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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Call To Order:

Chairperson Rita Moore called the meeting to order at 6:08pm in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.


Roll Call:

Rita Moore, Chairperson, Don Cohen, Vice Chairperson, Liz Sanderson, and Bruce Bassett and Fletch Waller were present. Mike Grady and Tina Lanzinger were absent.



Pete Mayer, Director of Parks and Recreation

Paul West, Arborist

Deborah Alexander, Senior Admin. Assistant, were present.



(1)                 It was moved by Vice Chairperson Don Cohen; seconded by Trustee Sanderson to:

Approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of October 18th with the following changes: Under item 2 to add the following description: “The consultant’s report recommended clearing all trees from an 11 acre area of the Southeast Quadrant and selectively removing dead and dying trees from another 6 acres to the east of the clearing area.  It also recommended replanting the areas with 5,500 trees and performing brush control to aid establishment of the new trees.” It was also suggested that Stacie Walson be removed from the list of appearances as she did not participate in the meeting


Motion passed 5-0



There were no public appearances


Regular Business:


(2)                 New Trail Map – Paul West presented a new trail map to the board which uses color coding to differentiate primary from secondary trails as well as pedestrian and equestrian trails. The Engstrom open space has also been added. The Board requested that the map be changed to show the following:

a)       Show the road crossing at the north tip of the Wren trail at SE 68th Street, and reflect that it intersects the Maple Trail.

b)       Mark the bike trail in black and indicate on the legend that it is paved

c)       Extend the Warbler Trail all the way up to SE 68th Street and remove the name Wren Trail.


Trustee Waller asked when a trail plan for the Engstrom Open Space might be developed. Pete Mayer indicated to the board that there might be an opportunity to fund this kind of project through the Parks Levy Stakeholder’s Committee.


It was moved by Vice Chairperson Don Cohen; seconded by Trustee Bassett that:

The Open Space Conservancy Trust supports the development of an appropriate trail system in the Engstrom Open Space consistent with the availability of financial, staff and other city resources.

Motion passed 5-0


The Board requested that Pete Mayer convey to the Mayor the Board’s interest in being represented in the Parks Levy Stakeholder’s Committee, and Pete Mayer agreed to do so.



(3)                 City/PSE Powerline Proposal


Pete Mayer introduced three representatives from PSE: Cody, Stan and Kathy. Cody Olson will do the presentation, and Pete Mayer indicated that the City is a partner in this proposal and is in support of the work.


This project would include:

a)       Installation of a transmission loop from Island Crest Way to the South Mercer substation on the north side of SE 68th St. which would include:

1.          Relocation of a transmission switch into the substation, and conversion work along

        SE 68th St

2.          2-span length of transmission line will be added along the north side of SE 68th St from

        Island Crest Way to the South Mercer Substation


This plan impacts Pioneer Park by:

a)       Removal of tall trees from Island Crest Way to the South Mercer Substation. The impacted area would be from the north side of SE 68th St. to the existing walking trail.

b)       Existing low-growing trees and shrubs would not be removed.

c)       Additional utility compatible trees, shrubs, and site specific landscaping would be added to mitigate for construction impacts.

d)       An opportunity to demonstrate, educate the public on utility friendly landscaping.


This benefits to South Mercer Community and Pioneer Park by:

a)       Windstorm reliabililty would improve for the south end of the island.

b)       Eliminates long outage restoration from historical line and switch damage from wind storms

c)       Mitigation work along the Pioneer Park border will be provided by experienced professionals.


The Board asked many questions to try to understand the mechanics of the system and determine a realistic impact on trees in Pioneer Park.


Trustee Waller asked for clarification on the role of the Trust Board in this issue if it is opposed. Pete Mayer informed him that the Trust has jurisdiction over the trees in Pioneer Park and has the ability to decide what will happen to them.


Trustee Sanderson expressed a concern about the safety of the pedestrians and horses that frequent the area.


Trustee Waller expressed a need to walk the impacted area and have the specific trees that would need to be removed pointed out.


Chairperson Moore summarized the Board’s discussion. The board desires a greater understanding of the system and to see alternatives that do not include the removal of trees in Pioneer Park as well as a visualization of what the area would look like if the plan was implemented as is both immediately after and as the replacement vegetation progresses.


(4)           Chairperson Moore asked if the Board has an interest in getting the public involved in the issues of the SE Quadrant Forest Management.


Trustee Cohen feels it would be premature to start educating the public on the issues at hand until there is a better understanding of the scope and alternatives.


Paul West expressed concerns about the wood on the ground losing value, the possibility of an extensive public process involved, and that there is contracted work on hold because of this question. The issue of retrieving downed wood for significant value will likely die at the end of 2007 or early 2008.


(5)           Pete Mayer introduced Mike Elde the City of Mercer Island’s new Park Operations Superintendent


(6)           Proposed herbicide use in Pioneer Park – Paul West


The contractor who has been removing invasives in the Northwest Quadrant recommended the use of herbicides to control the regrowth. The primary reason is economic as hand removal is much more expensive.


Chairperson Moore summarized the board’s feelings as follows:

The board would like to know about the likelihood of success, potential damage and historical effectiveness. They would also like to know how it will be used, times of year it will be applied and an exposure analysis. The board would also like to explore alternatives to using herbicides and explore the policy on this issue in other parks.


(7)           St Patrick’s Day paw promenade 3/15


Paul West informed the board about an event the Parks and Recreation Department  is putting on involving a dog promenade ending in Luther Burbank Park and booths. Paul feels it would be a great opportunity for the board to provide public education about issues and get exposure.


The board expressed some interest but would like to keep it open for further discussion.


(8)           Meeting date change


It was moved by Trustee Sanderson; seconded by Vice Chair Cohen that:

The Open Space Conservancy Trust December meeting be moved from December 20th to December 13th.

Motion passed 5-0


Vice Chairperson Cohen requested that the next meeting date be on the end of the meeting agenda every month.


Vice Chairperson Cohen brought up the question of the position of Bruce Bassett as he has recently been elected to the City Council. Pete Mayer informed the board that we are investigating the appropriate process and will give the board an update at the December meeting.



Adjournment:   8:00pm





Rita Moore, Chairperson







Deborah Alexander, Scribe


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