Week Ending February 24
Here are this week’s items:
- Legislative Action Conference – Mayor Smith, Deputy Mayor Miller, Councilor Starr, City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese, City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross, and I spent February 15 and 16 in Olympia. We heard presentations from the Governor, state legislators, and Association of Washington Cities lobbyists regarding work going on at the Legislature. On Wednesday evening, we had dinner with representatives from the cities of Port Angeles and Port Townsend. On Thursday, we met with Senator Van De Wege, and Representatives Tharinger and Chapman, jointly with the cities of Port Townsend and Port Angeles. While we were in Olympia, we learned that the Off Dungeness Channel Reservoir remained on a list in the Senate for transfer from the Department of Natural Resources to the County. We also sat in on Senate hearings involving two water bills and an agricultural tourism liability bill. All three had a possible impact on our community and the testimony and questioning from Senators was fascinating and helpful for future discussions we’ll be having, particularly on water.
- Clallam CoWorking Opens – We are excited to share that Clallam Coworking selected a space in town and signed a lease! They have a direct fiber optic connection to their building at 502 South Still Road (they have the upstairs area). Their site is just east of the QFC Shopping Center and is another positive development for the East Washington Street Corridor. We, and they, were hoping for them to be in the Downtown Core but market lease rates, including for our vacant Administrative Building, were higher than was feasible for them. If you see them, please congratulate Ankur Delight and Edward Unthank! They are looking now for more people to co-work with them. Having a co-working lab in our City is a great benefit to people who work from home but desire to socialize with others’ doing the same, or for people who need office space for limited periods of time. The facility is a direct support to remote workers in the area and, to our knowledge, the first of its kind in Clallam County.
- Community Inclusion, Next Steps – I am working with Community Plus to organize some additional meetings to further support inclusiveness in our community. Our next step is to pull together stakeholders to design a series of upcoming conversations. Stay tuned!
- Resolution Supporting Funding for Olympic National Park – We are in receipt of a draft resolution in support of funding for Olympic National Park, provided to us by the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center. Given the Park’s impact on tourism and quality of life for our region, the Mayor and I have conferred and plan to place it on a future agenda, probably in late March or early April. Please let me know if you have any concerns.
- Light Timing Study – We received a draft of the study this week from our traffic consultants. Public Works is reviewing the results to determine what is most feasible for us to do in the short and long term. We’ll have an update for you in April or May.
- News from the Police Department – The Police Department has been busy recently doing something they do well, solving crimes. Here are some highlights:
- Solved a commercial Burglary of the Sprint store that led to solving two other commercial burglaries in January, those of the Northwest Tobacco Emporium and the Sequim Smoke Shop. The suspect is a juvenile male.
- Solved a significant quantity of mail thefts that had occurred in Port Angeles, the County and in Sequim. Officer Larsen responded to a call by a resident near QFC whom had noticed mail on the ground. Officer Larsen contacted two individuals in a vehicle behind QFC and was able to build a case that solved thefts from 30 different residences. The adult male and female were arrested, booked into Clallam County Jail, and charged with multiple felonies.
- Investigated four auto thefts. At least one auto was stripped of some parts, a case similar to several cases being investigated by the Port Angeles Police Department. One stolen vehicle appears to have been used to commit other crimes, such as theft and burglary. All vehicles were abandoned shortly after they were stolen. We advise citizens to lock their vehicles and to not leave keys or valuables in their vehicles.
- Public Works Crews During Winter Weather – Mayor Smith mentioned this at our City Council meeting and I want to reiterate it. What a job by the Public Works Department on the streets this winter! It has been frequent this winter for the Police Department to report that we had few or no accidents on City streets while our County counterparts were rarely so fortunate. This scenario is a direct reflection of the value of the services that our residents receive within our City limits. Our crews worked through all hours of the morning and night this winter to make sure that people could get around during the day. Further, it is also a reflection of your support, by providing the funding for necessary staff, equipment, and training to allow us to deliver these outcomes. Thanks to our Public Works crews and thanks to you for your commitment to the services they provide.
- Elk Window – The Elk Window is now in place at the Guy Cole Center; it is beautiful. A picture is attached (PDF)!
- Senior Leadership Team Planning Session – We had a successful off site meeting with the City’s Senior Leadership Team on February 17. We have now worked through a series of diagnostic questions that are critical to forming the team’s ongoing work plan. We also completed drafting charters for some teams that will help to deliver City Council priorities. Those teams will be getting underway in the next few weeks and we will have updates for you as the year progresses.
- Civic Center Plaza – We suffered some recent damage to the Civic Center Plaza, likely from skateboarding. We are in the process of repairing the damage, installing some mitigation equipment, and considering other options to reduce the chances of this happening in future.
- Out Thursday, 3/2 – I’m taking the day off to assist my wife with the process of getting our dog’s teeth cleaned.
No Updated for Week Ending February 17
Week Ending February 10
Here are this week’s items: Watch this report on video.
- Rotary Homelessness Panel – I moderated a panel this morning on homelessness for the Sunrise Rotary Club, where I serve on the program committee. We had representatives from St. Vincent De Paul, Olycap, Sequim Community Aid, and Serenity House on the panel. The Sequim Gazette attended and there is likely to be an article so I wanted to give you a heads up about the session. I asked the panel for their top recommendations for assisting the homeless in our region. Developing additional affordable housing, starting with shelter space, was at the top of their list. Other suggestions were shopping at the Serenity House Store, making donations to the Olycap Housing fund, volunteering, and supporting job creation/economic development.
- EDC Executive Director Interviews – I’m serving on the search committee and made my last trip to the EDC for a bit. Interviews are going well and I believe we are nearly through the semi-finalist round. There are at least two finalists.
- Innovation Academy – As we mentioned in the budget process, we are engaging an internal team, known as the GREASE (Great Resource Enabling Action and Solutions for Everyone) Team, in the Alliance for Innovation’s Innovation Academy. We initially trained members of the team as facilitators, primarily for internal strategic meetings, but have recently expanded team membership and scope to include fostering organization-wide innovation. The Innovation Academy includes 9 virtual sessions and a capstone innovation project. Our team will learn and apply innovation thinking techniques, which will not only help us solve the problem we select for the capstone project but also will help us solve future challenges. We will expect GREASE Team members, who represent our entire organization, to export what they’ve learned back to their departments and to teach other employees. Some may ask why we need to innovate? Innovation is really about solving problems and some of the problems we wrestle here are very complex and unique, requiring different approaches and styles of thinking to solve than how we’ve been traditionally trained. Innovation can simply mean adopting proven or emerging practices from other organizations, or developing new ones ourselves. For us to maximize our value to our community, we need to become great at the fundamentals of local government while also innovating. We are committed to both. Here is more on the Academy.
- Ulta and Michaels – We have more good news this week on the retail front. Our Department of Community Development received and is processing a new building permit for a Michael’s and an Ulta retail store. The building is planned to be located west of the Ross Dress for Less at 1065 and 1085 W. Washington. Michael’s sells Arts & Crafts, artist’s accessories, picture framing, etc. Ulta sells makeup and skin products, as well as hair supplies. The building will be similar in nature to the existing businesses in this shopping area. Additional landscaping, exterior lighting and parking will be associated with this development. The building includes 39,588 square feet for Michael’s and 10,000 square feet for Ulta.
- Olympic Medical Center Expansion – Our development review team will be meeting with the project development team for Olympic Medical Center on their $7.9 million Cancer Center Expansion next week. We are excited to get going on this one as well!
- Port of Port Angeles/Sequim Joint Meeting – Joe and I met with Port of Port Angeles officials today to map out our upcoming combined Commission and Council meeting, planned for Monday, 3/13. We settled on a robust list of agenda items including sharing goals for each organization, providing appropriate background on our Economic Development and Comprehensive Plans, discussing the John Wayne Marina, Receiving an Update on the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC), and discussing air service. With this much on the agenda, we would like to start the meeting with the Port at 4 PM and run it until the start of our regular City Council meeting at 6 PM. Please let us know soon if you have any concerns.
- Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Legislative Action Days – Mayor Smith, Deputy Mayor Ted Miller, Councilor Genaveve Star, City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese, City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross, and I will be spending a night in Olympia next week as a part of the Association of Washington Cities’ Legislative Action Days. We’ll be meeting with our legislative delegation on Thursday, along with the cities of Port Angeles and Port Townsend, and will be traveling down on Wednesday. AWC will be running conference sessions on Wednesday afternoon related to activities at the Legislature this session. This event is another opportunity to talk with legislators about agenda and to support bills that benefit our city.
- Senior Leadership Team Offsite – Our Senior Leadership Team will be having our annual offsite strategic planning session next Friday so we will not be in the office.
For Week Ending February 3
Here are this week’s items: This week's update is also available on video.
- Emergency Management Committee – We had our monthly meeting of the Sequim Emergency Management Committee, featuring City of Sequim staff and representatives from most of the other agencies serving Sequim, like Fire District 3, Clallam County, Clallam PUD, and other key stakeholders. We continue to make steady progress in many areas, including updating our emergency response plan, training staff, conducting public outreach, developing new interlocal agreements to aid emergency response, fine tuning our emergency operations center, working on advance contracts with suppliers of key resources, like fuel, etc.
- Coastal Farms – It is our great pleasure to announce a key development in the QFC Plaza on East Washington. Our Department of Community Development received and issued a Tenant Improvement building permit for Coastal Farms. They will be occupying the old Staples/Del’s’ Feed Supply building located at 990 E. Washington Street. The exterior will have a new awning, 8’ pedestrian sidewalks, redesigned ADA parking, striping and access. Dead trees and shrubs located in the vicinity will be replaced. The building interior will be remodeled to sell clothing, fireplaces, guns, and other retail merchandise. This building is 47,730 square feet plus 15,756 of fenced outdoor stockroom area. Coastal Farms lease is a key step towards further invigorating the east end of Washington!
- Rally in the Alley Saturday – The City and Habitat for Humanity, along with many volunteers and sponsors, will be working the northwest quadrant of downtown on Saturday morning at 9:00 AM with our third rally in the alley. We’ll be meeting at the Civic Center to start the event and will then be helping the neighborhood to remove trash and other items to beautify the community. If the first two were any indication, this one will again be huge and quite impactful, literally removing tons of items from the neighborhood!
- Guy Cole Project Well Underway – If you haven’t been by the Guy Cole Center recently, it is fully under construction and so far things are going well.
- 2nd Floor Layout Changes – We’ll be improving the configuration of the 2nd floor reception area over the next few weeks. We’ll be moving furniture, providing better signage, and we’ll be able to reassign our 2nd floor concierge volunteers to assist with implementation of our economic development program. Further, we are moving dividers and equipment to open up the space between the Clerk’s Office and the City Manager’s Office. This will provide for a more open floor plan for better collaboration space and more efficiency of movement and tasks. Public Works and Human Resources also recently made some configuration changes at the back of the building to better accommodate the staffing shifts we made through the budget.
- Monthly Meeting with Commissioner Ozias – Mayor Smith and I had a productive meeting with Commissioner Ozias, as we do every month. The main topics discussed this time included opioids, parks development, mental health services, and economic development.
- Regional Agenda Drafted – Staff are collaborating on our regional agenda and we are prepared to bring it to you for first review the 2nd meeting in February.
- Revised Council Priorities – We are working on these and will also have them for you in February, possibly on the 13th.
- Staff Transitions – Director of Community Development Chris Hugo’s last day in the office was Tuesday. Joe Irvin will be overseeing the Community Development Department until we hire Chris’ replacement, which is anticipated around mid-May. We’ll be getting an advertisement out in March for the position. Chris will be doing some remote work for us and coming back for a few meetings between now and the end of May. Bobbie Usselman, Deputy City Clerk, also announced her retirement, effective March 31. We’ll be adjusting her position moving forward to Assistant to the City Manager. The position will serve in both a deputy clerk role and in a support role to the City Manager’s Office, performing advanced analytical work and managing high profile projects. We are targeting people with advanced degrees and a few years of experience for this role, so far with a lot of success. The position should post next week.
- EDC Executive Director Search Committee – With your support, I’ve been serving on this committee for the past couple of months. We’ve reviewed applications and are now doing initial interviews. I traveled to the EDC offices a couple of times this week and will be going back once next week. So far, things are going well with the selection process, which should wrap up sometime in the next few weeks.
- Municipal Research Services Center (MRSC) Board Meeting – We have a special MRSC Board meeting in Seattle next Thursday afternoon. I’ll be out of the office after 9 AM that day. It may take the place of our regularly scheduled Board Meeting planned for March.
- Off Monday – I am taking off this Monday to get some things done at home. Joe Irvin, as always, is Acting City Manager while I’m away.