Sunday, August 14, 2016

Another GREAT Day in Port Angeles AKA Is THIS What Success Looks Like? AKA Tell Me How This Story Has a Happy Ending

As always, many thanks to the intrepid Tyler for his photo-documentarian efforts. We're only halfway through a month in which the local paper has devolved into next to nothing, and "The Mill" has been put up for sale. On the good side, yes, the fluoride is, for the time being, out of the water, but, on the other hand, the people are still out of Port Angeles.

On a sunny, summer weekend.

At the height of tourist season.

And yet...

And yet...You could probably crawl across the intersection leading into town and not get hit by a car.
And as you come over the crest of the hill into downtown, giving all visitors a really, really inspiring view of the Nippon plant, you still won't be bothered by many cars, or people...
Even on the expensive new waterfront walkway, there's no competition for sidewalk space. Even with the wide-open views of the water. Maybe that's because everyone is out on the water, on a boat?
I guess not, eh? Ah, but maybe, just maybe, everyone has gone a little further along down the waterfront, to the expensive new waterfront park and Nathan West's Boondoggle Beach?
Oh. Maybe they went just a little further along...
Surely there must be some people somewhere...
Aren't there even any locals out and around? Homeless people? Somebody? Anybody?
No, really - even the pawn shops are...I mean, if a town is so deserted and dead that a pawn shop folds up, maybe it's time to get out of town...
...Especially since that emptied out feeling is spreading, extending outside the city limits proper. There's no one around on a sunny weekend afternoon. What happened? Where are the people?
OH. Of course. Here they are. "Saving money" while (not) watching their town go down the drain. Maybe retail therapy will distract them from the cascade of bad news, at least for a while, anyway.
But, really, given all the debt and unemployment and disastrous leadership and drug abuse and lack of quality of life, among so many other factors...I just don't see how this has a happy ending. I really don't.
Other than to get out, as fast as you can, while you can. Life is too short to live in Port Angeles.
*As always, do feel free to enlarge the pictures to get more details of the...Nothingness.


  1. So here's the deal.The town is dead. Shops close up constantly without fanfare. Traffic, unlike those photos can be horrific because of the time of day and tourists leaving and passing through. Downtown is always dead, waterfront and such. I did not grow up here but have been here for much too long and am now stuck. Disability and age caught up to me. However, our house is grand and all but to whom do we share our likes and such to? x-treme bikers, rednecks, and crackers? There are some nice and talented...and educated folk here but few and far between. There are hack attorneys that could not make it in Seattle that leech off the populace. Doctors as well. Say nothing of the discombobulate of local government and the courts. We are fixing up our home as well as we can and may take a run for it if we can get anything decent out of it. My advice to anyone looking to move here. DON'T.

    1. traffic can be bad LEAVING TOWN at 4-5pm because the traffic bottlenecks (the lights at McD's and at DelGuzzi) are screwed up.

    2. And, because of yet another of Port Angeles' wonderful attributes, only one road in or out headed east.

      Is 101 leaving Port Angeles (or headed into town) headed west as congested between 4 and 5? I've never seen it. Does this mean so many people that work in Port Angeles actually don't live in town?

      Gee, I wonder why.

  2. Sad photos, sad comment, and a sad, sad town.

  3. It says something that he can even get pictures with so few cars and people, on one of the last weekends before the "end of summer". Not only one, but of all the main areas of town. Lincoln going through the center of town, is Hwy 101. Any other place in the world would have bumper to bumper traffic. Not that I WANT that kind of congestion, but the lack of it is a symptom of the deeper issues.

    And the water. Where are all the recreational boaters, on a sunny summer weekend? If they are not out in droves on a sunny, summer Sunday, when can we expect them to be here? Maybe Tyler can go to Poulsbo next weekend, and see if it is the same, there?

    The Sportsman Motel, empty.

    The sad reality is, as has been said before: millions pass through the area every year. The Coho brings 500,000 people to the downtown of Port Angeles, every year. Most of the people seen walking around downtown are tourists waiting for the next ferry, killing time. Yet, the town struggles.

    The local governments and civic groups spend money to promote the town, attempting to attract more visitors. Why? There are already more people passing through, than the town could handle, IF they were interested in stopping in Port Angeles.

    Who honestly thinks a tourist on their way to Rialto Beach is going to stop to hang out on the fake beaches in Port Angeles' harbor?

    Or, get off the ferry from Victoria, with reservations that night in Oregon, will instead spend precious time walking along the Port Angeles waterfront? After just having spent 2 or 3 hours waiting for, and sitting on the ferry on the way to Port Angeles?

    Tyler was asked to take those pictures in a previous thread, as part of a comment about all the hype last year around that silly "Outdoor" on-line contest. With all that national attention, the town was going to really flourish. Guess not.

    1. Imagine you're a tourist passing through Port Angeles, either waiting to get on a ferry, or just getting off of one.

      Imagine that you're presented with a seemingly standing, seemingly functional downtown, but one with NO PEOPLE on the streets. There's little to no signs of life to be seen.

      Does that emptiness entice you, or make you wonder if something's wrong with this place? Does it draw you in, or say "Keep Out"?

      The emptiness feeds on itself. It's self-reinforcing.

      It's a downward spiral with no bottom in sight.

    2. "Guess" is right, 8:45. I guess it's just wishful thinking that has kicked up the lodging tax collections 28% this year, on top of the 11% rise last year.

    3. Ah yes, the old lodging tax dodge. That's a classic, and it kind of sounds good...If you don't think too much about it.

      Let me put it this way...Let's say I own a movie theater. Let's call it...The Lincoln Theater, okay?

      Let's say that one year I sold 10,000 tickets at $1.00 each, for a total of $10,000.

      With me so far?

      Now, let's say that the next year I sold 9,500 tickets at $1.25 each, for a total of $11,875. I could correctly and honestly say that I took in more than the previous year - even though I had fewer customers.

      Still with me?

      In other words, uncoupled from any other facts or pieces of evidence, just about anything can be spun to be "good news." With that in mind, I do note that Anonymous 8:58 PM only talks about lodging tax collections, not room occupancy rates or any other measures that would show actual growth in THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE who put heads on beds.

      Or, to put it another way, if things are so good, so busy...What's with the empty storefronts and empty streets? Are tourists now just 28% more shy?

    4. Yes, fun with numbers. Let's ignore what we can see with our eyes, and look to some numbers to convince .. who? .. that everything is really great and getting better.

      Besides the factors that CK raises, there are others. If you look, the parking lots for Ferry Parking have been packed. The Coho has been very busy. Victoria reported tourism increased by 24% in 2015, saying it is the best it has been in decades.

      Of course, not all of Victoria's increases in tourism come through Port Angeles. But obviously a percentage of it does.

      So, if Anon 8:59 wants to cite increases in tourism here, be sure to factor in the reality of the popularity of Victoria.

      The visible reality is that people are NOT coming to Port Angeles, for Port Angeles. It is like the toilet at that movie theater; yes, it gets used, but it isn't the reason people go to the theater.

    5. People eat up the pablum that the PDN, and the shyster PR (I use the term PR loosely) use to promote how things are, as Cherie would say (with her trademark screech and spastic hand waving), "Positively Port Angeles".
      The "up by" some inane percent is bullshit.
      Clearly -- few here have any critical thinking abilities, or have ever taken a statistics class.
      CK is correct in his math. Lodging rates would really go up if the hotels would quadruple their nightly rate. Lodgers would plummet.
      Isn't that what they have done? Trip Advisor shows rates between $123-$296. I can get a hotel (nicer) in any major city in America for the same or less. Honolulu, NYC, Seattle, Portland... so why stay in Port Angeles?
      If lodging were more in line with reality, it would help keep tourists here.

    6. When we do an overnight in Portland every couple of months, we spend around $140 for a hotel right downtown, that even has a little bit of a view. It's within walking distance of numerous theaters, Powell's, dozens of nice restaurants (many of them open late), and several clubs that we go to concerts at. What's within walking distance of the Port Angeles Inn? What within walking distance is open after, say, 6 PM?

    7. I notice that the lodging tax troll hasn't posted again, to defend their defense.

    8. Anonymous 5:31 PM...Are you trolling for trolls?

  4. Yet I had to be careful driving in downtown Sequim this weekend because of all the pedestrians!

    1. I was in downtown Port Townsend Sunday and it was bustling. Pedestrians everywhere and all shops open with people browsing and buying, enjoying a great summer day.

      After returning to dreary and depressing downtown Port Angeles a few hours later, most shops were closed and the sidewalks were empty.

      Quite a contrast in the level of business success between two similar towns just a short distance away.

  5. I just got back from Victoria, 17 miles away. The streets are teeming with people. All spending money and having a great time. On the ferry back it was full of people coming back from the Dragon Boat races. They also had a food cart convention going on over there. Great food from carts and buses and re-designed trucks. Why can't we have these here?
    Oh, because there is no leadership, no vision, no spirit. We can choose the type of town we want to be and start planning for it. We have an opportunity to create on out of whole cloth come November 2017. Let's get at it.

  6. Tying this topic (empty town) together with an earlier topic (lame new PDN website)...I note that the PDN has now put their online "newspaper" into sections. Things like latest news, sports, and...crime. Yes, they made sure to have an entire crime section. That's kind of odd, don't ya think? Especially for such a small town.

    Now, imagine you're a prospective visitor, checking out the local newspaper online while contemplating a possible trip here, and you see that. Of course, every town big or small has crime, but why focus on it, draw attention to it?

    Once again, the PDN does their part to hobble and hold back the town. Is it malicious, or just clueless?

    Or does it even matter at this point? Look at the photos, look around when you venture out. There's no life here. Sorrow, yes. Regret, in great measure. But no life.

  7. There are several buildings in the downtown area - that pawn shop is a great example - that have been sold within the past year or more, yet still sit empty and dilapidated. Why would that be? What, if anything, can be done about it? Purposely keeping a building empty and rundown contributes to a negative perception of the downtown. These are spaces that are NOT listed for rent. It is disheartening, in many ways, but specifically because I tried to purchase one of those buildings for a legitimate business venture.

  8. Not that I wish to deviate from the established Party Orthodoxy (Town dead! Town dead!), but I would like to point out that Peninsula Pawn has been closed for nearly three years now. You only noticed that now, Tyler?

    Hey, CK! Now that summer is drawing to a close you should begin looking through the online reviews for the local motels and post a choice sampling of them. Also, remember that Arts and Draughts and Crabfest will be soon upon us and they're always good for a casual hammering.


    1. I think the point is...It's been closed, and empty, for a long, long time. It's not that Tyler just noticed; it's that no one in charge seems to have noticed at all.

    2. I've seen both of those festivals you name listed as coming up but it honestly isn't worth the drive into PA. What purpose is it to go to a beer festival if you can't have the beer because you're driving? Why go to the Crab festival in the damp, crowded, crappiest setting when you could go to the Lions crab feed in May in Sequim and have a significantly better experience, sitting outside in the sun with live music? At least the casino is smart and provides a shuttle for transportation for their beer fest.

      Had a few folks I know stay at the Red Lion downtown recently, due to the location to walk downtown, but as it turned out there was nowhere to go and they were quite unimpressed with the service or accomodations.

    3. Hi Anon 8:51

      As CK says, it isn't that I just noticed. I included that photo as a bit of an ironic statement (that wasn't lost on CK!) that even the pawn shop couldn't make it.

      Before you jump all over me about how the other pawn shops in Port Angeles are doing well, yes, I know that, too.

      You seem to think I (not speaking for anybody else) take pleasure in documenting how "dead" the town is. Anybody that knows me, knows I'm constantly working to find solutions.

      Using a medical analogy, the doctor will perform test, and make observations before coming up with a diagnosis, before suggesting any treatment options.

      The pictures show the multi-million dollar waterfront projects have had negligible results in increasing either local or visitor use of those areas, or the downtown. Which they specifically were promoted to do. Was the analysis and subsequent decisions to build these project correct? Should we continue down this path, if the goal is to increase prosperity in Port Angeles?

      As is discussed, some have concluded our problems are the result of bad leadership. Others say it is the result of a greedy few. Still others say our problems stem from too many factions in town working at cross purposes. Clearly, we don't all agree on the diagnosis yet, much less what the solutions are. All these years later.

      So, please look at these pictures, and the many before them, and see the problems with an eye for solutions, rather than defending what clearly is not working.


    4. Peninsula Pawn was closed because the owner was caught doing some shady business including accepting pawns for stolen goods.

  9. Recent local motel review?

    “Don't let the lobby photo fool you.”
    1 of 5 starsReviewed July 8, 2016
    This has to be one of the worse hotels I've ever stayed. It smelled, the bedding was dirty, the water finally got hot after running , running. We were quoted one price on the phone while searching for a room. When we arrived, the price went up. "

    Ah, yes. I see nothing changes.

  10. Oh, and one more local motel review from someone from Tennesse:

    “Northwest visit”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago
    The rooms are extremely small, the bed and pillows were terrible. The refrigerator was tiny and in a cabinet under the TV so it did not work well, The bath was closet size and the faucet would not shut off, so water ran all the time, No AC and the window would not stay open. Our room was within feet of a major highway so the noise was terrible and opening the door for ventilation was out of the question. There was a gap under the door that a small animal could crawl under. The property is in bad condition.This is a terrible place and should be taken off the websites.

    1. "This is a terrible place and should be taken off the websites."

      Are they talking about the hotel, or that websites promoting Port Angeles should be taken off the 'net?

      So this is this tourists review of their "Northwest visit"? You wonder what they will tell friends and family when they get home? You wonder why the streets are empty?

      Can this town do ANYTHING right?

  11. A couple more very recent reviews from tourists of lodging and their experiences of Port Angeles:

    “The Worst Ever”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW
    Buyer beware! NO ONE would consider this anything but nasty, moldy, dirty and gross. Stay away. The carpet is, ugh, sticky. The tub is etched in mold. The floor around the tub is peeling, revealing a gross layer of black mold. Bad pillow, noisy traffic, and the only sign of anything Victorian is in the name.

  12. It just keeps getting better:

    “Checked in, CHECKED OUT!!!”
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago
    We went to Port Angeles on business and someone else booked this motel for us. We went into the very small office and it appeared dingy at best. We were told the rooms doors were open to allow fresh air in. When we entered the room, it was obvious the rooms were not clean had a terrible odor and the bedspreads had not bed replace in a very long time. The curtains were dirty as was the carpet. For the first time ever, we checked out and went on a search for something clean that didn't smell. The only good part was that they after talking to the manager on the phone she was agreeable to credit the account for the charge of both rooms. I have to think after reading other reviews of this place that literally something smells here!

    Room Tip: Find a different place to stay!

  13. Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis is losing doctor applicants who walk through Port Angeles and Sequim schools “and say, ‘I am not raising my family here,’ ” Tharinger said.

    1. Which is pretty rich coming from Scumbag Steve Tharinger, who is one of the chief architects of the wasteland that is Port Angeles and Clallam County. How many years has he been holding public office? How much good has he done? What higher standards has he set? How have things changed for the better thanks to him?

      Broken record time, but, really...Steve Tharinger is one of the biggest, best connected slimeballs around in Clallam County. Sure, he's carried the water (and the tax breaks) for Nippon, but what has he done for the people of Clallam County?

  14. What is the matter with the leadership in this town??

    A year or two ago there was an article in the Port o Call about the terrible reviews visitors to Port Angeles were posting on the 'net. Remember? About visitors finding used needles under their beds, and blood stains on the sheets?

    At the time, people wondered why something wasn't done to deal with the way the lodging businesses in the community conducts themselves. Here we are, a year or two later, and nothing has changed.

    What the hell do the City Council members, the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council, the Port Angeles Business Association, Revitalize Port Angeles and City Staff need to hear, to see the problem and do something about it?

    I'm really pissed off about this. All the stupid petty ego crap Cherie Kidd and her friends have been doing over the last couple years, but they don't have time to create a "minimum standards of conduct" for the lodging businesses here? They can put the City in debt for fake beaches, while ignore what the visitors are saying THEY experience when they come here?

    What is the point of promoting the place, if people have terrible experiences when they get here?

    There should be an inspection program by the City every 6 months or less of every lodging business in town. Just like with restaurants and health department inspections. Inspectors show up without prior notice. Violations are noted, and a specific time given for corrections to be made, and then a re-inspection. After a certain number of offences, the business licenses are pulled.

    These businesses pull us all down when visitors have bad experiences. We all should be really pissed off about this, and pissed off that our city leadership has known about it for so long, and done nothing about it.

    But look how much time they can put into the fluoride issue!

    This is just outrageous.

    1. Just curious what other towns do these inspection programs? I'd like to have a look. Because you're right, this city just doesn't butt in to people's business enough.

    2. Anon @ 7:50 pm - the point, it would appear, is that you don't invite someone over unless your house in in order. All of these "economic development" or otherwise "business" organizations talk talk talk about how we need to bring people in to Port Angeles, but aren't paying attention to the fact our house is not in order. The travesty is that it begs the question of where is all the money that is going int o these organizations going then? What are we paying for?

    3. Right. And you probably think "self-regulation" works, right? That "private enterprise knows best", right?

      Why are there child labor laws in the US? Why are there laws regarding food handling? Why are there water quality laws regarding how much and what kind of pollution businesses can put in public waters?

      Because left to "self regulation", people were getting sick and killed by what businesses were doing.

      And, if the local lodging businesses provided clean bedding, cleaned bathrooms so mold wasn't growing in them, replaced dirty carpets and furniture, and didn't generate continuous complaints from CLIENTS, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

      It is madness to put all the time and money the various groups in town do, to attract people to Port Angeles, only to insult them with dirty lodging. The negative promotional value of those experiences cannot be underestimated.

      But, it seem you think everything is just fine. No need to do anything about this. No wonder these reviews continue, year after year.

    4. Hotels, Motels, Travel Accommodations, Bed & Breakfasts - Public Health Sanitation Program
      The program includes inspections and complaint investigations of hotels, motels, campgrounds, inns, and RV parks. These establishments are inspected to ensure sanitary conditions are maintained and that any food service is operated in accordance with applicable sections of the Texas Food Establishment Rules.

    5. Hotel/Motel
      The authority to inspect transient residential buildings (hotels and motels) is granted to the Division of Environmental Health in Chapter 215 of the City of Cleveland’s Codified Ordinances. Every hotel and motel in which a person, firm or corporation operates is required to have a valid license and the premises are to be maintained in a sanitary condition. Inspectors from the Division of Environmental Health conduct annual inspections of all the hotels and motels in the City of Cleveland to ensure compliance with all local health regulations.

  15. Did anyone else notice that really fabulous photo on the front page of the PDN today? An old, frowning woman in front of empty shelves. The perfect photographic metaphor for Port Angeles.

    1. Now (as of a few minutes ago) they've shuffled several articles around on their website, either to hide the frowny woman in question, and/or to make it look like there are new stories when, in fact, there are not.

  16. I love this place, I really do. Retired here precisely because nothing actually happens. I'd like nothing better than for everyone to get the hell out of here, and leave the handful of us in ghost-town peace. The dump is now big enough, as is the infrastructure, to support us (hey thanks for your tax money). We are our own growth management act. And I made deals with the politicians I put in office to promote our little dream. So if you want a bustling town with opportunities, there's lots of choices elsewhere.
    Just get the hell outa here and leave me some peace & quiet. Go on now, GIT!

    1. Can't tell if that was parody or for real!