You sent in dozens of names for a new Bremerton ferry.
It’s time to start narrowing them down.
If you’re just joining us, we figured who better to name the boat than the people it serves, and decided to coordinate a community nomination. We’re ahead of schedule. Vigor hasn’t even started building the 144-car boat yet, and it’ll take a couple of years after that before it hits the water.
The ferry’s two sisters, Tokitae and Samish, were named in November 2012. Tokitae is supposed to begin service June 15 on the Mukilteo-Clinton route. Samish will follow in early 2015 in the San Juan Islands. So there’s a lot of lead time.
Washington State Ferries hasn’t told the state Transportation Commission, which is in charge of naming, when it’ll need one. The commission requires three or four months to conduct the selection process, according to Reema Griffith, its executive director.
Believe it or not, we’ll need some strategy to cut down the list. All but one of the current 22 ferries have tribal names. The Transportation Commission’s guidelines state that it values consistency with existing names. To have any shot to get our nomination selected, do we need to stick with Indian words or can we diverge?
Here are the existing names: Cathlamet, Chelan, Chetzemoka, Elwha, Hiyu, Hyak, Issaquah, Kaleetan, Kennewick, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klahowya, Puyallup, Salish, Sealth, Spokane, Tacoma, Tillikum, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima. Only Evergreen State, which will be retired this summer, has a non-tribal name.
We could play it safe by advancing another Indian name. Ideally, it would have ties to Kitsap since it’ll be based here. There’s nothing that says the new boat can’t leave Bremerton, however. The Chetzemoka, named for a Port Townsend-area chief and meant for the Port Townsend-Coupeville route, now sails off the south end of Vashon Island. They move around.
A couple of existing names, you probably noticed, already have Kitsap ties, like Kitsap. It means “brave” or “war chief” to the Suquamish Tribe. Sealth, or Chief Seattle, was chief of the tribe. There’s no ferry named Suquamish, though, or S’Klallam, our other tribe. Another suggestion sent in was Princess Angeline, Chief Seattle’s eldest daughter. A Mosquito Fleet boat was named for her, and the name made the Final Four for a new Kitsap Transit passenger ferry. It would be strange to have a big Princess Angeline and little Princess Angeline docking in Bremerton at the same time.
I like Enetai and Illahee, Indian words and place names that have been ferry names in the past. Enetai means “across,” “opposite” or “on the other side.” Illahee is “land,” “country” or “place where one lives.” Both are communities just north of Bremerton.
Chico also was suggested. The community between Bremerton and Silverdale was named for a chief who died in 1909 at the age of 105, according to a place name book. That was old in those days, and even now, for that matter.
Another one I like, because it’s a cool word and to mess with the tourists, is Kalaloch. It’s Quinault for “good place to land.”
Guidelines say names of people should be avoided but will be considered if the person has been dead at least 10 years. They should have enduring fame or have played a significant historical role. How about a person who is an Indian?
Nisqually tribal member Billy Frank Jr., a well-known environmental leader and treaty rights activist, died May 5.
There are three other people you submitted — Tony Radulescu, a state trooper who was shot and killed in 2012 while making a traffic stop on Highway 16 near Gorst; Dennis Allred, a Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed while on duty on Illahee Road; and Ivar Haglund, a Seattle folk singer and the founder of Ivar’s seafood chain.
Any person’s name is going to be a risk, according to the guidelines. And how do you choose between Radulescu and Allred? Haglund was almost selected the last time around, but there isn’t a local connection, and I don’t know if it was because people were being goofy or really wanted a ferry named Ivar.
Griffith of the Transportation Commission said Friday that the policy is not in stone, it’s just advisory. Ivar probably would’ve been chosen but the commission was concerned about promoting a business.
“We don’t want people to think (tribal names) all the commissioners would ever consider,” she said. “That seems to be the kind of names that come forward from organizations.”
So there are 10 nominations from our readers: Suquamish, Angeline, Enetai, Illahee, Chico, S’Klallam, Kalaloch, Radulescu, Allred and Haglund. If you feel you had a great one that I cut, make a pitch for it, or for something new. I’m still looking for something that I see and immediately know, “That’s the one.” I’ll finalize the list and put it out for vote in a couple of weeks.