Category Archives: Road Projects

The piano keys of Quincy Square


A cascade of oversized piano keys would run along the sidewalks of both sides of Fourth Street near Pacific Avenue, should plans for “Quincy Square” materialize.

As you may have read in my story in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun, a bunch of volunteers calling itself the “Fourth Street Action Group” has been meeting for about two years in an effort to revitalize a largely vacant section of the roadway between Washington and Pacific Avenues. I wanted you to have a chance to see for yourself the designs that have come out of those meetings, put together by Rice Fergus Miller Architects.

As you can see from above, the piano keys would serve to tell the story about how Jones, the icon, discovered his love of music after breaking into an armory one night in Bremerton about 70 years ago. There would be a square for concerts and other events and the roadway could be shut down to create a plaza around the square.

This project is by no means a slam dunk, however. The group, with the city as its advocate, will have to raise nearly $5 million to complete it.

And what about Quincy Jones himself? City officials have yet to talk with him about the plan and confirm he’d be willing to come to Bremerton for any kind of festivities surrounding the plaza project. Mayor Patty Lent has reached out to his staff, and has vowed to also contact federal judge Richard Jones, a half brother of the music icon based in Seattle.

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Another Bremerton beach house bites the dust


That little blue house perched under the Manette Bridge is soon to be demolished. 

The Bremerton City Council recently approved purchasing the home for $132,000, plus closing costs, and for the residence to be torn down.

It’s one of the few waterfront homes left. There was a day when the Bremerton waterfront was filled with such beach houses. They’ve been slowly disappearing over time. One particular day in 1990, eight of them were condemned by the city after one collapsed.

The reason you also don’t see many today is because state environmental regulations forbid building over Puget Sound. Only one now remains habitable on the Bremerton waterfront, which I wrote about last year.

The reason for the demolition this time around has to do with the city’s sewer system.

As part of the Washington Avenue project, an aging and problematic sewer line along the beach — between the boardwalk and Manette Bridge — will be closed down. Instead, sewer systems in houses along Washington Avenue now have “grinder” pumps, which pull sewage up into lines being constructed on Washington, rather than falling to the beach line below.

To install a grinder pump to the little home at 646 Washington would’ve cost around $40,000, Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin told the City Council. And in buying the house, the city will have a small slice of waterfront that could one day be developed.

“It could be beach access in the future,” Martin said.

The other reason the city bought it: officials said the house would give them something called “mitigation credits.” That’s a fancy way of saying that in the future, if there are objections to a city project for environmental reasons, the city could proceed with the project anyway because it mitigated environmental problems elsewhere.

Only Councilman Roy Runyon objected to the purchase, while the other six on the Council approved it. Runyon said he did not believe it was worth the city’s money.

UPDATE: Martin told me Friday that the home couldn’t be moved because it just wasn’t “economically viable.” Also, the city has condemned the yellow house that remains on the beach but there’s no timetable yet for demolition. The other beach house — soon the lone one left — will remain.


Farewell to Bremerton’s managing engineer

Gunnar Fredriksson explores Schley Canyon, off Lower Wheaton Way.
Gunnar Fredriksson explores Schley Canyon, off Lower Wheaton Way.

Gunnar Fredriksson has worked for the city of Bremerton for 17 years, rising to become its managing engineer for transportation. But an opportunity to work in Clark County and be closer to family has lured him south.

Fredriksson has managed the biggest of public works street projects in recent years, though he’s quick to give credit to those around him. He was hired here as a civil engineer primarily to take on the Gateway Project, which revamped the stretch of Burwell Street from the ferry terminal and snaked out all the way to Navy Yard Highway.

More recently, he was in charge of revamps of Pacific Avenue and Lower Wheaton Way, as well as numerous others.

Fredriksson, originally from Iceland, grew up as a “civil service brat” as his father worked between Naval stations on the island country, in Bermuda and in Adak, Alaska.

Mayor Patty Lent praised his accomplishments and said his void in the city will most certainly be felt. He called him “Mr. historian,” and said he possessed an invaluable institutional memory. She was also impressed with his zeal to improve the city.

“Anytime I needed something, he was always willing to take the work on, and it was always done with expertise and in a timely manner,” the mayor said.

Fredriksson said his love of the engineering projects he took on is simple.

“It’s fun being out there and watching something come out of the dirt,” he said.

In Clark County, he’ll be close to his brother, Jonas, who is a teacher in Battle Ground, and be construction manager for a department that completes around $25 million in road projects per year. He said he’s excited for the new opportunity but will miss Bremerton.

The road that divides Evergreen


Highland Avenue, which runs downtown from Sixth Street before snaking its way down and through Evergreen-Rotary Park, may soon get a lopping.

I snapped this picture (above) from the Warren Avenue Bridge this morning. It gives the perspective as to how Highland Avenue pretty much cuts the park in two, from its new addition on the left, to the old portion, on the right.  (You can see the beams of the Kitsap 9/11 memorial too.)

Under a plan proposed by city officials that I wrote about in the Kitsap Sun today, Highland would be taken out and truncated at 13th Street. Why? Because that little red building in the photo, a sewer pump station, is going away. An old sewer line running along the beach will be abandoned, replaced by one running under city streets (including Highland Avenue).

For more about the history of the park’s new half, click here.

Sound off: The car tab projects

As you may have seen in Monday’s Kitsap Sun, Bremerton officials are ramping up construction work by utilizing $900,000 or so in “Transportation Benefit District” money. That’s a wonky way of saying that $20 fee you pay on your car tabs each year to the city is getting spent.

Two roads — Trenton Avenue and Marine Drive — will get some repaving (at a cost of $475,000). But many streets throughout Manette will get something called a “chip seal,” where they lay down rock and a sealant in an effort to make the roads last longer. (That work is $178,000.)

Many roads in Bremerton are concrete, which chip sealing won’t help preserve, Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin told me. Still, even the work in Manette is an experiment, on roads that haven’t been repaired pretty much since they were laid down in the first place.

And, let’s not forget that the Lower Wheaton Way project will get $250,000 in its ongoing reconstruction between the Manette Bridge and Lebo Boulevard.

I wanted to provide a sound-off board for what you think of the choices the city made. Were the streets selected ones you’d have picked? If not, which warrant another look? It’s important to note that the car tab fees were intended to not let roads in “fair” or “average” condition get worse, not necessarily to fix the most awful of streets. But please feel free to fire away.


Graphic by Scripps newspapers.
Graphic by Scripps newspapers.