Smith Cove Park Restoration and Magnolia Community Compensation Fund

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Notice and a Demand to King County that it meet the following conditions related to the South Magnolia CSO Gravity Pipe Replacement Project it is has undertaken: 

1.      SEPA Compliance.  Prepare a SEPA compliant environmental checklist for the pipeline replacement project it has undertaken at Smith Cove and along the south bluff of Magnolia and do a complete project analysis of the project scope, construction schedule, financing, environemental review of the underlying conditions of the project area that it will affect, are affected by the project.

2.      Public Accomodation.  Delay the portion of the project that is located at the Smith Cove Park ballfield until the end of the Fall soccer season.

3.      Project Planning.  Produce a comprehensive project plan that addresses all aspects of the project, including but not limited to the scope of the project, the cost of the project, the risks of the project, the duration of the project, all of the engineering and construction plans, specifications, and concomitant details that a public works construction project must be predicated upon, and a comprehensive finance plan for the project.  

4.      Public Compensation.  Pay the City of Seattle sufficient compensation for the use of the Smith Cove Park property and pay to the Magnolia community $450,000 in compensation for the loss of the use of the Smith Cove Park ballfields, for the delays, damage, and future impacts to the surrounding property, to the owners of property adjacent to the project and for the damage to and the loss of use of the public lands that has occurred as a result of the South Magnolia CSO project and will occur as a result of this pipeline replacement project.

5.     Oversight and Accountability.  At its own expense King County shall promptly form a South Magnolia CSO Community Oversight Committee to ensure that King County and the ongoing South Magnolia pipeline replacement project addresses public concerns for safety, SEPA compliance, environmental impacts and mitigation, construction project planning, financing, project oversight, and for just compensation to the City and the community for the use and loss of use of the Smith Cove Park.  The committee shall be comprised of 12 individuals who represent the stakeholder interests of Magnolia, including but not limited to those interests of residents, community businesses, parks and recreation, neighborhood, industry, social services and related interests, real estate, and the general welfare of Magnolia. No government officials will be appointed thereto.  The committee shall also be responsible for oversight of any funds paid by King County pursuant to this demand, and for developing and making recommendations for improvements to Smith Cove Park that will be paid for with those funds.

BACKGROUND

This is a new King County WTD construction project in the Magnolia neighborhood, separate from the original project - the South Magnolia Combined Sewer Overflow Control (SMCSO) project that was completed in 2015.  A year after the completion of this project the 3,200' 24" gravity feed pipeline component of the project became unusable as a result of a breach in the pipeline. 

King County is proceeding with this project, the replacement of the the entire 24" pipeline along the seismically sensitive south bluff of Magnolia.  It has not engaged in any SEPA compliant environmental review of this current project, has no comprehensive contruction scope, plans, engineering, or financing program for it.  

King County has not ascertained what caused the breach in the pipeline, likewise it does not have a difinitive plan for how to replace it.  In terms of paying for it, project spokesperson Doug Marsano stated on August 22nd that King County is just going to go ahead and pay all of the costs for the project [which are unknown] and then it will sort out after the fact, many years later, who is financially responsible, and maybe recoup some of the costs for this epic pipeline failure.

In the bargain - now one more time Smith Cove Park is being comandeered by King County as its staging and construction platform for this new project, the park property is being torn up again, and it will be at least a couple of more years before it is open to the public again.

The public has been and is repeatedly processed in this situation by King County - in fact close to being subjected to information overload torture.  On the one hand this could be seen as a virtue however the reality is that the public has gained no value out of this project, been repeatedly inconvenienced, and people living near the project have had to fear for the loss of their property, their lives, or their livlihood due to the failure of the pipeline.  

Now the plan is for the community near the pipeline to be subjected one more time to a tenuous and unknown situation, and for the Magnolia community one more time to be subjected to the usual public processing, having the usual lack of meaningful participation - and certainly being given nothing of literal value for hosting and enduring the project, while in the bargain losing for an extended period the use of one of its major park locations, the Smith Cove Park.

It is time to call an end to this sort of lose-lose dynamic for the Magnolia neighborhood.  It needs to be considered and consulted as the legitimate partner that it is in these situations it is confronted with - whether the City of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, or King County is the instigator.  

It needs a place at the table, and it needs literal compensation for its time, its sacrifices, its inconvenience, and its general offering up to the government institutions for their use, Magnolia's public and private spaces.

To see the entire notice and demand letter to King County and the City of Seattle go here

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Smith Cove Park conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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