Bremerton: We’re Working On It

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Washington CEO magazine has featured Bremerton on its March cover.

Complete with multiple references to “Bummertown,” a svelte Norm Johnson posing on a condominium balcony and a horde of Kitsap/Bremerton ads clustered close around the story, it is an existential ode to all that Bremerton would/could/should be.

It’s a well-written piece, and even if you’re not a “decision maker” worthy of reading a magazine called Washington CEO, you can get it free by clicking here.

But the article includes this racially-tinged passage that sticks out like a decommissioned aircraft carrier:

“For a generation, (Bremerton has) been the forgotten stepchild of Puget Sound, the grimy black hole across from the gleaming Emerald City, a destination on a ferry that nobody takes. It’s the Oakland of the Northwest, a Harlem to Belltown’s SoHo, a Compton with rain.”

I like the ferry reference, but it’s interesting that Seattle, one of the whitest cities this side of Reykjavik, is “gleaming.” But in comparison, Bremerton, “a grimy black hole,” is compared to Oakland, Harlem and Compton, all historically known as having prominent African American communities.

Some readers may walk away from this story thinking Washington CEO equates working class burgs with being prominently African American.

In fact, Seattle has a larger percentage of blacks than Bremerton as of the last census, 8.4 percent to 7.5 percent, respectively. Of course, that kind of ethnic diversity isn’t visible in places where most Seattle CEOs hang out, I would imagine.

Perhaps better comparisons could be made to Tacoma and Everett, two cities with working class populations and significant seafaring cultures that are now competing for those middle-class homebuyers being forced out of King County by rising housing costs.

3 thoughts on “Bremerton: We’re Working On It

  1. Good article. For those who don’t appreciate the Seattle/Oakland reference, sometimes perception is reality (I personally wouldn’t walk around Bremerton during the day, much less at night)…we need to fix that by getting rid of the undesirables such as druggies, gangs and others who let life pass them by. This goes for all of Kitsap County.

    As the article mentions, there is a definite need for a four-year university. That, combined with relatively cheap housing prices would attract good businesses and people.

    Also, I didn’t know that Mayor Bozeman came from Bellevue, which might explain his high class visions (I am sure he appreciates the roller derby article below…that will offset any class that may be aquired!). People will probably complain about losing that “small town” feel, but that’s progress.

  2. …”… Bremerton, “a grimy black hole,” is compared to Oakland, Harlem and Compton, all historically known as having prominent African American communities.

    Some readers may walk away from this story thinking Washington CEO equates working class burgs with being prominently African American….”

    No. This reader didn’t get the connection you journalist types did…it never occurred to me.
    Maybe because I know it isn’t so or maybe you’re too clever for this reader to have connected those dots.
    Your choice.
    Sharon O’Hara

    btw: You’re a funny writer, Andrew Binion….or is it that you write funny?
    Whatever it is, keep it up….you make me laugh.

  3. Good article. For those who don’t appreciate the Seattle/Oakland reference, sometimes perception is reality (I personally wouldn’t walk around Bremerton during the day, much less at night)…we need to fix that by getting rid of the undesirables such as druggies, gangs and others who let life pass them by. This goes for all of Kitsap County.

    Jim,

    I would love to write a response to your oh so insightful observation, however having lived in Kitsap County for 46 years and a homeowner in Bremerton for the past 20 years I have now been killed by the druggies, gangs and others at least five times.
    In addition my husband has a very expensive fleet of motorcycles in an unlocked garage that I have been dying (no pun intended) to have someone come and steal. So far…no luck.

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