PORT TOWNSEND — Gov. Jay Inslee brought his Results Washington review agenda to town Tuesday to measure government and determine if the state is successful, if it’s failing and what needs to be done to change the programs.
From all the reports issued Tuesday, the state gets a passing grade.
The event was held in conjunction with the three-day Main Street/Revitalize Washington conference. Inslee learned about the performance of several state departments and commissions, and said he believes that building strong local communities is the foundation of the state.
“Washington state is the greatest state partially because of its Main Street program,” said Inslee, acknowledging the role the program plays. The state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation administers the program.
“Fundamentally, you are making community and if you think of what our nation needs right now, it’s communities. Places where people feel connected, a place they can be proud of,” Inslee said.
“The internet has done some very wonderful things for that, but it sure is great when people have an actual community that you help build across the state of Washington. I’m proud of the work you’ve done.
“This is a great exhibit of a great community here in Port Townsend, where history is alive,” Inslee added. “I love coming up here every chance I get.”
Inslee thanked the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Jamestown S’Klallam tribes for allowing the meeting to be held in their territory Tuesday.
“I’m so appreciative of their leadership in keeping our environmental heritage sound,” he said.
Inslee pointed out the investments the state has made in Port Townsend.
“We’ve invested over $10 million in capital investments in Fort Worden, which also received support from the Washington State Arts Commission,” he said.
“Commerce has invested over a million dollars in multiple city projects here, including the drinking water system, the Howard Street Regional Stormwater Facility, Point Hudson and Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding,” Inslee added.
“The Northwest Maritime Center received grants from [the state Department of] Ecology. And the B&O [Business and Occupation] tax credits really pay off. “
He thanked 24th District Rep. Steve Tharinger, Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson and county Commissioner Kate Dean — who attended the event — for providing leadership. Tharinger, a Sequim Democrat, is one of three people representing the 24th District. The others are Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim.
Dave Robison, executive director of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority (PDA), presented a history of Fort Worden and of the partnership with Washington State Parks that led to the creation of the lifelong learning center.
Peter Herzog, executive director of Washington State Parks, said it has been an eight-year process to take Fort Worden to local management through the PDA.
Mike Rainey, executive director of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades, said that in 10 years of operation, the school has trained more than 3,000 students and held 55 intensive workshops and classes.
He discussed the partnerships that have been created with Fort Worden, where the school is located. The school created 100 windows for Fort Worden as part of a vocational training program. In 2016, the school produced 60 pieces of furniture for several of the buildings, which led to a 12-week furniture building curriculum.
Woodworker and former school student Sam Allison attended a three-month furniture intensive and believes he was creating “functional sculpture.”
He said the traditional trade apprenticeship is an outdated model and feels another approach like collaboration would be more appropriate for those starting out who can’t afford the necessary tools.
Mark Barkley, assistant director of the state Department of Commerce, Local Government Division, said he views the Northwest Maritime Center and Point Hudson as the anchor in downtown.
Brent Barnes, chief operating officer of Puget Sound Partnership, said he views people as part of the ecosystem. He added that 90 percent of residents take pride by calling Washington home.
Arts Commission Executive Director Karen Hanan said that Washington’s creative economy had in 2016 some 207,251 jobs and was a $22.7 billion industry. She said plans are underway to create a “Creative Districts” program that will be a catalyst for attracting entrepreneurs.
Craig Bill, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, discussed inclusiveness and the cultural and legal relationship the state has with the tribes.
David Stillman, Department of Social and Health Services assistant secretary, Economic Services Administration, pointed out that over 2,000 people are on food stamps and spoke about creating more technical programs.
This was the 42nd Results Washington review held with the governor, and the first time it was held outside of Olympia.
Inslee said Port Townsend is a treasured part of the state.
“I think what we’ve heard today is how we’ve developed great partnerships and great relationships with private capital and public capital and state parks. It’s worked well. That’s the secret, that’s what we’ve learned.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]