Monthly Archives: January 2010

Who Owns Woods View?

By Chris Henry
With foreclosure pending on the Woods View development, proposed for 78 homes on 12 acres along Woods Road, neighbors are wondering who is responsible for the land.
Earlier this week, neighbor June Garrett-Groshong, a member of the Beaver Creek Conservation Group, questioned who would be held accountable to protect Beaver Creek from run-off from the site while negotiations on the foreclosure are still in progress. The site is partially cleared and covered with straw.
The Kitsap County auditor’s office shows the legal owner of the property as Woods View II LLC. Darlene Piper, who owns a law firm in Port Orchard, formerly owned Woods View II LLC but said on Tuesday she is no longer the owner.
According to Guy Beckett, a Seattle attorney representing Piper in a legal claim against Kitsap County related to the development, the legal owner of Woods View II LLC is Beckett Trust. Yes, Beckett said, it’s no accident his name is on the trust, but he is not the legal owner of Woods View II LLC either.
Beckett explained that the trust was set up some time ago as “an estate planning” tool and that it had nothing to do with the legal and logistical morass Woods View, the development, has become.
A significant issue is an on-site, self-contained sewer treatment system that will serve the single-family homes. One lender backed out over the appearance that the system classified the development as a condominium project, said Dave Walden of John L. Scott in Port Orchard, who has worked with Woods View since 2005.
According to Walden, a new potential lender has been identified, and a semantic change names the entity responsible for the system as a homeowners association.
Woods View II LLC owes First Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Tacoma more than $1.2 million. Terrence J. Donahue, the attorney representing First-Citizens in the foreclosure, did not return calls from the Kitsap Sun this week.
Walden on Tuesday said that negotiations which could avert the foreclosure were under way with potential buyers for the project, including NeuBuilt Homes of Tacoma. Rick Neumann of NeuBuilt was out of town and unavailable for comment. On Friday, however, Neumann said that while he at one time had a conversation with Walden about the possibility of purchasing Woods View, he had never made a commitment to do so.
Neumann, whose company was set to build homes on the property, said he would not consider such a purchase unless certain problems, including the septic issue, were worked out. He has “moved on” to other projects, he said.

McCormick Woods Park: Corrections and Clarifications

I apologize for the confusion created by an inaccurate statement in the story on a proposed public park at McCormick Woods (the online version of which has been corrected): “The city also will assume responsibility for an existing 1-acre park within McCormick Woods, a trail head and a partially built trail system that connects to the county-owned Coulter Creek Heritage Park.”

This is inaccurate on several counts.

1. The City of Port Orchard will not as a result of the pending inter-local agreement between itself and Kitsap County have any responsibility for parks, other than the 63.5-acre McCormick Village Park, either within McCormick Woods residential area or The Ridge at McCormick Woods.

2. The park, trailhead and partly developed trails I mentioned in the original story are in The Ridge (also known as McCormick North) and belong to The Ridge’s homeowners’ association, not the McCormick Woods homeowner’s association.The trails connect The Ridge with the proposed McCormick Village Park.

3. The agreement between the city and the county simply states that if, in the future, the Ridge homeowner’s association wants to enter into negotiations with a local government entity on a potential sale of its park, trailhead and trails, or an agreement about upkeep or development of same, that government entity will not be Kitsap County but the City of Port Orchard.

4. The Ridge is McCormick North, which is partly built out. McCormick West is yet to be built.

5. Finally, to reiterate, the McCormick Village Park will be open to the public.

For more information on the McCormick Woods annexation, the McCormick Village Park and the City of Port Orchard parks survey (for all city residents) visit the city’s Web site.

Haiti Support: Give Wisely, Do Your Research, Red Cross Official Says

Tomorrow, Robin Vergara, a South Kitsap resident, will board a plane bound for the Dominican Republic. There, Vergara, an emergency room nurse at Tacoma General Hospital, will meet with other Tacoma General doctors and nurses who have teamed up to provide medical care in Haiti. The group, which Robin said will operate under the umbrella of Destiny World Outreach of Texas, will spend a week in the earthquake-stricken country. According to Robin, Destiny World Outreach has been working in Haiti and so is able to provide her group with local contacts and transportation. She said the organization is helping teams like hers make week-long stints, which, back-to-back, will provide ongoing support without unduly taxing volunteers, who must take time out from their jobs and families.

I hope to catch up with Vergara after her week in Haiti. (Today she is running around taking care of last minute details.)

As we continue to report on Kitsap County residents and organizations involved in relief to Haiti, it bears repeating that potential donors should be fully informed about where they send their charitable dollars.

“I tell people to do their research online to find out how long the organization has existed and what they have been doing in the area,” said Janet Heath, Westsound director of the American Red Cross.

Web sites like, which Heath recommended, offer guidelines for choosing a charity. According to information on the Web site, the American Institute of Philanthropy provides a watchdog service to help donors understand how well their dollars are being spent. The AIP gives letter grades to nationally prominent charities (smaller charities may not be listed – that’s really where doing your homework comes in). A grade of B means the organization openly shares audited financial statements and income tax forms, spends less than $25 to raise $100 and allocates at least 75 percent of money raised towards charitable programs (not fund-raising and general administration).

The Better Business Bureau reports on charities based on its Charity Accountability Standards, which are listed on the Web site. The BBB also lists complaints it’s received about charities (absence of a charity on the complaint list doesn’t necessarily guarantee its worthiness).

Heath also recommends you review the organization’s 990 tax information form. Finally, she said, read as much as you can about the organization and talk to people you know about it.

If you visit the Westsound Seattle Red Cross, you’ll see a section called “Accountability” which includes links to the organization’s annual report along with other information made in the interest of full disclosure.

Heath encourages donors to consider that the relief effort in Haiti will be a long-term process.

Here is a list of tips for giving from the American Institute of Philanthropy (explained more fully on their Web site).
Know Your Charity
Find Out Where Your Dollars Go
Do Not Respond to Pressure
Keep Records of Your Donations
“Tax Exempt” Does Not Always Mean “Tax Deductible”
Do Not Be Misled by a Charity’s Familiar Name
Do Not Be Enticed by Emotional Appeals
Ask if the Charity is Registered by Federal, State or Local Authorities
Beware of Charities Offering Gifts

Making Government Relevant to Teens

By Chris Henry
Teresa “Terri” Messing, a seventh-grade geography and reading teacher at Cedar Heights Junior High School was honored in Olympia Monday as the 2010 Washington Legislature’s Civic Educator of the Year. Messing has used a program called “Project Citizen” in her classroom to help students understand public policy and to realize they have the power to make changes in their school and community.
The annual award recognizes a teacher in the state who has been most involved in teaching students about government at the state and local levels.
Other local teachers receiving civics educator honors during the awards ceremony at the Washington State Capitol were Amanda Eisele, a first-grade teacher at Sunnyslope Elementary School and Ken Brown, a social studies teacher at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor’s Peninsula School District.
The three teachers from the 26th Legislative District were nominated by Rep. Jan Angel (R) Port Orchard. A total of seven educators from throughout the state were recognized at the ceremony.
“Too often, students may feel they have no say in their government, or that civics is boring and should be left to the politicians,” said Angel. “But these outstanding teachers have made this subject come alive with their students and have shown them the importance of their involvement in government. They are a great influence for the next generation of our leaders and I am proud the Legislature is giving them the honor they deserve.”
Award recipients were chosen by the Civics Consortium, a 19-member panel that consists of House and Senate staff members, representatives from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington State Bar Association, TVW, and several other groups.
Monday was Civics Education Day at the state Capitol. The state House of Representatives entertained a resolution honoring civic educators. Award winners attended a luncheon and ceremony with Legislators in the John A. Cherberg Building.

Clarification: Port Orchard Council Sympathetic to Museum’s Angst

If you read the headline and subhead for today’s story on the Sidney Museum and Art Gallery in the paper version of the Kitsap Sun, you might get the impression that the Port Orchard City Council is taking a rigid stance on its plans for a parking garage/community center that shows encroachment on the museum’s property. Both are literally true. The headline reads, “An Uncertain Future For an Icon of the Past.” The subhead is “City community center plans may hurt a bid to put Sidney Museum on the national historic register.”

But if you read farther down in the story, you’ll hear Councilman Rob Putaansuu say the plans, drafted by Art Anderson and Associates, are far from set in stone and can be changed. Councilwoman Carolyn Powers said it is unlikely the city would use eminent domain to acquire the property, even as a last resort.

In fact, the council, through verbal consensus, responded to museum spokesman Jud Turner’s plea for formal protection by asking Development Director James Weaver to draft a resolution to be posted on the Web site explaining that the council supports the museum’s right to remain where it is. The resolution will come before the council at its Feb. 9 meeting.

Turner was asking for written assurance from the council in part because the museum board has applied to the National Register of Historic Places. The city has tried to negotiate with the museum board on options for saving the building, either temporarily or permanently. While the talks were cordial, Turner said, neither of those solutions is acceptable to the board. Moving the building would definitely nix its chances for historic status. Making the national register is not just a nicety, according to board member Mary Peterson. It will put the museum in better position to receive grants and corporate sponsorships.

Now, a caveat: even if the council does pass the resolution protecting the status of the museum, a new council could, at some future date, override that resolution if they determined that the original plans better meet the city’s needs. Based on conversations I’ve had with City Engineer Mark Dorsey and others, Art Anderson included the museum property in its plans because that provided the most favorable layout for the garage, giving the maximum number of parking spaces, while protecting views from uphill homes.

Don’t look for any movement on the parking garage/community center this year; there’s just no funding for it. We’ll hear whether the museum made the national register in February. Stay tuned.

PO Council Video Now Up on Kitsap Sun Website

Find video coverage of the Port Orchard City Council’s Jan. 19 work study meeting, courtesy of the City of Port Orchard, at Scroll to “Videos” and find it under “recent.” Or watch it here:

Note: I get a message that says “no image” on the screen. If you see this, just click play. The video works fine. Let me know if you have any glitches.

Know Your City Government Committee Members

Following on my recent post about the popularity among City Council members of the finance committee, here’s the council’s recommendation for appointments to committees for the upcoming two-year term. A resolution on committee appointments will come before the council on Tuesday.

Finance Committee: John Clauson (chair), Rob Putaansuu and Jerry Childs.

P.S. Putaansuu at the council meeting Jan. 12 was appointed mayor pro tem for 2010 by the council.

Public Property Committee: Fred Olin (Chair), Carolyn Powers, Fred Chang

Tourism Committee: Jerry Childs (Chair), Jim Colebank and Fred Chang

Utility and Sewer Advisory Committee: Rob Putaansuu, John Clauson and Fred Olin

Fred Chang is the council member overseeing the city’s lodging tax advisory board.

Carolyn Powers, who has served as alternate to the mayor on the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council for six years, was approved by the council on Tuesday to be the second voting member to the KRCC. Now that Port Orchard has grown by roughly 2000 in population due to annexations, the city is eligible for an additional voting member on the county-wide board that coordinates on policy decisions. Members of the KRCC, including Powers, represent Kitsap County’s interests to the Puget Sound Regional Coordinating Council. Coppola welcomes having the added vote on the KRCC. “Any time you have a bigger voice, it’s a benefit.” he said. Jim Colebank is alternate to Powers.

Colebank alternate

Caroly powers
Colbank alterate
City because of growth get s wtwo vting seta mayor and Carolyn (caroly alt 6 yerars )

PO Council: Some Jostling for Finance Committee Slots

At Tuesday’s work study meeting, Port Orchard City Council members parceled out committee assignments. Most of the time, this is a process of seeing who steps forward to volunteer for a committee, but in the case of the finance committee, there were more applicants (five) than slots (three).

The reason, Mayor Lary Coppola said after the meeting, boils down to: money is power. “It’s the decision-making committee,” Coppola said. “So many decisions that happen on the council are driven by money.”

Councilman Fred Chang, one of the five contenders, put it this way, “For those of us not on it, we feel there’s a lot of information discussed there, and by the time it gets to the council, there’s already three of the four votes we need (out of seven council members to make a majority). … It’s not so much that they make decisions against what the rest of the council would agree with, it’s just that we’re not privy to information we need.”

Council members do receive minutes of committee meetings, not quite the same as being in on the discussion, I would guess.

Council members who have served on the finance committee for the past two years include John Clauson (chairman), Rob Putaansuu and Carolyn Powers. Besides the three incumbents and Chang, Councilman Jerry Childs threw his hat into the ring for the upcoming term.

Council members each wrote their three top recommendations for the committee on slips of paper. City Clerk Patti Kirkpatrick tallied the winners: John Clauson (who also was chosen by the council to remain chair), Rob Putaansuu and Jerry Childs.

The process seemed to me a little old school and had shades of a fourth grade popularity contest. But, according to City Attorney Greg Jacoby, it was all above board. I had the misconception that no action could be taken at a work study meeting. That’s not true, Jacoby said. State statutes allow final action to be taken on items at properly publicized work study meetings, as long as the item is on the agenda and as long as it doesn’t involve approval of contracts or bills for payment. Jacoby said it is customary for Port Orchard (and most other local jurisdictions) to use study sessions for in-depth discussions and briefing on issues that will come before them at regular council meetings.

Furthermore, said Jacoby, the paper slip voting did not constitute final action. The council will entertain a resolution at its regular meeting Jan. 26 regarding committee membership. Terms run two years. Writing the names on paper was a way to come to consensus on the council’s recommendations for the finance committee.

Information on committees and boards can be found on the city’s Web site. Upcoming committee meetings, which are open to the public, are listed on the regular council meeting agenda, which is available on the city’s Web site and by request by calling City Hall, (360) 876-4407.

Almost Live From Port Orchard, It’s the City Council in Action

After some initial technical difficulties, the City of Port Orchard has successfully posted a Webcast of its Jan. 19 work study meeting. The meeting was so long they had to make two video postings. It was the “Gone With the Wind” of council meetings. While it’s not going to win any Oscars, the video is clear, the sound good, for the most part.

By my observation, some council members with quieter voices (John Clauson, I’m talking about you) need to speak up and direct their comments at the microphones. Lapel mics would be nice but probably aren’t necessary. Also speakers need to be reminded to speak directly into the microphone.

One of the items on the council’s agenda was a discussion of whether to post meeting coverage to local media Web sites as well. The council heartily concurred this is a good idea. Unfortunately, due to some initial technical difficulties, the Kitsap Sun’s Web site isn’t talking to the City of Port Orchard’s Web site. Our trusty Web editor Angela Dice is working on the problem and hopefully will have it resolved by next week’s city council meeting.

I’d be interested to hear from those of you who tuned into the video on the City’s Web site. How did it work for you?

And not to dismiss the people who formerly relied on BKAT, public access cable television broadcasts. At least one of you said that, while you have a computer, it is an older model and not capable of accessing the video. Did you find that to be true? If so will you request a CD copy of the meeting?

To find the videos, go to the City of Port Orchard’s homepage. Below the calendar (on the left), click on “Upcoming Meetings.” See Current Online Videos; click on the correct date.