Northwest NEWS

July 16, 2001

Editorial

Why doesn't Snohomish County have say in siting of sewer plant?

Copy of a letter sent to Bob Drewel, Snohomish County Executive
   I understand that a sewer plant has to go somewhere. But why are all the sites under consideration in Snohomish County with only King County having the power to choose? I don't understand how we in Snohomish lost political leverage.
   My second concern is the wetlands. The Thrashers Corner site encompasses unique wetlands. Its 144 acres are criss-crossed with salmon- bearing streams and marshy wetlands to make a total of some 80+ acres recognized as wetlands. I just attended a workshop at Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, (425) 316-8592. I think this course should be taken by anyone who is impacting wetlands and that is all of us. I think it is imperative for anyone involved in planning, legislating, developing and regulating wetlands to have understanding and appreciation of the information covered by this workshop. As I understand it, the pristine wetlands at Thrashers Corner should not be tampered with but only protected from further impact.
   Regarding siting of the sewer plant, there are other options. In my opinion the enlarging of West Point in King County is the most sensible. It would take up parkland, but there is more parkland there. There is space to enlarge and go to tertiary treatment.
   But there was a study done by the University of Washington in the 90s that said King County would find this almost impossible due to political opposition. So this site is not on the current list being considered. King County Councilmember Larry Phillips' area would oppose it. Phillips fought hard to protect the interest of his constituents. King County Councilmember Maggie Fimia went to bat to protect her constituents in North King County. All of the remaining sites are in Snohomish County.
   Of these sites, only Thrashers Corner would oust families if chosen. It is the largest one of the remaining sites but the biggest portion as I see it is untouched wetlands - 80 known acres out of 144. Three of the other remaining sites are already developed in whole or part for industrial uses. One of these has land owned by Northshore School District earmarked for a bus barn. Surely other land could be found for that. A fifth industrial site on the list is currently not being used.
   I do not see anyone going to bat to save my neighbors' homes on a political level. I feel abandoned.
   I read with interest in your letter that if Thrashers Corner was selected you would ask King County to situate the needed acres in a way to minimize any impact on existing property owners. I suspect the families who will have their homes seized will not be comforted to hear this, especially the older members who have worked on their gardens for 10 to 20 years.
   If this site is chosen, Snohomish County will get funds to widen an adjacent road it's been trying to fund for some 11 years. Bothell will be delighted with the $40,000,000 dollars it will get for whatever it needs.
   If Thrashers Corner is chosen, will Snohomish County or Bothell miss these families? And I suspect the people in the surrounding area in Snohomish, some in Bothell and some in unincorporated Snohomish, will be disappointed to have a sewer plant in the park paid for by Snohomish County Conservation Funds and protected by a covenant for passive park use. I understand that the park section of the site contains the biggest parcel of non-wetlands of which Snohomish County has already earmarked the use of seven acres for the detention pond for the widening of SR 524. (As near as I can make out this will be on a Class 2 stream just above the Class A North Creek).
   Those of us downwind of the site will get no compensation, as we are not in Bothell. We will get a 5-lane highway next to our homes. It would be nice if we could have our promised park. We addressed Bothell Council with our concerns and were told they haven't taken a stand and it's not their decision.
   King County will make a decision that has no political liability for their constituents. What happened to democracy?
   Adelaide W. Loges, Mill Creek