HOMES NOW… OR, PARTY DOWN?
PORT TOWNSEND - A group described by Proposition 1 proponents as an “ideal vehicle” for possibly millions of dollars collected from higher property taxes is using taxpayer money for a post-election retreat.
A public records request has unearthed a grant from the City of Port Townsend to Homeward Bound for $30,000. The grant is described as a contract, but simply gives money for unspecified “work” that includes $5,000 for a post-election retreat.
Homeward Bound is the organization behind the $1.6 million “Cherry Street Project” in Port Townsend. This is a four-unit apartment building barged from Victoria, B.C. that has been sitting idle and uninhabitable on stacks of wooden blocks since early May. (The $1.6 million is calculated from all costs of the project: purchase, transportation and staging of the building, final construction and foundation, the $600,000 cost of the land and interest charges).
PORT TOWNSEND - The Jefferson County Republican Party today demanded that the City of Port Townsend enforce building codes against the so-called “Cherry Street Project.” This is the two-story, four-unit apartment building the City transported from Victoria, B.C. The city bought the building to create “affordable” housing. The project will cost at least $1.6 million when complete, more than six times the original cost announced to the public. (1)
The building has been sitting on freestanding, unattached stacks of wooden blocks since May 11, 2017, and will remain in that condition for much longer. Some of the stacks sit on bare, uncompacted earth. Due to rains and soil settlement some of those columns are out of plumb and bottom blocks have sunk into the earth. Other stacks sit on plywood sheets, which in turn sit on bare ground. Some of those sheets have deformed under stress. Pieces of plywood wedged between the stacks and the I-beams supporting the apartment building have warped and are not fully supporting the I-beams.
No engineering permit or report was approved to allow the building to be erected. An uneven bench was crudely scratched out of the hillside to create a place to leave the building. “This situation would not be tolerated for any other building project. No work is supposed to begin without having approved plans and permits on-site.” says Jeffco GOP chair Jon Cooke. (2) “Heavy winter rains will make the situation worse. This unstable building poses a clear threat to public safety, especially as it sits on a slope above several houses.”
The building is on a large parcel of land sold for $1 dollar by the city to a group called Homeward Bound, which is in a state of disorganization and does not have funds or a contractor to complete the project. (3)
 The Leader, April 26, 2017: “[T]he Port Townsend City Council voted unanimously to loan as much as $250,000 to the Olympic Housing Trust (also known as Homeward Bound) in order to make the project possible.”
 See Port Townsend Division of Development & Planning FAQs, summarizing building code requirements: “No work may begin without having the approved plans and permit on-site.”
 The Leader, September 13, 2017, “Manager: City Should Finance Completion of Apartment Project”
In touch, in-depth, independent.
The Tri-Area Times is a local independent news source for Port Hadlock, Chimacum, Irondale & surrounding communities.
Tel: (360) 328-1217
Jefferson County Quick Links