The concrete span that connects Manette to West
Bremerton turns five years old today. The $60.6 million
span, completed after years of planning and construction,
opened to much fanfare on Nov. 10, 2011.
I’ll often ask Bremertonians which bridge they prefer — that
classic green steel truss or the far more functional new span?
Closer to the new bridge’s opening, the vote was mixed. However,
has time has wore on, the city’s residents increasingly prefer the
new bridge. Particularly popular its wide pedestrian walkway.
Walkers are crossing it constantly, taking in views of Bremerton
and the Port Washington Narrows — especially on a sunny day.
Happy birthday, new Manette Bridge. You’ve got a long way to go
to get to 81 years old, the age of the old one, but you’re on your
way. Here’s some photos of the bridge over its first half
“We are all one, under the sun.” That’s what
Bailey Tupai told me this morning at Evergreen-Rotary Park, the
site of this Bremerton’s first ever Pacific
Islander Festival this Saturday. Thousands are expected to
attend the event, which will highlight and celebrate the cultures
of islands all over the Pacific.
Elsewhere in this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, you’ll learn:
There was plenty to do at Wednesday night’s
City Council meeting. The Council approved a new contract
for the Kitsap Conference Center, a boost to the parks department’s
maintenance staff and even accepted a $20,000 donation from the son
of a fallen Council member. Here’s my full report:
Four more years for Columbia at Conference
The City Council approved a nearly four-year
agreement for Columbia Hospitality to continue operating the Kitsap
Conference Center. Columbia has done so since the facility opened
Columbia will be paid $7,500 monthly and receive 1.5
percent of gross revenues. That’s an increase of $500 per
Several Council members expressed displeasure that
they didn’t have long enough to review the contract; Councilwoman
Pat Sullivan mentioned that the city hasn’t competitively bid the
contract for managing the conference center but said that at this
point “I don’t believe we can afford to lose the momentum we have
The conference center has rarely been in the black
financially (see chart). There was talk that the Great Recession
and the government shutdowns of the past few years took a toll.
Council Members Dino Davis and Leslie Daugs voted
against the extension. Davis complained that the city hadn’t done
its “due diligence” while Daugs wondered if the city was
“subsidizing a business.”
Council President Eric Younger, in addressing that
point, said few conference centers are profitable and that most are
an “economic tool.” He asked Arne Bakker, the conference center’s
general manager, if he was right about that.
“For a conference center this size, it’s very
difficult to make money,” Bakker replied.
Readers of this blog and the Kitsap Sun know that
Bremerton’s parks department has struggled to keep up with
maintenance needs. The promotion of Jeff Elevado to parks director
Wyn Birkenthal’s retirement meant Elevado’s former position of
recreation manager remained open.
Instead of filling it, Mayor Patty Lent’s
administration chose to
follow an analysis’ recent recommendations and beef up the
front desk at the Sheridan Community Center — making part-time
front desk staff member full time — and is adding a full time
Not all Council members were happy with the move;
Greg Wheeler and Leslie Daugs voted against it. Wheeler felt the
position of recreation manager was important “long term,” and not
filling it would be detrimental. Daugs said frankly, “I don’t like
Elevado had support from the other five members and
reiterated why he’s supportive of adding staff at the maintenance
“Our maintenance staff is really beat up,” he
Jack Arends, son of longtime Bremerton Councilwoman
Carol Arends, gave a $20,000 check to the Bremerton Parks
Foundation. His mother,
who passed away earlier this year, was particularly fond of
Forest Ridge Park, which she lived by for many years, he said.
He’s hopeful the Council would consider renaming
Forest Ridge for his mother.
“I wanted to do what I could to honor my mother’s
memory,” he said. “She loved that park.”
Jailing to continue in Forks
The Council approved unanimously continuing
a contract with the Olympic Peninsula city of Forks for jail
beds. Why? The city saves about 50 percent on the cost of sending
someone sentenced in Bremerton Municipal Court to Forks instead of
Kitsap County Jail. A bed night at Forks costs $41.45, for
prisoners who have year-long sentences.
Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin explained
where all the money generated from $20 car tab fees will go this
year. See below:
Yes, Austin Drive is being repaved this year. Also, a
new guardrail will go in where a young
woman tragically died earlier this year. And finally, all those
cut-up curbs on Warren Avenue and Wheaton Way were largely paid
for by the state, but the city must provide some matching funds.
The road, collectively known as Highway 303, will be repaved next
year. The Council approved the plan unanimously.
Public path from Gorst to Kitsap Lake gets
Last but not least, the Council passed unanimously,
but did not discuss Wednesday, $30,000 in funding from the city
forestries department to pitch in with Kitsap County for a design
study of a trail spanning Otto Jarstad Park in Gorst to the south
end of Kitsap Lake. It may be the start of efforts that have
sputtered in the past.
That overhaul has been planned out and now just needs approval
from the state’s Department of Health, according to Bremerton Parks
Director Jeff Elevado.
How long will that approval process, plus installation, take?
Elevado isn’t certain yet.
“We hope to have them open sometime this season,” he told me
Monday. “But we can’t promise that at this point.”
So stay tuned. Hopefully, they’ll get it up and running soon. In
the meantime, the city cautions people to steer clear of the other
city fountains. On a day that’s going to get into the 80s, that may
be a tall order.
Lent, 71, had felt a few years ago that the 2013
election would be her last. But as she hits the midpoint of her
term, she’s realized there’s just too many projects left to pursue.
Several downtown development projects, the
passenger-only ferry to Seattle, establishment of a Bus Rapid
Transit system and bringing business to Puget Sound Industrial
Center-Bremerton are a few of her top goals.
“I have a to-do list that will take me another term
of office to complete,” said Lent, who was also a Kitsap County
commissioner earlier in the 2000s.
Wheeler, who Tuesday secured a new four year term in
district four while running unopposed, said he’s “definitely
contemplating a run.”
The 56-year-old Navy veteran recently retired from
the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard’s engineering department. He, like
Lent, is heavily involved in the community.
“I’d love the chance to be mayor,” he told me.
Neither will formally declare their campaigns for
some time but knowing the other is likely to run will no doubt
shape these next two years politically in Bremerton. Already, the
two publicly disagreed over whether
Bremerton should exit the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council,
a group of local governments that band together for planning and
grant money. Wheeler was for it; Lent against it.
And who knows? Perhaps there are others who could
join in the race eventually. Last time around, Todd Best filed to
run against Lent on
the last day before filing week closed. In 2017, it appears
there’s already two candidates lined up.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, I will lead my latest Story Walk through the
cove, starting at
Hi-Lo Cafe at 15th Street and Wycoff Avenue. We’ll hear from
the owners about how they’ve created one of the best breakfast and
lunch spots in all of Kitsap County.
Then, we’ll set off for an approximately 1/2 mile walk to
Bremerton’s newest park, named for Bremerton civil rights pioneers
James and Lillian Walker. The park, with an ampitheater-like
setting overlooking the Port Washington Narrows, will likely open
in September. We’ll get a sneak peak with help from Bremerton Parks
Preservation and Development Manager Colette Berna. The architect
of many of Bremerton’s redeveloped parks will take us through how
the less than 1-acre parcel came together, and how it demonstrates
the state’s newest methods to keep stormwater out of Puget
We’ll return to 15th and Wycoff to conclude the walk (you can
also take a bus back for $2) and a stop at Bremerton’s newest
restaurant, Bualadh Bos,
for some food and good company. I am also hopeful we can speak with
the proprietors of soon-to-be opened Hale’s Ales brewery and
taproom, on the corner of 15th and Wycoff as well.
I hope you’ll join us for a walk through this changing
Bremerton neighborhood Saturday! Please RSVP here, and
here’s links to our previous walks.
Recently, a group of 35 Olympia bikers called
the Garage Bar &
Grill in Kitsap Way with a warning: they were en route to
Bremerton and they weren’t leaving without a Bloody
Not just any Bloody Mary, mind you. We’re talking
about a freshly-made 22-ounce monster equipped with an entire
buffet of bar food around its rim.
The mere act of delivering it to one of The Garage’s
bar stools is a showstopper.
“Their faces light up and their phones come out,”
said Annie Herinckx, The Garage’s manager and creator of the
special line of drinks there.
Far as I can tell, if you’ve not somehow heard about
these behemoths from a friend or scrolled past a picture of one on
Facebook, you’re the rarity. They sold more than 1,600 Bloody Marys
in May alone. The buzz around the specialty menu is big, to include
write-up in Chilled Magazine, dedicated to those things served
Personally, I found a lot to like in the Ultimate
Bloody Mary ($13) which includes a slider, three shrimp and sweet
candied bacon. Even more carnivore-inclined Seahawks fans will want
to indulge the Beast Mode ($16), which comes with bacon, tater
tots, chicken wings, a pepperoni straw and — what else? — a bag of
skittles. The drinks range from the “basic” (still heavily
garnished) at $7 all the way to the recently-debuted “Big Mother
Mary,” a $40 pitcher equipped with every last accompaniment they
Herinckx said the idea for the specialized line of
drinks just came to her late one night. She had inspiration from
Danny Mederios, a legendary Bremerton bartender who made scratch
bloody mary’s at Romeo’s before his death four years ago. His
picture still hangs in the bar. She also had help from the TV show
The drink is the integral part of a successful
turnaround of the bar. Once better known for its place in the
Triangle” DUI trap, Herinckx and bar owner Jack Johnson
transformed it into The Garage in October 2012. With an emphasis on
staff kindness to create a welcoming environment and having a
nearly 24-hour kitchen — the place is only ever closed from 2 to 6
a.m. — Johnson and Herinckx have nearly quadrupled the
The bar’s located at 6812 Kitsap Way. Their full
Bloody Mary lineup is below.