Guest Opinion: OPAL Working on Local Home Mortgage Fund


— by Alexander Conrad — A recent guest opinion by Ken Wood suggested one approach to increasing the affordability of housing. The [opinion] illustrated how the cost of capital (i.e. interest rates and terms) impact affordability. Comments to the opinion also called for a local organization to step up to … Continue reading

Coffin Resigns from Fire Commission; DiCaprio Appointed Reports also on Chief Search, Cost Recovery, and SAFER Grants

— by Margie Doyle, Updated Aug. 23 at 9 p.m.– Fire Commissioner Jim Coffin resigned at the Special Meeting of Commissioners on Monday, Aug. 22. His replacement, TJ DiCaprio, was announced following an Executive Session of the Commissioners. (Update: Commission Chair Barbara Bedell wrote in to this article on Aug.23: … Continue reading

Eastsound Visioning Statement Now Has a Survey Information Booth at Farmers Market on Labor Day Weekend

— from Jim Jonassen — The EPRC Task group  “to help enrich a community dialogue on the future to inform the [County Comprehensive] plan update,’ will again have an information booth at the Farmers Market on Saturday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day Weekend). That task group has created a report and … Continue reading

Inslee Declares Wildfire Emergency in 20 Counties Active Burn Ban Remains in San Juan County

— from Tara Lee — Gov. Jay Inslee today proclaimed a state of emergency for 20 counties in response to multiple wildfires in Eastern Washington threatening homes, businesses, public infrastructure and natural resources. Inslee toured the Spokane-area fires this morning. The proclamation covers Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, … Continue reading

Public Library Board to Hold Special Meeting Expansion project and levy measure on the agenda

— from Phil Heikkinen for the Orcas Island Library Board– The Orcas Island Library Board will hold a Special Meeting in the Library Community Room at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 24, 2016. The agenda includes the November 8 levy lid lift ballot measure, building project update, and public campaign. … Continue reading

Orcas Fire and Rescue Joins Other Agencies to Rescue Two Boatloads of Kayakers

— from Orcas Island Fire and Rescue (OIFR)– Orcas Island Fire and Rescue, the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol (Boat and Helicopter), YMCA Camp Orkila, Washington State Parks and Outer Island Excursions responded to an emergency call at 9:40 a.m. reporting five kayakers in the water south of … Continue reading

Entering Phase III: School District Starts Community Discussions Meetings on Aug. 15 and 16: presentation, discussion, tour, discussion. More meetings planned

— by Margie Doyle, updated Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. — Should the Orcas Island School District (OISD) ask the community to support a bond for improvements? But before deciding, what improvements are we talking about? The public was presented with a beginning draft of eight projects that might be … Continue reading

Rep. Larsen Tours District to Fight Opioid Epidemic

— from Douglas Wagoner — [Yesterday], Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) concluded an expansive tour of Washington’s 2nd Congressional District where he held a series of events with law enforcement, health officials, advocates, community leaders, and elected officials to discuss new tools made available by the recently passed bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction … Continue reading

Preliminary Flood Insurance Study and Maps Available for Review and Comment

— from San Juan County Communications — FEMA has released the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for community review until September 12, 2016. Materials are available at or Comments may be sent to: STARR II Region 10 Service Center 20700 44th Ave West Suite 110 Lynnwood, WA … Continue reading

EWUA Seeks Recommendations from its Membership “Water, water, everywhere…and yet…?…”

— from Fred Klein — It’s not hard to find stories in the media describing how drinking water is becoming increasingly precious and strategically important in many parts of the globe… fortunately at our local level, we are blessed with adequate water resources if we use them wisely. Yes…we live on an … Continue reading

EWUA Updates Members in Annual Meeting Most significant water system savings is in your toilet

PowerPoint Presentation

— by Lin McNulty — Innovative and award-winning was the message at Eastsound Water Users Association (EWUA) Annual Meeting on Tuesday, August 16, as General Manager Paul Kamin highlighted key water system projects over the last year. A resurgence in growth was the first item on the agenda. EWUA gained 74 new … Continue reading

Burn Ban Now in Effect Update: Reminder from OIFR

extreme fire danger

— from Robert Low, SJC Fire Marshal — Due to the high heat and low fuel moisture levels, all of San Juan County will be at the EXTREME fire hazard level. Therefore, no fires, including recreational fires, are allowed at this time. UPDATE: August 18, 2016 — from Chief Scott Williams, … Continue reading

An Earful on Orcas: Ferries’ Staff Comes to Orcas "Give 30-minute rule some time to work"

Ferry meet Lynn Griffin feature

— by Margie Doyle — In a county-style marathon last week,  top officials of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) system visited the four ferry-served islands over three days to hear from the communities. On Aug. 9, Washington State Ferries Assistant Secretary Lynne Griffith met with a roomful of ferry-riders at … Continue reading

OPAL Gala: Feast, Fun, Friends RSVP now for Aug. 27 event

Saturday, August 27 at 5:30 p.m., Orcas Center Madrona Room — from Virginia Erhardt and Judy Whiting — The time is nigh for the OPAL Community Land Trust’s annual benefit dinner and gala. Join us on Saturday, August 27 at 5:30 pm for a fabulous opportunity to hear heartwarming stories, enjoy … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Help Replace Oil Spill Assc. Landing Craft Matching funds to replace motor during County Fair days ONLY

— from Islands Oil Spill Association — Thanks to the generosity of the San Juan Island Community Foundation (SJICF), each of us has a special opportunity to help Islands’ Oil Spill Association purchase a much-needed new outboard motor for the Green Heron, IOSA’s landing craft that is staged at the … Continue reading

Phase III School Bond Discussion Meeting in School Cafeteria Monday & Tuesday to discuss modernization

— from the Orcas Island School District — Modernization: Phase III, August 15th and 16th, 2016 Schedule: 9 a.m. – Introductions and Welcome (School Cafeteria) Goals o Community Input o Create Schedule o Create Project Needs History of Work: Phase II Scope Overview of work just completed: o Middle School … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Bond Proposal Will Impact School Music Program Phase III Plans for School Bond Present Music Program Crisis


— by Catherine Pederson — Our School Music Program is facing a crisis situation! You probably received a postcard in the mail last week thanking islanders for the completion of the last two years’ Phase II Building project. It included one music classroom – now used by the Band program. … Continue reading

Deer Harbor Bridge Update Safety First


— from John A. Van Lund, PE, SE, Sr. Proj. Engineer — Motorists will continue to use the existing bridge for at least another week as the contractor begins assembling the temporary bridge this week. Grading of the new roadway alignment of Channel Road continues on the west side of the bridge. Safety First! Construction … Continue reading

Larsen Announces $2 Million Grant to Improve Orcas Island Airport


— from Douglas Wagoner — Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Ranking Member on the House Subcommittee on Aviation, [yesterday] announced that the Port of Orcas has been awarded a $2,004,466 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to help improve the safety and operations at Orcas Island Airport. “Orcas Island Airport is an … Continue reading

“Con” Writers Needed for Ballot Measures

— from San Juan County Elections Office — Two local taxing districts have submitted resolutions to the San Juan County Auditor to place tax measures on the November ballot. The Orcas Island Library District is proposing to increase its regular tax levy from 30.34 to 45 cents per $1,000 of … Continue reading

Planning Commission Calls Special Meeting Aug. 19 meeting re-scheduled for Aug. 26

Friday, August 26, 8:30 a.m., Legislative Hearing Room — from Lynda Guernsey — The San Juan County Planning Commission will conduct a Special Meeting on Friday, August 26, 2016 in the Legislative Hearing Room, 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor beginning at 8:30 a.m. The Special Meeting is called because the regular meeting of the Planning … Continue reading