I was startled on my commute this morning to find
asphalt — yes asphalt — where concrete sidewalks should be on the
$3.5 million Washington Avenue project.
As you can see from the photo above, it basically looks like
there’s another street where
sidewalks should be. So what gives?
City officials said in an email earlier this week that yes,
asphalt will have to do on the eastern Washington Avenue sidewalk,
between Sixth and Fifth streets. The reason is that there’s a
proposed development, once called the “Towers
Project,” that the city believes will simply rip the street
open again when construction on it begins.
The reason for their confidence: the development,
begun by Absher Construction, paid upwards of $200,000 for the
city to bury power lines on Washington between Sixth and Fifth
streets. That suggests the project is not just one for the
community development department shelves but that they’re serious
about getting going.
Still, it looks odd, don’t you think?
Other project updates: On Monday, work will
shift to the western side of Washington Avenue. That means that
northbound traffic on Washington will take up the new lane on the
east side, with the western side closed down. There won’t be any
southbound traffic allowed on Washington, and the intersections at
Fifth and Sixth streets will be closed. Contractor RV Associates estimates it
will take seven to eight weeks to complete the western work.
When completed in mid-October — that’s the hope anyway — the
project will have taken the road from four lanes to two, added
wider sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and decorative
The project also includes the linking of the 9/11 Memorial park
with the wider Evergreen-Rotary Park. In mid-September, crews will
demolish the old end of Highland Avenue and a sewer pump house
there. They’ll plant grass, put in new pathways and create a new
viewing platform of the Port Washington Narrows. Personally, I am
really looking forward to seeing the new park, the design of which
you can see below.
For most people, smoking pot would not
qualify as a homework assignment. But for staff at
newest recreational marijuana shop, it’s a possible part of a
burgeoning quality control program that calls for rating and
reviewing different weed strands and types.
“We want to make sure we have the best quality
product around,” said Michelle Beardsley, the store’s operations
director and a welder at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
marijuana store, the first on the city’s east side, just got up
and running this week — pot in all forms is coming in from growers
all over the state — and has a grand opening slated for Saturday.
It has been opened by two of the four people who started the
county’s first pot store outside South Kitsap, Highway 420, on
Charleston Beach Road. In fact, Beardsley and co-owner Brian Rose
call it a “sister
But both say it will be different. Located on Hollis
Street, across from the Cloverleaf Sports Bar &
Grill, the 4,000 square-foot space was once a warehouse. It was
last a thrift store before Beardsley and Rose bought the
“It had a lot of junk in it, but the building’s in
great shape,” Beardsley said.
They painted it the building, rebuilt the inside to
give it an “industrial” look, stained the floors, and more. And
while the Bremerton area is now
home to three recreational pot stores, Rose is confident
they’ve found a niche on the East side.
“We’re the closest store in the county until you get
to Bainbridge Island,” said Rose, who worked for the school
district and various jobs before landing what he called his dream.
“We’re really excited to be able to service the north end.”
Their plans do not end at a pot shop, however. By the
holidays, they plan to open an “annex” on the site that will sell
store merchandise. And come springtime, they hope to open a glass
blowing studio that will attract not just those looking to make
their own pipes and bongs, but any kind of glassware.
The store is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through
Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1
You hear a lot these days about the desire to
have a grocery store in downtown Bremerton. Whenever that
should occur, the new proprietors will be hard pressed to compete
with the freezer section of CJ’s Evergreen General
Store on Park Avenue.
Prime rib. Chicken Piccata. Corned beef and cabbage.
All there, all freshly made and most with local ingredients. And
just about everything costs around $10.
Last time I was in there, I picked up a cup of chili.
Might have been some of the best I’ve ever had. But don’t
take my word for it — the chili was among the best at this year’s
Bowl fundraiser for Bremerton Foodline.
“You might not expect that at the corner grocery
store,” said Cynthia Jeffries, owner of the store since it opened
Jeffries expanded the general store in 2009 to
include a catering business. She brought on the talents of Richard
Kost, a chef with more than two decades’ experience who has headed
the kitchens of numerous Seattle restaurants.
With catering, the duo was able to diversify the
business but also experiment with some other ideas, including the
gourmet freezer section. They’ve been pleasantly surprised by how
well it has done, helping to even build a personal chef
“For me, it’s a chance to do some higher end foods,
right here, with locally sourced products,” Kost said.
Jeffries said a side benefit has been seeing
customers of all different income levels come to enjoy the section.
For families, it can even compete with fast food in terms of value,
but the quality of ingredients is much better. Pints of soup are $5
and other items can even be purchased for less.
“You can’t buy a happy meal for $4,” she points
What’s the future hold for Anderson Cove? The
Bremerton neighborhood is getting a new park soon and some new life
is emerging on nearby 15th Street at Wycoff Avenue.
On Saturday, a group of about
70 of us took a walk to see the changes up close. We heard from
Lowell and Heidi Loxsimer, purveyors of one of Kitsap County’s best
breakfasts and lunches at the Hi-Lo Cafe. Then, we ventured a half
a mile on foot to the Lillian and James Walker Park, which is just
about ready to open. Finally, we walked back to Bualabdh Bos,
Bremerton’s new Irish pub.
Here’s some of the things we learned along the way:
Anderson’s Cove: Just who were the original
residents who gave the cove its name? They are John Peter Anderson
and Ellen Noren, both Swedish immigrants who were some of the first
settlers in what’s now West Bremerton. According to Lois Jacobs’
Childhood Memories of Anderson’s Cove, John Peter arrived at Port
Blakely in 1879 while his future wife would come to Seattle with
his sister in 1888.
John Peter had a homestead of 160 acres in the area where
Bremerton High School is now, selling it when he married Ellen and
buying 40 acres at their now-namesake cove. Sadly, John Peter died
in 1904, leaving Ellen to raise eight children on her own, not to
mention tend for the couple’s cows, chickens and orchard.
The Navy took much of the land for housing to accommodate the
city’s World War II building boom. Some of that housing and
infrastructure exists to this day.
There was a bridge?: A bridge once crossed
Anderson Cove, first to just foot traffic and later another for
vehicle access, according to Jacobs. It’s hard to know where
exactly the crossing was (I couldn’t find more detail) but it’s
likely the cove and surrounding marshlands used to go further
south, necessitating a route across them.
The Hi-Lo Cafe Secret: Heidi and Lowell Yoxsimer
explained that while the food they’ve been cooking up since 2006 is
a big part of their success, part of it is just enjoying
“You have to keep it fun,” Heidi said.
The cafe recently expanded to open a waiting area to give
customers a place to standby until a table opens.
One thing I learned has been talk of a city plan for a
Lulu D. Haddon Park business district and community hub. But
Hi-Lo, it turns out, is simply ahead of its time.
James and Lillian Walker Park: Colette Berna, the
city’s park architect whose works include the revamped Lions,
Kiwanis and Blueberry parks, gave some history on the site. The
city was able to purchase four properties and develop this .62 acre
site with a $1.3 million state Department of Ecology grant. Since
then, they’ve used the money to install just about every technique
stormwater to keep it out of Puget Sound. That includes a sand
filter collection system, pervious sidewalks, a biorention swale
and a Filterra system.
The parks department received $172,000 from the city’s
allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant funds,
creating a small amphitheater, grassy hillside and steps to
the beach below.
It’s slated to open in a month or two.
The park was named by the City Council for Lillian and James
Walker, whose civil rights work during the war and later years made
Bremerton a fairer place for all.
The Irish have arrived: To conclude the walk, we
stopped in to check out the new Irish pub
Bualabdh Bos (“Clap your Hands” in Gaelic). We flooded the
place as it opened at 3 p.m. but Sally Carey and Mark Camp were
happy to oblige. Camp, whose grandmother taught him to make savory
Irish dishes like meat pies, even offered some Irish toasts like
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re
Thanks to everyone who made this latest Story Walk successful.
See you in September for a walk through the old East High School
campus. Details to come.
But LSST is different in at least one regard: the
scientists building all of its parts are scattered throughout the
“Most big projects are built by one team and are in
one place,” he said.
And despite a world with so much connectivity via the
Internet and video conferencing, there’s just no substitute for
face to face interaction. Kahn wants to ensure that the telescope
builders, camera constructors, data keepers and other scientists
don’t bifurcate into fiefdoms but that they’re all working toward
the same unified goal.
“We want LSST to not only be a great telescope and
great for science, but also to be a great team,” he said.
That’s where Bremerton comes in, the city Olympic
College Professor Bob Abel — also a part of LSST — was able to
convince his colleagues to come to for an “all hands on deck”
This week has been productive in solving a
particularly thorny issue facing LSST: how best to map the cosmos.
Kahn refers to the “traveling
salesman” problem: what’s the route to take to make the most
sales and drive the least amount of miles possible?
For LSST, that means finding the most interesting
things to study through LSST’s lens in the 10 years they have to do
so. Even mathematicians have joined the project to help them attain
those efficiencies, using what’s known as “operations
Kahn says the LSST will focus on four main areas:
near Earth objects, to see what asteroids might imperil Earth; the
science of the Milky Way, to include a first ever 3-D map of it;
examining a changing sky, which includes supernovae and the like;
and potentially solve some fundamental mysteries, such as learning
more about dark energy.
But for the week in Bremerton, Kahn also wanted to
build camaraderie. Abel took the charge of bringing the scientists
in to the community: playing soccer each morning at Kiwanis Park
and hosting talks all week long at SEEFilm Cinemas and around
Kahn has been amazed at the some 1,000 people who’ve
come out to hear from some of astronomy’s brightest minds. They’re
not just asking “surface questions” and show an understanding and
curiosity that’s impressed the director. He wonders if even his
hometown of Palo Alto would draw that kind of response.
“The thing that’s blown us away is the response from
the community,” he said. “In a town this size, that’s
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, I will lead my latest Story Walk through the
cove, starting at
Hi-Lo Cafe at 15th Street and Wycoff Avenue. We’ll hear from
the owners about how they’ve created one of the best breakfast and
lunch spots in all of Kitsap County.
Then, we’ll set off for an approximately 1/2 mile walk to
Bremerton’s newest park, named for Bremerton civil rights pioneers
James and Lillian Walker. The park, with an ampitheater-like
setting overlooking the Port Washington Narrows, will likely open
in September. We’ll get a sneak peak with help from Bremerton Parks
Preservation and Development Manager Colette Berna. The architect
of many of Bremerton’s redeveloped parks will take us through how
the less than 1-acre parcel came together, and how it demonstrates
the state’s newest methods to keep stormwater out of Puget
We’ll return to 15th and Wycoff to conclude the walk (you can
also take a bus back for $2) and a stop at Bremerton’s newest
restaurant, Bualadh Bos,
for some food and good company. I am also hopeful we can speak with
the proprietors of soon-to-be opened Hale’s Ales brewery and
taproom, on the corner of 15th and Wycoff as well.
I hope you’ll join us for a walk through this changing
Bremerton neighborhood Saturday! Please RSVP here, and
here’s links to our previous walks.
If you have a love of the cosmos, it’s a good time to be
alive in Bremerton. Next week, some of
astronomy’s brightest minds will be here for a conference. The
good news for us laypeople is they’re going to share some of their
vast knowledge with us, every night of the week.
Starting Sunday at SEEFilm Cinemas, you can catch astronomers
doing TED-style talks (see posted flyer). The most entertaining
portion of the events looks to be Tuesday night’s Astronomy Slam,
held around downtown (see flyer below).
And just what is bringing them to Bremerton? A telescope. But not just any old
telescope — one that will gobble up enough data every night to fill
the Library of Congress. It’s called the Large Synoptic Survey
Telescope, and perched in the Andes Mountains of Chile,
it will scan the sky with a 3,200 megapixel camera for a decade
starting in 2022.
I’m doing a larger story about the telescope, which will be in
the Kitsap Sun in the coming days. Hope to see you around
the conference next week.
The USS Parche isn’t going dark again — not
for long, anyway.
The sail of the most decorated vessel in U.S. Navy history,
which sits in front of Puget Sound Navy Museum, lost its stripes
recently. All of its awards were stripped off during its annual
painting last week, by volunteers from Submarine Development
Squadron 5. That’s the outfit for fast attack submarines Seawolf,
Connecticut and Jimmy Carter.
The colorful citations represent nine Presidential
Unit Citations, 10 Navy Unit Commendations, 13 Navy Expeditionary
Medals and 15 Battle Efficiency Awards.
“The vinyl wasn’t in the greatest shape, so they were
actually removed and we’re going to reapply them,” said Danelle
Feddes, deputy director and senior curator at the museum. The
shipyard’s sign shop is doing that work.
The sail is owned by the city, but the museum helps
to maintain it.
If you’ve been on Washington Avenue lately, you know
it’s quite a mess. But the
$3.5 million project hit a major milestone Tuesday when the
first of its new curbs were placed along the northbound portion of
Many engineers have told me of the importance of the placing of
the curbs. It signifies a road project’s transition from below
ground work to surface construction. And, in this particular
project, the curb placement gives us the first look at a sized-down
roadway — and how much wider the sidewalks will be.
The project is adding those wider sidewalks, bike lanes and
street lights to both sides of the road, between the Manette Bridge
and Fifth Street. The roadway will be permanently dropped from two
lanes to one in each direction.
Associates has already added new water, sewer and stormwater
pipes underneath the road. Other utilities have also been placed
underground, including burying the power lines between Fifth and
Now, they’ll finish up the northbound street, pouring new
concrete sidewalks and laying asphalt. There’s a good chance that
work will be completed next week.
Following that, work will transition to the southbound side, or
“upper” lanes. The project is slated for completion in October.
Dale Sperling was one of more than a dozen people who
gave an earful to the Bremerton City Council last Wednesday
night. The 41-year Kitsap resident and longtime developer
praised what he called “one of the best physical settings in Puget
Sound,” with a “high value” workforce and a ferry to Seattle.
“So why is downtown Bremerton not taking off?” he asked the
Sperling’s now the owner of the old Nite Shift tavern, which
hasn’t been open for years. During an inspection inside a colleague
of his actually fell partially through the floor — hence his
reference to the epitome of blight.
The building, home to both the Nite Shift and Scotty’s taverns
in decades gone by, had been bought by the owners of the
Horse & Cow a few years ago. But Mike Looby and Larry Timby
have found success on the recently
brick-lined section of Fourth Street. In came Sperling, seeking
an opportunity in downtown Bremerton. The 1946-built tavern sold
for $250,000, according to the Kitsap County Assessor’s Office.
Sperling, once the president and CEO of Unico Properties, owner of around
15 million square feet of commercial real estate in the western
United States, says he’s “bullish” on Bremerton and Kitsap County.
More recently, he founded a company known as OneBuild, which manufactures
prefabricated modular units — “everything but the toilet paper,” he
told me — and then stacks them like legos into contemporary
The bulldozers should get going at the site, 242 Burwell Street,
What will happen after demolition is still up in the air.
Sperling, who is working through the permitting process and has
presented plans to construct 30 units there, says there’s no
timetable for construction. He does not want to put the cart before
the horse, he told me.
If he goes forward with his plans, his project will join the
list of downtown apartment projects including The
606, a 71-unit venture being constructed by Lorax Partners down
the street, as well as
The Spyglass Hill apartments, an 80-unit apartment complex
overlooking the Manette Bridge. Other projects have been planned
near Evergreen Park and
on Washington Avenue as well. All told, Bremerton could have
hundreds more apartments in its downtown core in just a few
Sperling is confident Bremerton will soon thrive. And he’d like
to be a part of that. He shakes his head when he sees surface
parking lots in downtown Bremerton.
“To think, the highest and best use is surface parking,” he told
the Council. “It’s a complete non-sequitur.”