The PUD Everett Substation on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

The PUD Everett Substation on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Delta residents rip PUD power line plan to cut through neighborhood

The PUD said the poles will connect two Everett power stations amid “increasing electrical demand.” Locals feel it shows a lack of “forethought.”

EVERETT — Sonja Bodge can’t help but notice that all four potential routes for a new power line project through north Everett have one thing in common. All run through the Delta and Riverside neighborhoods.

Bodge, 55, who has lived in Delta for four years, feels the lines are planned for neighborhoods full of residents who are too busy to go to public meetings. She also heard the project is largely to benefit electric service in Marysville, so she wonders why those in Everett have to have new poles in their yards to better serve a community they don’t live in.

“Put it over on I-5 if it’s something to help Marysville out,” Bodge said. “Why go down the middle of our neighborhood?”

The PUD hosted a public meeting last month to try to explain. The project aims to send lines from the Delta Switching Station at 201 E Marine View Drive to the Everett Substation at 3402 Paine Ave. The neighborhoods east of Broadway have the shortest path between the two points.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District said the project will “support increasing electrical demand in and around the city of Everett.”

The proposed routes range from 3 to 5 miles long.

• Route A essentially follows Broadway from Everett Substation to the Delta Switching Station.

• Route B follows Broadway until it hits 12th Street and follows that route until it hits East Marine View Drive.

• Route C would snake north from Smith Avenue, through Pine Street and then up to East Marine View Drive.

• Route D would go north from Smith Avenue to Pine Street, then follow 23rd Street over to I-5 and up Smith Avenue, eventually finding East Marine View Drive.

“With all this electrification, all this development going on, we need another transmission line up in the air. (We’re) providing that to support the growth,” said Aziz Haq, a PUD engineer. “That’s sort of the main driver with the transmission line.”

Some residents believe its coming at the cost of those living in Delta, who tend to feel the side effects of urbanization more acutely, from freeway noise to toxic-laden soils to increasing density.

Meanwhile, residents west of Broadway tend to be far more affluent, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health. And historically, the Everett neighborhoods with views of Puget Sound have gotten far better representation in local government. From 1980 to 2017, for example, all but three City Council members north of Casino Road also lived west of Broadway, according to a map compiled during the successful Everett Districts Now campaign.

The new power poles would stand between 75 feet and 95 feet tall. So they’ll be highly visible, and PUD officials are cognizant of that, spokesperson Aaron Swaney said. He said they have gotten “a lot” of feedback.

The PUD Everett Substation on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

The PUD Everett Substation on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

“Being transparent is a really key part of this project,” Swaney said. “It is a high-profile one and is in kind of a dense, urban environment.”

Some local residents, like Amanda Peters, worry about property values and the threat of eminent domain.

“The city continually smashes high density population into Delta, without any community resources, parking, or forethought,” Peters wrote in an email to The Herald.

The PUD expects to finish the project in 2027.

“The exact costs are being determined by a consultant, but they do vary,” Haq said. “If you look at an area like Broadway, where you already have a lot of structures and it’s a highly industrialized area and there’s not a lot of space to work with — that drastically changes the poles we can use, how many poles we can install, which then drives costs up higher.”

He added: “If you look at a residential area, there’s a little more space to work with, however there’s a lot more right-of-way and easement acquisition, but we don’t necessarily need the large, giant poles.”

The official comment period is now over, according to the PUD.

“It’s unfortunate,” Bodge said. “I like my neighborhood and I advocate for them, and this won’t affect me and won’t be in my front yard. But I feel for the people who may have this planted on their street in front of their house.”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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