PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Waterfront Center has partnered with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, allowing the proposed performing arts center to combine local culture, science and arts, board chairman Brooke Taylor has announced.
Taylor told attendees at the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday that the board asked the tribe if it wanted to have a presence on the 1.6-acre property and “the response was quick and positive.”
The $15 million to $20 million center, planned for the dormant Oak Street property downtown, is made possible by a pair of donations.
The late Donna M. Morris of Port Angeles left $9 million to the Peninsula College Foundation to develop the performing arts center. That gift was followed by a $1.43 million donation from Port Angeles resident Dorothy Field for the purchase of the parcel at the northwest corner of Front and Oak streets.
Officials announced in March that the Feiro Marine Life Center would also be part of the campus.
Michael Peters, the tribe’s CEO, said that though the tribe doesn’t know exactly what the partnership will look like yet, it’s excited to be part of the project.
“We’re in the process of sharing ideas as we develop what that partnership might be,” he said. “We’re bouncing ideas internally. We’ve thrown around a lot of ideas from designs, programs, to actually assisting in the construction.”
He said the goal would be to highlight the Elwha tribe, as well as other Olympic Peninsula tribes.
Peters hoped to have a more solid idea of what the partnership means in the coming months, he said.
Taylor said the tribe’s proposed downtown Port Angeles hotel would work perfectly with the vision for the performing arts center.
The plan, he said, is to also have space for conferences and meetings in an effort to make the Port Angeles Waterfront Center self-sustaining.
“We are really excited about the possibilities,” he said.
The performance hall, which Taylor said would seat about 300 people, would double as an area for keynote speakers.
A marketing analyst in Seattle determined that 300 seats likely would be a good number of seats, enough to prevent events from over-selling or under-selling, Taylor said.
“If we had a venue below 300 seats, we’d have difficulty bringing in outside acts,” he said. “If we go too large, it would be undersold most of the time.”
It was determined based on demographics and statistics that there are likely between 18,000 and 22,000 people locally who would attend performances, he said.
Taylor called the millions who travel to Olympic National Park every year an “untapped market.”
Peters said that in designing the hotel, the tribe is trying to complement the Port Angeles Waterfront Center, not compete with it.
“We’re real excited to be a part of that project,” he said. “We think it’s a bigger venture beyond what they are doing in helping change the face of the downtown area.”
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at email@example.com.