1st St. Bypass can get going as final house vacated

MARYSVILLE – The final holdout has moved so the $12 million First Street Bypass project can continue.

At Monday’s City Council work session, Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima said the house has been vacated so the city will clean up the site like it has the other few blocks of the project.

Public Works director Kevin Nielsen said the bypass project itself is out for bid. That part of the effort should start in June.

And on Monday the council will consider purchasing some wetlands credits to mitigate unavoidable impacts of the project.

The two-lane road from State to 47th avenues will be widened up to five lanes. The project, which will handle traffic from a new $50 million interchange at I-5 and Highway 529, will relieve downtown congestion and offer a new gateway into town.

The city spent three years in negotiations and legal proceedings to obtain the yellow, century-old home. The city bought nearly a dozen other houses, which were demolished last year.

In March, the city went to court to acquire the property through eminent domain. The sale, for $277,500, was completed Feb. 20.

The same day, the owner was placed into a care facility.

The owner of the property was a 92-year-old woman with dementia who had lived there since the 1960s. She often deferred decision-making to her daughter, who had been living with her, court documents say.

But her children did not appear to have her best interests in mind, according to social worker reports filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. Documents allege she was “financially exploited, personally exploited, neglected and mentally abused.”

No one has been charged with any crimes in connection with the woman’s care.

When Adult Protective Services visited the home in December, she was in her bedroom. It was dark, and there was an “overwhelming odor” of cat urine and human feces. Her home was apparently used as a place to use and sell drugs, such as methamphetamine and heroin, documents allege. In the past five years, police have cited three people at the house over 20 times for violating city code. Those fines, mostly related to the open storage of trash, totaled $14,500.

The house itself won’t be demolished for a few weeks due to safety inspections that need to occur.

Meanwhile, in the one item the council voted on Monday, it OK’d allowing Nickel Bros. to move a house on the new Civic Campus property. That would save the city the cost of demolishing it.

In other news, Mayor Jon Nehring said the council’s recent visit to talk with lawmakers in Olympia was effective. He said projects like the Grove Street Overcrossing were kept in both budgets.

Councilman Jeff Vaughan agreed this was the best year since he’s been on the council. “They’re used to us now. They know us and our projects,” he said.

Other things discussed that will be voted on Monday include:

•Almost $4.25 million to update the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Nielsen said improvements would make it state-of-the-art in efficiently removing material to cut maintenance costs.

•Accepting a $5 million grant from the Department of Ecology to improve aesthetics of stormwater treatment from downtown to Grove Street to look more like the designs on Third and First streets.

•Accepting a grant to improve five sidewalks downtown.

•Consider a resolution for a conditional shoreline development permit to widen State from 100th to 104th across Quil Ceda Creek. That bid won’t go out until fall, Nielsen said.

-Zachariah Bryan of The Daily Herald contributed to this report.

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