Save the Wood Creek Forest

Wood Creek Update

A Wood Creek project kick-off meeting was held on 4/29, led by Nick Bratton and Rebecca Schwartzman of Forterra. Attendees included interested parties from the county including Council Member Dunn, Tom Teigen, and Lisa Dulude; Paul Roberts (Everett City Council), Nick Harper (Everett Deputy Mayor), Paul McKee (Everett Real Property Manager), Valley View neighborhood representative George Lockeman, and members of the Save Wood Creek Everett group.

This meeting served to introduce interested stakeholders and detail the upcoming process.

The city of Everett will undertake geotechnical/wetland study and an archeological survey of the property. The city is still finalizing the scopes of work for the various site assessments.

Once completed, the city will coordinate with Forterra for their input/feedback before proceeding. Deputy Mayor Nick Harper will communicate with us once he has a clearer timeline for when the field work can be completed.

Forterra will begin to collect community and stakeholder input on the property, and begin to investigate public, private, and market-based funding approaches (carbon credits, mitigation credits, etc).

The goal is to balance the desires of the community, public benefits, and fiduciary responsibility as Forterra presents options/ scenarios for uses and funding to the City. Forterra clearly communicated that their work is not determining any single outcome for the property.

We await the next steps, which include the City setting up and scheduling the studies.

Forterra will be gearing up public engagement work and planning outreach, including an in-person community meeting in August. The location of the meeting is in the Valley View Neighborhood on the corner of Hamlet Lane and 81st Place SE. More announcements regarding this important meeting will be coming soon.

We anticipate another update meeting with Forterra after the geotechnical/ wetland studies have been completed.

Get Involved! If you would like to join the efforts of Stewards of Wood Creek Everett, we welcome your participation! Please email

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December Community Newsletter

On 12/4/20, we participated in a phone call with Deputy Mayor Nick Harper, Council Member Paul Roberts, and a Forterra representative.  The purpose of this call was to provide an update on the progress the city administration has made toward geotechnical analysis of the Wood Creek property.  This update leaves us cautiously optimistic about the long-term outcome for the forest because we learned that Forterra and city administration have been actively working together on a conservation strategy.

We learned:

  • The city and Forterra have been working on an agreement and detailed scope of work. Deputy Mayor Harper assured us that we would have access to the scope of work documents.
  • The City of Everett has applied for a $10K grant through Snohomish County to help compensate Forterra for their services. The Utility will match the $10K award.
  • The Utility has agreed to cover the costs of the geotechnical assessment and property appraisal. Please recall from our previous newsletter on this topic that these two assessments are aimed at fully understanding the unique nature of the local soil stability given knowledge of previous landslides and groundwater issues in Valley View. It would also determine the actual monetary value of the land as a result.  The previous appraisal related to the proposed surplus decision in April – May had only been based on a simple square-footage calculation of flat land.  This real estate appraisal is not for the purposes of any sale.  It is to allow a better understanding of the amount the Water Utility would need to be compensated when a final conservation plan is decided upon. The Public Works and Real Property departments are currently investigating firms to perform these tasks. The geotechnical analysis is still targeted to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. The costs of these assessments are not yet known.
  • The City of Everett plans to host a  “kick-off” meeting to discuss this evolving process in greater detail as early as mid-January.  More details will follow on the number of participants and who the various stakeholders are.
    Deputy Mayor Harper reiterated his desire to maintain transparency and build trust and rapport with the community. Similar to his last meeting with us, he emphasized that there is 'no rush' and 'time is on our side' because the Utility is not counting on monies gained from the property for any projects, revenue plans, or rate formulas.  He stated unequivocally that the city is committed to a “conservation solution” for Wood Creek and the surrounding forest.  The City is still in the data-gathering stage, which will be followed by working with Forterra to investigate a combination of options to compensate the Utility so the property can then be protected.

    Get Involved!  If you would like to join the efforts of Stewards of Wood Creek Everett, we welcome your participation!  Please email

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Save Wood Creek Update - August 2020

In mid-July, a few members of Stewards of Wood Creek Everett (SWCE - that is our new, official name) met with Deputy Mayor Nick Harper, Council Member Paul Roberts, and representatives from Forterra, a prominent land conservation non-profit in the Pacific Northwest.

The following is a direct quote from the outline the Deputy Mayor Nick Harper provided following the meeting. It describes potential options and next steps for interested community members to work collaboratively with the City administration and City Council to explore conservation options to effectively surplus and transfer its interest in Wood Creek:

“Those next steps include, but may not be limited [emphasis added] to, the following:

  1. Establish an agreement between the Parties outlining shared goals and distinct outcomes being worked towards
  2. Begin a robust process to determine the true fair market value of the Property, including prospective development limitations as the result of actual (e.g. geotechnical analysis), or desired environmental conditions, ecological values, potential carbon sequestration, mitigation opportunities, etc.;
  3. Investigate all available alternative tools by which the City, and its Utility, can be made whole financially;
  4. Determine a realistic timeline to accomplish this, including the possibility of a phased transaction over what could be a number of years;
  5. Understand available funding strategies; and
  6. Return recommendations to Administration and City Council with a proposed action plan.

 As we discussed, there will certainly be some twists and turns along the way given the complex nature of these types of real estate transactions. Building trust between the parties, and establishing clear principles of engagement will be important so that we have a process that is transparent, predictable, and as fair as possible.”

Deputy Mayor Harper further committed to attending one of our upcoming SWCE meetings with appropriate staff to speak on behalf of the City, answer questions, and address some of the concerns of our neighbors. It is worth noting that while we have a verbal commitment from the Mayor’s representative on this issue to explore conservation options, possible surplus and sale for residential development purposes, particularly of the 15 acres of "flat" area, is not off the table.

During forest tours for Mayor Franklin and five Council Members, one of our main talking points have been the indicators of landslide and erosion risk in the forest. As the City Council lead on Wood Creek, Member Roberts emphasized his strong concerns in this area. Both he and the Deputy Mayor agreed that because of Washington State law relating surplus land, any decision on how to transfer interest of Wood Creek would need a more comprehensive appraisal informed by a detailed geotechnical analysis.

Even for preservation options, the land’s value would need to be assessed so that the correct (non-profit) fundraising goal could be targeted for legal transfer or purchase of the property for conservation purposes.

We need volunteers! 
If you would like to join the effort to preserve Wood Creek, email  We especially need community and neighborhood outreach, marketing, accounting, legal, and administrative volunteers.

For More Information
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July 10th 2020 Newsletter

The full PDF formatted July 10th newsletter can be downloaded by clicking the button below. If you don't have a capable pdf viewer, scroll down to read a summary of the newsletter.

State of the Forest

With all the effort and involvement of members of the neighborhood, we have earned a delay of any decisions about the forest by the city. However--the issue is definitely not off the table entirely.

We have discovered that the forest was being considered for surplus by the city to be made available for sale to developers as early as 2018, but its inclusion was delayed until this year. The city council is planning to revisit the issue again by the end of the summer.

So we only have a brief window of opportunity.

The mayor, while recognizing the beauty and value of the forest, also has concerns about the space providing no benefit, financial or otherwise, to the wider city. The population of Everett has more than doubled in the past 30 years, and space to build new homes is becoming harder to find, so unless the forest provides some other benefit, it will be reinvestigated as a potential build site.

The folks who meet every week on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (the meeting details are always available on the Save the Wood Creek Forest website) are seeking ways that the forest can be a benefit to the city, so that we can ensure its preservation for the future.

We have had positive responses from city officials, so there is hope that if provided with other, responsible options, the city council and/or mayor may be open to proposals for Wood Creek forest. In no particular order, some of the options we're exploring include:

  • Working with the city to earn grants that would give them funds to preserve the Wood Creek forest area
  • Working with Forterra (learn more about Forterra at https:// to turn Wood Creek forest into a preserved parcel
  • Working with the City of Everett to create a land bank that allows developers to pay to support Wood Creek forest any time they need to remove trees or to build in more isolated areas within Everett
  • Gaining support from other nature and environmental groups is also a priority
  • Finally, as a medium-term solution (may be 18+ months), rezoning the area to some designation other than R1 is being pursued
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Stewards of Wood Creek Everett Mission

To protect and preserve the Wood Creek forest for future generations through conservation and stewardship.

Footer Logo The City of Everett has proposed the sale of about 92.5 acres of undeveloped green belt property. Wood Creek lies in the valley between the Valley View and Eastmont neighborhoods. Wood Creek was the main source of drinking water for the city of Everett between 1898 and 1916, until the Sultan River water project was completed. The land and the creek is a critical habitat for a variety of animals and wildlife. Additionally, the land is unstable and many parts of the land are critically sloped. This group is for anyone opposing this proposal and for trying to preserve this critical land.

Everett's Original Watersource: Main Wood Creek Reservoir in June of 1909.

Everett's Original Watersource

Galaxie Blog Version 1.50 November 22 2019 © Gregory Alexander