Peninsular Thinking

A conversation about Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Manchester, Seabeck, Southworth, Suquamish, Belfair, Keyport, Olalla, Bangor, Hansville, Indianola, Port Gamble, Allyn, Port Ludlow, Gig Harbor and every once in a while something about the good folks who don't have the good fortune to live here.
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Posts Tagged ‘KIRO’

Can a Fish Reel in a Talk-Show Host to Bremerton?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Will Monson's humor require he board a boat for Bremerton?

When I mentioned KIRO-Radio’s Dori Monson’s back-handed compliment to Bremerton from December, I failed to include something else he said that day. Monson told his audience, introducing whimsy of his own into his show, that if the fish statue appeared to be getting the upper hand on the fisherman statue, he would come over to Bremerton and bring family members. Here is the quote from Dec. 17:

“You know what, I would make a special trip to Bremerton if the fish was catching the fisherman just so I could delight in the whimsy. I’d take all my girls over there and we’d stand and ‘Oh ho ho look honey. Usually fishermen catch fish. Here in Bremerton the fish (wait for it) the fish is catching the fisherman.’ And then we would titter with glee with the whimsy.”

So what if it was said in jest. As a former college roommate once told me, “There is a lot of truth in humor.”

As readers of this site know, the fish is catching the fisherman now on those statues at Fourth Street and Pacific Avenue. So who willissue the invite to Mr. Monson to see if he will jump aboard a ferry with his daughters so he prove he is a man of his word?

Listen for yourself:

More audio at MyNorthwest.com

Union Hill: Bremerton Neighborhood’s ‘Place Branding’

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

A reputation can be a hard reality to overcome. What do you think of when I say “O.J. Simpson?” If you thought “Buffalo Bills,” “superb actor” or “Heisman Trophy,” you may want to reset your watch at least to 1995. One Bremerton community is intent on trying to overcome the city’s notoriety and may be pulling it off. If it is wildly successful it could help the entire city come off better, too.

To lay some context, in December, when KIRO-radio’s career talkatician Dori Monson was decrying the use of taxpayer money for public art in Bremerton in these economic times, he called the city a “cool, gritty city.” That’s one of those compliments that doesn’t really feel like one. Bremerton is like the blind date described as having such a super personality that you hardly notice the acne.

That grittiness, which people bring up even when they’re trying to be nice, is something that will likely take a long time for Bremerton to overcome. For one thing, parts of Bremerton still are gritty. In fact, gritty would be a compliment in some corners. The face lift that has gone on with the help of federal, state and county money has not erased every trace of the blight that accelerated when Orange Julius (I hear there were other stores, too) chose rural Silverdale over Kitsap’s urban center.

The second part, though, is that you don’t live down a tag unless you get someone to see you, and since Bremerton is a ferry ride away from many, including the one calling the city “gritty,” it’s a tough pitch.

I have it on good authority that recently a couple of Bainbridge Islanders never given to heaping praise on Bremerton were in town recently and were astounded at the change downtown. They heaped praise, to the point of saying the city had it over the island. It took a long time, though, for them to get here to see it.

There are, however, other parts of Bremerton. Nice parts, as it turns out. Even nicer when neighbors decide to know each other.

One of them was lumped in with the tag “West Bremerton.” Jaime Forsyth bought a home there in 2007. She wrote of her move:

“I bought my house during the revitalization excitement and just befor ethe economy crashed. I could see that my block had good ‘bones’ and was within walking distance to the ferry, but less than half seemed to take pride in their curb appeal. Further, no one seemed to know more than one or two other families on the street of sixteen homes.”

Forsyth helped get neighbors together to plant trees in 2008 using a city grant and in 2009 with the involvement of local churches neighbors got together again to work and used more donated labor from the city and materials from private companies to replace some concrete with rain gardens. By March 2010 neighbors named the location from the shipyard to 11th Street and from Charleston to Warren Avenue “Union Hill.”

The name comes because it’s on a kind of a hill and in reference to the former Union High School, now Kiwanis Park.

Neighbors got a nice write-up from the Bremerton Patriot in March. In April some of them showed up as a group at a city council meeting to argue in favor of Kiwanis Park improvements. In May they marched in the Armed Forces Day Parade. On Aug. 14 the neighborhood hosted a a story in which the point was made that crime is lower in neighborhoods where homeowners outnumber renters, not because homeowners are better people, but they tend to know their neighbors better. They notice, more, when something looks different at a neighbor’s home.

Well then, it seems to be working. The evidence would be in this section from our story about the block party:

In her eight years living on 10th Street, Jessica Falk can’t remember any time the neighborhood’s come together like this. As she helped children paint pet rocks Saturday afternoon, she said that it’s been a blessing.

“There’s a huge feeling of safety between us all,” Falk said.

There you go, then.

(more…)


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