Monday, June 8, 2015

Putting the "Bust" in "Robust"

Here's an excerpt from a letter to the editor today, from a very kind and generous gentleman from Chattanooga:

"Chattanooga will get a front page in Outside magazine more than likely. It will be featured; it's not the first time.

But this competition in the end is going to mean more to you than to us.

We're already robust and booming."

Notice that last line: "We're already robust and booming." Translation: Even with all the hype, and even with all those miles separating Port Angeles from Chattanooga, he can tell the town is not robust and booming.

Which, now that the dust has settled, and people who may have heard about Port Angeles for the first time have time to reflect, they'll probably wonder why, exactly, the town isn't booming. As this gentleman's letter points out, Port Angeles has "oceanfront" (and the Turd Tank), and "a national park in your backyard" (which we'd really, really like to log, please). Towns have made fortunes with less resources than that, yet, of the phrase "robust and booming," all Port Angeles has ever managed to extract is the "bust."

Why is that City Council? Why is that City Council candidates?

Why is that Chamber of Commerce? Why is that PABA/PADA/Revitalize?

And when they come, I'm sure it's a question that the folks from Outside will be asking themselves as well. Maybe the question will arise when they have to be driven in, since there's no airline serving Port Angeles. Maybe it will arise when they hit the crest on the way into town, and see that log yard and biomass tower. Maybe it will hit them when they find the rivers and creeks dry. Even if the question doesn't come up at any of those flash points of disappointment, it will be unavoidable once Cherie Kidd and/or Pat Downie open their mouths. (And you know they both will be in giddy, full-on flap their trap mode.)

The ONP. The Shoreline. Access to Victoria. Even the international Twilight craze. Decades of access to those desirable resources. Hundreds of thousands of people coming through town every year. And yet, the city hasn't been able to extract a single ounce of sustainable cool, energy, excitement, marketable identity or success from any of it. Why is that?

It's the classic Port Angeles question. But even after all the times it's been repeated, those in charge still pretend to have never heard it. "Nothing to see here, nothing to see. Keep moving, keep moving. It's another great day in Port Angeles! Move along!"


  1. It IS amazing how the local so-called leadership ignores virtually all the problems facing the town, and instead wastes it's time trying to bring even more people, when they can't do anything with all the millions that come through every year, as it is.

    Some how, the Revitalize folks and their supporters think the problems Port Angeles has is because of people who don't like what is going on in town. Residents or visitors, if you don't like Port Angeles, you're the problem.

    It is the messenger that is the problem, you see. Not the problem itself.

    Never mind that the streets and sidewalks are empty. The problem is that people point it out. If only people didn't point out that the streets, sidewalks and stores are empty, everything would be great in Port Angeles.

    1. You've identified the problem well. The problem is when people try to say there's a problem. Obviously if these naysayers would stop doing things like pointing out the obvious, then surely fortune and success will be ours.

      It's not unlike going to a restaurant, and being served something you didn't order, and having the staff tell you that it's your problem for having ordered the wrong thing. "But THIS is what we were going to make you. Why didn't you just order that in the first place?"

      If people want a dingy little shoreline community with few cultural amenities and too many "antique" shops, they have dozens of those to choose from in the PNW. So why doesn't Port Angeles, with the assets listed above, try for something a little different? That's the eternal question.

      I see two ways out of this dilemma. One is that we get enough new people moving here to drive change - any sort of change. That seems unlikely, given current conditions (who'd want to move here?) and the demographic reality that the population of Port Angeles has been shrinking, not growing, for a couple of decades now.

      The other way out is for the city to continue with business as usual, while the population gets old, dies, and/or continues to move away, until eventually Port Angeles shrinks enough to essentially die as a community. Given the longstanding economic, cultural and governmental malaise here, this seems the more likely of the two options.

      Or, to put it another way, if change is going to happen, it better happen fast. We've got one foot in the grave already.

    2. Well, and then there is the water issues. It is happening pretty fast, and although they are ignoring dealing with it now, come September, things will be very interesting around here, and they will have no choice but to do something. Different.

    3. "Do not go gentle into that goodnight--rage rage--against the coming night."

  2. I see that Laurel Black is still using a 20+ year old photo of herself as an avatar...I saw it by her comments on this letter at the PDN...Kind of pathetic, clinging to the past like that...Kind of like Port Angeles itself, waiting for the timber glory days to just "come back," or the glory fishing days to just "come back," or even the glory days of multiple ferries to Victoria to just "come back."

    You know, so many people here like to present themselves as real frontier types, rugged individuals (Go, Roughriders and all that crap)...But the reality is that as a town, Port Angeles is remarkably needy, passive and lazy. We wait for the next grant to fund us, or the next purported miracle to come along and save us...As a community, we show very little agency on our own behalf...

  3. Soon we will have the bypass going up Race Street to the new bridge and we can get them out of town faster without even seeing downtown. It works. City council has been planning this bypass for a long time. They even make head fakes to the downtown merchants to keep them ignorant of what's happening. I'm sure karen and her ilk have figured a way to profit from the redirection.

    1. Yes. The city has been working on the by-pass of down town for a long time now. Knowing that just being up front will create controversy and upset from the downtown businesses, they just quietly build it, in pieces.

      A year or so ago they did the Lauridsen Bridge upgrade, which was built to accommodate more traffic. Last week or so, the council approved millions to upgrade Race Street to accommodate more traffic. Next will be the intersection at Lauridsen and Lincoln.

      This is not conjecture. It is already underway.

      But, the people downtown think it is only about signs, and getting people to know downtown exists. They just can't see that thousands and millions are, and have been driving through Port Angeles for years. No one is interested in what they think is so fabulous, as is evidenced by the photos of the empty streets and sidewalks.

      The customer is always right. People vote with their wallets. There is no one downtown.

    2. While I agree that this so-called "truck bypass" has ben in the works for a long time, I can't really see how it's a conspiracy to do in downtown, even if such was a desired outcome. A truck bypass would be, I assume, primarily for semis, right, and they don't really stop downtown anyway, so...I don't really see it. But please do feel free to elaborate. Maybe I'm missing something.

    3. No the bypass is for all traffic. It would route people to not get anywhere near downtown and, in doing so, really lower property values (traffic, noise, increased traffic by the dream playground, civic field, and two elementary schools) with big trucks on city streets instead of the TUMWATER TRUCK ROUTE that was build for this purpose, specifically.

    4. Hey, thank Cutler, it was HIS IDEA. His legacy... I think he actually hated Port Angeles.

    5. @ Anon 11:13

      I don't think it is a conspiracy to do in downtown. I think that will happen as a result of the on-going lack of planning on the part of the city. The so-called planners in this town can't seem to think in big picture contexts. Everything is piecemeal.

      And, as it is, if you sit at the corner of Race and Front, you will see most traffic turns up Race street already. Even without the "improvements", people detour away from downtown.

      And, yes. Thank Cutler, once again. And the current dumbos that are blindly plodding ahead.

    6. I still want to know what "head fakes" are, please.

    7. In basketball, you have the ball, make a head-fake to act like you are about to do a jump shot, the defender jumps to block the shot, when he is on the way back down you do your jump shot.

  4. An idea. Why can't they propose this route with signage as "Alternate Truck Route"? The bypass will not stop the flow through "downtown" and continue to the Tumwater Route exit if trucks want to continue through the mud of downtown construction, etc...I don't think this is a bad idea as if I were a truck driver getting stuck in the mire through downtown to the Tumwater exit, I would rather bypass that mess and take Race up to Laurindsen to get back on the highway. And to the above comment, no this bypass is not for all traffic. Show me some verifiable info on that please. If that is truly the case...then yes, Oswald did shoot JFK. Or not.

    1. Right, see how many toddlers and old folk they can hit along the way...Race shouldn't be a 'raceway'. Right by the playground, Civic Field, and by two elementary schools. Brilliant routing, Dear.Mr. Cutler.

    2. @ Anon 5:06 Says:

      "And to the above comment, no this bypass is not for all traffic. Show me some verifiable info on that please."

      Not sure what you are saying. Is there going to be a gatekeeper of some sorts sitting at the corners of Race and Lauridsen on the east side of town, and Lincoln and Lauridsen on the west side of town, sorting traffic? " You look like a tourist, you have to continue straight. You look like a commercial vehicle, you have to take The By-pass around town"?

      Already, many people are turning up Race. Already, many turn onto Lauridsen. The work the city has been spending millions on, will only make that happen even more.

      And, if people need any more evidence of how travelers plan NOT to stop in Port Angeles, just sit on the corner of Lincoln and First.

      The majority of traffic coming into Port Angeles turns up Lincoln, on their way west. When the Coho docks, virtually ALL the vehicles getting off the ferry either turn left at First, and get out of town ASAP, or head up Lincoln, heading west.

      Travelers look at maps and GPS, and plan their routes. Obviously, coming TO Port Angeles isn't part of those plans.

      Get a clue.

      Or, is it the travelers that are the "problem"?

    3. It already is a Race, and old folk and kids already get hit. That stupid "merge" lane right by the park where all the drivers race to get ahead of the other people... Pedestrians have already been hit.

  5. From the PDN:

    "Jonah Ogles, an associate editor said writers and photographers will visit Chattanooga to visit local restaurants and outdoor offerings.

    No visits by writers are planned to Port Angeles, but a photographer may come to town.

    Ogles said the top 16 winners from each year — including all 10 competitors from the Facebook contests — are ineligible to compete again for three years.

    Port Angeles and Chattanooga will not be eligible for selection again until 2019, he said."

    So good, we won't have to face this foolishness again for a few years. And I'm sure the "article" will be really in-depth and true to the town, since they aren't even bothering to send a writer here. I guess they'll just reproduce part of a COC brochure and call it good.

    Meanwhile, over at Tom Harper's blame game headquarters, his own readers continue to take him to task, and to point out the very REAL problems facing Port Angeles:

    "Interestingly, while people in Port Angeles spend their time blaming Max Mania for their problems, the real problems continue to be ignored.

    Here in Port Angeles, our river is at all-time record lows in a big way, with no water a very real possibility for most of the county by the time school starts, and the daily paper has yet to even raise the issue."

    Thanks, CK, for being a voice of sense and honesty, especially on the water issue. If more people were really aware of how dire it is, there might be mobs in the streets.

    1. I thought Tom's readership moved to Texas....

    2. Can we please leave Tom to troll his own waters? Please?

    3. Per Anon 8:34 PM's first half...It says so much that the magazine likely won't even be bothering to send a photographer, yet alone a writer here. It really shows the depth (half an inch) and the breadth (another half an inch) of their knowledge about these towns they put out there in these stupid, stupid contests. They're all just names on a list somewhere, suckers to be baited and reeled in. "Wanna buy an ad anyone?" It's so obvious, yet the clueless yokels in charge here go into full Sally Field mode, saying "Oh, they like us! They really like us!"

      No. They don't even know us. They haven't been here, and they aren't coming here.

      The message to those of us with functioning brains is clear, but, sadly. I assume the message that will be taken away by people in the Chamber and City Hall will be that we can continue to misrepresent ourselves online and in ads, lure people into coming here ONCE, and just keep on keeping on.

      No thought for long-term growth, identity or prosperity. It's just the short term con, over and over again. But the problem with that is eventually you run out of suckers.

      And here we are again, back to pondering (or not) our empty, empty sidewalks downtown.

  6. It is so sad that people have enough time and energy to anonymously write such "in depth" articles and post such "intelligent" comments, but lack the interstitial fortitude to actually make a difference. This is because the authors and negative commenters on this site are ignorant and committed to negativity. They have nothing else in life to put energy into. Sad.

    1. I'll just say that you're making a LOT of assumptions with your comments. I have a hard time believing that A) Ignoring or not talking about problems makes them go away, or B) That you know what the people who read and post here are doing to make a difference, to be involved. But thanks for your comment.

    2. Does criticizing people for being negative count as negative criticism? Just wondering...

    3. I'm guessing this is the same troll that repeatedly tries to come in here and be the resident party pooper. I will respond as usual thanking CK for providing a well needed dose of REALITY to the situation. I would wager that just about all participants here do what they can do try to make it here, for a variety of reasons, or have already left and are now breathing a sigh of relief and this site validates that decision. You can't categorically state that nobody here is doing anything to make a difference - for all you know we ALL are, perhaps every day, but need to vent sometimes and know that we're not alone in this assessment of what's really going on around here. I appreciate the ability to be anonymous, unlike other sites like Port O Call, or those wingnut sites like Ripley's and Collins because although I do my part, I am one of the employed who cannot risk being identified because we all know the good ol' boy network around here punishes honesty. So we silently go about doing the best we can. If you don't like this site, stay the hell off.

    4. Of course, it is obvious you are just posting your comments with a positive intent, right? You take the time, and make the effort to write a post, and you do it to show everyone how opposed to non-constructive and negative commenting you are, right?

      Given that Revitalize Port Angeles has as it's basic operating tenet that anybody saying anything but glowing praise for how incredibly wonderful Port Angeles is, is to be thrown out of the group, it sounds like you are a devotee of this mindset. Maybe, instead of posting insults about people you know nothing about, who are researching and posting about very real and significant problems affecting our community, you might post YOUR constructive suggestions to these issues. What do you think the 19,000 residents of Port Angeles should do when the water runs out by September?

      I await your positive and constructive suggestions.

  7. Let's face it: It's easy - EASY - to say you're the best.

    But actually being the best? That takes work. And a willingness to take chances. And an openness to constructive criticism.

    And that is why Port Angeles will never, as things stand, actually be anything close to the best.

  8. Gee, no hacking. Well, DUH. All the techno morons here may think it's "hacking" to post comments, but it's not. Repeat not. What I am doing right here, right now? Not hacking. Posting comments.

    Got it PDN? Got know who?

  9. And, the water restrictions start..

    Port Angeles, WA – June 10, 2015 – The State Department of Ecology has directed the PUD #1of Clallam County (PUD) to implement a Stage 4 Water Shortage Alert for all water customers in the upper Fairview Water District. This alert is effective immediately.

    Mike Kitz, PUD’s Water and Wastewater System Superintendent, explains that a Stage 4 Water Shortage Alert requires mandatory restrictions on all outdoor water use. “No outdoor water shall be used except in an emergency situation,” says Kitz. In particular, this means no lawn/garden watering or vehicle washing.

    This alert affects 566 customers, all of which are being notified directly by the PUD. The upper Fairview Water District area includes all water services south of the Olympic Motorcycle Club on Deer Park Road and south of John Jacobs Road off of O’Brien Road.

  10. And, the Elwha is now down to 550 cfs! And still dropping.

  11. What does the Stage 4 alert PUD put out today mean to Port Angeles? After all, the city residents don't get their water from Morse Creek, so why should they care.

    Well, this alert, which forbids all outdoor water (forget that expensive landscaping, and those gardens, folks) uses, means the water is draining out of the upper slopes around Port Angeles. So much so that Morse Creek is on it's way to running dry, now. So is the entire watershed of the Olympic Peninsula.

    With this alert, those 500 plus properties get devalued. Short of some miracle, it is going to be a very long 4 months of dry weather for those properties.

    Yes, the PUD will likely figure out a way to link up it's systems to provide water from a different source to the Upper Fairview system. But, the water is draining down, and will keep doing it until the rains return.

    With the Elwha at 550 cfs today, we see the water there is draining away, too.

    Make plans accordingly.

    1. I wonder if the greedy a holes suing the state to lift water use restrictions south of Sequim are willing to admit they're wrong yet?

  12. The Dungeness River is at 194 cfs today. Not good.

  13. I already gave up on doing any pressure washing this summer, and am putting in drip irrigation for the couple of new trees in the yard, and planning on only watering the bare minimum (to keep plants alive) in the yard (but not the will turn very brown). More importantly, I'm putting all my essentials in one spot, in the event we have a wildfire because I live very close to the wooded areas, and with my wood shake roof, there is no way my house would be spared.