City of Mercer Island, Washington - Home City of Mercer Island, Washington - Home Facebook Twitter YouTube
site map
Notify me by Email
Open Space Conservancy Trust - Minutes     
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Call To Order:


Chairperson Don Cohen called the meeting to order at 6:11 pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.


Roll Call:


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


Staff Present:


Bruce Fletcher, Director Parks & Recreation

Katie Knight, City Attorney

Keith Kerner, Parks Superintendent

Paul West, Parks Natural Resource Coordinator

Alaine Sommargren, Forest Steward

Deborah Alexander, Senior Administrative Assistant



Don Cohen welcomed Bruce Fletcher, the new City Parks and Recreation Director, to the meeting and stated that the Board looks forward to working with him.



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

Approve the minutes of January 14, 2010.

Motion passed 5-0




There were no public appearances.


Regular Business:


(I)             Engstrom TransferPaul West and Katie Knight


Paul West reported that he and Keith Kerner met with Rich Conrad, City Manager, and Manny Ocampo (Interim Parks and Recreation Director), to discuss the possibility of transferring the Engstrom Open Space to the Open Space Conservancy Trust Board. The City Manager suggested that the Trust Board raise the issue by making it an item on the 2010 work plan as presented with the Annual Report to the Council. The City Manager said he did not see any obvious impediment to the transfer taking place, but the decision would rest with the Council.


Council Liaison Grausz remarked that he thought that the issue of the Engstrom Transfer was placed on the Council’s work plan for 2010.


A question was raised as to whether or not the City Council has the authority to approve the Trust Board’s work plan. Katie Knight, City Attorney, responded by saying that the Council’s role would be to direct staff time and/or make decisions about any budgetary needs, not specifically approval of the Trust Board’s work plan itself. Katie recommended identifying when this issue is scheduled on the Council’s work plan and working backwards to prepare a recommendation using the P&R Subcommittee, and then presenting an agenda bill to the Council.




(II)         Sanican Update – Keith Kerner


Keith Kerner reported that they have received several calls over the last few weeks stating that people have been parking at the corner of Island Crest Way and SE 68th St near the sanican. The Parks Maintenance Staff placed some no parking signs and temporary barricades in an attempt to discourage people from parking there. He recommends some boulders be placed and a bollard be installed as a permanent solution. Keith said the money for the project would come from a Parks Maintenance budget, and estimated the work could be done for around $300.


After discussion, the Trustees preferred, at this time, to try to address the problem with signage alone and monitor the situation.


(III)        Annual Report to CouncilPaul West


Paul West reported that he reviewed the minutes from 2009 and pulled the relevant topics, decisions, and action items, and organized them into a draft Annual Report.  He noted that Chair Cohen reviewed the draft and contributed some commentary and editing which produced the Annual Report included in the agenda packet. The Annual Report will go to the City Council on April 5th.


Paul West reported that edits can be sent by e-mail.


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

To approve the 2010 Annual Report as written subject to non-substantive edits approved by Chair Cohen and staff.

Motion passed 5-0



(IV)       Herbicide ProtocolPaul West


Paul West presented the first draft of the herbicide protocol to the Trustees, and opened it up for discussion. He explained that the label on the herbicide includes all specifications on how the product should be used. Chair Cohen mentioned that he was unclear as to how this protocol would be applied, and how/if staff would notify the Trustees of the intent to apply herbicides. He expressed an interest in getting clarification on what the Trustees would be approving by adopting this protocol. He also requested that under section 5b a report on the effectiveness of the treatment and a report on the unanticipated impacts (if any) be added. Chair Cohen also asked if a public forum should be considered before such a protocol is adopted.


In reference to the recent Forest Health Accomplishments report, Council Liaison Grausz suggested that some clarification be made in the description of treated acreage to illustrate that the herbicide currently being used in the park is not a broadcast treatment. He also asked about a replanting plan to fill in the gaps created by the removal of invasives. Paul West explained that the forest floor has a substantial seed bank that will contribute to native revegitation. Council Liaison Grausz felt that a more proactive approach to the prevention of regrowth of invasives (where appropriate) would be preferable.


Chair Cohen suggested that under item 5b another line be added that staff report on regeneration and the condition of treated areas.


Alaine Sommargren explained that all of the current contracted work for herbicide application and reforestation in Pioneer Park is in accordance with the Forest Health Survey work plan that was adopted at the January 8th, 2009 Trust Board Meeting.


Paul explained that the purpose of the herbicide protocol is to establish a set of rules around the use of herbicides on specific invasive species so the issue does not have to be readdressed every time staff feels it is appropriate to use it.


Council Liaison Grausz brought up several questions about how the use of herbicides in Pioneer Park might affect things like storm water runoff, safety of pedestrians and animals, and overall benefit to the park (short term and long term). Paul West suggested creating a document that would address these questions as a companion to the protocol. He felt he had enough information to move forward with the drafting of this document and would present it to the Trustees at a future meeting.


(V)        Special Events – Keith Kerner


Keith Kerner reported that recently the Washington Native Plant Society held a twig identification walk in Pioneer Park. He explained that because participants were charged a fee, a special event permit was required by the Parks & Recreation Department. He consulted with Paul West and they agreed that the Trust Board could develop their own policy around this, and asked the Trustees if they would like to do so or continue using the Special Event Application process currently used by the City.


There was discussion about the way to define an event, and evaluating the appropriateness and impacts. Council Liaison Grausz suggested Keith draft a simple policy detailing some of the criteria discussed during this meeting. Keith agreed to do so.


(VI)                                  Letterboxing Update – Elliot Newman


Trustee Newman reported that the steering committee’s work is on schedule, and they will be discussing the budget at their next meeting. He said the Rotary Club has already contributed $200. The event will be kicked off at the Leap for Green event on April 24th. The committee will have a booth, register participants, distribute kits, and have demonstrations on how to make letterboxing stamps. The official start of the event will be on June 5th at an event that the Green River Commission is sponsoring at the south end shopping center. The clues for the competition will be distributed at this event.


There is information on this program on the City website at


            Chair Cohen suggested providing more information about this program in the Annual Report.


(VII)                                 Next Meeting – Don Cohen


Deborah Alexander will e-mail the Trustees to determine if a quorum exists for the March 11th meeting.



Adjournment: 7:39 pm


City of Mercer Island Washington | All Rights Reserved © 2018| Privacy Policy | printer friendly version Printer friendly version | Site Handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A