Friends of the Bluff Update April 29, 2017
Bluff Restoration Gets Underway
Thanks to volunteers
Make a Difference! Special Opportunities are Available
44th Avenue and Scott: A New Access to Bluff Trails?
Thanks for Your Donation!
Bluff Restoration Gets Underway
The illegal road that slashed over a mile of the Bluff created an immediate uproar. Friends of the Bluff (FOB) was on the phone with the City Parks Department and Avista within hours of the news getting out. FOB’s position was clear: Begin restoration immediately and restore the land to its natural contours and native vegetation. (See FOB’s letter urging immediate action )
The Comstock Neighborhood Council Meeting of April 19th featured a presentation by City Parks Director Leroy Eadie and Avista’s Josh DeLuciano, who announced their agreement to work together towards complete restoration. Pat Keegan of the FOB Board explained the organization’s position and showed slides that illustrated the urgent need to begin uncovering the vegetation buried by the bulldozer so it would have a chance at survival. Both presentations are available to view on the Repair Road Damage web page.
In the Q&A session Eadie stated that the Parks Department had decided to act on FOB’s recommendation to revoke the tree removal permit for the 3-hole First Tee golf course proposed on six acres near the Qualchan driving range.
Avista took the lead on the planning and restoration efforts.
> Erosion prevention measures have been installed,
> a survey has been completed and a restoration plan is underway.
> At a meeting attended by FOB this past Wednesday, Avista introduced their consultants and proposed a planning process and schedule.
Avista’s lead on the project said the goal is to restore the road as quickly as possible, to take advantage of spring growing conditions.
Avista plans to distribute the draft restoration plan on Friday, May 5th. Comments are due to Avista on Thursday, May 11th. FOB requested a public meeting to be held in the neighborhood, which was agreed to. This aggressive timeline, which FOB supports because it will minimize damage to the natural vegetation, requires the City to invoke emergency permitting requirements that allow much of the restoration work to take place before some of the normal public comment and engagement occurs.
FOB has assembled a working group, headed up by FOB President Jim Wilson, to help review the plan and prepare comments.
Field work is scheduled to begin the week of May 15th and to be finished by early June. The newly planted vegetation will be monitored and re-seeding will take place as needed.
Avista's description of the process is posted on the Repair Road Damage web page.
FOB’s working group will monitor restoration to see how well the vegetation gets established. FOB also plans to take an active role to encourage Bluff users to stay off the restoration area.
Thanks to all who volunteered
There has been a surge of urgent activity lately. Thanks to all those who have volunteered their time!
> FOB volunteers (in beautiful turquoise T-shirts) passed out information at a very well attended Comstock Neighborhood Council meeting April 19th. Thanks Julie and Terry!
> Volunteers have stepped forward to be part of the Road Repair Working Group so that FOB will have a voice in the planning and implementation of the Bluff restoration.
> Margaret Bowers is doing a wonderful job as our Volunteer Coordinator!
> A volunteer is helping us find grant opportunities. Thanks, Lauren!
> Another volunteer is designing our logo. Thanks, Lars!
> And someone is helping us plan a membership program and explore a property purchase fund
You Can Make an Impact
Here are a few important volunteer opportunities. Details are on the Volunteers web page.
> Trail planning. We need a team lead and some teammates.
> Marketing and Outreach. Help us attract more Bluff supporters!
> Events. Help organize FOB nature walks or help us organize an annual meeting or fundraising event.
> Development Team. We need to raise money to grow FOB and better protect the Bluff. Maybe we can grow a fund to purchase the private parcels on the Bluff. You could help us with events or by selling merchandise or finding donors.
> FOB Board. We need Board members to plan and oversee initiatives, to attend Board meetings and important meetings in the community. We need a Board Secretary.
We welcome anyone to volunteer, whether they want to have an ongoing lead role or just want to volunteer a few hours of time. It’s easy to throw your name into the volunteer pool. Just go to friendsofthebluff.org/volunteer
44th Avenue Trail Access
FOB has been advocating for a new access to the trails on the Bluff for over a year. A thirty-foot-wide public right-of-way just south of the Rocket Market connects to Park property. Homeowners and the Manito Place homeowners association have built fences 10’ to 19’ into the city owned land and built a fence that blocks access. Owners of the nearby homes are concerned over a loss of privacy and general use by the public.
But this access will make the Bluff much more accessible to hundreds of homes in the neighborhood North and East of the Rocket Market. Someone from this area with an hour to spare could walk to the new access point and be on the trails in a few minutes, and spend most of the hour in the beauty of the Bluff instead of spending most of that hour walking on cement or pavement to access points on High Drive or 57th. See the Trail Access page for more information.
The City convened an onsite meeting on April 25th of concerned neighbors and a few FOB board members. FOB is working with the City to devise a plan that will provide access for a small single track path and stairs and to try to minimize any imposition on the neighbors near the new access point.
The next meeting is to be held during the May Comstock Neighborhood Council Meeting, Wednesday May 24, 6:00 pm at the Sacajawea Middle School lunchroom. If you’re interested in supporting our effort to open up a convenient new trail access, please attend.
Bluff Restoration Public Meeting
Attend May 8th at 6pm at the Sacajawea Middle School cafeteria to hear the presentation from Avista, their environmental consultant and contractor on the approach to Bluff restoration.
Thanks for Your Donations
When you Donate to Friends of the Bluff, you help conserve the Bluff and support responsible recreational use of the Bluff.
FOB is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.