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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

I know more than I did 2 hours ago

Good news!  

I talked with a person working on the deconstruction project currently taking place at Route 9 and 240th St. SE ... and, I can definitely say:

You can stop holding your breath - they're not building a new headquarters for SMIRSH or SPECTRE, KAOS, Snohomish County's Department of Parks or Walt Disney Studios!

They are, however, going to completely remove the rest of the concrete blocks along the railroad tracks ...

Then they will build a new concrete block wall which will be set-back from its original location along 240th ... and this time the wall won't be vertical or bulging ... Instead it will angle into the hillside and have a much better foundation and drainage system. 

That giant mountain of sand that we've been in awe of ... it will be moved back behind the new wall.

photos by Bill Stankus
may 31, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jousting with the devil

Panorama of Wellington Hills Park - the south side of 240th St SE Woodinville Washington (and unfortunately in Snohomish County).

 Why "unfortunately"?

Because IF Snohomish County's Department of Parks gets their way - what you're seeing in the photo will be cut and bulldozed into a memory - and replaced with a 500 car parking lot, stadium lights and a bunch of other unwarranted, unnecessary, not wanted non-essentials.

My friends and I have done something - more than a few times - something Snohomish County's Department of Parks has never done.  

We've gone door to door and asked many hundreds of people in this community their thoughts about the proposed changes to Wellington Hills Park. 

What we've heard ...
  • "Why aren't "they" listening to people in this community?"
  • "What happened to the deal for a community park?"
  • "Why do "they" want to spend $27 million for a non-essential park?" 
  • "Who's pulling the strings to build a sports complex in this neighborhood?"
  • "Are "they" crazy?" 

The following photo was taken on the north side of 240th St. SE. The view is to the west and northwest. 

In this area of the park, Snohomish County's Department of Parks intends to fill in the rolling landscape with all the dirt dug out (250,000 cubic yards) from the landscape you can see in the the first photo. Once this north side area is filled in and flattened, they have plans for an additional 250+ car parking lot.

photos, text by Bill Stankus
May 28, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hey Seattle! Echo? Piffle to Echo. WE almost have a Christo (not really)

Do they have art in their hearts?

I cannot  answer that - but they do know how to plastic-wrap a towering mountain of sand.

Our intrepid photographer (me) withstood a light rain drizzle and 5mph breezes just to capture the excitement of another "Almost Art Happening" in Snohomish County. (they come so often my head is spinning - why only last year ...)

Today was really exciting, I got a good parking place at Costco and the check-out lines were reasonably quick. (BTW, it looks like Costco is almost out of "Organic Love Beets").

Anyway, without more preamble ...

award winning photos by Bill Stankus
May 23, 2014


Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's too late

And it's really is a shame.  

The Powers That Be had the perfect opportunity to leave a Memorial - a monument (more or less) to a fading time. It could've been a gift to the good people of the Greater Wellington Hills Area (including all the Costco shoppers).

They could have left this for us as a token of their Honoring the Past with their promise for Better Tomorrows.

But why, you ask?
Because there's precedence, that's why.  

For example:

The Greeks left us lots of ruins

The Japanese kept this one as a memorial and prayer

The Germans kept theirs as both art and a remembrance

And once upon a time, young Brits knew how to celebrate a concrete wasteland

ps: write someone ... a newspaper, the president, the Historic Preservation Commission, congress-people, a council-people, your attorney - anyone - and tell 'em, "SAVE OUR HISTORY!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Paging Mr. Jericho ... Yoohoo, Mr. Jericho

Dateline Woodinville Washington ... 
The Snohomish County side of town ...

May 21, 2014 ... there, in plain site (drum roll please) is ... 
Action! Deconstruction! Earth moving! One Immense Pile of Sand!

Today, our intrepid photographer (me) braved 
Costco traffic!   Route 9 traffic!   240th St. SE traffic!

And why did he (me) risk life and limb? Need you ask? OK, it's because of CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY, that's why ... there's need to show you what's going on at this stupendously awesome and important corner.

So, that's it for today. Just for you, our intrepid photographer (me), several Google's satellites and squadrons of FBI/CIA/NSA Black Helicopters recorded whatever it is that's happening at Snohomish County's busy gateway intersection.

Remember ... you saw it here first (or maybe you saw it while stuck in traffic).

Award Winning photos by Bill Stankus
May 21, 2014

Is the bottom layers of sand still contaminated or not?

I don't have a decoder ring or a spy's stealthiness to determine what the plan is for the property at 240th St SE and Route 9 ... But I do have a REAL QUESTION - one that hasn't  been answered.

Perhaps 15-20 years - long before the concrete block wall and the fill dirt behind it ... when the corner property was level with the railroad tracks  ...  This location had contaminated soil (and, no, I don't know what the contamination was - a few old timers say it was an illegal dump site, others guess chemical waste had been poured on the ground). Supposedly the contaminated soil was dealt with - but as far I can determine, whatever did happen - it's now difficult getting information.

Anyway, my question is: Was the contaminated soil removed or simply covered over by all the dirt and sand that's currently be dug out and mounded  higher up at the Primus building level?

photo by Bill Stankus

3:40 PM May 20, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Snohomish County, Loose sand, Unconsolidated material

Unconsolidated material - [¦ən·kən′säl·ə‚dād·əd mə′tir·ē·əl] (geology)
Loosely arranged or unstratified sediment whose particles are not cemented together.
A loose, caving sand.

Non-lithified sediment* that has no mineral cement or matrix binding its grains.

Related Words:
Nonadhesive, non-viscous, disconnected, disjointed, separate, unconnected; coarse, granular, rough

*Sediment is usually lithified into sedimentary rock when compacted by the weight of overlying layers or when cemented by percolating ground water. 

from Encyclopedia Britannia

"Lithification, complex process whereby freshly deposited loose grains of sediment are converted into rock. Lithification may occur at the time a sediment is deposited or later. Cementation is one of the main processes involved, particularly for sandstones and conglomerates. In addition, reactions take place within a sediment between various minerals and between minerals and the fluids trapped in the pores; these reactions, collectively termed authigenesis, may form new minerals or add to others already present in the sediment. Minerals may be dissolved and redistributed into nodules and other concretions, and minerals in solution entering the sediment from another area may be deposited or may react with minerals already present. The sediment may be compacted by rearrangement of grains under pressure, reducing pore space and driving out interstitial liquid."

Note the tree line. 
The trees are located at the western boundary of Wellington Hills Park and they are on the edge of the plateau above what is commonly referred to as, "the Primus Property".

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Deconstruction - Primus Corner - 240th St. SE & Route 9, Snohomish County - another 24 hours

Hey now!  Another 24 hours, Big Machines, lots of workers ... Gasp, Wow! 

See the changes, See the movie - "Behind the Block Wall" *.

* A Jacques Tourneur film, starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas

... a plot so twisted, so mysterious, so dirty, so ... 
... Well, you have to see it to believe it.

But there's MORE! 

Once you're here you can't help yourself - first you whistle the old tune, then you hum a few bars and finally you go get your guitar and break out into the full version of Bobby Dylan's "Desolation Row".

You don't think they would, would they?

Finally (and I do mean finally) ...

Our local 'landmark' probably won't be scaring us much longer. 

At the rapid rate of earth digging/moving (as seen the past week), we're witnessing the not-so-thrilling flop, "Creepy Wall's Last Stand".

photos and such by Bill Stankus
May 17, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

The message still applies - from August 2012


If you saw a punk throw a rock through a neighbor’s window ... would you call the police?

If a loudmouth insulted your family ... would you tell them to shut up?

What if there's a terrible winter’s storm and power was lost ... would you help your neighbors if they were cold and hungry? 

What pushes you to stand up and do the right thing? What is your tipping point?

Guess what, with little regard for you or me, Snohomish County is saying that your house and property is no more important than a vacant lot in some dingy urban area.

The fact is - Snohomish County is deciding to force-fit a tournament-level sports complex on top of the Wellington Hills Golf Course ... and they don’t give a rat’s ass about how it will negatively change your daily life and alter the quality of living you’ve come to expect in your quiet residential locale.

Make no mistake about it … if they build their over-sized commercial sports complex there will be constant traffic, maddening traffic congestion and loud, erratic noise throughout the area.

To make matter worst, the greatest amount of traffic and noise will be during your weekends and evening hours.

So I ask, can you afford to be a bystander regarding this issue?

The choice is simple … don’t let bureaucratic bullies change your life.

Please, contact us, make a donation to our legal fund or drop a note telling us you'd like to be part of the effort to Save Our Neighborhood … Neighbors to Save Wellington Park.

Bill Stankus
August 3, 2012

Friday, May 2, 2014

In the news - "Is America's democracy dead?" ... The Wellington Hills Park Scenario

The Announcement

Almost two years have passed since Snohomish County’s Director of Parks (Tom Teigen) stood in front of a stunned audience and announced his plans for a sports complex at Wellington Hills Park.  Perhaps it would have been less shocking if he hadn’t also said, “It’s a done deal” and “You are going to love it.”

Many of us had the same thought – This is the Seattle area – nothing is ever a “done deal” especially when it's initially proposed. Puget Sound residents always question big-ticket projects and then we offer our opinions and alternative perspectives.

It was during the “It’s a done deal” speech that Neighbors to Save Wellington Park (NSWP) was born. Within days of the Teigen Declaration, people began meeting and discussing what the proposed – and radical makeover of Wellington Hills Park could mean to the area – the residential neighborhoods near Woodinville.

Citizens Organize

At first, our energy was focused on understanding the so-called “Master Plan” ...  a simplified drawing of the proposed sports fields, complete with commercial developments, stadium lights, large parking lots and sizeable buildings. The master plan appeared to be designed by special interest groups. The design was not for the community at large … in essence, the master plan was the opposition’s manifesto.

Next came community organizational meetings, finding supporters to join NSWP, developing an email newsletter list and a door-to-door petition signing campaign. Then, strategies were developed so that our community voices might be heard in Everett – home of the Snohomish County Council and County Executive.

Reaching out to the Council and Executive was complicated and revealed very little.

Council member Dave Somers, who represents this area, came to my house and spoke to 25 people. Council members Stephanie Wright and Brian Sullivan also came to our neighborhood and talked with us. Council members Dave Gossett and John Koster declined to meet with us in our neighborhood.

About this same time I met Aaron Reardon, who was then the County Executive. (The Department of Parks was one of the departments under his authority.)  I walked away from that meeting with two tidbits: He said he was unaware of the sports complex plan and that Wellington Hills Golf Course had “ruined his golf game”. Nothing came from that meeting.

What It Takes

In June-July 2012, I began a photo diary of the park and I created this blog. We began writing letters to the Woodinville Weekly, The Woodinville Patch and the Everett Herald.  King 5 TV did a small piece on what we were attempting to accomplish.

The progression of our activities included going to various County organizational meetings, as well as attending County Council Operations and General Legislative sessions.

It was at this point we started to grasp both the hard-boiled political disposition and the Byzantine nature of county government.

It’s not easy to have discussions with elected officials, no matter how many times they publically say, “My door is always open”. Unfortunately, appointments usually are for 15 minutes, 30 minutes max.

If you want to say something at a County Council meeting you get three minutes at the beginning of the session – and the Council just listens, they never say anything, unless it’s to tell you, “you can’t say that”. If a department head or project manager speaks to the Council, you, the private citizen, cannot refute or question that person.  The added insult is they can speak as long as they want and they can make both objective and subjective comments about whatever a citizen said during the three-minute public comment period.


At this point in the process of a citizen becoming an activist, one needs to assess what’s at stake (saving a park) and then make a personal decision because a fork in the road is reached. Does a person take the common, well-worn path of indifference, apathy and cynicism? Or, is the other path chosen the one requiring resolve, dedication and hours of hard work?


Citizen Activists, by definition, aren’t professional politicians or bureaucrats - but they are smart, passionate and determined.

Valuable tools are the County’s Organizational Flowchart and the Freedom of Information Act. And, there are accommodating people working within County government willing to explain how bureaucratic processes and methods are meant to be used. Another valuable asset, which may seem obvious, but isn’t - there are elected officials willing to listen to reasonable solutions to complex issues.

But It Ain’t Over

Bureaucratic plans, such as the proposed makeover of Wellington Hills Park, become reference points, even if they haven’t been approved.  While Citizen Activists are coming-up to speed with understanding, for example, the details of a proposed master plan … the dudes who proposed the plan aren’t resting … they’re busy crossing ‘t’s, dotting ‘i’s, and convincing their bosses (and everyone else) their plan is the best plan, etc. etc.

The Moment of Truth

A recent viral news article has been noticed by scores of citizen groups and everyone else interested in good government - the article, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” or, as it is commonly known, “America is No Longer a Democracy”.

The gist of the article is this (in their words, not mine):

Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.“


Personally, I’m not ready to accept, “America is no longer a democracy”.

It’s now two years since the “It’s a done deal” speech and NSWP has gained insight, won a few skirmishes and continues to prepare for a fight in the legal system.

In my opinion and, in my firm belief in representational government, it is time for the County and people living in the Wellington Hills area to co-create a park that’s in harmony with the rural nature of the surrounding neighborhoods and communities.


Bill Stankus

May 1, 2014