Deal aids move of track

EVERETT – A 12-year effort to relocate miles of railroad track near the Snohomish River steamed closer to reality Wednesday.

The Everett City Council signed off on an agreement with the state that could provide $1.8 million to move tracks that slice in half a riverfront area the city wants redevelopment.

“We need to have every square inch of developable land down there available,” Councilman Mark Olsen said.

The Wednesday agreement still needs final approval from Mayor Ray Stephanson.

San Diego-based developer Oliver McMillan has proposed an upscale residential and retail development on a 100-acre swath of city land between I-5 and the Snohomish River.

The development company is negotiating to buy the land. After missing a May deadline with the city, the council last week extended talks with the developer to Jan. 31.

Removing 3.5 miles of railroad tracks between a former landfill and the old Simpson-Lee pulp and paper mill is vital to the property’s development, officials say.

It eliminates the need for a costly railroad overpass between the two parcels.

It also will help with a planned trail system, offering access to wetlands and fishing spots along the river.

“It really is an essential part of the riverfront redevelopment,” Dave Davis, a city engineer who has been negotiating the move with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for a dozen years. “Without relocating the tracks you just wouldn’t be able to complete the vision the city has for the property.”

Davis said moving the tracks to the western edge of the site should start in 2007, with a 2008 completion date.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas wouldn’t say whether a final agreement had been signed Wednesday afternoon.

An agreement deal with the railroad company is expected before Friday.

The $1.8 million that could come from the state Department of Transportation was bundled in the Legislature’s April 2005 transportation bill.

That bill included nearly $500 million for highway, railroad and bridge projects in Snohomish and Island counties.

The city estimates it will cost about $8 million to move the tracks by the end of 2008.

Other funding includes $4.2 million in federal money and more than $1 million in local funds.

Reporter David Chircop: 425-339-3429 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Separate road rage incident ends with fatal shooting in Lake Stevens

A man, 41, died at the scene in the 15300 block of 84th Street NE. No arrests have been made.

Nursing Administration Supervisor Susan Williams points at a list of current COVID patients at Providence Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of Providence patients in medical limbo for months, even years

About 100 people are stuck in Everett hospital beds without an urgent medical reason. New laws aim for a solution.

Lynnwood man arrested, released on $25K bond after road rage shooting

Deputies arrested the suspect, 20, for investigation of first-degree assault on Tuesday.

Mt. Baker visible from the summit of Mt. Dickerman on a late summer day in 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Hornets pester hikers on popular Mountain Loop trails

“You cannot out run the stings,” one hiker wrote in a trip report. The Forest Service has posted alerts at two trailheads.

Most Read