Jefferson County seeks second opinion on red-tagged Memorial Field bleachers

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County is getting a second opinion about the condition of the grandstand at Memorial Field to confirm or refute another engineer’s earlier report that urges condemnation of the structure.

County officials expect to receive a report from Seattle engineering firm KPFF by the middle of this week.

Public Works Director Monte Reinders said that report and the original engineer’s report will be used to determine the next steps for the county-owned grandstand that has been closed to the public since May 20.

“We’re in the process of re-evaluating the roof, which we know we need to replace, but we are not sure about the wooden structure,” Reinders said.

“We won’t make a decision until we see the full report.”

Reinders expects the county will pay between $2,500 and $5,000 for the report “depending on what we need them to do.”

The structure has been off limits to the public since an engineer preparing a bid for roof replacement determined that the supporting wood beams were in need of immediate replacement.

Engineer Scott Headrick recommended condemnation of the grandstand because of “degradation in the majority of structural members due to exposure to the salt air, rain water and lack of maintenance.”

City officials posted a “red tag” on the property, forbidding any public access until the structural problems were either corrected or better understood.

“The property owner has responded correctly,” said Port Townsend Development Services Director Rick Sepler.

“When their evaluation comes in, they will forward it to us along with how they are going to fix the problem and what will need to be replaced.”

Headrick was developing an estimate for Port Townsend contractor Mark Grant, who intended to bid on the project.

After Headrick’s report, Grant said he was no longer interested in the project, and the county discontinued the bid process.

Sepler said the building could be opened for limited use, such as at times when the wind speed is under 25 mph, but added “that is not an ideal situation.”

County officials had expected to replace the roof this summer, a project estimated to cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

They hadn’t expected to immediately replace all the wooden grandstand area, excluding the concert bleachers.

Reinders said he doesn’t know how much that would cost — or where the county would get the money.

The city has subsidized maintenance of the county-owned Memorial Field and Port Townsend Recreation Center since 2011 through a voter-approved sales tax increase.

Voters approved Proposition 1 in November 2010, which raised the sales tax in Jefferson County 0.03 percent, with the additional funds used to finance public safety, youth and senior services.

The city has provided about $212,000 annually from its share of the increase for maintenance and operation.

That revenue will end in 2015. No substitute funding has been secured.

Reinders said he didn’t feel that Headrick’s report was incorrect but that a second inspection would help.

“We didn’t hire [Headrick],” he said.

“We hired a firm that we thought would do a good job evaluating the areas that we need to know about.”


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or

Last modified: May 31. 2014 5:57PM
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