Renton Library Redesign Opponents Plan KCLS Trustee Meeting Protest

Citizens to Save Renton’s Cedar River Library Again! have also started a committee to advocate de-annexation of the library from KCLS.

A citizen's group that spearheaded last year's referendum to preserve the Renton Cedar River Library is calling on residents to protest King County Library System (KCLS) proposals at a March 19 board meeting that would significantly reduce the size and entrance of the library.

Citizens to Save Renton’s Cedar River Library Again! announced it will hold a protest beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at the Newcastle Library (12901 Newcastle Way, Newcastle) to protest the current KCLS library design that takes away Renton’s iconic Library Entrance over the Cedar River, shrinks library size by 31 percent and by including unnecessary demolition over the River, creates unnecessary potential for environmental damage while subjecting the project to extensive and costly review. Then protesters say they plan to file inside and use the meeting's public comment time to air their concerns directly to the board.

“KCLS isn’t giving Renton residents choices in the library design.  They have arrogantly failed to listen what 76 percent of Renton voters and people said at library design meetings to keep the Library Entrance over the Cedar River and to not reduce our spacious library,” said Beth Asher, spokesperson of Citizens to Save Renton’s Cedar River Library Again!

"This single design is one that is radically different from what our community wants. It subjects Renton residents to significant risk," said David Keyes, architect and member of the Renton citizens’ group.  

The citizens group complains that a proposed design offered last month proposed an "unnecessary" demolition for over 4,000 square-feet of concrete floor deck and structure spanning a protected salmon-bearing river, thereby threatening the environment. The proposed changes, say protest organizers, would also threaten Renton taxpayers with much higher project cost and could delay the renovation altogether.

"It's a blatant attempt to make the possible (renovation) impossible," said Asher.

The group plans to ask the KCLS Trustees to recognize Renton Citizens concern and exercise immediate oversight over the KCLS Director and Staff, which a news release from the citizen's group said should be told to "back off confrontational tactics and current design direction."

Meanwhile, a Citizens to Save Renton's Cedar River Library committee has formed to advocate for De-Annexation of Renton Libraries from KCLS.

King County Library System facilities director Greg Smith told KOMO several weeks ago that no firm plans have been issued for the redesign. But conceptual ideas will be revealed to the public at a meeting on Tuesday, March 26, (6:30p.m.) in the library.

"We have not issued any plans other than some engineering difficulties with the project," Smith said. "We have shown some conceptual ideas but we have not issued any plans."

Building standards now are much different than when the library was built -- environmentally and seismically, for example -- and present engineering issues, he noted.

Architects Miller-Hull told the board at a meeting in January that soil constraints and seismic issues must be addressed to obtain required permits, which are prompting many of the suggested changes.

"We have to put some pilings on the ground to help support it and we have to stay out of the flood plain," Smith told KOMO.

He noted that the building is basically a bridge over the river, and to meet environmental standards the entrance might best be moved and some space lost. But he said reducing staff space in the 20,000 square feet building could allow public space to stay at its current level.

Bray said members of Save the Cedar River Library want the library redesigned the way residents have urged. "We are asking the city council again to stand up and do what Renton residents have asked for," he said.

Previous Coverage:

  • Letter: Renton Residents Getting the Shaft on Library
  • Thought the Renton Library Issue Was Settled? Think Again
  • Letter: Renton Library Project Needs Constructive Dialog
  • Stuart Avery: “I Don’t Believe The City Of Renton Is The Poster Child For I-517”
  • UPDATED: City Adopts Library Guiding Principles: "Our Goal Is To Improve Communication"
  • Renton Businessman Files PDC Complaint Against Mayor Law Over Library
  • What's Next For The Renton Library?
  • UPDATE: Cedar River Library Overwhelming Favorite of Renton Voters
eli March 18, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Shame on KCLS!! Listen to the people of this city!
Richard Bray March 18, 2013 at 05:06 PM
See conceptual plans at www.SaveRentonLibrary.com now! More than 4,000+ sq f.t. of your library over the Cedar River is demolished & your Library Entrance over the River GONE! Follow us on Facebook (Save the Cedar River Library) for the latest breaking developments. Come tomorrow to Newcastle Library and tell KCLS Trustees to Save Our Cedar River Library!
Michael Riley March 18, 2013 at 05:28 PM
I hate jumping into this again. However; I originally opposed a secession movement as being impractical. It still is but is starting to look like the only way for citizens to get what they want. The Mayor and city council are just not getting it. The pressure needs to be brought on the City. The KCLS Board is not even going to entertain giving back a library. They have way to much ego invested not to mention our money. What does need to happen regarding the KCLS Board is a county wide ballot petition to make that board elected. The current appointment system no longer works for something that has gotten so big. Citizens have almost no leverage there as long as the board is appointed by the county. Citizens to Save the Library again lease direct your efforts toward effective actions and not just blowing of steam. Michael Riley
Michael Riley March 18, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Let us try that last sentence again. I got so steamed about the library needing saving again I was in a rush.... Citizens to Save the Library Again please direct your efforts toward effective action not just blowing off steam.
mthrship March 18, 2013 at 05:38 PM
At Council’s retreat Feb 28th, they saw a 2-month-old presentation by KCLS. The NEXT MORNING current design documents were dropped off for approval. They show piecemeal design and severe demolition over the river. Astute City staff did not accept these documents for intake - it would have set off every environmental flag that KCLS said they want to avoid. Designs show the walkway between the parks standing alone, empty girders attach it to the library, and nearly 1/4 of the library and its supporting deck are gone. KCLS tried to pull a fast one on the City by lulling council members with an outdated presentation, while submitting unacceptable documents for approval. KCLS has consistently shown bad faith to Renton's residents, who will have to pay the bill and live with this library for many years. Until KCLS produces other options, the March 26th presentation is a waste of time. How old will the presentation they show there be? 2 months - 3 months? We taxpayers are paying the bill, we have the right to see actual plans and design drawings, not outdated PowerPoint slides made into posters. KCLS needs to give Renton other options before a presentation is made and a design submitted to City Council for approval. We’ve been told that April 15th will be final design approval by the Council. Contact your council members and KCLS and let them know that Renton’s not asleep at the switch – we’re ahead of the curve and intend to stay that way.
Renate Beedon March 18, 2013 at 07:18 PM
That new design is an insult to the citizens of our city. The way KCLS is handling rebuilding the library is an insult to the citizens. I know that many people are sorry they ever voted for the annexation and will gladly reverse that decisions. Lets get de-annexation on the ballots as soon as possible. By the way, who is paying for all this cheating, underhanded behavior by KCLS??
Renate Beedon March 18, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Also, why are the mayor and the council letting KCLS bully them like this? I don't understand. This is our city and our library!!
David A. Keyes March 18, 2013 at 08:02 PM
The article above cites an early comment from KCLSs' Greg Smith (to the effect KCLS had not submitted design drawings for the CRL to Renton.) This statement is no longer true. Renton Patch Readers should know that on 3/01, KCLS submitted its "Land Use Review" submitta" to Renton. The Title of each drawing indicates it represents "Site Plan Review & 100% SD". SD indicates that the design depicted is KCLSs' proposed formal "Schematic Design". These 3/1 drawings however indicate an entirely new and unexpected element: KCLS now shows full demolition of 4,000+ sf. of existing concrete floor structure over the Cedar River! City of Renton had 28 days (from 3/1) in which to formally Accept... or Decline Intake of the submission. The City has not Accepted Intake to date, nor have they yet Declined it. Should the City "Accept Intake" of KCLS submission, it must immediately distribute the drawings to State and County Agencies having Environmental Review jurisdiction. It is astounding that KCLS has proposed demolition of any portion of the present structural deck! This act alone threatens the River; likely triggers full EIS and full State Shorelines Act Reviews; ALL of which threaten Renton Taxpayers with budget overruns... for a Single Irresponsible and Unnecessary action by KCLS's Director and staff. Renton Residents may express their outrage over this egregious decision to KCLS Board of Trustees, Renton City Council and County Council Representatives. The clock is ticking!
Dave Beedon March 18, 2013 at 08:57 PM
One sentence in the article begins with “The citizens group complains that…” The citizens are not complaining, they are asking KCLS and the City administration to act in the public interest. As public entities, KCLS and the City of Renton are supposed to respect the will of the people. I have seen little evidence of that from either party. KCLS has shown little concern either for the City administration or the voters of Renton. To add insult to injury, KCLS has on at least one occasion stated publicly “We know what’s best for the Cedar River library” (or words to that effect). For a public institution to talk to its customers that way is disgraceful. The City has not helped much. The mayor and four members of the seven-member City Council act as if they are powerless in dealing with KCLS and seem uninterested in the concerns of the voters. Yes, the City has said that it is committed to getting the best possible library for its citizens. But its actions speak louder than words. One view of the library issue is very unflattering---it is an article on the MyFreedomFoundation.org website titled “A Childish $10 Million Tantrum in Renton to Punish Voters.” The article is at http://myfreedomfoundation.com/blog/detail/a-childish-10-million-tantrum-in-renton-to-punish-voters . The residents of Renton deserve better than what is being offered by KCLS and the City. De-annexation from KCLS is looking more and more like the only workable solution.
Sara M. DuBois March 18, 2013 at 09:07 PM
I, as another of many citizens of Renton, who voted for the library to remain in the place it is, stay the size it is, and keep the entrance where it is located, am steamed too!! It angers me immensely that we are not listened to by our voted-in Mayor and City Council, and that KCLS has the right to bully us into what they want, while we pay the bill for it. These do seem to me to be delaying tactics by KCLS and the City of Renton in collusion, if that is the proper term . . . meaning that the City and KCLS appear to be cohorts in this battle. City and County entities VS. Renton citizens!!! I still do not understand why we citizens are not being listened to at all. I want my Cedar River Library to be updated for safety and such, but not overtaken by downsizing it nor losing holdings as we have already since KCLS took over. I am for de-annexation, if that is what it will take. I am also ready to go to other libraries in the region, where I have library cards. As an individual who has health issues and some mobility limitations, i would rather have my library here. I really don;t want to head on up to a Seattle library, or Tacoma, just to have the ability to use a library, do research and check out books and other media. Sara M. DuBois
Karen Hensley March 18, 2013 at 09:50 PM
I have reached the point where I would change my vote to not join KCLS. We cannot make the protest tonight, but would come if we did not have a long-term previous engagement. There seems to be no way of holding this public entity responsible. Keeping the entrance over the river is the key feature that we must have.
Dave Beedon March 18, 2013 at 09:52 PM
I urge people to voice their opinions about KCLS’s proposed library design at these upcoming meetings: 1) KCLS Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, March 19, 5:00 p.m. (arrive early to sign up to speak), at the Newcastle Library, 12901 Newcastle Way, in Newcastle 2) Renton City Council meeting on Monday, March 25 at 6 p.m. (arrive early to sign up to speak), in the Council Chambers on the seventh floor of Renton City Hall 3) KCLS Library Design Presentation on Tuesday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m., at the Cedar River Library in downtown Renton.
Anne Cooper March 18, 2013 at 10:16 PM
I just hope KCLS is willing to listen. It will be very sad if this landmark is destroyed. Please let us keep the library.
Sara M. DuBois March 18, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Geri Bush March 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM
How about some email addresses to leave messages for those who cannot attend these meetings?
Dana Rochex March 18, 2013 at 10:45 PM
This goes beyond Renton. With these tactics the KCLS board should be fired for incompetence. Allowing their members to bilk our community and countless other with , outrageous fees, short sighted designs and complete disregard for the wishes of people, is unacceptable. The lack of over site simply alarming. Millions of tax dollars are being waisted by this group and no one is watching.
Paul Ouellette March 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM
KCLS continues to misslead City staff and City council by submitting invoices for design services for the Big 5 site for more than $156 million more than the State mandated guidelines. This overpricing for the cost of design services is also borne out in the KCLS submitted Budget Breakdown of the $8.9 million remaining funds for the Cedar River Library. KCLS has included multiple additional consultant fees in their budget for design to the tune of $1.5 million for construction of a $5.8 million construction package, or 25% of construction cost. This is not acceptable!
Sara M. DuBois March 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Geri, my email address for commenting on Renton Patch is frostywrites@gmail.com. If you email me I can give you the emails of David Keyes and Richard Bray. I can not attend these meetings either, so you are certainly not alone!! Sara M. DuBois
Jeannie Greene-Crook March 19, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Jeannie Greene-Crook, This is a slap in the face for all Renton Citizens. We as volunteering citizens worked so hard to save our beautiful library, not just the location. Only to have KCLS try again to waste our tax dollars on something no one wants. Embrace us, we pay your wages! Renovate don't demolish!!!
Richard Bray March 19, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Hi Geri, I think you are asking for email addresses to KCLS Trustees and Renton City Council to hear your voice. With just two emails you can reach all the people in both groups. Here's how KCLS Board of Trustees - ​boardoftrustees@kcls.org​ Renton City Council Members - council@rentonwa.gov​ Thank you for speaking up to Save Our Cedar River Library!
Tom Reiter March 19, 2013 at 05:33 AM
Hey! Burien has a KCLS library of 32,000 square feet  with a population of 34,000 people. Renton is going to end up with 34,125 square fee of library (Cedar River and Highlands) for 94,000 people. I don't think annexing to KCLS was such a good idea. Regards, Tom Reiter
Dave Beedon March 19, 2013 at 06:59 AM
Tom, the math you provide is more evidence of an arrogant, uncaring attitude on the part of KCLS towards the residents of Renton.


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