Tag Archives: City of Port Orchard

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.

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 kitsapsun.com 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.

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.

Port Orchard’s longest-sitting public servant

If people taking our Port Orchard trivia quiz had trouble with the question on who was the longest-sitting public servant in city government, it’s understandable. The city’s had quite a few in recent years.

The trivia quiz, online now at www.kitsapsun.com, is part of our coverage of Port Orchard’s 125th anniversary. The city and community have a big celebration planned for Sept. 5. Check the Kitsap Sun on Sunday for a look back at Port Orchard’s history (it will help you on the trivia quiz) and a look forward at the celebration.

Now, to the question at hand.

Q: Who was Port Orchard’s longest sitting public official?
A. Carolyn Powers, city councilwoman
B. Leslie J. Weatherill, mayor
C. John Clauson, councilman
D. Bob Geiger, councilman

If you said, Bob Geiger, you’re correct.
Geiger, who served 45 years on the city council, was not only Port Orchard’s longest serving public official but the State of Washington’s when, in December, 2007, the mayor and council honored him for his service. Geiger had announced he would not seek another term.

Carolyn Powers, was appointed to the city council in 1987 to fill an unexpired term and served 26 years on the council before retiring at the end of 2013. She also served a term in the State House of Representatives.

Leslie J. Weatherill was Port Orchard’s longest serving mayor, holding the office from December 1983 through December 2003.

John Clauson, running for re-election this year, has served on the council since 1983, 32 years.

Happy birthday, Port Orchard!

PO: City needs help designing a logo for 125th

The city of Port Orchard celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, with a Sept. 5 shindig in the works.

The city has issued a call-out to local artists and graphic designers — and anyone else who wants to have a go at it — to create a logo for the event. The logo will be used for banners, posters, souvenirs and the like. Unlike with the city’s wayfinding signs, no monetary award is involved, but, said Sharron King, who chairs the 125th planning committee, “The designer will be part of the continuing history of Port Orchard and celebrated along with the city at the closing ceremony.”

Entries (digital or hard copy) are due to city hall by 4 p.m. March 2. The committee will review them and pick a winner that week.

The committee is also looking for photos of the city from the last 125 years and for bits and pieces you might have about the city’s history. Photos and other submissions may be used on the city’s website, Facebook page or in advertising of the event. Submit anything you have to cityclerk@cityofportorchard.us.

PO council reappoints Putaansuu to transit board

Port Orchard City Councilman Rob Putaansuu, who was replaced on the Kitsap Transit board Tuesday morning, was reappointed to the board Tuesday night by the council as the city’s representative to the board. Putansuu will replace Mayor Tim Matthes on the board.

Putaansuu has served in the at-large position on the Kitsap Transit board since the position was created four years ago. Yesterday, in a shuffle of board members, Putaansuu was replaced by a member of the Bainbridge Island City Council.

The at-large position is meant to give representation on the board to Kitsap County’s smaller cities. Putaansuu said that two years ago when the position was open, no one else stepped up. This year Bainbridge expressed an interest in taking a turn at that role.

Other positions on the board are reserved for the three county commissioners, the mayor of Bremerton, and representatives from each of the three smaller cities. Traditionally the small city representative has been the mayor. But Putaansuu at Tuesday’s Port Orchard City Council meeting said the representative could alternately be a member of the city council chosen by the rest of the council, according to transit board bylaws.

The Kitsap Transit board discussion item came up late in the meeting. Councilman John Clauson, who is Kitsap Transit’s executive director, recused himself. Councilman Jeff Cartwright also works for KT, as human resources director, but he said he would not be stepping down.

“Although I work at Kitsap Transit, I don’t believe there’s a conflict because I report to John and John reports to the board. If there are no objections, I do plan on staying for this conversation.”

“I actually do object,” Matthes said. “I would like that you also recuse yourself and Mr. Putaansuu should recuse himself.”

Putaansuu said he didn’t see any reason to recuse himself. Cartwright, however, did step down after Councilman Fred Chang said he also thought Carwright’s presence was a conflict of interest, because actions of the board have a direct bearing on Cartwright’s job. “I’ll honor that,” Cartwright said.

The tension in the air probably stemmed in part from an earlier discussion of emails as public records in which the Mayor and Cartwright grew testy with one another.

The Mayor, as a member of the KT board, also recused himself, and Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Lucarelli took over the meeting.

Putaansuu said he is “passionate about” Kitsap Transit’s study of a fast ferry to Seattle and wants to bring a vote on the proposed service to Kitsap residents, who would help foot the bill for operation of the ferry.

“My position is we’ve spent millions of taxpayer dollars to improve technologies (for the fast ferry) and the business plan (to operate it), and we owe it to the voters to ask them whether or not they want that,” Putaansuu said.

Councilwoman Bek Ashby asked if the council could legally take action on the appointment, given that the meeting was a work study session. City Clerk Brandy Rinearson said they could.

“The rule is you cannot make a motion if it relates to an ordinance or if you’re approving a contract or a bill for payment of money at a special meeting,” she said. Since the appointment was none of the above, they could take action.

Councilman Jerry Childs talked about Putaansuu’s “historical knowledge” of the fast ferry issue and said he was in favor of the appointment.

Chang said he was against it because of the “tradition” of having the mayor represent the city on the board.

When Elissa Whittleton, a member of the audience, asked if the mayor shouldn’t be asked whether he’d like to continue serving on the board, Putaansuu replied, “The bylaws say it’s to be chosen by the city council, not the mayor.”

Putaansuu abstained from the vote. Childs, Lucarelli and Ashby voted in favor of the appointment. Chang voted no.

When Matthes returned to the meeting to find he’d been replaced on the board, he said, “It was all prearranged.”

“In a way it’s a good thing,” the Mayor added, saying now he could still attend meetings and advocate exclusively for Port Orchard’s needs.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter
(360) 792-9219

Visualize Asbestos Abatement

If you’ve driven through downtown Port Orchard lately, you will have seen the old Los Cabos building wrapped in white plastic.
The city of Port Orchard bought the eyesore in August with the idea of demolishing it to improve the ambiance of the downtown core. The sale price of $148,000 included demolition by Turnaround Inc., the company that held receivership on the building. The demolition will be ongoing for the next two to three weeks, hence the wrapped building. More on that in a minute

The former site of Los Cabos restaurant was gutted by fire in July 2013. There were boarding rooms upstairs that were occupied at the time of the fire. Three people escaped by climbing out a bathroom window onto a roof and jumping onto the bed of a truck at street level.

The building sat abandoned ever since, growing a fine crop of mold in what was the dining room.
But the mold is not the worst problem. The two-story, 6,000-plus-square-foot building was constructed in 1910, accord to the Kitsap County Assessor, and has asbestos within from various additions and remodels.

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, is a remarkable material, fireproof, strong, a good insulator, but it has been linked to cancers including mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, asbestos can be found in insulation of houses built (or remodeled) between 1930 and 1950, in textured paint and patching compounds whose use was banned in 1977, some vinyl flooring tiles, some roofing and siding shingles, older hot water pipes and furnaces.

According to Bobby Pelkey, of Rhine Demolition of Tacoma, the company handling the building demo, asbestos isn’t a big problem if it’s contained in materials like tile or widow putty, but if it’s part of insulation or “popcorn” ceiling tile, tearing it our could release the asbestos fibers that can cause cancer on exposure.

To protect themselves, workers wear fully enclosed suits and respirators. They tear out the hazardous material and seal it before removal. Inside the building itself, they construct a three-segment decontamination chamber, which includes a shower for removing any particles. The suits are bundled and sealed after they are taken off, as with the rest of the contaminated material.

The job is hazardous, no doubt, but says Pelkey, “As long as you take the proper steps to protect yourself, there’s nothing to worry about.”

According to crew supervisor David Schultz — who has been in the demolition business and working with asbestos for 21 years now — one of the biggest dangers of older buildings is unstable floor and ceilings. Before demolition begins, the building is tested for asbestos, and a walk through reveals potential hazards, such as a ceiling likely to collapse.
It’s a living, and decent one at that, Schultz said. “I make a comfortable living.”

And about that plastic wrap, it seals any asbestos fibers inside the building. So when the building comes down, the asbestos will have been removed. Voila a blank slate.

Once the demolition is complete, gone will be the entire building, including this well-established collection of pigeon poop.
What would you like to see on the property?

The Pink-a-Nator petitions to park at the courthouse

Surely you’ve seen the Pink-a-Nator. It’s hard to miss the Pepto-Bismol pink utility truck with the slogan “Servin’ it up curb side.”
Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 6.36.46 PM
The food truck dishing out specialty burgers, po’boys and other hearty comestibles has had a regular spot at the Annapolis Sunday Market and in a lot near the Fred Meyer shopping center (although not so much lately, since owner Michelle Roberts-Wash has been busy with catering).

Now, Roberts-Wash has her sights set on the Kitsap County Courthouse campus.

She attended last week’s Port Orchard City Council meeting to pitch her plan. The truck would occupy more than one space. The council’s public property committee has discussed the idea, said Councilman Jeff Cartwright, a committee member. The committee suggested a 90-day trial pending feedback from the county.

Meantime, the Kitsap County administrator expressed concerns about loss of parking spots that are already at a premium, according to Port Orchard City Clerk Brandy Rinearson.

Roberts-Wash had scoped out parking spaces on Austin Avenue between the county administration building and public works building. Councilman Rob Putaansuu noted that, at the previous meeting Aug. 12, a city resident had complained that she couldn’t find a place to drop off her ballot.

Other spaces Roberts-Wash had looked at were in front of the courthouse or the Sheriff’s Office.

Councilman Jerry Childs asked if this would set a precedent. What if others came along looking for space to sell their wares?

The public property committee talked about that, Cartwright said. In fact the Pink-a-Nator sparked a wide ranging discussion about food trucks, including Portland’s approach of designating whole blocks to meals on wheels. “Should the city have its own designated food truck zone?” the committee pondered.

“We talked very heavily about the parking versus the convenience of having a food service there,” Cartwright said. “We also talk about would that food service impact other businesses that also serve food.”

A hot dog vendor has a permit to sell in front of the administration building. Inside, Coffee Oasis has an espresso stand that sells food items.

Several council members commented — in the spirit of free enterprise — that competition with other businesses shouldn’t drive their decision.

Putaansuu also suggested the Pink-a-Nator might work in “underutilized” areas including Cline Avenue (the flat part not the mountain climb) and the gravel lot off Taylor Avenue.

Mayor Tim Matthes said South Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido “would appreciate more notice and more information than she’s received so far.”

The council agreed to honor Garrido’s request, and Roberts-Wash said she’s fine with that.

So what do you think? If Port Orchard were to designate a food truck zone, where should it be?

And, if you’re a restaurant or cafe owner with a brick-and-mortar location, what are your thoughts on a food truck zone?

Where the sidewalk ends: the sequel

Last week, I wrote about public works mowing mishaps that resulted in damage to private property. And our theme of the intersection of public and private land continues.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Port Orchard City Council discussed a disconnect between its own code, which calls on private property owners to maintain and repair sidewalks, and the city’s practice of making repairs on its own dime.

At the same meeting, the council considered the question of sidewalk bistro tables. Bay Street Bistro, earlier this year got permission from the city to place tables on the sidewalk, European cafe-style. The request was screened by the public property committee and later approved by the council.

In the past, the city has regulated things like sandwich boards, tables of merchandise and other temporary sidewalk accoutrements as an accessibility issue overseen by the code enforcement officer. ADA rules require at least four feet of passage on sidewalks. Bistro tables must adhere to that regulation, as well.

With the Bay Street Bistro’s request, and a later request from Cafe Gabrielle, the council discussed a more formal process of permitting and oversight.
They initially suggested charging a fee of $10 per month for business owners whose applications for sidewalk tables or benches are approved. But Public Works Director Mark Dorsey reminded the council that the sidewalk right-of-way is actually under the state Department of Transportation, which owns Highway 166 (Bay Street).

Dorsey at an earlier meeting with the council opined that the city shouldn’t be the one charging a fee, since the ROW belongs to the state. The ROW runs from the center line of the road to the edge of the building.

Dorsey thought (mistakenly he later found) that the issue of jurisdictional authority could be resolved if the city simply didn’t charge a fee with its sidewalk table permit. He called the DOT and spoke to an official who said not only should the city not charge a fee, they had no authority to grant the sidewalk table permit in the first place. That ball is in the DOT’s court, Dorsey was told.

The state would charge about $90 a month for granting permission to place bistro tables in the right-of-way, he found.

“They take it very seriously that someone is using that right-of-way and making money off it,” Dorsey said.

The council stepped out as middleman Tuesday by approving a revised city permit (that would still give the city oversight over ADA issues) with a notice/disclaimer that the applicant also needs to apply to the state for use of the right-of-way.

“Whether they do or not is between them and WSDOT,” said City Attorney Greg Jacoby.

Voila, problem solved. The issue of whether business owners can afford the $90 fee becomes “an economic decison on the part of the vendor,” Jacoby said. “That’s really a private business decision.”