Category Archives: City of Port Orchard

Port adds covered pavilion to Port Orchard waterfront

The Port of Bremerton is nearly finished building a covered pavilion overlooking Sinclair Inlet at its Port Orchard Marina Park.

The 30-by-34-foot pavilion adds to the amenities of the park, that has a gazebo and grandstands, and it offers another venue for community and private events, such as reunions and weddings.

The new Marina Park Overlook Pavillon on the Port Orchard Waterfront on Wednesday October 12, 2016. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
The new Marina Park Overlook Pavillon on the Port Orchard Waterfront on Wednesday October 12, 2016. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

“The overlook is a wonderful area to take in the views of Sinclair Inlet and will enhance the use of the area,” said port Commissioner Larry Stokes.

The Port Orchard Soroptimist chapter donated $10,000 to the project, which totaled $35,500, and the pavilion will be named the Soroptimist Overlook in honor of the service club. The group over the years has donated more than $100,000 toward enhancements at the marina park.

The city of Port Orchard chipped in $5,500 for the pavilion, which includes the cost of permitting. The port and the city are coordinating on design and construction of a segment of the city’s Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway, yet to be built, that goes through port property. The pavilion is situated along a segment of the path, between the playground and Marlee Apartments, that already has been built.

Norm Olson Engineering of Port Orchard provided an in-kind donation of $3,000.

Port of Bremerton employee Barron Walker works on the roof supports to the new Marina Park Overlook Pavillon on the Port Orchard Waterfront on Wednesday October 12, 2016. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
Port of Bremerton employee Barron Walker works on the roof supports to the new Marina Park Overlook Pavillon on the Port Orchard Waterfront on Wednesday October 12, 2016. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

The port’s future plans for the structure include adding power, lighting and landscaping, as well as the option to have a fabric enclosure for group rentals. New matting will be installed in the playground, known by locals as “the spinny park,” for its twirling ride-on toys.

The port will host a ribbon cutting for the pavilion at 3 p.m. on Oct. 25.

City to ring chimes for law firm turning 100

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, the Shiers Law Firm in Port Orchard will celebrate 100 years in business, and the city of Port Orchard will chime in on the celebration.
The firm made a request of the city that it play “Happy Birthday” on its clock tower chimes, and last week, the city council approved the request.

According to City Clerk Brandy Rinearson, there is a policy that allows for the city to fulfill such a request. In fact, anyone could ask for a special song on a special date, and it will be played (with council approval).

But before you go asking for some Frank Zappa or Ozzy Osbourne, consider that the city’s repertoire of digital music does have its limits.

Rinearson was not immediately available to provide a list of songs on the clock chime collection. But go ahead and ask. We hear the city is taking requests.

The firm will have a celebration at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, at 600 Kitsap St., their location since 1983.

PO Mayor: Don’t call it Myhre’s anymore

At long last, work is under way on the Myhre’s building … at least the exterior.

Abadan Holdings, LLC, owned by Mansour Samadpour, in October told city of Port Orchard officials it would address the crumbling exterior of the building, that was gutted by fire in 2011. The city had fielded complaints about the building’s appearance and concerns about the safety of the rock veneer on the front and the wood canopy, which was loose.

The Rylander family had an interest in the property since 1930, operating a restaurant there and rebuilding after a fire in 1963. A couple who bought the property in 2005 lost it to foreclosure, after the 2011 fire, and the building was tied up in a legal morass, sitting fallow, incomplete and exposed to the elements. Samadpour, who owns seven other downtown properties, bought it at auction in May 2014.

The building’s appearance became a political issue last fall. Incumbent Tim Matthes was pushing for a derelict building ordinance — with Myhre’s as the poster child — while his challenger, Rob Putaansuu, said developers needed incentives to help projects “pencil out.” Putaansuu said at the time he had reached out to Samadpour.

In April, Putaansuu — who beat Matthes in the election — expressed frustration that the Myhre’s building sat as dilapidated as ever. But the mayor was hopeful work on the building would start soon, since the contractor, BJC Group, Inc., of Port Orchard, had applied for a permit. Apparently, however, the damage caused by moisture to the unfinished building was worse than expected, so BJC had to revise plans leading to yet another delay.

But, lo, here about three weeks ago, new siding started to appear. Last week, Putaansuu said BJC was working on permits to pull old plywood off the second story deck and jack up a corner of the building that is sagging. A little paint on the canopy, and the cosmetic fix will be complete.
The interior remains a shell that would need extensive work, however. Putaansuu said he’s been networking to try and find someone to buy or lease the space. “Now it’s time to find a tenant and make it a vibrant part of our community again,” the mayor said. “I think it’s a fabulous location for a brew pub or restaurant.”

As it happens The Lighthouse is looking for a new location. But owner Brooks Konig said he is interested in the building that formerly housed the Port Orchard Pavilion. The Pavilion property also is owned by Mansour Samadpour and, like Myhre’s, is located on the 700 block of Bay Street.

Putaansuu wants people to quit referring to the Myhre’s building as “the Myhre’s building. “It’s not fair to the family that operated it as Myhre’s,” he said. “It’s been a thorn in our side in the community. It’s gotten some negative connotations, and I just want to refer to it as 737 Bay until there’s someone else in there.”

That would make “the Pavilion building” 701 Bay.

I hope we all can keep that straight, and not get the numbers mixed up. A better solution would be for both buildings to be quickly occupied, so we can refer to them by their new business names.

I test drive PO’s new public records system

The news that Port Orchard recently introduced a online public records request portal may not have exactly rang your chimes, unless you’re an avid local government watcher or a member of the media.

Whether you regularly request documents or have the occasional need, the software promises quicker, easier service. I recently tried it out and found it to be useful but also, to some degree, a work in progress.
For one thing, you have to drill down a couple of clicks from a menu on the right of the homepage to get to the records portal. I would like to see a highly visible “Public Records” button on the homepage.

Court and police records are not yet available through the new portal. City Clerk Brandy Rinearson said she will try in the future to get them included in the “public records center.” To obtain court and police records, contact those departments.

You do need to create an account to use the system, but I will say it’s worth it, because you can track your requests and see them all in one place. Rinearson told me it’s more efficient on the city’s end, as well. For example, common and readily available documents like city council agendas, that are already on the city’s website, are a snap for staff to deliver. Other documents take more research on the part of staff.

Best of all, when your documents are ready, they appear in your account all set to download.

“It’s more of an instant gratification, if you will,” Rinearson said. “It’s going to save some time getting the documents to customers and them having easier access to it. It’s just another level of customer service.”

One thing I expected was a link to frequently requested documents. There isn’t one. There is something called a “knowledge base,” that has frequently asked questions about public records law, how to obtain birth death and divorce certificates, and answers to other questions the city clerk and her staff get all the time. I think they should have called it FAQ.

There’s also something that says “view public records archive” that I was excited about, thinking it was a list of records requests that have been made of the city. It wasn’t. The city keeps an excel sheet of all records requests, showing who made them, what was requested, how it was fulfilled and the cost to the city. This is a public document that I and others have obtained in the past. Rinearson said she would consider adding this as a feature of the new system. The public archive is a place for the city to put documents that suddenly become of wide interest.

Of course the city will still fulfill public records requests however they’re made, by a phone call, email, fax or in person.

Many cities and other governments are moving to some version of the records portal system used by Port Orchard. For us frequent fliers, it’s a welcome tool, and I look forward to seeing the city expand on its capabilities.

A map of Port Orchard’s billboards

Anyone remember back in 2011 when the owner of a Gig Harbor advertising company sued Port Orchard for delaying permits for billboards he wanted to place inside city limits?

The city banned billboards while Rick Engley waited for his ruling, but a federal district court judge decided the applications of Gotcha Covered Inc., were grandfathered in.

Engley also sued for damages and recently settled with the city for a quarter million dollars.

Our coverage of the settlement will be posted shortly at and run in print tomorrow (Aug. 1,2016). And with that, we’ll close the loop on this lengthy litigation saga.

Engley sold five of the six billboards to pay his attorney costs. I thought you might like to see a map of where all six billboards are located.

Is Pokémon Go the answer to Port Orchard’s road closure doldrums?

In a post Saturday (July 16) in the Port Orchard Facebook group, Aaron James Hillard notes, “Apparently all it took was Pokémon to get downtown bustling again at 9:15 at night! Strange days.”

Hillard posted a photo, showing waterfront park fairly bustling (for Port Orchard) as the dusk settled in. That launched a lengthy conversation thread on Pokémon Go, the recently released, location-based augmented reality game that has reignited the phenomenon of the 20-year-old franchise in Kitsap County — and around the world.

“Was on the waterfront today and it was very cool to see so many diverse people all coming together,” said Donna Mathis Webb. “Yes, almost everyone there was staring at their phones, but it was still good to see them out and to see that some people even engaged in interacting with others who were, until that point, strangers. It made me feel really good inside. I kind of wish my phone was smart enough to play!”

This is not Hillard’s photo. It was taken July 12 in Bremerton by Kitsap Sun photographer Larry Steagall.

Port Orchard could use a little boost, regardless of the source. The town is experiencing the summer doldrums due to partial closure of Highway 166 (one of two routes into downtown) for most of the summer due to culvert replacement work on Highway 16.

Both lanes were closed from June 13 until a week ago, when the project moved on to a new phase and the lane heading into town opened. The impact is still being felt.  Businesses are hurting. One of our reporters who recently took the foot ferry from Bremerton to Port Orchard said, “It looks like a ghost town.”

We could use an infusion of whatever to bring people out and about, even if it does look like each is off in his own little world.

I saw a number of Pokémon chasers as I biked through downtown yesterday. Their presence lent an almost festive atmosphere to the typically sleepy PO vibe.

“It’s easy to make fun of, but in this world of everyone worrying and being offended about everything, it’s nice to see people coming out of their homes and being active, interacting, and smiling and having a good time,” Aaron said. “Didn’t see one bottle of alcohol or smell one whiff of pot in the crowd of about a hundred people. Worse things could be happening. Hunt on hunters.”

Some people on the Facebook thread joked about players running into fences or other objects. I will say from my observations, Pokémon hunters are intent and most (apparently) not looking where they’re going. Like Donna, I don’t have the app on my phone, so I don’t know if you have a good sense of your surroundings while watching your screen for Pokémon or not. I was somewhat concerned for the folks walking casually on the side of a the road as I pedaled by. Would they suddenly lurch into my front wheel if Pikachu popped up in the middle of the road?

Later at a stop light, I crossed paths with a fellow bike rider, who said, “Watch out for those Pokémon players.” As he rode off up Sidney, he speculated aloud that there would be a serious accident or worse before the week is out. I certainly hope not, but seriously, folks, be careful out there.

Back to the conversation, Fred Chang, a city councilman who also plays Pokémon Go, suggested a virtual group for players.

“Now if they’d just all spend money in the shops on Bay Street….,” lamented Janet Karen.

What will it take for people focused on a virtual world to spend real cash in Port Orchard? Some people in the thread suggested business owners could capitalize on the craze by getting out on the street with munchies, beverages, cotton candy. To that, I’d add Band-Aids, Ace bandages, ice packs …

— Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter

Renegade rooster finds a flock

Bitsey the rooster, who avoided capture for a year in South Kitsap.
Bitsey the rooster, who avoided capture for a year in South Kitsap.

Bitsey, the once elusive rooster, quickly found himself in a permanent home after being captured earlier this month in South Kitsap and taken to the humane society in Silverdale.

Last summer, Bitsey made the ravine above Port Orchard City Hall his own. City officials and neighbors weren’t pleased with situation where the rooster would crow at all hours of the day and night.

Animal control finally nabbed the rooster on May 4. He was adopted by Lone Rock Mercantile in Seabeck on May 13, a day after he was up for adoption. The owners of the store declined to be interviewed, although Bitsey now is happily spending his days with 15 hens, according to the Kitsap Humane Society.

Livestock tend to be adopted fairly quickly because of the rural area in and around Kitsap, said Meagan Richards, the humane society’s adoption program coordinator.

Roosters usually take the longest to adopt, she added.

Livestock are adopted in an average of 12-20 days, including roosters. Without counting roosters, livestock are adopted in less than five days, Richards said.

Dogs tend be adopted in less than seven days, while cats average about a 15 day stay at the humane society.

Duck the rooster, who is up for adoption at the Kitsap Humane Society.

There is still one rooster, named Duck, up for adoption.

When Bitsey arrived at the humane society there were at least two other roosters up for adoption.

“Over here, he’s crowing up a storm with the three of ‘em going at the same time,” said Chase Connolly, an animal control officer with KHS. “It’s an orchestra of roosters.”

Now, only Duck is left.

For information on adopting Duck, contact KHS at 360-692-6977.

Howe family honored by Congress

Howe family history was honored Thursday in Congress.

As anyone familiar with South Kitsap knows, the Howe name is interwoven throughout Port Orchard’s 125-year history. It began with William Fenton Howe, who on March 6, 1891, moved his family from Tacoma to the shores of Sinclair Inlet in the town known as Sidney (now Port Orchard). The Howes were movers and shakers in the town’s early government and commerce. Members of the family, including the late Gerry Howe Bruckart, remained influential throughout the 20th Century.

Anyone not familiar with the Howes’ contributions to Port Orchard ought to be, according to Edwin (Scott) Howe of Pierce County, great-grandson of William Fenton Howe. Edwin pitched to Congressman Derek Kilmer a proclamation noting March 6 as the 125th anniversary of the Howes’ arrival in Port Orchard. Kilmer was instrumental in authorizing the proclamation, which he read into the Congressional record on Thursday, according to Kilmer’s spokesman Jason Phelps.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the William Fenton Howe family for their contributions to the history of the Pacific Northwest and to recognize their 125th anniversary of calling the city of Port Orchard, Wash., home,” Kilmer read.

The proclamation goes on to detail the lives of the Howes, who came to Washington in 1888 from Pennsylvania. They lived in Tacoma before arriving in Sidney in 1891. William and his wife Emma had five children: Harry, William, Edwin, Roy and Edith.

Sidney, incorporated in 1890, was the first town in Kitsap County to do so. The Howes established Howe Hardware, serving a the burgeoning lumber industry. Agriculture and a pottery works were other major economic drivers in Port Orchard’s early days.
Following the death of his wife in 1985 and a fire at the hardware store, William Fenton Howe placed the children with families in the community and set off for Alaska to pursue opportunities in the booming mining industry there. Edwin Scott Howe joined his dad, and they provided stoves to the miners.

Back in Port Orchard, after the death of their father, Edwin and Harry Howe opened Howe Brothers Hardware. The family also owned Howe Motor Company, which supplied many of the first vehicles to the Kitsap Peninsula. Members of the Howe family served on the city council and were engaged in civic organizations. They rallied to bring electric power to the town and ensure the location of a veterans home in Retsil.

The Howe legacy continued with Gerry Howe Bruckart, a businesswoman and charter member of the Sidney Museum and Arts Association. Bruckart, who owned the Olde Central Antique Mall on bay Street, died in 2005 at 88.

Edwin Scott Howe tells us he is “the last of the Howe clan and never had any children. I am one of the original ‘Baby Boomers’ having been born March 13, 1946. I moved from Port Orchard in 1981 to Pierce County. My oldest sister, Judy Howe, is the sole surviving member of the original Howe family still living in Port Orchard. She was born September 12, 1942.”

Howe Family Proclamation

Samadpour’s company responds on Pavilion closing

Abadan Holdings, LLC, Mansour Samadpour’s property management company, on Tuesday responded to our Feb. 7 article about the impending closure of the Port Orchard Pavilion. Delilah Rene Luke said she can no longer subsidize operations for the event center, which she has operated since 2009. Luke said she and Abadan were unable to reach an agreement on rent that will allow the Pavilion to remain open.

In the article, Abadan attorney Mary Ogborn responded to Pavilion manager Joni Sonneman’s statement that Abadan now wants $6,000 a month for the place, by saying the future monthly asking price would be negotiated with the new tenant. She neither confirmed or denied that $6,000 is the current price for the Pavilion, and Ogborn said Abadan had no further comment on the Pavilion closing.

In fairness to Ogborn (and readers) I could have and should have pressed her for confirmation of other statements made by Delilah and Sonneman about arrangements between the Pavilion and Abadan through the years, including Sonneman’s statement that rent had at one time in the past been dropped from $4,000 to $3,000 per month then raised back up. Ogborn, in her response letter, stated the rent was never reduced to $3,000, and I have verified that is correct.

Ogborn gave other additional details about the lease agreement over the years that Pavilion representatives do not dispute, including an arrangement that gave the Pavilion some credit, in the form of one month’s free rent per year, for work done on the building.

Ogborn said the rent originally, in 2009, was $5,000 a month. In 2010, Delilah and company approached Abadan regarding installation of a sprinkler system that was required on the building and requested a tenant improvement allowance. “Abadan was happy to grant this allowance,” Ogborn said.

According to Ogborn and the Pavilion, this option was exercised over the next two years, but not in the following three years. There is some disagreement over who was responsible for initiating the free rent option.

In May 2012, at the Pavilion’s request for a rent reduction, Abadan agreed to $4,000 a month, and it remained at this amount through fall of 2015. As the lease expiration approached, the Pavilion and Abadan entered discussions on rent. The Pavilion proposed $2,750 per month and asked for its three years’ worth of retroactive free rent. Both parties agree that the Pavilion received three months of free rent in the latter part of 2015 and early 2016.

At the same time Abadan offered a one-year extension but stood firm on $4,000 a month. “Thereafter the lease negotiations stalled out,” Ogborn said.

The pavilion obtained a short-term lease extension to Feb. 15 at $4,000 per month and later was granted another extension to March 15 at $6,000 a month (which is apparently where the $6,000 figure came from). Abadan has said if the Pavilion wants to continue renting the space month to month and not enter a fixed term lease, the price is $6,000 per month, Ogborn said.

Samadpour owns multiple properties in Port Orchard, including virtually the entire 700 block of Bay Street, where the Pavilion is located.

Ogborn in a letter to me had this statement: “Abadan supports businesses in Port Orchard and has worked with the tenants at the Port Orchard Pavilion over the years to support them through their struggle to develop a viable business. Over the years, Abadan has worked with many of the tenants in Port Orchard to reduce their rent in order to help keep their businesses viable during economic downturns. Abadan has reduced the rent for the Pavilion in 2012 and has not raised the rent for the Pavilion in three years.

“Abadan takes issue with the characterization of the negotiations in your article because in actuality, tenants demanded Abadan reduce the Pavilion’s rent by $1,250 per month or no deal could be reached. Abadan cannot reasonably be expected to subsidize a failing business by continuing to offer rent reductions and believes it is unprofessional for the tenants to voice their displeasure with Abadan by presenting a one-sided and inaccurate version of the history of their tenancy and the lease negotiations between our businesses to you.”

Regarding Ogborn’s letter, Delilah said that renovations she made to the building, including urgent and critical repairs, tallied far more than the total the Pavilion received in the form of free rent.

Answering questions on residency of council candidates

A link to the Kitsap Sun’s story about nine applicants for a vacant seat on the Port Orchard City Council hadn’t been up on Facebook for half an hour, when some one questioned the residency status of one of the candidates.

The district 3 seat was vacated at the start of 2016 by Rob Putaansuu, who was elected mayor in November.

The council will fill the vacancy by choosing from among the pool of applicants. Monday was the deadline to submit a resume, letter of interest and answers to written questions from the council. The council will interview applicants on Thursday, beginning at 9 a.m. at city hall. All interviews are open to the public. The council likely will make the appointment at the Jan. 12 regular council meeting.

To be eligible for city council, an applicant must be a registered voter and resident of the city. State law prohibits felons from holding elected office. The city of Port Orchard does not have districts or wards, so anyone living within city limits is eligible for the district 3 seat … or any other seat.

During election season, we reported on a residency challenge against Port of Bremerton candidate John Poppe. The story, by Tad Sooter, illustrates how, as Kitsap County Elections Manager Kyle Joyce puts it, state law puts the onus on the person making the challenge to prove a candidate does not live at his or her stated address.

Poppe told the Kitsap Sun he moved to the Chico Way address listed on his candidate registration specifically so he could run for the Bremerton port commission seat while maintaining his standing as a Silverdale Water District commissioner. Kitsap County Auditor Dolores Gilmore ruled in Poppe’s favor, saying challenger Roger Zabinski failed to present “clear and convincing evidence” Poppe didn’t live on Chico Way.

The city of Port Orchard determined some applicants for the city council position were ineligible because they live outside city limits. City Clerk Brandy Rinearson said her office used the Kitsap County parcel search function to confirm the location of applicants’ homes. In one case, where the applicant’s listed address was close to the city limit, Rinearson verified through the Kitsap County Elections’ Division that he lived just outside the city.

Rinearson then verified through the Kitsap County Auditor (Elections Division) that the remaining applicants are registered voters within the city of Port Orchard.

The Auditor’s Office does not ask people for proof of residency when they register to vote, Joyce said. The voter registration form requires a signature attesting to the truth of the information provided.

“Should a citizen have concerns, they can reach out to me or the Kitsap County Elections department to receive a form for challenging,” Rinearson said, in an emailed response to the Kitsap Sun and others with questions about residency verification. “Please let me know if you have any additional questions or need anything further.”

Rinearson may be reached at (360) 876-7030. The elections division is at (360) 337-7129.