Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting March 27th

thorntoncreekalliancelogoThe Thorton Creek Alliance will be having its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 27th at the Meadowbrook Community Center in Wedgwood starting at 7:15 PM. The public is invited.

In addition to elections, there will be a presentation on the Sound Transit Link Light Rail extension from Northgate to Lynnwood. Some of the questions to be addressed include: How are concerns specific to Thornton Creek being addressed during the construction phase? What are the mitigation projects and where are they planned? Are there opportunities for TCA to improve wetlands in the area through volunteer efforts? What is being considered and how will it impact Thornton Creek?

Sound Transit: Northgate Wetlands Mitigation Would Be Spent on Knickerbocker Project

Thursday night’s meeting of the Thornton Creek Alliance featured employees of Sound Transit who spoke at length about the impact of Link light rail construction on Thornton Creek. As part of the mitigation for impacting the wetlands at Northgate, Sound Transit has proposed paying for Seattle Public Utilities Knickerbocker Project in Victory Heights. SPU has no funds to finance the project itself which began with test drilling last week. While it might seem unfair and unconnected to the Northgate project, the amount of space to increase wetlands at Northgate (which often dry up during the summer) is limited due to the existing interstate and surface streets. Whereas the Knickerbocker Project, described as “shovel ready,” would be a substantial improvement to the quality of Thornton Creek. The Sound Transit money is not enough to finance the entire cost of the project which could still be delayed or canceled, but it is hoped it will attract grants to make up the rest.

During the six year construction of the Northgate Link Light Rail next to 1st Ave NE, Thornton Creek will be diverted into a culvert to protect it from dirt and other runoff. This was agreed by all the parties as the best solution, after which the creek would be daylighted again except for a 20 foot section to allow truck access across. A proposed pedestrian bridge over I-5 would cost an estimated $20 million. Sound Transit is committing $5 million to study it, with the city matching it with another $5 million. The rest would have to come from other sources if it were to be built.

Other TCA business included a unanimous vote to add Heather Ferguson to the board, revise membership levels, and a report from the treasurer of sufficient funds to finance activity through March 2013.

Brad Johnson reported that barring a last minute appeal, SPU would begin its controversial work on Meadowbrook Pond on July 9th.  Fifty to sixty trees are to be removed as part of much needed dredging in the pond (some places are only six inches deep).  Three hundred and eighty dump truck loads of sentiment (and invasive mudsnails) are to hauled to a site in Monroe for processing as safe soil.

After the meeting, a brief tour was made of the Meadowbrook Pond and confluence area around the community center.


Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting Highlights

Thursday night, the Thornton Creek Alliance met at the Meadowbrook Community Center for their general meeting and election. Highlights included a presentation by Rianne BeCraft from the National Wildlife Federation who talked about Certified Natural Habitats. This program is about changing the areas around our properties (everything from backyards to small parking strips) to be more plant and animal friendly with water sources, ground cover, food sources and sustainable gardening practices. Not only can residents get certified but entire communities can get together and be recognized.

This was followed by a short speech by Shoreline City Councilman Will Hall who announced that just that day Sound Transit had voted unanimously on the alignment for the Link Light Rail from Northgate to Lynnwood. Work would begin in 2017 and be completed in 2023, with the line running up the east side of Interstate 5 with two stops in between.  The planned stop at NE 145th Street was of particular interest to the TCA as Thornton Creek crosses directly under the freeway at that point at Jackson Park Golf Course. There is a movement to persuade Sound Transit to move the stop to NE 155th Street, and members were encouraged to contact the agency and express their opinion. For his part, Hall’s mantra was, “Change is scary.”

An e-mail from Greg Stevens, Seattle Public Utilities Senior Civil Engineer, was read. The Meadowbrook Pond Dredging and Improvement project is supposed to start this summer as well as the Thornton Creek Confluence. However he added they were “struggling with some permitting challenges that are putting our project schedule at risk” which might move one or both of them to summer 2013.

Closer to home in Victory Heights, Lynnette Spear reported the segment of Thornton Creek that passes through our area between Lake City Way and Northgate Way (officially designated the Kingfisher Natural Area) will have work parties on Sunday mornings beginning May 6th. We’ll post exact details as they are announced.

Elections were then held for various offices with 1 and 2 year terms, although no candidates were opposed and were voted in unanimously by the members present. Ruth Williams is taking over as President, Dass Adams as 1st Vice President, Frank Backus as Memebership Vice President and Tom Cunningham as Secretary.

Find out more about the Thornton Creek Alliance on their Facebook page, as they are still sorting out their website and obtaining a permanent URL for it.