Over 100 people turned out for the 47th FHA annual meeting on April 22nd at the Puget Sound Yacht Club on the north shore of Lake Union. (More photos in the Gallery.)
A social hour with delicious refreshments preceded the meeting and gave houseboaters and other folks time to sign in, pay dues, make purchases at the Houseboatique booth and schmooze with neighbours. Guest speaker, Lorraine McConaghy arrived early to chat with houseboaters and several members told her personal stories of houseboat life. Dick Wagner, long time member of the community and founder of the Center for Wooden Boats arrived early to visit with members as he signed copies of his "hot off the press" book, Legends of the Lake: Volume 1.
Emcee, Melissa Ahlers opened the meeting with a quick review of the evening's agenda.
Dr Lorraine McConaghy
is the public historian at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). She earned her PhD in history from the UW and presently teaches in the museum studies program there. Her area of research interest is the antebellum U.S. Navy. She has a book coming out in October entitled, Warship Under Sail, the Sloop-of-War Decatur in the Pacific Squadron, 1854 - 1859.
Bigger image in Gallery.
Then Marilyn Robertson introduced guest speaker, Dr. Lorraine McConaghy, historian for MOHAI. Lorraine began her talk on the history of Lake Union by reading a passage from Three's a Crew written about outfitting a small boat on Lake Union for travel to Alaska in the 1920s. (See the exerpt here.) She then told a couple of stories about houseboaters, and the importance of recording the stories of our elders. Her accompanying slide show began with a current photo of the Armory building at South Lake Union which will be the new home for MOHAI. Lorraine spoke about the natural state of Lake Union before the settlers arrived. She acknowledged there wasn't written evidence of a date when someone first tied a few logs together and set a little shack on the logs. But, who wouldn't want to float in this beautiful setting? Her slide show had wonderful old photos from the MOHAI collection as well as several early maps. The history of the lake came alive when Dr. McConaghy talked about early neighbourhoods, like Fremont, where there were seedy taverns and greasy spoon cafes. Her audience was with her from her first words and clearly didn't want her to stop. And Dr. McConaghy seemed buoyed by her own enthusiasm. She made it clear she plans to stay in touch with our community.
FHA president, Bill Keasler followed with a presentation on the history of the Shorelines Management Act from 1970 leading up to the present planned revisions of the Shorelines Master Program (SMP).
Comments to DPD's
Floating Homes Policy
Chinook Salmon and Houseboats
Bob Bowman, environment committee chair and FHA representative to the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) working with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on the SMP, provided the membership with a coherent and concise report on the CAC meetings since they began a year ago to the present. (FHA SMP Workgroup.) He commented on the successes and failures in negotiations with DPD and concluded with a discussion of on-going plans that include increased lobbying with the city. The FHA has contracted to have a study conducted to learn how Chinook salmon smolts respond to houseboats.
There was a short question and answer period during which Bill Keasler encouraged members to make donations especially to the General Fund to help pay FHA expenses related to this important topic.
Standing committees reported on activities during the past year. Due to the late hour the reports were shortened to finish in a timely manner.
Fund Raising: Melissa thanked everyone for making the 2008 tour a big success and said she is looking ahead to the 2010 tour. See the 2008 Tour story.
Legislative: Sheri spoke about the current Legislature session and what might apply to floating homes.
Environmental: Bob announced that FHA is again one of the main sponsors of the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Lake Union and Portage Bay Sweep which will be Saturday May 9th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. He encouraged people to participate by calling the PSA at 206.297.7002 or email@example.com
Safety and Security: Giff talked about the fire boat changes. Tiff encouraged members to join the Dock Watch email list by going to Dockwatch Subscription page, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 206.854.5292. She also offered a big thanks and sad goodbye to Giff and Mary Jones who are retiring from the board after 10 years.
Houseboatique: Giff and Mary announced door prize winners and said goodbye.
Communications: Marilyn Robertson spoke of the success of the first color issue of the newsletter and encouraged people to visit the web site for late breaking stories and photos. She also talked about her article Chinook Salmon and Houseboats: Sharing an Urban Lake that is on the website. An exciting history project is underway to find people in the community to write their own stories about Lake Union and the houseboats.
Election of board members was the final agenda item. Four new members were elected to the board. They are Katie Miller (Portage Bay), Tricia Rendina (Fairview), Carrie Rule (Boat St), and Linda Valentine (Portage Bay).
Everyone was excited about having the meeting on the water - even though the space is a lot smaller than the Armory. But as Sheri Greaves put it, "I live in a small space" as do most of us -- it is a good fit for our community.