December developments on Poulsbo’s waterfront

Wow… does time truly fly! This is Scuttlebutt number 60, and the Port of Poulsbo is most appreciative to Sound Publishing and the North Kitsap Herald and its editorial staff for their support of our marina and the city’s waterfront park.

Marina redevelopment project

You may have noticed new arrivals along the south breakwater (yes, that creosote monstrosity). Visual evidence of the beginning of Marina renovation is reflected by five floating docks, the first of nine surplus donations from Seattle’s Elliott Bay Marina. Although the earliest major work is about a year away, by accepting these slightly used docks, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been saved. Replacement for the ancient, timbered breakwater will include the new Poulsbo Public Pier, planned as a 12-foot wide floating breakwater with picnic tables and toilet facilities.

The Port is especially fortunate to have John Piccone, P.E., as it new marina project manager. Mr. Picconne’s firm, Soundwest Engineer Associates, has undertaken the detailed aspects of the marina renovation program, and addressing the extensive list of necessary permits. He is also superintending the permitting of the new boat ramp, adjacent to the SEA Discovery Center, with its replacement long overdue.

2020 port budget

In recent weeks port commissioners have reviewed the budget for 2020. Although not with unanimous approval, the commission chose to avoid more than a modest 3 percent COLA rate increase next year for guest and permanent mooring rates, as well as large port tax increases for port district residents. Lively debate centered on funding for the marina redevelopment project, and substantial and predicted funding shortfalls over the next few years. As an example, borrowing $2.5 million dollars for the beginning stages of construction is expected to add over $130,000 annually to Port finance costs. A primary concern has been avoiding overpricing moorage rates at the marina, at least in comparison with Liberty Bay Marina and other regional marinas. Grants are still being vigorously investigated, and commissioner optimism appears to be running high. Stay tuned.

December events

Poulsbo’s Julefest will be celebrated on Saturday, Dec. 7. Julefest is held each year at the Sons of Norway. This fun, family-oriented community event includes Christmas music around the Christmas tree down on the waterfront, the Lucia Bride arrival by boat with her duty Viking escort, and Father Christmas and the Lucia Bride lighting the Christmas tree.

Check out Waterfront Park the following weekend, where on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m., the annual Tuba Christmas Spectacular will be performed at the Pavilion. Later that evening, the 50th Annual Lighted Boat Parade will get underway. Viking Brass, the Poulsbo Orchestra’s own brass ensemble, will play seasonal music for the parade, and hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

This year, the Lighted Boat Parade, hosted by the Port of Poulsbo and the Poulsbo Yacht Club, will be easily viewed from Waterfront Park after dark. Poulsbo Yacht Club boaters, along with many visiting boats, will sail to Keyport, Manzanita Bay, and the west side of Bainbridge Island through Agate Passage to the Suquamish Dock; and then return to Point Bolin, and on to Lemolo and the Poulsbo side of Liberty Bay. Shoreside spectators will again be treated to Santa’s calling out the names of children along the parade route.

Contact by email the PYC Santa at with any requests for Santa to wish your loved ones a merry Christmas. Messages for Santa with your names and locations are due by Dec. 12.

New harbormaster

After reviewing multiple applications for the Port of Poulsbo Marina’s harbormaster position, the commissioners voted to approve Melanie Winnett. She began her new duties about three months ago, and is getting great reviews. Melanie has served the port for almost ten years as assistant account and property manager, and has quickly proven her exceptional qualifications for “running the docks.” Welcome Aboard, Melanie.

New commissioner

As many know, there are three elected commissioners, with an election every two years. With one commissioner retiring after almost eight years, Mark Singer has stepped up to assist the Port over the next six years, and was elected earlier this month. Retiring in 1997 from the Navy as a chief warrant officer, and from Lockheed Martin missile production two years ago, Mr. Singer lives in Poulsbo and currently works for the Navy IG’s office at Bangor (SWFPAC). He has expressed his support for zero increases in Port moorage rates and citizen property taxes. Welcome Aboard, Mark.

Port quiz

In the last Scuttlebutt, another nautical term was presented, with no responses: “show your true colors.” This term is commonly associated with revealing a person’s true character.

Centuries ago, ships identified their home countries by displaying the respective national flag. However shifty pirates would sometimes fly the flag of another country. Once the “victim” ship was captured, the pirate ship would hoist its pirate flag… and “show its true colors.”

Here’s one that you may not know: “cup of joe.” So, what about this naval term’s nautical history? Send your best “guess” for this term to the port’s email address,

Stephen L. Swann is a Port of Poulsbo commissioner.