Letters to the editor | Feb. 1 edition

Readers write in about Puget Sound Energy, a proposed dog park, the school levy, and more.


Utility’s conversation at community council meeting unhelpful

Why were participants at the recent Vashon-Maury Community Council meeting not allowed to ask questions about their properties with Puget Sound Energy (PSE)? PSE staff spoke, and only took questions “in general” about their activities. This rule was a condition for them to even come and answer any questions at the community meeting.

Property owners with concerns were not allowed to ask questions about giving up their property rights to this Canadian/Dutch-owned company.

Warren Abramoff


Community must be better consulted on Wax Orchard proposal

I love dogs! I’ve walked my beloved dogs around the Wax Orchard / Old Mill Road loop daily for 30 years. After King County Park’s Open House in March 2023, I voted “yes” for a dog park at the Sheep Dog Trials meadow in their straw poll. I’ve had a change of heart since learning more about the impacts.

The meadow is an island treasure, magic in any season. The pond south of the meadow is a reflective place, diverse in bird life, and the woodland trails provide a quiet respite. A dog park located here would visually blight the meadow with fencing, destroy the solitude of the trails and disrupt wildlife. I support FIDO finding a place for a dog park; however, this site is not a good fit. I’ve heard folks mention Park’s new 10-acre parcel on SW 188th for its’ proximity to town/infrastructure.

What was Park’s process for approving the Wax Orchard site? I am dismayed by their exclusion of friends and neighbors in their decision-making. At the Open House and in a subsequent letter I offered to form a “Friends” group as recommended by them. I never received a response from Parks nor our Council Representative.

I understand many others have written to Parks questioning the proposed dog park and received no response. How are these letters accounted for or considered in terms of public opinion?

Parks met on-site with “10 constituents earlier this month”, including FIDO. The meeting was unannounced to the Vashon community. This was not a representative sampling of the neighborhood or Vashon. Oddly, this project is being advanced without any community review.

To repair their misstep, Parks could re-boot with an open process, include neighbors/friends, and craft sound decisions based on site analysis, best practices for dog parks and public review before a final decision is determined.

A group, Friends of Wax Orchard Park, has formed for all islanders regardless of your position. Our intent: to act as stewards, considering the park as a “whole system” — a natural, (agri)cultural, historical, passive recreational place. Contact friendsofwaxorchardpark@gmail.com to join.

Jil Stenn


Levy helps our school district thrive

I would like to add my support for the upcoming Vashon Island School District (VISD) levy. As a former student, parent and member of the Vashon community at large for most of my life, I have personally benefited greatly from past levy support of our schools, as has my daughter and our peers. Further, it has been inspiring to see how our school district has grown to meet new challenges, needs, and educational opportunities throughout these past years. I see evidence of this every day and am extremely grateful for the benefits VISD has had on our community.

I would like to thank you all for that past support and offer my commitment to continue supporting our school district with my endorsement of the upcoming levy. I hope you will join me with your vote.

Rick Sassara, VHS ’83, parent ‘18


Debate teaches lessons for a polarized age

Thanks for publishing the photo of Roy Ostrom (our dad) and one of the historic Island Debate Teams (Vashon Heritage Museum ad, “It’s Your History,” Jan. 25)

Today’s readers may not recall that those debaters learned which side of an issue they were debating just minutes before the match. They were equally prepared to win with pros and cons for either side, a point often forgotten in today’s polarized political climate.

Brita Ostrom