Avant Garde Approach to the Housing Crisis

Laura Jean Schneider ljschneider@ptleader.com There’s an avant garde approach to the housing crisis right here in Port Townsend: Applicants will need to make it through several rounds of interviews. They need proof of reliable income, because 20 percent will go toward rent. They must be willing to undergo state and federal background checks and be in good standing in their community. Approved tenants are required to help upkeep their community grounds and attend weekly meetings. Tenants share one meal per day in a communal kitchen. There’s 24-hour security on site, easy access to public transportation, schools, medical care, and a grocery store. It’s a weapon and substance-free community, with enforced quiet hours. Applications can be obtained from Bayside Housing and Services. Address? Well, it could be a modest lot between Ninth and Rosecrans streets, arguably the most contested soil in Jefferson County right now. PREJUDICE, PERHAPS PRIDE“I’m one of those really fortunate people who have lived a really charmed life,” said Debbi Steele. She moved to Port Townsend in 2007, where she started the Jefferson Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls, and founded the Wearable Art Contest to fundraise for it. Recently, she’s become involved with the Community Build Project, a volunteer-run organization that helps craft homes for those in need. After trying her hand at slapping on paint, which she admits she was miserable at, she took over as volunteer coordinator. “We want to build community,” she said, and in this case, that’s literal. She…

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Rhody Festival parade now set for August

By Diane Urbani de la Paz Thursday, July 29, 2021 PORT TOWNSEND — Blackberry and lemon cake with Italian buttercream. Spiced, gluten-free chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache. This is dessert — the ninth annual Cake Picnic — for the 85th Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade, now rescheduled for noon Aug. 14. Uptown’s East Jefferson Fire Rescue station, at Lawrence and Harrison streets, will be the starting point for a procession unlike any Rhody parade in history. For one thing, the fresh rhododendron blooms of May won’t be prominent on the 2021 floats, said festival president Lori Morris. The organizing committee is yet undeterred. Still, “we need more people,” said Rita Hubbard, keeper of the entry forms. So far, 28 applications have come in — about a third of the number in past parades held in May. She hopes for many more before the Aug. 9 deadline. Prospective 2021 entrants will find applications at www.rhodyfestival.org while information is available by emailing rhodyfest@gmail.com. So far, several parade stalwarts have signed up: local steampunks, midwives, kinetic sculptures, hardware and marine companies and the Kiwanis Club will sashay down Lawrence Street to Monroe Street to downtown. The Port Orchard Fathoms of Fun festival, Sequim Irrigation Festival and Washington state Daffodil Festival floats will make the scene. Port Townsend’s own Rhododendron Festival float will carry Queen Jenessah Seebergoss, Princess Hailey Hirschel and Princess Brigitte Palmer while the Boeing Bluebills serve as grand marshals. Missing: marching bands. School’s out for summer, so Hubbard and Morris are wondering…

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Port Townsend theater wins grant with community backing

By Diane Urbani de la Paz Sunday, July 25, 2021 PORT TOWNSEND — Key City Public Theatre has received its largest-ever grant, executive artistic director Denise Winter announced, thanks to the local supporters who came forward first. The playhouse at 419 Washington St. has been under renovation for more than a year now, with Winter and her crew hoping to reopen for a holiday show this year and a season of plays in 2022. Meantime, work with contractors and vendors — on new seats, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, touchless fixtures — devours Winter’s days. “When all is said and done, this is about a half-million-dollar project,” she said. On Friday, she at last got to talk about the giant piece of good news: KCPT’s $176,500 award from the Murdock Charitable Trust based in Vancouver, Wash. The trust was established by the late Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. To win this kind of grant, Winter said, her nonprofit theater had to prove its abundant community backing. The story of the Murdock money started with an exchange between Winter and one patron, who back in 2019 called to ask how to help fund a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The playhouse has been too hot or too cold for too many years, and some attendees have come once and never come back, Winter said. Teaching artists Bry Kifolo, left, Brendan Chambers and Maggie Bulkley will lead two youth theater workshops — one for 8- to…

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