Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Clallam County Dozen AKA How Many Broken Eggs Does It Take To Break Your Heart?

I'm sure I'm not the only one to have seen the recent "report" from Bill Greenwood, Executive Director of the Clallam County Economic Development Council, in which he trotted out a dozen "potential" new businesses that are "considering" coming to Clallam County.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the heavily qualified way most of these "potentials" were described. It was definitely a report heavy on the "ifs," "maybes," "could bes" and flat-out "it's not impossible thats."

Youthful go-getter Bill Greenwood delivers his report
 into the welcoming arms of...

Let's start by looking at Greenwood's Big Top Three...

Number One: "A company" that supposedly wants to "put a first-class hotel" close to the Black Ball Ferry landing. Kinda vague, especially given the decline in ferry traffic we've seen in the last decade, but...Let's try to look past that. Then, per the PDN, comes the killer: "But the firm needs a conference center nearby to survive the offseason, Greenwood said."

So, in other words, all the City has to do is pony up the money to build and maintain a sure-to-be-money-losing conference center, and Port Angeles can have a new hotel that will, at best, be at around 60% capacity for four or five months of the year (and lower the rest of the year).

Oh, and according to Nathan West with the City, "no hotel companies have approached city officials with an interest in coming to Port Angeles."

So Number One sounds incredibly iffy at the very best, and, even if it came through, would hardly be a game-changer downtown. The net effect would probably be fewer customers at existing motels/hotels, not any actual new customers coming through.

See also: Port Angeles now has no air carrier.

Number Two: A Lynnwood medical technology firm is considering relocating to either Clallam County or the Tri-Cities area. Again, "considering" is a very qualified phrase, and we know there's at least one other area in the running.

So what's the potential deal breaker? According to Bill Greenwood, "They are worried about what they can find in terms of local employees." Uh oh.

See also: The dismal graduation rates in Port Angeles; the shockingly high rates of opiate abuse in Clallam County.

Number Three: A bottler - of some kind - who is supposedly interested in opening a facility in Forks. It's kind of confusing as to what they actually bottle, since Greenwood mentions both fracking and bottled water, so...But either way, Forks, is a long, long, long way from anywhere, which means super high shipping costs and other associated expenses. And, frankly, if they're talking about 50 jobs, it probably means 35-40, and that's still a smaller number than the number of people who have been laid off from mills closing in the last several months. So, best case scenario (even if this particular long-shot comes in) is a slight ebbing of the highly degraded status quo.

See also: Damn, Forks is in the middle of nowhere - and Clallam County has a real opiate abuse problem.

Man, the water in Forks is just so fracking good!

And these are the Big Three that Greenwood and the EDC are trying to pimp to the community. (See more examples below.) Long-shots and pipe dreams, some built on the same kind of outrageous expenditure of limited government funds that helped get Clallam County into such a mess in the first place.

This doesn't sound very promising to me. This hardly seems like a roadmap to success. This looks like someone who trolled some offices in Olympia, found some business that are potentially on the move, and said, "Hey, maybe it's us!"

I don't think so. But I'd love to hear what others have to say about this EDC report.

Some further highly qualified samples from the report:

A "boat builder company" has "been asked to consider locating on 19 acres of Port of Port Angeles property." (See also this blog's recent post, "Putting the Poor in Port." Maybe if we only charge $200 a month for those 19 acres...)

Another "boat builder" has been "asked to consider 10-25 acres of Port property. Perhaps needless to say, Port officials have not heard back from either company.

A "confectionery producer" who would only employ 20 people would, in theory, for some reason, spend $20 million dollars on a facility. In the middle of nowhere. With a drug-addled workforce. Sure.

A "furniture manufacturer" is "evaluating the state of Washington" for a manufacturing facility. And if you think it's expensive getting confectionery ingredients in, and finished products out, just imagine the cost of doing that with large pieces of furniture.


  1. Greenwood is the most promising star on the horizon. However, his efforts will be thwarted by Commissioner McEntire who almost refuses to allow new businesses to come to the area. When the discussion of "Retention" or "Recruitment" came up at a recent EDC meeting McEntire said, "we have to be careful about bringing new companies to town--they will be going after your employees. You'll have to pay more and maybe even provide benefits."
    Naturally McEntire is too smart to actively veto a company's planned move to the area but we all know a nod and a wink can get things done or prevent things from being done. Now McEntire wants to put a half million dollars from the county's Opportunity Fund into the coffers of his new and improved Economic Development Council. Now that he has taken it over he can use this half million dollars to further his personal political goals. McEntire is still of the belief that timber is our salvation OR he is paying lip service to the timber interests who make up an inordinate number of members of the EDC. As long as he keeps the timber barons happy and keeps taxpayer money flowing into his new and improved EDC hell he can run for governor--on our dime.

    1. "Greenwood is the most promising star on the horizon"???

      He looks like he's 90 years old, and he's trotting out dead wood ideas, and the people receiving those ideas don't look too happy about it all...And you say he's the "most promising star on the horizon"???

      Oh, that's right. Pot is legal now. Gotcha.

    2. Fear not Clallam citizens!

      Though none of these businesses may actually move forward with relocating to Clallam County, Mr Greenwood and those who continue to fund the new and improved EDC, will bring forth a new, and improved listing of other potential businesses within 6 months!

      Have faith people.

      Just think, the possibilities are endless!

      Believe in the power of the EDC.


      OK, when I snap my fingers, you'll wake up feeling refreshed and happy.

    3. Yes, that's about all we can look forward to: a new and improved listing. No results, but here are some more highly unlikely possibilities!

      The same untalented people keep pretending to try and build something on the same lousy, rotten, shaky foundation that they all spent years laying down. I guess it cons some money or prestige or something out of those who don't know better, but everyone I know locally knows this is a piss poor smoke and mirrors show. We've seen it before, and we know how it ends.

      And yet, and yet...We the people keep reelecting these same fools and conmen time and time again. We are living the life here that we have asked for. We have the leaders we chose. I think it shows that, collectively, Clallam County residents have some sort of death wish or suicidal tendencies.

    4. We want to BELIEVE. We want all the problems those newcomers talk about to just GO AWAY. Anyone who tells us it will all just go back to the way things used to be, we'll vote for.

  2. As has been said many times before, credible businesses do their research , FIRST, before spending their time and money relocating.

    America spends a lot of it's time trying to convince itself of really crazy things. You know, if you just ignore reality long enough, and keep chanting nonsense, maybe it will come true.

    "Another great day to do business in Port Angeles".

    1. I'm guessing from your comment that you do not, in fact, consider Cherie Kidd's unending, child-like enthusiasm to be an actual way to induce businesses to come to Port Angeles?

      But what are facts, if not things to be ignored?

  3. I LOVE the brutally honest language Greenwood and West use to describe the conditions here: "survive," "worried," etc. Man, give them points for honesty, but, it sure isn't going to help sway anyone into investing a single dime here. There are plenty of places with fewer worries, and with a higher chance of surviving. Why would anyone ever come here?

  4. Pat Downie will, no doubt, be greatly excited by someone else calling for a conference center. Those of us with cooler heads and who are more grounded in reality will instead simply be worried about our city potentially taking on the task, and expense, of building such a monstrous white elephant. We can't afford it, and don't need it, no matter how much Pat or some hypothetical hotel builder say otherwise.

  5. People really should remind these folks, and others, about HarborWorks.

    Maybe Greenwood and West want a "do-over"? The millions spent to research, identify, court and entice developers for residential, commercial, institutional and industrial projects ALL rejected Port Angeles. For a waterfront property.

    Okay, granted, Cutler had already made it ever more attractive by putting his 5 million gallon Tank o Turds there. What smart developer doing their market research couldn't see past that?

    Then, NOAA, looking to locate new facilities in a PNW waterfront community, did their comparative research, as well. They, unlike the others, at least told us what the problem is " No quality of life" for it's employees, if they moved here.

    ( I'm sure the mention of "fracking" will get 'em coming here in droves!)

    Same with the Olympic Medical Center, who recently commented on the difficulties they had in enticing professions to move here.

    But, what do any of those people know? To hell with real market reactions. Greenwood and West REALLY know what's going on.

    1. NOAA picked Newport, Oregon over Port Angeles, and yes, cited the lack of quality of life in PA as a factor. If you've ever been to Newport, you can see that the choice wouldn't have been difficult. Newport, while no New York, is a MUCH more attractive, alive and charming town. And it's closer to Portland than PA is to Seattle, which facilitates those weekend trips to a real city.

      Poor Port Angeles. Always a bridesmaid, but never a bride, growing (or should I say shrinking?) into being a lonely old maid of a town.

    2. We must never forget Harbor(Doesn't)Works. The only person to benefit from that seems to have been Jeff Lincoln. Too many of the people who arranged that giant boondoggle are still making decisions here.

  6. That photo is a classic! It's incredibly rich in subtext. So many folded arms, so many frozen faces.

    1. "Where's our bribe money, new kid?"

    2. New kid? From the photo, I'd say the Greenwood is at least 45 - in Clallam County years, that is.

  7. Does Bill Greenwood get paid for this? I mean, does he have to actually deliver anything concrete, or can he just blow smoke and cruise along? This list seems pretty woefully unlikely to happen in Clallam County, right now, or in the foreseeable future. Will anyone have the courage to say this, other than the people on this blog?

    1. "Courage"? It doesn't take much courage to post anonymously on a blog managed by somebody wearing a mask. Despite that, sometimes there ARE some interesting and thougthful comments here...

  8. He not only gets paid, but wants to hire additional staff to handle this workload of potential incoming business. AND, he is courting several local businesses for funding, including businesses that dropped the EDC due to not having any identifiable deliverables for the money they were contributing. I'm still skeptical that anything is going to change, it will just cost us more now.

  9. I love how the offical report hosted on Issuu is basically impossible to copy and paste text from.

    Anyways, from the report about the bottling/fracking company it says:

    "A highly successful Water Remediation Company based in Gig Harbor, WA that seeks to create a bottled water facility in Forks in early December."

    And the PDN says:

    "The company works with oil and natural gas companies in the West and South who do fracking — the process of injecting liquid underground at high pressure to open fissures and extract oil and natural gas."

    So they work with companies that pollute local water supplies with fracking by trucking in clean water to those communities. Sounds like a great scam.

    It may sound silly to be trucking water all the way from Forks but I bet they think they can get a great deal on a water rights from an extremely poor rural community. At this point they are likely shopping around to see which local government will give them the best deal and incentives.

    Fresh, clean water is quickly becoming the new oil. Veolia is already managing the water treatment plant on the Elwha and Nippon has a huge water right to it. I expect that they'll try to start selling water from our newly restored river when the paper mill finally goes under.

    1. Yes, Google Veolia, and see who will be buying out Port Angeles' water rights in the near future. Check out their trail of deceit and destruction and lots and lots of lawsuits. If you think things are bad in Port Angeles now, wait until Veolia well and truly latches on.

    2. But, despite what everyone seems to think, there really isn't any water out west. Really.

      Check out the potable water situation in Sekiu/Clallam Bay. By the end of the summer, water is not so plentiful.

      Something stinks with this story. Of course, consider the source.

  10. Sometimes it's too hard to keep up with the stupidity of PA, but I continue to try. Terrible middle class economy or any economy except for a "fixed" income economy or subsidized or old money. And yes, Government jobs and the few professionals. Middle class be damned. My gripe has never been about the ideas that do try and become heard, but the blatant sound of the door being slammed by the same people and personalities with clout around here. The companies that were mentioned above are "bottom of the barrel" companies seining for funds from a well known city of desperation. Companies do, yes they do their research before they even mention a move. And as advertised, get the results they need from a ever-so-hopeful and biased PDN about what a fantastic opportunity this would be "if only". ACTI is a known joke. The College recently put a flyer out about their composite program with a successful graduate of the 3/4 million dollar funded program at the college. He states he now works at Boeing for a great career wage. He worked for ACTI for a short time, just long enough for him to get the last advanced class in composite manufacturing, and then split for a job that would pay him more than the $11 an hour job he had at ACTI. (non-union). ACTI was touted as a facility that would produce wage earning jobs to this area at one time and was championed by then Governor Gregoire. Man was she duped, and us too. And even more so, why does the college think this is a local success story? That this person got some basic training, worked at a crappy wage here, then split? At the cost of Washington taxpayers as well. Washington supports the education of ambitious young people learning a trade...but in Port Angeles that job must be in Seattle or where the "wage earning" jobs are. The exodus and final joke is on this program with sheep's wool pulled over the eyes of Olympia thinking ACTI would actually pay these people a decent wage. Fear is only reality imagined. So why in this town is reality just plain fear?

    1. Great comment, whoever you are. Thank you.

    2. An anti-union, worker-exploiting sweatshop that pays just over minimum wage. And that's what counts as a raging business success story in Clallam County. As an indicator species of business, ACTI can tell us quite a lot, it seems.

  11. This is window dressing for the real deal. County Commissioner Jim McIntire wants to move up the political food chain. He survived a stint as commissioner at the port of port angeles without any heavy lifting. Cannot find anything he did during this time except bring us the Harbor Works fiasco. Now he is a county commissioner and holds the purse strings to the county" Opportunity Fund." this is a multi million dollar batch of money collected as sales tax in the county. The county sends it to the state and the state sends it back to "depressed" counties. Most of the counties are considered depressed. Anyway, McIntire will use the economic development council as a committee-to-keep-electing-mcintire-to something. There is much less scrutiny at the edc and mcintier has just run the table at edc by getting rid of any other elected officials who may feel beholden to their own constituency. He has also rewritten the bylaws by which the edc will operate. Oh, BTW he can now suspend the bylaws on a whim and act as a one man show.
    Forget anything coming out of the edc. Now only timber barons and other greed heads will "serve" on the edc. I fear Greenwood is a dupe.