The Bremerton beat interrupts your regularly
scheduled day to bring you six updates about downtown
1. Apartments progress: The $9 million apartment project known
as The 606 is
starting to grow upward. Work on the 71-unit complex, branded
by its developers as “upscale,” began in November near the corner
of Burwell Street and Park Avenue. As you can see (above), the
stick work on floor one is coming together. The apartments are
slated to be completed in September.
Another apartment complex, above the Manette Bridge, is slated
to begin construction as well. Wes Larson, managing partner of
Sound West Group, said they’re hoping to break ground in March
on the $15 million Spyglass Hill project, which will add
another 80 units downtown.
2. Demolition looms: While those go up, one
downtown Bremerton building will come down. The old storefront at
262 Burwell Street, seen at right above, will be demolished in the
next few months. “Sooner rather than later,” said Vic Ulsh of
Bradley Scott real estate, who represents the Bremer Trust that
owns the structure.
The building has some “structural concerns,” Ulsh said, and
needs to come down. It will be interesting to see what will happen
within the space. (One thing it cannot become, under city rules, is
There’s a chance the building next to it (to the left) might be
torn down as well. They were both once occupied by the Department
of Veterans Affairs.
And of course, there’s also the big building on the corner: the
old Bremer-Wyckoff building remains vacant.
3. Carpenter building sells: The Pacific Northwest Regional
Council of Carpenters sold their building at 632 Fifth
Street in November for $100,000. The 12,800 square-foot building
was assessed at $464,000 but I believe had been vacant for some
time. The buyer, Bremerton Investment Property LLC, lists a
Bellevue address. I’ve attempted to touch base with the company
agent but have yet to hear back. I’ll keep you posted.
4. Brewery develops:Wobbly Hopps
brewery continues its trek to open in downtown Bremerton, albeit at
a different location. The owners, Jon and Sheree Jankowski had
originally filed a liquor license application this week to place a
microbrewery and taproom at 555 Pacific Ave (the Tim Ryan
building), according to Tad Sooter’s
Minding your Business blog. But plans have changed and now, it
appears they’ve started the process to open at 260 Fourth Street,
next to the old Roxy Theater. The building is owned by the Rice
Fergus Building Partnership.
They’re not the only microbreweries here or considering coming
here. As Sooter points out
on his blog:
Another brewer is eyeing space in the same area. Jesse
Wilson, an assistant brewer at Port Townsend Brewing is
running an ongoing Kickstarter campaign to open a “LoveCraft”
microbrewery in downtown Bremerton.
Bremerton is not bereft of beer makers – Silver City
Brewery and Manette’s Der Blokken Brewery both have
strong support in their own corners of town. But momentum seems to
be growing for a brewery in the downtown business district.
5. Retail possibilities: At 275 Fourth
Street, a new permit’s been taken out to clear space inside. Once
home to the offices of The Doctor’s Clinic, it has been vacant for
some time now. The idea is to make the building, owned by The
Bremer Trust, more marketable as a retail space. “You look up and
down Fourth Street, and there’s momentum toward retail,” Ulsh
6. A new sign: You may have noticed Tuesday
that the building once known as “D4” at Fifth and Pacific is
officially no more. Crews put up a sign on the building to show off
the company that recently moved in: General Dynamics. The company
$33 million in contracts for work on the USS Nimitz, which just
arrived from Everett. So I don’t think they’re going anywhere
When William Langham finally got a roof
over his head, it took time for him to adjust to it.
Having lived in the woods of Illahee
Preserve for 10 years, the tall ceilings were simply too high
for Langham, who propped his tent inside his South Court Apartment,
a kind of reverse claustrophobia.
“He had been hiding away in a tent in the woods for
such a long time, he wasn’t sure about taking the first step,” said
MaryAnn Smith, a social worker with Taking
it to the Streets Ministry.
But adjust he would, and for the final eight years of
his life, Langham had greater security and a restored dignity,
those who knew him say.
“He kept his apartment in very good condition,” Smith
said. “He valued what he had … I was so proud of Billy, when I
moved, he stepped up and paid his own bills and kept his cable and
His life was not perfect. That he was found in
his apartment a few weeks after he had died speaks to a certain
loneliness, some who knew him say. His penchant for Hurricane
beverages fed his alcoholism.
Pancreatic cancer ultimately took the
But Billy, as he was known, was charming and quite
skilled. He was a gentleman who could play guitar and fix
anything, according to neighbors Judith Holden and Corinna
“He was a very genuine man,” Maroney said.
“He had so many skills, talents and abilities,” said
Beverly Kincaid, a grant writer. “The fact he didn’t have a roof
over his head did not define him.”
Kincaid took a chance on Billy. She had met him while
doing a project, finding Billy in his tent in the woods of East
Kincaid took it upon herself to arrange Billy’s
services, held recently at the Salvation Army he frequented for
meals and social nourishment. She got in touch with his family and
paid more than $200 to have an obituary placed in the Kitsap
If Kincaid made sure he had dignity in death,
Smith ensured it in his life. After all those
years in the woods, she fought to get him disability
benefits that finally put a roof over his head.
It’s easy to think the homeless might just want to
live in the woods. But that’s an often faulty assumption, homeless
advocates say. His quality of life was much better inside a
“I could tell by the way that Billy talked, that he
was tired of being in the woods, wondering where his next meal was
or where to go,” Smith said. “I believe that the homeless need a
place to call home, not just another tent.”
“From our experience, once basic necessities
like housing are met, then we can start addressing other barriers
in their life,” said Kurt Wiest, executive director of Bremerton
Housing Authority. “The vast majority of those without housing
would thrive if given that place that is their own.”
We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, many of the
homeless in the woods around Kitsap will continue doing so, just as
Langham did for a decade.
Even on his 93rd birthday, Robert “Bob” Montgomery is
hard at work today on the fifth floor of a building on Fourth
Street, taking on a job a precious few still do.
Granted, the typewriter
repairman — in business for almost 70 years in Bremerton — had
some well wishers today, including Don Feldman. Feldman, a
collector of old typewriters, dropped him off a present: a
We’ll begin this week’s Bremerton police
blotter with a burglary suspect. The above video shows a
man inside the building at 423 Pacific Avenue. As you may know,
there have been a
spate of burglaries in the downtown area in recent weeks. If
you think you may know who this person is, Bremerton detectives ask
you to call (360) 473-5228.
It looks like we are seeing an uptick in property
crimes around the city. At Wednesday night’s City Council meeting,
Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan gave the updated crime stats.
There were seven incidents of shoplifting in December 2013,
compared with 15 in December 2014, for instance. Vehicle prowls
were up from 13 to 23 in the same period; car theft from 12 to 22.
Strachan revealed the last stat was a countywide problem,
mostly at health clubs, that is being investigated.
Strachan believes it is the work of a few at the cost
of the many.
“A small number of people can do a whole lot of it,”
he told the Council.
Here’s some crime reports filed with police in
January that I think you should be aware of:
Car theft, 3800 Wheaton Way: An employee at a car
dealership Jan. 4 said a man test driving an Infiniti I30 never
returned to the lot with the car. Police had no suspects at the
time of the initial report.
Discharging weapons, 3000 Halverson Avenue: Witnesses
captured on camera Jan. 9 two people shooting a pellet rifles.
Police investigated the shootings, finding a man and his son were
shooting an air rifle. The man understood that it was against the
law in Bremerton to discharge such weapons and told the officer he
would inform his son, too.
Possible theft, 3000 Wheaton Way: A 911 caller
reported a man breaking into vacuum cleaners at Shur Kleen Car Wash
Jan. 10. When police arrived, the man there said someone else had
gotten into the vacuum cleaner doors and that he was simply looking
for change. Trash was strewn about the area. An officer told him to
clean up the trash and leave. No arrests were made.
Bike theft, 1100 Naval Avenue: A man reported his
bike stolen. He’d parked it in the yard of his home and it was gone
by nighttime Jan. 10. He did not know the make, model or serial
number. Police have no suspects.
Not the right guy, 6th and Warren: An officer thought
he recognized a man at the bus stop near Bank of America who had a
felony warrant for his arrest (date unknown). The officer
approached and the man appeared elusive. The officer asked his
first name and it was the same as the suspect. But once in
handcuffs, the officer learned that the man had a different last
name than the suspect. He was released. The officer showed him a
mugshot of the suspect, to which the man replied, “Wow, we do look
alike,” reports said.
Gas siphoning, 4800 Auto Center Way: A man reported
Jan. 13 that someone picked a lock and was siphoning gas from a
Franz bakery van. The suspect left the scene quickly in a Chevrolet
pickup. About three gallons were taken. Police were unable to find
Argument turns heated, 2700 Clare Avenue: Police were
called Jan. 13 to Bremerton Health and Rehabilitation Center, where
a woman’s wheelchair got tangled up with another woman’s walker as
they were outside smoking. Threats were made but both ultimately
calmed down and police determined their actions weren’t
Switched license plates, 10th and Roosevelt: An
officer found an Oldsmobile Jan. 13 on Dill Way whose license plate
belonged to a Honda. When he returned to the property to inquire
about it with the car’s owner, the car was gone. Three days later,
the cop found the Oldsmobile again, following it for some time
around west Bremerton. The car’s driver hopped out at 10th and
Roosevelt but the officer ultimately found him. The man said the
plates were switched because he was “working on” the Honda for a
friend. He had a straw and empty zip lock baggie in his pocket, and
three driving-related warrants for his arrest (he has a suspended
license). The officer asked why he was fleeing. He said he wasn’t
but later admitted he was “frustrated over being stopped by the
police,” reports said. He was taken to the Kitsap County Jail.
Last week, Officer Kelly Meade helped get a resident
off the Warren Avenue Bridge who was threatening suicide, and this
week it was Officer Cory Ditmer who was sent to the Manette Bridge
on a report from the family of a 17 year old girl who was
distraught and said she was going to jump off the bridge.
Officer Ditmer arrived and asked the girl to stop,
which she ignored and continued walking. Officer Ditmer
physically detained her for her safety. It was learned she
was distraught over a boyfriend. She was taken to the
And finally, here’s the weekly High 5 and Filthy 3
list. Enjoy the week.
Plans are underway to build a 16-unit condo complex on
Campbell Way, near Harrison Medical Center. The
developers, who want to build it this year, told me they’re excited
at the chance to construct along the bluffs of the Port Washington
On Saturday, we’ll hit the streets of West Bremerton to
visit Veneta Avenue’s storied Sequoias. I hope you
can come along on this free tour, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday at
the picnic shelter at
Kiwanis Park (1701 Fifth Street).
I’ll have Jim Trainer, famed Kitsap County arborist, along to
talk about the Sequoias, and we’ll discuss the history of the area
as well. Plus, our theories about about how the trees, not native
to Puget Sound, got there.
The star, at the base of the steps to the home at 711 Chester
Avenue, intrigued me. Where did it come from? Why was it there?
I turned to the power of social media, specifically the
“If you grew up in bremerton, WA …
remember when …” group, to help. There’s more than 7,800
members in the group and while I did not exactly grow up in the
city, its administrators graciously adopted me.
After posting a photo of the star, the response was incredible —
nearly 150 comments and it hasn’t been up a day yet. Already,
people who’ve lived there, and even a woman who says here
grandfather built the home in the 1920s, have contributed (thank
you Kelly Storm!).
But we’ve not yet solved the mystery of the red star.
“The Red Star gained its name and reputation from sailors
visiting Fell’s Point. They docked, lonely and water-logged, hoping
to find some of the comforts of home. The sailors knew Fell’s Point
was a good place to find a warm meal and a cold ale, along with
more “intimate” necessities. The blue laws of the time prohibited
the customary red lights in the district… so resourceful women
painted nautical red stars on the sidewalks leading the sailors to
their doors. To the lonely men’s delight, The Red Star was
Right around high tide today — as these things often
happen — the USS Nimitz supercarrier arrived in Bremerton’s
There, she’ll spend the next 16 months getting maintenance at
the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The Nimitz is no stranger to
overhauls, nor is she a spring chicken. The carrier was
commissioned in 1972, I’m told. It took the nuclear vessel a
little longer than expected to get here, too, but here, she
I snapped a few pictures at city hall, atop the Norm Dicks
Government Center, this morning. If you’d like to add a photo to
this gallery of its arrival, ship me a note at