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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.”

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