himalayan Blackberry in 75% of the plots. Common natives were Sword Fern in 100% of the plots, Oregon Grape in 96%, Elderberry in 94%, Indian Plum in 85%, and Trailing Blackberry in 85% of the plots. There also appears to be a lot of Vanilla Leaf and Trillium in the plots.


The plan is to take the data and put together the results which should be ready near the end of October or early November. Paul feels that this data is going to be very valuable in determining where to focus efforts and beginning to put a number on what it will take to get the job done.


(7)           Next MeetingDon Cohen


Chair Cohen asked the Trustees if there were any known scheduling conflicts for the September 18th meeting. Trustee Newman and Trustee Sanderson stated that they would be out of town and unable to attend the next meeting. Chair Cohen requested that Deborah Alexander send out an e-mail to confirm attendance for the next meeting.


Adjournment:   8:03 pm





Don Cohen, Chairperson







Deborah Alexander, Scribe



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