Pocock Classic Cedar Single Racing Shells
News & Comment
Comments and Letters To The Editor

"Explosion risk prompts eviction" says the Leader.
Article and photo by Chris Tucker

The article in the leader was pretty good but the emphasis and lead part was Port Adm. Sam Gibboney justifying her decision. The engineering report is fifteen years old. The space has been a boat shop for 75 years and Steve has rented it for 25 years. So why all of a sudden is it a fire and explosion hazard? Even if so why make Steve, one of four tenants, bring the building up to code? Shouldn't that be the responsibility of the owner, in this case the Port? They could have just as easily forced Docs out because of the creosote fumes.

It may not be entirely Sam's fault but I'm blaming her. The Commission and Jake Beattie, Director of the NWMC, have been meeting about Steve's situation for four months - and this is the best they could do?

In the context of the larger issue of whether or not the NWMC or the Port should manage the Port seems as if both groups feel that they must bring in more money and are using double speak to discuss various ways to increase the "density" while claiming they are not for "gentrification". Another Port Commission meeting Wednesday, August 23. Stay tuned.- Jim Buckley

Port Commission Meeting

The Port of Port Tponwsend Commission met on August 9 to discuss the situation with Steve Chapin. See http://portofpt.com/wp-content/uploads/20170809Port-BoatShopMOU.AgendaBill.pdS

It became obvious that the Port's staff, headed by Sam Gibboney, moved ahead of the Commission to throw Steve Chapin under the bus. Yes, the building housing Steve's boatshop is not up to code. It hasn't been for 75 years and it wasn't when Steve rented the space 25 years ago. Based on a fifteen year-old engineering report that said the building was a fire and explosion hazzard and dubious logic about how the situation might be remedied, the staff decided to evict Steve.

A lot more was and could be said about the issue (I didn't take minutes) but the measage that came across was that the Commission might be open and transparent but they are not in control of the staff.

Also at the Port Commission meeting was Jake Beattie, Director of the NWMC. He pleyed the role of the White Knight suggesting that the NWMC could help manage the Port and raise serious money like $5 mil but they could only "go to the well" one time and needed to put together a plan.

Too late for Steve. He has already rented new space on Fredricks Street. But now the underlying issue of who should manage the Port becomes interesting. The Port Commission may look more open and transparent but are they if they can't contorl the staff? And they have already commissioned a study to increace the density at the Port - read "gentrify".

Jake, on the other hand, says he's not for gentrificaiton - wants to keep the Port as it is now. And he may be able to raise the $5 mil.

It Must Be the Money

Point Hudson Shop

New Shop

The Port of Port Townsend has given Steve Chapin until the end of August to 1) bring his boat shop up to code (involing a fire-rated ceiling and sprinklers), 2) pay more rent to re-imburse the Port's cost of bringing the building up toe code or 3) move out.

To many of us that sounds grossly unfair. Steve's shop has been a boat shop for 75 years and Steve has been building boats there for 25 years. Isn't it the owner's responistbility to bring the building up to code? What about all the other buildings in the Port that are not up to code? And why would the Port ask Steve, only one of four tenants, to bear the total cost?

In a larger sense this also seems short-sighted and unfair. Steve Chapin is one of the best boat builders in Port Townsend and has been building Classic Pocock Singles in his shop that Stan Pocock, fourth generation Pocock builder of the best racing shells in the world, says are "better than any boats we ever built". With Steve, at least for now, goes the building of wooden Pocock singles - the tools, steam forms, jigs, old growth cedar planks - the works - the end of a 120 year era.

Northwest Maritime Center to Manage Port?


No mention in Jake's cover letter of Steve Chapin's work nor anything about the rowing clubs which occupy about a third of the NWMC "campus". The new NWMC Promotional Video is also silent about rowing.

It has to be intensional. Neither Steve Chapin nor the rowing clubs bring in enough money. Steve is out. Is the Boathouse next?

Port of Port Townsend Commissioner Peter Hanke writes in the Leader that it's too early to talk about the NWMC managing Point Hudson. So it may not be a done deal just yet but still no mention of rowing.

Current News
News 6/19/13
News 10/30/10
News 7/20/10
News 10/28/09
News 3/5/09
News 4/16/08
News 10/10/07
Pocock Classic Cedar Single Racing Shells
Copyright 2005 - 2017 Steve Chapin
All rights reserved.