Vying for Bothell City Council Pos. 6 are incumbent Davina Duerr and Bothell citizen and Gonzaga University graduate Sean Palermo.
How do you intend to support walkability and transportation in and around Bothell?
Davina Duerr: Over the past four years, I have served on several transportation committees and spent much of my first term working to get funding for the expansion of I-405 between 522 and 527. We got that funding in the last legislative session. This was important to the future success of 405 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), because the plans include an additional express toll lane and dedicated on-ramps and inline stops for the express toll lanes, which is where the time savings will occur for BRT commuters.
More transit access and ridership increase the road capacity for everyone. By 2024 our downtown core and Canyon Park area will be served by BRT providing quick easy transit commuting. So we need to support housing, retail and services around those centers so that people can choose to forgo car ownership. Supporting walkability means providing safe, pedestrian-friendly streets and promoting retail centers so that people can access goods and services without getting into a car.
Palermo: As we continue to grow in population and have more micro-mobility options transportation within Bothell, such as bikes and scooters, we need to make sure we are protecting the lives of our citizens. That is why I plan to fund our safe streets and sidewalks program. I will also fund any sign requests needed to keep neighborhoods safe such as speed limit signs, children at play signs, etc. It is objectively proven that signs and signals work to reduce accidents. I will also make it a goal to continue to develop trails, walking paths and bike paths for our city. Lastly, I pledge to work directly with all levels of our local and state government to build a public transportation system that will not only address immediate needs and congestion but will embrace a long-term strategy that will make us a leader in public transportation for generations to come. Overall our goal must be to lower car usage and traffic, which means researching innovative ideas involving self-driving technology as well as neighborhood-based transportation directly to the bus stops and park and rides.
How do you hope to support affordable and workforce housing within Bothell’s established neighborhoods?
Duerr: We need more affordable housing options and have to get creative on how to balance that need with respect for established neighborhoods. Recently council voted to amend our accessory dwelling unit (ADU) regulations to make permitting and building ADUs easier in Bothell.
ADUs are an important tool for creating affordable housing in established neighborhoods. These units can be built in backyards and provide housing for a homeowner’s elderly parents, young adult children or as rentable space that provides an income. Homeowners who want to downsize can move into their ADUs and rent the main house. Where it makes sense with the character of the neighborhood, I would also support zoning for duplexes and triplexes, which would be a way of creating more density and affordability especially in areas accessible to transit.
Palermo: One of the largest issues facing current generations is the rising cost of rent, which has deprived many of us of any opportunity to build wealth. Now is the time to act by pushing funding to create city-owned affordable housing that is sustainable for long-term growth. This will allow us to make housing markets more competitive, bringing down the cost of rent in surrounding apartments. When we create new housing, we first offer it strictly to Bothell residents. The goal will be to move as many people out of private apartments as possible until they get the message that price gouging against their own is not the answer. Do not let landlords lead you to believe the costs are increasing for any reason besides giving themselves a pay increase. I also believe the city needs to make an immediate effort to purchase any mobile home park land to protect mobile homeowners from rent gouging. My goal is to directly put money into the pockets of our citizens, cut down on consultancy spending and start doing the line-item budgeting we need to get things done at a fair price. Lastly I will lobby our governor for rent control law.
How will you support the city’s natural attractions, like the Shelton View Forest, for instance?
Duerr: Since being on council, I have supported the purchase of North Creek Forest and the former Wayne Golf Course. In those instances, we have been able to use grant funding for the bulk of the acquisition funding. Having added 153 acres of parkland to the city is no small feat. Every new acquisition of park area is a balancing act between the benefit of the site and the city’s ability to maintain and operate additional parks.
I will always support preserving the best parts of Bothell where practicable, and we need to put a special emphasis on obtaining parkland in Snohomish County. I have supported preserving Shelton View Forest in the past and support the city’s efforts to work with current owners to find a way forward, whether through city ownership or some other method of preservation.
Palermo: As a member of the Sunrise Movement, an organization dedicated to fighting climate change, I strongly and fully support environmental restoration and protection with the full authority of the budget. We need a councilmember willing to get creative on pushing for environmental protection laws, we need someone willing to get their hands dirty getting directly involved in oversight of restoration projects, we need line-item budgeting to make sure we get the most done for the best cost, and lastly we need a council that cares about more than just a photo-op. I will support and work directly with the Shelton View Forest Stewardship Association, Friends of North Creek Forest, and any other environmental associations to provide them with the budget and resources they need for long-term sustainability. Lastly we need to begin looking into how we can lead on a city level in creating a clean energy economy, because the less pollution we create, the stronger our natural attractions become.
How will you go about keeping Bothell’s character intact while also attending to necessary maintenance?
Duerr: There are key historic and cultural assets in Bothell that must be kept intact because they are so much a part of Bothell’s identity; we can’t, however, save everything, either because something is privately owned or the city doesn’t have the financial resources to save it. When I was a member and chair Bothell Landmark Preservation Board for 10 years, we made choices about which historic buildings were worth fighting to save.
When the old McMenamins site was in danger of being demolished, we worked to educate the public about its potential loss and reached out to McMenamins and asked them to consider locating there. McMenamins Anderson School has become not just a historic asset, but also a highly valued cultural asset in Bothell. We also worked to save the North Creek Schoolhouse from 1902, which now resides in Centennial Park serving in two capacities: a window to the past and a functioning park asset. As we strive to protect Bothell’s character we must strike a balance between preserving the old, often by finding a new use for an old building, and sometimes recognizing the need to make way for the new.
Palermo: Bothell has a diverse, strong and tight-knit community that is continuing to grow every day. But in all reality, this story so far is only the first chapter in something beautiful to come. We feed off Seattle, which has the fastest-growing economy in the entire world. We are also located in the No. 1-ranked state in the entire country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Not only that, but we have the University of Washington Bothell, which was named the second-best return on your degree in the entire country by CNBC. I see Bothell becoming an epicenter of youth development, education, innovation and prosperity. If we continue to move this city in the correct direction, which means embracing our strengths and making them the building blocks of our long-term goals, we will achieve that vision. That being said, I will never allow more Bothell icons, like the County Village, to be destroyed. I pledge that I will stay more engaged than any other councilmember before. This position isn’t a stepping stone to a higher office for me, or something to hand off to a friend when convenient. It’s about us, it’s about Bothell.