City Council honors Port Townsend man with moment of silence

Public comment asks to remember Warren Shelley-Rose

PORT TOWNSEND — A minute of silence was held at a City Council meeting for a Port Townsend man who died last month.

The moment honored Warren A. Shelley-Rose, whose body was found Dec. 29 near the bottom of a 300-foot bluff off Elmira Street.

Shelley-Rose, who spoke before council Dec. 16, died from injuries consistent with having fallen from a considerable height, said James Kennedy, the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney and coroner.

He was 41.

Heather McRae-Woolf of Port Townsend rose in support of Shelley-Rose during the council’s public comment period Jan. 6, saying the last time she saw him was in council chambers.

“He gave an eloquent public commentary, urging Port Townsend to consider a declaration of climate emergency, to join the global grassroots movement of such local declarations,” McRae-Woolf said.

Shelley-Rose told council members last month that he went on a native walk last year from Tacoma to the state capitol in Olympia, where he joined others in a similar request of Gov. Jay Inslee.

“This is something that’s going on worldwide, about 1,200 declarations worldwide,” Shelley-Rose said.

“In the U.S., even though we’re doing a lot of the contribution to the world climate increase, we haven’t stepped up very much.”

Shelley-Rose said there were about 55 declarations within the states, and all have been at the city or county level.

“This is something also where Australia has declared it as a country and England, as well,” he said.

“That’s why I’ve come from that march to here, where I live, asking that we lead that for those in our state.”

Shelley-Rose said he had been working with Local 20/20 and other environmental groups to gain traction. He also cited city contributions to the Climate Action Committee.

“Personally, I have a lot of faith in how you are moving forward in these ways,” he said.

“But I’m also seeing that as a way to wake up our people here.”

McRae-Woolf said she wanted to dedicate one of her allotted three minutes to Shelley-Rose and asked council members to join.

“I ask that we honor him in silence, reflecting on what we can do as a community for the well-being of this land and sea that we call home,” she said.

Many of the council and audience members closed their eyes or bowed their heads during the moment, which lasted for 50 seconds.

Afterward, City Manager John Mauro reflected on the dedication, saying he got a chance to meet Shelley-Rose when he attended one of the Coffee with the City Manager sessions.

“That was particularly heartfelt,” Mauro said.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].

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