Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bigfoot (conference) is coming to Bremerton

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Can you spot Bigfoot? Photo by Patrick Cooper. 

Patrick Cooper often tells people he doesn’t believe in Bigfoot. 

“Because I know there’s bigfoot,” Cooper says.

The longtime Bremerton resident, who spends time along the Hood Canal looking for the Sasquatch, is one of a dozen speakers at the Bigfoot Habituation Research Conference, coming to Bremerton’s Baymont Inn & Suites April 24-26.

The focus of this particular symposium is habituation — that is, attempting to successfully develop trust with the enigmatic species some people claim doesn’t exist.

“We want to show the evidence we’ve gathered,” said Cooper, who by day is a job coach at Easter Seals of Washington. “But the conference will also be about how to approach them in a respectful manner.”

Count Cooper as one who, when he was a kid, was questioning of their existence. But around 15 years ago, he started researching. He watched the Patterson Gimlin film, the most famous of Bigfoot movies, countless times.

He became a believer.

Along Hood Canal — he doesn’t want to say exactly where — he believes he likely found a Sasquatch about five years ago, using various techniques. He’s left some apples around and even used a tree-knocking technique that he says something or someone has responded to with similar knocks.

Because the photos he took from recent visits there aren’t exactly clear, he can only call it a “Class B” encounter, meaning the proof is not definitive.

“Unfortunately it’s what we in the Bigfoot Community call a ‘blob-squatch,'” Cooper wrote me in an email. “There’s just not enough detail to convince anyone that it’s a Sasquatch, but considering the events leading up to it coupled with my follow up visits to the site I’m convinced it’s most likely a Sasquatch.”

He hopes that with conferences like the one coming up in Bremerton, awareness and appreciation for the Sasquatch will grow.

“I can’t speak for the group as a whole, but I do believe the Sasquatch are a type of people, most likely a relic hominid, that has managed to survive in remote areas into modern times,” Cooper wrote me in an email. “My hope is that someday they will be protected, not just as an endangered species, but as a type of ancient people deserving of some basic human rights and respect.”

A three-day pass is $65, though you can purchase individual days for cheaper. Click here for more information.

Could it be? Photo by Pat Cooper.
Could it be? Photo by Pat Cooper.

Bremerton’s bizarre borders

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On a map, Bremerton is a Tetris champion’s worst nightmare. Geographically, it’s filled with holes: West Hills, Gorst (for now), Navy Yard City. There’s even an island in Port Orchard.

In sum, it has quite a bizarre set of borders.

Since I took over coverage of the city for the Kitsap Sun in late 2012, I have been perplexed as to how it came to be this way. Each area, of course, has its own story — Rocky Point, anyone? — but here we are, an oddly-shaped blob of a municipality.

As we have seen in this past week, Bremerton is widely known as a much larger area. The postal code includes areas in Seabeck and at the Fairgrounds. Bremerton’s public works department also provides water to a larger swath of land than is the city.

You may have seen Sunday’s story about how Bremerton is actually barred by agreement from annexing the area north of Riddell Road. We’ll see if that changes, following conversations between the city and the county over South Kitsap landowner David Overton’s desire to end the agreement.

This year, I plan to write a series of articles focusing on some of those holes. Many of them are UGAs — short for Urban Growth Areas, destined to come into the city under the state’s Growth Management Act. What’s kept them from coming in?

And for that matter, how different are services between those offered in Bremerton to those in the unincorporated county?

I offer one example regarding emergency services. There are already mutual aid agreements that ensure fire trucks and police cars are on their way, regardless of jurisdiction (South Kitsap Fire & Rescue, interestingly, is still the official fire department for Rocky Point). But when it comes to policing, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is spread thin around the county, whereas Bremerton’s force is concentrated. The result more frequent patrols on city streets, and the ability of Bremerton police to respond much more quickly to emergencies.

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Taxes and regulations are also different. Bremerton has a B&O tax that some cite as a deterrent for coming into the city. Of the regulatory climate, here’s one interesting nuance. There’s a storefront for a medical marijuana collective garden tucked into a sliver of county land near the Perry Avenue Mall. The city banned such gardens in 2013. It’s surrounded on three sides by Bremerton.

I think there’s a general assumption that coming into a city means more taxes, more regulation, more services. That doesn’t always turn out to be the case. I talked to a Rocky Point resident who recently told me why he didn’t want to be in the city. He recalled a relative supporting Marine Drive’s annexation into the city.

“Marine Drive got in because they wanted sewer and sidewalks,” he recalled. But they got nothin.'”

I hope to learn a lot this year on this issue, and welcome your knowledge and opinions.