The Wellington Hills Sports Complex? No, it's NOT a done deal!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Impressions of Hooven Bog

Today had some neat and cool.

Sno-King Watershed Council celebrated the recent Snohomish County vote authorizing the purchase of Hooven Bog (which is really, really close to Wellington Hills Park).

For more about today's event go the Sno-King Watershed Council's site … here.

Preservationist Randy Whalen, Ecologist Sarah Cooke ... Snohomish County’s Deputy Executive Mark Ericks and County Executive John Lovick all gave terrific speeches.

Hopeful there would be no quiz, the good-natured audience listened to a science lesson, took note of the trials and tribulations of a citizen activist ... and enjoyed how Hooven Bog is viewed by the County Executive and Deputy Executive. And, with all that - there was also tasty cake.

Be sure to read the recent fine article in the Everett Herald by Noah Haglund.

First, a visual reference showing the close proximity of Hooven Bog to Wellington Hills Park.

 Secondly, Hooven Bog is surrounded by private land, driveways and roads - there is no public road to it, so, if you are interested in Hooven Bog, please go to this site for further details.

and, as the afternoon waned ...

satellite view by Google

photos by Bill Stankus
April 27,2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

To: The Snohomish County Council and a possible moratorium on land use near slump and slide areas

As you talk amongst yourselves about a possible moratorium on land use/development near geologically unstable regions, i.e., slump and slide areas ... (because of the Oso tragedy).

May I suggest something?

Do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Wellington Hills Park before preceding with the half-baked plan of digging out over 250,000 square feet of earth, de-watering the area - then building a NON-ESSENTIAL sports complex!

Fact: The western boundary of Wellington Hills Park is geologically unstable.

Fact: The Whidbey Island Fault Zone is directly beneath Wellington Hills Park.

Fact: While there are few houses on the western boundary of the park ... there is Costco, Route 9 and Hwy 522 - all of which have thousands of people in hourly proximity to the lower regions of the park.

I posted the following, February 24, 2014

 Letter posted in the Everett Herald

Park proposal needs an EIS

When Chris Hansen proposed to build a new NBA arena in Seattle, the city of Seattle and King County prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

As part of the DEIS process, the public had an opportunity to comment on the proposed project and then their comments were used to determine the scope of the environmental impacts that would subsequently be addressed in the DEIS.

I mention this because, in their proposal to construct a “regional sports complex” on the site of Wellington Hills Park, Snohomish County’s Department of Parks, unlike the city of Seattle and King County, has attempted to undermine the process, trivialized public comments and concerns, and they’ve self-proclaimed that an Environmental Impact Study was not necessary for a project with a footprint approximately the size of Safeco Field.

In the public’s best interest, I suggest the only way to proceed is to demand an Environmental Impact Study. The county’s development of this site, as currently proposed, is not just a localized issue. Rather, it is an issue that will affect all Snohomish County residents due to its numerous environmental impacts, community altering effects and the high costs for construction and maintenance.

The Wellington Hills Park proposal also raises the question — how should the county proceed on major multi-million dollar projects, especially non-essential ones?

Bill Stankus

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Artificial turf fields - Expensive non-essentials

Artificial Turf (AT).

In a nutshell - Artificial turf (AT) fields are expensive ... Very Expensive ... 
and the Teigen Plan for Wellington Hills Park hankers for, not one, but four artificial turf fields - with stadium lights. 

It's only money.

These giant outdoor carpets are costly to purchase, to install and to maintain. But there's more! ... AT fields need to be repaired and replaced on a regular basis. 

The average single turf field costs approximately $1,000,000 and yearly maintenance will run about $20,000.* Cool, huh? These non-essential seasonal toys have a life expectancy of approximately 10 years.

Doing the math ... the Parks Dept. wants to spend approximately $4,000,000 for turf fields in Wellington Hills Park ... which will then require maintenance to the tune of $80,000 a year. 

Then, after 10 years of specialized maintenance, when it comes time for the County to buy replacement turf, don't twitch when your taxes go up.

ps: Who would benefit from using Wellington Hills Park artificial turf fields? 
                          I'll give a clue - private organizations.


The following is from Snohomish County Document, "Executive/Council Approval Form" dated June 7, 2013 and prepared by Tom Teigen, Director, Snohomish County Parks and Recreation.

"Synthetic Turf Development and Maintenance Costs - Typical costs for each lit synthetic turf field are $900,000 — $1,200,000 depending on site specific drainage conditions. Synthetic turf fields require maintenance activities consisting of adding infill materials, drainage repair and removing organic materials that might accumulate. 

Typical annual maintenance costs of artificial turf fields are around $12,000 per field compared with typical annual maintenance costs of natural turf fields of $8,000. Synthetic turf fields should be considered for either major renovation or replacement every 10 —15 years."

pg. 1 of a 14 page PDF

* this figure is based on the average costs associated with artificial fields not in Snohomish County.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Trees - eye candy or something else?

When driving through Wellington Hills Park on 240th St. SE, glance to south side of the road ... The Teigen Sports Complex Plan has four artificial turf fields with stadium lights, three grass fields, a parking lot for over 500 cars and a 50,000 sq. ft. "Activities Building".

For the moment ignore where the parking lot, activities building, artificial turf fields and various islands of concrete might be ... and focus on the tall trees currently there.

Did you know?

One 36" diameter Western Red Cedar will intercept 5,410 gallons of stormwater runoff a year. (go here for more info0.

Urban stormwater runoff washes chemicals (oil, gasoline, salts, etc.) and litter from surfaces such as roadways and parking lots into streams, wetlands, rivers and oceans. The more impervious the surface (e.g., concrete, asphalt, rooftops), the more quickly pollutants are washed into our community waterways. Drinking water, aquatic life and the health of our entire ecosystem can be adversely effected by this process.

Trees act as mini-reservoirs, controlling runoff at the source. 

Trees reduce runoff by:

  • Intercepting and holding rain on leaves, branches and bark
  • Increasing infiltration and storage of rainwater through the tree's root system
  • Reducing soil erosion by slowing rainfall before it strikes the soil

Here's some more about that 36" dia. Western Red Cedar:

It will reduce atmospheric carbon by 570 pounds.

How significant is this number? Most car owners of an “average” car (mid-sized sedan) drive 12,000 miles generating about 11,000 pounds of CO2 every year. A flight from New York to Los Angeles adds 1,400 pounds of CO2 per passenger. 
How do trees do that? They sequester ("lock up") CO2 in their roots, trunks, stems and leaves while they grow, and in wood products after they are harvested.
Awesome. Double awesome. 
Wellington Hills Park has scads of healthy 80-90 year old Western Red Cedars, Douglas Firs, Maples and Alders.  However, there's a big "if" ...

The trees in Wellington Hills Park should be good for many decades to come ... if, that is, the Department of Parks' plan to de-water the park is squashed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bureaucrats vs. Trees

First, Trees don't exist in order to be "versus" anything. Depending upon your philosophical and/or spiritual views, trees are a living part of the earth's biodiversity and they’ve come to represent life-giving and life-sustaining natural wonder. 

Humans tend to apply the word “usefulness” to all things of the Earth – and, other than water, trees are probably one of the most useful of natural things. 

A school child can readily list things we get from trees – houses, musical instruments, fire wood, tables and chairs, etc.. Their parents can add to that list – baseball bats, tool handles, barns, briquettes, paper, chemicals for a variety of products ... and, of course, Parks With Trees! 

Today, universities have scores of courses related to forest science, management, conservation and ecology. And, a day doesn't go by without reference to the downside of deforestation or the upside of trees reducing atmospheric carbon or intercepting storm water.

In earlier times before there was much thought given to where trees were in the cycle of all living things... trees as timber were staggeringly important to nations and states.  It was upon wooden ships humans explored beyond local shores and then circumnavigated the globe. It was with their wooden fleets that nations traded with, fought and conquered distant people. 

In fact, a case can be made, the almost unbroken forests discovered along the East Coast of the U.S. was a major reason for colonizing America. Britain and France had been warring for such a long time replacing war and supply ships was a priority and since they’d almost depleted their own forests, American forests were a bonanza. Imagine, hundreds of miles of dense forests of giant first-growth trees along America’s Atlantic shoreline … almost immediately these trees were cut and shipped to Europe giving foreign navies new vitality.

Regarding the spiritual essence of trees, most people have read about Druids and their beliefs concerning trees. But almost every culture and world religion incorporates trees, in some manner, within their value system – ethereal spiritual elements are believed to reside within trees or the tree is a significant symbol, often of something very important.  The most obvious symbol is the Christian cross - the wood crucifix.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life hand-making furniture and during those years I’ve also studied the history of wood, craftsmanship and the cultural relationships of wood, tools and human beliefs regarding these things.

Whether it’s Early American or the guilds of pre-World War II Great Britain and Japan – certain words or phrases are common – “The Soul of a Tree” and “A Reverence for Wood” are just two of many.

And there are quotes:

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and it has made a difference.”
– Robert Frost

 “As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined.” – Anonymous

“Cannot see the wood for the trees.” – Anonymous

“A chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up.” – Brigham Young

“An ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from.” – Timothy Dexter

The last quote brings this blog full circle to the part about Bureaucrats vs. Trees …

The following is from here.

Top 22 Benefits of Trees
Here are 22 of the best reasons to plant and care for trees or defend a tree’s standing: 

Trees combat the greenhouse effect

Global warming is the result of excess greenhouse gases, created by burning fossil fuels and destroying tropical rainforests. Heat from the sun, reflected back from the earth, is trapped in this thickening layer of gases, causing global temperatures to rise. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major greenhouse gas. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. 

Trees clean the air

Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. 

Trees provide oxygen

In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people. 

Trees cool the streets and the city

Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. Trees cool the city by up to 10°F, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves. 

Trees conserve energy

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. 

Trees save water

Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture. 

Trees help prevent water pollution

Trees reduce runoff by breaking rainfall thus allowing the water to flow down the trunk and into the earth below the tree. This prevents stormwater from carrying pollutants to the ocean. When mulched, trees act like a sponge that filters this water naturally and uses it to recharge groundwater supplies. 

Trees help prevent soil erosion

On hillsides or stream slopes, trees slow runoff and hold soil in place. 

Trees shield children from ultra-violet rays

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Trees reduce UV-B exposure by about 50 percent, thus providing protection to children on school campuses and playgrounds - where children spend hours outdoors. 

Trees provide food

An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife. 

Trees heal

Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with less complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue. 

Trees reduce violence

Neighborhoods and homes that are barren have shown to have a greater incidence of violence in and out of the home than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear. 

Trees mark the seasons

Is it winter, spring, summer or fall? Look at the trees. 

Trees create economic opportunities

Fruit harvested from community orchards can be sold, thus providing income. Small business opportunities in green waste management and landscaping arise when cities value mulching and its water-saving qualities. Vocational training for youth interested in green jobs is also a great way to develop economic opportunities from trees. 

Trees are teachers and playmates

Whether as houses for children or creative and spiritual inspiration for adults, trees have provided the space for human retreat throughout the ages.  

Trees bring diverse groups of people together

Tree plantings provide an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment that improves the quality of life in our neighborhoods. All cultures, ages, and genders have an important role to play at a tree planting or tree care event. 

Trees add unity

Trees as landmarks can give a neighborhood a new identity and encourage civic pride. 

Trees provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife

Sycamore and oak are among the many urban species that provide excellent urban homes for birds, bees, possums and squirrels. 

Trees block things

Trees can mask concrete walls or parking lots, and unsightly views. They muffle sound from nearby streets and freeways, and create an eye-soothing canopy of green. Trees absorb dust and wind and reduce glare. 

Trees provide wood

In suburban and rural areas, trees can be selectively harvested for fuel and craft wood. 

Trees increase property values

The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding street and neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent. 

Trees increase business traffic

Studies show that the more trees and landscaping a business district has, the more business will flow in. A tree-lined street will also slow traffic – enough to allow the drivers to look at the store fronts instead of whizzing by.

Alas, I could find no list of positive values associated with "Bureaucrats".

photo and thoughts,
Bill Stankus
April 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Be prepared for traffic delays

The widening project of the Woodinville-Duvall Road has begun.

From the City of Woodinville's website:

"The Woodinville-Duvall Road Widening Project involves the widening of NE Woodinville-Duvall Road from 156th Avenue NE to the east City limits at 171st Place NE. The existing two-lane roadway will be widened to three-lanes to provide an additional center turn lane and improved sidewalks and bike lanes. Other improvements will include drainage improvements, traffic signal improvements, street lighting, and landscape improvements. The overall length of the project is approximately 1.1 miles. The primary purpose of the project is to improve safety and to relieve traffic congestion."

Of interest to those living south of the Woodinville-Duvall Road, in the general area of 156th Ave. NE and to those in South Snohomish County (75th Ave. SE, aka, Bostian Road) ...

There's a new reader board on 156th Ave. NE which says:
"April through September", "Expect Long Delays" and "Alternate Route Advised".

The added colors are solely location representations of 156th Ave. & Woodinville-Duvall Road

 photos by Bill Stankus
April 16, 2014

What's going on at the 240th St. SE Primus Property?

This morning I saw new digging activity along 240th St. SE ... and I didn't see the almost ubiquitous "LDA" (Land Disturbing Activity) orange sign.

For example, there are several LDA signs located in Wellington Hills Park... and there are signs at the entrance to Costco (their intention is to install more gasoline tanks and pumps).

The digging activity in the photo is on, what is commonly referred to as, "Primus property" and it's located on the down slope side of the western boundary of Wellington Hills Park.

For a different view of this location go here.
Note the third photo, where the rock wall tapers to the ground (at the photo's right margin) ... just beyond that is where the digging is happening.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why Save Wellington Hills Park?

Today I spent several hours walking and taking photos in Wellington Hills Park.

A gorgeous day, Springtime was all around me.

There's a spiritual reward - feeling the transition of seasons, observing the majesty of tall trees and walking over rolling terrain ... wondering how Nature will present itself, underfoot, in front of me and free of man-made stuff.

What the Department of Parks is proposing is akin to dropping a Wal-Mart into a nature reserve.

photos by Bill Stankus
April 10, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

8AM traffic, Hwy 9 just north of Maltby Road in Snohomish County & Questions About, "What's Going On"?

Snohomish County has plans for the southern part of the county - Big Plans.

But what are those plans?

I'm just a citizen so I'm not privy to the Big Plans.

Perhaps they want to seduce King County money into Snohomish County via shoppers, fast-food joints and as apartment renters ... maybe they're thinking really big ...and they're using duck calls to attract Apple/Microsoft kinda businesses ... all of which would become economic drivers designed to punch-up the status quo of rural and unincorporated areas .... (and ultimately give the County Council a beefy budget).

Unfortunately, the County isn't good at sharing their Real Plans and, true to form, they've done very little to gain the trust and good-faith confidence of many voters, especially in the areas affected by the Big Plans.

However, it is a fact - sewage plants - such as Brightwater - become hubs for development.

It's not a coincidence, Route 9 is being widened north of Brightwater.

Meanwhile, there's chatter about King County building a garbage train transfer station in Woodinville and those garbage-filled trains would go north towards Everett ...

And what about the stories of Maltby getting a beefed-up train station/rail system upgrade ???

And that sports complex proposed for Wellington Hills Park ... the question keeps popping up, will a fully developed sports complex force homeowners to switch from septic systems to sewer connections ... ???

After two years of attending Snohomish County council and committee meetings, I simply don't have clear answers to those questions. But I do believe widening Route 9 is about something more than simply relieving morning/evening traffic congestion.

8AM traffic, southward on Route 9, near Maltby Road
                     The irony of this photo - very few cars are heading north towards Everett.


photo & questions by Bill Stankus
April 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Letter to Snohomish County: Release of SEPA Threshold Determination for Wellington Hills Park

Mr. Yap, Mr. Teague and Mr. Barnett,

With the announcement of the Threshold Determination and the release of a new SEPA checklist for the Wellington Hills Park project still pending, I am concerned about the track record of issuing documents for this project over the major holidays. 

Last year, the SEPA comment period commenced just before Easter and the first LDA comment period commenced just before Christmas.  As do you, I enjoy these important holidays with family, but I was required to take countless hours away from them in order to provide timely responses to the voluminous amount of material the County produced. 

This is an important process, and I simply request that you respect the effort of your citizens to provide thoughtful comments without the burden of coordinating time during the holidays. 

Therefore, if you are preparing to announce the Threshold Determination, will you please wait until after Easter (April 20) to make the official announcement and begin the 14-day comment period?  Your consideration would be greatly appreciated.


Janet Littlefield
Woodinville, WA  


    John Lovick, County Executive
    Clay White, Director, Planning and Development Services
    Tom Teigen, Department Director, Parks and Recreation
    Dave Somers, County Council, District 5