A few readers have asked just how good a deal Kitsap County got
decided last week to sell the 220-acre parkland known as Place of
the Bear to the Suquamish Tribe.
The $1.475 million price struck some as suspiciously low for
such a large property.
But, in checking the county’s property records, I found that the
assessed value of the two parcels that make up Place of the Bear
amount to $1.218. That’s more than $200,000 below the final
Interestingly, the property’s value plunged just before the
county and tribe began serious negotiations last year. In 2012, the
largest chuck of Place of the Bear – about 218 acres – was a
whopping $3.130 million. A year later, the value had been cut in
half, down to .
Seems strange, right? But the dramatic reduction in value was
fairly widespread in North Kitsap during that same period,
according to the county assessor’s office.
A large section of North Kitsap Heritage Park, for instance,
went from an assessed value of $1.45 million in 2012 down to to
$1.372 million in 2013 and then plunged to 660,000 this year.
Similar parklands south of Poulsbo held their value better. The
undeveloped county parkland known as Erlands Point in Chico lost
only about $15,000 of its value between 2012 and 2013. A large
section of Anderson Point Park near Olalla actually went up in
value, moving from $532,000 in 2012 to its current value of
Private and tribe-owned properties in the Suquamish area also
fell in value. A large private property adjacent to Place of the
Bear dropped from $631,000 to $356,000 between 2012 and 2013.
Smaller parcels didn’t fall quite as much as larger ones. The
assessor’s staff explained that’s because larger properties in
unincorporated residential areas are typically less desirable for
buyers – most of whom want a manageable lot of a few acres.
The big plunge between 2012 to 2013 appears to be a corrective
measure for what was judged to be inflated values in North
So, overall, it seems the county got about what the property was
For more about Place of the Bear and the controversy surrounding
its sale, head over
here for a story about last week’s decision to sell it.
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