Friends of Marymoor Park

January 28, 2015 Meeting Summary

-- see also the July, 2014  meeting summary 

1) Introductions:    Norah Robinson, King County Parks; Greg Helland, FOMP President, SODA representative; Michael Hobbs, Eastside Audubon, FOMP Secretary; Laura Hall, Marymoor Community Gardens, FOMP Board; Colin Macdonald and Tyson Cecka, Parkour Visions; Rosanna Snyder, Community Parks Grants;  Brian McFadden and Rob Thomas AEG Live (producers of Marymoor Concerts);  Marcus Charles & David Meinert, Seattle Event Solutions (concert subcontractor); Glenn Eades, Eastside Audubon and neighbor; Ollie Oliver, birdwatcher and neighbor; Brian Tosh, neighbor.

2) Parkour Visions – Colin MacDonald

Parkour is a recreation/sport involving scrambling games and challenges. Parkour Visions, a 501(c)3 founded in 2007, is dedicated to teaching and coaching parkour.  They have an indoor parkour gym/facility in Queen Anne.

They would like to build a public outdoor facility at Marymoor. Colin showed photos of some from Europe and from the only such course in the US.

They want to put in a course just to the north of the Climbing Rock – approx. 50x50 feet. The plan is to have concrete walls, concrete platforms, with metal rails and railings, and with a rubberized safety surface on the ground level. Tallest parts of the structure would be 7’.  It would be suitable for kids to adults, with challenges designed for multiple skill levels. They’ve planned for things like subsurface drainage. It will be wheelchair accessible from the existing trail. Designed to meet European safety and design standards.

While the facility would be an open, public facility, Parkour Visions and other such organizations would hold scheduled classes at the facility.   When a scheduled event is not occurring, anyone would be free to use the facility.

King County would own the facility. State law vis-à-vis liability limits possible lawsuits somewhat; this facility would legally be considered very similar to a skateboard park or the climbing wall.

Parkour Visions has submitted a very detailed application with design to CPG, and it is under consideration. Some feedback from Parks has already been integrated into the design. Funding is available, should CPG decide to move forward. Budget is forecast at about $180,000.

There was general, strong support for a parkour course as described.  Michael said he could, surprisingly, find no reason to oppose it.  Ollie asked about the risk of graffiti; there will be surface elements that may discourage it.

Greg would like any substantive design changes to be sent to FOMP.

3)  Concert Update – AEG Live

AEG Live manages the Marymoor Concerts. Seattle Event Solutions manages the food services.

Brian mentioned that they have been talking to Norah about switching which picnic shelter that is incorporated into the concert area. Last year, the North Shelter was inside and the South Shelter outside; that may switch for 2015 (returning it to the previous configuration).

The problem of access to the restrooms during non-concert days was addressed again. Last year, the restrooms were often behind the locked concert fencing, even days before or after a concert.  Michael has asked that they be available, at least from the playground side, as much as possible.  After discussion, it sounds as if switching the incorporated shelter will make things easier for 2015. AEG and SES will work with Parks to improve the situation.  There were repeated calls for another flush restroom (not just portapotties); adding to the dog washing building was suggested.  A restroom near Lot G has also been suggested in the past.

Ollie, neighbor, complained that sometimes sound carries annoyingly up the hill to his house (near 156th Ave).

Brian Tosh, neighbor, is fine with the concert noise, but requested an end to concert+movie double billings, since traffic in the area comes to a standstill.

Greg noted that, since AEG took over, there have been fewer complaints about sound. AEG put in a different subwoofer system in 2012, and added curtain side-walls to the stage last year, and those seem to have helped.

AEG is expecting to have somewhere around 18 concerts in 2015, though that number is still flexible.

4) CIP/Project/Facility Updates

a) Birdloop: Asphalt trail replacement, and irrigation in the viewing mound / East Meadow area, have both been budgeted for 2015-16. Additional projects, TBD. Replacement of the boardwalk will require substantial investigation and planning.

b) Noxious Weeds: Eastside Audubon has given their okay to targeted herbicide application to try to control the Canada Thistle that is becoming dominant in the East Meadow. This will be done by Parks early this spring, with follow-up and a probable second application later in the year.

A report on the efficacy of herbicide control of the 23+ acres at Marymoor that are dominated by Garden Loosestrife shows that they have had measurable but minimal success. They can reduce the density of plants somewhat, but were unable to get anywhere near control.

c) Community Gardens: Laura raised the issue that MCGA has been trying for 3 years to get the long paths through the Community Gardens resurfaced. The current paths are so uneven that people have been twisting their ankles. She pointed out that the Parkour course might get $180K, while the garden path situation is not funded.  Norah agreed that this needs to be a higher priority, but she stressed that a specific plan is a necessary first step.

There is already a waiting list for garden plots for 2015, though the new ADA-accessible plots are still available.

Laura would like the fence along the north edge to be repaired.

d) Marymoor West and Boathouse Project: Construction work continues; the exterior exit stairs are being installed.

e) Lot B Drainage: Lot B grading has paused but will resume at a later time.

f) Sammamish River Transition Zone: Greg gave a report on the past Shareholder Advisory Committee meeting, outlining the 2-4 remaining options being considered.  They will be moving forward with design work on their preferred plans, and will be presenting them at public meeting(s) in the coming months.  LATEST NEWS:  There will be a public meeting from 10-noon on Saturday, March 14.

g) Clise Mansion repairs: There is some funding in the 2015-2016 funding cycle for the Clise Mansion. Window repairs may take first priority, so there may or may not be money available to upgrade the kitchen.

h) Concert Venue: Current funding is inadequate for full room replacement, so repairs will be performed, to continue use of the exisiting structure for now.

5) Other

Heritage Festival question
A park user asked if the Heritage Festival will ever return.  Heritage Festival used to be entirely funded and managed by King County Parks.   It was cut during the initial funding crisis in 2002.  The only likely way it could ever come back would be if an outside coalition came forward.  Partial funding and/or support from King County might be possible.
Longtime Marymoor employee, Anne Lipe, will be retiring in April.

Discussion of email sent to FOMP from a concerned park user worried about dogs

We had a long discussion concerning a well-written email sent to FOMP concerning dogs at Marymoor.  Most of us have witnessed for ourselves the issues that concerned this park user the most:  Dogs off leash both north and south of the Dog Area, entering the river; erosion along the river just south of the Dog Area (not entirely due to dogs); dogs in the East Meadow east of the Dog Area. 

We all felt that some of the proposed solutions seemed very reasonable, while others were unreasonable.  There was no support within FOMP to permanently close off access from the Dog Area to the nature trail, for example.  But other suggested solutions were met with support or triggered slightly different suggestions.

The fence along the east edge of the Dog Area could be made taller, though this might block views down towards Mt. Rainier.   View preservation is a long-standing concern within FOMP and for King County.  Still, one rung higher might or might not block views.  Making sure that the fence has mesh preventing dogs from jumping through it made sense to many at the meeting, both for that fence, and for the fences along the river.  Planting more roses, etc., on the east side of the fence to make a natural hedge that would discourage dogs was an idea that had a lot of support at the meeting, and which is being implemented already by Eastside Audubon.

The writer specifically asked for mesh up to the top rung on the fencing that separates the Dog Area from the river.  There was unanimous support for this idea, with the caveat that Michael believed there were specific objections to this from SODA.  Greg agreed to try to talk with the Trockels to find out specifically what those objections might be.

The writer also called for fencing off the damaged area along the river south of the Dog Area.  This has already been recognized as a problem needing urgent action by both Eastside Audubon and King County.    There has been discussion about building a dock-like structure to allow river access (for fishing, viewing, and possibly for canoe/kayak tie-ups), and otherwise restricting access to the river along that section.  Some dog owners would undoubtedly use this dock as a dog swim access spot, but the dock would reduce erosion even from that non-sanctioned activity.

Greg and others suggested that Norah talk with the SODA group about making a renewed and forthright request to their members to keep off-leash dogs only within the Dog Area.

Michael stated that he had replied to the concerned park user with some historical information about the Dog Area (including that things are better now than they have been in the past), and also conveying some information about plans already underway to address these problems. 

Next Meeting: February 25, 2015, at the Art Barn

These notes do not constitute an official record of the meeting.  They may have inaccuracies and omissions.  If anyone has any complaints about the content of these notes, they should direct them to Michael Hobbs at, and he will endeavor to correct them.


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