Year in Review: December 2019


Last updated 12/31/2019 at 12:28pm

Beacon file photo

Bridget Macchione uses heavy-duty binoculars to see across the water and look out for protected species during ferry terminal construction.

What's next for Hawthorne Hall?

The City Council is discussing alternatives for Hawthorne Hall after the Boys and Girls Club relocated to a new facility. In determining the future of the property, the City said it needs an accurate understanding of the building's structural condition and cost estimates to address major deficiencies. 

The Council aims to make a long-term decision on the future use of the property, at 1134 Second St., after a structural analysis to determine the condition of the building is completed. The motion to approve a proposal by OTAK, Inc. was passed unanimously at a City Council meeting Nov. 25. 

"This particular agenda item takes us far back to the extent that it deals with Hawthorne Hall and the use of that facility by the Boys and Girls Club," Community Development Director David Osaki said.

Hawthorne Hall is a 7,492 square-foot building on a 16,021 square-foot lot. The two-story building was built in the 1920s and can be found on the City's historic register, according to staff reports. The property is owned by the City of Mukilteo and was leased to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish Counties in about 1964.

The council directed staff to obtain a consultant cost estimate to make structural repairs to the building. Otak Inc., one of the City's on-call consultants, prepared an estimate of $49,751 for a structural assessment. This amount was presented to council members Sept. 3.

Since then, City staff and OTAK agreed on a revised scope for the project in the amount of $34,206. The primary savings come from the elimination of the architectural assessment component, as staff decided the expensive evaluation could be done without a consultant. 


Khan takes oath of office one month early

Scott Whelpley has resigned from City Council nearly one month before Riaz Khan's start date. Khan was sworn into office Dec. 2.

Whelpley resigned after moving outside city limits. His last motion on council was to have Khan fill his position.

"Thank you to the staff," Whelpley said. "They have shown true leadership in what I have seen in my last four years."

He expressed gratitude to City staff for teaching him how to lead a city and how City staff are involved in the process. But he said he has learned more about himself than anything else.

As a last message, Whelpley said the City should seriously be concerned about the future expansion of commercial areas. He said Paine Field is only going to continue expanding.

"There's nothing we can do about it. It's going to happen," he said. "You need to come to a realization. It's the truth."

The following week, Khan took the oath of office at the beginning of the council meeting. He defeated Christopher Maddux for Position 5 in the general election Nov. 5.

Khan said he will miss the work and leadership of Whelpley and Steve Schmalz, who will be leaving council at the end of the year.

"They have done much great work for the City," Khan said. "I am going to continue carrying the load."

The woman in the lighthouse

Residents have expressed concern after seeing a person wandering around the Mukilteo Lighthouse lately. Yes, there has been someone inside the lighthouse. No, it is not an intruder.

Her name is Bridget Macchione, and she is a marine mammal monitor. She uses the elevation of the lighthouse to look for protected species in the water during construction of the new Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal project.

"Every now and then, someone notices that I'm standing here," she said. "It's pretty obvious when someone is up here."

Macchione is there to monitor the water when crews are pile-driving and building the in-water elements of the new terminal. She is employed by Manson Construction, the marine contractor, and communicates with them whenever a sea creature is heading their way.

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She is typically looking for harbor seals, sea lions, porpoises, whales, and river otters. Macchione said she gets to use heavy-duty binoculars to see across the water, and then uses an app to record sightings and communicate with construction workers.

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She said animals will pass the Lighthouse on the way to the construction site, which gives her time to warn workers to keep an eye on the water. Five other monitors work on the project as well. One rides the ferry back and forth and the others work on-site of the construction.

21st Legislative District prepares for upcoming session

Three legislators from the 21st Legislative District will be heading to Olympia for the upcoming 2020 Washington State Legislature, set to begin Jan. 13.

Sen. Marko Liias, Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, and Rep. Strom Peterson represent neighborhoods in Mukilteo, Edmonds, Everett, and Lynnwood.

The Legislature will convene for a short 60-day session. Since this is the second year of the biennium, many issues addressed will either be carried over from the 2019 session or needed corrections to previously passed legislation.

"My biggest priority is access to college and the student debt crisis," Liias said.

As a first-generation college student, he is continuously working to expand higher education. Liias said he is currently dealing with the college debt process and focusing on new models to finance education.

This session will be Peterson's first year serving as chair of the commerce and gaming committee. He is also a member of two other committees.

Peterson said he is excited to learn more about topics related to alcohol and cannabis in his new position as chair. He anticipates that vaping will remain a big issue this year, especially with the recent ban enacted by Gov. Jay Inslee.

This year, Ortiz-Self is sponsoring bills related to ethnic studies in school, homeless college students, social work loan repayment, and discounted toll rates.

Photo courtesy of Riaz Khan

Riaz Khan takes the oath of office at a City Council meeting Dec. 2.

Her bill on dual languages in schools is something she aims to bring back from last year. She said brain research shows clear results that students learning two languages are better equipped for the future.


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