Blakely Island Maintenance Commission, Inc.


MARCH 20, 2004

Commissioners Present: Cheryl Burkhart, Marc Droppert, Brian Kincaid, Chris Owings, Martha Mills, and Cindy Zech. John Howieson was absent.
Guests: Jim Davis, Wally Weller
President Cheryl Burkhart called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m. at the Blakely home of Marc Droppert.

Approval of the Minutes
The minutes of the January 10, 2004 meeting were approved with two clarifications requested by Chris Owings: 1) The Fire and Waste section misstated that no one was present who could operate the equipment and our thanks to Ken Parker for doing so during the short landing occurrence last fall.
2) The Old Business/Fire Committee section should have stated: “The committee is putting together a list of suggested improvements to our fire response system for the membership to consider. Our most important defense is caution, care, and prevention. Every person needs to be able to put out a fire when it first starts before it becomes a major blaze.”

Jim Davis requested that the minutes in the Fire and Waste section be clarified to note that of the two alarm buttons in the fire station, only the “alarm” button should be pushed for an emergency, not the “test” button, which is only for tests.

Commissioner’s Reports
Fire and Waste
Chris Owings led a discussion about the fire at South Blakely at the Norberg house. Jim Davis commented that because the Norberg fire occurred on a weekend, more people were on Blakely and about half responded to the fire. The Board thanks Jim and the Blakely volunteers who all worked hard to put out the fire. Doug Norberg has offered to reimburse BIMC for the foam and hoses used. Jim Davis reported that there is enough foam on hand to respond to another fire until the used foam is replaced.

Old Business
Board Nominations Committee
The committee reported on potential nominees for the board. There was a brief discussion about separating fire from garbage and waste as a commissioner responsibility because the fire commissioner will need to be more active in the future. Chris Owings reported that the fire committee has offered to continue to follow through on the needs assessment. Marc Droppert inquired about a project approach so some commissioners have more to do. Discussion followed on how responsibilities are assigned to commissioners.

im Davis requested that members please drive on the road and take care not to drive on the shoulder edge of the road, especially on curves because the embankment supporting the road will collapse, the road will break and fall off, and then is expensive to repair.
The road project that was estimated to cost $75,000 last year is now estimated to cost $93,000 due to increased costs.

Update on 10-year comprehensive planning
Marc Droppert presented a sample list of possible long-term capital maintenance items. The Board discussed long range planning so that necessary projects are clearly listed, prioritized, and budgeted each year. Marc Droppert suggested that lake improvements be added to the list.

New Business
Fires on Blakely
Two major fires happened on Blakely in February. On Valentine’s Day weekend, an old car caught fire at the peak. A week later, the Norberg home on Homestead Bay burned down. Pictures of both fires can be seen on the BIMC website at The Board discussed the fires and response to the fires. Concerning insurance, BIMC vehicles have coverage when operated off the BIMC plat.

Water Committee Report
Russ Keyes presented an outline of the water committee’s work on the problems, options, proposed solutions, time line, and costs related to the water system. One problem is that BIMC may not make it through the summer without running out of domestic system treated water. The water committee recommended that BIMC pay to extend the raw water system to the Taggares property so that irrigation there could be removed from the domestic water system, provided a written agreement has been reached with Janet Taggares. New connections to the raw water system would eventually help defray the cost. Russ asked for the Board’s support of the water committee proposal. After discussion, the board voted 4-2 in support of the proposal, which will be presented to the community at the annual meeting. The board commends the water committee for all their hard work to analyze the facts and issues and present proposals for the membership to consider.

[Webmaster note: The water committee web page is now available]

Fire Committee Report
Chris Owings presented the fire committee’s “Report of Findings Spring 2004”. The board thanks the fire committee for a comprehensive and well-documented report on all aspects of the fire situation on Blakely from issues, equipment available, training, protocol, and future recommendations. The equipment list with photos and complete descriptions of each piece of equipment is particularly well done. Wally Weller commented that the fire committee has shown great teamwork and prepared a very good report.

Operating Budget 2004-2005
The board reviewed and discussed the proposed budget in detail. Some additions and adjustments were made. Brian Kincaid moved and it was seconded by Chris Owings to approve the proposed budget with the changes made during discussion. The motion passed unanimously.

Capital Improvement Budget 2004-2005
The board reviewed and discussed the proposed capital improvement budget in detail. Jim Davis reported on improvements to the Facility Manager’s house and requested additional capital funding to complete the project. Jim also reported on the road and runway projects. Wally Weller asked about curbs on the road to prevent cutting corners and various ideas on the subject were discussed. Jim Davis will look into possible solutions. Jim Davis and Marc Droppert recommended use of the maintenance reserve to fund a major road repaving. The community will vote on this request along with the other capital improvement requests at the annual meeting in July.

Review of Agenda Requests by Members
No member of the association has requested any addition to the annual meeting agenda.

Annual Meeting Packet
Commissioner’s reports and the facility manager’s report for the annual meeting packet need to be given to Cheryl Burkhart by April 30.

Lake Improvements
Cheryl Burkhart is purchasing oars and paddles for the lake.

Facility Manager House
Jim Davis inquired about installing low flow toilets in the facility manager’s house with money that is already budgeted for improvements. There was agreement that Jim may proceed to install the toilets.

Next Board Meeting
The next board meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 27, on Blakely at a location to be announced.

Correspondence Received
2/21/04 letter from Mark Smith re firefighting 3/02/04 letter from Mark Smith re liability
2/22/04 letter from Pam Roats re liability 3/02/04 letter from Mark Smith re liability
2/25/04 letter from Pam Roats re liability 3/06/04 letter from Mark Smith re liability
3/01/04 letter from Mark Smith re liability 3/12/04 letter from Harold Bartram re wording of water committee update
3/01/04 letter from Mark Smith re liability of water committee update 3/12/04 letter from Lance Douglas re HorseshoeLake improvements
3/02/04 letter from Mark Smith re liability
3/02/04 letter from Mark Smith re liability

The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m. Afterwards, the Board met in executive session to discuss the facility manager’s contract and board assignments for the upcoming year.


Martha Mills
BIMC Secretary

Attachments: Facility Manager’s Report and 3/12/04 letter from Harold Bartram

Facility Manager’s Report
 Jim Davis
 March 20th 2004

 Water Treatment Plant

During the winter months, when the lake is cold (5 degrees centigrade), our coagulation chemicals are not as effective. We must closely monitor our filtered water quality and adjust the dosage of each coagulant to assure maximum filter performance. Our treated water continues to exceed all State and Federal standards. There have been no mechanical anomalies with the water plant this winter.


Brian Kincaid came up with stainless steel staples to repair the roof truss problem mentioned previously. I purchased two sheets of treated plywood, along with the house materials, to make new gussets. This will be an interesting project due to the time constraints involved when the reservoirs are out of commission. I may elect to do the repairs in stages, replacing the obviously failing gussets this spring and replacing/refastening more of them next fall. I will perform this work when I drain and clean the reservoirs this spring.

Water Use-Leaks

After over a month of evaluation, I was able to diagnose leaks in three North-end connections. These leaks accounted for over 1,500 gallons per day. All of the leaks were on private property and the owners/property managers were notified. This illustrates, again, how difficult it can be to locate leaks in our system.

Residents are reminded that domestic water irrigation restrictions go into effect May 1st. We may need to expand these restrictions this summer to avoid domestic water shortages.

Irrigation Distribution Line Extension

A couple of members near the South end of the runway have paid for irrigation hookups. Since they are not currently served by the distribution system, the line must be extended. This project is scheduled for the last week in April/first week in May. We will be adding 340 feet of distribution main and two or three new connections to the system. Because there are several other underground utilities in the area, much of the digging will be done by hand. Terry and I will be doing the work.

Postal Contract

I received a return call from the Anacortes Postmaster in February. He told me that the USPS is unwilling to give BIMC any increase; over the $20.00 per day they currently pay us to handle the on-island mail. I am reluctant to push this any harder for fear we will lose our mail service altogether. I think we should wait a few months and simply re-submit for a raise and see what happens.


We completely emptied the BIRD recently. We had San Juan Sanitation (SJS) bring a dumpster for glass in January. Normally I try to dump the barrels during the summer, when it’s easier to enlist a little extra muscle. However, the schedule changed with increased volume. There was nobody around this time and I faced a time limit on the dumpster. Necessity being the mother of invention, I devised a lift sling and installed an eye-bolt in the header above the door, to facilitate lifting the 3 to 4 hundred pound drums. With this apparatus, I was able to do the job by myself. I am going to refine this system a bit for safety and speed. Anyone that has helped with this job in the past will appreciate that we will no longer have to grunt and strain to dump the barrels. SJS brought a dumpster for the other recycle goods, when they picked up the glass. I loaded all of the cardboard and plastic bales and Margo helped me toss in all the mixed and newspaper. These materials completely filled the dumpster and we were unable to load the aluminum cans. As it worked out, this was to our advantage. Since the truck for transporting our building materials was leaving empty, I decided to haul the aluminum bales and car batteries. I transported and unloaded the batteries at NAPA in Anacortes and I found a buyer for the aluminum in Bellingham. We collected $250.00 for the aluminum. This will help the overall budget for the BIRD.


Our twelve-year-old garbage compactor was rebuilt by the dealer in January. While it was still in generally good condition, the ram and ram support structure was badly worn and likely would have failed very soon. We elected to install a factory-new ram. The support rails and shoes were also replaced with new parts. All new hydraulic cylinders and hoses were installed and the door-interlock cut-out was changed from hydraulic to electric. They welded a gutter over the door opening, to keep rainwater from entering the unit. This will help on corrosion and may result in slightly lower dump fees because we pay by weight. They also sandblasted the interior and coated it with a rust-blocking epoxy primer. The exterior and the pump and controls were repainted as well. The dealer also recommended replacing the hydraulic pump and motor. This expense would have resulted in going significantly over the budget for this project. Instead, I had them test the motor for resistance and the pump for pressure and output. Both tested within “new” specifications. If we do have a problem with either of these items, I should be able to replace them here on the island.

Winter Weather

I am have already received reports of members finding broken pipes in their Blakely homes. You may wish to exercise extra care to avoid flood damage when activating your systems this spring

Blakely Fires

On February 14th, a resident notified me that their vehicle had an engine fire up by the Crowley memorial. He had run all the way to our house. I grabbed a couple of fire extinguishers and we headed up as fast as the road conditions would safely allow. When

we got to the site, the vehicle was completely involved in flames. I discharged the extinguishers to no avail. The site was not accessible by our fire truck so we filled several five-gallon containers with water and retrieved three more 20# extinguishers. With the combination of water for cooling and the dry chemical from the extinguishers, we were able to control the fire. The distance running back and forth for water and the fact that it was after dark hampered our efforts. I owe thanks to Mark Owings and Terry Pence for helping to carry water, extinguishers and fighting the fire. Fortunately, due to the wet cool weather, the fire did not expand to the forest. This is the second significant car fire in recent years. Poor maintenance may result in oil or even fuel leaks. If you have a leak and experience an engine fire, you may have only a few seconds to control the fire with a hand held extinguisher. This should serve as a reminder that all vehicles should have fire extinguishers mounted and quickly accessible. If this fire had occurred mid-summer it would have resulted in a wild fire on Blakely Peak.

A week later on February 21st, I was cutting firewood at the logger’s camp. At about 2:00 PM, I heard a horn honking and looked up to see the BIMC fire truck go by. I later learned that the Norberg home fire had been reported to the Blakely Island Marina and they, in turn, notified several BIMC members. Kevin Clark had gone immediately to our fire hall and driven the truck to the scene. I followed the fire truck and arrived a few minutes later. Both levels of the main living structure of Norberg’s log home were fully involved. The fire had burned through the roof and the cedar shake roof was burning on the south elevation. Because of the extreme intensity of the fire and the fact that every area of the home was involved, I was fearful that we would not be able to control the fire. Along with the South Blakely staff, many BIMC members and guests turned out to assist. While thankful for all the help, I was concerned for everyone’s safety. People on the scene were already operating a hose from a nearby fire hydrant. We got our truck pumping within a few seconds and added two more hoses to the fight. We also utilized our foam apparatus to good advantage. A little later Ken Parker and Ron Eklund arrived in Rogich’s barge, with the fire trailer containing the forestry pump. At one point, we were attacking the fire with two hoses from our truck (one with class A foam), one hose from the forestry pump (salt water) and one hose from a hydrant. Contrary to my original assessment, we were able to control the fire before it spread to the beautiful new addition. This was a real team effort and everyone at the scene worked incredibly hard to fight back the flames. We used about 34,000 gallons of water (fresh and salt) to fight the fire. All of you that helped have my thanks, as well as the thanks of the Norberg Family (see letter enclosed).

This was a huge learning experience. In a few respects we found our equipment and training lacking. However, I was quite impressed with the overall operation and our eventual success. With the exception of one glitch with the fire pump (see below), our equipment performed better than expected. Most of the fire hydrants at the South-end are not equipped with the proper connection to hook directly to our fire truck. This limited us. Instead of boosting the hydrant pressure with our pumper, we were only able to use the pressure available from the truck. We also had to devote two people to the job of refilling our truck tank with a hose from the fire hydrant. We found that the instructions in the fire trailer are inadequate to fully describe the operation and limitations of the fire pump. As a result, we learned that the fire pump should not be run without water in the pump housing. The pump seal was damaged and this initially created difficulties in getting the pump primed. The pump has been repaired and the instructions are being updated. I have also purchased a hand pump to aid in priming the fire

pump. Ken found that the battery was low and the fire pump had to be started by hand. I learned that I shouldn’t try to pinch BIMC pennies when it comes to batteries for fire equipment. Many thanks to Darrell Davey, who donated a day of his vacation helping me clean fire equipment and hoses with pressure washers. After cleaning and rolling several hundred feet of hose by hand, I decided we needed a less back breaking more time conservative method of rolling hoses. After a visit to the hardware store and with a few odds and ends around the shop, I designed and built a slick turntable to quickly roll both sizes of our fire hose in seconds. I have ordered new foam as well as a few fittings and nozzles to make up some deficiencies. I have thus far, been unable to find an adapter that will allow the direct connection between our truck and the South Blakely hydrants.

For those of you with furnaces, take note: This fire appears to have been caused by squirrels getting into the furnace ductwork. Our little Blakely squirrels can haul an amazing supply of pine cones with them everywhere they go. We need to remember to check for the presence of these little gremlins in our homes and our equipment.

House Improvements

Most of the structural materials and windows/doors for the house remodel were transported on February 10th. We rented a truck and shared space with two of our BIMC members to save costs. I also brought over pipe for the irrigation system and hauled the old car batteries and aluminum cans on the return trip. The upgrades at the house are now in full swing. I tore out the old aluminum sliders and installed the new vinyl units and windows in the living room and guest room. The new doors have much better seals and insulation. The difference (warmth wise) on a cold windy night is dramatic. The old windows were very foggy between the panes so a better view is a by-product. This was a much-needed improvement. The next step was the dining room extension. The old floor support system in the dining room had to be removed so new joists could be installed extending out over the foundation. This is harder than it sounds because the house is sitting on the parts that I was removing and replacing. Next, I removed the siding, sheathing, sheetrock and framing from the existing outside wall. We installed a new beam to support the roof and I’m currently building and installing the new walls for the bay. When this job is complete through interior sheetrock, I will start enclosing the breezeway.

Facilities Manager Vacation

We have not used any days of vacation since January. As of March 1st we will have 13 days of vacation coming. We have some vacation time scheduled next month.

Jim Davis

MARCH 12, 2004




RE: JAN. 10, 2004 MINUTES