This is a guest blog post from reporter Derek
How would you like to see a convention center in Poulsbo?
Though it’s an idea that came up before, you won’t be
attending any Leif Ericson lookalike conventions in Little Norway.
Down the road, however, there may be convention space in the coming
years. And maybe not.
This is the upshot from Wednesday night’s Economic Development
Committee meeting at Poulsbo City Hall. Some in the Greater Pouslbo
Chamber of Commerce had been inquiring about a potential convention
space, and contacted Port Madison Enterprises in nearby
Port Madison Enterprises CEO Russell Steele was asked to update
the city on plans for a convention center near the casino. His
response was thoughtful, but measured, as is usually the case.
“I’d say long term that something we’re seriously considering,”
he said. But considering and doing are very different. Serious
pursuit of the idea is probably still a couple of years out, he
It was an opportunity to shed some light on how PME, the
Suquamish Tribe’s business arm and one of the county’s largest
private employers operates. Change, growth and development seem
constant with PME in recent years, but it’s not willy nilly. Each
year the PME board of directors drafts a plan, then seeks approval
from the Tribal Council, which is akin to a city council. Rachel wrote about the current plan a while
Like any business, sometimes things come up that aren’t on the
plan. For those of you following along, that would be PME’s purchase of the White Horse golf course in
White Horse is one of the main reasons PME isn’t looking at
building convention space now. The focus there is to get a
clubhouse built and making the course easier to play for average
duffers. Or, as Steele joked, making the course “full of
The Clearwater Casino used to have a large convention space, but
when PME bought Kiana Lodge it filled the space with 400 more slots
and moved the convention biz down the road to Kiana. A convention
space would allow the casino to host large gatherings and trade
shows, and provide a larger indoor space for music
A couple of years ago, Steele said, PME studied having a large
space, but would need to revisit any studies because of the
changing economic realities.
Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson wondered if the decline in
convention business was solely related to the recession, or a
larger trend because of the ease of Internet-based communication
“That’s why we have to revisit the analysis on that,” Steele
But Steele was quick to point out that talk about a convention
space is just that right now. Talk.