Category Archives: Economic Development

New sign on the Bremerton skyline

The sign people hope will be a local landmark for years to come goes up on Tuesday morning.
I’ve made a call to the operators of the new theater in Bremerton to triple check the planned opening of the facility at 4 p.m. Friday.

If you’ve driven by the place you might have noticed the Madagascar 3 and Prometheus posters. There is room for more, last I looked and the signature signage was going up Tuesday morning. That’s what you see here.

This is the latest addition to downtown that has those who champion the city keeping their fingers crossed this will work.

For it to work it means some people will have to change habits. For anything new to work that’s a requirement. For me it would mean going to more movies while they’re in the theaters. I actually think this place might make that happen for me. Particularly if a movie has relevance to the subject matter here or on the Kitsap Caucus blog I will be more likely to go. I will also say that my wife and I will often travel a longer distance to watch a movie in a theater we like rather than going to the most convenient locale. If this theater lives up to its promise it could become our new favorite.

Some of you, I know, don’t like how all this went down. It may be the public investment in the parking garage that gets you. It could be Gary Sexton’s management of the project. Now there are questions about how much workers were paid in building the facility and a spate of documents soon to be released could spark other questions.

A worker attaches the Seefilm sign to the new movie theater.

All of this may leave just enough of a bad taste in your mouth to make you committed to not go to the movie theater, for fear that doing so only encourages more of the same behavior you don’t like.

Or, even if you don’t like it, you might be like my uncle. He was against the funding mechanism for both of the downtown stadiums in Seattle. Now that they’re done, he has told me, he’s going to enjoy them. I went to a Mariners game with him once, so I know he’s telling the truth.

I mentioned in a Kitsap Caucus blog post I might want to have some friends with me when The Campaign is released. It’s Aug. 10. No takers yet.

Former Bremerton kid joins Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright

Steven Holl's design of a museum of surf in France netted him a prestigious design award in the same year he is getting architecture's biggest honor.
Steven Holl, a West High School grad who hit the big time in the world of architecture, will be honored with the highest praise architects give each other. He will also be praised for his design of a surf museum in France.

Holl will receive the American Institute of Architects 2012 Gold Medal, which to me seems like the architect’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize or Oscar. Only in some ways it’s way bigger than that.

Consider that one of the past winners was Thomas Jefferson, posthumously, and you get the idea that no architect is ever out of the running for the prize. So Holl’s selection is even more impressive.

The award honors a lifetime of work and was announced earlier this month. From the AIA press release:

Holl and his firm, Steven Holl Architects have completed projects that tackle the urban-scale planning and development conundrums that define success in the built environment throughout the world. He’s able to work with diverse clients to get his projects executed, all while being a tenured professor at Columbia University.

Though Holl is a West High grad, he is on tap to be the designer of the Teen Wellness Center the city is planning for the site of the former East High School campus next to Albertson’s. Chris Henry wrote a the first story of Holl’s involvement in 2009, when it was first announced he would donate his work to get the center built in his old home town.

Holl will receive his Gold Medal in May at AIA’s national convention in Washington, D.C. The AIA press release follows, as does the release about his win for the work he did on the French surf museum.

Continue reading

A Winter’s tail, the sequel

In September, I wrote about Isabel Powell, 11, of Port Orchard, whose lower leg was amputated when she was 2 due to a vascular malformation.

Isabel has worn a prosthesis since then, and very little slows her down. She’s taken up karate and loves to swim.

Through the clinic in Bremerton where she has the prosthesis checked, Isabel met Kevin Carroll the famous prosthetist who designed an artificial tail for Winter the dolphin. Winter got tangled in a fishing net and lost her own tail. She now lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and stars as herself in a recently released movie. That’s Winter on the right being nuzzled by a friend.

Carroll used his connections to send Powell and her mother to Florida for an expense-paid visit to Winter and participation in Camp No Limits, for children with prostheses. Isabel, who got back from the trip last Sunday, felt a “connection” with the dolphin, said her mother. “She was really excited.”

Through the camp, Isabel took part in a range of activities including swimming at the beach, yoga and a high ropes course. But her favorite part of the trip was meeting Winter.

Through no particular plan, I, too, happened to be in Clearwater recently, since my sister lives there. We visited the aquarium, and my sister described how it has blossomed from this quiet and slightly run-down roadside attraction to a bustling tourist destination. We saw a large new wing under construction, thanks no doubt to whatever cut the aquarium gets from the movie, plus revenue from increased traffic and gift shop sales of Winter paraphrenalia.

The aquarium remains focused on its first mission, animal rescue, rehabilitation and (if possible) release. We saw sea turtles, otters and other dolphins who had been found injured and nursed back to health.

The newest addition is Hope, a baby dolphin who was found trying to nurse on her dead mother. Staff members are working with Hope to train and socialize her as they have Winter. Like Winter, Hope would not survive in the wild and so will remain at the aquarium. Here’s Hope during a training session.

Winter’s story of misfortune and inspiring adaptation, and the movie that resulted from it, have been a tremendous boon the the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, according to staff, who have quickly learned how to manage the crowds of curious visitors. Although is seemed a bit hectic, especially in the gift shop, I can testify that nobody is complaining about the extra work.

Stopped by Trader Joe’s

I am not sure these people ever left the store. (Photo by Larry Steagall, Kitsap Sun
One of the things Yogi Berra is credited with saying is, “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

On Saturday while gassing up at Costco I got the fool notion to stop by Trader Joe’s, which is described as the Krispy Kreme of grocery stores or the Wal-Mart for yuppies by its detractors and fans. I had only been to the store a couple of times when I was living in Camas and I didn’t really catch the vision of what so many people seem to appreciate, or idolize, or detest.

We had a few calls last week telling us we hadn’t done enough stories on Trader Joe’s leading up to its opening. Based on the crowd I saw on Saturday we did plenty. I managed to find a good enough parking spot. I had planned to go to Costco to get the meat I’d be barbecuing Sunday for Father’s Day, but thought maybe Trader Joe’s would have what I wanted and that maybe the crowd would be manageable to negotiate.

This is the part of the story where I reveal that I am a little claustrophobic. It’s situational. I especially get it when I’m carting around my kids. Put me alone in a crowd of people exiting Safeco Field and I’m fine. Put me in a grocery store with a 4-year-old boy and I’m fidgety like Robin Williams during a moment of silence. I managed to make it back to the meat and browsed enough to see that the store has a lot of things I would like.

No way, though, was I going to stand in line behind 18 people just to get out of there. I stood in a line that long to get out of Mexico once and I’m not eager to repeat it. That experience was tainted by the fact that I had to pull my car into the border patrol station so officers could search for illegal drugs, fireworks or people. At least I was traveling alone.

I’ll actually have to try some of the Trader Joe’s stuff before I render judgment. I want to try those frozen pizzas with the spinach and tomatoes. The prices really were decent. It looks like a place I would have loved when I was single. I wasn’t hauling around kids then. I was probably more patient.

Dragonfly Rising: Port Orchard Cinema Reopens Friday

In case any of you missed the Kitsap Sun’s most recent article on attempt to revive the cinema in downtown Port Orchard, the Dragonfly Cinema — formerly the Orchard Theatre — will open its doors Friday, with the recent Paul Giamatti indie flick “Win Win” and one of the evergreen cult movies, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

New owner Gryphon Schafer credits the relatively swift resuscitation of the theater, which closed five months ago, to a cadre of volunteers/fans who call themselves Reel Friends of the Dragonfly Cinema.

What films would you like to see brought to the Dragonfly?

Tell us about your job and why it matters

In today’s Kitsap Sun, we are launching a series on the post-recession workplace. It’s not only about where people are working — and why — it’s about how each of us feels about the work we do day in day out.

We’re looking for plenty of reader involvement, and we have a few themes in mind:

Kitsap’s Dirtiest Jobs (the portable toilet business is just the beginning — one pest company owner told me he doesn’t do lice anymore)

New on the Job (first “real” jobs and new careers)

Life’s Clones (making a living off those of us too busy to cover the basics)

Feeding Kitsap (food services routinely ranks among the top five of Kitsap industries)

Bean Counters (with the recession we have developed a heightened respect for those adept with numbers)

New Beasts (jobs that didn’t exist before the Internet)

Green Jobs (turning out to be underwhelming according to one local jobs expert)

The Military Connection (no way could we ignore this category)

Even if your job doesn’t fit into a category, tell us about what you do to make a living and why it matters. Find us on Facebook and at the Kitsap Sun’s Peninsular Thinking blog, email or call (360) 792-9219. Remember to leave your contact information.

Thanks, Chris Henry, reporter

Poulsbo’s Sound Brewery grand opening

Brynn writes:

It seems Poulsbo is becoming Kitsap’s fastest growing brewery town. I receive a call today from Mark Hood, who is the general manager and one of five partners of Sound Brewery, the latest beer-focused establishment to open in Poulsbo.

It comes four months after Valhöll, another small brewery, opened along Front Street just outside of downtown Poulsbo. According to the story fellow reporter Tristan Baurick wrote at the time, a third brewery — Slippery Pig Brewing — is set to open along Finn Hill soon.

Once Slippery Pig opens, Poulsbo’s brewery total will double the number of breweries in all of Kitsap County. Kitsap’s breweries outside of Poulsbo are Hood Canal Brewery in Kingston, Silver City Brewery in Silverdale and Der Blokken Brewery in Bremerton. (Not to be overlooked is Hale’s Ales in Silverdale; they don’t brew on site, but they are a part of the local brewing community).

To celebrate Sound Brewery’s opening, a ceremony is planned for 5 p.m. Thursday (yes as in tomorrow, April 14). Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson will be there to cut the ribbon, along with the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce. The public is invited to attend the event to check out the new tasting room.

The brewery is located at 650 Bovella Lane, off Viking Avenue at the south end of town. The grand opening is a family-friendly event, Hood said, adding children are invited to attend and will be served root-beer if they want it.

The brewery has been brewing for two months and has 24 batches of beer for people to try in nine different styles, Hood said. Already the brewery is selling its draft beers in  Kitsap, Tacoma and Seattle. It is also scheduled to participate in Seattle Beer week, and has four “Cuisine a la bier” dinners planned including its first one at Tizley’s Europub in Poulsbo next Thursday, April 21.

“Our motto is ‘Tradition Liberated’ because we brew traditional beers, with expensive traditional ingredients and try to liberate the styles with our own interpretations,” Hood said in an email.

Sound Brewery is located in a 3,400 square foot building that is equipped to produce 140 barrels a month. The brewery’s “Monk’s Indiscretion” brew just won third place in the People’s Choice award category at Seattle’s Csskfest.

Now that its open, tasting room hours will be Monday through Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 2 to 9 p.m.

Here’s a list of beers and descriptions from Hood: (They also have a Belgian Dubbel, a kristalweizen — heffeweizen that is totally clear, like a pilsner — and a dunkelweizen, but they are not kegged yet.)

Koperen Ketel Belgian Style Pale Ale: Soft Biscuity malt and fruity esters are well balanced with the finest Slovenian Styrian Goldings hops, making for a refreshing, easy drinking copper color ale.

Poundage Porter: Smooth creamy tan head covers a beautiful dark ruby brown beer. Aroma of chocolate, coffee and plums with toasted grains. Totally balanced with bitterness from noble hops and roasted grains. 5.5% ABV

Bevrijder Belgian Style Double IPA: Bevrijder means liberator in Flemish. Crafted from British malt, Belgian yeast and American hops, Bevrijder is dry yet malty with a complex aroma of malt, hops and spicy Belgian yeast. 8% ABV

O’Regan’s Revenge: Made with traditional ingredients, O’Regans Revenge has an outstanding traditional Irish style balance and malty character. Not overly sweet and chewy like most typical Northwest reds. Made from the finest floor malted maris otter and hopped with East Kent Goldings, O’ Regan’s drinks easy and very well balanced, but is extremely complex for a $5.9% ABV Red Ale.

Monk’s Indiscretion: “Monk’s” is balanced like the best Belgian Strong Golden Ales, yet has flavor and aroma hops that are as aromatic… and intense as any Imperial IPA. Double dry hopped, and fermented with our aromatic yeast strain, “Monk’s” has an intensely tropical hoppy nose and yet drinks easy and smooth without the intense bitterness that is normally associated with such a hoppy brew. 10% ABV.

Tripel Entendre: The best Belgian Tripels are made from a simple recipe, the finest ingredients, and the utmost attention to process. At Sound, we use the best Belgian Pilsner malt, Slovenian Styrian Goldings hops and a Trappist Yeast strain to craft a fine Belgian Style Tripel that even the Monks would be proud of. 9.8%ABV.

Port Orchard/Port of Bremerton … It’s Complicated

Those who don’t live in or around Port Orchard may wonder what’s all the hoofla with the city’s proposed waterfront pedestrian-bike pathway.

The city of Port Orchard and the Port of Bremerton have been negotiating on where and if the proposed path will cut through a waterfront park owned by the port. A compromise suggested by City Councilman Jerry Childs and Port Commissioner Roger Zabinsky appears to be a workable compromise on what has been a prickly issue. Port commissioners and city council members will walk the route at 5 p.m. Feb. 15.

Another issue between the city and the port is downtown parking. An earlier impasse appears to be breached with a proposal now on the table to have the city relinquish 32 spaces it controls near the Port Orchard Marina to the port. In exchange, the port would give up control of 31 spaces next to the park the city wants for paid parking. About 10 spaces along the water next to the park would be city controlled for park users. The time limit there would be two hours.

The discussion of the pathway and parking is part of a larger, comprehensive plan for the waterfront area that the port and the city are working on.

To fully appreciate the history of mild to moderate contention between the city and the port on these and other erstwhile points of contention, one needs to look at a map of the waterfront showing each entity’s interest in the various properties. In short, it’s complicated.

The map, below, was created by the port and shows the patchwork of ownership and interests that forms the basis of the relationship between the city and the port.

As you’ll see, the port owns or leases most of the properties. The city and port recently reached an agreement to have the port lease the Water Street dock — another bone of contention, now calmed.

Kitsap Transit is a third entity that owns and leases properties near the foot ferry dock, and just to further complicate matters, Kitsap Regional Library’s Port Orchard operations are housed in a city-owned building, also near the foot ferry.

Here’s the map:

What’s Going on With Delilah’s Cozy Kitchin?

Delilah’s Cozy Kitchin is one of several ventures started in downtown Port Orchard by radio personality Delilah Rene Luke. The restaurant, on Harrison Avenue, closed after the Christmas season, and it’s uncertain when or if it will reopen, said Kraig Kitchin, Deliah’s business partner.

Delilah was honored as the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce‘s 2010 Woman of the year for her investment in the downtown economy. (Man of the Year was McCormick Woods resident and civic activist Dick Davis.) Beside Cozy Kitchin, Delilah has a clothing boutique, Hootchie Wear, an event Center, the Port Orchard Pavilion, and she provided a space for local artists to display their wooden crafts and art work, Wooden You Love It.

Delilah and Kitchin started Cozy Kitchin three years ago, with a kitchy menu of comfort foods. The restaurant — like other downtown businesses — has been uneven, said Kitchin.

“There were some days it was incredibly robust, and some days it was not,’ he said. “We had run this for three years, and our thinking was we may want to remodel in terms of a new menu designed to make it more profitable.”

Staff members were let go, said Kitchin, who would not say when they might make a decision on the place. The restaurant is located in a strip of small boutique-like spaces that have seen considerable turn-over during the past three years. One long-time business, Bay Street Outfitters, folded during 2010, according to the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. Amy’s on the Bay, on the water side of the block, is alive and apparently thriving.

Delilah’s other downtown ventures are going well, however, Kitchin said. The Port Orchard Pavilion has seen a steady stream of bookings for weddings, sock hops, class reunions and the like. According to Kitchin, it’s the only place for hire in Port Orchard that can accommodate up to 500 people.

Leah Watree, former full-time manager, is no longer with the Pavilion, but she was not fired, Kitchin said. It was simply a change in the business plan. “Leah’s a wonderful woman and a good person,” Kitchin said. “But we needed to make a change. The work that’s involved in the pavilion is better suited to part-time specialists.”

Watree holds no ill will toward Delilah. “Delilah is a friend. She’s still a friend, and I still have that same loyalty.”

In other news of downtown business closures, the Historic Orchard Theatre shuttered its doors earlier this month. Owner Jeff Brein of Bainbridge Island is looking for a more sustainable business plan, such as running the theater as a “mom and pop” business.

Los Cabos Mexican restaurant on Bay Street closed several weeks ago, according to Coreen Haydock Johnson, executive director of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. Blondie’s, not in the downtown area but off Bethel Road, closed shortly before Christmas. The property owners are hoping to get another restaurant in that space, Haydock Johnson said.

Friday Afternoon Club: Speaking of Art in Cities (or Not)

Bear with me while I ramble a bit here.

First things first. It’s Friday. Run, don’t walk, to this week’s featured event, which is under way as we speak. It’s a wine and hors d’oeuvres affair at the Amy Burnette Gallery on 4th Street in Bremerton to celebrate the grand opening of the “Crazy Lady on 4th Street Gallery,” with featured art by Shelly Wilkerson … “think Norman Rockwell meets Mad Magazine,” says the item on the Kitsap Sun’s calendar. You have until 8:30 p.m. Wilkerson’s Gallery is at 296 Fourth St.

Now, there’s considerable irony in the fact that the reception is in Bremerton, according to South Kitsap artist James Kelsey of Southworth. Wilkerson is from South Kitsap, said Kelsey, but alas if it has anything to do with art, it’s probably happening in Bremerton.

Kelsey, a former dyed-in-the-wool optimist, sounded positively cynical and downright despondent when I called him today to ask if he met his goal of fund-raising for a piece of public art in Port Orchard. He hadn’t even hit the halfway mark.

Last month on this blog, I wrote about Kelsey’s efforts to raise $15,000 through an online private fund-raising campaign for a sculpture he proposed to install in a public place in Port Orchard. The money would have covered his materials, including a large stainless steel sphere that cost $6,000 to manufacture. Kelsey, willing to take a gamble on PO’s heart for art, paid for the sphere on his credit card. His plan was to get the statue installed, then mount a campaign to cover his time and other costs.

At the time he launched the fund-raising drive, Bremerton had just approved another statue (that makes about 300 quadrillion so far) paid for with the city’s 1 percent for the arts program.

Port Orchard has no arts funding program, but Kelsey believed private citizens would step up to beautify their fair city. By the deadline of the campaign, he had raised only $4,000. The giant sphere sits in storage. Perhaps he will use it in another piece.

Kelsey is a successful artist with works on Kitsap County properties and in Bremerton (did we need to ask?), as well as in other states and British Columbia. His art fetches a fair price, but producing is is a lengthy and often speculative process. With the recession, Kelsey struggled. In March he lost his home. Some friends bought it and are allowing him to rent until he can buy it back. But in truth, Kelsey is starting to lose spring in his step.

Asked if he’s given up on Port Orchard, Kelsey said. “They’ve given up on me. I keep forgetting I live here because it’s a good place to live, not because it’s an arts community. This is a blue collar, NASCAR town, not an art-centric community.”

Bremerton, in comparison, is bustling with activity, largely as a result of its arts scene, Kelsey said. “You look at Bremerton’s parks, and the art and the fountains they have. It’s becoming a destination, and a lot of that has to do with the arts.”

Ironically, Kelsey said, there are numerous artists living in South Kitsap, but most of their work is displayed and sold elsewhere. In his opinion, support for the arts, including the Historic Orchard Theatre and Western Washington Center for the Performing Arts, comes from a small core group of people, and it’s not enough to support a thriving arts community.

Kelsey, citing a 2009 study on Arts and Economy by the National Governors Association, said Bremerton and Port Orchard respectively will reap what they sow in the realm of investment in the arts.

Since this is a single source blog post, I’d like to open this forum up to comments from those of you who agree or disagree with Kelsey.

What say you, is Port Orchard culturally challenged (take the poll on this blog’s hoome page)? Why do you think efforts to privately fund a public sculpture have failed?

Is Bremerton’s investment in the arts paying off?

I was going to poke fun at Bremerton for poking fun at Port Orchard about our new 7Eleven, but we’re in the middle of a serious discussion here. Guess I’ll just have to save if for a future post.

Reach Kelsey at

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter