Category Archives: Port Orchard Downtown

On Tuesday’s PO Council Agenda

Adoption of Resolution No. 020-10, Approving the Design Review Board’s Recommendation for Proposed Development at 710 Bay Street: Will the city council give the go ahead to the first development project to come through under the city’s new Downtown Overlay District plan? The plan was intended to promote tasteful development in the downtown core. The council last month got hung up on how Swenson’s plans would work with the marquee and needed a month to think about it.

Approval of Contract No. C044-10, Authorizing the Mayor to Execute Professional Services Agreement with Jones & Jones Architects and
Landscape Architects, Ltd., for the design of McCormick Village Park: Things are moving forward with planning for a planned 63.5 acre public park in the McCormick Woods/Sunnyslope area.

More on McWoods park … The McCormick Village Park Plan Subcommittee will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall

Also on the council’s agenda:
Amending Port Orchard Municipal Code Chapter 5.12 “Business Licenses” to Incorporate the Partnership with the Washington State Department of Licensing
Master License Service: By working with the state’s Department of Licensing, the city hopes to make the process of reapplying for a business license smoother and more efficient. Presumably a benefit to both the city and business owners. I will check on that.

Delilah’s Hoochie Wear Not Closing

By the look of signs in the windows of Delilah’s Hoochie Wear clothing store in Port Orchard, you’d think the place was closing. Not true.

According to South Kitsap’s local radio celebrity and Bay Street entrepreneur, the deep discounts and placards saying “everything must go” refer to the winter line of clothing soon to be replaced by brighter togs. But first a major renovation of the building owned by Seattle investor and microbiologist Mansour Samadpour. The building at 809 Bay was seriously damaged in the Nisqually Earthquake and replacement of the back wall, which is being held up with cinder blocks.

Renovation of the building, which was to have started the first week of February, was delayed. But it will begin soon, lasting a couple weeks, during which time the store will be closed. Spring and summer wear is still in boxes. Delilah & company have been working with noted designers, she said. Response to the store has been “very, very good.”

My thoughts: And you thought South Kitsap wouldn’t take well to a wardrobe makeover.

Profits from the store go toward Delilah’s nonprofit Point Hope.

PO’s Plans to Become an Urban Center Would be Selling “Your Political Soul to the Devil,” KAPO REP Says

Funding for which the city would become eligible come with to many “strings,” critics say.
By Chris Henry
Members of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners and other community members on Tuesday raised a chorus of warning against a proposal by the City of Port Orchard to seek designation as an Urban Growth Center through the Puget Sound Regional Council.
Port Orchard would seek the designation as part of its yet-to-be-approved comprehensive plan update, set to come before the council Dec. 22.
Becoming an urban growth center would entitle the city to a first crack at state and federal funding for transportation and infrastructure overseen by the PSRC, said Development Director James Weaver at a public hearing on the comp plan update. The change in status would put Port Orchard in a league with Bremerton and Silverdale when it comes to accessing certain transportation funds, he said.
The city could still apply for other federal and state funds and grants even if it does not become an urban growth center. The process is highly competitive and would take about three years, Weaver said. The Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council would have to give its blessing before the matter would move on to the PSRC.
Port Orchard is eligible to apply for the designation since its population grew to more than 10,000 in 2009. Annexations, including the McCormick Woods development, raised the population from 8,420 to 10,836.
As part of its comp plan update, the city shows future plans to develop its downtown area as a transportation hub. Key to this is construction of a parking garage and retail complex known as the Port Orchard Town Center Revitalization Project . The estimated cost of the project is $36.6 million.
The city will likely proceed with the transportation hub plan, even if it doesn’t become an urban growth center, but funding administered through the PSRC represents a significant source of money for this and other capital projects on Port Orchard’s horizon.
But those who testified about the proposal said seeking the title of urban growth center would make the city beholden to the PSRC, a regional body made up of representatives from a four-county area, including King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Critics cited goals of the PSRC’s Vision 2040 as having the potential to dictate quality of life in South Kitsap.
“Make no mistake,” said KAPO’s Executive Director Vivian Henderson. “Once you get tangled up in the strings attached to PSRC grants, you have sold your political soul to the devil.”
“I would suggest you resist this siren song and, instead, consider helping Kitsap leave the PSRC in 2012,” said Silverdale resident and KAPO member Bob Benze.
“To me the PSRC is trying to change what our community is all about,” said Port Orchard resident Gerry Harmon. “If you don’t jump through their hoops, you’re not going to get the money. Everything we do will be to get those funds. Those funds will only come when we are running through those hoops.”
Mayor Lary Coppola asked Weaver to clarify requirements of being an urban growth center. Weaver said, as far as Port Orchard’s comp plan is concerned, the PSRC would be able to comment on it, as they have in the past. But the designation would give the PSRC no additional authority to dictate details of comp plan regulations.
After the meeting, Coppola, who has written blog posts critical of Vision 2040, said, “I heard all the people who spoke about it (the proposal) loud and clear last night, and I understand their fear, but this is a council decision. This is not my decision, and I think there’s pros and cons on both sides of it.”

Chang’s Chain Parking Ban Approved by PO Council

Re-parking on the same street to avoid a fine will no longer enable a driver to avoid a fine.
By Chris Henry
With a 5-to-2 vote, the Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance prohibiting “chain parking” — re-parking a car to avoid a fine — downtown.
Councilman Fred Chang was the main proponent of the measure. Chang, a downtown resident himself, said he has spoken with several merchants who have complained about other merchants parking in front of their own or others’ businesses and moving their cars to other prime spots throughout the day.
Those spots should be reserved for people doing business and not the merchants, who have the option of buying discounted passes for nonprime spaces, Chang said.
“It’s too bad that we have to legislate common sense,” he said.
The new ordinance makes it illegal to move and re-park any vehicle within two blocks of the original parking space on Bay Street from Sidney Parkway, the road that runs between Kitsap Bank’s main building and its drive-through, to Harrison Street. The ban also applies on Sidney Avenue from Prospect Street to the waterfront and on Frederick Avenue, from Prospect to the waterfront. A block is defined as “a city street or alley section located between consecutive intersections.”
There is a two-hour limit on downtown parking spaces. After two hours, the car must be moved outside the blocks of the ordinance.
Voting against the measure, for opposite reasons, were Councilmen Jerry Childs and Rob Putaansuu.
Childs, also a downtown resident, said he doesn’t believe the problem is that bad. Summer, the most difficult season for parking, is over, Childs said. He’d like to revisit the issue next spring.
“I’m always in favor of less regulation rather than more regulation,” he said.
Putaansuu favors the new parking rule but said he thinks it doesn’t go far enough.
“I like the idea,” he said. “What I have a problem with is having a special set of rules for one area. I think it should be citywide.”
The Kitsap County courthouse, for example, is notorious for its parking problems, Putaansuu said. And City Hall, which is not affected by the ordinance, can also become congested at times.
Chang said he, too, recognizes the need for citywide regulations, but he wanted to address the worst areas first.
“It would be ideal to address the whole city,” Chang said. “I thought that this would be a good small step.”
Also voting in favor of the ordinance were council members Carolyn Powers, John Clauson, Fred Olin and Jim Colebank.

Port Orchard to Defer Application for Section 108 HUD Loan

Port Orchard’s plan to build a Town Center Revitalization Project is one of three proposals recommended by the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council to apply for federal Section 108 loan funding through the county’s Community Development Block Grant Program.

Section 108 loans are aimed to benefit low- and moderate-income people and help eliminate “slum and blight.”

The city seeks $2 million that would be used toward the purchase of property for the parking garage-library-community center complex. The total estimated cost is $36.6 million.

A financial analysis of the applicants has been completed and the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners is set to vote Monday on a resolution endorsing the applications.

Port Orchard, however, will defer making its loan application until it has completed a more thorough financial analysis, funds for which will be in the city’s 2010 budget, said Development Director James Weaver.

The deadline to apply for the loan is September of next year.

Other entities that will likely have a vested interest in the Town Center project include Kitsap Regional Library, Kitsap Transit and the Port of Bremerton, documents from the city indicate.

Other projects recommended by the KRCC to apply for the loan include Kitsap County Silverdale Campus YMCA, for $1 million, and Westbury Inc., an airport barricade company seeking to locate in North Kitsap, for $2 million. The YMCA will provide 74 new jobs in Kitsap County, 75 percent of which will be entry-level. Woodbury promises to bring 100 new jobs to the county, some in manufacturing, some in sales.

Read more about the Section 108 loan process in Kitsap shortly at

PO Council to Revisit EDAW, Kasprisin Plans

Development criteria for library site pitched at recent work study meeting.
By Chris Henry
As part of its planning for the future of Port Orchard’s Library, the City of Port Orchard will revisit two earlier development plans, the EDAW economic development plan of 2004 and the Kasprisin waterfront redevelopment plan of 1983.
The library isn’t going anywhere soon, but someday it could move to a proposed development on Prospect Street slated for a parking garage, retail shops and community complex. When and if that happens, the City of Port Orchard may surplus the current library property or enter into a public/private partnership to redevelop the library site.
Two downtown business owners, Amy Igloi-Matsuno and Mallory Jackson, have expressed interest in the site. Igloi-Matsuno has said she is open to a public-private partnership. Jackson is not.
The city’s public property committee has made a list of criteria prospective developers would have to meet to ensure that any use of the site is favorable to the city as a whole. The city council reviewed the list at a Sept. 15 work study meeting, and they agreed to reconsider aspects of the two development plans as part of their planning for the city’s future.
Port Orchard in 1983 commissioned a waterfront revitalization plan by architect and urban planner Ronald J. Kasprisin. In 2004, the city competed a grant funded economic development study by the EDAW urban planning group of Seattle. The council agreed elements of both plans could be integrated into an updated vision for the city, as they address the library site issue.
Topping the list of development criteria is a requirement to provide for relocation of the library. If a permanent site were not immediately available, any proposal would have to provide a leased site for at least five years at no additional cost to the library.
Beyond that, criteria address the council’s concern for the qualifications and financial solvency of the development team. Minutes of the Aug. 13 public property committee, at which the criteria were discussed, show Councilman Fred Olin “did not want to see the building go to someone who would sit on it and not develop the property.” Other members of the committee agreed.
Prospective developers would have to show and adhere to a timeline for completion of the project, as well as provide the city up front with a financial feasibility plan. Any plan would have to show “serious” consideration of site constraints, including the likelihood that parking would have to be provided off-site.
Kitsap Transit, whose Port Orchard office is now within the library building, would also need to be accommodated. The city would have to obtain a fair market price for the parcel, which is currently valued at nearly $395,000.
City council members at the work study discussed the possibility of expanding the proposed development criteria to all of downtown. They agreed to review the Kasprisin and EDAW plans and revisit the issue at their work study meeting in October.

PO Mayor Convenes Stakeholders Group

Parking is the major issue in downtown, merchants say.
By Chris Henry
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola has convened an ad hoc group of downtown business and property owners to “express their concerns and frustrations, and discuss what they believe the city can do to address their issues.”
Coppola said he tapped prospective members he believes represent a cross-section of downtown interests.
In an e-mail to city council members, he added, “I have made it very clear to the folks I’ve talked to that this is to be positive and
solution-oriented — not just an opportunity to complain.”
That won’t be a problems with at least one group member.
“I think it’s really good that Lary is getting involved and asking what he can do to help us,” said Liana Laughlin, owner of That’s Beautiful bead and jewelry shop. “I haven’t really had a problem with the city itself. I think the people involved are really trying to help the businesses.”
Laughlin said if anything it’s the merchants who needs to do a better job of working together to support each other. For example, she said, they should coordinate hours of operation, especially during special events.
Group member Mallory Jackson, owner of Custom Picture Framing on Bay Street, has challenged the city in the past on parking related to downtown festivals. Parking remains an issue, she said. In addition, Jackson believes the city should support a variety of businesses, not only those that profit from special event traffic.
“I’m not a business that thrives on the festivals and events,” Jackson said.
“As a matter of fact, the closure of the road and the parking has really hurt me over this past year.”
Group member Darryl Baldwin, owner of Moondogs, Too and president of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association, said parking is the pivotal issue in downtown. He supports Jackson’s position but says, as long as the parking is addressed, there should be more, not fewer special events to “give people a reason to come downtown.”
“Each of these events supports different merchants with different products,” Baldwin said. “But as a whole, all the merchants benefit.”
Other members of the group include Van Vlist of Dick Vlist Motors, Judy Eagelson of the Mentor Company, John Reddy of Puget Sound Wine Cellar, Amy Igloi-Matsuno of Amy’s on the Bay and Rudy Swenson of Rings and Things.

Friday Afternoon Club: Cedar Cove to Pirate’s Den, Will the Real Port Orchard Please Stand Up?

Port Orchard, which recently portrayed the fictional town of Cedar Cove, will undergo another transformation Saturday and Sunday, with its Murder Mystery Weekend.
Landlubbers and pirates alike will follow clues throughout the weekend to discover who killed Capt. Zeke Black.
The B.O.O.M. (Brotherhood of Oceanic Mercenaries) Pirates will invade the waterfront area in Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual event, filling the air with sea shanties, cannon fire and the sounds of other buccaneering business.
Here’s a look at last year’s event:

Besides the questioning of suspects and hunting for clues, highlights include a “Landlubber Dinghy Derby Race,” pirate ball, Fight-A-Pirate swordplay, costume contests and Pirate Ball.
Information: (360) 876-3505,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday: Obtain clue packets (fees listed on chamber Web site).
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: Marketfaire, Fight-a-Pirate Lessons, children’s activities.
11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday: B.O.O.M. Pirates Cannon Show.
12:30 p.m. Saturday: Landlubber Dinghy Derby Race
1 p.m. Saturday: Adult costume contest.
1:30 p.m. Saturday: B.O.O.M. Pirates Stunt Show.
2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: “Goonies” at Historic Orchard Theatre, 822 Bay St.; (360) 895-0564
4 p.m. Saturday: “The Coroner’s Report”
6 p.m. Saturday: Pirate’s Ball, Moondogs, Too, 714 Bay St.; (360) 895-2300.
9 to 11 a.m. Sunday: VFW pancake breakfast, waterfront gazebo.
11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday: B.O.O.M. Pirates Cannon Show
Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday: Obtain clue packets.
Noon Sunday: Pirates Stunt Show.
12:30 p.m.: Kids and pets costume contest.
4 p.m. Sunday: The mystery is solved.

Paint the Town: The Day After

7 p.m. Monday: I added the video. CTH

The morning after the marathon “Paint the Town” event in downtown Port Orchard, most people had kind words for the extreme makeover visited on Bay Street by resident radio personality Delilah Rene Luke and a small army of volunteers.

Delilah, footing the bill for most of the supplies, played Fairy Godmother to Port Orchard’s Cinderella. “Paint the Town” anticipates Cedar Cove Days, Aug. 26 through 30, to celebrate Port Orchard’s other celebrity, best-selling author Debbie Macomber. Port Orchard is the real-life town on which her fictional Cedar Cove series is based.

Delilah, who had earlier pronounced the town “butt ugly,” pulled the painting party together with help and significant donations of time and materials from local contractors and other businesses. Also helping coordinate the event was the City of Port Orchard, which helped with publicity, handled the street closure and orchestrated the placement of dumpsters and portable toilets before the event.

Many, including Mayor Lary Coppola, said it was high time Port Orchard got a face lift, considering the last coordinated effort to paint the downtown area took place about 20 years ago.

Paint the Town 1
Paint the Town 1

Prep work (and much of the painting) began early Saturday morning (with some contractors jumping the gun as early as 4:30 a.m. Thursday. Delilah was downtown Saturday, painting a mural, making last minute adjustments for the big day and popping ibuprofen. It was the first time I’ve ever seen her look tired.

Paint the Town 2
Paint the Town 2

Sunday, according to weekend reporter Brynn Grimley, volunteers were whipped into a painting frenzy despite the 90+ degree heat. About 90 percent of the work was completed by late Sunday evening.
This morning, the streets were quiet, the weather had cooled and the buildings were sporting new coats of celery green, sunshine yellow, morning mist (a mix of gray and blue) and butternut.
“This is just charming,” said Marcia Coyne, a longtime South Kitsap resident checking out the new paint job on the 800 block of Bay Street. “There was controversy about the colors, but it’s coming together really nicely.”
Ah, yes, the controversy.
Delilah, working with design consultant and local business owner Heather Cole, had the challenge of blending the bright colors Delilah favors — colors meant to reflect a beach or bay theme — with the previously existing color palette of Northwest greens, golds and reds chosen by the Bay Street Association of merchants a few years.
Some had serious doubts it could work. A flyer in the window of Custom Picture Framing, on the corner of Bay and Harrison, showed City Hall garishly painted in carnival colors. It read, “This is what City Hall would look like if Delilah was mayor.”
The business is closed Monday, so I didn’t have the chance to ask owner Mallory Jackson what she thought of the final effect.
One man walking around Bay Street Monday, who declined to give me his name or final appraisal until all the work is complete, said it looks “like an ice cream shop.”
But if there were outright nay sayers, they weren’t to be found. Everyone I talked to — and granted many shops are closed on Mondays so it’s pretty quiet downtown — said the paint job was a plus.
“I think it just looks clean,” said downtown resident Jessi Foster. “It looks as though Port Orchard has a facelift. It really needs it. And I thought it was nice to see the community come and put in their time for free.”

I’m interested to hear from the rest of you. What do you think of PO’s new look?

Slip 45 Slips Away

As reported on the Kitsap Entertainment blog, Slip 45 on Bay Street is closed for business. A one-line entry on their MySpace page confirms that the folks who were running the place have called it quits and “gone back to Cali.”

Slip 45 follows in the wake of  J.A. Michael’s and Mako’s as has-beens at that location.

The establishment’s owners opened just over a year ago, having poured more than $80,000 into rennovations and vowing to distance themselves from Mako’s unsavory reputation for bar brawls.

In March, a bar fight at Slip 45 sent a 40-year-old man to Harborview, but Port Orchard Police Sgt. Dale Schuster said over-serving did not appear to be a factor.

Darryl Baldwin, owner of Moondogs Too across the street, said he understood Slip 45 had changed hands in the course of the year. The new owner told him that the recession had taken its toll. April was an especially brutal month.

Cmdr. Geoffrey Marti of the POPD said he also believed but could not confirm that finances were the cause of the closure.

“They really tried to keep a good reputation,” said Baldwin.

Moondogs has struggled with the economy but is hanging in there, he said. “We’re doing actually pretty good,” he said.