The year ahead spells out one definite theme for Snohomish County: growth.
From a huge county campus project in downtown Everett to a new wheelchair ramp being built in Index, cities across the county continue to construct buildings on major and minor scale.
And though growth seems to be sprouting every which way, one project tops the charts as the largest in the county’s history. And Snohomish County government will wrap up that project when a new administration building and expanded jail open this year.
Dan Bates / The Herald
Dan Bates / The Herald
County employees will start the move into the new administration building in March.
Also by March, most of the workers in the expanded jail will have moved in and started preparing the building for inmates.
Construction on the $86.5 million jail began in spring 2003, and work started on the new $37.5 million administration building in winter 2003.
The campus redevelopment project also includes a $29 million underground parking garage, which has been open since February 2004.
The new flight museum at Paine Field Snohomish County Airport will also open this summer. The $21.7 million museum will be called The Future of Flight Aviation Center &Boeing Tour and is expected to draw 300,000 visitors a year.
But growth and development has touched each corner of the county. Here’s a comprehensive look at what’s to come in the year ahead, from city to city, and from the county courthouse to the county line.
By the end of 2004, construction had progressed enough on Arlington’s new police station and City Hall annex that it now dominates the downtown landscape.
The 18,000-square-foot building has an $8.35 million price tag and is expected to be ready by July 4. The city has 25 police officers and four support personnel.
The saga of car dealer Dwayne Lane’s attempt in recent years to extend the city’s urban growth area north from Smokey Point to Island Crossing is destined to continue in 2005.
Environmentalists opposed the project, saying it violates state growth management rules designed to curb sprawl, preserve farmland and avoid developing in floodplains. A state growth board agreed and ruled against Lane’s proposal. And outgoing Gov. Gary Locke ordered sanctions against the county – which may lose millions of dollars of gas tax revenues – because of the dispute.
Lane appealed to Snohomish County Superior Court, which is scheduled to hear the matter April 1.
Most of the City Council has expressed support for Lane, who is one of the city’s biggest sales tax generators. Lane wants to move from downtown to I-5 to increase his sales.
Two roads will be improved and work will begin on two new parks in Bothell this year.
A portion of Highway 524 will be widened and lanes on Highway 522 will be reconfigured for safety, said interim city manager Manny Ocampo.
Work on the first phase of Thrasher’s Corner regional park at 12th Avenue SE and 208th Street SE and Cedar Grove park at 22421 Ninth Ave. SE will begin this year. Work will be completed on Cedar Grove in the coming year and on Thrasher’s Corner in 2006, Ocampo said.
The projects are part of a two-year, $32 million plan that also includes smaller improvement projects for roads, bridges and parks.
Bob Stowe will take over as city manager this month after serving nine years in that capacity in Mill Creek.
Mayor Patrick Ewing and City Council members Mike Johnson, Jeff Merrill and Sandy Guinn will be up for re-election.
Town officials want to work with Snohomish County to get more money to develop a ballpark complex north of town.
The land has been logged but stump piles still need to be burned. The town would also like to add two more baseball diamonds for a total of three diamonds and one soccer field, with the hopes of hosting tournaments.
The Town Council is expected to approve getting construction bids for a new maintenance shop early in 2005.
Mayor Joyce Jones said the town also is going to look for funding to repair some of Darrington’s streets.
Construction is slated to begin early in the year on the $16 million remodeling of the Edmonds Center for the Arts.
The goal is to have the former Puget Sound Christian College building at 410 Fourth Ave. N. ready for performances of the “Nutcracker” by December.
Early in the year, the City Council is expected to decide on changes to the city’s comprehensive plan that could mean taller buildings in parts of downtown Edmonds, a proposal opposed by many community activists.
City officials have declared their intent to annex the Esperance area in the first half of the year.
A second Sounder commuter rail train, with stops in Edmonds, should be running in September.
Unocal and the state Department of Transportation are negotiating sale of Unocal’s property at Point Edwards, a Unocal official said. The property is the proposed site of a joint transit terminal for ferries, trains and buses.
Unocal is slated to issue a draft cleanup plan for the former petroleum storage-and-mixing site by next fall, said consultant Greg Glass, who is monitoring the cleanup process for a citizens’ advisory panel. The cleanup would begin in 2006.
The City Council’s biggest development issue will be how to develop 100 acres along the Snohomish River once used for a landfill and a pulp and paper mill.
The city hopes to choose a developer by April. The site will likely include a branch of Bastyr University, a Kenmore-based college that teaches natural healing and health sciences, and a mix of residential, retail and entertainment, along with parkland.
Revitalizing downtown will also continue to be high on the council agenda. That may include a relaxation of building-height limits in part of downtown. Improving the northern and southern ends of Broadway also will be discussed.
Early in the year, the council will decide whether to allow Providence Everett Medical Center to move ahead with its plans for growth.
Despite vehement protests from some neighbors, the hospital is asking the city to rezone a block of houses the hospital owns. The cottage-style homes, built by Everett developer Edward Donovan, are part of a city historic district. If the rezone passes, 21 homes would be razed or relocated to make way for a tower and parking garage.
Everett voters will face another mayor’s race this year, after the close 2003 election.
Mayor Ray Stephanson, who unseated Frank Anderson in November 2003, will face City Councilman Ron Gipson. Mayoral elections are usually held every four years, but Mayor Ed Hansen resigned in July 2002 to run the Snohomish County PUD, months after winning a four-year term.
The November 2003 election was to finish the last two years of that term.
Three City Council members also will be up for election this year: Arlan Hatloe, Marian Krell and Mark Olson. Hatloe and Olson are expected to run again. Krell hasn’t decided.
This city is the exception to the growth theme with no new major projects slated for this year, said Hester Gilleland, the city’s clerk and treasurer.
Mayor Colleen Hawkins will be up for re-election in 2005, Gilleland said. Four seats out of the five-member City Council also will be up for election.
Work will continue this year on a long-awaited alternate route for the area’s many gravel trucks.
Fund-raising for the approximately $20 million project is on schedule and expected to pass the halfway mark soon.
Nearby gravel pits generate plenty of town traffic, with a truck passing through every 30 seconds. That traffic could increase to one every 20 seconds in 2005, based on production estimates in one county report.
The traffic has already caused cracks and sinking spots on Stanley Street, despite a $603,000 reconstruction project in 2003. City officials will have to consider what kind of fix, if any, the city can afford in 2005.
The city will also continue to try to line up grants to help pay for an estimated $4 million improvement to its sewage treatment plant. In September, the City Council imposed a six-month moratorium on new sewer hookups. The council will likely have to decide at least once this year whether to extend that moratorium while they work to increase the plant’s capacity.
This town of about 150 people has a few projects scheduled in 2005, said Leigh Christianson, deputy town clerk.
It plans to renovate facilities at the Dolittle Park, she said. It will also build a handicap access ramp to the town hall on Avenue A. “It’s sleepy around here,” she said.
Units for the new $1.3 million police station will start going up next week, with the new facility opening its doors in February. Police are eager to move in after 14 years in a small remodeled house.
Plans to revitalize downtown continue, with fund-raising for a new gym at the Boys &Girls Club wrapping up early this year. Signs will direct users of a bike and horse trail along Machias Road to downtown. And library board members are keen on getting a new library.
Local decision-makers also are watching for more details from Seattle-based Mastro Properties, which has proposed a 115,000-square-foot retail complex along Grade Road.
Jan Larsen, president of the Greater Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce, said he hopes to “lead by example.” The new four-story downtown building that will house his financial services business also will be his home. “Things are starting to happen,” he said.
The $33 million Lynnwood Convention Center is slated to open in April.
The city’s multicultural fair will be timed to coincide with the opening, setting up a weekend of festivities, said City Council President Lisa Utter.
The city center plan, aimed at creating a high-rise, central downtown area, will be up for approval by the City Council in February.
And the city might put a measure on the ballot to help pay for a new community center, Utter said. The former Office Depot building at 196th Street SW and Scriber Lake Road has been studied as a possible site.
Two neighborhood parks are expected to open in 2005, one on 64th Avenue W. and another on 33rd. A planned pedestrian bridge over I-5 is also planned for the coming year, Utter said.
And at the ballot box, Mayor Mike McKinnon and council members Utter, Martin Nelson and Ruth Ross will be up for re-election.
Marysville officials have been working to enhance community development and bring new businesses to the city to stave off tax increases.
It’s a top priority for City Hall. If the city continues its current rate of spending without adding new revenue sources, it will be in the red within a few years.
Marysville laid much of the groundwork for more residential and commercial growth in 2004 by completing or beginning a number of large projects.
Those included upgrading its wastewater treatment plant, connecting to Everett’s deep-water sewage outfall, building a water treatment facility in the north end, building the first of four storm-water detention ponds, launching a major upgrade of State Avenue in the downtown area, and beginning work on Ebey Waterfront Park.
Despite the fact that city and county officials ended negotiations with International Speedway Corp. to build a NASCAR racetrack in the north Marysville area, the city’s efforts are beginning to bear fruit. A small mall is under way in the north end and the city is negotiating with a number of new businesses interested in building in Marysville.
“We have to have that economic development and new sales taxes to keep the taxes down,” Mayor Dennis Kendall said. “My main goal is you live here, you work here and you shop here. The more jobs I can provide, the more people I get off the freeway.”
Quil Ceda Village will be the site of a lot of construction activity for the Tulalip Tribes in 2005.
Construction continues on the Seattle Premium Outlet mall, which will feature more than 100 stores. A central plaza will be placed between the mall and the Tulalip Casino, featuring an amphitheater and cultural center.
“We’re in negotiations with some medium-sized box stores for that property that’s between the casino and the Home Depot,” said John McCoy, a 38th District state lawmaker and general manager of the tribe’s Quil Ceda Village. “You’ll probably see some construction there in the spring time.”
With warmer weather, construction also is expected to begin on a new tribal administration building, likely to be placed somewhere around Tulalip Bay.
The city’s Town Center retail area is expected to be almost completely developed by the end of this year, Mayor Terry Ryan said. The existing buildings are 90 percent full and the two remaining lots should be developed and occupied by the end of 2005.
The proposed annexation of the Thomas Lake-Heatherwood area northeast of the city will likely come to a vote of the council in the spring. Residents of the area are currently circulating petitions.
City officials could also discuss their long-term annexation strategy and decide whether to pursue any further additions to the city, Ryan said.
City manager Bob Stowe will leave in January to take the same position in Bothell. Stowe has been with the city for nine years, and former Lynnwood city administrator Mike Caldwell will fill in on an interim basis while the city searches for a replacement.
Council members Ryan, Donna Michelson, Mary Kay Voss and John Hudgins will be up for re-election.
In 2005, the North Kelsey economic development off U.S. 2 east of the Evergreen State Fairgrounds may see new businesses come in.
The city hopes to market the development soon, Mayor Donnetta Walser said. The city considers the development one of its most important economic projects to boost sales tax revenues. The city owns about 37 acres of the approximately 60-acre development.
Walser, who will be up for re-election this year, said she wants to see progress in fund-raising to build a new YMCA in town. The YMCA announced in 2004 plans to build a 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot facility. The construction of the $9 million project is expected to start in 2006.
City Councilmen Mitch Ruth, Ken Berger, Geoffrey Thomas and Robert Zimmerman will be up for re-election in 2005.
The city has budgeted $1.5 million to replace or remodel its downtown fire station.
Bids are expected to be received this month and the City Council will then decide whether to rebuild or remodel the fire station. Completion is targeted for March 2006.
The city is expected in the new year to set new, tighter design rules for new development, both commercial and residential, City Council mayor pro-tem Michelle Robles said.
City Council members Jerry Smith, Jamie Gravelle, Doug Wittinger and Angela Amundson will be up for re-election.
The year 2005 could be a big one for Mukilteo.
A decision on where to build a new City Hall – which will determine the fate of the Rosehill Community Center – will be made early in this year.
Progress could be made in developing a plan for waterfront development, Mayor Don Doran said. Work is expected to begin on a temporary train station that would allow commuters to board and disembark Sounder commuter rail in Mukilteo by 2006. And work could begin on reconfiguration of Lighthouse Park.
On the waterfront, a preliminary proposal by the Port of Everett for 22 acres of open land emphasizes condominiums as high as 50 feet, Doran said. City officials would rather see an emphasis on lower-density retail businesses and offices.
Early in the year, the city will discuss locations for the train station with Sound Transit. After that, Doran said, he will ask the City Council to make a statement on what they’d like to see on the waterfront and work with the port to push the project forward.
Design will begin on improvements for Lighthouse Park, which involve replacing some parking with lawn, restoring some beach areas, creating a new overlook point for vehicles and rerouting traffic. If things move quickly, it’s possible construction could begin this year.
Doran and council members Cathy Reese, John Sullivan and Lori Kaiser will be up for re-election in November.
In 2004, growth had spurred the city and residents to find a consensus on appropriate signage in town after digital and electronic signs raised some eyebrows.
The City Council will likely settle the issue with a new signage ordinance in February, Mayor Liz Loomis said.
A few major projects are coming up in 2005. The city will open bids Jan. 24 for the construction of the new visitors’ information center at First Street and Avenue D, public works director Dan Takasugi said. The building, parking area and sidewalk may cost the city up to $220,000 and could be completed in July.
The city will also continue to improve the riverfront trail along Snohomish River, Loomis said. In 2005, it plans to renovate the trail between Kla Ha Ya Park and Avenue D.
This year, the city may start its biggest project – to build a sewer trunk line in town, Takasugi said. The four-part project is estimated to cost the city about $9.3 million. The construction of the first segment will likely start this year along Bickford Avenue.
The seven-member City Council may see a shuffle. Loomis, Doug Thorndike, Cameron Bailey and Chris Lundvall will be up for re-election in November.
City officials will have two contentious issues to settle in 2005 – big box stores and what to do with Stanwood’s fire department.
Many people in town were alarmed by news this fall that a new Wal-Mart might be proposed for 23 acres on Highway 532 near the high school. Opponents fear the mega-retailer would dry up business downtown. Others say the city could use the sales taxes.
Arlington developer Brent McKinley asked the city to change the zoning there from residential to commercial, and Wal-Mart has expressed interest in the property. Other big box stores could work there, too.
A petition against the rezone in Stanwood has been gathering hundreds of signatures.
The City Council put off making a decision until an economic impact study can be done. A public hearing about the rezone could happen as soon as this month.
The future of the city’s fire department should start to take shape in the first few months of 2005.
Interim Fire Chief Doug McNall’s contract ends April 30. Before then he hopes to have set up the city with a new paramedic service. Camano Island and Arlington fire departments have presented proposals to take over Stanwood’s paramedic service.
District 14, which covers adjacent rural areas, is expected to offer one, too.
McNall also has been directed to put the city on track to merge its fire department with one of its neighboring fire districts.
The issue is a political hot potato – McNall’s predecessor, Kevin Taylor, was fired after Mayor Herb Kuhnly decided Taylor wasn’t moving quickly enough on a merger with District 14. Stanwood firefighters were upset and have expressed reluctance to work with District 14’s administration.
Along with a new housing development, the city expects to start two major road projects in spring, Mayor Ben Tolson said.
One project will cost the city about $1.2 million to install a stop light at U.S. 2 and First Street. The other one will move the intersection of U.S. 2 and Sultan Basin Road roughly 400 feet east, which will cost the city about $1.9 million.
This year, the city will celebrate its 100th birthday with a variety of events such as festivals and exhibitions, Tolson said.
Growth isn’t the only thing happening in Snohomish County.
The coming year may see some new faces in county government.
Three of five seats on the Snohomish County Council will be up for grabs in November. Republicans John Koster and Jeff Sax and Democrat Dave Gossett have all filed for re-election, and are running for their second terms.
With a 3-2 split on the council, with Republicans in the majority, the political direction could change if one of two Republicans lose.
The council majority switched to Republican in the 2001 race, when Sax and Koster were elected.
The building boom is already cresting for several public safety agencies in Snohomish County.
The Arlington Police Department is expected to move into its new 18,000-square-foot station July 4. And the new Hilton Lake Fire Station at 108th Street SE and 35th Avenue SE in Everett will open in February.
Beyond brick-and-mortar improvements, several police agencies across the county will tap technology to improve services.
The Everett Police Department expects to expand its wireless computer network. In 2004, the department built a network that allows officers to access the Internet and the city’s intranet from their cars.
They can look up state laws, department policies and procedures, and check e-mail from their patrol cars. The department is expected to equip up to 100 more police and fire vehicles with wireless capabilities, Sgt. Boyd Bryant said.
Mountlake Terrace police will go high-tech in 2005, installing video cameras in six patrol cars in February. Officers also will get equipment that will allow them to type and print tickets from their patrol cars, Mountlake Terrace Police Chief Scott Smith said.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office plans to start a palm-print identification system in summer to allow deputies to compare palm prints left at a crime scene with a database of archived prints, Sheriff Rick Bart said. The sheriff’s office received federal funding for the database.
Victims of domestic violence will automatically be notified that their abusers are being released from jail under a new program the Snohomish County Jail plans to start in May.
Other headlining efforts to improve police services in the past will return in 2005.
The sheriff’s office will continue to push for state funding for a methamphetamine strike team to target meth houses next year, Bart said.
The sheriff also plans to ask the County Council to restore all the department’s positions that were cut in 2004, and add nearly 100 more deputies to the force.
Speaking of new hires, Snohomish County Fire District 8 in Lake Stevens expects finalists for the fire chief’s job to visit at the end of January, Deputy Chief Dave Lingenfelter said. The fire district hopes to have its next chief on the job by spring, he said.
Arlington’s new airport resource officer is expected to complete his initial training by May and begin his new beat. The department hopes to provide a higher level of service to the airport and surrounding businesses.
And a new anti-crime team is expected to start April 1 after the two new officers, who were hired in 2004, complete their training. The team will focus on high-crime areas.
In the courtroom
In Snohomish County courts, one new judge will be sworn in Friday.
Eric Lucas, a state administrative appeals judge, defeated three-term incumbent David Hulbert in the November general election for a Superior Court spot.
The courts will be busy in 2005 with more murder defendants than usual.
Chief among them is the case of a man who was convicted of aggravated murder in the 1995 death of 7-year-old Roxanne Doll.
Richard Matthew Clark’s murder conviction stands, but the state Supreme Court has sent the case back for sentencing. A jury in 1997 ruled that Clark should be executed.
In the new sentencing, another jury will hear most of the facts of the case and make a second life-or-death determination on Clark.
Also, the Superior Court likely will see a number of other defendants sent back for evaluation after another state Supreme Court decision that invalidated up to 21 second-degree murder cases here.
In some cases, prosecutors may be able to try the cases again, perhaps going after first-degree intentional murder or a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Other defendants could go free, despite long prison sentences imposed years ago.
Among them is Thomas J. Humphries, who was sentenced to 33 years in prison for killing and dismembering his pregnant girlfriend, Shelia Latta, 20, in 1992.
On the road
Next year looks to be an active year for the state Department of Transportation in Snohomish County.
In spring it will start construction on its ambitious plan to widen I-5 in Everett in just two years.
The state decided to speed up the project so that it doesn’t conflict with the 2010 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Vancouver, B.C.
Funded by the nickel-a-gallon gas tax the Legislature approved in 2003, the Everett I-5 project will extend a carpool lane from the Boeing freeway north to U.S. 2 and add an all-purpose lane from 41st Street SE to U.S. 2. The lanes will be added northbound and southbound.
Other major 2005 projects that will be under way include:
* Finishing work on the new 172nd Street NE bridge over I-5 in Smokey Point.
* Completing the widening of the north end of the Bothell-Everett Highway.
* Construction on a new Highway 522 overpass at Fales and Echo Lake roads will move forward. The project should be half finished by the end of the year.
* Work on widening Highway 9 from Highway 522 to Maltby Road will begin, the first phase of a long-term bid to widen the two lane road to four lanes.
And more trains
Sound Transit will launch a second round-trip Everett-to-Seattle Sounder train in September.
The commuter rail service got its start a year ago with one daily train that goes south with the morning commute and returns in the evenings. The service has been popular among those who can ride it, but critics have called on the agency to offer more train times.
Sound Transit plans to ramp up to four round-trip trains by 2007.
Sound Transit also plans to start construction on a temporary Sounder station in Mukilteo because construction on the permanent station is indefinitely delayed. The station isn’t likely to open until early 2006.
Currently Sounder only stops in Everett and Edmonds in Snohomish County.
King County expects to start construction on the controversial Brightwater sewage treatment plant in south Snohomish County by summer.
The controversial plant will cost $1.48 billion to build and is expected to be finished by 2010.
Residents who live near its Highway 9 and Highway 522 site have fought the project vehemently. Proceedings on a lawsuit they filed challenging the environmental review will start in March.
King County also expects to spend the early part of 2005 taking a closer look at how it will build the facility strong enough to handle a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. It will publish a supplemental environmental impact statement in late February or early March.
In the coming year, Snohomish County residents will also be intensely interested in decisions made well beyond the county’s borders that could greatly affect the lives of people here.
Naval Station Everett
Naval Station Everett will celebrate back-to-back homecomings when the destroyer USS Shoup and the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln return from a four-month deployment sometime in February. The warships were directed to the typhoon-devastated areas of southern Asia.
The next round of military base closures comes to a head in 2005, and Naval Station Everett and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station will both be scrutinized as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
In March, President Bush will nominate commissioners to serve on the BRAC board. And in May, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will present his recommendations on which military bases should be shut down. The BRAC commission is expected to complete its report by September, and the president has until Nov. 7 to submit his recommendation to Congress.
Gov. Gary Locke is set to hand off the baton of power to a new chief executive, Democratic Gov.-elect Christine Gregoire. What Locke says in his farewell address and what Gregoire proclaims in her inaugural speech will set the tone for a legislative session that could be marked by partisan conflict, a fallout from the prolonged battle for governor.
Democrats hold strong majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, so they could control the debate. But Republicans are focused on squeezing out compromises before any laws are forwarded to the governor.
Lawmakers are already penning piles of proposals to create jobs, aid businesses, improve public schools, increase college enrollment, build roads and provide health care to the needy.
But the overriding task for the legislators and the new governor is plugging a massive $1.8 billion budget deficit. Look for decisions by June to trim programs and possibly add new taxes.
Issues other than money will garner attention. Time will be spent on laws that would legalize ball fields on some rural lands, reform how votes are counted and let parents eavesdrop on their children’s phone conversations.
Contributing to this story were Herald reporters Jerry Cornfield, Jim Haley, Diana Hefley, Cathy Logg, Scott Morris, Yoshiaki Nohara, David Olson, Bill Sheets, Katherine Schiffner, Melissa Slager, Lukas Velush and Jennifer Warnick.