Posted 12/27/23

Live and learn


Dear Editor:

I like the effect the edge lane road markings have had on Fir Street.

The other day I was walking south on Fir on   my way home from Fort …

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Live and learn


Dear Editor:

I like the effect the edge lane road markings have had on Fir Street.

The other day I was walking south on Fir on  my way home from Fort Worden. I was on the right hand side. A car turned on to Fir from F and came towards me in the center lane. I heard another approach from the rear. The northbound car dutifully pulled to the right, straddling the line. But the southbound car still couldn’t get by - I was in the way. So it slowed way down until the northbound car passed by, and then moved into the center lane to pass me.

Since 1988 I’ve lived on a long straight section of Fir that starts on F Street until it falls apart in a maze of cross streets at U. Fir has a lot of traffic for a street that doesn’t go anywhere. It’s also one of the narrower rights-of-way in Port Townsend, so we’ll never get sidewalks. And, being straight, people go fast here.

As there’s not much of shoulder, in the old layout I would have been walking inside the fog line of the southbound lane. Knowing the car approaching from behind couldn’t move in front of the oncoming car to avoid me, I probably would have stepped off the street to let it pass. It’s a road, after all. Both lanes were FOR cars.

That’s no longer true. Half of the street is now for walking and biking. Cars can wait their turn. Setting aside the benefit of sparing the failing edges of our poorly built streets, I like the cultural effect of our community’s decision to do this. It makes more sense than having a line down the middle that reserves all the area of the roadway for two cars to pass each other, an event of relative rarity on our quieter streets.

I’m not an idiot. As at our roundabouts I keep a wary eye out for drivers who don’t get it, or who hate it. I agree with my neighbor Matt Tyler that some enforcement is needed. But I’m optimistic. Yesterday, a car turning right on Fir from P waited patiently behind me while a northbound car went by. People are getting it - gradually.

David King




Six months ago, I subscribed to The Leader for the crossword puzzles. I renewed my subscription last week.  Now I read The Leader cover to cover.  Your opinion piece on "Words Matter" was timely and I have shared it with family far and wide.  Nothing is too complicated for a small town weekly.  May we never put our heads in the sand, even in  a small town.

Diane Olson


Building homes


Dear Editor:

In September of 2020, Community Build (CB) motivated a cadre of eager volunteers to build emergency shelters designed to keep our houseless citizens dry and safe going into the coming winter weather.  The CB mission statement that evolved was:  Inspired by compassion for our unsheltered neighbors, we are engaging our community in building secure housing while strengthening community for us all.

We are asking for your help in a new way! We have immediate need of a large, indoor space where we can build a new type of housing for our service industry workers and others critical to our local work force who cannot garner enough in full-time wages to afford to live here.

Since that time, CB volunteers constructed 43 8X12 heated, lockable, shelters, situated in 3 different villages, two of which are managed by Bayside Housing and Services and one by OlyCAP.  We also built a bathhouse with 2 1/2 toilet/shower combos, and a common kitchen building for one of those villages, and remodeled one shed into a useable complete studio house.  Almost all with volunteer help and donations.

Now, three years later, it is clear that what our community needs is housing for our service industry workers and others critical to our local work force who cannot garner enough in full-time wages to afford to live locally.  This motivates CB to start building Tiny Houses on Wheels (THOWs, approved by the PT City Council earlier in 2023) as one of many needed housing solutions to strengthen the fabric of our community. 

Intent on building THOWs, moveable homes actually built on trailers, complete with bathrooms and full kitchens, CB is navigating the additional regulatory and other required parameters of this new type of housing in order to begin building, soon! 

For inquiry about funding or acquiring a THOW, contact Debbi Steele at: info@community-build.org

Since its inception, Community Build has been consistently fueled by the incredible generosity of our community members as volunteers, donors, and more, much of which results in the strengthening our of community!

Where in Jefferson County might we be offered space to build these tiny houses on wheels? Our needs include a large building with 1 or more large doors with minimum dimensions: 14’ tall by 9’ wide, minimum 15’ building ceilings and 38’ building depth. Do you have a space for us?  Might you know someone who does?  Are you willing to post this request to your organizational newsletter or social media page?  More about Community Build or to sign up to volunteer can be found at: www.community-build.org

Please make this a Happy New Year not only for our eager volunteers but perhaps more importantly for the future occupants of the needed secure housing we want to build.  Please text me: 917-714-0447.

Judith Alexander




Dear Editor:

The County Commissioners have acted with maturity and wisdom regarding the pool project. Kate Dean got it right when she said, "...there is a lot of benefit in slowing it down and doing our due diligence."

Rather than whining over the loss of "momentum", those favoring the project need to make their case on the merits after fairly and objectively responding to legitimate concerns over location, actual cost and actual timing. Alternatively, the City is free to charge ahead with the project without the financial support of the two thirds of County residents who do not live in the City. 

Jock Patton

Port Hadlock


PO is public


Dear Editor:

The Post Office is not a private business

The Dec. 20 article on the post office is wrong about the public's right to records under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Quoting from the USPS FOIA webpage (https://about.usps.com/who/legal/foia/faq.htm):

"The Act applies to federal agencies within the executive branch of the government, which includes the Postal Service. It says that any person may ask an agency for a copy of its records, and that the agency must provide such records, unless an exemption exists that protects the records from disclosure."

The link for filing online FOIA requests is broken as I write, but it gives a mailing address plus a dedicated (and working) FOIA phone number: 202-268-2608. For $2 a week, the Leader should report on (1) the restoration project records and (2) whether any public officials are violating the law.

Particularly disturbing is the Dec 6. quote from postal spokesperson Kim From, asked if our post office prioritizes Amazon packages over regular mail:

"Like any prudent business, we do not publicly disclose relationships. For questions related to Amazon, I would direct you to their media relations team."

I think public employees who try to thwart the public's right to public records should be replaced. Same with Postmaster Louis DeJoy, who seems determined to ruin a sadly stumbling institution founded by Ben Franklin in 1775.

And instead of trying to weasel out of ADA  accessibility standards, it's time for the post office to add a proper ramp and the city to fix sidewalks so ALL of us can get there safely and easily.

I do appreciate our local postal employees. Even when things go awry, they are always patient and helpful, doing the best they can under the circumstances. Thank you!

Barney Burke


The horror


Dear Editor:

Last Monday, the Board of Commissioners of Jefferson County passed a resolution about a Gaza Ceasefire. The War in Gaza affects an unusually large number of people in Jefferson County, and I hope that The Leader will report on this action taken by the BOCC. It was not mentioned in yesterday's edition of The Leader. Will The Leader report on it next week? Btw, do you know that more than 100 journalists in Gaza have died since the beginning of the war?

Thank you and kind regards,

Hendrik Taatgen




Dear Editor:

Heartfelt thanks go to all those working at Jefferson Healthcare Oncology Department. They are dedicated, compassionate, caring and upbeat, which made all the difference to my husband (Martin Musson) and I during his challenging illness. We are very lucky to have such an amazing team locally.

Also a big thank you to all our friends for their loving support and prayers in the last 15 months. It was much appreciated.

Ingrid Musson