Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households and Businesses in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood


October 5, 2005




Mark A. Emmert

President, Office of the President

301 Gerberding Hall

Box 351230

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington 98195-1230


Theresa Doherty

Assistant Vice President for Regional Affairs

University of Washington

225 Gerberding Hall

Box 351243

Seattle, Washington  98195-1243


RE:  Maintenance of Mary Gates/41st Street Median


Dear President Emmert and Ms. Doherty,


            The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees appreciates your letter of July 7, 2005 and your agreement to assume responsibility for maintenance of a portion the Mary Gates/ NE 41st Street planted median abutting your property in Laurelhurst.  According to your letter and subsequent conversations with Ms. Doherty, the University agrees to assume the maintenance responsibilities beginning at the area adjacent to Laurel Village and that ends at 36th NE.  You further agree to take on this responsibility right away.  We hope you will be able to do so this month. 

             We are looking forward to a seamless transition of responsibilities to ensure a beautiful and well-kept entrance to our community and many of your facilities.  Before we update you on the monthly services that our landscaping service provides, we’d like to review three issues. 

             Irrigation expenses.  In your letter you indicate that you are not willing to accept any of the cost of maintaining or replacing the irrigation system.  We ask that you consider at minimum paying for replacement of sprinkler heads damaged by trucks and cars that run over them on the way into and out of the Center for Urban Horticulture or by vehicles that park on the parking strip that break the heads in front of your property.  The cost to replace a sprinkler head is approximately $80.  In 2005, we had to repair or replace six sprinkler assemblies along the entire stretch of the median from Mary Gates and along NE 41st to the bottom of Suicide Hill and on the adjacent parking strips. 

 We hope that you will agree that it is a fair compromise for LCC to maintain the irrigation system and bill you only for sprinkler head damage resulting from vehicles going in and out of the Center for Urban Horticulture or parking on your parking strip.  If this is agreeable to you, we just need to know where we send the bill from our landscaping service should the need arise.  It is likely that it would be less expensive for our service to make repairs than for you to take this on yourself.

 As we mentioned to you in our letter of June 7, 2005, the Laurelhurst Community Club currently pays for maintenance of the irrigation system on your parking strip all along Mary Gates and NE 41st Street abutting your property.  To address the problem of vehicles running over sprinkler heads, we have recently invested in two three-man, 600-pound rocks that have been installed in the planted median.  The boulders are light in color so that they can be easily seen.  They are attractive and will keep trucks from destroying plants and the very expensive curbs when they make their turns.  The rocks are both slanted on one side so as to minimize damage to trucks driving over the median and yet protect the plantings and irrigation heads.  With our new rocks we expect a decrease in maintenance expenses for the irrigation system.

             Replacement plantings.  Although you indicate that you are unwilling to assist in replacement costs for plantings, we hope you will work with us to nurture a cooperative relationship between the University and the Laurelhurst community of which you are a major part.  We are planning to replace some of the shrubs on the planted median that are not doing very well.  We have met with representatives from the Center for Urban Horticulture for their suggestions on future vegetation.  They have been extremely helpful and we are grateful for their recommendations.  We have had a wonderful relationship with the Center for Urban Horticulture over the past decade and hope that this will continue.  We also hope that you will let us know if you have plants available to donate due to excesses in your stock that you no longer need or would otherwise be discarded.

             Extent of University responsibilities.  While we are grateful that you have agreed to maintenance responsibilities, we had hoped that you would share in the expense or responsibilities for all of the median abutting your property.  In your letter, you explained that you thought it would be fair for the University, the Laurelhurst Community Club and the Talaris Institute to each be responsible for 1/3 of the responsibilities/expenses.  By your estimate, you said that about 1/3 of the median would end at 36th NE.  This would exclude the median abutting the property adjacent to the Center for Urban Horticulture to the corner at Surber. 

             This approach makes sense, but incorrectly assumes that Talaris will be paying 1/3 of the expense for the median abutting its property.  According to our agreement with Talaris, they will be paying ˝ of the expense for the median and the pedestrian refuge island abutting their property, or approximately 1/6 of the total expense.  Taking this into account, the University will be taking care of 1/3 of the median, the Laurelhurst Community Club ˝ and Talaris 1/6.  So, in the future, we hope you will reconsider the responsibilities you are willing to assume.

             Specific maintenance needs.  We have asked our landscaping contractor for a listing of the work that is currently done on the portion of the median that you will be maintaining to provide an understanding of the necessary work when you take over.  Our contractor provides maintenance services 12 months a year.  Here is the listing of services that are provided and this is dependent upon the weather conditions:

·        Prune trees once a year (as these trees are evergreen, your gardeners should be able to advise when this is necessary);

·        Re-stake trees should the need arise in case of heavy wind storm;

·        Fertilize twice a year or as necessary depending upon the kind of vegetation;

·        Prune shrubs four times a year and/or as necessary;

·        Remove morning glories monthly in the growing season (about April until December);

·        Apply Roundup or weed remover and/or remove weeds during the summer, especially along side the curb; and

·        Mulch (replenish as necessary).


The above is consistent with the general guidelines outlined in our recent conversation with Theresa Doherty and her understanding of maintenance needs.  We are confident that your gardeners can fine-tune the instructions from our landscaping service.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

 Contact person.  Could you please provide us with contact information for the person/office we will be working with on maintenance issues?  We will make sure that the lead on this project for the neighborhood has this contact information.

             The University has a long history of working with the City and our community in developing the concept and final design of the boulevard project.  We appreciate your support throughout that process in recognizing the pedestrian and vehicle safety hazards and working to reduce traffic speeds.  We are grateful that you are now willing to assist with maintenance of this University and community asset.




                                                                        Jeannie Hale, President

                                                                        3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE

                                                                        Seattle, Washington  98105

                                                                        206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631



cc:  Weldon Ihrig