Everett man ends role in picking UW site

EVERETT — An Everett planning consultant hired to help in the search for a University of Washington campus in Snohomish County has stepped aside after landowners pushing for a Marysville site questioned whether he favored Everett.

Reid Shockey of Shockey-Brent Inc. said he was hired to provide technical information to the search firm, NBBJ of Seattle. His company has not been involved in making any recommendations about a final site. His firm had a $50,000 contract, Shockey said.

Four sites — two in Everett and one each in Lake Stevens and Marysville — remain from an original list of more than 70. A final recommendation is expected Nov. 15.

“The whole reason I just stepped away is this community has to be four-square behind whatever the recommendation is,” he said.

Over the years, Shockey has had consulting contracts with the cities of Everett, Lake Stevens and Marysville. He also contributed to Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson’s re-election campaign and served as the campaign’s co-chairman. Shockey has also contributed to Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall’s election campaign.

Some people felt he was too close to the Everett proposal, said Charla Neuman, a lobbyist. Her employer, Strategies 360, has contracts with the city of Marysville and a group of north county residents and businesses.

“Concerns and suggestions were definitely made to us,” Neuman said. “That was more by property owners and other members of the community.”

Kendall, the Marysville mayor, said Friday he didn’t have an issue with Shockey’s involvement in the search and was surprised to learn that he had stepped aside.

“Evidently, he was just feeling maybe it was the right thing to do,” Kendall said. “I didn’t have a problem. I think he’s a very credible person.”

Besides Shockey’s connections to the Everett mayor, Marysville area residents were concerned that Shockey served as chairman of a long-term planning panel, Vision 2025, for the city of Everett, Neuman said. The panel advocated for a four-year university in Everett city limits in a 2005 report to the Everett City Council.

Shockey said he was serving in a volunteer role and the plan was presented before the Legislature even decided to try to place a UW campus in Snohomish, Skagit or Island counties.

Shockey said all four sites could work for a university.

“Absolutely no one has any idea of what I like,” he said. That, he said, includes his daughter who lives in the Arlington area and is advocating for the Marysville site.

Shockey has had a planning consultant business for 27 years in Everett and has worked as a planner in Snohomish County for 38 years. He was planning director for the city of Everett in the late 1970s.

“Of course, he has worked for everyone,” said Deb Merle, a higher education adviser to Gov. Chris Gregoire. “We thought that Reid was a great benefit because he knows everyone up there.”

Merle stressed that “his role in the process will have nothing to do with the recommendation.”

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