Place First, Jobs Second

Some parting comments from David Porter, the Kitsap Economic Development Council’s soon-to-be former executive director, are worth pondering. No doubt it’s pretty here. But does Kitsap County have a “quality of community” that would make people vow to stay forever?

Some of his conversation was in explaining the context for a statement Porter made last week to the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council:

“My sense is there is an undercurrent of meanness in this community that needs to be addressed.”

He made that claim within a conversation about how some people apparently wanted him fired. He said he had been warned that he needed to watch his back, or something like that.

On Thursday he said he didn’t want to continue “regurgitating” discussion about his comments from the week before ( “I probably would like to move on from that place.”), but said his thoughts were within the context of what he believes are clear distinctions between “quality of life” and “quality of community.”

“What is the spirit and soul of the community?”

He said of 25- to 44-year-olds:

“Those people are making decisions about place first; jobs second. If we want to attract the best of the next generation we have to focus on quality of community.”

As examples he cited events like the Day of Caring, during which people throughout the county volunteer in a wide range of service activities. There’s also a United Way effort that netted vouchers police can hand out to youth so that they can buy new shoes or other clothing. “What a great quality of community that you make this connection with police,” he said.

“I think there’s an inclination to talk about who’s doing what to whom, and not enough about who’s doing what with whom.

Forget about the fact that I can kayak to work.”

Years ago I interviewed for a reporter job in Walla Walla. As a reporter with ambition I was interested in the town, but really only if the job offered me a chance to further my career. In the end, I didn’t think it did compared to where I was working at the time.

What struck me was a lunch I had with two of the reporters there. Both had been there for years. Each said they’d gladly take jobs with another employer, but neither would ever leave Walla Walla.

That says a lot about a community, that a reporter would rather get out of journalism than leave town.

Do people love it here that much?

One thought on “Place First, Jobs Second

  1. I visited Bremerton in 1986 on business and totally fell in love with the place. Have lived here (with one small break) since early 1990, and both kids were born and raised here. I have commuted to Seattle since 1994 and just can’t complain about the situation. Kitsap is a great community to be in – the government dependence is a negative, which seems to have abated somewhat after the shipyard went through its changes in the late 90s. The private capital engaged in downtown is a great sign. Hopefully more private capital will arrive to produce more jobs.
    Having said all of this, and having lived on both coasts in a variety of places, I can’t think of an area I would rather live in than here.

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