Sound Community Bank Completes Acquisition of Three Columbia Bank Branches on the Olympic Peninsula

SEATTLE, Aug. 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sound Community Bank (the Bank) (Nasdaq:SFBC) today announced the completed acquisition of three Columbia Bank branches on the North Olympic Peninsula. Sound Community Bank now offers banking services in Port Ludlow and expands its market share in Sequim and Port Angeles. The Port Ludlow branch marks the Bank’s first presence in Jefferson County. Sound Community Bank received approximately $22.2 million of deposits and $1 million of loans from the transaction. Sound Community Bank paid Columbia Bank a 2.35% total deposit premium.

Sound Community Bank now has six retail offices, the virtual “EZ Branch” and one loan production office. In Port Angeles, Sound Community Bank will operate the current Columbia Bank branch as Sound Community Bank until Monday, November 10. It will then consolidate into the existing Sound Community Bank branch 8 blocks east at 110 N. Alder St. In Sequim, the Bank operates at its new location at 645 West Washington St. immediately and will permanently close the original branch at 541 N. 5th Ave. at the close of business Friday, September 12. There is no location change in Port Ludlow and this branch will begin Saturday hours, 9:30 AM to 1 PM, Saturday, October 4.

Laurie Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sound Community Bank said, “We are delighted to welcome the clients and employees of Columbia Bank. The acquisition of these Columbia Bank branches helps us expand our market share and our community impact on the Peninsula. We are pleased to offer our great products and services along with our expert client service to the residents of Clallam and Jefferson Counties.”
Sound Community Bank is a full-service bank, providing personal and business banking services in communities across the greater Puget Sound region. The Seattle-based company operates banking offices in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Jefferson and Clallam Counties and on the web at Sound Community Bank is a subsidiary of Sound Financial Bancorp, Inc.

Olympic National Forest asks “Which roads are important to you?”

The Olympic National Forest is hosting open houses asking the public to share the areas and roads they use on the Forest.  This information will help the Forest identify a financially sustainable road system that meets diverse access needs, minimizes environmental harm, and is safe and dependable because it is scaled to available resources.


“Your participation will help us understand your access needs,” said Forest Supervisor Reta Laford.  “It would be particularly helpful to know what areas you use on the Forest and what roads you use to get there.”


The open houses will be held around the Olympic Peninsula during the summer of 2014.


July 30 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Quinault  – Olympic National Forest, Quinault Ranger Station • 353 South Shore Rd.
August 19 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Shelton  – Shelton Civic Center • 525 West Cota St.
August 21 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Aberdeen – Rotary Log Pavilion •1401 Sargent Blvd.
August 27 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Olympia  – Olympic National Forest, Supervisor’s Office •1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW


In addition to attending open houses, the public may provide comments using the web-based map or on-line questionnaire on the Forest website:  Questionnaires are also available at any Olympic National Forest office.  Comments will be taken until August 31, 2014.


Forest road.

Approximately 2,000 miles of roads on the Olympic National Forest provide access for resource management, recreation, and a variety of other uses. About 1,200 miles are open to motorized vehicles and 600 miles are closed, that may be opened intermittently for resource management.

As part of a National effort, we are conducting a road system analysis to identify the minimum road system needed “for travel and for administration, utilization, and protection of National Forest System lands” [36 CFR 212.5(b)Forest Service Manual 7710Forest Service Handbook 7709.55(20)].

By the Fall of 2015, we will integrate agency and public input to produce a travel analysis report that will provide the basis for developing future proposed actions for travel management.

Your participation will help us understand your access needs! Learn how to help.

Board of Natural Resources approves land purchase on Olympic Peninsula for Common School Trust

OLYMPIA – The Board of Natural Resources today authorized the purchase of an 80-acre parcel of forestland on the Olympic Peninsula. The parcel, which is zoned as commercial forest, will be purchased from a private seller for $250,000. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will manage the acreage for plant and wildlife habitat and as a working forest to produce long-term revenue for the Common School Trust, which supports public school construction statewide.


Known as the West Siebert Creek parcel, the new acquisition is adjacent to a larger block of state trust land that also is managed by DNR. Funds for the purchase will come from previous sales of other state trust lands that no longer met DNR’s revenue and habitat management goals.


Sustainable harvest calculation discussed

Also at today’s meeting, Board members discussed the Western Washington Sustainable Harvest Calculation, which determines the level of future timber harvests on more than one million acres of state trust lands west of the Cascade Mountains. Board members expressed their desire for public input and thorough environmental review of the calculation. The Sustainable Harvest Calculation is designed to ensure sustainable revenue is produced from trust lands while sustaining healthy forest ecosystems and habitat for threatened and endangered species.


Board of Geographic Names
During today’s meeting, the Board briefly adjourned to meet as the state Board on Geographic Names, a function assigned to it by the state legislature, to consider proposals from the public. The new official geographic names and locations are:


Meyer Creek in Pierce County (Township: 21N, Range 1E, Section 2): This previously unnamed 0.5-mile-long stream flows into Lay Inlet at the town of Rosedale, 2.5 miles west of the City of Gig Harbor.  The name commemorates R. B. Meyer, who purchased a 49-acre parcel in 1928 to establish a dairy farm.


Golden Point in San Juan County (Township: 34N, Range 3E, Section 11): This previously unnamed 8-acre cape is located along the southern coast of San Juan Island, just inside the boundary of San Juan Island National Park, and on the east side of Eagle Cove. The name is intended to describe how the point looks at sunset.


Lee Island in San Juan County (Township: 34N, Range 3W, Section 4): A previously unnamed island located at the mouth of False Bay, San Juan Island. The name commemorates Emelia “Lee” Bave, an active community member who owned the property across from this island from the early 1950s until her death in 2008 at age 97.


Dickenson Cove in Thurston County (Township: 19N, Range 1W, Section 6): A previously unnamed cove, east of Dickenson Point, three miles northeast of the community of Boston Harbor. The name commemorates Thomas Dickenson who was a carpenter’s mate on an 1841 United State exploration expedition to the area.


Greenfield Creek in Thurston County (Township: 19N, Range 1W): A previously unnamed three-quarter-mile-long stream that flows into Puget Sound, northeast of the community of Boston Harbor. The name refers to location of the creek’s headwaters at a home site known informally as Greenfield Farm.


Longs Pond in Thurston County Township: (18N, Range 1W, Sections 15 & 22): A previously unnamed lake of approximately 11 acres in Woodland Creek Community Park in the city of Lacey. The name designation, which was requested by the City of Lacey Parks and Recreation Department, fulfills a verbal commitment the city made to honor the family of the property’s previous owner, Gil Long.


Washington State Board on Geographic Names
The State Board on Geographic Names is authorized by state law to establish the official names for lakes, mountains, streams, places, towns, and other geographic features of Washington State. Names approved by the Board are published in the Washington Administrative Code and forwarded to the United States Board on Geographic Names for federal consideration.

Wild Olympics, Elma supporter get starring role in national TV program

Washington’s Wild Olympics and the local effort to safeguard its clean water and old growth forests are highlighted in an upcoming episode of the television series This American Land, which airs nationwide on PBS stations.  The segment features interviews with a number of Olympic Peninsula community members working to permanently protect ancient forests and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest as wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers.


“This American Land” has posted the entire Wild Olympics segment for viewing/sharing HERE.

In the piece, Port Townsend City Councilor Michelle Sandoval explains that people are drawn to the Peninsula for the recreational opportunities and stunning scenery, and stay because of the clean water and high quality of life. Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton describes the importance of this clean water to his Hood Canal oyster beds, calling it the “lifeblood” of his industry.  John Lockwood, owner of Pygmy Boats in Port Townsend, says that small manufacturers like him depend on the area’s incredible recreation opportunities to stay afloat.  Port Townsend Fish biologist Dr. Peter Bahls explains how Olympic Peninsula salmon runs are still recovering from a hundred years of overfishing and heavy timber harvesting on the national forest.   And retired logger Fred Rakevich of Elma says though he’s traveled all over, the ancient forests and free-flowing rivers of the Wild Olympics remains “something we need to protect and cherish.”  


Connie Gallant of Quilcene, chair of the Wild Olympics Campaign, who also appears in the program, says, “We are delighted that This American Land has included our beautiful piece of the world in its series.  The many local voices featured showcase the broad local support for safeguarding this stunning landscape.   They come from different backgrounds and interests and use our public land in various ways, but they find common ground in the desire to permanently protect our ancient forests and salmon streams just as they are as a legacy to future generations.”


“Our mission is to bring our viewers the kind of serious yet entertaining conservation journalism that broadens their knowledge of critical issues with stories that they won’t see anywhere else,” says This American Land executive producer Gary Strieker. “Each segment focuses on unique and little-known places that deserve protection.”


Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced legislation to permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of ancient and mature forests on Olympic National Forest as wilderness, and 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and major tributaries as Wild and Scenic.  The bill is aimed at permanently safeguarding critical salmon & steelhead habitat, outdoor recreation and sources of clean drinking water for local communities. The measure is backed by over 450 local sportsmen organizations & guides, elected officials, business owners, conservation & outdoor recreation groups, faith leaders –  including majorities on the Westport & Ocean Shores City Councils and over 80 local businesses in Grays Harbor County alone. The measure was crafted with considerable local stakeholder involvement over several years. A group of Olympic Peninsula hunters, anglers and guides called Sportsmen for Wild Olympics have organized in support of the measure and created a website providing a list of threats facing salmon streams unless they are permanently protected under the Wild Olympics legislation.


The Wild Olympics segment will air as part of the fourth season of This American Land, which will begin broadcasting in the Seattle area in August.

Fish without a license during Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend June 7-8

Each year, thousands of Washingtonians go fishing – legally – without a license. How? By taking advantage of ‘Free Fishing Weekend,’ scheduled for June 7-8.


During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state. Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).


Anglers will not need a Two Pole Endorsement to fish with two poles on selected waters where two pole fishing is permitted. Anglers will also not need a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, otherwise required to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries.


“Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to try fishing in Washington, whether you are new to the sport, have not taken up a rod and reel in years, or want to introduce a friend or young family member to the sport,” said Chris Donley, WDFW inland fish program manager.


Anglers have been catching daily limits of trout at lakes for the past month, and many rivers will open to trout fishing June 7 throughout the state. Other options available on Free Fishing Weekend include:


  • Hatchery chinook salmon in Washington’s ocean waters.
  • Lingcod on the coast and Puget Sound.
  • Bass, crappie, perch and other warmwater fish biting in lakes throughout eastern Washington.
  • Shad on the Columbia River.
  • Spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River.
  • Hatchery steelhead on the mainstem Columbia River and on rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.


WDFW has been working to expand Internet-based resources to suit anglers of all skill levels, said Donley, who encourages anglers to check the “Fish Washington” feature at the department’s homepage for details on fishing opportunities. The map-based webpage includes fishing information by county, lake and fish species throughout the state.


And, for those who prefer the show-and-tell approach, Donley recommends the department’s YouTube page, with “how to” fishing videos designed to introduce techniques for both new and seasoned anglers.


While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as size limits, bag limits and closures will still be in effect. Anglers will also be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon or steelhead they catch.


Catch record cards and 2014/2015 sportfishing rules pamphlets are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See  on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.


The sportfishing rules pamphlet also is available on WDFW’s website at

Watch Your Step: Harbor Seals Pupping

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The harbor seal pupping season began earlier this month, an increase in calls to 911 over the weekend prompted Ocean Shores officer Paul Henderson to remind beachgoers that this is the time of year we will see more pups on our beaches, appearing to be stranded as their mothers will often leave their pups on the beach for several hours at a time while they’re foraging for food. It’s normal for seal pups to be alone on the beach. This does not mean they’re abandoned.
Henderson said meddling with the pups can have the opposite effect, if the mother smells people on her pup she might abandon it.
Nursing pups remain with their mothers for four to six weeks, and then are weaned to forage and survive on their own.

Time of Year
Columbia River, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor
Mid-April – June
Olympic Peninsula
May – July
San Juan Islands, Eastern Puget Sound
June – August
Southern Puget Sound
July – September
Hood Canal
August – January
* Table provided by Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Marine Mammal Investigations.

Human disturbance near the pup may cause stress and delay the mother’s return because of natural wariness. The best thing you can do is leave the pup alone and keep your distance so its mom will return.

Seals and sea lions use shoreline habitat on a regular basis to rest and regulate their body temperature. NOAA Fisheries Service advises the public to stay at least 100 yards away from all marine mammal species to avoid disturbing or harassing them, and to protect people and pets from diseases.
All marine mammals are protected by law. You can be fined if you harass any marine mammal. If you see anyone handling or harassing a marine mammal, call the Office for Law Enforcement at 1-800-853-1964. If you believe a marine mammal is stranded or injured, or a seal pup has been alone for 24-48 hours, please call your local stranding network or NOAA’s stranding hotline at 206-526-6733.

For more information on marine mammals please visit the NOAA website at

2014 Spartina treatment season begins next month in Grays Harbor

The 2014 spartina treatment season will start June 1 and continue through October, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) announced, with survey and eradication efforts this year taking place in Grays Harbor, Hood Canal, Willapa Bay, Puget Sound, the north and west sides of the Olympic Peninsula and the mouth of the Columbia River.

Spartina, commonly known as cordgrass, is an aggressive noxious weed that severely disrupts the ecosystems of native saltwater estuaries in Washington. If left unchecked, spartina out-competes native vegetation and converts ecologically productive mudflats into solid spartina meadows. The invasive species destroys important migratory shorebird and waterfowl habitat, increases the threat of flooding and hurts the state’s shellfish industry.

Spartina eradication efforts have been extremely effective over the past 11 years with the state’s infested areas plummeting from a high of more than 9,000 acres in 2003 to an estimated seven acres this year.

Since 1995, WSDA has served as the lead state agency for spartina eradication, facilitating the cooperation of local, state, federal and tribal governments; universities; interested groups; and private landowners.

In 2014, these project partners expect to survey more than 80,000 acres of saltwater estuaries and 1,000 miles of shoreline in 13 counties. WSDA and other cooperators will use techniques such as digging out small infestations, or treating larger sites with the herbicides glyphosate and imazapyr. The goal is to find new infestations and prevent spartina from returning to eradicated areas.

“The cooperative effort to eradicate spartina is saving some of the state’s most productive shoreline habitat from certain loss,” said Jim Marra, manager for WSDA’s Pest Program. “Because of our success in combating this invasive species, activity has shifted from large-scale eradication to the critical, detailed work of detection and targeted eradication.”

The latest progress report is available at as are all the annual progress reports since 1998.

Channel Point Village resumes normal operation after norovirus outbreak contained

Operations are back to normal at Channel Point Village in Hoquiam. Staff at the retirement and assisted living facility acted quickly to stop an outbreak of the norovirus earlier this month.
Stuart Brown, COO of Village Concepts said in a statement that they “were able to quickly stop the spread throughout the community and significantly limit the number of residents that were exposed. In a very short time all residents were free of symptoms and normal operations resumed. Residents are again able to enjoy their friends and favorite activities in the community.”

Founded in 1975, Village Concepts owns and operates residential and assisted living communities throughout Washington state and provides property management and consulting services for owners of assisted living communities. Village Concepts is a third generation family-owned business, drawing upon 40 years of experience and a proud tradition of providing personalized care to more than 1,400 residents in 14 senior living communities throughout Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and Central Washington.

Fourth cycle of State Route 520 pontoons leaving Aberdeen casting basin April 15

The fourth cycle of pontoons headed for the State Route 520 bridge will be floating out of the Aberdeen casting basin late tonight. Deputy Executive Director at the Port of Grays Harbor Leonard Barnes told commissioners last week, the giant concrete structures will be floated to other terminals for inspection and preparation.
Some are stored at a moorage facility in the harbor, North of John’s River until they are towed 260 nautical miles around the Olympic Peninsula to Lake Washington for the new State Route 520 floating bridge.
Ian Sterling with WSDOT tells KBKW they have another six pontoons for the new SR 520 floating bridge ready to float out from the casting facility in Aberdeen. Crews plan to work through the night on Tuesday, April 15, with the first pontoon scheduled to leave the casting basin close to midnight to coincide with the high tide necessary for float-out.
These six pontoons represent the fourth cycle built in Aberdeen, meaning two-thirds of the 33 pontoons being constructed there are now complete. Other bridge pontoons are being built in Tacoma. All told, 52 of the 77 total pontoons needed for the new bridge are now complete.
Six more SR 520 pontoons wait for high tide in Tacoma
Six more SR 520 supplemental stability pontoons are towed out of their Tacoma casting basin in pairs each evening, as the high tides allow.

Fourth batch of State Route 520 Bridge Pontoons to float from Aberdeen

The fourth cycle of pontoons headed for the State Route 520 bridge will be floating out of the Aberdeen casting basin in early April. “We’ve had 3 completed so far, it’ll be the 4th.” Deputy Executive Director at the Port of Grays Harbor Leonard Barnes told commissioners in February “I expect [the date] to change -with weather, construction, it’s kind of a moving target. But I expect some time in April we’ll have our forth float-out.” The commissioners heard yesterday that the new target date is April 15th.
Just like the last three undertakings, the huge concrete structures need to leave the port facility during the highest tides possible. Barnes said we’ll also see some of the pontoons that are anchored near John’s River moving in the coming months. “There are some out by John’s River, they are close to getting ready for those in SeattleAberdeen Casting Basin - Port of Grays Harbor - 2013, I would expect in the next 60 days we’ll see some activity where those will come back to our marine terminal, and those will get moved up and around to the lake.”
Washington State Department of Transportation contractors are building 77 pontoons, 33 from Aberdeen and 44 from Tacoma. The pontoons are stored at a moorage facility in Grays Harbor until they are towed 260 nautical miles around the Olympic Peninsula to Lake Washington for the new State Route 520 floating bridge.