Council reaction to Port Angeles mayor’s prison idea mixed

PORT ANGELES — Mayor Gary Braun thinks it’d be a good idea for Port Angeles to consider hosting a prison — should the possibility ever come up.

Several on the City Council don’t agree.

Others said they’d have to think about it before making a decision.

All were surprised by the suggestion.

It isn’t something that city officials or the council have discussed or pursued, said Deputy Mayor Betsy Wharton.

“We’re not making efforts in that direction, so it’s not really relevant right now,” she said.

Braun made the suggestion on Feb. 7 on KONP-AM 1450 radio’s Todd Ortloff Show.

He told the Peninsula Daily News in an interview last week that if the state Department of Corrections ever asks if any city wants to host a new prison, Port Angeles should say it is interested.

“I think the key issue today is jobs, and it would bring jobs,” Braun said, estimating that a prison could open up 300 new jobs.

“If the opportunity should present itself, if we get correspondence about wanting to site a prison, I would probably support that.”

City Councilwoman and former mayor Karen Rogers said she knew nothing of Braun’s idea before he mentioned it earlier this month.

She doesn’t support it.

“It was a total surprise to me. I’m in my seventh year on council and it’s never come up before.

“I’ve received numerous calls of concern, and I don’t think citizens want a prison in the Port Angeles community.

“It’s just not a good fit for this community.”

City Councilman Larry Williams echoed those comments.

“I’ve been on council since 1998 and I don’t recall any effort to get a prison here,” he said.

He also had numerous people tell him that’s not how they envision the community.

“They told me we already have a prison in Clallam Bay, and they would just as soon leave it out there and expand it if needed,” Williams said.

Clallam Bay Corrections Center, two miles south of Clallam Bay, employs 430 people.

It opened in 1985 as a 450-bed medium security prison, converted to maximum security in 1991 and expanded to house another 400 offenders in 1992.

“We are expending energy discussing non-starters and diverting energy from real economic development,” Williams said.

“Hopefully this isn’t an indicator of the next two years.”

More in News

Crying Lady Rock on Second Beach in Clallam County is part of a stamp set celebrating the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act being signed into law Oct 23, 1972. The photograph was taken by Matt McIntosh. (Photo courtesy USPS)
USPS stamp set includes popular Clallam County landmark

Artwork marks marine sanctuary’s 50th anniversary

Clallam County considers rehousing allocations

Money would be for emergency housing

Port of Port Townsend to consider benches, rate hikes

Initial Jetty work slated for September

Lopez named principal at Greywolf Elementary

Schools eye Sept. 16 as date for stadium naming ceremony

Jefferson County to consider opioid settlement allocation

Peninsula entities to receive allocations from state lawsuit

Seattle hospital to refuse some patients due to capacity

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle will temporarily… Continue reading

PHOTO BY: Susan Doupé
CAPTION: Priya Jayadev is the new executive director for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County.
New executive director for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County

Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County has hired Supriya “Priya” Jayadev as its… Continue reading

Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News
The Port Townsend City Council seeks to sell the Cherry Street property that had been barged over from Canada  five years ago to become affordable housing.
Port Townsend aims to sell Cherry Street housing project

Stalled for years, affordable housing project all but adandoned

Layla Franson, 15, and Jackson, her 10-year-old Quarter Horse, are competing in 4H at the Jefferson County Fair this weekend. Like many counties across the state, Jefferson County has seen a decline in the numbers of youths enrolled in 4H after the COVID lockdown and is actively seeking to reboot its program. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
Jefferson County Fair back after two-year hiatus

4H looks for bounceback after restrictions eased

Most Read