Lawsuits, landslides and energy bills

Power down
Bainbridge Positive Energy group officially launched a grant-funded initiative to curb residential power use.

The group is scheduling free home energy assessments for up to 4,000 Bainbridge households.

Read more here.

Ratepayer rebound
Also this week, the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance expanded its lawsuit against the city, giving a bit more life to a legal challenge that has already suffered three setbacks in court.

The lawsuit now includes an allegation that the city failed to properly charge itself stormwater fees for island roads.

Read more here.

Soggy hillside
Gertie Johnson Road remains closed and most of its homes remain empty after an emergency evacuation last week.

Rain continues to plague the landslide-prone hillside on which Gertie sits, making road-clearing risky.

Read my update on the closure here, and head below to read the city manager’s Mar. 18 letter to the road’s residents.

Residents of Gertie Johnson Road,

Following 48 hours of relatively dry weather City staff and our geotechnical consultants, Aspect Engineering, reassessed the slide area. We were concerned Wednesday and continue to remain concerned today about the potential for the removal operation to trigger further slides above and below the roadway due to the wet ground conditions. In consultation with our geotechnical consultants, we are developing parameters for the removal operations to manage those risks. The removal work requires equipment that the City does not have and it will need to be contracted. Staff are developing contract documents and obtaining permits based on the preliminary geotechnical recommendations. We have made initial contact with potential contractors and are in the process of finding contractors who are qualified and available. We have also contacted the various overhead utilities to coordinate their relocation which will facilitate access for the slide removal. At this point it appears that the earliest possible start for the removal work is mid-week next week. This date could change, and most likely will, if any of the work previously mentioned does not come together as planned.

City staff will continue to monitor site conditions at Gertie Johnson and other island locations over the weekend.

We recognize that not having a defined date for the removal of the slide debris is stressful and disruptive, and we are working as quickly as we can to develop a solution that can be implemented safely for all concerned – residents and workers alike.

Thank you for your understanding and continuing patience.

Brenda Bauer, Interim City Manager
City of Bainbridge Island

One thought on “Lawsuits, landslides and energy bills

  1. **note this e-mail was sent 2 days prior to the slide on Gertie Johnson Rd**

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Hilary Franz, North Ward Representative

    Bob Scales, North Ward Representative

    Barry Peters, At Large representative

    Dear North Ward Council representatives,

    The residents above and below Gertie Johnson Road are concerned about serious COBI liability issues associated with a portion of the roadbed which has been documented as failing for a number of years and now appears to be in imminent danger of causing physical harm to pedestrians and vehicles using this public road. This section of road is approximately 150 feet long, about two feet wide and has recently dropped several inches. If this section fails anymore it will cause a great hardship to residents who live south of the damaged section on Gertie Johnson that becomes a dead end. We have one resident with serious medical issues and another resident with small children and if the road fails more their access will be blocked.

    This crack had been documented for the last twenty years, but recent heavy rains have further undermined the roadbed, causing the crack to spread and deepen. We feel that the uneven, sloping road surface presents a clear and present danger to joggers and pedestrians who use this public road regularly for access to Rolling Bay. The situation on Gertie Johnson road is creating a potential liability that would be most unwelcome for everyone in this present economic environment. It seems clear to us that this should be addressed during the upcoming dry season and all of us are eager to lend a hand before someone gets hurt.

    It has also come to our attention that COBI, on March 8, 2011, enacted a weight restriction on Gertie Johnson Road of 3,000 lbs on their web site. None of the residents were notified of this change. Under this weight restriction, none of resident’s cars would now be allowed to drive to their homes. Additionally, all houses on this road are on septic systems. Septic trucks weigh more than 3,000 lbs, as do all emergency vehicles including fire, police, ambulance and repair vehicles that may need to service these homes. If COBI believes Gertie Johnson Rd. is damaged enough to warrant a 3,000 lb. weight limit, the City needs to make repair of the road a high priority. Poor initial engineering likely started this problem, but lack of maintenance is accelerating it.

    We would greatly appreciate your help in bringing this issue to the attention of the City Manager and City Attorney before the April 6th City Council meeting to address the methodology and review of roadways on the Island. Gertie Johnson Rd is in serious disrepair and needs to be inventoried and included in the city’s work plans to raise it to a priority status for Public Works. We are keenly aware of the City’s budget issues and constraints, but we hope that the repairs to this portion of the roadway can be accomplished through our mutual cooperation at minimal expense.

    Please free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.


    Mary and Joel Levin / 10650 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Grace and Carlton Anderson / 10688 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Eva and Gary Voget / 10680 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Denika Voget and Tom Clarke / 10610 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Cami Fox / 10692 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Bill Smith / 10520 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Linda and Perry Pugliano / 11298 Logg Rd NE

    Ann and Scott Linquist / 11378 Logg Rd NE

    Pat and Bill Yeo / 10517 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Wendy and Chris Kozina / 11361 Logg Rd NE

    Aricelli and Bill Lesko / 11379 Logg Rd NE

    Lori and Rod Dir / 10551 NE Gertie Johnson Rd.

    Stephanie Hanna and Hal Moore / 10658 NE Valley Rd.

    J o e l L e v i n
    PO Box 4644
    Rolling Bay, Washington 98061
    (206) 201-3030

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