"Surviving Seattle’s Viaduct, Seawall, Tunnel and New Park"
Scribe: Bob Holert Editor: Bob Holert Introduced by: John Martinka
President Chris Boland opened the meeting, followed by Carmela Ramaglia who recognized and honored Father’s Day and led the pledge of allegiance to our flag. Steve Goldfarb introduced visiting Rotarians and guests. Among our guests were Sammamish High students receiving scholarship money from BBRC, their families and 3 counselors from Sammamish High. In addition, we had a number of our AI4A Walk/Run sponsors attending the meeting. These sponsors included Acme Foods and The Bellevue Collection. Jim Gordon gave us a short history of National Flag Day, which is celebrated on this date June 14!
Tanya Franzen-Garrett introduced our scholarship recipients from Sammamish High and awarded them a letter acknowledging BBRC’s financial support to their future academic pursuits. These students were Aysha Altayar, Owen Beale, Lilya Garzon-Boyd, Ana Espindola, Karla Garcia, Grace Kneeland and Erik Mercado. Congratulations to them and their parents! Tanya thanked Morris Kremen, Chuck Kimbrough, Laura Cosacchi and Bob Holert for their help with evaluating and interviewing these students.
John Martinka gave a brief review of International Service Committee projects BBRC and Rotary have undertaken and funded. These included: Malaria projects; Columbia SA medical project (coming soon); Ecuador water projects; Ethiopia sanitation project and Antigua technology projects in conjunction with the Cisco class from Newport High.
Dr. Lisa Greenwald, CEO of Kindering, updated us on the help BBRC has provided Kindering and how it is being used. Steve Luplow then introduced a representative from The Bellevue Collection, one of the major sponsors for BBRC’s All in For Autism (AI4A) Walk/Run. The Bellevue Collection not only is a major sponsor each year but they also provide us with parking for participants, trash clean-up, security, etc. The Bellevue Collection and Kemper Development are greatly appreciated by both BBRC and our community!
And we have a new full-fledged BBRC member, turning his red badge in for blue – Rich Martin! Rich is already heavily involved with BBRC activities and a real asset to BBRC!
Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s was here to discuss the new Seattle seawall, the tunnel project with Big Bertha, demolition of the viaduct and build-out of the Waterfront Park. Bob was also part of the committee that has worked on the planning, design and completion of these projects!
The initial Seattle seawall was built between 1914 and 1933. The design at the time was not conducive to helping fish and the environment. Bob explained the previous construction and the challenge faced as well as the redesign and rebuild of the seawall. The new seawall has been designed so salmon can swim through the water underneath it as it is lit. Previously the darkness under the seawall and piers scared fish as predators for them lurk in the dark. Therefore, they would not swim through that area but go beyond the piers where the water was lighter (and more dangerous). In addition, Spring Street was named because there are 3 springs beneath it. It was necessary to keep that moisture out of the construction area during construction and that was done.
The tunnel and viaduct project was originally scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day, 2019. Instead, it is behind schedule and will not be completed until October 2019. This is really hard on existing waterfront businesses as over half their revenue comes from the 3 summer months, June thru August.
The designer of the Waterfront Park, James Corner, also did the High Line in New York and numerous other park infrastructure projects around the country. He is practical and did a great job in the design. There will be a bridge from the Pike Place Market to the waterfront. There will be a significant expansion of the Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion.
The investment in the area has increased tremendously. In the last 4 years, $250 million has been invested in piers. $1 billion has been invested east of Alaska Way. The cruise terminal has expanded so it can accommodate larger vessels and Norwegian Cruise Lines is bringing in their largest vessels now.
Issues that needed to be faced. The amount of parking is minimal but there is a Waterfront shuttle service that helps alleviate this and seems to be well received. In addition, the Waterfront Park is not managed by the City of Seattle but by a non-profit and thus it will not have the problems our parks are having. Using a non-profit for high-end parks is commonplace around the country.
Bob Donegan admitted this construction for years along the waterfront has been very difficult financially for existing businesses. They are looking forward to final completion so they can do business as usual.