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City of Everett Sues Kimberly-Clark Over Gravel Instead of Grass

August 26, 2014

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On Monday, the City of Everett filed a lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark for failing to cover the area that formerly contained a pulp mill and paper processing plant with grass or ground cover as provided in its demolition permit. Here’s the information as provided by city spokesperson Meghan Pembroke…

Kimberly-Clark site

The City of Everett would like green grass here. (click photos to enlarge)

K-C site

K-C propertThe City of Everett today filed a lawsuit in Snohomish County Superior Court seeking a judicial order requiring Kimberly-Clark to cover its now-closed mill site on the Everett waterfront to help protect the surrounding community and environment.

 

When Kimberly-Clark proposed demolishing the buildings at the former mill, the company specified in its environmental checklist and proposed demolition drawings that once demolition was complete the site would be covered with 12 inches of topsoil and hydroseeded or, as an alternative, 12 inches of clean granular material. The purpose of the cover is to limit erosion and impacts to surface water and groundwater, and to stop potentially hazardous dust from leaving the site.

 

The City issued a demolition permit to Kimberly-Clark in 2012 based, in part, on the company’s representation that it would install the site cover once demolition was complete. The City granted a two-month extension to the original deadline of April 15, 2014, to accommodate the company’s cleanup efforts. Unfortunately, Kimberly-Clark to date has chosen not to install the cover that it previously committed to in the permit application. Further, Kimberly-Clark failed to comply with the Shoreline Management Act through the filling and placement of concrete demolition debris within 200 feet of the East Waterway.

 

The City has repeatedly communicated its concern about the lack of cover at the site, and significant dust emissions from the site during demolition only increased the City’s concern. Soils at the site, including the remains of the demolished buildings, which have been spread across the site, contain hazardous substances, including arsenic, lead and cadmium. The City is concerned that dust from the site could contain these and other hazardous substances, potentially exposing people and the environment in the vicinity. The City’s preference is that the site’s cover consists of 12 inches of topsoil and is hydroseeded.

 

Because Kimberly-Clark has refused to install the cover that it previously committed to in its permit application, the City’s lawsuit seeks a judicial order requiring Kimberly-Clark to comply with the law, and install the required cover at the site as soon as possible.

Editor’s note: A message left for Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand asking for comment has not been returned.


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Nominations Open For Everett Mayor’s Arts Awards

August 24, 2014

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It’s that time of year again…

Everett Arts

Do you know an artist in Everett, WA who deserves recognition?

The City of Everett Cultural Arts Commission invites nominations for the 2014 Mayor’s Arts Awards and the prestigious Richard Wendt Award of Excellence. The awards recognize the accomplishments of artists, arts and cultural organizations and community members committed to enriching the Everett community through the arts.

 

This is the 22nd year of the Richard Wendt Award of Excellence, a lifetime achievement award given to individuals whose strong support of the arts has been ongoing through philanthropic and volunteer service.

 

In recognition of Everett’s growing arts community, the commission created the Mayor’s Arts Awards, now in their fifth year. The awards honor art educators, artists in the community and young artists demonstrating promise and commitment to the Everett arts community.

 

Nominations must be submitted by 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6. The Cultural Arts Commission will review the nominations and select the recipients. The awards, which are non-monetary, are presented annually.

 

Mayor Ray Stephanson will honor recipients of the 2014 Mayor’s Arts Awards and the Richard Wendt Award of Excellence at a public ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 19. For more information and nomination forms, visit www.everettwa.org/default.aspx?ID=1945.


 

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Everett And Ecology To Revise Arsenic Clean Up At Legion Park

August 19, 2014

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Legion

Legion Park should remain open this fall.

After Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson ordered the parks department to halt the plan to remove 80 trees from Legion Park, as part of a clean up by the State Department of Ecology, the entire cleanup plan has been halted. Here’s the latest from Meghan Pembroke at the City of Everett…

The City of Everett and Department of Ecology have put planned cleanup work at American Legion Memorial Park, including the arboretum area, on hold while they work to modify the project. The work is now expected to begin in the second half of 2015, and will likely focus the cleanup on a smaller area of the park.

“In order to reduce the risk of damage to the park’s trees, we’ve decided to take additional time to review the project and adjust the scope of work,” said Mayor Ray Stephanson. “Our staff is now working with Ecology on a modified plan to ensure the least amount of disruption for the trees.”

Ecology and parks staff will reevaluate the project and identify the park areas that are most in need of cleanup, such as high-traffic areas and locations with higher levels of arsenic contamination. Reducing the amount of soil to be removed and replaced will minimize disturbance and potential damage to trees.

“We know that Ecology and its contractor would take precautions to work carefully around the trees, but with so many root zones in close proximity to each other, it’s impossible to completely avoid impacts to some of the trees,” said Paul Kaftanski, parks director. “We want to take another look at how best to accomplish the cleanup while minimizing risk to the trees.”

The revised project is not expected to require a full closure of the park and may be completed in phases to minimize impacts to park visitors. The narrowed project scope will not require the City’s annual Sorticulture festival to be moved to the park’s ball fields for 2015.

Ecology is the lead agency on the Everett smelter cleanup work in northeast Everett and has been working with parks staff to finalize the park cleanup plan. Legion Park, including the arboretum area, was initially scheduled to close to the public in October, with cleanup taking place between November and May 2015. For more information on the project, click here.


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Everett Wants To Pay Village Theatre $23,961.00 Per Month For Next 12 Months

August 17, 2014

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Village Theatre Everett

The Everett Performing Arts Center as shown on Village Theatre website.

The Everett City Council will get a briefing Wednesday night on the proposed 4-year renewal of the city’s contract with Issaquah based Village Theatre. The four-year renewal starts with the first year’s payment of $287,534.12 with the additional yearly payments tied to the Consumer Price Index. According to the city’s proposal there can be four or five different shows at the discretion of Village Theatre as long as the total number of performances reaches 65. The City of Everett has been working with Village Theatre at the Everett Performing Arts Center since 1998. The city says the Theatre set box office records during January and February of this year with more than 15,000 people attending the production of Les Miserables. In addition to the shows at the Performing Arts Center, Village Theatre also conducts the popular KIDSTAGE program at the former Key Bank building across the plaza. Village Theatre also handles management of the Everett Performing Arts Center including managing and renting the facility, providing box office services and scheduling events. Income from renting the facility and sales from concessions go into the city’s coffers and are not part of the compensation agreement. No word on if recent budget deficit cutting efforts will play a role in the city council’s discussions.


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Urban Forest Restoration Project Underway at Everett’s Forest Park

August 15, 2014

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Forest Park

Forest Park map from City of Everett Parks Department web site.

There’s a unique project underway to ensure that one of Everett’s gems, Forest Park on Mukilteo Boulevard, stays healthy for future generations. Here are the details from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources…

The Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Program (DNR), is an exciting opportunity to enhance the capacity of urban forests to manage stormwater and improve air and water quality by improving the health and functionality of trees and forested sites in urban settings. Even more exciting is our opportunity to participate in this program here in Everett.

Over the next several weeks, a Washington Conservation Corps team will continue to remove the English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, English laurel and a number of dead and dying trees from the forested area in Forest Park between the lower ballfield and Mukilteo Boulevard. These invasive, non-native plants prevent forested areas from providing our community the full benefits and services of healthy forests by competing for water and nutrients, and in some cases even killing trees. Many undesirable plants that grow in dense thickets also harbor rats and other vermin, creating a public safety hazard. Once the unwelcome plants are gone, native vegetation will be planted in its place.  As this is an ongoing re-forestation effort, the team will also assess the previously planted trees and clear unwanted vegetation from around the plantings.

Forest Park is the largest park in the City of Everett and is one of the oldest. Its forested areas were planted by Works Progress Administration crews in the 1930s. The park was developed by the Hall family, who had strong English horticultural ties. The park was widely planted with this English style of landscaping which included a number of species well-suited for the region such as English holly, English ivy, and English and Portuguese laurel.  Crews also planted many ornamental varieties of conifer and broadleaf trees. A few of these ornamental varieties have grown into the forested area and need to be removed.

As this forested area is in maturity some eighty years later, a five acre section of the forest is in major decline. Root rot, structural issues, general decline, and death are prevalent. From this loss of the forest canopy, invasive species such as blackberry, ivy, holly and laurel have widely expanded. There are a large number of these ornamental varieties that have added to the proliferation of the invasive species within these forested areas. After these removals the WCC crew will help prepare for the planting of the new materials for the forest, to include trees and understory plantings. These plantings will occur in the fall.

Everett Parks and Forterra formed the Green Everett Partnership with Forterra in 2012, and Forterra and park stewards and volunteers continue to aid in this reforestation project.

To learn more about how you can help keep Forest Park healthy in the future, contact Jeff Price, jprice@everettwa.gov.

For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, visit the Project online or contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or micki.mcnaughton@dnr.wa.gov. The Washington State Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service.


 

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$5000.00 Prize To Be Offered In Contest To Re-Design City of Everett Logo

August 14, 2014

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Everett, WA city logo

Do you have a great vision for a new logo for the City of Everett?

City of Everett Communications Director Meghan Pembroke last night revealed initial details of a contest to re-design the city’s logo. The city has had the same logo since the early 1990s. In September the contest will roll out inviting people to submit their designs for an updated City of Everett logo. The submissions will then be put online and the public will be asked to vote. The top 15 designs will then be reviewed by a committee and the winning logo will be revealed in November with an award of $5000.00 for the winning design. You won’t see the logo splashed all over the city right away. Pembroke says they will slowly replace the current logo first on easy to change things like web pages and stationary as current supplies expire. The logo will appear on city vehicles and uniforms when they are due for normal replacement.


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Everett to Consider Spending $104,000.00 to Update City Website

August 13, 2014

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Everett website

The image received while researching this story on the city’s website.

The links are often broken. It’s hard to navigate and items are often out of date. To use their own words, the City of Everett website is aging and outdated. Tonight the Everett City Council will consider a request to spend a little more than $104,000.00 over three years for a website that is more user-friendly, engaging and current. With more and more people asking to complete city services or gather documents online, the city is turning to a company called CivicPlus to develop the website. CivicPlus is offering to let the city make payments over three years to keep costs manageable. Click here to see the proposed contract the city council will need to approve. Tonight’s city council meeting starts at 6:30pm inside the council chambers at 3002 Wetmore in downtown Everett. You can also watch the meeting on local cable access or live stream it on the city website.


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