City makes offer to purchase gulch | Guest View

By Arnie Hammerman & Paige DeChambeau | Nov 20, 2013

A historic step toward the purchase of Japanese Gulch has been taken.

On Monday, Mayor Joe Marine and the Mukilteo City Council, including mayor-elect Jennifer Gregerson, met in a closed session to discuss the purchase of Japanese Gulch.

They unanimously approved contributing funds to the $4.3 million in state and county grants that have already been collected in order to make an offer on the remaining 98 acres of land in Japanese Gulch.

At this time, the amount of the offer has not been disclosed, because they still are in negotiations with the sellers.

This does not mean this is over, as the purchase and sale agreement that the city authorized must still be accepted by the seller, and that remains to be seen, but it is an important step that will hopefully lead to the purchase of this historic property.

Donate to be a part of history

If you would like to help the city of Mukilteo purchase Japanese Gulch, now is the time.

The city is making an offer, but staff still need to figure out the details of where this money is going to come from within the budget or the city’s coffers or how exactly they are going to finance it.

A majority of Mukilteo voters approved a bond measure last year that would have raised more than $3 million in tax revenues to buy Japanese Gulch, but this measure failed to reach the 60 percent supermajority needed to pass.

If you are one of those voters who agreed to a slight tax increase in order to buy this land, or if you live outside of Mukilteo and want to see this land acquired, the city could use your help.

You or someone you know can step up and make a donation toward purchasing the gulch property. The Japanese Gulch Group can insure that your money is used to help make this historic purchase happen.

Please contact us at info@japanesegulch.org to find out how you can change history with your donation.

80 hear photographer Paul Bannick talk

The Japanese Gulch Group is not just here to ask you for money so that we can help buy this land. We also work to educate the public about the gulch and why it deserves preservation.

On Nov. 10, we welcomed Paul Bannick, an acclaimed wildlife photographer, author and naturalist, here to Mukilteo. Paul gave a presentation to a packed house of more than 75 people at the Mukilteo Library.

He demonstrated the importance of preserving habitat for owls who rely on a healthy ecosystem to survive. By showing us some fantastic photos, Paul explained the inter-relationship between owls, woodpeckers and other birds that occupy the same areas.

Paul emphasized that habitat destruction is taking its toll on owls. Many need large wooded spaces in order to forage and mate.

In particular, some owls use hollowed out trees to nest, and these are getting harder to find, especially in or near urban centers.

Preserving healthy forests where owls and other birds can nest and breed is important to their survival.

Japanese Gulch is currently home to a diverse group of birds including owls and woodpeckers. By helping us conserve this land, you can insure that these species will continue to thrive and grow in our region.

To learn more about these incredible birds and see Paul’s amazing photographs, visit www.paulbannick.com.

Photo contest deadline extended

Want to be the next Paul Bannick? You and your children can enter our photo contest and show everyone what you saw in the gulch.

The Japanese Gulch Group has extended our photo contest until Dec. 7. This means that you still have time to turn in your photographs of Japanese Gulch and win some great prizes, like a one-night get away at the Silver Cloud Inn!

The winning photo will also be publicly displayed, shown on our website and featured in and upcoming edition of The Beacon.

Send your gulch pictures to Director Paige DeChambeau at  director@japanesegulch.org or drop them off at the He Said She Said shop at 12199 Village Center Pl. in Mukilteo.

The contest entry fee is $20 or $10 for student entries. All entrants receive a free T-shirt simply for taking part in the contest!

Please register online at www.japanesegulch.org. Once you have registered, additional photos can be submitted for only $5 each. Remember, every photo you submit increases your chances of winning one of our great prizes.

How to learn more

We encourage you to learn more about this unique piece of property and help us to purchase this land and preserve it as an urban forest, open to the public forever.

This is your chance to change the course of history by keeping Japanese Gulch from being logged and developed. Financial donations are important, but if that is not your style, you can also donate your time and your labor, working on trails or setting up for our events.

Contact us to find out how you can be a part of the solution!

For more information, join our mailing list by mailing PO Box 1221, Mukilteo, WA 98275 or call Paige at 425-239-2205.

Arnie Hammerman is the president and Paige DeChambeau is the director of the Japanese Gulch Group, which has the mission of preserving the Japanese Gulch as parks and open space.

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