PORT ANGELES — Gov. Jay Inslee met with nursing students and staff at Peninsula College, learned about Peninsula Behavioral Health’s Dawn View Court apartments, met with city leaders, got a behind-the scenes tour of Field Arts & Events Hall and stopped by Erickson Playfield on his visit Friday to Port Angeles.
Washington state’s three-term governor, who has said he does not plan to run again in 2024, commented that he was impressed with what he saw and heard during his four hours in the city.
“From the pump track to the arts center, Port Angeles is pumping on all cylinders,” Inslee said.
Inslee said he was particularly interested by the college’s partnership with local employers to create certificate and other programs that could meet local workforce needs
“It’s the perfect example of what education should be doing,” Inslee said.
At Peninsula College, Inslee watched four nursing students work on one of five patient medical simulators that was funded with a $450,000 grant from the state.
The simulators, which can cost up to $100,000 each, look like mannequins and can be programmed to mimic human functions, from sweating to their eyes dilating. They are used to teach students how to assess a patient and administer CPR, IVs and other medical interventions.
While on campus, Inslee sat down with administrators to discuss the college’s efforts to partner with local employers to create programs that would train local residents to fill the demand for workers.
At the Dawn View Court apartments on Lauridsen Boulevard, Inslee visited the home of a resident at the 26-unit facility, which was the former All View Motel. The city and Clallam County purchased the property (formerly the All View Motel) and Peninsula Behavior Health received a $3 million state Department of Commerce Grant to transform it into housing.
Housing was the focus of Inslee’s meeting at Port Angeles City Hall with Mayor Kate Dexter, City Manager Nathan West, City Planner Benjamin Braudrick and other officials.
“It’s encouraging because there are many positive things going on,” Inslee said. “You are already ahead of the curve in terms of zoning and permitting to allow for more housing.”
Braudrick said that among the city’s goals is reducing barriers to obtaining development, such as making zoning changes and creating incentives for developers.
Field Hall board president Brooke Taylor guided Inslee through the 42,000-square-foot facility that is nearing its completion date in order to be ready for its grand opening celebration July 27-30.
“This is incredible,” Inslee said as he admired the ceiling and the row of pillars on the east side of the building.
The board had raised $40 million in private donations to build the structure, Taylor said, but added that the COVID-19 lockdown added $7 million to the construction cost. They were considering ways that gap might be closed, Taylor said, and how to raise matching funds of $36,000 for the installation of solar panels on the facility’s roof.
At Inslee’s final stop at Erickson Playfield, there were so many kids and teens riding bikes on the pump track, flying around the skate park and being shepherded by their parents to the Dream Playground, he joked, “Do children go to school here in Port Angeles?”