Clallam County considers heritage funds distribution

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County Heritage Advisory Board is considering how best to disperse the recently discovered historic preservation funds that county officials said they had not known had been collected for 15 years.

On Monday, the board began tackling how it should deal with the approximately $130,000 currently available for grants, knowing that the fund only grows by about $15,000 each year.

Board member Larry Lang suggested the board consider awarding $50,000 in the first year, $40,000 in the second year, $30,000 in the third year and a $20,000 in the following years until the fund is depleted to about $15,000.

Lang emphasized throughout the meeting that there’s no way to know yet how much of a demand there will be for the funds until the board begins accepting applications.

“There’s various scenarios and there’s no way to know until we get applications,” he said.

Still deciding

The board did not reach a decision Monday, but agreed to bring the topic up again at its Dec. 2 meeting.

The Board of County Commissioners learned earlier this year that the county has been collecting $1 per document recorded in the Auditor’s Office since the state approved a law in 2005, which allows commissioners to use the funds at their discretion to promote historic preservation and historical programs.

That has amounted to about $15,000 each year.

The county has determined that it has already spent about $90,000 of the $220,000 that has been collected since 2005, leaving $130,000 that can potentially be awarded in grants.


The Heritage Advisory Board will make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners as to how the money should be spent, but it is the county commissioners who have the final say.

Former County Commissioner and Heritage Advisory Board member Mike Doherty cautioned the board against spending the bulk of the funds in the first two or three years.

“I would favor at most $25,000,” Doherty said. “It’s so important to set a precedent that we’re stingy, so they aren’t dreaming really big and we say no.”

The board did not settle on how it should split the available funds each year.

There was discussion about whether there should be a large award and multiple smaller awards.

Doherty and others said they would like to see those who apply for a grant to also provide some sort of match.

“A match at some level shows you … have some skin in the game,” Doherty said. “It makes the applicant think twice before doing the paperwork, instead of thinking of it as free money.”

Spirit of intent

Judy Reandeau Stipe, director of Sequim Museum and Arts Center and board member, said that however the money is spent, it should be spent with the intent in which the law was written, not on posters and brochures.

She said there should be a focus on digitizing records, picture preservation and capital improvements.

“The intent was to preserve things,” Stipe said. “The bricks and mortar ought to take precedence over training and paper. We need to look a little harder at something that’s permanent.”


Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula

More in News

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part in a workshop on Saturday about cropping bird photos for best presentation during Saturday’s Olympic Birdfest. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Bird spotting

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part… Continue reading

Annette Nesse, at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s main campus in Blyn in December 2021, is serving as interim director at the Dungeness River Nature Center, the organization announced. (Emily Matthiessen/for Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Nesse to serve as interim director at River Center

New position to begin May 1; organization will continue its full-time search

Sequim Wheelers, seen on the historic Railroad Bridge near the Dungeness River Nature Center, prep for a ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The nonprofit's season begins in May, and it has an open house for potential new volunteers on April 20 at the River Center. It also has an orientation for new volunteers on April 25 at the River Center. (Sequim Wheelers)
Sequim Wheelers gearing up for 2024 rides, seek recruits

Nonprofit looking for help during for 20-week season

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile for collection as volunteers work to clean up a section of hillside above the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles on Saturday. More than a dozen members of Elevate PA spent the morning clearing up overgrown areas on the hillside from Haynes Viewpoint to the hotel’s Front Street driveway as part of a city beautification effort. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Hillside cleanup in Port Angeles

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Operations set at Bentinck range

The Royal Canadian Navy has announced that the land-based… Continue reading

Pictured, from left, are Wolfe, May, Reader and Emily Fry.
May recognized with BEE award from medical center

Reuben May has received a BEE award from Olympic Medical Center. The… Continue reading

Schools open following contract

PAPEA, district reach tentative agreement

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer, second from right, speaks with members of the Port Angeles Parents for Education, on Friday about the Port Angeles Paraeducation Association strike. Assistant Superintendent Michele Olsen stands at right. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
District, PAPEA to pick up bargaining Sunday

Parent group presses officials for answers on strike

Instructor Josh Taylor, left, points out the workings of an electric vehicle on Wednesday at the Auto Technology Certification Program at Peninsula College. Nick Schommer, center, and Brian Selk get ready to do some testing on the electric auto’s parts from underneath the vehicle. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
College’s automotive technology program gets a reboot

Students can earn a certificate separate from two-year degree

Port Townsend transportation tax dollars to be put to work

Benefits district to raise $400,000 to $600,000 in first year