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Open Space Conservancy Trust - Minutes     
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Call To Order:
Chairperson Debbie Bertlin called the meeting to order at 6:15 pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.
Roll Call:
Debbie Bertlin, Chairperson; Don Cohen; Bob Thorpe, Secretary; and Peter Guyer, Vice Chairperson were present. Dan Grausz, Council Liaison attended by phone and arrived at 6:27. Tina Lanzinger and Elliot Newman were absent.
Staff Present:
Bruce Fletcher, Parks & Recreation Director
Paul West, Parks Natural Resource Coordinator
Alaine Sommargren, Natural Resource Specialist
Deborah Alexander, Senior Administrative Assistant
Trustee Cohen suggested adding in “with chain link panels” after the word fence in item V (Summer Trails Work Plan), in the first sentence of the second paragraph.

  1. It was moved by Trustee Cohen, seconded by Trustee Guyer, to:

Approve the minutes of May 12, 2011 with the suggested revision.
Motion passed 5-0
There were no public appearances.
Regular Business:

  1. North Star Update– Bruce Fletcher

Bruce Fletcher reminded the Trustees that he and Paul West met with a couple of board members from North Star before the last Trust Board meeting (May 12, 2011) and that they seemed open to continuing discussions about the property. He reported that the results of this meeting were discussed at the City Council planning session. At the planning session, staff was asked to go forward with pursing a trail easement to get down to East Mercer Way.
Council Liaison Grausz requested that this discussion be postponed until he arrived in Council Chambers. Chair Bertlin agreed to postpone the discussion until later in the meeting.

  1. Pioneer Bridge Fencing Update– Paul West

Paul West reported that this discussion is a follow up to the issues brought up at the last meeting regarding the potential of fencing (specifically with chain link paneling) being installed to discourage traffic on an eroding slope. He put together some photos in the staff report of what the fencing might look like for the Trustees to consider. He explained that staff is trying to stabilize a slope that is difficult to re-vegetate due to traffic (dogs and pedestrians) seeking access to the stream. He said that a split rail fence alone would not stop it.
Trustee Cohen stated that he is opposed to this idea. He stated that he discussed it with a former Trustee who served during the time that the Forest Protection Plan was developed. There is concern about the character of a structure with metal being installed, and that it would be inconsistent with the idea of Pioneer Park being a preserve.
Chair Bertlin pointed out the two issues that appear to be surfacing, the first being the aesthetic of the fencing and the health of the slope and the waterway. She posed a question to staff about the duration of time the fence would need to be in place to reestablish the vegetation.
Paul West stated that it would be difficult to say. The slope is north facing and vegetation grows slowly. He said it is possible they could regain full vegetation after 5 or 10 years, but that when the fence was removed that the problem would likely resurface. Paul feels that the fence would need to be a permanent fixture.
Vice Chair Guyer asked what the consequences would be if a fence was not erected. Paul stated that there would be more soil erosion into the stream, and the potential subsequent undermining of the bridge abutment. Trustee Cohen reviewed the referenced Geotech report which did not contain any language that indicated the situation was in urgent need of addressing.
Trustee Thorpe offered to take his landscape architect to the site to look at the situation, and bring back some suggestions at the next meeting.
Paul stated that the stabilization work would begin in August and planting is scheduled for November, so a plan would need to be in place when the planting was done. He also said that logs were installed last year in an attempt to deter traffic, but was unsuccessful.
Trustee Cohen asked if building stairs might be a solution, and Paul agreed to look at that possibility. Trustee Cohen asked if staff would review the Forest Protection Plan to see if a split rail fence with chain link is consistent with the types of materials permitted in the park.
Staff will bring back some additional ideas at the next meeting that takes the discussion points into consideration.

  1. Kiosk Area Porous Pavement– Paul West

Paul West researched some materials that could be used for the driveway section in the kiosk area of Pioneer Park. He reported that there does not appear to be a perfect solution, but presented the various options. Council Liaison Grausz expressed a concern about incurring additional costs for installing a special material. Trustee Thorpe stated that the long term maintenance should also be a financial consideration. Staff agreed to bring back pricing for the installation of all the options presented in the staff report (with the addition of asphalt) except the Plastic Geocells. The durability and potential maintenance issues should be included in this report.

  1. Cascade Orienteering Club Event– Paul West

Paul reported that staff received a Special Event request from the Cascade Orienteering Club for an event schedule for November. The event spans both Island Crest Park and Pioneer Park and consists of orienteering activities. There were complaints about participants going off trail and trampling vegetation the last time this event took place (two years ago). Staff has talked to them about the problem and is requiring them to pay for staff to be present during the event to monitor the use of the trails. Bruce also mentioned that their event plan is going to be reviewed and notification of the event will be posted. The Club will be required to provide insurance. The Trustees were supportive of the event and seemed satisfied with the measures staff has taken to insure the park will not be damaged. Council Liaison Grausz mentioned that parking will need to be addressed and staff agreed that it will be reviewed with the rest of the plan. 

  1. Contingency Fund for Unforeseen Circumstances– Paul West

Paul reported to the Trustees that the City maintains a contingency reserve fund that is approximately 10% of the City’s general fund. This fund could be used in the event of an emergency at the discretion of the City Council. Paul also stated that the City is fiscally responsible for the Trust properties, while the Trust is responsible for the direction and management of the properties. The City also has insurance that could potentially be used. The Trustees concluded that the City’s existing resources would be sufficient to address any unforeseen circumstances.

  1. North Star Update (Revisited)– Bruce Fletcher

Bruce restated his earlier comments about the property. He reported that he and Paul would be scheduling a meeting with North Star to discuss the possibility of the trail easement and/or a 25’ conservation easement.
Council Liaison Grausz expressed an interest in finding out if the City could get a conservation easement on the length of the property above East Mercer, and potentially get an amendment to the County grant to use toward this end. He stated that he would like to see the entire property preserved.
Paul responded by stating that it was his understanding that they are reluctant to enter into any kind of an agreement that might diminish the value of the property, so it may be difficult to sell them on the type of arrangement that Council Liaison Grausz suggested. He feels it would be the City’s responsibility to either convince them that the property value will not be diminished, or that they will be justly compensated for whatever diminishment there might be. Trustee Thorpe suggested a TDR arrangement as a potential solution.
The Trustees expressed an interest in seeing the property to put the discussion in some context. Paul suggested including a site visit to the bridge for the fencing discussion as well. Chair Bertlin suggested we check with the absent Trustees to see if we could schedule it in conjunction or in addition to the August meeting.

  1. Last Minute Updates– Trustees and Staff

Trustee Thorpe reported that the “Pioneer Park – A Natural History” book reprinting project is 60-65% complete; they are finishing up the appendix and photographs. They are planning on having the project complete in October so it will be available in the book stores for the holidays.
Paul West reported that there will be some utility repair work performed near the creek trail just past the bridge. This work will be happening in August, and there will be an excavator on the property.
Adjournment:7:30 pm


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