Deer Harbor Bridge Construction Update

— from John A. Van Lund — Local utility companies will be transferring services over from the existing wood bridge to the temporary bridge structure. Razz will complete the grading for the detour road alignment, along with installation of temporary concrete barriers, channelization, signage, and traffic signals, all of which … Continue reading

OMC / Island Hospital Contract for Patient Care to Expire in December

— by Lin McNulty — With the contract to maintain patient services at Orcas Medical Center (OMC) set to expire on December 31, 2016, Orcas Medical Foundation Board (OMF) and Island Hospital have been in negotiations for close to a year. These negotiations continued this week in a closed-door Executive Session on … Continue reading

Celebrate Return of Salmon With Salmon BBQ

Saturday, September 3, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., RSVP Required   — from Daniel Poppe — The Salmon Homecoming, sponsored by Long Live the Kings and Nootka Marine Adventures, celebrates the return of Chinook to the Glenwood Springs Salmon Hatchery. Join us for a salmon and pizza cookout with local wine, … Continue reading

Response from Orcas Island Fire and Rescue District

— from Acting Chief Scott Williams and representatives of San Juan County Fire District #2 — We are responding to comments from community members to recent news (see regarding the Fire District. We appreciate that several people took the time to offer their viewpoints. 1. Facilities Maintenance Contract: The … Continue reading

School Music Program Supporters Have Their Say at Board Meeting School finances in good shape; teachers retained; gift policies discussed

— by Margie Doyle — Members of the community spoke of the need and benefits of an adequate classroom to accommodate the growing School Strings Music Program, at the regular Orcas Island School District (OISD) board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25. Before nearly a dozen people made their comments, School … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Does Eastsound Still Need Architectural Design Standards? Envisioning what Eastsound will look like entails planning and standards

— by John Campbell, Chairman, Eastsound Design Review Committee– History: 25 years ago there was a general outcry in favor of minimum architectural standards in response to a big dowdy building that engulfed a treasured old landmark. There are two legal bases for community architectural design standards: good design and … 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

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

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

Hard Workers Abound on Orcas Island: Let’s Honor Them! Laboring Laboriously: in Italian "Opera" Means "Work"

— by Lin McNulty and Margie Doyle — For a tourist, vacation “paradise,” many year-round Orcas Island residents are renowned for their work ethic, which seems to be “Life is uncertain, get your work done first.” With many businesses and non-profits being entrepreneurial start-ups and artistic manifestations, islanders throw themselves … Continue reading

Deer Harbor Hamlet Plan Update Set for Public Review, Comments

Wednesday, August 31, 4 – 6 p.m., Deer Harbor Community Club — from Colin Maycock, SJC Community Development — On Wednesday, August 31, 2016 between 4 pm and 6 pm at the Deer Harbor Community Club, 4319 Deer Harbor Road, Orcas Island, San Juan County Department of Community Development is hosting a … 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

OPALCO Awarded Grant for $1 Million for Grid Modernization

— from Suzanne Olson — OPALCO’s spirit of innovation was recognized this week as the Co-op was awarded a $1 million grid modernization grant by the Washington Clean Energy Fund (CEF). OPALCO is the smallest utility to ever receive a CEF grant. Other recipients include Avista, Seattle City Light, Snohomish … 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

Whale Museum Lecture | Screening of Sonic Sea Venue changed to the San Juan Grange


Tuesday, August 30, 6:30 p.m., The Whale Museum — from Jill Berger — Update: The venue has changed for the Sonic Sea screening to the San Juan Island Grange. Thanks to the Grange for their generosity in helping make this important film available in a larger space with excellent acoustics … 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

Deer Harbor Bridge Construction This Week


— from John Lund — Razz Construction will be installing additional bracing, decking, and railing on the temporary bridge, which will accommodate vehicle traffic during the demolition of the existing bridge and construction of the permanent concrete bridge. Construction of the new alignment of Channel Road also continues on the … Continue reading

Whale Museum Lecture | Ocean Forecast Predicts Seasonal Outlook for PNW

Wednesday, August 24, 6:30 p.m., The Whale Museum — from Jill Berger — The Whale Museum is pleased to welcome Samantha Siedlecki of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) as part of the 2016 Summer Lecture Series on Wednesday, August 24th at 6:30 p.m. … Continue reading

Brigid Ehrmantraut Interns for the Chamber Music Festival

— by Emma Heikkinen, Orcas Issues Summer Intern — A concert is more than musicians performing — a great deal of organizational work is required, with a multitude of artists collaborating in order to create the final product. At Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Brigid Ehrmantraut is a particularly special … Continue reading

Whale Museum Lecture | Salish Sea: What’s in the Name?


Tuesday, August 23, 6:30 p.m., The Whale Museum — from Jill Berger — The Whale Museum is pleased to welcome Bert Webber as part of the 2016 Summer Lecture Series on Tuesday, August 23rd at 6:30 p.m. Bert will present “The Salish Sea: What’s in the Name?” Bert came to … Continue reading