Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Lincoln Log - The Saga CONtinues

Does anyone else notice how the facts about the Lincoln Theater seem stuck, never change?

I don't just mean the fact that the Lincoln is, despite the "offer" made by Scott Nagel, still very much FOR SALE. No, I mean the "facts" that said Mr. Nagel keeps presenting to the community. Here we are, many weeks after these numbers were first announced (and over a week since it was last a topic here), and the figures are still $175,000 "raised," 65 donors have pledged $1,000 "or more," 135 "donors" total, etc.

It seems like one of two things is at play here. Either these are just the feel-good numbers Nagel and Crew have agreed upon and are using to try to entice suckers, or, the numbers are actually fairly accurate - but they've plateaued. They're stuck. There aren't any more suckers stepping up. Momentum zero.

The latest forum to roll this pipe dream and funny figures out at was last Thursday evening, when there were real live people from "out there" in the house. These guests, Scot and Linda Whitney, who run the State Theater in Olympia, are severely underrepresented in quotes in the PDN article, which would lead me to believe they didn't have much to say. (The photo accompanying the article shows a pained-looking Linda Whitney looking pityingly out at the audience.)

Yes, the Whitneys have made a go of it in Olympia, with a theater that was also "abandoned." But that is, at best, a very superficial comparison. For one thing, the owner of the Lincoln hasn't put a dime into it for maintenance for decades. (It is in extremely rundown condition, to be charitable.) The State Theater was not in that state of decrepitude when the Whitneys took it on.

And they took it on twenty years ago. In the state capitol. Which has (and had) more than double the population of Port Angeles. And is on I-5. And is in a county with three times the population of Clallam County. And is an hour from other larger bodies of population. And is in a community with three colleges, and other sizable arts organizations.

Twenty years ago, the economy was very different than it is today. There were more grants for these types of projects available from various sources. And the pitch for such projects didn't have to contend with the question that did come up at this last meeting: How do you compete with the multitude of electronic devices and entertainment options available? Just the combo of those two factors alone make the Lincoln much more of an uphill climb.

But even if you're optimistic about grants, like professional grant vampire Karen Hanan, who spoke at this last meeting, isn't it likely that, all other things being equal (which they aren't, but let's pretend), grant funding sources at the state level would be more inclined to support projects that are in their own community? I mean, if you're a theater goer, and live in Olympia, why wouldn't you support the State Theater project? But Port Angeles? That's a totally different story, in more ways than one.

Then there's location, location, location. As in, Port Angeles is way, way off the beaten path, and then some. Sure, you might be able to get some of the Clallam County folks who currently go to Port Townsend and Seattle for culture to stay home, but does anyone really think the Lincoln could not only end that trend, but actually reverse it and draw people from outside of Clallam County in? Given the wide variety of music/movies/theater choices available elsewhere regionally, that seems doubtful.

Which leads to the population...Which is small, and their representation at these Lincoln meetings, even smaller. You're not going to get very far or last very long with 135 people as your audience, even if they all somehow managed to spend $1,000 ("or more") a year. Hell, you got less than half that amount to show up for this last meeting. That doesn't come across as a groundswell of enthusiasm to me.

It seems to me, if you're talking about mobilizing 60 people to turn out for a meeting, and at that meeting you're talking about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, the time and effort would be better spent getting those folks to a City Council meeting, and raising hell in support of the City building a new reservoir or two.

In other words, the Lincoln Theater is, and will remain, a big, white elephant. But the fact that the City could literally run out of water? That remains the elephant in the room that those in charge are oh so reluctant to acknowledge.

The Lincoln would be a nice amenity. Water is a necessity. And life is all about setting priorities.


  1. Just shows that Nagel will use anybody, anything to promote his elephant. The lack of quotes was likely due to the fact she had nothing positive to say about the enterprise. As long as PDN keeps wiping this in our fact is proof that nothing is happening with the project. Of all the worthy ventures that could get some coverage we have now wasted gallons of ink and not tipped the scale. Some people would get the hint that there is no future in this project. Nagel, instead, wants more and more publicity, has latched on to a ridiculous item and will ride it until Urbana de la Paz gets the memo.

  2. In other news, the Elwha is still running.

    1. I don't think anybody expected otherwise. The very real, and very valid question is: for how long?

    2. Actually a couple people in here said they did, recently. I thought they would appreciate some reassurance. But I'm surely wrong on that, heh. The river will keep dropping about an inch a week at the gage. It's about eleven feet deep there... 2.5 years, if it doesn't rain.

    3. @ Anon 8:46

      You plan on that.

      If you listen to regional news, you'll hear most communities are seeing a different reality. For example:

      "FORKS — Residents are being asked to voluntarily cut back on water use to try and slow rapidly falling water levels in city wells.

      “Right now, the wells are where they are typically in late July or early August,” Rod Fleck, city planner and attorney, said Monday.

      The city will be checking the wells every few days to monitor the fall of the aquifer levels, Fleck said.

      Fleck said a day of recent rainfall has not made a difference in the water supply.

      “The rain we got Sunday, all it did was knock down the dust,” he said.

      The National Weather Service forecast has no rain in the 10-day forecast, and includes continued unusually warm, dry weather.

      Public Works Director Dave Zellar warned it may be October or later before the kind of rain needed for relief arrives.

      It will take least three weeks of winter-heavy rain to begin raising aquifer levels, Zellar said.

      Last modified: June 29. 2015 7:17PM"

      Hmmm.. " October or later before rains start", and " 3 weeks or more before water levels start rising in the aquifers". November? December?

      But, no problems. What? Me worry?

    4. I do plan on it. It's the National Weather Service forecast for the Elwha.

    5. Good luck with that. See you in the lines at the water trucks, later in the year?

    6. Anon 8:46 says: "Actually a couple people in here said they did, recently. I thought they would appreciate some reassurance."

      Please do point out where people expected the river to be dry by now. I saw where posts said things like " At this rate of decline.." and " If it keeps dropping at this rate..", but even a lot of those were followed by " Although that isn't likely..", and such.

      With everything as dry as it is now, and no rains expected for 4 months or so, why do you think things will not get worse? Just curious. Doesn't seem to fit with everything going on. What are your assurances based on?

  3. As has been pointed out before, the PDN, and more specifically, Diane Urbana de La Paz supports Revitalize Port Angeles, and it's efforts. We haven't heard about the vigilante crew lately, or of their support for Dan's Fantasy Tram, but we do get their periodic hard-sell for their "Light up the Lincoln" day dream.

    Where is the inventory and assessment of capacity versus use? Is the Klallam Cultural Center one block away operating at full capacity? The Fine Arts Center humming along, wishing it had more venues for all it's activities?

    This is more of the same. Port Angeles does this over and over. HarborWorks was a big example of how the civic leaders go all hog wild about a proposal, without doing the basic analysis any valid proponent would, first. With HarborWorks, local government spent at least a million of taxpayer money to try to lure developers to build residential, retail, industrial and commercial projects on the former Rayonier mill site. Never mind that there already was a lot of empty buildings sitting around. Never mind that that the population was dropping. Never mind there was no market for what they were proposing.

    More recently, the city tried to lure that developer from Alaska to build a combination retail, hotel, convention center and science center on the Oak Street property. Again, the proposal went no where as the developer looked into what was happening here. Hotels that can't muster a 50% occupancy rate, an existing large inventory of vacant retail space, empty sidewalks, existing convention center 15 miles away in Victoria, etc.

    How much actual demand for a performing arts center at the corner of Lincoln and First streets, is there? Who actually is going to pay, month after month, year after year, in Port Angeles, to support this facility? Where is the demand study? A real, valid one that a bank would loan money based upon?

    Show everyone this is a valid proposal, not just another fantasy, like so many others before it.

    1. I think town would be greatly enhanced by a combined use theater (live and film, music and dance) venue in the center of downtown. But not that monstrosity of a building.
      It has a greedy owner, an astronomical price, and it needs, oh so much in the way of really important infrastructure: seismic, ADA requirements, fire egress, a sprinkler system, massive electrical upgrades, insulation,and then, the furnishings and interior.

      And, then the building is not built to be anything more than a cave. The back wall is multiple pours of cement, layered onto each other, with (probably) junk in the middle to bulk it out. This is NOT the type of structure that is built for modern codes.

      Then, there is the layout. How do you get sets in? No back access, no side (because there is a restaurant there). How do you lug instruments in? How can you function as a theater -- if everything must be hauled in through the whole place from the front doors, on a busy street?

      Have any of these people ever been INVOLVED in a theater?

      It's a building that should be torn down. If we want a theater we should find a spot of land, and build one -- from scratch. But, Nagel insists the Emperor has a wonderful tailor, and the clothing is of a fine silk, and fits like a glove.

      Why is everyone in this town afraid to speak up?

      It would be easier, cheaper, safer, AND not a pathetic, cheaply retrofitted monster. From other projects around the country the average cost to retrofit an old theater is over $2 million. So, for a group that cannot come up with the purchase price where will they come up with the retrofit price, or, an operating budget. Are the current pledgelings willing to put out $20k each, over the next few years?
      That's what it will cost, folks, conservatively.
      And, Gase is a liar when he keeps repeating that the city will let them not bring it fully to ADA standards. That isn't a city requirement, it's state/federal.

    2. Well, if building a new theater is the solution, perhaps they should consider purchasing (or re-purchasing) the Oak St lot and building a new theater there with a waterside view. And perhaps an outdoor stage on the eastern side using the theater itself as a windbreak. The lot would finally have something there, it would be a bonus to the community and would blend in well with the park. And if they're still hung up on the convention center, they could incorporate that into the design somehow. Maybe have an underground parking lot too to help with that aspect. Having a dual-use building might help offset some costs. Of course, that would require letting go of "just a convention center" at Oak St, and "Lincoln Theater uber alles" on Lincoln.

    3. OOOHHH...11:07, now you are talking!

  4. CK
    I don't expect you to share this on your site, but then that's your call. You and I will know you got it.
    PA Unearthed started out as an interesting alternative read to the run of the mill local Kool Aid reporting. Unfortunately, your routine, continued hack, anti-Port Angeles/Clallam County editorials and the expectedly typical, goofy rants of your few regular supporters shows more and more as you all continue your attacks without actually seeking victory or change.

    Looking through the last 5 or 6 topics, and boring but expected banter, PA Unearthed continues to lose any meaningful grasp on objective critical analysis to effect meaningful, progressive transition from past community boondoggles. It continues to become even more of a boring, meaningless banter by a handful of local haters seeking attention only to get it from amongst themselves.

    PA Unearthed has lost something that, at least for a brief time, it was on top of. While you get an A for originality! You get a D for continuing creativity, and an F for effort towards self improvement.

    Am removing PA Unearthed from my Favorites listings.

    1. Thanks for writing, and for the feedback. You have some valid points, up to a point. If nothing else, one of the key points of this blog is to point out the insanity of how Port Angeles (and Clallam County) keeps doing the same stupid thing, the same corrupt and/or inept way, and expecting different results. That simple fact of life there does, indeed, make for an occasionally repetitious feel to some of the topics here. I will absolutely grant you that.

      But it would be even more insane to just ignore the mutant merry-go-round aspects of Port Angeles. Silence equals death, or so went the slogan. This blog is at least trying to raise a voice in protest - and encouraging others to do so as well.

      To mix some metaphors...The phoenix can't rise from the ashes until you've admitted that the house has burnt down.

    2. I agree. I started out hoping this blog would be the progressive alternative to all the far-right hate speech, that has filled the web. Alas, it has devolved into little more than personal attacks on local folks, just like Scott Collins. I, too, am deleting it from my favorites list.

    3. @ Anon 10:57

      I read your note with interest. As soon as I read the phrase "meaningless banter by a handful of local haters", I saw where you are coming from.

      Anyone that can feel such a comment is a valid expression, a valid view point, does so revealing what a limited intelligence they have.

      The idea of "haters" is right up there with those who think the problems facing our nation or world are the result of "liberals" or "leftists". Simplistic, at best.

      How did you not get an idea of what this blog was about after reading the header on every page that says: " Port Angeles Unearthed : Telling the truth about one of the worst places on Earth"? How did you come away thinking this was going to be a Port Angeles cheer leading site?

      What is fascinating is your description of the discussions. You think the discussions and topics here lack critical analysis? Compared to those, exactly, where? The PDN? The PDN comments? The Revitalize facebook page? The City? The County?

      Please do point me to where you see better, and more current discussions about the issues facing this community.

      Lacking that, I think we all will see your comments for what they are.

    4. What victory or change are we supposed to be seeing?

      Isn't that what we're pointing out???

    5. Hmmm.. I see a pattern here. Same lingo. Same issue.

      Trolls will be trolls, I guess.

    6. I think if anything, that post just proves CK's point - it's the same complaints because indeed, the supposed "leaders" of PA continue to repeat the same toxic patterns over and over. Why are the folks here the only ones who seem to be able to spot those patterns? I welcome this blog as a breath of fresh air with each new post.

  5. Port Angeles has a long history of not facing reality.

    Water? What problem? I turn the tap, water comes out, what am I supposed to worry about? Anybody that says there is a problem is an alarmist.

    Like somebody said, Revitalize Port Angeles and it's side shoots like this Lincoln thing are a great example of more of the same. Revitalize is the darling of the city and the PDN because they don't look for accountability or facts. Everything is wonderful.

    And they take the same approach with the Lincoln. Who needs facts? Who needs accountability? We just have to be positive, and everything will be wonderful.

    Isn't that the way the world works?

    When you apply for a job, or a loan, you just have to be positive. You aren't required to provide any proof of who you are, anything about your past. No credentials or past performance needed. Nobody requires references to check up and hold you accountable to your past actions. Just smile and be positive.

    Nagel, Gentry and crew should be honest with the public.

  6. Where is it mandated that an end of the road backwater town must strive to be something it will never be? I chose PA just because the growth and glamour potential is zilch-been there, done that. Housing is relatively cheap, the outdoor recreation oppotunities are boundless, it's easy to hop on the Coho for a Victoria fix, the people I know here are thriving and engaged in work and volunteering. No arts or theater? Create your own.

    1. Interesting point and I am happy we have some local businesses that are doing well and help us to enjoy our own lives here, despite the farce that is Revitalize, as well as our elected officials. The homebrew supply store allows me to continue to pursue a hobby I have without having to order from out of town and the owner couldn't be nicer or more helfpful. I'm glad to see the Gastropub and a couple other local eateries doing well. There are a variety of arts and music and plays and such going on in the area, and I've attended a few. They're all niche events, not everyone will be into everything and the Lincoln supporters need to face a stark reality that they may build it and nobody will come. Not 100% of the population cares about theater, or music, or even film. You will get only a select group for each. I too go to Seattle and Victoria for the larger events we just can't get here, and I don't expect us to have arena size events here. Even if the Lincoln started showing all my favorite movies, I realistically could only afford to go maybe once a month. That's the other half of it - how many folks can afford to attend an event weekly, or even monthly? Did you notice in that PDN article that the folks who took over the Olympia theater had to put $1.3 million into it?

    2. And that was $1.3 million in dollars as they were twenty years ago...

  7. Anon 10:57 has said it well. There was a time this blog was a healthy corrective to this town's bizarre optimism, not to mention its corrupt and incompetent leadership. Sadly, bitterness and equally bizarre pessimism have come to dominate PA Unearthed.

    Let's take a few examples. When the silly and rather pathetic We're Number One! campaign was in full spate, at least one poster here was so upset that people had the nerve to praise Port Angeles that he wrote about sending a letter to Outside Magazine to "tell the truth about what PA is like." I suspect that that person was the one who actually did write those anti-PA screeds under assumed names. This was even more pathetic than the Revitalize campaign. It was the action of a childish, nasty, bitter little person, and, unfortunately, I suspect that that little person found his encouragement right here on this blog.

    Some idiot - I'm sorry, he was an idiot - compared PA to North Korea and talked about us living under an iron fist. I almost choked on my coffee trying to imagine poor, pudgy Dan Gase actually making a fist, let alone an iron one. I'm still snickering just thinking about it.

    Just a couple of days ago, someone posted with unspoken but obvious glee about Forks going up in flames. Come on, people. It's a poor town with poor people who have been left behind by capitalism. Thinking of them going up in smoke is just sad.

    Today's post contradicts so much that has gone before it. On the one hand, this blog is constantly pointing, correctly, out how many people pass through PA. Then today it talks about how "far off the beaten track" Port Angeles is. The truth is, we are right on the beaten track to Victoria and to Olympic National Park. As many writers here have said, it's keeping those visitors here for at least a night or two that's our problem. A real theater with a real schedule of events could help that.

    Sure, the Lincoln Theater project is doomed. But it's doomed because of a combination of inept leadership, greed, inconvenient parking, lack of upkeep, outdated architecture, hungry rats, and God knows what toxic waste in the wiring. It won't fail because we are off the beaten path.

    1. But you do agree it WILL fail.

      Thank you!

    2. Well, I'm the "idiot" who posted the comments referencing North Korea - and you seem to have missed the point of those comments entirely.

      I wasn't comparing PA to NK in terms of iron fists of state control, or anything like that. I was trying (perhaps clumsily) to draw parallels between the enforced state of happy news in North Korea, with the starving, stunted people being brainwashed into singing the state anthem, "We Have Nothing to Envy in the Whole World," to the enforced state of happy news in Port Angeles that results in things like bizarre and excessive enthusiasm for the "Best Town EVER" contest.

      Neither place is based in reality; both places suffer because of that. And THAT was the comparison I was trying to make. A comparison I still stand by, even if you do think I'm an idiot. (From my perspective, you just seem like a lazy reader, but...)

      Port Angeles - and the City, and the PDN, etc. - do themselves and the citizens here no favors by ignoring the downside of Port Angeles. Or should I say downsides.

      Look at what the southern states are finally being forced to do in terms of dealing with the real meaning and weight of the Confederate flag. They're being forced to look in the "ugly mirror" in order to (hopefully) move forward to being a better, healthier place. That's the kind of honesty that Port Angeles would benefit from, but it's in short supply. But this blog (and the POC) do provide it, and I'll take whatever doses I can get.

    3. Yes and no. There are definitely more people posting here, and with that comes a group who are even more negative than Revitalize is positive. I thought the North Korea and Forks remarks were pretty weird myself. Also when they complain about Revitalize not accepting negative comments, but then they turn around and shout out positive comments in the worse possible way.

      But I'd hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are still people posting who care about the town and want it to get better, not burn to the ground. There's a lot of work to be done in Port Angeles and this blog, as well as Port o Call, helps shine a light in the corruption and incompetence holding us back.

    4. Unearthed perfect? No. 100% accurate at all times? No. The end all and be all? No.

      But it IS a damn sight better than the PDN, or Tom Harper's blog, and is more active (discussion-wise) than the Port O Call website, so, yeah, I'll take it for what it is. Not perfect, but a useful forum for airing of grievances and discussion of ideas.

      Thanks, CK. Still on my favorites list.

  8. Keep in mind, too, that Olympia has enough events to fill their theater. Both locally and travelling up and down I-5. What's going in the Lincoln? The Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, which isn't even self-sustaining? How will a festival that loses money help pay to buy and renovate this theater?

    I don't know what can be done about the Lincoln. I hate to have yet another building sitting empty, but I honestly don't think the plans as exist right now will work.

  9. Oh CK, if only you wouldn't be so negative, people would be donating money, and we could buy the Lincoln. They say it is going to be the center piece of a whole new Port Angeles.

    All those old people that did all those things we don't want to talk about are going to go away. The town is going to flourish. Everyone is going to be happy and harmonious. Government is going to do the things we want, and spend our money wisely!

    After we buy it, all those people that donated to buy it are going to donate more, every year to fix it up. And pay Scott and his wife to run it.

    You'll see. Port Angeles is different now.

  10. Just read the article. That was... very optimistic. Honestly it felt more like a press release than a news article, full of feel-good cheerleading, remarkably short of details.

    I'd forgotten about PALOA. So, a failed arts organization (PALOA) and a failing arts organization (JFFA) are the two main reasons to bring the Lincoln back to life. There will be movies there apparently (no mention of the conversion to digital), music performances (by whom? certainly there are plenty of local performers who could benefit from this, but have any committed? If so, could they make enough to pay Lincoln's fees? What are Lincoln's fees?) and theater groups (again, who? PALOA has failed, the PDN doesn't mention they would reform for the Lincoln. The PA Theater group? The PC student plays? Don't they have their own venues?) Parking probably wouldn't be a problem, there is a lot across from the Lincoln. But valet parking? Really? More likely a bus like the Home Show uses, from the park and ride at... Wait, do we have one of those? How much of a concern is parking, really?

    Of course if the Lincoln gets off the ground and fails we can now blame "devices". That really makes you sound old, guys. Damn whippersnappers and their devices. But, fear not, people went to the Seahawks game when they could have watched it on their devices. Because a Seahawks game is exactly the same thing as an event at the Lincoln, just like Olympia is exactly the same thing as Port Angeles.

    And you know what the funny thing about all this is? I wouldn't mind the Lincoln re-opening. I think it would be an asset to the community. But I also understand there are a ton of hurdles to overcome, now and in the future, before it can be a viable part of downtown. The group trying to get it off the ground certainly seem like they have plenty of ideas but I'm not convinced they have what it takes to make it succeed in the long term.

    Convince me. Give me a realistic assessment of why you believe it can work long-term. That's all I'm asking.

    1. Grampa McCrankypantsJune 29, 2015 at 7:12 PM

      Goddam kids with their iPods 'n Miley Cyrus! I just figured out how to program my VCR!

    2. Twelve O'Clock FlasherJune 30, 2015 at 9:21 PM

      You're smart then! I can't program my VCR for shit. Goddamn kids!

  11. Yes, lets see the business plan, the forecasts, and how much this money pit will REALLY cost.

  12. OK so for some potentially positive news - I heard that downtown was teeming with people this past weekend. I wasn't there as I spent my weekend in Sequim - but can anybody else confirm this sighting? If true, what services, stores, etc were they patronizing? I'm truly curious to know because those businesses are doing something right.

    1. I did see a lot of people on the downtown sidewalks this weekend. However I was just driving along Lincoln and looking down the streets, so I don't know if they shopped or bought but I can confirm there were people downtown both days.

    2. Oh Boy! I knew everything was fine now.

      Greece? Puerto Rico? Water? Nothing to worry about now, there were people on the sidewalks of Port Angeles!

    3. Annnnd that's exactly what we're talking about. I think we're all aware that extra people on the street doesn't make "everything fine". But God forbid someone breaks the party line of "all negative, all the time".

    4. As was pointed out elsewhere, it is BECAUSE the civic and elected leadership in this town keep doing "all negative, all the time", that we here keep pointing it out. Because they don't seem to be RESPONSIVE that we feel compelled to keep pointing it all out.

      You know, like people who keep trying to warn people when the house is on fire? Some people might say "Great time to break out the weanies and marshmallows ", and others pound on the doors to try to warn the residents.

      You know, that "positive"/"negative" thing.

  13. Good Lord...Scott Nagel and Mike Gentry could be twins, except that Nagel is fatter. But other than that...