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SHELTER IN THE WOODS New structure at Island Center Forest impresses. Page 4

STUDIO TOUR SCENES Some escape the heat to check out cool art. Page 14

NEWS | Park district vets caretaker positions [5] COMMENTARY | Schools’ financial need is still great. [6] ENTERTAINMENT | Vashon Opera puts on double bill. [12]



Vol. 58, No. 19


Officials to cut the line on liveaboards Quartermaster has a fluctuating population of those who live on boats By NATALIE JOHNSON For The Beachcomber

This spring and summer the state and county will work together to try to rid Quartermaster Harbor of a small population of people who live illegally on their boats. “Living out in the water attached to a buoy is not a good idea,” said Lisa Randlette, a planner with the state Department of Natural Resources’ Aquatic Resources Division and the principal author of a recent state plan to enforce boat moorage rules on Vashon and bring order to the harbor. Officials say enforcing the new

plan — as well as making use of a new King County Sheriffs Office’s patrol boat for Puget Sound — will help them more easily address the small group of liveaboards in the harbor, people who largely keep to themselves but are breaking state laws surrounding moorage and are also believed to be polluting the water. “I can see the attraction, but it’s not something the state is authorizing,” Randlette said. “It’s just a very critical human health and safety issue.” Those familiar with Quartermaster Harbor say there has long been a fluctuating population of people who live on boats there, particularly at Dockton. Some liveaboards are transients who stay for a while before moving on to another harbor; others live consistently on Vashon and sometimes come ashore to work during the day.

Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo

Most liveaboards park their boats in Dockton outside the county-owned Dockton Park, where many islanders keep recreational boats. According to state law, boaters can live aboard their vessels in a registered slip in a marina, but can only live anchored in one place on state-owned aquatic land for 30 days before they are required to move on. Boaters also can’t live more than 90 days in one place during the course of a year. Those who live in the same location for

longer are considered to be squatting on state aquatic land. “We can’t let people stay for an extended period of time,” Randlette said. While those who live on boats in Quartermaster generally don’t cause trouble on land, those close to the situation say they’re concerned about liveaboards’ envi-

ronmental impact on the harbor, which is part of the state-owned Maury Island Aquatic Reserve. Randlette, who has visited Quartermaster several times by boat, said most liveaboards dump their sewage into the water, and they sometimes dump their food SEE LIVEABOARDS, 21

New face on Vashon shares oil spill experiences Expert will speak at showing of a telling documentary By SUSAN RIEMER Staff Writer

Courtesy Photo

Riki Ott, an international expert in marine toxicology, lives part-time on Vashon.

Next week, islanders will have a front row seat to BP’s 2010 oil spill and its toxic clean-up efforts in the Gulf of Mexico when a leading expert on oil pollution presides at a documentary about the spill and its far-reaching effects. Riki Ott, PhD, an internationally known marine toxicologist, author and islander, will present the film “Dirty Energy,” which follows Gulf residents as they deal with the spill, struggle to rebuild their lives and contend with ongoing health problems from the oil and the chemical dispersants used in clean-up efforts. Ott, who now lives on Vashon when

she is not traveling for work, said the William Sound and in the Gulf of film’s message is extremely relevant Mexico — and her hopes for change. In 1985, after earning her doctorate in communities that could be affected by oil spills, including Vashon, with from the University of Washington, Puget Sound vulnerable to a spill and Ott headed to Alaska to take a break toxic dispersants — banned in Europe and fish for the summer. She fell in but approved for use in this country — love with the work, she said, and became a professional stockpiled and ready to be fisher in Cordova, a small used again at a moment’s “We are poised community on an inlet of notice. to do this again Prince William Sound. In “We are poised to do tomorrow.” March of 1989, when the this again tomorrow,” she said. Riki Ott, oil tanker Exxon Valdez Ott, who holds a masmarine toxicologist hit a reef and spilled more than 10 million gallons of ters degree and doctorate crude oil into the sound, in marine pollution with a specialty in oil pollution, has a long the direction of Ott’s life changed. history of dealing with the environShe dusted off her academic cremental and human effects of spills. dentials, she said, and with others in Last week, sitting in the sun at the affected communities, set about a the Vashon home where she and her decades-long odyssey that included the partner are house-sitting, Ott talked collapse of the ecosystem four years about her experiences, which include later, severe health problems in people the two worst oil spill disasters in the United States — in Alaska’s Prince SEE SPILLS, 23

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, May 08, 2013  

May 08, 2013 edition of the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, May 08, 2013  

May 08, 2013 edition of the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber