The City of Everett (Washington State) is making a choice; it’s choosing dollar signs over history, environment and children.  The city has entered in to “quiet talks” instigated by a developer who purchased undeveloped property in a ravine that backs to the building known as the “Scout Shack”.  The building is owned by the Everett Elks Lodge and occupied by Boy Scouts of America Troop 1. Troop 1 of Everett is not just the longest continually running Boy Scout Troop in Western Washington but also the oldest known Boy Scout Troop still running west of the Mississippi.  The troop celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014.  In February of this year, with the help of an article in the Everett Herald, Troop 1 began fundraising to renovate the Scout Shack to improve its appearance and function in order to continue its legacy serving Snohomish County youth well into the future.  Troop 1 is rare in current Boy Scout Culture in that it is one of the few area troops that is unaffiliated with a specific school or church.  Members include not just boys from Everett but from other areas of the county as well.

The history of the building has been difficult to verify due to inconsistent record keeping by both the City of Everett and Snohomish County.  City of Everett permit search dates the building to 1940. Some reports indicate that the building was an old Army barracks. Others have more recently and adamantly declared it as the original building occupied by the Everett Herald News Paper.  Whatever its origins, the building was moved to its current location in what parcel maps indicate is an unplatted green space owned by the City.

Neighbors have long believed the ravine to be an NGPA dedicated lot surrounding the Scout Shack.  Troop 1 has occupied this building and actively maintained the surrounding property and have been good stewards of the land since the building was moved to its current location in or around 1958.  The details of how the building came to be in its present location scarce.  The building rests on a permanent foundation on the City of Everett property and there is a parcel number associated with the building itself (APN00437578600001) which would indicate some agreement had been made between the City and the Elks Lodge (sponsor of Troop 1 and owner of the building) to have it legally placed there.  Electricity and water/sewer are also established and maintained at the building. No land lease or other deed has surfaced through our initial research.  Anyone with documents or knowledge of the history, terms of the attachment of the building to its permanent foundation at this site or other information that could help are asked to contact Scout Master Ben at benjaminrhayes86@gmail.com.

The neighbor owning the adjacent parcel to the south of the Scout Shack was surprised recently when a representative from the City of Everett approached him offering him first right to purchase the land on which the Scout Shack sits. According to this neighbor, the City representative informed him that the City is required to offer first rights to purchase to established neighboring properties before it can offer it for sale to the developer. While, as a former real estate appraiser who spent a decade appraising properties and vacant land throughout Snohomish County, I can appreciate that vacant land within the city limits is rare, I have to pose the questions: Why THIS land and Why Now?  The answer is simple: A Developer with deep pockets has given our city leaders visions of dollar signs now dancing in their heads.   The proposed sale of the land from under the historic building not only jeopardizes the future of Troop 1 but also displays a total disregard for the neighborhood, its tax payers and the environment including the soil stability and natural rain garden that the vegetation in the ravine provides to the surrounding parcels.  When considering the highest and best use of the land, I ask our governing body to look at the land, not at the bank account.  Your decision to sell or not to sell impacts much more than this 103 year old Boy Scout Troop and a piece of Everett History.

Update as of 1:30 this afternoon:

Quick shout-out to the Mayor’s office for getting back to us so quickly! A representative sat down with Scout Master Ben today and got lots of information we hadn’t had yet. Turns out, it’s really up to the ELKS LODGE whether or not they accept the sale and demolition of this historic building and ultimate demise of the Oldest Boy Scout Troop west of the Mississippi. It seems that, after paying for their fancy new building, they are broke and are willing to sell off the Scout Shack for a few thousand $$$.CALL THE ELKS LODGE and tell them they’re making the wrong choice for EVERETT! Lodge #479 Home

Everett Elks Lodge #479 2802 Hoyt Ave #100 Everett, WA 98201 Phone: 425-252-4179

Lodge Office Hours: Monday: 10am – 3pm and Friday: 10am – 5pm

Lodge is held on the first and third Thursday nights of each month at 7 p.m.

Please take a moment to let Everett leaders know how you feel about their plan to literally sell the land out from under Troop 1.  If the land goes, the Scout Shack will go too.  This is not an entitled group of hooligans. It’s a group of young men who take pride in the community they serve and regularly give back or volunteer throughout Snohomish County.  If you believe as I do that Everett could use more youth like these boys in Troop 1 and less urban sprawl, then please do one or all of the following:

 

City Council Chambers
3002 Wetmore Avenue
Everett, WA 98201

Call or e-mail David Stalheim, Long Range Planning Manager
dstalheim@everettwa.gov

Phone: 425-257-8731

Attend: The SHARE WITH YOUR MAYOR event THIS WEDNESDAY

March 22, 2017

6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Everett Main Library

2702 Hoyt Avenue
Everett, WA 98201

425-257-8000

Contact the Mayor

Ray Stephanson, Mayor
https://www.everettwa.gov/FormCenter/Mayors-Office-4/Contact-the-Mayor-94

Phone: 425-257-7115

Media inquiries for City of Everett:
Meghan Pembroke, communications director
425-257-8687

Contact the Everett Historical Commission

https://everettwa.gov/572/Historical-Commission

Paul Popelka

ppopelka@everettwa.gov
Phone: 425-257-7155

Regular Meetings

6:30 p.m.

The 4th Tuesday of every month

Van Valey House
2130 Colby Avenue
Everett, WA 98201
Email
Port Gardner Neighborhood Association

Chair: Sean Edwards
Email: seanedwards@verizon.net

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