MLTnews 2020 year in review: July-December

As we enter the new year, MLT News continues to look back on 2020.

Part 2, July-December

July

After receiving federal CARES Act funds to provide financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mountlake Terrace City Council at its July 2 work/study session discussed how best to use the funds to help affected residents and businesses. The council also examined the Mountlake Terrace Senior Community Center’s request for both rent reduction and forgiveness at the Ballinger Clubhouse. At its July 6 business meeting, the council voted to authorize the use of the funds

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Mountlake Terrace Police Officer Kyle O’Hagan teaching Mountlake Terrace High School students during his criminal justice course. (Photo by Cody Sexton)

After the Edmonds School District voted to remove school resource officers (SROs) from school campuses, Mountlake Terrace High School risked losing a popular criminal justice class taught by the school’s SRO. For two years, Officer Kyle O’Hagan aimed use his class to help students better understand the role police play in society.

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Dustin Dekoekkoek

Mountlake Terrace resident Dustin Dekoekkoek was one of 12 Snohomish County people nominated for the The Emerging Leader award sponsored by The Herald Business Journal. The award aims to recognize individuals who show superior leadership. During his 11 years in the city, Dekoekkoek has co-founded the Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation, founded the MLT History Facebook page and served as the chair of the city’s Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission and vice-chair of the MLT Salary Commission. 

“Overall, Dustin has accomplished more in one decade than many leaders do in a lifetime,” said Community Relations Director Virginia Olsen.

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At its July 20 business meeting, the Mountlake Terrace City Council voted to approve rent reduction and forgiveness for the Mountlake Terrace Senior Community Center, which rents the city-owned Mickey Corso Community Clubhouse at Ballinger Park. The center requested a reduction in its monthly rent and forgiveness for amounts owed from March through August as it was unable to raise funds hosting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The public restroom building located at Ballinger Park boat launch was demolished on July 21 to make way for an updated facility. The restrooms were installed in the late 1970s. Plans for the new restroom include major improvements to the current facility, which has suffered from age and vandalism

 

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Mountlake Terrace City Hall. (Photos courtesy City of Mountlake Terrace)

Construction crews made progress on the new Mountlake Terrace Civic Campus development located at the site of the former Mountlake Terrace City Hall. The project includes a new, two-story city hall that includes city council chambers, public lobby, offices, meeting rooms, restrooms, mechanical and electrical room, elevator, mud room and storage room. It also features a one-story addition to the existing police station.

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As Edmonds School District leaders made plans to transition to remote learning, staff held a July 29 community forum to answer students’ questions and provide more details about what the 2020-21 school year would bring.

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Aiming to “promote and embrace diversity through action, education, and guidance,” the Mountlake Terrace City Council at its July 30 business meeting discussed the creation of a local diversity, equity and inclusion commission. The goal of the commission would be “to foster an understanding that includes, accepts, respects and appreciates each individual member of our community.”

August

After more than 10 years of selling burgers in Mountlake Terrace, local restaurateur Seaun Richards closed 44th Street Sliders — formerly Red Onion Burger. Richards opened Red Onion Burger in 2009.

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Brier resident Robert Taylor celebrated his birthday Aug. 1 with help from his neighbors. (Photos courtesy of Facebook)

Hundreds of community members came together on Aug. 1 to celebrate a lonely Brier man’s 101st birthday. When Robert Taylor did not receive any cards on his birthday, his granddaughter-in-law put a plea on the Brier Community Group Facebook page asking for well wishes for Taylor.

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Volunteers loaded boxes of food into vehicles during an Aug. 2 pop-up food pantry. (Photo by Cody Sexton)

As more people began to rely on local food banks to feed their families, several organizations held pop-up drive-thru food distribution sites. The sites allowed for residents in need to drive up while volunteers filled the back of their vehicle with groceries. On Aug. 2, the City of Mountlake Terrace partnered with Volunteers of America of Western Washington partnered to set up a pop-up food pantry in the former Roger’s Marketplace.

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South County Fire shared this photo of the swearing-in and badge-pinning ceremony for new Fire Chief Thad Hovis.

The South County Fire Board of Commissioners selected Thad Hovis to serve as Fire Chief of the regional fire authority. Hovis was sworn-in during the board’s Aug. 5 virtual meeting. A 25-year fire service veteran, Hovis has served as interim fire chief since the retirement of Fire Chief Doug Dahl at the end of March. Prior to that, Hovis served as assistant chief of operations.

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After voting to remove police officers from three other Edmonds School District high schools, the Edmonds School Board voted unanimously at its Aug. 11 business meeting to cancel the contract with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, which provided an officer at Lynnwood High School.

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After a battle with cancer, former Edmonds Community College men’s basketball coach Keith Kingsbury died on Aug. 24, less than five weeks after his 80th birthday. Kingsbury began his Edmonds Community College (now Edmonds College) career as an assistant coach in 1969. He became the head coach four years later, a title he would hold for 32 seasons, until his retirement in 2005.

“He always put his players first,” said former Everett Community College Larry Walker. “He would do whatever he could for them. He was always great to me and my family.”

September

As the Edmonds School District transitioned into online remote learning, district leaders held a Sept. 1 community forum to teach parents and families to navigate district-issued Chromebooks and online learning forums. During the forum, parents were able to ask questions and learn tips on ways to help their student with online work.

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The Mountlake Terrace City Council voted at its Sept. 3 work/study session to approved the restoration project for Ballinger Park and Hall Creek. The project’s goal is to rebuild habitat and address ecological health in the park by changing Hall Creek’s path to improve stream life, removing invasive plants, and constructing boardwalks to protect the restored areas.

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The Atlas 236 mixed-use complex on the northeast corner of 236th Street Southwest and 56th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace is expected to be ready for residential occupation in November. (Photos by Doug Petrowski)

After making strides in development during 2020, the Atlas 236 mixed-use complex on the corner of 236th Street Southwest and 56th Avenue West began welcoming prospective residential tenants by offering “hard-hat” tours. Atlas 236 is one of two large-scale mixed-use buildings expected to open in Mountlake Terrace this fall.

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The Edmonds School Board at its Sept. 8 business meeting voted to adopt the i-Ready Math System for the 2020-21 school year. i-Ready is an online program used to assess students’ reading and/or mathematics skills with the goal of helping teachers at all grades determine students’ needs, offer personalized learning based on the data and monitor their progress throughout the school year.

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Edmonds School District bus drivers stood along 204th Street Southwest soliciting honks in support of their request to have their health coverage reinstated.

After losing their health benefits earlier that year, Edmonds School District bus drivers rallied to protest the district’s decision to terminate the health coverage of its 175 school bus drivers. According to many drivers, canceling their health care coverage — and the coverage for their families — in the middle of a pandemic has left many of them at risk. On Sept. 9, the district announced it had recalled three bus drivers.

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A 20-year-old man was arrested after he opened fire on Sept. 29 at Boo Han Market in Edmonds, killing one and injury two others. One of the survivors — a 24-year-old woman — was the man’s estranged wife. The suspect turned himself in to Everett police Tuesday night and was booked into Snohomish County Jail on first-degree murder, assault and domestic violence charges.

October

Due to delays in construction of the new Mountlake Terrace Civic Campus project, the Mountlake Terrace City Council discussed at its Oct. 5 work/study session to extend the current lease term on the interim City Hall at the Redstone building through February 2021. Construction was expected to be completed by the end of 2020 and the lease agreement for the building had reflected that timeline.

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During its two Oct. 14-15 work/study sessions, the Mountlake Terrace City Council began discussing the 2021-22 biennium budget. City staff proposed “a relatively flat budget for the next two years,” which will provide essential public services while addressing economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cheaper By The Day has 20 large bins containing more than 20,000 products from stores like Amazon, Target and Walmart. (Photo by Cody Sexton)

Former-restaurateur and Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember Seaun Richards opened a new overstock outlet store located in Lynnwood. Cheaper By The Day has 20 large bins containing products from stores like Amazon, Target, Costco, Walmart and Lowe’s and each week, the bins are restocked with more products.

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(Left to right) U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff toured the Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension project construction site at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center.

On Oct. 18, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen visited the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to receive an update on construction of Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension project. Larsen’s visit to the construction site as part of a tour of transportation projects across Snohomish and surrounding counties.

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The Mountlake Terrace City continued discussions at its Oct. 19 business meeting on the city’s 2021-22 biennium budget, including an increase in Recreation and Parks Department fees. Fees are set at on a five-year schedule with annual reviews. During a previous review, numerous program fees that had been expected to remain the same in 2021 were instead increased based on a recommendation from city staff.

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Jurors for the trial of 78-year-old Terrence Miller of Edmonds in the 1972 rape and murder of then-20-year-old Jody Loomis got underway Oct. 26 before Superior Court Judge David Kurtz. In their opening statements to the jury, both the prosecution and defense attorneys made it clear that the guilt or innocence of the accused will be primarily determined by DNA evidence.

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Espresso Break Coffee Stand staff ready on Halloween to welcome trick-or-treaters. (Photo by Cody Sexton)

In lieu of the annual Trunk R Treat Halloween activity, Espresso Break Coffee Stand and the Mountlake Terrace Business Association offered a socially distanced Halloween event for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. To see photos of the drive-thru/walk-up event, click here.

November

Early returns from the Nov. 3 general elections showed incumbents were leading the way for state legislative races. Voters also approved by a wide margin a benefit charge proposed by the South County Regional Fire Authority, which provides fire and emergency services to residents of Lynnwood and nearby unincorporated areas.

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Just hours before the jury pronounced him guilty in the 1972 cold-case murder of then 20-year-old Jody Loomis, Terrence Miller reportedly died of an apparent suicide on Nov. 9 in his Edmonds home. Jurors were informed of Miller’s death once they were seated in the courtroom. A verdict was still submitted and Miller was found guilty as charged of first-degree murder.

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The Mountlake Terrace City Council approved a 1% property tax increase at its Nov. 16 meeting, but decided that the collection will be banked and won’t be levied next year. According to city leaders, the average property owner will see a tax reduction of approximately $33 in 2021.

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The newly-constructed Lynnwood Link light rail overpass over 220th Street Southwest in Mountlake Terrace. (Photo by David Carlos)

As Sound Transit crews worked to bring the Lynnwood Link light rail to south Snohomish County, photographer David Carlos submitted these images of the overpass now in place over 220th Street Southwest in Mountlake Terrace.

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After months of remote learning, the Edmonds School Board at its Nov. 24 business meeting heard firsthand from Edmonds School District students on how they have adjusted to at-hom home. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students had to begin the 2020-21 school year using the district’s Continuous Learning 2.0 learning remote learning model.

December

As the city plans to redevelop Evergreen Playfield Complex, the Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Dec. 3 work/study session discuss synthetic turf options for the future playfields. Among the proposals is crumb rubber infill, rather than more expensive alternatives, like ground cork, as a cost-saving measure.

City of MLT Associate Planner Kevin Johnson, upper right, speaks to the Cedar Park project during the Dec. 7 council meeting via Zoom.

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The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Dec. 7 business meeting approved adoption of a $134 million budget for the next two years. According to city staff,  the budget addresses the council’s priorities and “also recognizes the economic uncertainty that has come along with the pandemic to keep us in check.” Also during the meeting, the council voted to approve development of the proposed Cedar Park Townhomes subdivision.

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Before recessing for the winter holidays, the Edmonds School District on Dec. 16 updated families on plans to return more students to in-person learning in 2021. In a statement signed by Superintendent Gustavo Balderas, the district announced plans to bring more special education programs back into school buildings in January. Returning programs fall under Stage 1 the district’s re-entry plan.

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The Mountlake Terrace City Council discussed at its Dec. 17 work/study session renewing an interlocal agreement between the city and the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force (SRDTF). The task force includes investigators from more than 30 law enforcement agencies in Snohomish County and uses a multi-jurisdictional approach to combat organized narcotics trafficking in the area. The council also discussed several other measures that required their attention before the council’s final meeting of the year.

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During its final meeting before breaking for the winter holidays, the Mountlake Terrace City Council voted at its Dec. 21 business meeting to approve an update to the city’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP). The TMP was first adopted in 2007 and the update addresses local population growth, along with other changes in the future such as the introduction of light rail, development of the Town Center, and zoning modifications that will allow for greater densities under the state’s Growth Management Act.

Compiled by Cody Sexton

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