Public Participation Process

What is Next?

At its meeting on Wednesday, June 28, the Planning Commission will hear make a list of alternatives and begin to identify pros and cons for each alternative.


In November, 2016 the Millwood City Council authorized the purchase of two unimproved parcels on South Riverway. This was in response to on-going discussions on ways to improve public access to the Spokane River. The Council's reasons for purchasing the property are explained in Resolution #2016-17 (see below).

Council Actions

In February, 2017, in response to concerns expressed from property owners along the Spokane River and other citizens, the Council requested that the Millwood Planning Commission undertake a study of the best uses of the property, to include a meaningful public participation process.  The Council's request is included in Resolution #17-02

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission has planned a series of meetings to develop the recommendation on the use of the property requested by city council.

March 29      Site Conditions

April 26         Needs and Concerns

May 31           Technical Assistance from Agencies and Organizations

June 28         Alternatives for Use

July 26           Approve Recommendation to City Council

Written Comments

Petition Submitted In Opposition:

Concerned that city purchased property without public input or notice. Concerned about environmental issues, permitting issues, potential litigation from opposition, and cost. Concerned about crime, traffic parking, noise and other nuisances. Concerned about increase river usage in this area historically used by powerboats. Concerned about devaluation of adjacent property values and litigation due to devaluation of private property values. Concerned about cost to build/maintain a park. Concerned about increase in crime and financial/community costs of a riverfront park. Concerns about homeless camps and other undesirable outcomes. Concerned that parcel is classified for residential not for park. Concerned with cost for permitting and likely litigation costs.

Proposed actions: Stop actions/plans to build a park. Put the parcels up for sale.

Bob and Kristen Bailey Jan 9 2017

William Baker Dec 27 2016

Kay Bolin Dec 29 2016

Aleksey Borisov Jan 9 2017

Nadezhda Borisov Jan 9 2017

Adam Bray Jan 3 2017

Harley Candle Jan 3 2017

Randy and Michaely Casto Dec 26 2016

Barton Cooke Dec 20 and 21 2016

Gary and Ann Edwards Jan 9 2017

Michael Guthrie Jan 21 2017

Samantha Guthrie Dec 27 2016

Roger Hahn Dec 29 2016

Spencer Harrington Dec 22 2016

Cara Harrington Feb 16 2017

Robert Harrington Dec 29 2016

Ryan Harrington Dec 29 2016

Paul Harrington Dec 29 2016

Carolyn Hendrikson Dec 26 2016

Carolyn Hendrikson and Doug Smith Jan 18 2017

John Herrmann Dec 29 2016

Scott and Marsha Jones Jun 26 2017

Lynn Hurley Dec 28 2016

Darcy Kelly Dec 21 2016

Bryan Key Dec 22 2016

Gene Kingsley Jan 9 2017

David Klaue Dec 28 2016

Keith Kriegh Jan 9 2017

Michael and Jackie Kondo Dec 21 2016

Ray Larsen Dec 30 2016

Ray and Connie Larsen Feb 16, 2017

Kathleen Lavis Jan 9 2017

Wendy Martin Jan 18 2017

Peggy McCartney Jan 10 2017

Allie McLallen Dec 29 2016

Mike and Debra McKay Dec 21 2016

Debra McKay Dec 28 2016

Lewis Miller Jan 19 2017

Jay Molitor Dec 22 2016

Judith Onthank Douglas Coglizer Dec 22 2016

Dan Robbins Jan 9 2017

Dan Robbins Feb 21 2017

David Rudnick Jan 18 2017

John Sage Jan 10 2017

Miguel Schmitz Dec 26 2016

Shawn and Megan Sicilia Jan 3 2017

Dr Ross Simonds Dec 27 2016

Lesa Simpson Dec 30 2016

Ed Simpson Dec 30 2016

Jimmy Simpson Feb 16 2017

Melissa Simpson Feb 16 2017

Doug Smith Jan 9 2017

Eric and Terese Steven Dec 21 2016

Kerri Surface Jan 9 2017

Steve Surface Dec 21 2016

Mark Terry Dec 23 2016

Mark Terry Jan 12 2017

Norman and Carolyn Thomson Dec 21 2016

Kim and Any Tomalo Jan 9 2017

Kay and Kevin Wagar Dec 29 2016


"People of Millwood" Questionnaire:

Nick Berger Jun 6 2017

Kevin Lehinger May 31 2017

Kelsey and Steve Vanderburg Jun 6 2017

Ann Pierce Aslin May 31 2017

Vikkie Naccarato May 31 2017

William Aslin May 31 2017

Barb St Clair May 31 2017

Jim Anderson May 31 2017

Ben Nesbitt May 31 2017

Charlotte and Garret DuPont May 31 2017

Eric Bjurstrum May 31 2017

Grace and David Nesbitt May 31 2017

Kate McLachlan May 31 2017

Claire and Luke Gordon May 31 2017

Kyle McCormick May 31 2017

Tina McQuitty May 31 2017

Tricia Knauss May 31 2017

Rachel Wood Jun 5 2017

Scott and Marsha Jones Jun 26 2017

Len and Eddie Bradford Jun 28 2017

Dan and Pam Hansen Jun 28 2017

Ramona Reidburn Jun 28 2017

Bonnie Larrison Jun 28 2017

Joshua and Katie Segalla Jun 28 2017

Anonymous survey form


Spencer Harrington letter Dec 30 2016

Spokane Upriver Owners Association letter  Jan 2 2017

Melissa Fennen letter  Jan 10 2017

Bob Fennen letter Jan 10 2017

Spokane Upriver Owners Association letter Jan 12 2017

Kay Bolin letter Jan 18 2017

Dr Cary Simonds email  Jan 19 2017

Mary Schade letter Feb 26 2017

Betsy Mott letter Feb 27 2017

Spencer Harrington letter Mar 14 2017

Spencer Harrington letter Mar 17 2017

Eric Steven email Apr 25 2017

Historic Preservation Commission letter May 23 2017

City School Riverway Ideas

South Riverway Private Boat Ramp Association letter May 31 2017

Spencer Harrington presentation May 31 2017

Jay Molitor letter Jun 16 2017

Dan and Pam Hansen Jun 25 2017

Shannon Stravens letter Jun 28 2017

Jay Molitor email re Spokesman article

Jay Molitor NextDoor Posts


Note for Commenters:

This page is for discussion of the best uses of the property. Comments made on other issues will be considered off-topic and will not be allowed.

The City's websites are governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. We will remove content that contains abusive, vulgar, offensive, racist, threatening or harassing content, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific individuals or groups.

9 thoughts on “South Riverway Property”

  1. I don’t live on South Riverway but walk down that road several times per week. While I would like to have access to the river from Millwood, my main concern would be for the citizens that live in that area. I don’t know any of the previous discussions on this, so I may be bringing up items already discussed and something that is too late to discuss since the city has already purchased the properties. However, I think it will be a big disturbance to this quieter area of Millwood. There will be more traffic, cars parked along side of the road, bring in some riff raff which could potentially cause more crime to the homes there, and not to mention the noise that all of this will create.

  2. I have lived in Millwood for 18 years. Like many Millwood citizens, I don’t live on the river. After attending several city meetings, I agree with the city’s decision to purchase property. This gives the many Millwood residents access to the river; may that access be physical or visional.
    Just the idea of having more “green space” I believe adds value, not just to home prices, but more importantly to your well-being. It’s one of the many reasons that Millwood is a beautiful and very desirable place to live. I personally would like to see physical access for kayakers as well as a park like area with trees and quite spaces with visional river access.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Millwood Counsel for the foresight in purchasing land on the river, which will directly benefit the citizens of Millwood.

    Thank you,

  3. I have lived in Millwood for 15 years and have enjoyed the small town atmosphere and the emphasis on community. I also appreciate having the river so close with the recreational opportunities it provides. I have found it difficult though to find a place to safely launch my kayak and to fully enjoy its proximity due to lack of public access. I fully support the City purchasing these two riverfront lots and hope they will be used to allow Millwood citizens equal access and enjoyment of the river.

  4. June 20, 2017

    Dear Millwood Planning Commission,

    First of all, thank you for all that you do to serve our little town. Your time and efforts are greatly appreciated.
    I would like to share with you my thoughts regarding the property that the city purchased on South Riverway. My wife and I would love to see that area turned into a park that would build a stronger sense of community in the neighborhood in which our family lives. Although we appreciate the Millwood City Park, our family seldom uses this park primarily because of accessibility. It is inconvenient for us to cross Argonne to use the park We have probably only used the main park half a dozen times in the eleven years that we have resided in Millwood. So for us, a community park would be a nice neighborhood addition to our enjoyment of the outdoors. I also believe that it would be well used by the droves of people that walk by our house on South Riverway on a daily bases.
    I understand that there has been a strong contention in the community about this area. It seems to me that much of that has been driven by a sense of entitlement among those that had the opportunity and the means to be able to purchase property that happens to be on the river. I believe that this assumption is supported by statements made at the planning meetings along the lines of people just want something for free (which implies that unless you can afford to buy a house on the river, you do not deserve to have access to the river), and then, although I was not at the first meeting, a statement was made implying that the threshold for river access is people with central air conditioning in their homes (which creates a quandary for those that live on the river and have not installed central air conditioning). I believe that these feelings of entitlement create a two tier class system in Millwood, and unfortunately it is common for those who have above-average means also to be able to articulate and fight for their perceived entitlements.
    There have been many concerns brought up about placing a park on the property on South Riverway. I believe that most are exaggerated by a group of people who feel entitled to river access. At the first meeting I attended, the most prevalent concern that was levied was that of decreased property values and crime that might become common place in our neighborhood. We are fortunate to be policed by the Spokane County Sheriff department. Our family has had a few occasions where we needed to call the Sheriff department, and we found that they had an appropriate response time and responded in an appropriate manner. I believe this would still be the case if we had a park in the neighborhood. I have also taken time to study how parks affect crime and property values in neighborhoods. Most of the data agree that parks that are well planned and well cared for increase the home values in the neighborhoods. One of the journal articles that I read stated that the increase can be between 5 to 20% for houses that are within 635 meters from the green space. In the journal article “Property values, parks, and crime: A hedonic analysis in Baltimore, MD” by Austin Troy and J Morgan Grove, they cite a 2001 study that showed that there is a positive increase in housing prices and that increase was shown to not matter if the house was 1/4 of a mile or a mile away. A 2002 study of Quebec housing found that the sight of vegetation increased property value. Then in a 2003 study, it was found that as houses move away from green space, they are devalued. The conclusion of that study states that it is better for a community to have small neighborhood parks placed throughout the community rather than one large park (Troy & Grove, 2007). At the last Planning Commission meeting, a resident raised the question, “Why do we need more parks?” The data shows there is a positive impact on housing prices when communities have small parks.
    Another concern that has been raised is that crime might happen at a park. Many people have compared the park to other areas along the river, primarily the undeveloped vacant lot west of Millwood that has seen vagrants come through the area and then, of course, Boulder Beach. In the same article that was cited above, the authors discuss crime. They found that a green space that is well maintained with grassy areas and canopy trees (trees that do not provide space for people to hide) and is located in well-maintained neighborhoods actually decrease crime. This is seen as a “territorial marker” (Troy & Grove, 2007) and the criminal element will move on to any area that they perceive as being less cared for. I believe that it is best for the city to develop this area into a well-maintained park so that the criminal element will move on to a different area. The article does state that not all parks create value but that is largely caused by “less managed or more threatening types of undergrowth” (p.242). I believe that the city does a good job maintaining its properties and, if this area is developed into a park, I believe that level of established maintenance would be continued. It has been well established throughout the planning meetings that Boulder Beach is not going to happen in this neighborhood park because of the lack of beach access at this piece of property and the remote nature of Boulder Beach.
    The importance of parks is well established for a community. Most new developments now are required to provide green spaces that are developed into the plan. My wife and I used to live in Liberty Lake, and all over the city of Liberty Lake, there are green spaces in the new developments. I believe that this is because there is an understanding of the importance of these spaces for community health. The gentleman from the EPA pointed out that new developments are required to provide water access if the development is greater than 4 houses. The EPA sees the importance for these spaces.
    I would love to see river access in the area. The gentlemen from the water conservation organization discussed how a small access point can control the size of craft that can be inserted into the water at certain destinations. He also pointed out that the location of this possible area would not be a draw for those who are floating the river because there is no convenient take-out spot. The people that would be utilizing this put-in would have to be willing to paddle upstream, which is not as tempting to the masses. I also believe those who are avid paddlers would not be as excited to paddle on the slower water that is in this area. Because of these factors, I would conclude that those who would be using this put-in location would primarily come from the neighborhood. It was also stated that those smaller put-ins are not heavily used in other areas that are similar in size for smaller crafts like a canoes or kayaks.
    My wife and I would love to see a park on the land that the city owns on South Riverway with a large green space. I believe river access for small personal watercraft would be a benefit for the community to have an opportunity to enjoy this resource that we have. Another thing that I would personally like to see is an area for exercise with workout equipment like the Fallen Hero Circuit Courses that Liberty Lake offers at Pavillion Park, Rocky Hill Park, and along Trailhead Golf Course. It seems like that would be enjoyable, if that seems prudent. With Millwood being such a pedestrian community, a workout area might add to the physical fitness and community. I personally would not want to see a community garden because I believe that most people in the community have adequate space for a garden.
    I understand that it has been insinuated that lawsuits could happen if certain people do not get their way. It is important for the government to make sure that it does what is right for all of its citizens and not just those that throw out “big words” to threaten people who might not understand what they are saying. I would hope that the city’s betterment would not be swayed because of erroneous and frivolous threats.

    Thank you again for all of your hard work,

    Chris & Cathy Walton
    8604 E South Riverway Ave.

    Tory, A. & Grove, J.M., (2008), Property values, parks, and crimes: A hedonic analysis in Baltimore, MD, Landscape and Urban Planning, 87 p.233-245

  5. My family and I would love a small private and safe river park for Millwood. We have lived and loved our new community for over 5 years. Please move forward but with respect to all neighbors in the area.

  6. Dear City Council Members:

    As the City of Millwood is well aware, a boat launch was built last year on the Spokane River in Spokane Valley. This project was approved to ensure historic river access by members of the public who have chosen to purchase land that abuts the Spokane River within specific geographic parameters, and with other enumerated limitations. In short, the boat launch was approved to preserve historic water-dependent uses by parcels that have historically enjoyed this use.

    The City of Millwood was notified of this project throughout the permitting process. Additionally, the City of Millwood was made aware when it received truckloads of local dirt that was excavated from the site and used by the City of Millwood at the Millwood “City Park”.

    The City of Millwood provided comments that were made part of the record at the public hearing for the South Riverway Private Boat Ramp. The only concern raised by the City of Millwood was in regards to a possible increase in vehicular traffic along the narrow, quiet residential street that abuts the Boat Ramp. The City of Millwood was clear that access to the River should be limited to owners of the shoreline parcels and not to the general public (or even friends/relatives of parcel owners). As you can see from the attachment, the City of Millwood was very concerned about limiting access to preserve safety in the vicinity.

    The members of the South Riverway Private Boat Ramp Association made changes to our construction plans and bylaws in order to be a “good neighbor” to the City of Millwood, by meeting your concerns. Traffic and parking issues, use issues, and limitations were all addressed in the construction of the ramp and incorporated into our bylaws to mitigate any adverse impacts to the City of Millwood or South Riverway residents as a whole.

    We are aware of the proposed development of the South Riverway parcels purchased by the City for use as a park or access to the Spokane River. We chose the adjacent site for our ramp because it was located sufficiently far from any other “public” access point. This is a safety issue. That our ramp was also located in the approximate middle of the neighborhood it serves helped to mitigate the very traffic issues Millwood raised.

    We are very concerned, from a safety standpoint, that the City of Millwood now plans to provide public access a mere 200 feet upriver from the ramp location. If the City of Millwood creates an access point, the City will be creating a risk/safety issue for the public that may use the access. Two access points should not be located that close together. Any expert would advise you of that; this is why you never see uncontrolled access points so close together.

    We are putting the City on notice that the creation of an access point on this part of the River risks serious injury or death to the public. Such risk increases when anyone is swept downriver by the current (oftentimes quite swift but always present) and into a trailer or moving boat propeller using the ramp. Furthermore, the River current could sweep the public downriver, where people may attempt to exit the swift current by trespassing onto private property, including the South Riverway Private Boat Ramp property located just 200 feet downstream. We riverside owners experience that every year.

    The City of Millwood also expressed specific issues with too much public access to the River in this area and the safety concerns that additional public access would create. It is counter-intuitive for the City of Millwood to now pursue an increase in the public’s access to this portion of the River, given the City’s recognition of the complicated safety issues that such an access would create.

    I expect the City is aware that the Spokane River in this area is in a constant state of movement.

    • From January to July each year the River in this are moves at a very swift pace. Sometimes the current is moving so swift that the county closes the River because it is too dangerous for even emergency responders to rescue people.
    • The pace of the River from July through September is slower but still moving and is quite deceptive. During the slower current months, the center channel of the River moves faster than the edges. Many swimmers miscalculate the current and are sucked under by the current and drown. On average 2-3 people drown between Upriver Dam and the Island Trailhead annually.
    • From October through December the River’s pace again increases to a medium rate but the water temperature plummets. This increases risks to anyone finding himself or herself in the water. The inexperienced and the intoxicated are at real risk.

    The riverbank in the area where the City of Millwood proposes access is very steep and dangerous. There is no beach area or places to stand along the shoreline. The riverbank above and below the waterline is a 30 degree+/- grade. The shoreline is mostly river rock/gravel with varying amounts of toxic sediment underneath from decades of mining activity. The rocks are not stable and are unsafe to stand on due to the steep grade.

    The City is creating a public access point that does not currently exist, and has never existed in this area. It is locating that public access point 200 feet away from another access point, a new boat ramp that addressed Millwood’s appropriate concerns for public safety. The City of Millwood is also apparently well aware (see letter attached) that South Riverway is a narrow and quiet residential street.

    When we applied for a permit, the City was concerned with the nominal traffic from existing residents using our ramp. The additional (new) traffic from new users coming to the new access point you have planned will be much more significant. We use the ramp very rarely, only once each year to put our boats into the water, and once to remove them; people using your new-proposed access points will have no reason to make such limited use.

    This public safety problem addressed above is so foreseeable (and Millwood has already foreseen it) and unavoidable that we do not know how it can be mitigated, much less resolved, by the City. We question:

    • Does the City of Millwood have a traffic mitigation plan to deal with the traffic issue it has already identified?

    • Does the City have a mitigation plan to deal with the safety issue caused by location of the new access point so close to our own, properly permitted, Boat Ramp?

    • How will the City protect riparian owners from problems caused by additional trespassers?

    Many people who access the River lack even rudimentary knowledge of water safety, and many will be drinking as they access the River. The traffic problems, the proximity to our boat ramp, and the strength of the River make injuries, death, trespassing and a variety of ills more than merely foreseeable. They will happen.

    Similarly, the burden you are placing on adjacent property owners, who already have trespasser problems from people floating down the River and getting into trouble due to lack of experience and skill, use of intoxicants, and equipment failure, will be magnified. It is one thing for the City to create problems for its entire tax base, as in the creation of this public safety burden. But it is an entirely different matter to force local riparian owners to also shoulder the additional liability issues that will surely arise from a new access point in this quiet neighborhood.

    We want to know how you plan to address these issues. Will you indemnify us? Will you create a special fund to pay for the injuries foreseeably resulting from this plan? Or will this problem be thrust upon the South Riverway landowners and residents?

    The City of Millwood appears to be moving forward on a plan that has very serious likely consequences including, inter alia, foreseeable harm to public safety and health, increasing trespassing and property rights infringement, and other issues.

    We urge the City to take all of this into consideration and choose another site for public river access. We suggest a site that is not so steep, is not near other hazards, and provides for a beach-type area that is safer for the public. Furthermore, I am tendering this letter to be considered and included as part of any official record regarding any/all decisions made regarding parcels 45064.0059 & 45064.0060.

    Yours truly,

    Spencer W. Harrington

  7. I have previously written 2 letters and attended most City Council and Planning Commission Meetings regarding the proposed park. I am very frustrated about how the City Council and Planning Commission are able to do whatever they want without regard to people that are most impacted by their decisions.

    I live at 8405 E South Riverway which is right next door to the proposed park. Last summer I was on my deck and noticed a group of people on the property next door. I asked if Sharon had put the property up for sale and the only response I received was a shoulder shrug and they said they didn’t know. I now recognize the people as members of the City Council. They could have at least been honest with me. I had to find out several months later with a little blub in the Millwood Newsletter.

    Please put this residential property back on the market so it can be sold as residential property. I do not want a park next door.

    Thank you.

    Kay Bolin      

  8. Millwood has access and has used the access at the end of Sargent Road for 60+ years. It works because it is informal. The city has not maintained it properly and it is in disrepair. The city has a mandate to improve this access but hey have refused to follow their own mandate. The city refuses to pick up trash, ensure the access is safe and so on.

    Now, a few people want to burden us all with a massive cost, enforcement issues, litter, crime, and traffic issues. These few people have a private agenda to create access for themselves and make us all pay the financial and social cost for this.

    The city illegally paid more than the appraised price. The city actively hid the potential purchase from the community. The city illegally appointed the realtor who represented the seller of the parcels to the city council. She has since resigned.

    The planning commission has repeatedly asked the city council to improve the Sargent road access. The most recent request was in December 2016. The city has refused to make the improvements at the historic access point.

    Instead, the city wants to force all 1780 of us to pay for this new expensive access that less than 20 people want. The access has already cost the city in excess of $400,000 and will likely be over $1,000,000 so these 20 people can get their pet project accomplished. These 20 vocal people represent less than 0.5% of our Millwood citizens. The remaining 99.5% of Millwood citizens either don’t care or are opposed to this gross waste of taxpayer funds and destruction of this quiet neighborhood.

    If the city keeps pushing for this park we will ALL have to pay for it. The parks estimate cost is well over $1,000,000 PLUS ongoing maintenance costs, plus ongoing police costs, plus ongoing litigation costs and so on for their pet project. All of this so 20 or so people can force their pet project on the rest of us.

    If these 20 people want to fund the project they should each cough up $50,000 each to build their own park.

  9. I just wanted to note that this listing of public comment labels the signatures against as “a petition submitted in opposition” but does not list the “People of Millwood Questionaire” responses as being in Favor of the public park. I believe it is clear that they are only if you read each one.

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