By Mellow DeTray

Here’s our recap of the Des Moines City Council meeting held on Thursday night, Oct. 19, 2023:

Public Comments

A representative from the Redondo Community Association invited everyone to join them at the MaST Center from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023 for “Coffee with a Cop.” At 10 a.m., following coffee, the aquarium and displays at the MaST Center will be open to explore freely.

One woman spoke of conditions at the Adriana Apartments. She said there was sickness in the building every winter, with emergency services coming by for someone at least once each day. She believes the grounds and building are polluted, and that management doesn’t care. She said she was in good health before moving there, but has been sick ever since. In addition, the air conditioning does not circulate properly through the entire building, leaving the upper floors sweltering during summer. She has written to the city and asks that they do an inspection of the building to make sure it is safe for residents. Mayor Matt Mahoney briefly responded that they had received her letter that day, and would be looking into it.

Marina Steps Project

The city’s marina steps project now has a webpage where the community can find out more about the scope and timeline of construction. There is a link on the webpage to ask questions or submit comments. They will also be putting out info on social media about the project, to encourage public input and involvement.

Reduced Speed Limit Through Kent

Mayor Mahoney shared that Kent has changed the speed limit on Pacific Highway South, reducing it from 45 to 40 mph. This applies to the entire stretch of the highway through Kent.

Hydrofoil Demonstration

City Manager Michael Matthias spoke about a recent 6-passenger hydrofoil demonstration at the marina, which drew in crowds as well as the media (EDITOR’S NOTE: The Waterland Blog was not invited to this event). A hydrofoil, he said, is an electric boat that skims over the water, reducing friction and improving efficiency. He said this design is safer for orca whales and other sea life, as well as reducing noise and pollution. He spoke about the growing enthusiasm for Puget Sound to have a more robust passenger ferry system, like it had many years ago during the time of the Mosquito Fleet.

Fracas Over Alleged Ferry Boat Purchase

There was a bit of a quarrel over something Councilmember JC Harris had written, apparently quoting City Manager Matthias. The information being disputed is regarding the city looking into buying a 6-passenger electric hydrofoil ferry for $500,000. Matthias denied saying anything of the kind, or having any knowledge of it. Harris insisted during the meeting that both KIRO and KOMO News outlets had reported the city manager saying it, (EDITOR’S NOTE: We could not confirm Harris’ claims of any mention within those two news stories of the city considering purchasing a ferry boat. If you find it, please email a link to [email protected].)

Mayor Mahoney claimed that two years ago, Harris told people that the city manager had purchased a ferry. Mahoney said that in both cases Harris should have verified the facts with council or staff before publishing misinformation.

Development Moratorium Ending After 1 Year, Zoning Changes

Last year, council enacted a moratorium on any new development on a 73 acre parcel south of 216th St. They wanted to give staff time to conduct a study on what the optimal zoning would be for the most beneficial types of development. Once zoned as a “Business Park,” with the businesses going in being predominantly warehouse and industrial, some of the area will now be zoned an “innovation district,” as well as high density residential.


Below is full video of this meeting:

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for 10 years at Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.

4 replies on “Fracas over alleged ferry boat purchase, Marina Steps and more discussed at Thursday night’s Des Moines City Council”

  1. I am the biggest supporter of local journalism on the City Council and have testified in Olympia repeatedly to obtain more funding to bring a local paper back to Des Moines. But this article is not the WB’s finest hour. It contains several errors. Eg. it took me about 10 seconds to find the news clips from KIRO and KOMO I referred to on the dais. (see example below.) Given the accusations made from the dais, and that I was ‘the story’ it is unfortunate that the WB chose to publish this without obtaining my comment first.

    I attempted to reach out to Scott Schaefer twice and did not receive a return call.

    1. JC thanks for your comment. We stand by our statement that, nowhere in those stories that we linked to (yes, we found them too) is it mentioned that the City of Des Moines is seeking to *purchase* a ferry boat. Regardless, thanks again for your ongoing “support of local journalism.”

      1. It’s literally in the tweet from the reporter at the event. And confirmed by several people at the event.

        “This electric foiling ferry holds 6, but the city of Des Moines is looking to add this type of ferry service to it’s Marina transporting 60 at a time to Seattle @komonews”

        Post the tweet (and piccie) and let people judge for themselves.

        Regardless, you should’ve contacted me for comment before publishing so much he-said/she-said.

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