No name change for Ebey Slough

Ebey Slough will remain Ebey Slough — at least for now.

A state panel unanimously on Friday rejected a request to rename Ebey Slough to Ebey Estuary.

The city of Marysville had asked for a change from “slough” to “estuary” as part of the city’s downtown economic revitalization plans. It was one of several changes proposed for names around Snohomish County. The Washington State Committee on Geographic Names makes the final decision at semi-annual meetings.

In a hearing Friday, Marysville resident Kelly Wright was one of the three people who testified against changing the name.

“I thought it was very reasoned,” he said after the committee’s action. “They clearly gave important weight to preserving and promoting the term ‘slough’ as an important part of the Northwest lexicon.”

But the issue may arise again.

While the city of Marysville was concerned about whether the waterway was called a slough, others have been concerned about the name Ebey. The slough was named for U.S. Army Col. Isaac Ebey, 1818-57, who led the first steam-powered boat trip up the river in 1855, said David Dilgard, a historian at the Everett Public Library.

Marysville’s original idea triggered a recent spate of letters and commentary in The Herald suggesting the name Ebey should be removed from the body of water altogether.

One of those calling for a name change is Stan Jones Sr., a Tulalip tribal elder and longtime board member and president.

He suggested the slough be renamed after any of several historic local tribal leaders.

Ebey was the first permanent white settler on Whidbey Island, and several features there are named for him, including Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and Fort Ebey State Park.

In the end, Ebey was beheaded by a northern tribe of Indians.

The state committee did make several other name changes around Snohomish County. Jordan Ridge became the official name of a currently unnamed five-mile-long ridge east of the community of Jordan, between Arlington and Granite Falls. Blue Mountain, one of two summits in Snohomish County with that name, was changed to Sultan Ridge.

Also, the committee agreed to give the name Reflection Creek to an unnamed creek located north of the city of Snohomish and Wayback Brook for an unnamed 300-foot-long stream.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this story.

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