One lane will be closed 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through
Friday, and 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to
Washington State Department of Transportation.
The bridge, which was built in 1950 and is more than 1,000 feet
long, has about 22,000 vehicles cross a day
Bainbridge Island Mayor Anne Blair assured residents the council
voiced their concern with WSDOT, along with Poulsbo city officials
and the Suquamish Tribe, about traffic issues.
“The cries of ‘Are you kidding?’ and ‘Can you do something
else?’ were loud,” Blair said. “They are certainly aware of the
Work cannot be done at night, because of safety and efficiency
concerns, WSDOT said.
Workers will remove “yards of hardened debris and animal
droppings by hand, a time-consuming and labor-intensive
WSDOT has to remove the debris by hand, unless it can “fully
encase” the bridge to meet water quality standards. The
full-encasement requirement is too expensive for WSDOT, the agency
said, and cleaning the bridge is the affordable alternative that
meets the Clean Water Act requirements.
Crews also will repair and patch the bridge and roadway, sealing
joints, replacing rivets and repairing damaged rails and walkway
railing. If possible, they will remove rust from the bridge,
Bicyclists and pedestrians will be “escorted” across the bridge
while work is being done, and “accommodations” will be made for
While the Chilly Hilly bike route does not go across the bridge,
those going to the event Feb. 22 should expect delays.
The work is done in February to avoid the peregrine falcon
nesting period. The falcon is a protected species and have
historically nested on the bridge. February also has less traffic
than summer months.
Freezing rain and snow could delay work on the bridge, which
hasn’t been cleaned since 1991. It is inspected every two years,
requiring lane closures then as well. It was last inspected in 2013.
Council members disputed the original vision of the park
priority and some noted the project had been listed as an
information only item on last week’s agenda.
Councilman Wayne Roth and Mayor Anne Blair said the motion that
passed last week in favor of prioritizing a new dock was also
Roth, who voted against last week’s motion, said that he isn’t
against a new dock and had understood funding for it would be dealt
with depending on what grant money was available.
The new dock is estimated to cost a little more than $2 million,
and the park improvements about $1 million. Without the grant
funds, the city has $2,232,000 for the project, leaving less than
$250,000 for the park after paying for the dock.
Sarah Blossom and Steve Bonkowski voted against rescinding the
vote Tuesday night.
Bonkowski said he didn’t believe the council was going in the
wrong direction by prioritizing the dock, which he views as
The city began looking at updating waterfront park last summer
to improve the 5.5-acre park space and dock, which is more than 30
years old. Its 20 concrete floats and 23 piles are deteriorating,
and also contain toxic creosote.
Along with a new dock, park improvements would include
connecting trails to neighborhoods, along with ADA accessible paths
and a viewing plaza or vendor area. The current plans call for
turning the tennis court into a “multiuse area.”
Bonkowski said he understand previous discussions on the park
concept to be for water access and “water access includes a
The project has been added to the Jan. 20 agenda for discussion
and public comment.
A full story will be online with the Kitsap Sun on
Increasing the allowed size of accessory dwelling units,
commonly called mother-in-law houses, could be one way Bainbridge
Island handles affordable housing and density concerns.
The city’s current code says mother-in-law units cannot be
larger than 800 square feet.
Local architect Jeb Thornburg told the council that is a
“reasonably sized” single person or couple’s home, although a
900-square-feet mother-in-law unit could have two bedrooms and be
more family friendly or allow for live-in caregivers.
Thornburg said there could be “significant market demand,
significant market value” by increasing the threshold.
Poulsbo also has an 800 square-feet limit for mother-in-law
units with the stipulation that they can be bigger if the unit is
located on the ground floor or a basement.
The county allows 900 square-feet or 50 percent of the primary
residence’s square footage, whichever is smaller.
Port Orchard has the same restrictions as the county, while
Bremerton allows for the largest mother-in-law units at 1,000
square feet or 60 percent of the primary residence’s square
footage, whichever is smaller. Bremerton also has a minimum of 300
The city of Bainbridge Island has permitted 280 mother-in-law
units since 1992, although others could have been permitted by the
county or built without permits, said Kathy Cook, City Planning and
Community Development director.
The council did not take any action with plans to discuss the
increase at another meeting.
Schulze’s recent evaluation says that the council is
“pleased” overall with his performance in 2014, rating his
leadership at 8.29 on a 1-10 scale.
The three areas the council members all ranked his work as
“excellent” were ethics, job knowledge and professional
The areas Schulze could improve on are delegating, forging
comprises and risk management, the evaluation says.
It also says a couple council members “perceive the City Manager
to be too cautious and risk adverse [sic]. This could be tied to
comments under the Timing category in which some Councilors
suggested that Doug’s cautiousness may translate into him taking
too long to make a decision or implement a decision.”
The council also laid out the city manager’s goals for this
Ensure the council has informed and engaging discussions and
debates about public policy.
Keep the council informed about city progress in transforming
into a High Performing Organization.
Reach agreement with the council on four to six
responsibilities that he will be responsible for and provide
quarterly updates on.
While residents packed into a standing-room-only city council
meeting Tuesday night to share suggestions on what to do with the
city-owned Suzuki property, no action was taken and no new ideas
were discussed by the council.
The property at the southeast corner of New Brooklyn and
Sportsman Club Roads by Woodward Middle School is forested and has
several trails. There are no wetlands, streams or steep slopes.
There is a pond, but because it is man-made it does not meet the
definition of a “critical area” under the city’s codes.
Residents continue to be torn between leaving the 13.83 acres of
undeveloped land as is, using it for affordable housing, or
allowing the school to use it for possible expansion in the future
or outdoor education.
Discussing the significant loss of tree canopy over the last 15
years — from small developments to large, such as the Visconsi
shopping complex — will be part of the Association of Bainbridge
Communities’ 13th annual Environmental Conference.
The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at
the Waterfront Park Community Center, located at 370 Brien Way.
The conference will focus on:
— the importance of trees on islanders lifestyles,
— what the city of Bainbridge Island is planning,
— what is needed as part of a comprehensive tree retention
— what other cities and counties are doing, and
— how residents can participate in the process.
Speakers included Kathy Wolf from the University of Washington’s
School of Forestry, Olaf Ribeiro, an internationally recognized
expert on tree health issues, Ben Thompson, urban forestry
specialist with the Department of Natural Resources, and Nolan
Rundquist, a Seattle City arborist, who will talk about the city’s
efforts to retain trees.
The event will also include citizen activists from Whidbey
Island, Jon Quitslund, a member of the Bainbridge Island Tree
Ordinance Committee, and break-out sessions.
For more information, contact the Association of Bainbridge
Communities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***This story has been updated to include cost of the
disposal, towing and other expenses, condition of the boat and the
court date for the ship’s owner, 8:30 a.m. April 17.
The historic tugboat Chickamauga is no more.
Likely doomed by its poor condition and the prohibitive costs
needed to restore it, neither individuals nor organizations could
be found to rescue the troubled tug from being scrapped after it
was towed 38 miles from Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor to a Port
Townsend marina Jan. 31.
America’s first full diesel-powered tugboat when it was built in
1915, the Chickamauga was disposed of the week of March 24 in Port
Townsend, said Toni Weyman Droscher, the communications manager for
the Aquatics Program of the Washington State Department of Natural
Resources. The contract for disposal was for $20,000, plus tax,
said Melissa Ferris, the director of the state’s Derelict Vessel
Daily pumping, checking on the vessel, towing, escort through
the haul-out process, decontamination of the boom, etc. was
$25,435.35, Ferris said. Haul-out and storage at the Port of Port
Townsend was $2,674.80, she added.
DNR took control of the derelict boat Jan. 16 under the state’s
Derelict Vessels Act, which gives it the authority to take custody
of a vessel when an owner allows it to become derelict or
abandoned. Absent Chickamauga owner Anthony R. Smith did this when
he failed to pay moorage and utility fees for nearly a year to
Eagle Harbor Marina, totaling $8,560.30.
In addition to what he owes the marina and in legal fees, Smith
also owes the Coast Guard for its expenses in responding to the
Chickamauga’s October sinking, which total $140,000, and the
Department of Ecology’s expenses for coordinating the spill cleanup
with the Coast Guard, which total $2,000.
Smith was charged Jan. 15 with three criminal counts from the
state attorney general’s office. His trial is set to begin in June
23 in Kitsap County Superior Court.
The Chickamauga sank Oct. 2, leaked about 400 gallons of
petroleum and 10 gallons of lube oil in the waters of Eagle Harbor
and was lifted by a crane Oct. 10.
“The 70-foot hull (of the Chickamauga) was deconstructed with an
excavator,” Droscher said. “All recyclable items were separated.
Debris was placed in a 30-yard container and handled by the local
waste contractor, DM Disposal.”
The boat’s helm and throttle controls were saved and delivered
by DNR to the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum in Tacoma this week to
be restored and eventually put on display. The historical
significance of the boat that Smith purchased for $1,000 in 2009
was important to retain for Joseph Govednik, the museum’s curator
of collections and volunteer manager.
“It is important to preserve this, and all historic vessels, as
they are subjected to less than ideal conditions being exposed to
the elements of nature,” Govednik said. “Ultimately, all wood boats
turn to dust, it’s a matter of time, so it is very important to
preserve, protect and maintain these boats.
“I hope this can be a lesson and reminder, that these vessels
require constant care and monitoring,” Govednik added. “Although
the vessel is lost, we are very fortunate to take possession of the
throttle controls and helm.”
Govednik said the museum doesn’t have immediate plans to display
the Chickamauga artifacts, but hopes to use them in a future
exhibition on tugboats to support stories of the region’s working
In addition to the throttle controls and helm, the silohette of
the shell and ship’s log were likely some of the few original
things remaining on the Chickamauga by the time the state took
possession of the vessel. In fact, DNR had its marine archeologist
and others inspect the ship and found the engines weren’t the
original ones and that because there had been “so much retrofitting
and renovation that it was really a shadow of its original self,”
“The engines were 671s, which were designed specifically for the
landing craft for Normandy in World War II and they don’t have any
historical value since they were stamped out (for mass
production),” Eagle Harbor Marina Harbormaster Doug Crow said.
“They weren’t maintaining it for historical value, their interest
was in keeping the boat moving and working with it. There was very
little to that boat that had significant value and they got the two
items that were easily retrievable and it would’ve given them
something to put in the museum and write about its history.”
The demise of the Chickamauga was taken hard by well-known
Poulsbo watercolor artists Michael and Sarah Yaeger, who preserved
the boat by painting it for their 2015 calendar. The couple were
holding out hope the boat would be saved.
“We are both angry!” Michael said. “This boat was on the
Historic Register and is the first diesel powered tug in the USA –
surely this DNR group could’ve tried harder in the saving of her.
This whole saga smacks of ‘raw raw expediency’ over our cultural
responsibility for our heritage.
“The DNR bylaws should be looked at for any violation that may
have occurred in this sordid mess,” Michael continued. “What’s next
– the demolition of the Arthur Foss and the Virginia V? The
Chickamauga played a more crucial – or at least equal – role in our
ISLAND – Attorneys involved in the proposed Visconsi shopping
complex were requested by Bainbridge Hearing ExaminerStafford
Smith to submit their briefs by Wednesday, Feb. 12, and
Visconsi attorney Dennis Reynolds to submit his
reply by Monday, Feb. 17.
request on the final day of his hearings about the Visconsi project
on Jan. 28, followed the Bainbridge Planning Commission voting 7-0
in November to recommend denying the proposed 62,000-square-foot
shopping center. To be located on High School Road across the
street from McDonald’s, the 8-acre complex would have a two-story
medical facility, bank, drugstore, restaurants and other
looking at three parts to the Visconsi issue, a conditional use
permit, a site plan review and a State Environmental Policy Act,
Hearing Examiner Assistant Debbie Rose
Rose stated in an email Wednesday that Smith planned on having a
decision in the case by March 10.
“Legal briefing by the parties is scheduled to be completed by
2/24/14 and the hearing examiner expects a decision to be issued
within two weeks of that date,” Rose said.
When Smith reaches a decision on the Visconsi
project it, Rose said will be posted on the city’s
“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every
Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to
continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify
birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Beginning with this
entry on the bald eagle, each column will also be published here on
the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday.
The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology,
having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for
the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20
years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.
Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous
House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of
David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted
and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for 7
years. They live in Kingston.
A bald eagle sits in a tree overlooking Eagle Harbor on
Bainbridge Island. (MEEGAN M. REID/KITSAP SUN)
Beginning in 2005, visitors to Bloedel were treated to wonderful
views of the majestic bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
at a nest near the top of a tall Douglas Fir near the shore of
Puget Sound behind the visitor’s center. The nest activity could be
viewed from windows in the visitor’s center, or, at closer range,
near the birch grove down the hill.
The former director, Richard Brown, took numerous photos of the
nesting eagles, many of which are still on display in albums in the
library of the Visitor’s Center. In July 2013, however, this
magnificent, living display ended when the nest tree snapped off,
dumping the nest and a full-grown but flightless eaglet, apparently
unhurt, onto the beach below. The adults continued to feed
their youngster on the beach until it was able to fly.
Long an important element of he cultures of many Native American
tribes, the bald eagle was chosen as the national emblem of a
fledgling new nation by the Continental Congress in 1782. This
act did not come with an order of protection, however, and later
bounties were established for the bald eagle and many other top
predators including other birds of prey, wolves, coyotes and
bears. Eagle numbers dropped dramatically due to this
persecution, and eagles virtually disappeared from many parts of
the lower 48.
Widespread use of DDT in the 1940s through the 1960s further
reduced their numbers, driving them to near extirpation in the
lower 48. DDT residues in the fat bodies of fish had a devastating
effect on many top predators in the aquatic food chain due to a
process known as bioamplification. The residues interfered
with calcium metabolism in the eagles resulting in the thinning of
their eggshells and resultant egg breakage and nest failure.
When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 the bald
eagle was one of the first species placed on the endangered species
list. With the almost simultaneous ban on many uses of DDT the
bald eagle population began a dramatic recovery in the continental
United States. One of only a few such successes, the Bald
Eagle was removed from the endangered species list in
2007. Many Americans who had never seen their national emblem
in the wild now have had the opportunity to enjoy seeing this
The Bloedel pair is still active in the areas near their old
nest site. Listen for their high-pitched screeches emanating
from the wilderness area adjacent to the site or from the conifers
near the birch grove. They typically lay their eggs in
February and the pair is now in active courtship.
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – The derelict historic tugboat
Chickamauga is set to be towed out of Eagle Harbor Marina
at 6 a.m. Friday, the Washington State Department of Natural
Resources announced Thursday afternoon.
The abandoned tug, which sank in the harbor Oct.
2, leaked oil and diesel fuel, and was raised by a crane Oct. 10,
will be towed to Boat Haven Marina in Port Townsend.
DNR took custody of the tugboat — the country’s first full
diesel-powered tugboat when it was built in 1915 — on Jan. 16
after the owner didn’t to remove the vessel from Eagle Harbor
Marina. The state attorney general’s office also filed three
criminal charges against the owner on Jan. 15.
“Hooray! We’ll probably have cheerleaders with pompoms to wave
it goodbye,” said Doug Crow, harbormaster of Eagle Harbor Marina,
of the news the tugboat would be towed away Friday. “It’s a
major step in our history. Now I wish the (state) attorney general
lots of luck prosecuting the owner for abandonment, pollution and
stealing moorage from the marina.”