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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Call To Order:


Chairperson Don Cohen called the meeting to order at 6:04 pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.


Roll Call:


Don Cohen; Chairperson, Elliot Newman, Peter Guyer, Fletch Waller; Vice Chairperson, and Rita Moore were present. Dan Grausz and Tina Lanzinger were absent.


Staff Present:


Keith Kerner, Parks Superintendent

Paul West, Parks Natural Resource Coordinator

Alaine Sommargren, Forest Steward

Justin Howell, Trails Coordinator




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

Approve the minutes of July 9, 2009.

Motion passed 5-0




There were no public appearances.


Regular Business:


(I)         Letterboxing – Elliot Newman


Trustee Newman provided the Trustees with a status report and an implementation plan for the letterboxing program. Trustee Newman spoke with several members of the Mercer Island community about the program, including scouts, schools, the City and the Boys & Girls Club. He reported that the response has been positive. Trustee Newman is in the process of forming a “steering committee” made up of approximately 9 representatives from the collaborating organizations.


Trustee Newman reported that he made some minor changes to the implementation plan and would be working on a financial plan with the steering committee in the coming months. He also addressed the Trustees’ questions about the program.


(II)         Ravine Trail Step Maintenance/Reconstruction – Paul West


At the July 9th Open Space Conservancy Trust Board meeting, Paul West discussed some issues on the Ravine Trail regarding the deterioration of steps and problems being caused by traffic bypassing the steps. Since that meeting, Justin Howell, Trails Coordinator with the City, has evaluated each set of steps and made recommendations on a case-by-case basis. Paul also reported that, after much consideration, he does not feel a bypass trail can be constructed that would meet safety criteria. He suggested that, instead, we concentrate our efforts on limiting possibilities for bypassing and reconstruct or repair existing stairs.


Justin Howell reported to the Trustees that the soil on the ravine trail is fine and sandy, which makes erosion a real concern. He reviewed the staff report with the Trustees and pointed out some general problems that are common throughout the trail. He recommended removing stairs in some sections of the trail and/or placing coarse woody debris in some areas to prevent erosion and bypassing. Justin identified one area that had more urgent needs due to a number of issues.


Justin Howell and Paul West then addressed the Trustees’ questions. Justin recommended addressing section 6 first and then looking at sections 5 and 2. Chair Cohen suggested assigning a Trustee as a designated consultant on this work.  The Trustees expressed appreciation for the comprehensiveness and clarity of the staff report.


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

The Board approves the recommendation in the staff report and authorizes staff to proceed with these recommendations in the order that staff determines makes the most sense given all the considerations stated; and directs that staff confer with Trustee Waller in that process, and report back at the next scheduled meeting.

Motion passed 5-0.




(III)        Wayfinding/Interpretation Project – Keith Kerner


Keith Kerner summarized that the pilot project recommendation is to place 9 wayfinding monuments or bollards on the Woodpecker Trail in the NW Quadrant. The Trustees reviewed prior discussion of this issue and discussed the necessity of wayfinding signage in the park.  The Trustees asked clarifying questions about the budget designated for implementation, and other issues. Chair Cohen summarized the discussion by stating that there was no strong interest on the part of the Board at this time for implementing the pilot project,but that staff should look into ways to more broadly distribute trail maps and evaluate the costs associated with that.  There was no action taken on this project.  Staff was thanked for its work in developing this proposal.


(IV)       Possible MI Reporter Column – Fletch Waller


Trustee Waller shared with the Trustees an article he submitted to The Reporter about the recent tree removal in Pioneer Park to address the root rot pocket. He stated that The Reporter expressed more interest in activities involving Island residents in Pioneer Park.


(V)                                   NE Quad Root Rot Pocket Management Update – Paul West

Paul gave a quick overview of the work done in Pioneer Park recently. Four trees were removed, two of which showed clear signs of laminated root rot. He stated that he feels that staff has done a reasonable job of exploring where the root rot may be heading and/or what trees may be infected. He stated that in the interest of hazard abatement, he feels that all reasonable precautions have been taken. He also reported that there is one more root rot pocket area where at least one tree may be removed as well as a dead Madrona.  Staff was complimented on the professional way this management issue is being handled, being mindful of dealing with safety and ecological considerations through the least intrusive means reasonably possible.


(VI)                                  Horse Waste Update – Keith Kerner

Keith Kerner reported that he received another complaint from Mr. Hood. He also subsequently received a message from Trustee Lanzinger that many of the volunteers that do the clean up were on vacation and that there has been a gap in keeping up. Keith also reported to the Parks &
Recreation Subcommittee about the issue and the possibility of modifying the ordinance to exclude horses under the definition on domestic animals. He has also been asked by Manny Ocampo, Interim Parks & Recreation Director, to write a letter to Mr. Hood explaining all of the steps the Board and staff have taken and that the City feels it has made all reasonable efforts to address the problem. This issue will be addressed  at least one more time, at the September 10th meeting, as was discussed earlier this year.


(VII)                                 “Brainstorm” other participatory activities – Don Cohen

Trustee Moore suggested that Docent Walks be continued. Chair Cohen asked her to schedule more dates and proceed.  He also requested that the Trustees and staff bring any new ideas for participatory activities to the Board for discussion.



Adjournment: 7:36 pm


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