Lessons Bremerton Can Teach Seattle?

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Photo Credit: Kristine Paulsen/ P-I Photos
This Port of Bremerton trashcan made an impression on the P-I.

On Tuesday the Seattle P-I, owners of the third best news Web site in the Northwest, published this ode to Bremerton’s “Long Beach Blue” trash cans.

Unlike other media attention Bremerton has received recently, freelance writer Lawrence W. Cheek doesn’t dwell on the “Land Before Time” Bremerton. No comparisons to Compton or Harlem, no references to the overwhelming bleakness before Starbucks.

Cheek doles out credit for the gleaning Harborside District, and directed his highest praise toward Harborside Fountain Park.

“It’s no stretch to call it spectacular.”

But that’s not the reason for Cheek’s story. It’s not a “come to Bremerton, eat at Taco Del Mar” piece. Cheek believes “mighty but cumbersome” Seattle, with its shameful history as a city once full of people who worked real jobs, can learn a thing or two from Bremerton.

What can Seattle learn from humble Bremerton?

Well, he admits it’s apples and oranges to compare the two, but that doesn’t stop him.

“Mark another reason comparisons may be unfair” between the two cities, Cheek notes, arguing why Seattle shouldn’t feel too envious of Bremerton’s shiny new waterfront. “No Seattle process in Bremerton.”

It’s kind of a backhanded compliment. Another word for “process” is public participation.

Of Economic Development Director Gary Sexton, Cheek says: “He dodged committees and commissions.” Not a nice thing to say.

Does Cheek really want Seattle officials “dodging” committees and commissions?

Why is Cheek dragging Bremerton into the fight over the Seattle waterfront? Is he irked that he isn’t getting his way and is forced to endure the “relentless roar” of Highway 99? Does he long for a latter day Richard J. Daley?

Cheek also sounds a little bothered that much of the prime Bremerton real estate was “long ago gobbled by the naval shipyard.” Which, by the way, is the backbone of the local economy.

I’m no historian, but am I wrong in assuming that when PSNS “gobbled” up precious waterfront there wasn’t much Bremerton to speak of? Would it be presumptuous to think that Bremerton would be radically different if PSNS “ungobbled” its waterfront? What would that look like? Wait, wait, don’t answer that question.

What does this have to do with Seattle? Not sure. The Seattle waterfront is one of the best in the country. (It used to be better before they butchered Myrtle Edwards Park in the name of “art,” but the viaduct still provides even the lowliest among us a chance to take in a million dollar view). Seattle has its revitalization, it’s been going on since Nirvana bumped Michael Jackson from the top of the charts in January, 1992 (Corrected from 1991 – Binion). Why would they want less or a different “process?” Their “process” got them this far.

The good news is, I guess, when the yuppies finally overrun Seattle like swarms of locusts in North Face fleeces, maybe Bremerton will inherit the artists and musicians and thinkers who made Seattle attractive to yuppies in the first place.

Then we’ll take on the Navy, PSNS will become our viaduct. We’ll start a petition and tell them that having the shipyard on the waterfront makes too much noise and isolates Bremertonians from their shoreline.

I mean, the Navy doesn’t need to have its shipyard right on the waterfront, right? Can’t they just move to Ellensburg, or something?

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