West End Park on the Port Angeles waterfront has been renamed Pebble Beach Park in both English and Klallam languages. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

West End Park on the Port Angeles waterfront has been renamed Pebble Beach Park in both English and Klallam languages. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

West End Park renamed in English and Klallam

Port Angeles site now known as Pebble Beach Park in both languages

PORT ANGELES — West End Park has been renamed Pebble Beach Park in both English and Klallam languages.

The Port Angeles City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to rename the waterfront esplanade Pebble Beach Park and sŋaʔŋáʔant cáwŋən ʔəssaqɬúŋt.

The name change was proposed by Jessica and Gillian Elofson of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and recommended by a unanimous Parks, Recreation and Beautification Commission.

Parks and Recreation Director Corey Delikat said the city received more than 120 letters in support of the change.

All eight speakers who addressed the renaming in a public comment period Tuesday — and all 15 who testified to the parks commission Feb. 21 — spoke in favor of the move.

“In regards to the renaming, it’s important to the tribal people,” Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles said.

“It’s important to our kids.”

The parks department will review the original design for the $2.5 million facility and work with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe on possible signs for the renamed park, Delikat said Wednesday.

The 1.5 acre park, which opened west of Oak Street in 2015, was designed to celebrate Klallam history and culture with numerous tribal elements on the grounds.

“It was always the city’s intent to work with the tribe on changing that name,” Delikat said of West End Park, which he described as a “placeholder” name.

“When the commission heard from Jessica and Gillian, they just thought that the name change, the thoughtfulness behind the name, the presentation, the organization of it was perfect.”

Jessica and Gillian Elofson filed an application to change the name to Pebble Beach Park in both English and Klallam languages Jan. 24.

Jessica Elofson said the renaming “can really open up some great possibilities for the continued relationship between the people in the city of the Port Angeles and our people, the Klallam people, who are very much a part of this community.”

“Being a member of the tribe and really trying to incorporate the language and our culture and our history with the history of the city of Port Angeles I think is a really amazing thing,” said Elofson, a Port Angeles High School and Peninsula College graduate who now works as Native American intervention specialist for the Port Angeles School District.

Gillian Elofson, Jessica’s daughter, is a freshman at Western Washington University.

Carolyn Wilcox of Port Angeles encouraged the Elofsons to consider adding a Klallam place name to the park, Jessica Elofson said.

Wilcox worked with Wendy Sampson and the tribe’s language department to translate Pebble (sŋaʔŋáʔant) Beach (cáwŋən) Park (ʔəssaqɬúŋt) and sought letters of support from community members.

“Since 2007, when I moved to the Olympic Peninsula, I realized that whatever I can do to further anything related to Klallam history and culture is without a doubt the right thing to do,” Wilcox said.

Charles said the new name was supported by the tribal council and elders.

“We’re humbled to be able to share and outreach our culture, our history, what we know, the stories of the spiritual avenues,” Charles told the City Council.

“There is so much more to share.

“Lower Elwha is very supportive of renaming some of our known village sites and campsites,” Charles added.

Charles said the city Port Angeles and other Clallam County agencies have been recognized in Indian Country for their joint ventures with local tribes.

“There’s a lot of other nations that don’t have that opportunity,” Charles said.

“That’s one of the things they really raise their hands up to, the tribes that can have those collaborations and the partnerships.”

Mayor Sissi Bruch, a former senior planner for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, said she was “grateful” to support the name change.

“I think it is something that needed to happen, and I appreciate the fact that it is here and we get a chance to go ahead and cement our relationship a little bit better as well,” Bruch said.

City Council member Cherie Kidd said her parents and grandparents told stories of friendships with members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe while she was growing up in Port Angeles.

“Those ties and bonds have been there for a long time, and so I think naming West End Park Pebble Beach in both English and S’Klallam adds more character to our downtown waterfront, more authenticity and more interest,” Kidd said, addressing Charles and Elofson.

“So I appreciate the partnership, and thank you for wanting to join us because we’re joining you. I think this is something special to celebrate.”

________

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

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