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LATEST NEWS AND VIEWS
September 28, 2012 -  11:51 am

Fall weather is showing up in western Washington, but all of Pope Resources’ timberlands in Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties will remain closed to recreational activities until the rainy season kicks in.

The reason: Extreme fire hazard due to tinder dry conditions.

The closure has been in effect since Sept. 14. Unfortunately, many people haven’t gotten the message and are ignoring locked gates and posted signage about the closure.This weekend is of particular concern with good weather predicted plus expected large crowds in Port Gamble for Old Mill Days, the Forest Festival and a two-day open house for Port Gamble Weddings.

“People are tearing down the signs and blocking emergency access by parking in front of locked gates,” said Port Gamble town manager Shana Smith. “We’re hoping that people will respect the closure and stay off the trails until it rains because we simply don’t have the staff to prevent access.” 

Smith said the town’s maintenance crew is limited its mowing in and around Port Gamble because of the fire danger – an unprecedented step for the town.

The solution: About five inches of rain to soak down the dry conditions.

While fire is the biggest potential danger, parked cars in front of locked gates present an additional threat.

“If emergency vehicles had to get in, the access is blocked,” Smith said. “If you had to get in there because someone was trespassing and got hurt, you couldn’t.”

Pope Resources owns and manages nearly 71,000 acres of forestland on its Hood Canal Tree Farm in Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties.

September 24, 2012 -  11:08 am

Port Gamble, Olympic Property Group, Pope ResourcesIf you ever have a question about Port Gamble, finding the answer is simple. Just track down Shana Smith.

Smith, the town’s manager, is a walking compendium of knowledge about this historic mill town located at the junction of Hood Canal. It’s the kind of knowledge that comes from first-hand experience of living in town since 1987 and working there since 1995. And it’s the kind of knowledge that helps ensure that Port Gamble remains an exciting place to live, work and play in north Kitsap County.

Not many people go to school to become town managers, and Smith is no exception. After graduating with a food economics degree from University of Montana, she went to work as a home economist for the Washington Fryer Commission and eventually moved to Seattle to work for National Food Corporation. Then love took a hand. Smith married, and her husband worked at the lumber mill in Port Gamble.

“We lived in Port Gamble, but I continued to commute to Seattle,” Smith said. “Then I took a summer off and immediately got bored about a month into it. So I looked for something to do in Port Gamble, which led to a job in the Port Gamble nursery and eventually the Port Gamble General Store.”

Smith went on to work in the Port Gamble Museum and even cleaned houses around the town as people relocated in the wake of the mill closure in 1995. She took on additional responsibilities for leasing and tenant management before being named town manager in 2001.

“In many ways, it was a new position for the town,” she said. “When the mill was operating, the mill manager also served as the town’s manager.”

Weddings and ghosts in a bustling community

Today, Smith oversees a bustling, 121-acre community with 52 buildings housing 25 residential residents and 40 commercial tenants. Her staff, which includes eight full-time employees and eight additional seasonal workers, takes care of the museum, manages landscaping duties throughout the town and runs a growing wedding business that was bolstered when the Port Gamble Pavilion opened in 2009.

The town got into the wedding business in 2003 and we had 13 weddings that year,” Smith said. “We’ll do 80 weddings in 2012. People come from all over the United States for weddings at Port Gamble.”

Port Gamble also is known as one of the centers of paranormal activity in the Pacific Northwest, and Smith gets into ghosts.

“There’s the whole paranormal, ghost side of things here, which I really enjoy,” she said. “Almost every building in town has some kind of haunting and oddity. It really helps with exposure for Port Gamble, given all the media that’s out there now.”

The Port Gamble Ghost Conference, held annually in October, attracts nearly 100 participants and Smith leads regularly scheduled Ghost Walk tours throughout the year. With all this activity, there’s really no such thing as a typical day for Port Gamble’s town manager.

“It’s essentially like running a small business and much of what I do is not very glamorous,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of administrative work – accounting, payroll, staffing, and so on. I also end up fielding a lot of random questions from people, like what’s the paint color on the pavilion or what kinds of flowers do we have planted in a particular garden. It just takes time to research answers and get back to them.”

Port Gamble, Olympic Property Group, Pope Resources

At left, Shana Smith rocks with local band Chasing Mona at a recent Port Gamble concert

Smith also works closely with current tenants. “I want to make sure they’re doing well and answer any questions or concerns that they might have,” she said. “Having a good relationship with our current tenants can lead to new opportunities.”

In addition to her Port Gamble responsibilities, Smith is the president-elect for the Kitsap Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers and the 2012 chair for the organization’s national convention coming up in Washington, D.C. She also is active in the North Kitsap Tourism Consortium and is part of an in-house committee working on Port Gamble’s Redevelopment Master Plan, which is scheduled to be submitted to the county for review by the end of 2012.

Port Gamble is a historic town with deep roots, but Smith believes the Master Plan is key to the town’s future success.

“It’s very vital for Port Gamble’s existence that it grows and is able to sustain itself,” Smith said. “There always will be the historic nature and atmosphere, but the Master Plan will inject more energy and life here, and that will be exciting to see. It’s been great to see the north Kitsap community support the plan, and that bodes well for Port Gamble’s future.”

September 18, 2012 -  12:06 pm

Al Fure Port Gamble Development Master Plan Olympic Property Group Triad Associates

Spend a few minutes talking with Al Fure about his role in the Port Gamble Redevelopment Master Plan and before long, football metaphors pop into the conversation.

It’s not unusual – after all, Al is an unabashed football fan. But he’s also the head coach when it comes to coordinating and leading the planning process for a project such as Port Gamble. 

 I’m sort of like Pete Carroll – the head coach,” said Fure, the lead consultant on the Port Gamble project and a senior vice president at Triad Associates. “I’m the guy that ensures that our entire project team is headed in the right direction. It’s similar to football – we’re all trying to get to the goal line, but we have to have a whole group of people that are working together in order to get there. “

Under direction of senior management at Olympic Property Group, which owns the town of Port Gamble, Al guides a large team of consultants that is developing the Port Gamble Master Plan. It includes development experts in everything from historical preservation to traffic control and wetland and wildlife management.

Central to the process is Triad Associates, the Kirkland-based consulting firm that is integral to the development of the Port Gamble Master Plan. This role of head coach who executes the project’s entire playbook for the client is one that Al relishes. 

“It’s been an evolution in my career,” he said. “One of the things that I loved early on was working with groups. But I also gained a keen understanding of the development process and how projects should be designed and managed to meet the owner’s needs and priorities. My role is to bring value to an owner by representing him or her in a complicated process and with a complex group of people.

“Somehow, I’ve learned to think like a builder-developer,” he said. “I can anticipate what they want, and I’ve learned to merge technical expertise with a layman’s knowledge when needed.” 

Al joined Triad Associates in 1976 after graduating from University of Washington with a degree in civil engineering. In nearly 40 years with the firm, he has worked on some of the region’s most iconic developments, including the master planned communities of Port Ludlow in Jefferson County and Talus in Issaquah, east of Seattle. But ask him about Port Gamble and the conversation picks up tempo like a football team running a no-huddle offense. 

“Port Gamble is an absolute jewel box,” Al said. “With a number of our projects, we are working to restore a site or repair a scar. At Port Gamble, we’ll be reestablishing what was once there. Olympic Property Group has done such a wonderful job of maintaining and restoring the town that you can get a sense of what the redevelopment can be. Port Gamble is going to be a place where people are going to want to be.” 

Al believes that any project can be successful if you can create and maintain a sense of place because it enables people to identify and relate to it in ways that are interesting to them. Port Gamble appeals to people on multiple levels, Fure said. 

“You have a historic town with historic structures that were built in the 1800s and are meticulously maintained in a part of the world that is uniquely amazing,” he said. “So the sense of place is already baked in. Now, if you carefully build on that, what are the other essential elements that reinforce this sense of place, such as preserving green spaces, views, existing trees and landscaping? How do you work around them by adding new, but historically consistent structures and improving on sustainability and environmentally important features?”

The Port Gamble Master Plan is at the point where Fure and his team are conducting a series of design reviews with Olympic Property Group executives and staff. The review process will be completed this fall and the Master Plan will be submitted to Kitsap County by the end of the year for review, comment and approval. 

“It’s all lining up,” Fure said, channeling his best Pete Carroll persona. “It’s very exciting.”

September 14, 2012 -  4:07 pm

forest fire hazard in Kitsap CountyIf you’re planning to enjoy hiking, biking or other outdoors activities this weekend, please keep in mind that all recreational access to timber lands owned by Pope Resources in Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties is closed due to extreme fire hazard conditions.

The closure includes the popular Port Gamble block, a 6,500-acre parcel immediately south of Port Gamble that is a magnet for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and other outdoor enthusiasts across the region.

The closure will remain in effect until significant rainfall occurs.

We are sorry for any inconvenience. However, the dry conditions make for extreme fire hazard conditions and threaten private and public resources.

Pope Resources, a publicly traded limited partnership, and its subsidiaries Olympic Resource Management and Olympic Property Group, own 118,000 acres of timberland and development property in Washington. The company and its predecessor companies have  owned and managed timberlands and development properties for more than 150 years. 

September 13, 2012 -  9:03 am

Photo credit - Kitsap Sun

One of the truths about a company that grows trees and develops large master-planned communities is that things don’t happen overnight. A case in point is the town of Port Gamble, now about a decade in the planning process.

For the past several years, we’ve held many community meetings and open houses.  The most recent occurred in June when nearly 400 Kitsap County residents turned out for an informational open house to learn about the Port Gamble Master Plan as well as hear updates on the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project and the ongoing environmental clean-up of Gamble Bay.

It was a great meeting and the energy and excitement for the revitalization of Port Gamble was palpable in the room.  If you missed it, we’ve posted a nine-minute video that gives you a great overview and summary of the meeting.

The excitement continues – it’s just not as evident as it was during the meeting. So, quick updates on all three initiatives are in order.

Port Gamble Master Plan

Planning for the revitalization of Port Gamble is moving ahead. Triad Associates, the lead consultant on the project, has assembled a team that is busy applying its expertise to the project in key disciplines such as sustainability, historic preservation, traffic planning and architectural landscaping, to name a few.

Recent design reviews highlighted some key points:

Port Gamble will have a compelling blend of residential and commercial elements that is consistent with the historic legacy of Port Gamble while retaining open space and view corridors.

The revitalized Port Gamble definitely will live up to the concept of ‘live/work/play,’ and preliminary plans showcase the possibilities – a dedicated market square, an ongoing farmer’s market and multi-family units that offer live-work housing situations.

Plans for the town’s commercial zone not only incorporate existing businesses but add new ones, including plans for an inn or hotel that would offer some of the best views in the Pacific Northwest.

The Port Gamble Master Plan will be submitted by the end of 2012 to Kitsap County to start the formal review and approval process. For maps and additional project details, please visit www.itsyourbackyard.com.

Kitsap Forest & Bay Project (KFBP)

The KFBP is an initiative by multiple stakeholders to buy all or part of Pope Resources’ 6,900 acres of North Kitsap timberlands. The project is led by Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy), which holds an option agreement with Pope Resources.

At present, property appraisals are underway for the Port Gamble millsite and the Gamble Bay shoreline immediately south of the millsite. An appraisal for the remaining 6,900 acres of timberland that is part of the option agreement with Forterra is forthcoming.

We expect all three appraisals to be completed in September.

Environmental clean-up of Gamble Bay

Pope announced recently that it has set aside more than $14 million for potential clean-up costs. Negotiations are ongoing with the Department of Ecology and both sides are working hard to agree on a clean-up plan.

One key factor in the negotiations is a legislative appropriation of $9 million that is earmarked for shoreline acquisition and restoration of Gamble Bay.

To see the proposed Master Plans and to get involved in Port Gamble’s future, please visit www.itsyourbackyard.com and its sister web site, www.popenorthkitsap.com.

 

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Welcome to our website! We hope that this will provide you with enough information regarding Pope Resources North Kitsap properties and the current conservation efforts that are now taking place. If you have questions or comments that can't be addressed through our website, please feel free to contact us directly. Every attempt will be made to answer your request promptly.

~ Jon Rose, President
Olympic Property Group
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