Friends of Marymoor Park

February 28, 2024 Meeting Summary

-- see also the January 24, 2024  meeting summary

  1. Welcome and Introductions:

    Greg Helland, FOMP President; Chris Jordan, Marymoor Park Administration, King County Parks; Glenn Eades, Eastside Audubon Bird Loop, neighbor;  Shai Hinitz, MAR/C; Michael Hobbs, Marymoor Bird Survey, FOMP Secretary; Angie Heyer, Seattle Event Solutions; and Kate Akyuz King County Capital Project Manager.

  2. Sammamish River Capital Investment Strategy Project Update:

    In 1964, the US Army Corps of Engineers dredged and straightened the Sammamish River to protect agricultural lands from flooding.  All 13 miles of the Sammamish are a Federal flood control facility.  King County, as the local project sponsor, has maintenance responsibility.  The river is generally contained within its banks up to the "100-year" flood, with few exception.  Bear Creek can backwater upstream into the Sammamish River, creating high lake levels. 

    Maintenance:  KC must mow both riverbanks every year, and keep all 13 river miles in sod.  They must clear woody debris and vegetation, especially with the "Transition Zone" (the ~1500 ft. stretch near Lot D, that begins with the weir).  They must dredge tributary mouths, and remove all mammal burrows (filling them with rock).  The Corps 1135 Project, in 1999, rebuilt the weir to have a narrower, deeper notch to maintain better river flow during low water periods.  This was to help Chinook salmon.    Also in the 1990's, adjustments were made to the annual maintenance program.   All of the Transition Zone would still get mowed annually, but a 10-foot willow buffer is now left on both sides of the TZ low flow channel   Additionally, along all of the river, vegetation would be allowed where it would replace blackberry.

    • Sammamish River Transition Zone Maintenance - Annual, as described above.
    • Lake Sammamish Grant Program - Funding for  lakeshore recreation structure repair or removal.  There will be $1M in grants available to help fund mitigation options for lakeside landowners, such as conversion to floating docks, relocation or elevation of outbuildings, and other damage-reduction and floodproofing measures
    • Willowmoor Floodplain Restoration Project - Aimed at reducing lakeshore flooding while improving habitat conditions in the area of the Transition Zone. Design has been proceeding for at least a decade.  In November 2023, staff was directed to advance the a two-weir split-channel alternative to 30% design.  This would create a side-channel to the west of the existing river starting a little north of the Rowing Club, winding through the northern part of Marymoor West, and rejoining the river towards the lower end of the Transition Zone.  This would help with flood control as well as with salmon passage and river cooling.
    • Sammamish River Basin Corridor Investment Strategy (CIS) - Basin-wide approach to meet flood and habitat goals for river and lake.  Work with the Corps to update the 1965 Operations and Maintenance manual for the Sammamish River project.  Aimed at providing an updated capital investment and maintenance strategy for meeting flood control risk reduction, fish habitat, and navigability requirements of the USACE Sammamish River O&M Manual.  It would also determine an implementation strategy for projects proposed in the 2002 USACE Sammamish River Corridor Action Plan which were/are developed to address habitat problems related to the original project design. 

    Kate pointed out the following points:
    • The Transition Zone willow buffer has decreased in density, and that replanting has been unsuccessful.
    • Operations and Maintenance requirements are in conflict with Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements
    • With the ESA listing for Chinook, a 1-foot minimum flow is now required through the notch in the weir
    • There are new challenges to the river, including infestation with Brazilian Elodea, problems with sediment, and erosion
    • The Willowmoor Floodplain restoration Project was paused due to its projected minimal effect on lake flooding

    Greg asked whether modifications to the weir would require an act of Congress.  The answer was Not Necessarily.  The local Corps of Engineers office has some leeway, as does the National Corps office.  But Congress may be required for certain issues.

    Greg asked if a dynamic weir wouldn't increase downstream flooding.   The answer was that, if you can predict a coming flood, you may be able to use the dynamic weir to lower lake levels before the flood event.  But this could harm the Marymoor wetlands, and it could subject Redmond with more frequent low-level flooding.

  3. Further discussion on closing the park at night:

    One sheriff's deputy wrote an email promoting closing Marymoor overnight to discourage vandalism.  FOMP and Chris enumerated many challenges to closing the park: Varied closing time, making sure homeless are not parked in the various parking lots, the issue of legitimate park users using the park during the 4am-6am period which would be before the park reopens each day, etc.  This is, by far, not as simple as it seems at first, requiring staff time from KC Parks and/or KC Sheriffs.

  4. CIP/Project/Facility Updates:

    a.    Eastside Audubon Birdloop: Do have funding for updating the Kiosk displays, and they are working with Parks on that.  Monthly work parties are continuing. 

    b.    Marymoor Community Gardens: Season is getting underway

    c.    R/C Field (MAR/C): Concrete was laid last Friday; curing now.  Construction of the upper parts will be starting soon.  Shai was very complementary to the Parks staff working on this.  Hoping to be 95% done by end of March.

    d.    Off-leash area (SODA): Put up signs to discourage people from putting out bird seed within the off-leash area.  Started the process of replacing the split-rail around the parking lot.

    e.    Cascade Music Collective and Seattle Event Solutions (Concert venue): Remlinger Farms has opened up for concerts, and there are other venues getting going as well.  There is more competition in trying to sign bands.  Otherwise, they are ramping up, and will have their first concert in early June.

    f.    Maintenance: Lighting project around the mansion parking area is wrapping up.  Next is the lighting for the turf fields.  Mostly, they are working on restoring the Art Barn after the flooding, and prepping the baseball fields for the spring season.

    g.    Events Update:  Movies in the park will be returning.  Gateway trail work will curtail late-summer events somewhat.  Cirque du Soleil will be moving in during December.

    h.    Sound Transit Light Rail: Tree planting will be delayed into March.  They also will be restoring field netting, etc. along the right of way before

    i.    Cricket:  Greg has determined that FOMP can speak to KC Council during the “open mike” portion during one particular council meeting each month.  Or FOMP can try to get on the agenda of any council meeting.  Greg realized, very belatedly, that he never hit Send on the letter he/FOMP wrote to Council Member Balduchi.  He will update it and actually send it soon.
    Next meeting Wednesday, March 27th 2024

and get notifications of meetings and news:


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.

Home | Mission | Members | Events | News | Maps | Getting There | Contact Us | Links | Search
Meeting Summaries |
Wildlife at Marymoor | Birding at Marymoor Park

Problems, comments, suggestions?  Email the FOMP webmaster at