Community input needed for future of Wood Creek: 92 Acres of Forest and Wildlife Habitat in Everett

Forterra, the City of Everett, and Snohomish County to explore options to conserve the property.

Highlights

  • Wood Creek is 92-acres of intact forest and wildlife habitat in Everett and unincorporated Snohomish County.
  • Forterra will gather community input and design land use strategies to keep the property in public ownership and to maximize public benefits such as stream restoration, trail connectivity, open space conservation, and recreation opportunities.
  • Property was previously on City’s surplus list, but City removed it to explore conservation options after community input.
  • The collective goal is to meet the City’s revenue needs and to find uses that retain the natural functions and beauty of the property.
  • City of Everett and Snohomish County will pursue future options for the property based on a suite of options that Forterra will propose by the end of the year.

EVERETT, WA — Faced with the potential sale of Wood Creek, a 92-acre forest in southeast Everett, a partnership of local governments, neighbors and tribes are coming together to chart a course for conserving the future of the unique property. Forterra, a Washington-based nonprofit land trust, will convene a partnership this spring to inform land use and management scenarios, including open space conservation, trails, recreation opportunities and habitat restoration. Forterra will present its findings to the City of Everett and Snohomish County by the end of the year. Failure to find a land use that meets the City’s budget deficit needs could result in the land being put back up for sale.

Wood Creek lies in southeast Everett, with about 82 acres in the city and 10 acres in unincorporated Snohomish County. Interstate-5 adjoins the property to the west with the Valley View and Eastmont neighborhoods to the north and south. The property is characterized by steep slopes, dense forest, walking paths and a clear creek.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Forterra and explore creative ways to conserve the important ecological attributes of this property, and identify opportunities to enhance the community benefits it may provide,” said Everett mayor Cassie Franklin.

In May of 2020, the City of Everett included the property on a list of public assets to potentially sell as a measure to address a structural budget deficit. A portion of the property may be suitable for residential development and neighbors expressed concern that such an outcome would have adverse impacts on this special area of urban forest. The City of Everett removed Wood Creek from the surplus list and committed to working with neighbors, Forterra and Snohomish County on alternatives for future land use. Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts was central to guiding the conversation and bringing together interested parties. The collective goal is to meet the City’s revenue needs and to find uses that retain the natural functions and beauty of the property.

“This area is one of the few remaining urban forests in the southern part of Everett,” said Snohomish County councilmember Megan Dunn. “The stream and forest provides critical habitat, mitigates climate change and improves the quality of life for surrounding neighborhoods. When residents in Valley View asked me to get involved in protecting this area, I was happy to find opportunities for Snohomish County to support this important work.”

The City of Everett will commission a geotechnical study to analyze the soils, slopes and potential hazards of the property as a first step to identify what land uses are feasible. Forterra will seek community input to design a strategy that evaluates funding sources, land ownership, stewardship, restoration, recreation opportunities and more. Forterra anticipates completing this work by the end of the year. Once complete, the City of Everett will review the land-use strategies and decide how to proceed.

“The Everett community came to us looking for this property to be conserved rather than sold,” said Forterra president and CEO Michelle Connor. “We’re pleased that the City and County listened to the community, and now we’re looking forward to creating a strategy that works for everyone.”

Learn more about Forterra by visiting forterra.org.

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 CONTACTS

Sarah Sanborn
Senior Communications Manager, Forterra
ssanborn@forterra.org
206-930-1963

Julio Cortes
Senior Communications Officer, City of Everett
jcortes@everettwa.gov
425.320.9147

ABOUT FORTERRA

Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning; innovative programs and policies; farming and forestry approaches; community ownership opportunities; and development solutions. Visit www.Forterra.org.

ABOUT THE CITY OF EVERETT

As the largest city in Snohomish County, Everett serves a diverse community of nearly 112,000 residents. Located 25 miles north of Seattle, the city is nestled between Port Gardner Bay and the Snohomish River. Everett benefits from world-class education partners, serving students from pre-K to college. Everett Community College and Washington State University at Everett offer world-class higher education with a wide, growing range of programs that are relevant to our region, such as avionics, technology, healthcare, engineering and agriculture. www.everettwa.gov

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