Port shifts meeting time to 5 p.m.

EVERETT — Port of Everett officials finished a two-day retreat Wednesday with some major decisions on when to hold meetings, whether to expand their board and how to re-evaluate the fate of the historic Collins Building.

On the meeting front, the commission decided to shift its meeting to 5 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. to make them more convenient for the public and to themselves.

“We wanted to provide more access for people,” said Commissioner Troy McClelland. He also noted that the three commissioners have day jobs and would rather meet at night.

The commission will hold its March 2 meeting at 5 p.m. at the port building at Bond Street as a special meeting in which it will pass a resolution officially changing the meeting time.

McClelland noted the meetings were a campaign issue for himself and for Mark Wolken. Both won election to the port commission last fall.

Another campaign issue was whether to expand the commission to five members. The previous commission had voted against putting the issue on the ballot. Wolken, McCelland and Commission Chairman Michael Hoffmann agreed they wanted more advice from the public.

The three agreed to hold one public meeting in Everett at 6:30 p.m. April 15 at the port’s waterfront conference center and another at the same time at a location to be determined in Mukilteo. The issues include whether to keep the status quo or to expand to five members, whether the additional members should have their own districts or be elected at-large and whether to reduce the terms from six years to four.

“It’s an issue that has been discussed a lot in the community,” Wolken said. “We want to solicit the public’s opinions and get some ideas from (other port districts) that have made these changes.”

The commissioners, also agreed to revisit a decision to raze the Collins Building, using three different approaches.

McClelland, an engineer, wants to re-examine the previous engineering studies to determine what’s feasible to rehabilitate the former casket company building and what it doing so would cost.

“I’d like to look at what we are assuming and what are we trying to accomplish,” he said.

Wolken wants to establish a large panel of members of other community groups and nonprofit agencies to examine the interest in saving the building and in raising money to do the job.

“I want to see if there’s the will and a way to get to that point,” he said.

Hoffmann wants to use a technique called a decision matrix to look at a variety of ideas and issues and use them to help forge a decision.

“I want to use that matrix to evaluate and weigh those parameters to see what’s the most important,” he said.

The commission is hoping to address the three evaluations simultaneously and to put them together on June 5 to try to come to a decision.

Exactly what would be done with the historic building on the Everett waterfront has yet to be decided, but architect Michael Sullivan has suggested it be a public market on the first floor, a museum on the second and offices on the third.

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