Learn How to be a Small Business StartUp at classes in Western Washington

Do you have an idea for a small business that makes money, builds community, and protects the environment? Take a step to move your idea forward as the Washington Coast Works: Sustainable Small Business Competition (wacoastworks.org) kicks off with five community “ideation” events, to be held April 21-23 in Taholah, Aberdeen, La Push, Forks and Neah Bay. (Full schedule below.)
The Washington Coast Works competition offers budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop skills, get support and win cash to launch their businesses. The winner will receive $10,000 in startup funding, and two semifinalists will receive $5,000 each. Prize funding is provided by First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Port Angeles and the Quinault Indian Nation.
These three-hour workshops will:
 Answer all your questions about the competition, including how to apply, how the finalists and winners will be selected, what training and support will be provided, and more.
 Introduce you to the entrepreneur’s mindset, the opportunity discovery process, and sustainable “triple bottom line” businesses.
 Engage you in brainstorming activities designed to help generate ideas for new sustainable businesses that build leadership, contribute to conservation and keep money in the local economy.
All events are free and open to the public. No need to register in advance.

“This competition is a fantastic opportunity to develop some creative and unique sustainable businesses here in Grays Harbor. I would encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a great business idea to attend the Ideation workshop to learn more about this opportunity” said Dru Garson, CEO of Greater Grays Harbor.

Entrants to the Washington Coast Works: Sustainable Small Business Competition, are encouraged but not required to attend one of these ideation events. Enter starting April 20 at wacoastworks.org. Entries close June 19.
The competition is being presented by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Pinchot University (formerly Bainbridge Graduate Institute) and the Taala Fund. USDA provided funding through its Rural Business Opportunity Grants to help launch the competition.
Ideation Events:
 Taholah – Tuesday, April 21, 10 a.m- 1 p.m.. Taholah Community Center,
 Aberdeen- Tuesday, April 21, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., GHC Whiteside Continuing Education Center
 La Push – Wednesday, April 22, 10 a.m.-1p.m., Tribal Office West Wing
 Forks- Wednesday, April 22, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Peninsula College
 Neah Bay – Thursday, April 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Marina building

Olympic National Park Staff Prepare for Summer Season: Come Find Your Park This Spring

As migrating birds return and wildflowers bloom in the lowland forests, employees at Olympic National Park are turning their attention to spring cleaning and preparations for the main visitor season.

“We’ve had an early spring at Olympic National Park and we’re happy to see people already coming out to enjoy the warmth, sunshine and budding trees,” said Olympic National Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “It’s still wintry at the park’s higher elevations though, and no matter the elevation, visitors should always be prepared for changing conditions, as rain and even snow are possible at any time of year.”

 

Staircase

The Staircase Campground is open year round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.)  Drinking water and flush toilets will be available during for the summer season from May 22 through September 28.

 

Dosewallips

The Dosewallips Road remains closed due to a washout outside the park boundaries in Olympic National Forest, so access to the campground is walk-in (5.5 miles) only.

 

Deer Park

Deer Park Road and campground are both scheduled to open by mid-June, snow permitting.  While most of the road is snow-free, drifts remain at the upper elevations.  If conditions allow, this area may open earlier than scheduled. The campground provides primitive camping, with pit toilets and no drinking water.

 

Hurricane Ridge Road and Heart O’ the Hills

Hurricane Ridge Road is currently open as weather and staffing allow. People should call the Road & Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 for current conditions and road status.

 

Beginning in early May, the road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or late spring snow storms cause it to close temporarily.

 

The Hurricane Hill Road (the 1.5 mile of road that leads past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to the Hurricane Ridge picnic area and Hurricane Hill trailhead) is expected to open by mid-June.

 

Reaching elevations over 6,000 feet, sections of the Obstruction Point Road are still covered with four to five feet of snow, with higher drifts in some areas.  This road is expected to open in mid-June snow permitting.  If conditions allow, it may open earlier.

 

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only beginning May 2.  Weekend hours will continue through June 7.  The Visitor Center will be staffed daily beginning June 12.  The snack bar and gift shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only from May 3 – May 18 and will open daily beginning May 22. Check http://www.olympicnationalparks.com for more information.

 

The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Heart O’ the Hills Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.

 

Elwha Valley

The Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to the Boulder Creek Trailhead, unless road work or weather conditions close it temporarily.   There is currently no access from the Olympic Hot Springs Road to Glines Canyon or the former Lake Mills, as construction of a new parking area and viewpoint continues. This area is expected to open this summer.

The Whiskey Bend Road is closed to vehicle traffic at Glines Canyon Overlook, one mile above the intersection with Olympic Hot Springs Road. Winter rains caused a major washout that destrobyed a 500-foot section of road. The road remains open to foot, bicycle and horse travel, but all horse trailers must be parked and stock off-loaded at the Elwha picnic area. Horse trailers are not allowed on the Whiskey Bend Road because there not  currently a turnaround that will accommodate trailers.

 

The Elwha Campground is open year round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.)  Drinking water and flush toilets will be activated for the summer on April 17 through September 14.

 

Altair Campground is closed until further notice because of damage and loss of campsites and roadway caused by high winter flows along the Elwha River.  A timeline and plans for repairing and reopening the campground have not been completed.

 

Olympic Raft and Kayak, based just outside the park along the Elwha River, offers guided raft trips on the Elwha River, as well as kayak trips and other opportunities.  Check http://www.raftandkayak.com/ for more information.

 

Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent Lodge will open for the season on May 2 and will remain open through January 1, 2016, offering a range of lodging options, a dining room, boat rentals and gift shop.  More information is available at http://www.olympicnationalparks.com

 

Fairholme Campground will open this summer from May 21 through October 5, with drinking water and flush toilets available.  Beginning May 1, Fairholme General Store will be open Friday through Sunday through May 17.  Beginning May 22, the store will be open daily through September 7.

 

The Log Cabin Resort will open May 22 through September 30 for lodging, RV and tent camping, a boat launch, dining room and store.  More information is available at http://www.olympicnationalparks.com

 

La Poel Picnic area will open for day use on Saturday, May 23.

 

Sol Duc Valley

The Sol Duc Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.

 

The Sol Duc Campground is open year round; drinking water and flush toilets will be activated on April 16.

 

The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, is open for the season with lodging, dining, hot springs and a small store.  More information is available at http://www.olympicnationalparks.com

 

Hoh Rain Forest

The Hoh Rain Forest Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.  The Hoh Rain Forest Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.

 

The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is currently operating out of a temporary trailer while the main visitor center is under renovation.  The visitor center is now open Friday through Tuesday and will be open daily from June 17 through September 7.  The primary visitor center is expected to reopen this spring, at which time the temporary facilities will be removed.

 

Pacific Coast

Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette—Olympic National Park’s road-accessible coastal destinations—are open, including all roads, campgrounds and trailheads, except for the Beach Four parking area and trail, which are closed due to erosion damage.

 

The Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds both provide drinking water and flush toilets.  The Ozette Campground is primitive, with pit toilets and no potable water in the campground, however, water is available nearby.  South Beach Campground, a primitive campground located just south of Kalaloch, will open on May 15.

 

The Kalaloch Information Station will be open five days a week (Tuesday through Saturday) beginning on May 19.  Daily hours will begin June 16.

 

Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round with cabins, lodge rooms, dining and a gift shop.  For more information, check http://www.thekalalochlodge.com/ for more information.

 

Queets Valley

The Lower and Upper Queets roads are both open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause temporary closures, however the Lower Queets Road is closed about a half-mile below Matheny Creek (one mile before the end of the road) due to road damage. The Queets Campground is open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no potable water.

 

Quinault Rain Forest

The Quinault Loop Road, which includes the Quinault North Shore and South Shore roads, is open. The Graves Creek and North Fork roads are also open.  All Quinault area roads are typically open 24 hours a day, unless temporarily closed by road work or weather conditions.

 

The Graves Creek Campground and North Fork Campground are both open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water.

 

Park Trails & Wilderness Information Center
The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC), located at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning May 12.

 

Visitors are encouraged to stop by or call the Wilderness Information Center located within the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 360-565-3100 for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions.  Information is also available at the park’s website.

Several feet of snow remains on the ground, beginning at elevations above 4,000 feet. Even at low elevations, hikers are reminded to use caution and be aware of downed trees, trail damage, high and swift creek crossings, and changing weather conditions.

Denny’s Restaurant to open its doors in Aberdeen November 9th

On Sunday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m., a new Denny’s will open its doors in Aberdeen (418 W. Heron Street), unveiling its all-new, locally-inspired design and diner menu with an all day celebration. To celebrate the opening of its newest location and thank the surrounding community for its support, Denny’s will offer games and prizes along with giveaways of some of the diner’s most beloved dishes all day on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

At Denny’s, America’s diner, everyone is always welcome – welcome to drop in 24/7, welcome to enjoy good food and great value, and now Denny’s welcomes local residents, guests and visitors to stop by its newest location in Aberdeen. Located at 418 W. Heron Street, the new diner will officially open its doors on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m.

To celebrate the opening of its newest location and thank the surrounding community for its support, Denny’s will offer games and prizes along with giveaways of some of the diner’s most beloved dishes all day on Wednesday, Nov. 19. The first 100 guests to stop by the restaurant between 9 and 10 a.m. will receive a free Grand Slam breakfast, which includes two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs cooked to order, two bacon strips and two sausage links; the first 25 guests to dine with Denny’s from noon to 1 p.m. will get a free classic hamburger and fries and the first 25 guests from 6 p.m. onward will get a free dinner entrée.

“As America’s diner, Denny’s guests have come to our diners to sit back, relax and enjoy delicious, hearty meals for more than 60 years. We hope to bring that same sense of community to Aberdeen with this new restaurant,” said Denny’s district manager Prashant Sharan. “From breakfast any time to satisfying lunches and dinners, if hungry fans are in the mood for it, chances are we’re serving it.”

The new diner will have a significant impact on the Aberdeen community by creating more than 50 jobs for local residents and is conveniently situated at the corner of West Heron and South Jefferson Streets, next to the L&I Department and near the Safeway.  Denny’s is also known for providing its customers with tremendous value, including these great deals:

  • $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu® – Denny’s all day, every day value menu lets guests choose from 16 dishes at affordable prices, including traditional favorites as well as several new a la carte items.

 

  • Kids Eat Free – Guests can receive up to two free kids meal for children ages 10 and under with the purchase of each adult entrée. The offer is good from 4 to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, and menu items and prices may vary.

 

  • “Fit Fare” – Delicious choices that are good for you, too.  Denny’s “Fit Fare” options feature healthy choices like egg whites and hearty wheat breads that can be substituted into any meal for no extra charge. Using the expansive Build Your Own Grand Slam® menu, diners have more than 250 ways to build a meal with 550 calories or less, and 32 ways to build a meal of 400 calories or less. With plenty of simple substitutions and healthy “Fit Fare” entrees found throughout the lunch and dinner menu, Denny’s makes it easy for you to eat well on the go.

 

  • Free Birthday Grand Slam®– Celebrate your special day with a free Original Grand Slam® meal at participating Denny’s restaurants. The Original Grand Slam® offer is free for the birthday guy or gal who can show proof that it’s their birthday, and is good for dine-in only.

 

  • AARP Members Save 15 Percent – Show your AARP membership card at participating Denny’s restaurants and save 15 percent off your total check.

 

About Denny’s Corp.

Denny’s is one of America’s largest full-service family restaurant chains, currently operating more than 1,680 franchised, licensed and company-owned restaurants across the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Guam, Puerto Rico and New Zealand. For further information on Denny’s, including news releases, please visit the Denny’s website at www.dennys.com.

 

Connect with Denny’s

For news and updates on Denny’s please visit the brand’s social channels via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest or Youtube.

Anglers can keep two Chinook off Westport beginning August 18th

Starting Monday, Aug. 18, anglers fishing in ocean waters off Westport can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

With that change, anglers will be allowed to keep two chinook per day in ocean waters off Westport (Marine Area 2), La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4). 

Those fishing Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) will continue to be limited to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. 

All ocean areas are open to salmon fishing seven days per week. Wild coho must be released in all four areas.

Ron Warren, fisheries policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the previous daily limit of one chinook off Westport was designed to ensure the fishery would remain open the entire season.

“We’ve kept a close eye on the pace of catch in the area,” Warren said. “With sufficient quota remaining, we want to maximize the recreational fishing opportunity through the rest of the season.” 

Ocean salmon fisheries are scheduled to continue through Sept. 30 in marine areas 1 and 2 and through Sept. 21 in marine areas 3 and 4. However, a portion of Marine Area 3 will reopen Sept. 27 through Oct. 12.

Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season and will announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/rules_all_saltwater.j .

Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum size limits and catch guidelines, is available in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to hold public discussions on the future of America’s waterways

The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will hold nationwide public discussions on navigational aid technology and how it will affect the future of America’s waterways.

The Future of Navigation-21st Century Waterways public listening sessions will be held in several locations across the country and will provide venues for open communications between various federal agencies and U.S. Maritime Transportation System stakeholders to discuss the joint federal agency initiative to use modern technology to support a safer, more efficient, more secure and environmentally-sound Marine Transportation System.

These listening sessions will provide the maritime community — both professional and recreational mariners — and waterways stakeholders an opportunity beyond traditional venues to express their emerging needs for navigational information and service delivery systems necessary to improve the safety and efficiency of transits on the nation’s waterways.

Scheduled 2014 sessions are listed below:

  • May 1: Prospector Hotel, Juneau, Alaska
  • May 7: 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans, La.
  • May 19: Harborview Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • May 22: Renaissance Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center, Portsmouth, Va.
  • May 22: Embassy Suites, 110 SE 17th St., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  • June 3: Seattle Public Library, Seattle, Wash.
  • June 3: Volpe Center, Cambridge, Mass.
  • June 10: U.S. Customs House, New York City, N.Y.
  • June 12: DoubleTree Hotel, Port Huron, Mich.

Other sessions tentatively scheduled are:

  • Alameda, Calif., and St. Louis, Mo. (dates to be determined)

High Wind Watch in effect for the coast Saturday afternoon

The National Weather Service In Seattle Has Issued A High Wind Watch…Which Is In Effect From Saturday Afternoon Through Late Saturday Night.

Note: The image may not reflect the current alert state for your county due to a several minute delay between the issuance of the alert and the map processing.

• Wind…Southerly 30 To 40 Mph With Gusts To 65 Mph Possible Saturday Afternoon And Night.
• Some Affected Locations…Westport…Ocean Shores…Hoquiam… Forks…And La Push.
• Timing…Very Strong…Possibly Damaging…Winds Are Expected To Develop Saturday Afternoon…With The Highest Speeds Anticipated Late In The Day Saturday Or Early Saturday Evening.
• Impacts…High Winds Can Down Trees And Power Lines As Well As Damage Property And Cause Power Outages.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions…

A High Wind Watch Means There Is The Potential For A Damaging Wind Event. Sustained Winds Of At Least 40 Mph And/Or Gusts Of 58 Mph Or Stronger May Occur.

Variety of weather hazards likely to affect western Washington through Saturday night

SYNOPSIS:

Two strong and fast moving frontal systems will move across Western Washington tonight and early Saturday morning. These fronts will be followed by a period of strong westerly flow to the south of a storm system moving into British Columbia Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. There is a threat of strong winds, heavy rainfall, minor flooding on more flood-prone rivers, heavy mountain snowfall, and coastal flooding over portions of the area tonight through Saturday night.

HEADLINES:

1. A High Wind Watch is in effect for tonight through Saturday for the north and central Washington coast and for the Admiralty Inlet area.

2. A winter storm watch is in effect late tonight through Saturday night for the Cascades and Olympics above 2000 feet.

3. A flood watch is in effect for Mason, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties late tonight through late Saturday night.

4. A coastal flood watch is in effect for the north and central Washington coast Saturday afternoon through late Saturday night.

Chuck Wallace with the Grays Harbor Emergency Management agency tells us some of the watches may be converted to Warnings or Advisories during the day on Friday, so keep a close eye on latest forecast updates from the National Weather Service.

FORECAST SPECIFICS:

1. Concerning the threat of strong wind: South winds will increase tonight across all of western Washington and will turn to the west on Saturday. Across most of the lowland areas, winds are expected to range from 20 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph. Damaging winds to 40 mph with gusts to 55 mph, from both the south and the west, are possible on the coast and around the Admiralty Inlet area.

2. Concerning the threat of heavy rainfall and possible flooding: Rain will develop today and will become heavy at times tonight through early Saturday. The snow level in the mountains will increase from around 3500 feet to over 6000 feet tonight then will fall back to 3000 feet on Saturday. During the warmer period tonight, rainfall amounts of 4-6 inches are likely in the Olympics and 3-5 inches in the Cascades. This amount of rain will cause rapid rises on area rivers, and more flood prone rivers like the Skokomish, Stillaguamish, Tolt, and Puyallup could see minor flooding late tonight into Saturday or Saturday night.

3. Concerning the threat of heavy mountain snow: Precipitation in the mountains above about 3000 or 3500 feet will begin as snow today. Snow levels will rapidly rise to 5000 feet in the northern Cascades and to around 6500 feet in the central Cascades and Olympics. Snow levels will fall back to 3000 feet on Saturday and 2000 feet Saturday night. Five to ten inches of snow are likely Saturday with another foot on Saturday night. The mountain snow will be accompanied by windy conditions. It will be particularly windy on exposed mountain ridges in the back country.

4. Concerning coastal flooding: An area of storm force winds offshore will produce 25 to 30 foot waves that will move onto the Washington coast Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. While tides are expected to be relatively low during the large wave event, there is a potential that large and energetic waves will give some flooding to low-lying coastal communities like Westport, portions of Ocean Shores, and La Push. The large waves will produce dangerous surf and beach erosion.

CONFIDENCE:

Concerning strong wind: confidence is high that very windy conditions will develop across the area. Confidence in the potential for damaging wind on the coast and in the Admiralty Inlet Area tonight and Saturday is slightly lower. If a weaker low, as forecast by some forecast models, tracks north of Vancouver Island, it will get windy but the wind speeds will remain below 40 mph.

Concerning heavy rain: Confidence is high that around 4 inches of rain will fall tonight into early Saturday in the Olympics and up to 3 inches will fall in the Cascades. If the air mass remains cooler over the northern Cascades, minor flooding will be less likely north of King County. If rainfall amounts overnight are higher, some rivers could see moderate flooding.

Concerning heavy mountain snow: Confidence is high that a period of heavy snow will occur in the Cascades Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. The confidence of heavy snowfall in the Olympics around Hurricane Ridge is lower. If the air mass remains slightly cooler tonight in the northern Cascades than what is currently expected, there is a threat of heavy snowfall around Mount Baker tonight in addition to the heavy snowfall Saturday and Saturday night.

4. Concerning coastal flooding: At this time it appears that the highest threat of big waves hitting the coastline is late Saturday afternoon and Saturday night during a period of lower tides. There is a risk that the offshore storm will be stronger and farther south than currently expected, waves will move in a few hours sooner, and that waves will be bigger than currently expected. If this occurs, the threat of coastal flooding in low lying beach communities will be higher.

Coastal Flood Watch & High Wind Watch issued for Western Washington

Grays Harbor Emergency Management is urging all residents be prepared for possible power outages due to downed tree limbs and power lines during two significant weather events approaching Friday and Saturday night.  Please DO NOT venture near downed tree limbs and power lines. DO NOT operate a portable generator indoors or near open windows or doors. Use extreme caution while driving since heavy rain will be associated with the storms. Roadway flooding could occur making driving extremely hazardous.

*** Coastal Flood Watch ***

The National Weather Service in Seattle has Issued a Coastal Flood Watch, Which is in effect from Saturday Afternoon Through Late Saturday Night.
* Waves, Large Swell of 26 to 29 Feet are Forecast to reach the coast Saturday night. The Largest Waves will Arrive Between 4 Pm
Saturday and 4am Sunday
.
* Impacts, Waves of this size Can Overtop Levees and Cause Local Flooding Problems. The towns of Ocean Shores and Westport Are most at risk of Coastal Flooding.
* Time and Height of High Tide, the Largest Waves are Forecast to Arrive During a Period or Relatively Low Tides. The Highest High Tides are Predicted to Occur at Westport at 853am Saturday And 944am Sunday, and the High Tides are Predicted to be around 9 Feet. However During the Time of Big Waves the Tides Are Forecast to be 7 Feet or Lower. Sea Level Pressure will Be Rising During this Period and the Tidal Anomaly is Forecast to be Minimal. The Upshot is That Tides will Not Contribute Much to Any Coastal Flooding, the Main effect will be from the Giant Waves Themselves.

Precautionary/preparedness Actions

A Coastal Flood Watch Means Flooding or Beach Erosion will Occur if Weather Conditions Develop As Predicted. Residents and Local Officials Should Monitor the Situation Closely and be Prepared to Take Appropriate Action if a Warning is Issued.

________________________________________________________

 

*** High Wind Watch ***

 

The National Weather Service in Seattle has Issued a High Wind Watch, Which is in effect from Friday Evening Through Saturday Afternoon.

 

* Some Affected Locations, the North and Central Washington Coast Including Westport, Ocean Shores, La Push and Neah Bay.

 

* Timing, a Strong Frontal System will Move Through the Coast Friday Night and a Strong Low Pressure Trough will Move Through the Coast on Saturday.

 

* Wind, South Wind 20 to 40 MPH with Gusts to 50 MPH Friday Night will Turn to Westerly Saturday Afternoon. There is a Chance Of Strong damaging winds.

 

* Impacts, Downed Trees and Power Outages are Possible.

Washington state health exchange ready to launch

Washington residents have six months to buy health insurance through the new exchange during the first enrollment period, which ends in March.

They can sign up online at the Washington Healthplanfinder, on the telephone or in person at community centers, fire stations, libraries, churches and during special events.

The state hopes to enroll 130,000 people for health insurance in 2014 and another 280,000 in 2015, said Richard Onizuka, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

The state estimates about a million Washington state residents do not have health insurance, or about one in seven people. About 325,000 will be eligible to sign up for free insurance through Medicaid.

Others will get a discount on their insurance through a credit on their federal taxes. To find out if they qualify for a tax credit or may be eligible for Medicaid or another program for free insurance for kids, people will need to fill out forms online or access the exchange by telephone or in person.

The exchange will ask for some personal information, such as Social Security numbers, ages and income, but people who just want to check it out and not sign up yet can do so anonymously. The length of the sign-up process depends on how many people live in a household and how much comparison shopping is done.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people who don’t have insurance in 2014 will pay a fine when they file their federal income taxes in early 2015. The fines for people who ignore the new law are scheduled to increase over time.

“We want 6.5 million people to go to healthplanfinder to check it out,” Marchand said.

He said testing and training has been done to handle a lot of visitors with different needs, and the website has been stress tested to handle large numbers of visitors.

“We understand anything could be possible and we’ve taken the steps to make sure we’re ready for that,” Marchand said.

AP Correspondent Rachel La Corte contributed to this story from Olympia.

Online:

Washington Healthplanfinder: http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org

On the telephone:

1-855-923-4633 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.