The Commute

An informative and entertaining discussion on our ferries and highways with Kitsap Sun reporters.
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Ferry names cut down to three

June 22nd, 2014 by ed friedrich

Those are the names you chose for a new Bremerton ferry. Now you need to pick one to submit to the state Transportation Commission.
The vessel will be the third in the 144-car Olympic class. The first two are Tokitae, which is supposed to begin service Tuesday on the Mukilteo-Clinton run, and Samish, which will serve the San Juan Islands early next year.
Two weeks ago, Washington State Ferries signed a $112.6 million change order authorizing construction of the third boat. It’s not expected to be finished until early 2017.
The ferries system will soon tell the Transportation Commission by when it needs a name, and the commission will solicit them. There will be several proposals. Seven were considered for the last two boats. Those not selected were Ivar Haglund, Cowlitz, Hoquiam, Muckleshoot and Sammamish. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try again.
I know the Manette community is campaigning for Enetai. I like it, and we got several votes for it, but not enough to break into the top three. Others finishing just out of the running were Angeline and Kalaloch.
There are lots of good names, but we want to propose one based on your votes because the ferry will be serving the Kitsap area.
A couple names I really like that came in late are Kloomachin, which means killer whale in the Sklallam language, and Sholeetsa, who was Chief Seattle’s mother. Maybe next time.
Let’s look at the finalists:
Illahee means “land,” “country” or “place where one lives.” in the Chinook language. A community three miles north of Bremerton, which was a Mosquito Fleet stop, took the name, as well as a state park in the same vicinity. A state ferry was also named Illahee from 1940 until 2009. It was removed from service in 2007 because of hull corrosion, sold in 2009 and scrapped in Mexico.
Suquamish translates to “people of the clear salt water.” It’s the name of a tribe that lives on the Port Madison Reservation and a town within the reservation, another former Mosquito Fleet stop. There has never been a ferry called Suquamish. Two are named for Suquamish chiefs, Kitsap and Sealth.
Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu, of Port Orchard, was shot to death on a traffic stop by a felon in February 2012. There’s a memorial for him at the District 8 headquarters in Bremerton.
Choosing Radulescu would be bucking the trend. The Transportation Commission likes consistency, and all but one of the ferries have Native American names. Its policy says it’ll consider people’s names, but only if they’ve been dead 20 years, possess enduring fame, and played a significant historical role in the region.
Illahee, Suquamish or Radulescu. Vote for your favorite and we’ll tally them up in a week or so, announce the winner and start vetting it with local groups and officials.

28 Responses to “Ferry names cut down to three”

  1. Mick McKinley Says:

    My vote is for Illahee

  2. Patti Stoll Says:

    I am still leaning towards Illahee for first choice, to honor the original, hard working vessell. However, since the other two boats of this class have names not previously used, it would be more appropriate to choose Suquamish. I am totally against naming a ferry Radulescu, because it breaks with tradition of using NA names. I do think Tony Radulescu’s name should be used somewhere, to honor him, not just on a ferry boat. A land-based place would be a better choice, such as a building, park, or renaming the airport.

  3. Michael Zieser Says:


  4. Chad Baker Says:

    I completely agree with Patti. No disrespect to the officer, but I feel he should be memorialized in another way. We should keep with the tradition we’ve been using for ferry names.

  5. Bobby D Says:

    why are we worried about trends and tradition when it comes to the name of a ferry? It’s time to break the mold and do something unique with actual MEANING behind the name. My vote is for Radulescu.

  6. Josh Says:


  7. Jared B. Says:

    My vote is for Illahee; resurrect a good ferry name :-)

    (Also, I grew up in the ‘Illahee’ neighborhood of Bremerton, and I wouldn’t exactly describe it as ‘north of’ Bremerton, but really part of Bremerton. But whatever.)

  8. Lisa C. Says:

    Illahee: tradition + pretty = winner

  9. Kyra W. Says:


  10. Jane_Rebelowski Says:

    Agreed with Patti, stick to our tradition of using Native American names.

  11. Myrna Knode Says:

    Suquamish! Most definitely.

  12. Heather Says:


    in honor of the man who gave his life in service to the community he loved.

  13. Laurie Says:

    Suquamish. Let’s stick with tradition but with a never-used name.(Salish would be nice too but maybe a boat already has that name.)

  14. Lauri Says:


  15. Brenda Says:

    ILLAHEE sounds cool & it is closer to Bremerton than Suquamish.

  16. GP Says:

    I vote for Illahee. Name the portion of the highway from Gorst to Port Orchard the Radulescu Memorial Highway.

  17. Ed DeMello Says:

    Illahee… a beautiful traditional name with historical ties to Kitsap County and WSFs.

  18. Cindy Says:

    Most tourists don’t know how to pronounce any NA names,and all the choices are difficult..hard,harder,impossible…so go with the first choice of’s the easiest and Best!!

  19. suquamish Says:

    Suquamish…… Best place to look out over the Puget Sound

  20. Charissa Says:


  21. Van Kroum Says:

    Illahee for tradition but all honor to Tony Radulescu.

  22. Frances Says:

    The Suquamish people lived throughout the Kitsap area until the Port Madison Treaty was signed. Even the whales acknowledged this when the pod of Orcas surrounded the ferry on which tribal elders and leaders brought home ancestral artifacts home to Suquamish from Seattle’s Burke Museum. I vote for Suquamish.

  23. M.E. Hamlin Says:


  24. Gin Says:

    Suquamish!!! NO QUESTION

  25. Tyler Says:

    It’s a tough choice. keep tradition of Native names I’d say Suquamish since Illahee has already proudly been on a ferry but it was retired. Suquamish is a great choice to honor the natives and the tribe. However there is a boat already named Sealth after the chief.
    So I vote we break tradition and name this one after a man that served our area and gave his life while serving. I vote for

  26. M in M Says:

    Illahee; nice for Bremerton. Suquamish second; we do have the Chief names, but this is great too. I would add a future vote for Enatai. Honoring individuals especially like the Officer, is respectable. For me it doesn’t fit as well with the gracious tradition of the native names, which evoke great images of our great vessels crossing Puget waters, which I enjoy daily.

  27. Belle Says:

    SUQUAMISH! The community is so strong and close knit, its a good representation of how we want all of our puget sound community to be.. I think the boat should have a name that has not been used, though I completely respect the honoring of the fallen officer

  28. Felicia Says: