Happy new year, Bremerton! Here’s a
list of the 10 most interesting things I learned about Bremerton in
1. Bremerton’s red light camera experiment is
The first year of Bremerton’s red light cameras
brought in almost $850,000 for the city. Since, that amount has
basically been in free fall.
In 2015, if history serves, it will barely bring in
any revenue for the city at all.
Combine that with inconclusive evidence they do much
to promote safety at intersections and a scandal that has embroiled
the company to which Bremerton pays $432,000 a year in operational
fees, and the cameras
may not last much longer. Mayor Patty Lent has signaled she’d
get rid of them if they become a cost for the city.
2. Bremerton’s rate of violent crime is
I rode with Bremerton Police in every shift possible
first year I worked at the Kitsap Sun. I’d routinely witness
drunken fights, domestic assaults and even a Tasering (interesting
if sad story, ask me about it sometime).
That was 2005, the year Bremerton held the dubious
distinction of being no. 1 in violent crime per capita in the state
Yes, Bremerton still has its share of crime. But its
violent crime rate is half what it was in 2005 —
11.7 incidents per thousand then to 5.7 in 2013, according to
FBI statistics. That’s a pretty remarkable drop.
There’s lots of reasons why — rising homeownership, renewed
parks and focused policing to name a few — which you can
learn about here.
3. Those tires won’t remove
Spare a tire? The police shooting range west of
Gorst, within Bremerton’s watershed property,
has plenty of them. In fact, the city has spent in excess of
$12,000 removing them about 8,500 of them, and more may be
The police department thought they might need them
for training but at a certain point, Public Works Director Chal
Martin said they
had to go. How they got there was actually even investigated by
a separate police agency. Ultimately, no wrongdoing was
4. It’s the water
Meanwhile in the Bremerton watershed, another
little brouhaha cascaded from the headwaters of the Union
River. The city built a dam in the 1950s and has used the water
above it as the bulk of the drinking water for around 1/3 of Kitsap
Because the lake is remote — like 3,000 acres around
it remote — the state doesn’t require Bremerton to filter its water
supply (though the water is treated with chlorine and ultraviolet
City officials are
adamant the land around it stay preserved. The city went so far
as to release photos this year of trespassers — poachers, hikers
and bikers — using the area.
Some wonder if the city
couldn’t lighten up a bit, and a countywide trail is being
contemplated for the total 8,000 acre parcel the city owns, where
the city also has a golf course and the police shooting range (and
by the way, anyone need some
5. The towers were for the hoses
Why, when you see old fire stations do they have
towers that rise into the sky from their basic structures?
Turns out fire hoses used to be made of cotton, which
needed to be hung up to dry after fighting a fire. If they weren’t
dried properly, they’d mold. Today’s hoses are synthetic.
6. There’s redwoods in them there sewer
Speaking of towers — a somewhat routine at the city’s
sewer treatment plant contains an
Some giant filters made of redwood trees are being
retired out. While the new material is plastic , the redwoods, from
the 1980s, have broken down but may have a second life as beauty
bark (Or bark. Or mulch. Or whatever term you like).
Public works officials say the city will use it
around its properties, maybe even parks, if its
environmentally safe to do so.
7. Bye bye Maple Leaf, may your
sign be immortal
Yes, we said
goodbye to the Maple Leaf Tavern in 2014. The place was
unrivaled in its around 77 years tending bar in Kitsap County. But
the now fabled Lower Wheaton Way watering hole closed due to
nonpayment of $25,000 in taxes, in 2010. And city engineers saw it
as a chance to clear some needed room for the Lower Wheaton Way
project earlier this year, tearing it down for $18,000.
Breakfast at Sally’s author Richard LeMieux called
its slanted floor — you have to admit it had been worn down in
recent years — the feel of “one of those oblique fun houses with a
moving floor” that actually got more stable as you drank.
Rest in peace, Maple Leaf.
I get asked a lot about if its storied sign was
preserved. The answer: yes. It is in the capable hands of the
Kitsap Historical Society.
8. The ‘Mo-Sai’ Bank Building has the state’s
most complex Carillon system
A longtime curiosity of mine was satisfied when I was
learning about the bells on the roof of the Chase Bank building at
Fifth and Pacific this year. That odd facade on the building giving
it the look of a vertical beach? It’s called Mo-Sai, and the
architects used this rock peppering as a way to reflect the
Northwest’s rugged terrain. Huh.
It certainly is unique. But up on its roof are the
speakers that play
Bremerton’s Carillon system. Probably the most complete in the
Pacific Northwest. Yep, they’re real bells. And they played on a
snowy Christmas Eve, 1971,
for the first time.
9. So that all may play
When all was said and done, around $500,000 and
countless volunteer hours had made
Kitsap County’s first all-accessible playground possible.
The playground, inside Bremerton’s Evergreen-Rotary
Park, is almost always packed when the weather’s nice. Hard to
believe how quickly it came along — a testament to what the
community can do when it comes together.
10. Mudslides in Schley Canyon
What about a mudslide? The state views Schley Canyon, that land
cavity that cuts Manette from the rest of East Bremerton (or does
it? The boundaries, to be fair, are unclear) as one fish could head
up, or fish passable. The city says the little crevasse’s just a
drainage and it doesn’t need to pay millions of dollars to replace
the 1927 culvert over it at Lower Wheaton Way.
But the canyon has had a slide once when rains get
too heavy. A geologist told me the canyon’s probably not a huge
slide hazard. But it’s something Mayor Patty Lent said recently
she’d like to
further examine to be sure.
- *Many are just convinced the apartments at
704 Chester Avenue are haunted. Even the skeptics have to agree
the building does have a long, and sometimes spooky history. It
served as the site of Harrison’s first hospital and was later
converted into apartments. Bremerton native and Washington State
Legislator Speaker of the House Frank Chopp’s low-income housing
nonprofit improved the complex in the early 2000s, but residents
there still say there’s still strange noises at odd hours.
- *No new homes — or any structures — can be built out
over the waters of Puget Sound. But the homes that remain on the
water near the Bremerton Boardwalk enjoy a “grandfathered” and can
stay for as long as they’d like as long as they’re
Are there any I missed you’d like to add?