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Thursday, January 03, 2002

Open Space Trust Board members present
Marguerite Sutherland, Chairperson, Ira Appelman, Bryan Cairns, Bill Duvall, Gail Magnuson, Jim Owens

Open Space Trust Board members absent
Bob Stagman

Pete Mayer, Director, Mercer Island Parks and Recreation
Paul West, Arborist
Stephanie Cangie, Administrative Assistant


There were no public appearances.

Approval of Minutes

The Minutes of the November 1, 2001 meeting were unanimously approved with the following corrections:

Page 2
Under Fall Vegetation Project the second sentence should read: “A lot of shrubs were planted at the north end of the northeast section of Pioneer Park along Island Crest Way, 20-30 trees were planted in the new planting area in the same section and in some of the interior places where we worked last year.”

Page 4
In the second paragraph, the last sentence should read: “It was suggested that Paul West work with the Chairperson to create the agendas. Trustee Duvall commented that because Paul is a hired expert, the Board appreciates his input and guidance.”

Page 5
The first line on the page should read: “…on site, it was suggested to have temporary signs in the park pointing people to a Web site and there have an in-depth explanation of the different issues so people can consider them.”

Page 5
In the first full paragraph beginning with the last two full sentences, the text should read: “Trustee Appelman suggested the Board contact Wayne Alstead, a professional tree management consultant and Mercer Island resident, who made a public appearance at the Board’s November 29, 2000 meeting. At that meeting Mr. Alstead discussed his concern for the root rot problem in Pioneer Park. The Board agreed with Paul West that several alternatives need to be considered and presented to the public.”

At the end of the second full paragraph, the last full sentence should read: “Ira Appelman commented that at the last ivy brigade work party he tried to take out a holly tree and it was very difficult. It would require a machine to remove.”

Page 5
Under Winter Vegetation the 5th line down should read: “…Greenlife Landscaping back and have them remove holly and laurel paying them…” Under Winter Vegetation the 3rd line from the bottom should read: “There is also the option of revisiting the holly stumps and cutting all the new growth until it weakens the stump and then dies.”

Election of Officers

Trustee Duvall nominated Marguerite Sutherland to continue to serve as Chairman of the Open Space Conservancy Trust Board. Trustee Sutherland nominated Jim Owens to serve as Vice Chairman and Ira Appelman as Secretary. As there were no other nominations, Trustee Owens moved to close the nominations. The slate of officers was unanimously approved.

Officers serve a one-year term.

Nomination of New Board Members

  • Bob Stagman’s term concludes at the end of March 2002, and he will not be reapplying.
  • Marguerite Sutherland’s term concludes at the end of March 2002 and she is interested in reapplying.
  • The City Clerk will advertise the board opening.
  • The Board is encouraged to have interested citizens contact the City Clerk for an application.

2002 Calendar

Draft Calendar for Pioneer Park for Paul West presented 2002.

Master Plan Implementation

  • A timeline from MacLeod Reckord showing the schedule for improvements to Pioneer Park was also distributed.
  • Trust Board meetings in February, March, and April will include review of initial designs of improvements as set forth in the master plan.
  • A tentative public walk-through on site is scheduled for the end of February.
  • Results of the public walk-through and any revised designs as a result of the walk-through would be discussed at the March meeting with MacLeod Reckord.
  • Review of the final designs would be done at the April meeting.
  • Advertising for contract bids is proposed for May with construction beginning in June.
  • MacLeod Reckord has submitted a contract proposal for project management and design phase. The total is $39,000 for both phases (a little over 10%). The budget approved by City Council reflects 15%. Still waiting to learn from the City’s Development Services Group to find out if any drainage mitigation will be required for the proposed improvements. If required, an engineer will have to be hired.
  • The Board needs to use the February and March meetings to define and select what they want to see in the design because by April 4 the bid specifications will be 90% drafted. The Board asked to be able to preview materials before the February 7 meeting.
  • Paul will check with Terry Reckord concerning doing 2 revisions: one after the Board reviews the initial designs; the second after the public walk-through on February 23.

Forest Management Plan

  • Planning process is being reviewed at this evening’s Board meeting.
  • A goals clarification discussion will be held on March 7.
  • At the April meeting the goals and objectives will be supplemented by a site inventory. A more complete plan will be presented.
  • A public walk-through will be held on April 13.
  • Paul would like suggestions from the Board for an Earth Day volunteer project suggested for April 20.
  • Part of developing a forest management plan is to evaluate the resources the Board currently has. The budget of $50K has been allocated for several years plus staffing and volunteer efforts—are these elements adequate enough to manage the park towards the goals set forth by the Trust Board or is there a shortfall?
  • June is tentative date for public hearing on forest plan.
  • July – public education on the forest management plan at Summer Celebration!
  • July 4 is the first Thursday. Calendar suggests having a meeting on July 18 in place of that holiday.
  • October 26 is suggested for the fall planting volunteer day.
  • A handout describing the planning process was discussed. It becomes difficult to follow a plan that doesn’t represent reality because the plan may not reflect what really happens in the field.
  • Paul hopes to create a plan that is adaptable to changing conditions in the field.
  • Trustee Cairns suggested taking one section of the park and have it look like a native forest, versus using the resources to upgrade everything at one time.
  • Paul suggested the identification of reference sites (leaving areas alone as representative samples) might help track the results of forest management.
  • A discussion was held in regard to using a tracking school in Kirkland to do a wildlife inventory of Pioneer Park. It was suggested that the Audubon Society be contacted to do a volunteer bird inventory each year.
  • A handout from Paul West: “A Model of Urban Forest Sustainability” has been presented as a framework for this forest management plan. Using it makes the assumption that the Board’s goal is to have a sustainable urban forest. Do we want to have a management plan that is going to be projecting out long term and implies that immediate results may not be as important as a long term commitment to certain goals? This model explains why the community framework (citizens) and the management resource (i.e. the City) are important parts of the urban forest—it’s not just about vegetation. It’s also about the people who care for, use, appreciate and manage the vegetation. Paul hopes this document will stimulate some ideas for ways we want to consider managing Pioneer Park, e.g. neighborhood action, green industry cooperation and business interaction.
  • Paul would like the Board’s ideas on ways it would like to see the forest managed, i.e. sector-by-sector, more or less snags, etc.
  • The snag parameter used by the United States Forest Service is 2 snags greater than 15” diameter per acre. Because of all the root rot, Pioneer Park has 10 to 15 snags per acre in some parts.
  • Trustee Owen confirmed with Paul that the forest management plan’s goal is to have a mixed canopy that includes age as well as variety of species of conifers. Paul stated that he does not want to get rid of deciduous trees and species diversity will be difficult because of the root rot problem. The use of Douglas Fir will be limited. Conifer diversity will be difficult. Paul stated that there have been a lot of trees planted along Island Crest Way. This was done on purpose to create canopy closure as quickly as possible because that is what stops the blackberry from taking over. When the canopy is closed the light is limited and the blackberry grows slowly. Trustee Owen believes the public will want to see a mixed-age and mixed-species forest.
  • Paul commented that another decision is whether to reduce the edge effect along the boundaries of the park. Planting more densely at the edges makes the interior of the site more shaded and moist and therefore more conducive to the type of edge creates a wall-type look and doesn’t allow the public to “look into” the forest. This is a subject that needs to be discussed by the Board. If the goal is to provide a user experience of the vegetation, then we may do certain things that downplay the ecology and do things that require higher levels of management. If the Board wants to see a plan that favors a more the ecological approach to management, then we may do things that are not as attractive.
  • Trustee Cairns stressed the importance of finding out the cost of forest management. He believes that there is a widespread feeling amongst the public that this is a passive park and people believe passive means spending as few dollars as possible. The public will be looking for plantings that have lower cost upkeep.
  • Paul commented that $50K is a generous commitment on the part of City Council for forest management of Pioneer Park. He believes that a lot can be accomplished for that amount.
  • Director Mayer stated that the Pioneer Park forest management plan will be used as a template for developing a forest management plan for other parks and open space properties.

Fall Vegetation Projects

  • The planted areas along the east side of Island Crest Way have been mulched with bark mulch. Invasive weeds were removed by the roots so areas should be less weedy this summer and better looking this fall.
  • Extra work in the Southeast quadrant was also completed.
  • The work did not go over budget, however, all that was budgeted was spent.

New Business


  • Trustees Owens, Cairns, and Sutherland will have an editorial staff meeting to develop an outline for the contents of the Trillium.
  • Trustee Magnuson commented that past Trillium publications included a copy of the of Pioneer Park’s trails. This was a useful tool.
  • A suggestion was made to have a walk-through “Pioneer Park Day” that is guided by Board members. Director Mayer suggested using National Trail Day on June 1, 2002 as an option for a Pioneer Park walk through.
  • Director Mayer will investigate bird watching walks through Pioneer Park.

Off Agenda Items

  • Director Mayer advised that the Parks and Recreation Department will be going through a revision of its Comprehensive Parks and Recreation, Open Space, Trails, and Arts Plan. There will be some discussion with the Board concerning this update. The Pioneer Park Master Plan and the Forest Management Plan will be mentioned in the Plan. The Parks and Recreation Department is currently not in compliance with the State for requesting grant funds.
  • Director Mayer will investigate if Pioneer Park is one of the parks identified as a place for art in the 1995 evaluation.
  • The Board has traditionally done a walk-through of Pioneer Park. Trustee Appelman volunteered to walk all quadrants. He will report at the next meeting.
  • Trustee Owens and Magnuson may not be able to attend the June 6 meeting. Rescheduling will be considered closer to June.

Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for February 7, 2002, 7:30 p.m., City Council Chambers, City Hall

[Important Note: The proceedings of the Open Space Trust Board meeting were recorded on tape and are filed in the Parks & Rec Department. The complete agenda and official minutes of this meeting are also filed in the Parks & Rec Department.]


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