Category Archives: Port Orchard Downtown

Blackjack Creek Trail System Revisited

Within the City of Port Orchard, the Blackjack Creek ravine is a world away from civilization. The creek drops through the watershed, shouldered by hillsides thick with vegetation and alive with bird song.

The city on Friday will submit applications for more than $100,000 in state grants that would be used to develop a trail system throughout the Blackjack Creek Wilderness.

Port Orchard drafted a plan for the area in 1987 — the Blackjack Creek Comprehensive Management Plan. The city is hoping to land $53,782 from the Washington State Regional Trails Program and $50,000 from the Washington State Land and Water Conservation program to see that plan to fruition, with help from community groups, businesses and developers.

Read more about the city’s plans for the watershed in a story to run Friday. Meanwhile, here’s a map to play with.

View Blackjack Creek in a larger map

PO Chamber Invites You to “Chat with Jan” Angel

The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its new Community Affairs Forum series at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17) with a conference call involving 26th District Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard at Prudential NW Real Estate in Port Orchard.

Anyone is invited to come and ask questions or comment on issues.

“We’re going to keep it really informal and flexible,” said Coreen Haydock Johnson, chamber director.

The chamber will continue the series Tues. March 31, at the same time and location with Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, and then on Tues. April 14 with Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor.

Haydock Johnson says the chamber hopes to continue the series with other community leaders either by conference call or, ideally, in person.

If you have a community leader you would like to hear from contact the chamber at (360) 876-3505.

Kitsap Sun Intern’s First Impressions of South Kitsap

Let me introduce Angela Lu, our intern, at least through March. She is living in South Kitsap during her stay with us. Here she shares her honest impressions of South Kitsap.

Angela says:
First impressions of SK

The very first split second I saw South Kitsap — Port Orchard to be exact — was on the evening of January 2, 2009. All I could see of the city was what my headlights and the few bright lights of local eateries would shine light on:
Dark roads.
Fred Meyer (which I’m completely new with)
A few stores and parking lots.
More trees.
A place like nothing I’ve seen before.

Maybe my thoughts and opinions would make more sense if I tell you where I’m coming from. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, which is half an hour (more like an hour with traffic) from Los Angeles. After graduating high school, I went to Northwestern University near Chicago to study journalism. And that is what led me here, to place I’ve never heard of, to intern for a quarter for the Kitsap Sun. After three months I’m headed back to Chicago to finish my junior year in college. Continue reading

PO Council Selects Prospect Location for Parking Garage

The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday selected a preferred location for a future parking garage. It’s on Prospect Street above the current MoonDogs 2. But don’t start looking for a new place to park any time soon. The council has a lot of work to do before he garage could become a reality. One of the biggest hurdles will be figuring out how the structure will be paid for. The city envisions partnerships with businesses, investors or public agencies such as Kitsap Transit. Part of the council’s discussion of the garage has included a proposal to relocate the Port Orchard Library on top of the underground parking structure that will be built into the hillside.

Of the four people who spoke on the garage at the meeting, the only self-described “negative voice was PO resident Geri Harmon who said she would like to see the issue put to a vote of PO residents.

“This parking garage  may never pay for itself,” she said. “I sure would like to see this put to a vote of the people because we could be paying for it for many, many years.”

Friday Afternoon Club: Pirates to Invade Port Orchard

Note: Members of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association will be collecting dried and canned goods for South Kitsap Helpline during the event. Cash donations are also welcome.

New to Murder Mystery Weekend is a pirate pet costume contest.

First seagulls, now pirates.
Port Orchard’s penchant for wacky celebrations continues this weekend with the third annual Murder Mystery Weekend.
In the spirit of its playful and now renowned annual Seagull Calling Festival, Port Orchard’s Murder Mystery Weekend is designed to bring out the pirate in everyone … even pets.
The event, which runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, is co-hosted by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce and the Port Orchard Bay Street Association.
Participants will look for clues at downtown businesses and interview characters in an interactive play to discover who killed Cap’n Dwight “Deadly D” Cline, a notorious pirate. According to “legend” Cap’n Cline has a hidden treasure trove waiting to be discovered.
The event features a Market Faire near Waterfront Marina Park. There will be kids crafts and pirate stories at the library and other family friendly activities throughout the weekend.
Back this year is the Land Lubber’s Pirate Dinghy Derby Race at 11:30 a.m. Saturday near the library. Think America’s cup with much smaller, slightly goofy seafaring vessels … on wheels.
Also on Saturday is the PIrate Look-Alike Contest for adults, with registration at 1 p.m. and judging at 2 p.m. at the waterfront park gazebo.
New to the celebration is a Pirate’s Ball, hosted by MoonDogs Too (cq), from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday. Children are welcome until 8 p.m.
Sunday features a Pirate Look-Alike Contest for kids and pets, with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the park.
The mystery will be revealed at 4 p.m. at the gazebo.
Clue packets for the Murder Mystery are $10 each, $5 per child, $25 per family, available at the chamber’s booth at the corner of Bay and Harrison streets. The entry fee for the dinghy derby is $25 per team of four. The Pirate’s Ball costs $15, $7 for children, at the door of MoonDogs Too, 714 Bay Street; (360) 895-2300.
For more information, contact the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce (360) 876-3505. Register online and see a full schedule of events at

Break Out the Lawn Chair, Dust Off Your Dancing Shoes

On July 10, the ever-popular – and free – Concerts by the Bay will return to the Port Orchard Waterfront Marina. Concerts will run from 6:30 pm to 8 p.m. each Thursday evening through August 14, 2008.

July 10 – The New Blues Brothers, performing Dance Hits from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s
July 17 – Jr. Cadillac, performing good time Rock & Roll
July 24 – The Voetbergs, a family concert act and fiddle champions
July 31 – Soultronic, performing a mix of Funk, Rock & Reggae
August 7 – The Machine, performing party Rock & Roll
August 14 – Dana & the Changes, an Elton John Tribute band

Concerts are held rain or shine and are made possible with support from the City of Port Orchard, Port of Bremerton, Kitsap Transit, Port Orchard Independent and Fisher Distinctive Dentistry.
For more information, visit the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation website at

Slip 45 (We-Are-Not-Mako’s) Open for Business

It’s easy to ride on the coattails of a good reputation; tough to get shut of a bad one.

The new owners of the establishment that used to be Mako’s may one day (hopefully soon) be able to talk about Slip 45 and the Shipwreck Lounge without having to explain that they’re working hard to distance themselves the bar that drew more than 200 police calls last year. On Saturday night, at a private “soft opening,” the focus was still on who they aren’t as well as who they are.

Slip 45 officially opened today. The Web site,, is up but very skimpy. Check it later for a schedule of events.

Dee Johnson, who was at the soft opening, said she came to check out the place with just a tad of skepticism.
“I had my doubts,” said Johnson. “I thought, ‘It was the same place. It’s going to have the same energy.'”
Johnson was pleasantly wowed. She complimented owners Mike Gold and Kim and Erick Houg on the $120,000 remodel of the place that Houg said took mostly a lot of elbow grease. She called the staff “professional” and said she and her husband felt welcomed from the moment they stepped through the door.

Gary Johnson also gave props to the place, especially the entertainment. Johnson and his carefully waxed signature handlebar mustache (he’s won competitions with it) took considerable roasting from headliner, comedian Mike “Wally” Walter. Walter’s Web site advertises his “high energy, politically incorrect” humor and his appearance – “a cross between Don Rickles and Johnathan Winters.”

Walters skewered South Kitsap, referencing “Port Orchard, Gateway to Gorst.” He mentioned Toys Topless and did a pole dance with the microphone. And at one point, he took one of his props, a laser tag gun and said, “We thought this was Mako’s. We’re still packing heat.”

The crowd ate it up.

Earlier in the night, the Jazz Ambassadors played (didn’t find a Web site for you guys – where are you?) and Christina Lopez, a Texas comedienne who recently played a USO show in Iraq, warmed up the audience.

“I thought it was great as far as the club goes,” said Johnson. “I think it’s about time. The area needs a place like that, especially for the older crowd.”

Houg said, as far as entertainment goes, they’re going to mix it up – some line dancing, some classic rock, some comedy, who knows? They’ll try out different things to see what sticks.

Port Orchard Police Sgt. Dennis McCarthy and three of his fellow officers stopped in to check the place out.

“It looks like a very nice, clean place,” said McCarthy. “They definitely cleaned it up.. It looks upscale. If we have a nice night club in Port Orchard, more power to them.”

McCarthy cited “over-serving,” unwillingness to ban troublesome customers and the negative culture the particular type of hip hop that was promoted at Mako’s for its unsavory ambiance.

I mentioned that some of the comments on the previous story about Slip 45, dealt with the perception that hip hop and the negative connotations that sometimes accompany it are a black thing. McCarthy said it’s more of an age + genre issue.
“The people my people arrested were, the majority of them, Caucasian,” he said. “I would say it’s more of the younger crowd. Not even all young people in hip hop are bad.”
The problem, said McCarthy, is the kind of hip hop that denigrates women, authority, the police, society in general. Add liquor, stir, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Downtown PO: This Could Be the Start of Something Big

With the adoption of Port Orchard’s Downtown Overlay District Plan in September, it was only a matter of time before a viable project materialized that would radically alter the look and feel of the downtown area.

A proposed three-story development on Bay Street that could break ground as early as November has been called, by Mayor Larry Coppola and others, a potential catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Port Orchard. The 35,000-square-foot, mixed-use project at Frederick and Bay streets qualifies for federal New Markets Tax Credit funding to aid economically depressed areas.

The project would include an underground parking garage and three above-ground stories of retail and office space with a rooftop garden. The developers would petition the city to vacate Frederick Street, which would become a courtyard between the two buildings with fountains, trees and public seating. An aerial walkway connecting the buildings would include apartment space, according to preliminary schematic drawings by William M. Palmer Consultants of Port Orchard.

“This is huge,” said Coppola, referring apparently to the significance of the project not its size.

Inevitably, however, those who resisted the height standards agreed upon in the plan will seize on the latter meaning of “huge.”

The plan, adopted September 24, limits/allows building height on the south side of Bay Street to 55 feet with a conditional use permit. On the north (water) side, the maximum height is 39 feet with a conditional use permit. The proposed project, on the water side, would be 39 feet tall.

“What you’re looking at is the very first project that’s going to start the downtown development of Port Orchard,” said David Walden with Prudential Northwest Real Estate of Gig Harbor, who has an interest in the development. “Being the first, it’s going to be scrutinized by everybody. We intend to make it first rate.”

The project involves two buildings, one at 639 Bay – the Corner Deli/Old Jordan’s building – which shows the owner of record as Douglas Zimmermann of Seattle. Mansour Samadpour, the Seattle microbiologist who owns five other buildings in Port Orchard, owns the other at 701 Bay.

Samadpour is pleased to begin taking action on the property he acquired for its development potential, but he said the 39-foot limit put constraints his investment return. There will be no condos in the project, he said.

City officials, developers and property owners are working with the Kitsap Consolidated Housing Authority, the agency that administers the tax credits locally, to draw more funding for downtown development.

Stay tuned.

Howard Minor’s Downtown PO Swan Song

Perhaps you’ve noticed the gaping hole in Bay Street.

Demolition of the building that formerly stood at 731 Bay Street, in between Myhe’s restaurant and the former Mako’s bar, is nearly complete, according to James Weaver, Port Orchard’s new director of development.

Howard Minor, a retired dentist and active property manager, said he got tired of trying to keep up with flooding that plagued the two-story building over the 45 years he has owned it. Although he fixed the problem (multiple times), he said, he could no longer get insurance coverage.

Apparently the city had issues with the building, as well.
“As part of maintaining public safety downtown, the abatement, demolition and removal of the asbestos from the unstable building has been a two-year effort to resolve the outstanding issues with the boarded up structure,” said Weaver. ” Considerable efforts have been expended by city staff in cooperation with the building owner since November of 2005 to provide a safe downtown environment on Bay Street while the dangerous entryway and sidewalk collapse were resolved.”

There were adjacent marquee repairs next to the building to make sure that facade was not further compromised “while the owners resolved theissue of the failing building,” Weaver said. “The owners ultimately arranged for demolition of the structure in lieu of necessary repairs.”

Minor applied for and received permission to raze the building, which required asbestos abatement, and he will sell it. The asking price is $340,000. Not bad for a place for which he he paid $15,000.

Over the years, Minor rented out the five units within the roughly 5,000 square foot building. At one point he owned four properties in the downtown area and multiple properties elsewhere.

Minor, 87, known most recently for his cantankerous rants at city council meetings, built a small empire in South Kitsap properties. “I started the world with $4, and I’ve made over a million,” he said.

But things have changed drastically since Minor began investing in downtown Port Orchard.

“It’s not the same,” he said. “When I first came to town, I was the young buck, and they sure let me know it. When I first came to town, you could buy everything you needed downtown. We bought all our clothes there, our groceries, our doctors were there.”

Then came the department stores in Bremerton, the South Kitsap and Silverdale malls, and ultimately the big box stores everywhere.

Port Orchard merchants are struggling to shrug off the tacky cloak of an economically depressed town center and reinvent Port Orchard as a trendy, upscale place to live, shop and play. It’s a work in progress, a glass-full, glass empty thing. New stores, including a new independent movie theater, new paint jobs and planter boxes are promising signs. But half-painted buildings and less than sufficient infrastructure (as evidenced by major flooding during the Dec. 3 & 4 rain storm) shows PO has a long ways to go.

Minor retired from dentistry just a few years ago. A heart operation “was the only excuse I could come up with” for calling it quits, he said. Otherwise, he’s still going strong.

“I lucked out. I’ve got the longevity of my mother and the brains of my father,” said Minor, who has no plans to retire from the rental business, at least outside the downtown core.

The 731 Bay Street property is the last of the downtown sites he owns, and he is currently entertaining offers from interested parties. Minor in the past could be seen standing on a ladder painting his buildings according to a color scheme he proposed, but he’s ready to hand the metaphorical brush over to someone else.

Weaver said there’s a chance other antiquated downtown buildings could go the way of 731 Bay St., but it’s too early to elaborate, he said.

Contact Weaver with questions or concerns at (360) 876-4991.

PO Utilities to go Underground

As part of its plans to upgrade the look and function of the downtown area, the City of Port Orchard plans to take the lead on running some utilities underground. For a complete description, see the press release from City Engineer Maher Abed, below. Work done by the city, as described in the release, will allow business and building owners to tie into underground utility junctions as future development takes place.

A Public workshop on the plan is set for 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers.

Here’s Maher:

(My note: Say it with a “Heeeer’s Johnny” voice and it’s kind of funny on a Friday afternoon. Cheers, Maher!)

Background: The City of Port Orchard Mayor and Council had agreed to take the lead on the franchise utilities (power, phone and cable) in the Downtown area in 2007. Initially, the City considered doing the full undergrounding through the Downtown area, however, this effort was abandoned because of the cost and the risk of not knowing how the new business redevelopment plans would be executed in the future. Instead, the City agreed to underground franchise utilities within the main corridors in the Downtown at: Geiger Street to Kitsap Bank location, Frederick and Sidney intersections. Provisions will be for the future undergrounding effort of downtown businesses as development occurs within the corridor. This project is being done ahead of the State Department of Transportation’s scheduled overlay of the state Highway including Bay Street through the Downtown area.

Scope of Work: It consists of implementing an approved traffic control plan, mobilization and staging of equipment, saw cutting and demolition of surface features in the work area, excavation of prescribed trench sections, installation of Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Qwest, and City owned conduits and vaults, coordination for installation of Wave owned conduits and vaults, backfilling of trench sections with Control density fill within the State Highway, restoration of surface features and any disrupted services, demobilization and clean-up.

Preliminary Timeline for the project:

Bid Opening due at 2:00 p.m. February 29, 2008
Bid evaluation Completion March 6, 2008
Projected Contract Award March 14, 2008
Projected Project Start March 24, 2008

Engineer’s estimate for the Project: $238,683.47

Project Anticipated Duration: The project is projected to be completed within 60 days of the start date.

City’s Point of Contact: Maher M. Abed, P.E., Public Works Director/City Engineer, 216 Prospect Street, Port Orchard, WA 98366, Phone Number: (360) 876-7034.