Update on the Shoreline Historical Museum

Friday, September 24, 2010

By Henry Reed, President, Board of Trustees
Shoreline Historical Museum

At its regular meeting, on September 15, the Board of Trustees of the Shoreline Historical Museum unanimously approved a motion to accept the Settlement Agreement with the Shoreline School District. The contents of this Agreement have already been reported or linked in this publication, but the main provisions include:

  • the deeding of the Ronald School to the School District;
  • the Museum completely vacating the Ronald Building by February 1, 2011;
  • payment of $852,500 by the District to the Museum (74% of the appraised value of the Ronald Building), with $200,000 of that sum to be held back until final departure;
  • the Museum’s use of (the closed) Sunset Elementary School for storage purposes for at least one year;
  • the signing of a statement of support for the Shorewood High School Project. This document states, “This is to advise the City of Shoreline and the Shoreline Landmarks Commission that the Shoreline Historical Museum supports the applications of the Shoreline School District for a conditional use permit and for a certificate of appropriateness for the Shorewood High School Project. This support is based upon the understanding that the Shorewood High School Project will include, as part of the Project, the preservation of the north, east and west facades of the Ronald School Building.”

The September 15 Board meeting for the Museum was very emotional. Just prior to the meeting, one of our strongest, most experienced Board members resigned from the Board because he knew that the outcome of that meeting might place him in conflict professionally. In the end, the remaining Board members had consensus that, having been unable to purchase our 0.4 acre “footprint” portion of the Shorewood site, or a portion of the adjacent Shell station, this was the best remaining option.

Many of our faithful supporters had wanted us to hold out, so as to purchase the Museum “footprint”, but the clear advice of our attorney was to not follow that high-risk strategy. The Museum’s lease on its “footprint” site was to run out in March, 2014, and the whole property would go back to the District. In addition, the District, under special conditions, had the legal right to “repossess” the Ronald Building.

We at the Museum hope that the new Shorewood High School will be built on schedule, as planned, with all of the promised funds from the State. At least the exterior of the Ronald School will be retained as a reminder of its former grandeur, and the Museum has a small "nest egg" with which to begin a fundraising for the purchase of a new home.


Anonymous,  September 25, 2010 at 11:29 AM  

So the deed is done. It's just so wrong. The School District strong-armed the Museum, Mafia style, and "made them an offer they couln't refuse." And now they're rubbing thier faces in the muck making the Museum show support for the gutting of their building. This is truly reprehensible and will go down as a disturbingly misguided and sad period in our local history in which abuse of power triumphed over the public interest.

JEDH September 25, 2010 at 11:45 AM  

I really respect these Museum leaders. I so wish the School District leaders were as considerate, thoughtful and caring as these folks when facing challenging circumstances.

Just as this District will leave only a facade of an irreplaceable local treasure, it has shown us only a facade of good character and true strength.

I know Shoreline and LFP can drum up the commitment to find and elect leaders who actually have the quality leadership abilities and traits that our former nationally rated number one School District once had decades ago in our history.

Anonymous,  September 25, 2010 at 5:51 PM  

This outrage WILL NOT STAND! There will be consequences for these School District Bullies. This kind of behavior would get a student expelled, it would get a citizen excoriated in public and any public official that supports this fiasco will pay a price.

It is NOT over by any stretch! Bet On It!

Anonymous,  September 25, 2010 at 9:57 PM  

Where are you all getting this vitriol? I don't understand why people keep calling the school district bullies? They are looking after their interests, just as the museum is looking after theirs.

There was one plot of land. Two parties wanted it. Legally, the school district's claim took precendence. The museum was unable to move the building in a timely manner. This is not a vast conspiracy theory. It's not a case of bullying. It was a simple dispute over the land that was resolved legally and (for the most part)amicably.

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

Anonymous 9:57
You "don't understand" because you are hopelessly "in the tank" for the SSD. It's probably because you have kids who attend Shorewood, correct?

You believe that your kids deserve a fabulous new HS at any cost, correct?
Even at the cost of the destruction of an affirmed community asset like the Shoreline Historical Museum and the Landmarked Ronald School, which will be stripped of its entire interior and one rear wall removed.

I don't understand how you can't see this a bullying by a Goliath school district, that will stop at nothing to smash this authentic link to our past. Your Shorewood students will never again be able to see this totally unique free standing 1912 school building in its original form, that now houses all of Shoreline's past. They will only be able to enter the building and look at a plaque to tell them what was once there. Yes there will be a facade of the original building, but it will only be a shell.

Why can't you see that the SSD lied to voters, plain and simple to gain control of this unique community asset? Why can't you see that YOU as a taxpayer are being ripped off, to the tune of $150 million!!!

They never informed the voters of what was intended. They pretended to be "honoring" the Ronald School, when in fact they are going to be sucking out its heart.

Why can't you see that the keepers of the flame of history of the Shoreline area (and the School Districts OWN history), are being shunted off to an unknown future. These are that taxpayers, who've supported the School District through thick and thin for the last 50 years. They are being profoundly disrespected by this avaricious administration, who only cares about their self image.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most beautiful one of all?" Remember the evil queen in Snow White? This deal is a poison apple for Shoreline.

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

This is not just a land deal between two parties. This is OUR School District, funded by OUR property taxes that is ignoring and deceiving the public that funds it. From the very beginning of the process, at a time when only existing Shorewood High School buildings were being considered the local citizen input was to protect the historical aspects of the existing school. Then, for no apparent reason the Ronald School Building was in the way. Can you imagine how people feel about losing the interior of this superb example of history?

This is how the School District has dealt with the issue. They repeatedly told the public they owned the building based on their attorney's opinion which was only an opinion and was in direct opposition to the Museum's attorney's opinion. So at best the ownership was undecided yet they published information over and over stating they owned the building. I, for one, don't like being lied to.

When they saw the levy slipping before the election they went behind closed doors to create a last minute deal called "an agreement in principle." What few people seem to realize realize is that it required the Museum Board to support the levy. The Museum Board did this. They must have felt awful doing it, but they kept their word.

The levy passed but the School District never did their part, instead they just let it drop. So much for their principles.

Now we will lose our Historical Building and be paying enormous taxes to support the people who have done this. The same people who are giving themselves pay increases while denying our school support staff a simple cost of living raise.

The $150 levy is more money than will spent on all the infrastructure repair/development for all three miles of Aurora. And it will be managed by these same people unless they are held accountable for their actions.

So for some of us, this more than a simple land issue.

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 11:18 AM  

Another example of history being written by those with financial control. We have lost a jewel with the gutting of the Ronald School, and we may wind up losing the Historical Museum that serves to preserve the history of several communities in the north end of King County. One certain outcome of this travesty will be the organized opposition to reelection of current School School Board members -- a small consolation for the many residents in this district (including those of us in Lake Forest Park) that mourn the unnecessary loss of our history.

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

Anonymous at 9:44

You are incorrect. I don't have children who attend or will attend Shorewood. My children are grown and out of the house (and never attended this school district). I am a retired architect who has followed this with some interest. I am also a homeowner in Shoreline and I know how closely property values are tied to the schools.

I attended the planning meetings and watched this unfold from the sidelines. I have never felt deceived or lied to by the district. In fact, it seemed as if they were very straight forward with their desires from the first meetings I attended. They wanted the land and they had a legal right to it. They never pussyfooted around that. The intention was clearly stated.

I definitely don't feel "ripped off" as a tax payer. I've attended many wonderful functions at Shorewood HS as a community member and I think the new school will provide even greater opportunities for this. I also think it will make my house worth more money.

I visitede the museum once, was very disappointed, and never went back. You see them as the "keeper of the flame of history..." I think that's nonsense.

I am not privvy to the inner workings of the musuem. But when people post here that "What few people seem to realize realize is that it required the Museum Board to support the levy. The Museum Board did this. They must have felt awful doing it, but they kept their word", I don't understand the timeine. What word was the museum keeping? When had they promised anything to SSD?

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

OK. So this is all about your PROPERTY VALUES? Now your support for this fiasco makes so much sense.

Lets destroy a community asset that is in our long deliberated "Community Vision" for your perceived need to increase your property values? What a selfish, small minded person you are.

It figures that you are an architect. You fit right in with the "architects of historic destruction" at SSD.

You and your friends, the SSD Administrators are both of the same ilk.
They are in Woodway where fabulous views to enhance their property values are their only community value. They get huge raises at the expense of the SESPA workers. They are so selfish up there, that they won't even pay into a library system.

It is an unassailable fact that the Museum Board supported the "Agreement in Principle", and that brought the YES votes on the Bond and Levy at the last minute. Even Evan Smith was fooled into supporting
the deal.

If you didn't like the Museum, I'm sorry. Could it be even better if it had the support of the SSD and City like it should have like other historic Museums in the area? Sure. But now, it is being sent packing and to a future that is completely unclear.

Your property values will be nothing but diminished by this unspeakable travesty and loss to our community. I feel sorry for you that you cannot even grasp the value of this Historical Landmark.

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 9:27 PM  

Property Values?! If anyone is more interested in their own property values possibly going up a tad, than in their community Museum and a fully preserved 1912 building, then it sounds like they don't give a care about their community very much. In fact who cares about property values unless you intend to move soon or leave a few more bucks to heirs (who also probably don't give a care about our community assets, as values tend to be passed on to the next generation)

And what kind of architect doesn't appreciate Architectural history along with local history, or wouldn't want to allow it to be there for those that do?????

Unfortunately, some cannot think beyond their own idea of VALUE. And, unfortunately, sometimes that doesn't include the idea of preserving anything of REAL VALUE, the kind of things that are very hard to even come up with a price for, since they are irreplaceable.

Very, very sad. It looks like we can all do a better job of teaching our next generations what value really means, and it rarely is defined as needing to be bran new. When are you going to find a new table that someone is willing to pay 1/2 million for? You will find a very old table straight out of history that someone did pay that much for. Anyone ever watch 'Antiques Roadshow'?

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 10:22 PM  

I love how the museum supporters think that if only people could become "more enlightened" they'd see the error of their ways in supporting ANYTHING that did not leave the Museum and it's building exactly the same.

Too bad they didn't buy their dang piece of land like they said they would.
Then we could all be done hearing about it.

Too bad THEY can't see beyond the noses on their faces..

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 10:33 PM  

Once again I ask questions that no one answers. Why did the museum board sign the agreement in principal even though "they must have felt awful doing it..." And why did people who support the museum vote for the bond after that agreement?

I do believe that the new school will cause property values to go up and I certainly would like that to happen, but I also said that I think it will serve the community in many other ways. In the past 10 years, I have joined the community in attending wonderful plays, lecutures, and even sporting events at the school. The material has been great, but the facility is dismal. I am looking forward to the new theatre, the better gym, and the expanded facilities. I voted for the school bond so that the entire community could have this facility.

I don't know what goes on at the museum. If they were offering special programs to the public, they certainly weren't well publicized. A quick search on this blog can show you that.

And my experience with architecture doesn't lead me to believe that this is the historic gem that the rest of you think it is. Certainly not in the current preservation, which is definitely lacking.

Let's say only 10% of the community wanted to keep the museum? Would you think of yourselves as selfish for wanting to save it? Probably not. Because it is important to you. Even if it negatively impacted the new school site.

So, why is it selfish to want the new school site built? Everyone has their priorities. But the school district was the one with the legal right to the land.

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 11:11 PM  

@ 9:57

Why in the world would SSD feel the need to not only concoct an "Agreement in Principle" at the last minute, but to also need to have the Museum state to the public (that orange notice) that they (the Museum) supported the Bond, unless SSD was worried that the Bond may fail, otherwise?

Apparently, much of the rest of the community was missing much of the information that you were somehow lucky enough to obtain from SSD. By the way, which planning meeting were you invited to that offered such clear intent by SSD. It would be helpful for me, to know that. So far no, one, not even SSD is releasing this type of information. Why would SSD be holding back records of supposed public meeting notes with content revealing they were "straight forward with their desires from the first meetings... They wanted the land and they had a legal right to it. They never pussyfooted around that. The intention was clearly stated."?

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 11:18 PM  


May I suggest that you go back and read the HISTORY of comment threads and pro Museum LTE's. It looks like you could get more caught up on a lot of information there, that you seem to be missing. I agree, we all must look a lot further than we sometimes do, even back into HISTORY.

Anonymous,  September 26, 2010 at 11:51 PM  


"Once again I ask questions that no one answers. Why did the museum board sign the agreement in principal even though "they must have felt awful doing it..." And why did people who support the museum vote for the bond after that agreement?"

Also, you can find this if you go back into the HISTORY of the Museum articles in the SANews. But, I'll be nice and reiterate, in my own wording.

The seller of the property was holding all the cards in that "agreement in principal", playing the sellers game of 'hold back the whole truth in order to perhaps get a whopper of an overinflated and unrealistic price. That was his right do so. You see, he had a previous arrangement to sell to another interested buyer. I'm sure the Museum offer was about the same as the other offer. The Museum had no chance. Some people keep their word, and most will do anything to make sure they get the best deal. That is how the Real Estate Game is usually played.

The reason why Museum supporters would have voted for the Bond was simply because of the Museum's endorsement of it.

So in other words, SSD had all the cards, then passed it on to a new player, (the property owner). The Museum was just trying to make sure nobody lost the game. But, we know there can only be one winner in a typical card game.

Anonymous,  September 27, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

Anonymous 11:51:

Your questions answered -

• Why did the Museum Board agree to the "Agreement in Principle"?
Because fundamentally, they wanted to support the schools as they have always done (and in the past the SSD ALWAYS supported the Museum). The Museum Board thought that even moving the building and thereby owning the property was preferable to continuing the same

• Why did the Museum voters support the Bond?
Because the Museum Board sent a mailing reassuring everyone that SSD had promised to help them acquire the property and move the building, and had signed the agreement in good faith.

Sadly, this all turned out to be fiction. The SSD flipped and went back on their bargain. The Museum Board offered top dollar for that property, but the owner already had a standing arrangement with another buyer who topped the offer. That's how it's done in real estate.
Instead of helping, SSD waited for the land deal to fail and swooped in for the kill.

The Museum Board are clearly not "sharks" like the SSD lawyers and administrators. They tried mightily to keep the faith and follow the rules to the letter. But, the "sharks" have an ultimate objective to rule and gobble up everything in their path.

And now, your property values are not rising, because you've invested during a real estate bubble. There is no guarantee that your investment will pay off. That is not the obligation of public officials to guarantee your investments.

Their obligation should be to guarantee that the public trust is followed. The public "trusted" that officials would follow their word and protect this vulnerable institution, the Historical Museum and Landmarked building and voted with their hearts. So far, the public officials at SSD have done the opposite, by targetting it for takeover. The other public officials at the City have been wringing their hands, afraid to speak out against the sharks.

Unfortunately, OUR public investments in the Shoreline Historical Museum for 35 years are now being stolen from us and our trust in our local governments is smashed.

Anonymous,  September 28, 2010 at 1:00 AM  

Your accusations against the school district qre full of contraditions. You say that "the SSD held all the cards...", but you also say "the bond would never have passed if the museum had not signed the Agreement in Principle..." By that logic, the Museum had some very strong cards.

You say again and again how the SSD was untrustworthy, mismanaged other large capital projects, and doesn't care about the people. But you also say that museum supporters wanted the new school, so they voted for it.

You say the SSD "went back on their bargain" with the Agreement in Principal. But how? It was the museum that was responsible for aquiring land. Why was it the SSD's fault that the museum didn't keep THEIR end of the bargain.

Where was this supposed bullying? What exactly did the district do to bully the museum?

Anonymous,  September 28, 2010 at 9:47 PM  

Just quit blaming the Museum.

• Would you blame David if Goliath had won?
• Would you blame the little child if the big school yard bully always steals his lunch?
• Would you blame that poor dog that was held captive by his owner in the house here in Shoreline?
• Would you blame a single mom with a couple of kids who gets kicked out with no place to go, because a landlord wants to make a buck by selling the place?
• Would you blame a sick child when an insurance company cancels their insurance or raises the rates through the roof?
If you'd blame those victims then you would blame the Museum, because you have no compassion for the community.

The Museum Board are not land sharks like the SSD is. They are not power hungry like SSD is. They never claimed to be real estate experts.

Just ask the 426 voters who voter for the Bond because the Agreement In Principle was supposed to be the compromise that the parties had agreed to. They were lied to, scammed, duped and now the Museum is evicted with no home. I'd blame the bully!

Anonymous,  September 30, 2010 at 12:21 AM  

There are different folks answering questions in this conversation, just to let the inquiring commenter/s know.

I'd say the SSD and the Museum shared all of the cards a few weeks before the Bond vote. The game was somewhat of a level playing field at that time after the Museum supporters got the word out about what was happening.

But, it was starting to look a little too level for SSD. So, in order for SSD to gain more assurance of "winning" the Bond vote, they drummed up that "Agreement". The clues that SSD wanted more assurances of the Bond passing, but, were not willing to assure the Museum of the "Agreement" actually coming to fruition were all over that "agreement".

The "Agreement" notice was sent just a couple of weeks before the vote= desperate attempt at gaining more assurance.

How about that statement about the Museum supporting the Bond. Why have that there? Of course, for more assurance. If the Museum is OK with it, it must be all good, right? Well, look between the the lines, though....

Another important clue was there, only it was not as easy for many as it would be for Real Estate Experts. That clue was a missing line that would have stated that there was already a signed Real Estate Agreement between the Museum and the one who now had all of the Museum's cards. Whatever play they made would reveal the fate of the Museum and a Historic Building.

As far as the SSD, they would win no matter what, after those mailers were received by voters just days before votes were due. SSD would have over 150 million to play with and they clearly did not care what happened to the Museum or the Ronald Building. All they wanted was the Bond, plain and simple.

Anonymous,  September 30, 2010 at 11:45 PM  

Just clarifying the above statement in the second to last paragraph.

The only way for the Museum to have had any assurance would have been to have had the property seller actually sign off on a Real Estate agreement with the Museum, before the Agreement in Principle was made. Since there was none, the Agreement in Principle was about as far from a real agreement as was possible.

The other missing line from that Agreement was:
If the seller of the property at....... agrees to sell this property to the buyer-the Museum.....

Janice King Butler--1944-1947,  October 7, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

I'm going to sit down and cry--I only went 4 years, 1944 through 1948 there but all told they were the happiest of my school years! My mother even went there as a child and one of my nephews had the same second grade teacher I did, Miss Gorjup. I can't begin to imagine anything to take its place. Remember how the bell was found and returned to the school after many years of being gone? The class pictures in the front of the school, then as we got older, they were taken out back on the playground. Lunch was in another building, I could go on and on as I dearly loved that school but I feel the tears coming so will close.

Anonymous,  November 1, 2010 at 1:11 PM  

Janice, thank you for that very touching comment about Ronald School. I graduated from Shoreline schools near 50 years ago. The school district was a bunch of bullies also at that time (although in a little different way).

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