The Lincoln Theater in downtown Port Angeles remains closed to entertainment events until its owners perform building upgrades to meet fire codes. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

The Lincoln Theater in downtown Port Angeles remains closed to entertainment events until its owners perform building upgrades to meet fire codes. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles won’t issue permit for Lincoln Theater production

Jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson will instead perform on Peninsula College campus

PORT ANGELES — A temporary permit issued for holiday performances at the shuttered Lincoln Theater last December was a one-time concession to promote efforts to restore the downtown landmark, Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc said.

The city would not renew temporary use and occupancy permits for a concert to be held at the theater in April because the venue at 132 E. First St., is still not up to code, Dubuc said Friday.

Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson will instead perform at the Little Theater on the Port Angeles Peninsula College campus, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., on April 12.

The city allowed the Lincoln Theater to be used with limited occupancy for December performances of “Snow White and the Five Housemates,” a locally-written Christmas musical comedy and pantomime.

Six performances were held over two weekends at the theater that had been closed since March 2014, said Marc Abshire, Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce executive director.

“They basically were looking for permission to have a single event that was going to help them publicize the renovation work that they were doing,” Dubuc said Friday.

“Certainly, we as a city want to support the efforts to bring the Lincoln back.

“Under some very limited circumstances, that permit was approved,” Dubuc added.

“This was an outside artist that was just looking to use that venue and really didn’t meet that criteria.”

The city verbally informed the theater owners that the temporary permits would not be renewed. Dubuc said notice was given shortly after the city learned that an April concert was desired.

“We wanted to let them know as soon as possible,” he said.

The Lincoln Theater is owned by Jam Properties of PA LLC, now solely managed by Marty and Deborah Marchant of Port Angeles, formerly partners with Port Angeles restaurant owner Jacob Oppelt.

Deborah Marchant did not return phone calls Friday.

The Marchants have said they want to turn the former movie house into a nonprofit performing arts venue.

“The building is not complete,” Dubuc said.

“They have known for quite some time there are a number of issues that needed to be addressed before it can be open for public performances.

“It’s a safety issue.”

Before the theater can reopen, it must have improved exits, proper lights and signs, and “doors that swing in the right direction,” Dubuc said.

“Exiting is always the No. 1 priority for the fire code,” Dubuc said.

“The fire alarm systems, sprinkler system and electrical system has to be up to snuff,” he added. “Interior finishes need to be in place and tested.”

Dubuc said the city fully supports the effort to reopen the Lincoln Theater.

“My philosophy has always been that it is our job to enable people to do the things they need to do, not to stop them from doing what they need to do,” Dubuc said.

“But we are limited by the code.

“At some point in time,” he added, “you run up against the code.”

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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