Monthly Archives: December 2014

Port earns award for financial reporting

20090306-185025-pic-696649550_5668230_ver1.0_640_480The Port of Bremerton was awarded its fourth consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, an award that recognizes the agency’s effort to “clearly communicate its financial story to its users.”

The certificate is awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association.

“The Port of Bremerton has gone above and beyond the basic financial reporting requirements to produce a quality report of their financial position,” said association board member Ade Ariwoola, who presented the certificate at a port commission meetingTuesday.

“The citizens and users that the port of bremerton serves should be proud of the commitment and dedication of the finance department staff, chief executive officer, and commissioners who contributed to this report.”

The port’s financial reporting efforts are led by CFO Becky Swanson, overseen by CEO Jim Rothlin. You can find more information on port finances here.

General Dynamics celebrates opening

unnamedPost by Ed Friedrich

Congressman Derek Kilmer, Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder and Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent jokingly jockeyed during General Dynamics’ ribbon-cutting Tuesday evening over who gets to help the new aircraft carrier guys.

“We want to lay out the welcome mat and for you to keep us on your speed dial,” Kilmer said in the renovated second floor of the Dimension 4 building at Fifth and Pacific, soon to be the General Dynamics building when the new sign goes up.

“If there’s anything Congressman Kilmer can’t give you on a local basis, we can,” Lent followed.

Gelder said the county also wants to team with General Dynamics, the Virginia-based outfit that under-bid Vigor for the next five years of non-nuclear maintenance, repair and alterations of aircraft carriers home-ported in and visiting Bremerton and Everett.

The first job will be Everett-based USS Nimitz, which will arrive at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in January for a 16-month maintenance period. The company, which will employ about 200 people here, has put together a “dream team” from Virginia transplants, retired military and PSNS workers, and former Vigor employees, said senior general manager Jeff Brooks, who flew in from Norfolk for the event.

“One of the most important things about being here is how Congressman Kilmer and the community have embraced us,” Brooks said. “People call us by our first names already. We’re partners. We want that partnership to last.”

Port Washington: The Kitsap city that almost was

I was bumbling through the county’s public records website the other day when an old plat map from 1890 caught my attention.

The plat was for a Kitsap County city called Port Washington: A city that doesn’t exist.

city.of.port.washingtonI was immediately fascinated (my editors might say “sidetracked”) by this mystery city. From a glance, it was clear the backers of this town had big ambitions.

The sheer number of lots seemed astounding. The plat showed several hundred tiny parcels squeezed into a 130-acre waterfront property. It was the kind of urban density that would make a modern planner proud.  Continue reading

Franciscan/MultiCare plan psychiatric hospital

Two Pierce County medical groups are teaming up on plans to build a 120-bed psychiatric hospital in Tacoma.

CHI Franciscan Health and MulticCare Health System (operator of Tacoma General Hospital) filed a certificate of need application with the state Department of Health Tuesday to build the proposed $41 million facility.

The two groups have created an independent nonprofit to operate the future hospital, according to a news release. The preferred location for the facility is MultiCare’s Allenmore Hospital campus.

Both Pierce County and the state are in dire need of more psychiatric beds. The need became more acute after the state Supreme Court ruled the practice of boarding psychiatric patients in hospital emergency departments was unlawful. The court was reviewing a Pierce County case involving CHI Franciscan and MultiCare.

Three other medical groups submitted letters of intent to the Department of Health this fall with proposals for Pierce County. CHI Franciscan and MultiCare were the first to file the certificate of need application needed to begin the official review process, according to department staff.

The full news release from CHI Franciscan and MultiCare is below: Continue reading

Kingston Ale House expands with café

10801870_368573759971265_8960782288107989163_nThe Main Street Ale House is a popular place for Kingston residents to unwind at the end of their day.

The new Main Street Café hopes to be the place they start their mornings.

The breakfast and lunch eatery celebrated its recent opening with a ribbon cutting Thursday. The Café is owned and managed by the same crew as the Ale House, and is located in a neighboring space on Highway 104.

Owner Darren Gurnee said customers seeking a simple and affordable breakfast can get their eggs, bacon, sausage and toast fix at the Café. The restaurant will also feature eggs benedict, corned beef hash, waffles and house-made muffins. A meatloaf sandwich is a highlight of the lunch menu, Gurnee said.

The Café and Ale House both offer discounts to people who bring in donations for the Kingston Food Bank, and a 10 percent discount to ferry workers.

“They work in difficult conditions created by both the weather and passengers on the ferry and deserve a break,” Gurnee said in an email.

The restaurants are also looking for artwork from local artists to hang, and will donate a portion of artwork sales to the Humane Society and cancer research.

The Main Street Café is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 11227 NE Highway 104 in downtown Kingston. See its Facebook page for updates.

Silverdale Lowe’s property sells for $14M

lowesThe Lowe’s Home Improvement property in Silverdale wasn’t on the market for long.

The 12.4-acre property and 220,000-square-foot building off Myhre Road went on the market over the summer. It sold at the end of September for $13.8 million, according to county documents.

The property was owned by Lowe’s through Waco Silverdale LLC. The buyer was listed as Broadway Tenth/Silverdale LLC., with a New York, NY taxpayer address.

The Lowe’s store itself isn’t going anywhere. The business has a lease on the property through 2028.

Change afoot at Port Orchard Public Market


Stores are expanding in the Port Orchard Public Market as the Bay Street commercial hub enters its first winter season.

Carter’s Chocolates has moved into a larger space, tripling its footprint, according to a news release. Carter’s is adding more items like fresh breads, pasta’s, pies and soup. The shop will also make outdoor seating and window service available in the spring and summer.

Sue’s Lavender & More is growing into the space vacated by Carter’s. Sue’s is adding a juice bar with new varieties of smoothies, blended juices, teas and more.

The changes will free up spaces for more vendors, according to the release. Email for more information and check the market’s Facebook page for more updates.


Kitsap home sales start holidays on a high note

The busy holiday season is a time when home sales typically taper off. Most buyers put off house hunting until the new year.

Sales have indeed dropped in Kitsap, but activity is still more intense than it was a year ago.

There were about 16 percent more closed sales and 5 percent more pending sales in November than in November 2013, according to a report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The high number of closed sales make sense, given the large number of pending sales reported in the last few months.

The median home price for the county remained pretty much flat, ending November at $245,000.

Inventory continued to drop. There were 1,086 active listings in November, compared with 1,262 in October, and 1,483 in November 2013.

The months supply of homes (the number of months it would take to sell off what’s available on the market) rose from 3.3 in October to 3.7 in November, reflecting the sales slowdown. King County’s rate, for comparison, was hovering around 2 months.

Bonds sought for Belfair senior housing

A company is seeking tax exempt bonds to help it buy and renovate two senior housing apartment complexes near in Belfair.

The properties are the Ashford House and Belfair House on Highway 3.

Preservation Portfolio Associates is seeking up to $3.5 million in revenue bonds through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to offset the $6 million cost of buying and rehabilitating the properties. A hearing on the proposed bond issuance will be held Dec. 18 in Seattle, according to a legal notice.

The two apartment complexes total 48 units. A portion of those homes will be set aside as low-income housing, according to the notice.

Documents shed some light on port controversy

There’s no need to devote much more copy to last week’s Port of Bremerton Commission controversy.

After talking to state officials this week it’s pretty clear there won’t be any formal inquiries into whether commissioners violated the Open Public Meetings  Act, outside of routine auditing.

Commission President Roger Zabinski has apologized for the way he brought his concerns to the table. The episode will probably blow over.

Before I leave this topic alone, however, I want to share a couple of documents and context I’ve collected over the last week, which shed some light on the issues Zabinski was initially trying to raise.

Zabinksi was concerned emails and phone calls made between Port CEO Jim Rothlin and commissioners outside of a public meeting constituted a “serial meeting,” which would violate the Open Public Meetings Act. It also appears the email from Rothlin and response from commissioners bordered on “polling,” which can violate the act.

First, here’s the Oct. 29 email sent by Rothlin to the commissioners asking whether they wanted to keep a tax levy increase in the 2015 budget.

Rothlin sent the email after a lengthy Oct. 28 preliminary budget workshop (see this story for more background).

Strakeljahn was the only commissioner who replied by email. Stokes had called Rothlin earlier in the day (prompting the email above). Zabinski called Rothlin after receiving the email.  Continue reading