Monthly Archives: November 2016

Beat blast: Santa’s schedule, annexations and a raging waterfall

Stop me if you know the words: Santa Claus is coming to town … downtown and Manette, that is. This Friday, you’ll find him in Manette and on Saturday he’ll light Bremerton’s Christmas tree near the Naval Museum.

15107272_10156447187836515_8525358591163129541_n-1You’ll get all the details about the festivities on this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, and also these four other stories:

How the Salvation Army’s shelter, to open Dec. 19, differs from others as a “low barrier” shelter;

Bremerton’s plans to annex parts of the community not in the city, including Rocky Point and Navy Yard City;

How Bremerton’s tiniest park is being used as a lay down yard for construction;

And finally, with all this rain, your chance to see one of Bremerton’s most vibrant waterfalls.

Questions? Comments? Send them my way, to



Beat blast: Typewriter fever, signs of the times and a music legend

In a world in which typewriter stores are rare, Bremerton now has two. Typewriter Fever joins the longtime Bremerton Office Machine Company on the fifth floor of 245 Fourth Street, and, in this latest Bremerton Beat Blast, you’ll get to take a look around.

This week, I also tackle the Bremerton blue parking enforcement signs, the unsolved arson on McKenzie Avenue and the public square city officials hope to dedicate to Quincy Jones. Plus: speaking of signs, what’s going on with the most iconic of them in Manette?

Questions? Comments? Send them my way, to Happy Turkey Day everyone!



Bye bye, blue signs

Photo by Meegan M. Reid.

By the end of the year, the blue parking enforcement signs once prevalent in downtown Bremerton will be a thing of the past. A judge ruled they violate state law and the city claims it was already beginning to replace them. The whole project will cost the city up to $8,000 to remedy, the public works department says.

The story generated a firestorm of comments, ranging from: “More tax dollars wasted! Research people! Research!!!!” to: “Stupid! I liked the signs. Apparently people don’t want to have to read? The blue was different and nice looking.”*

Here at the Kitsap Sun, we received a lot of feedback with a simple question: if the Poulsbo man who generated the lawsuit had demanded the city use federally allowed white signs with red lettering, what’s the city doing erecting all that green lettering?

For that answer, we turn to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices (MUTCD), devised by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The manual, adopted by Washington state, is what the Kitsap judge relied on in making his decision Bremerton’s signs are unlawful.

The manual states that for areas where parking is prohibited, red letters will be used. For areas where parking is limited to a certain number of hours, the signs are green. Here’s a diagram to help:

sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

So, now that the city is following the MUTCD on parking signs, that’s the end of the case, right? Not quite. Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Kevin D. Hull has not ruled on a remedy for what happens now. But since the city has already chosen to replace the signs, the only other big question is whether the thousands of people who got parking tickets since 2012 could recoup their fines. Hull has asked both lawyers for the plaintiff and the city to “provide further briefing.” The next hearing in the case is Dec. 9.


*Actual comments from Facebook.



Beat Blast: Trumpeter turns 95, breakdancing, and a passing orca pod

For this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, consider me your social calendar. Culturally, this city’s got a lot going on this week, and I wanted to share with you four ways you can join in the fun.*

So, enjoy the episode, and here’s my inside tip sheet on what must not be missed:

Yvonne’s 95th: Yvonne McAllister turns 95 today. As she always does, she’ll grab the trumpet she bought in 1958, and she’ll play McCloud’s in East Bremerton, on the corner of Perry Avenue and Sheridan Road.

Happy 95th, Yvonne.
Happy 95th, Yvonne.

Paint Your Heart Out: Artist Angela Perryman brings the paints, the location supplies the pints, and you get to take home the canvas. First up: 6 p.m. at LoveCraft Brewery on Fifth Street; next is 6 p.m. at Hot Java Cafe on Pacific Avenue; and next week, at 1 p.m. Nov. 26 at Hot Java for the little ones. Adults: $45, kids, $25. To reserve your spot, email or call LoveCraft or Hot Java.

Tradition 5: Looking to see some amazing all-style dancing? On Saturday, breakdancers and hip hop artists will come to Bremerton for Tradition 5, an annual celebration and competition. At noon, the preliminary rounds will be held at The Eagles on Sixth Street. At 6 p.m. the final rounds will be at the Fountain Room inside the Puget Sound Naval Museum on First Street. Tickets are $10 and kids get in free.

Bremerton Jazz Festival: All day Saturday, choirs and jazz bands from around the northwest will be performing at the Bremerton High School Auditorium. (The host 13th Street Jazz Band performs at 9 a.m.) For the main event at 6:30 p.m., Dave Tull — a drummer, vocalist and songwriter who’s even been featured on the TV show Family Guy — and Rebecca Kilgore, a song stylist featured on NPR and at Carnegie Hall, will perform. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door.

Kitsap Quiz Night: I host my monthly news quiz at the Manette Saloon on E. 11th at 7 p.m. Thursday. Join us; there will be free pie.

Story Walk: And last but not least, the Bremerton Police Department will throw open its doors for our latest Kitsap Sun Story Walk, at 1 p.m. Saturday at 1025 Burwell Street. Tours will be provided and the event is free. Be sure to RSVP.

Questions? Comments? Send them to me at

*The fifth story on the Beat Blast is unabashedly about whales.

Happy birthday, new Manette Bridge


The concrete span that connects Manette to West Bremerton turns five years old today. The $60.6 million span, completed after years of planning and construction, opened to much fanfare on Nov. 10, 2011.

I’ll often ask Bremertonians which bridge they prefer — that classic green steel truss or the far more functional new span? Closer to the new bridge’s opening, the vote was mixed. However, has time has wore on, the city’s residents increasingly prefer the new bridge. Particularly popular its wide pedestrian walkway. Walkers are crossing it constantly, taking in views of Bremerton and the Port Washington Narrows — especially on a sunny day.

Happy birthday, new Manette Bridge. You’ve got a long way to go to get to 81 years old, the age of the old one, but you’re on your way. Here’s some photos of the bridge over its first half decade.

Opening day. The outer railing on the bridge had not been completed.
Opening day. The outer railing on the bridge had not been completed.
The old bridge's truss comes down. The company that did the work recycled the old span. Yet some of its steel is still a fence in Manette.
The old bridge’s truss comes down. The company that did the work recycled the old span. Yet some of its steel is still a fence in Manette.
Bridge in fog.
The bridge's foundations.
From construction: The bridge’s foundations.
That's how far into the Narrows its foundations of steel and rebar go.
That’s how far into the Narrows its foundations of steel and rebar go. The massive tower on the left is completely underwater, where it will be for the test of time.


One more photo of the old bridge. If you have photos you'd like to add, send them to
One more photo of the old bridge. If you have photos you’d like to add, send them to

Apartments in the works in Bremerton

Spyglass Hill will open in early 2017.

Be it the possibility of property tax breaks or a chance to deliver on Bremerton’s thirst for housing, developers have pushed more than a handful of apartment projects through city hall in recent years. Some are more likely than others to materialize.

Here’s a list of those projects, what we know about them, and where they currently sit in the realm of possibilities.

Water, Wind & Sky
Water, Wind & Sky rendering

Water, Wind & Sky: This one’s new. City community development officials have received plans for a 110-unit complex off Lower Wheaton Way at Schley Boulevard, overlooking the Port Washington Narrows. Seattle Developer Mark Goldberg, who spearheaded the 400 Condos in downtown Bremerton, has been working on the project. There’s a city sign up about the project but it is merely at the start of the permitting process.

Spyglass Hill: Work is wrapping up  on the $15 million, 80-unit project on Highland Avenue (see photo at the top of the blog). It looks like the project, developed by Sound West Group, will open in late winter. Pre-renting has begun.

Fourth Street North.
Fourth Street North.

Fourth Street North: And speaking of Sound West Group — the Bremerton-based development company is also at work on Fourth Street, having purchased the Roxy Theater and two properties east of it (as well as others downtown). They received about $240,000 of federal grant funding from the City Council to install new facades on the dated buildings there. That work could begin soon. Once done, the developer plans 35 or so apartments to go with existing parking and two commercial spaces. (This is also the area where Quincy Square is proposed.)

Wheaton Way apartments underway.

The Wheaton Way Apartments: Work has already begun on the 160-unit complex off Broad Street in East Bremerton. The seven-acre property will be home to 10, three-story apartment buildings. In the future, Kitsap Transit plans to build its new transfer station between the development and Wheaton Way.

The 1010 apartments at Burwell Street and Warren Avenue.
The 1010 apartments at Burwell Street and Warren Avenue.

1010 Apartments: The Bremerton City Council recently decided to give Lorax Partners, the developers of the 25-unit complex, $210,000 to demolish the dilapidated row housing currently on the property. The federal money to do it won’t come until next year. But the project could get underway once that work is complete. Lorax is the same developer that built the Park Avenue Plaza and 71-unit 606 apartments.

Inhabit Bremerton.
Inhabit Bremerton.

Inhabit Bremerton: The 51-unit project by longtime Kitsap County resident and developer Dale Sperling is being built in blocks in China and will then be constructed at the site of the former Nite Shift Tavern and Evergreen Upholstery. I don’t have word yet for when the “modules,” as they are called, will arrive. But when they make it here, I am told putting them together on site will be quick.


Evergreen Pointe: The 104-unit complex would be built beside Evergreen-Rotary Park on Sheldon Boulevard. Goldberg pushed it through city permitting. I’ve talked to Kingston developer Trish Williams, who owns it now, and she’s hopeful to start construction soon but says there’s still some work to be done.

The 707.
The 707.

Smaller projects downtown: Last, but not least, there are some smaller commercial-retail projects going downtown. Chung’s Teriyaki, under construction near the Bremerton ferry terminal, will have three apartments atop it. And Sound West Group is doing one other project on Pacific: the 707, which is a renovated retail space and five apartments above. That project has cleared the city’s design review board.

The Towers.
The Towers.

The Towers: Last but not least, I will mention the Towers, which started as a condo development on Washington Avenue at Sixth Street. Goldberg also steered this one through permitting. It’s now owned by Absher Construction. I had been told of a plan to alter the development to include apartments, a restaurant and hotel. Absher paid more than $200,000 to bury power lines on the street as part of the Washington Avenue project.

Beat Blast: the youngest voter, an open shelter and a guardrail

The hive inside the Kitsap County elections office is indeed buzzing. More than 100,000 ballots have already been turned in en route to what officials expect to be a record breaking turnout on election night.

b0017207933-838105Learn more on this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, including:

The man who is one of two people who are voting on their 18th birthday today.

Efforts to open Kitsap County’s only year-round homeless shelter.

The city’s decision to pay more to get a guardrail on Tracyton Boulevard.

And finally, the new tenants inside the old motorcycle shop in Manette.

Don’t forget to watch the Kitsap Sun’s election coverage live tonight on the Sun’s Facebook page, starting at 8:30 p.m. PST.

Questions? Comments? Send me feedback at

Bremerton ‘holds very special place’ in Quincy Jones’ heart

City leaders got the go-ahead from Quincy Jones to create a public square in his name. Photo by Larry Steagall of Fourth Street, where the square is slated to go.

A critical hurdle city leaders faced in constructing a new public square to music icon Quincy Jones was getting the permission from Jones himself. 

And late this last month, Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent got word he approved.

“As I’m sure you know Bremerton holds a very special place in Mr. Jones’ heart and he is honored that the city has seen fit to recognize him with the dedication of this square,” Jones’ publicist, Arnold Robinson, told Lent in an email.

Lent had hoped Jones, who discovered his love of music while living in Bremerton as a child, could come here next May for some festivities, including the Armed Forces Day parade. He politely declined due to a scheduling conflict. But he offered his blessing, Lent said.

“We can move forward with  Quincy Square on Fourth,” Lent told me Thursday, adding they’ll approach Jones again if and when the project is finished. “Everyone’s excited.”

The concept, seen below, was developed by the “Fourth Street Action Group,” a gathering of community leaders for the past two years at Rice Fergus Miller architects. It’s a complete transformation of Fourth, between Pacific and Washington avenues, that includes piano key-inspired sidewalks. Designer Emily Russell is credited with introducing the idea to honor Jones.

The project is by no means a done deal and will cost about $4.8 million start to finish. I’ll keep you posted as we learn more about it.



Beat Blast: Federally-funded demolitions, ferry fisticuffs and a 3-story jungle gym

You needn’t be a kid to get a kick out of the new indoor playground at Ahoy Kitsap Playland, owner Rhonda Koh says. The massive jungle gym, which opens Friday, can be enjoyed by parents and their children alike.

You’ll get the full scoop on this week’s Bremerton Beat Blast, as well as:


What property downtown will soon be demolished with federal funds;


How urban beekeepers are helping to support the insect’s population;


Why Bremerton is not actually the most dangerous ferry in the state system despite recent reports;


The tough choice to be made regarding the Veneta Avenue Sequoia trees.

Questions or comments? Drop a line to

The buzz about bees in Bremerton

Long live the queen. She can be seen at the bottom of this photo.
Long live the queen. She can be seen at the bottom of this photo.

Marie Vilà started and ended her first year of beekeeping with a queen. The West Bremerton resident decided to join a growing number of urban Americans in trying her hand at raising her own colony.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Vilà said. “The whole buzz about bees — they’re in so much trouble right now. That resonated with me a lot.”

You’ve probably read stories about Colony collapse disorder and how insecticides are impacting wild bee populations. The good news is honey-producing bee populations appear to be stabilizing after a period of decline. And it may be people like Vilà that are helping make that happen.

But her first year included triumphs and tragedies. Her queen bee, capable of living years, survived. Sadly, her once-robust hive did not. Here’s what happened.

She started by taking a master bee-keeping class in the spring, aided by the West Sound Beekeepers Association. She bought what’s known as a langstroth style of hive and put it atop her carport. For about $120, she got a pound of bees from a California almond farm.

Her queen bee was separated from the hive so they can adjust to each other’s smells (and the hive does not revolt). Once ready, a cork keeping queen and the bees apart is replaced with a sugary marshmallow that’s eaten through. And voila — the hive is united.

Marie Vila.

Vilà said summer was amazing. The bees were abundant and the hive productive, growing to 50,000. She started noticing the pears of her garden, in particular, were growing spectacularly with their newfound pollinators. The bees were producing great volumes of honey, too, important to help the hive survive the winter.

Then, something happened: the bees began dying off. At first, Vilà assumed some of it was just natural — after all, bees don’t live too long. But fewer and fewer were left to protect their queen.

Until one day, all that was left was the queen.

Vilà suspects the bees were infected with a Varroa mite, an unfortunate but all too common cause of death. She did the only thing she could — bundled up her queen and whisked her to the West Sound Beekeeper’s Apiary.

“She was on her last legs,” Vilà said.

The queen is surviving there, she said. The queen can live with another hive, which can support her for now, though she must remain isolated from them for fear they would attack her. Queens can live up to a few years and Vilà’s hopeful that in spring, she can get new bees acclimated to her own queen again.

I’ll be sure to provide an update on Vilà’s efforts next spring, as she attempts to build a new hive with her tried and true queen.