Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily news
The Field Arts & Events Hall, the focal point of the proposed Waterfront Center development in downtown Port Angeles, is shown under construction on Tuesday.

Field Hall given $1 million

Behest was Port Angeles woman’s third large donation

PORT ANGELES — Her first donation was $1 million. Her second was $500,000. And her third was another $1 million.

The late Patricia “Pat” Donlin bequeathed $1 million to the Field Arts & Events Hall project in Port Angeles, gifting it in her will.

She died Jan. 21 of natural causes, said her husband, Donald Webb, on Wednesday.

“They are doing something great for the city, and Pat felt like she’d like to help,” he said.

Donlin, 90, patiently parlayed $5,800 of Microsoft stock she purchased in 1986, the year of its initial public offering, into a stunning windfall, amassing a fortune in excess of $6.6 million, Webb said.

A painter, woodcarver and former Boeing data processor, Donlin made the investment after walking by Microsoft’s campus over and over on her way to work.

Then she fastened her grip.

“As far as her investment philosophy, it was buy and hold,” Webb said.

Donlin’s donation, one of her will’s few bequests outside of her family, is being realized a month before arts and events hall construction is put on hold.

“Hopefully, if it all comes to fruition, it will be the center of the arts and entertainment, not only for Port Angeles, but the entire (North Olympic) Peninsula,” Webb said.

With the slowdown of both contributions and revenues for under-construction and existing entertainment venues driving the pause, Donlin’s third donation came as welcome news to Field Hall board President Brooke Taylor.

“Pat has been passionate about the project from early on,” Taylor said.

“It’s sad to lose a wonderful lady, but she certainly has left her legacy on the community.”

Waterfront Center organizers had no idea that her most recent donation, one of the few non-family bequests from Donlin estate, was coming.

“She felt so strongly about the project and what it would do for the community that it really isn’t a surprise,” Taylor said.

“Qualitatively, it’s a huge shot in the arm, and it’s very encouraging.

“Quantitatively, those are the kinds of gifts that make a huge impact on getting those donations, and when you do, they are pretty special.”

Construction of the Field Hall building makes up $35 million of the $50 million project at the corner of West Front and North Oak streets.

The overall cost includes design and preliminary work.

Taylor said the donation puts the total of funds raised and pledged to $38 million, including a $2 million state Building for the Arts grant that was the top-rated submission from among two dozen applicants.

The reimbursement grant, the maximum awarded, is administered by the state Arts Commission and state Department of Commerce. It’s included in Gov. Jay Inslee’s capital budget for consideration by lawmakers who could approve it in the current legislative session.

“We have every reason to believe it will be approved,” Taylor said.

“Is it definite? Not until the governor signs it.”

The landscaping, shell and core of the 41,000-square-foot, four-story building will be completed around Feb. 25, when the construction hiatus will begin.

The 1.6-acre waterfront parcel, purchased with a $1.43 million donation from Dorothy Field, will include a facility run jointly by the Feiro Marine Life Center and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and a cultural center operated by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

The three facilities will comprise the Port Angeles Waterfront Center.

When completed, the arts center will include a 500-seat performance hall and 1,000-square-foot art gallery. Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, completion was targeted for Labor Day 2021, just 7½ months from now.

Taylor said in an October presentation to the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce that the unique coronavirus was “100 percent” behind the delay.

The grant funds will not be available anyway until the fall, he said this week.

“At this point, completion depends on when we resume,” Taylor said.

When the center does open, it will be due in no small part to a woman born in the Badlands-area farming town of Glendive, Mont., in 1930, when the population was far smaller than its present-day 5,000 or so.

Webb, 87, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant, met Donlin 40 years ago when he was a Boeing engineering assistant.

“It was love at first sight,” the Chicago native recalled.

The couple moved to Port Angeles in 2004.

“The traffic and the crowds in the Seattle area, it just got to be too much,” Webb said.

Donlin was the kind of person who made her own decisions with no lack of certitude, including when she made sizable donations to the Field Arts and Events Center, Webb said.

Take the first $1 million.

“It was just a case of when she had the opportunity and was exposed to the Field events center and what it was going to do and what it was going to bring, and she said, ‘I want to help and I’m going to give you a million dollars,” Webb recalled.

“The second time, we were in discussion with their board and OVERSET FOLLOWS:she said, ‘How about another $500,000?’”

As for the third donation?

“I had no idea she was going to do it,” Webb said.

“It was probably percolating in her mind for a long time.”

Webb and Donlin were married Jan. 15, nine days before she died while under hospice care, after being partners for some four decades.

“We just decided it was time to do it,” he said.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]

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