Down at the Port: New stuff is happening all around town

By Pete DeBoer

It’s the middle of April today, taxes are all done, the calendar says it is spring time, and they are predicting rain mixed with snow this evening. Last year it snowed on April 18. By the time you are reading this, all of that will be behind us and the real signs of the season will be apparent.

Down at the port, it has been an interesting time for us. With the sad and sudden passing of our port manager Mike Bookey, we have been left with an enormous void to fill. During this month, we will be hiring a new harbor master who will focus on the day to day operations of the port: the moorings, the guest dock, and land and grounds maintenance. This is no small task. We have a lot of well qualified candidates to choose from. Due to the present economic situation, we have actually received applications from as far away as Florida.

Of course, a lot of stuff going on requires attention beyond the property lines of the port and, for that matter, the boundaries of the port district. We are in the middle of administering a $3.5M federal grant to get a small water transit system up and running to offer commuter service to Seattle. We are talking to a couple of well qualified professionals and will select one to help us manage that project. I had a visit the other day from two of Senator Patty Murray’s top legislative aides. They came, directed by Senator Murray, to offer any help to see this project stays on track. It seems like people in the other Washington are starting to realize that little old Kingston is an important piece of the Pacific Northwest. If you want to, you could email the senator and thank her for keeping us in mind.

We still have a good deal of other projects in the pipeline. The long awaited kayak facility (those are familiar words) is nearing completion. I was in Port Gamble the other day to look at the “kit” that will be assembled on top of the barge for the shelter. It will be constructed using very attractive laminated lumber, metal fasteners and roofing. When it arrives here it will be a very attractive addition to our neighborhood.

Five or six local builders have been given bidding packages to get started on estimating the construction of our “Multi Use Recreation Facility” or, as I like to call it, The Performing Arts Stage. Compared to the length of time it took to get the permit for the kayak float — a couple of years — the MURF permit got processed in a matter of weeks. It will be a little tight, but we are hoping that all of the music and entertainment on the Fourth of July will be performed on this new addition to the park. By the time this is in print, we should have selected the builder and this project will be underway.

Someone asked me the other day about the hotel the port was going to build. I hadn’t heard that we were building a hotel. What has happened is that all of the projects that were pieces of the Port of Kingston’s Master Plan 2005 are nearly complete. That plan was developed by the port commission and a group of citizen volunteers who took data from surveys and applied their own vision to develop the projects that we are now completing. Now, we need to start once again looking towards the future of our community as it pertains to the port. Because of that we need to explore new ideas. We will be looking at, and listening to, concepts for the next phase of development. Just like the plan we are completing projects on now, the next master plan will contain projects likely to be completed in the next five to ten years. I hope that answers the hotel question.

There are a couple of pretty cool projects being done around town too. I can hardly wait for the Oak Table and the Theater in the Old Firehouse to open soon. After several years of waiting, we will finally have a great breakfast restaurant in Kingston. And who would have ever thought that we could go to a movie here. These guys have put a pretty neat complex together for our community.

And now of course, beginning with the first weekend of this month and continuing every Saturday throughout the summer and early fall, the Kingston Farmer’s Market will be providing you with fresh produce, great art work, yummy eating opportunities, entertainment and a terrific venue to get out and chat with your neighbors about all the happening around town.

Last month, due to the events that happened, I had left out the final (in this series) of KCN Nautical Terms of the Month. That too will push the creation of the crossword puzzle out one more month to June. I have been a little distracted with the business of the port and other things around town but here we are back in the groove and this month I have included several terms that come from a collection by Alan H. Hartley’s “Words That Have Made Their Way from Nautical Language into Everyday English.” If the ship finds a SAFE BERTH (safe anchorage), it can ride securely by its CABLE, the heavy rope used specifically for anchoring. If the crew lets nearly all the cable run out while anchoring, the rope will come to its BITTER END (1627||1849). (A “bitter” is a turn of the cable around the mooring bitts at the ship’s bow.) If the captain believes his anchored ship in imminent danger from the weather or an enemy, he may give the order to CUT AND RUN (1704||1861). There you have it. Now I have a puzzle to make. Look for it next month and I hope you jotted down all of the words and definitions going back two years to May 2007.

So, that’s about it for this month. I hope that you have found something informative or entertaining here. Thanks as always for reading this stuff and I will be seeing you someplace soon.

Pete DeBoer, Port of Kingston Commissioner, can be contacted at