Port Ludlow Post Office Update

The Community Development Committee has continued to follow the pending change of ownership at our Contract Post Office.  Progress is being made.  Diana Smeland (PLA) confirmed today that she and the new owner have a signed lease.

In the interest of trying to confirm that the post office will provide uninterrupted service to our community, we contacted Representative Derek Kilmer’s office and asked that they inquire with the USPS Regional Office in Seattle as to the status of the pending change.  They received a response from the Acting Retail Manager in Seattle and Postmaster Larry Dekker in Port Hadlock.  They were advised that two parties reached an agreement on sale of the business.  I confirmed that with Frances and she added that a contract was in fact signed and notarized.

The new owner is now in the process of submitting necessary documents for approval for the contract with the USPS. Frances’ last day remains June 19th and the Acting Retail Manager in Seattle assures her that the contract with the new owner can be in place by then.  In the event this is not the case, there is a plan in formulation to move the current U.S. Post Office Boxes from Port Ludlow Contract Post Office to Port Hadlock until such time as the new contract office is established.


Photo courtesy Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue

Multi-agency exercise set for June 1 & 2

PORT LUDLOW—Wildland fire fighting is dangerous work. It requires a set of skills and competencies that are obtained through passing educational courses and demonstrating proficiencies during training associated with various positions.

A two-day exercise is planned for June 1 and 2 in Port Ludlow at the Trail 9 golf course, a now-closed nine-hole course. This will be the third year the exercise has been conducted in Port Ludlow. Agencies participating include Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue, East Jefferson Fire Rescue, Quilcene Fire Rescue, Brinnon Fire, Discovery Bay Fire, Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Natural Resources, US Forest Service, North Kitsap Fire Rescue, Clallam County Fire #2, #3 & #4. Participants will be camping overnight at the training site in order to better prepare them for response to extended fire operations.

As in past years, the training will involve basic hose and water system deployment; personal protective equipment and shelter deployment; nine-line safety deployment; fire line creation/management; crew management and deployment, basic fire tactics; fire scene preservation and basic cause determination for the first day of the exercise.

The second day of the exercise will involve the Department of Natural Resources Helitack or “helicopter-delivered fire resources,” the system of managing and using helicopters and their crews to perform aerial firefighting and other firefighting duties, primarily the initial attack on wildfires. The exercise participants will learn the operation and safety of the Helitack; live fire management and mop-up; training area management and preservation followed by after-action briefings, taskbook evaluations and demobilization procedures.

The goal for fire fighters is to earn their “Red Card” which has been called the “driver’s license of wildland firefighting” because like to a driver’s license, the Red Card is proof that a fire fighter has completed all the coursework and training required to be on the fire line and work in specific roles. The Red Card also documents any additional positions a fire fighter may be in the process of earning.

Two things are required each year to maintain the Red Card. The first is NWCG’s Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher. This course re-emphasizes the importance of safety on the fire-line. It includes a practice fire shelter deployment and a pack test.

The management system for certification is called the Incident Qualification and Certification System (IQCS) and is used by all federal agencies and most states, including Washington.

All Jefferson County fire districts use courses from the National Wildland Coordinating Group (NWCG) as part of the certification process to obtain a Red Card. NWCG standards establish common practices and requirements that enable efficient and coordinated national interagency wildland fire operations. These standards may include guidelines, procedures, processes, best practices, specifications, techniques, and methods. NWCG standards are interagency by design; however, the decision to adopt and utilize them is made independently by the individual member agencies and communicated through their respective directives systems. (https://www.nwcg.gov/ )

Because wildland fire fighting is strenuous, to obtain a Red Card the fire fighter must demonstrate physical stamina.  This demonstration is done with a pack test that involves a three-mile hike with a 45-pound pack that must be completed in less than 45 minutes.  There are three levels depending on the job a fire fighter is testing for. Primary fire fighters are required to pass the most rigorous, arduous level of the pack test.

“It has never been more important to get fire fighters trained to fight wildland fires in our area. Personnel need to know how to work collaboratively between agencies, train to the same tactics and strategies and adapt to a wide variety of fuel models, topography and conditions as seamlessly as possible” said Port Ludlow Fire Chief Brad Martin. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (nifc.gov), the potential for more wildland fires state-wide this year is high.

Due to the nature of the training, vehicle movement, helicopter operations and a planned live fire evolution, we are asking the general public not to plan to observe the training. This will be a dynamic training event and the need to ensure the safety of bystanders, balanced with training evolutions would impede the training event significantly.

Fire fighters receive final instructions before beginning a day of training at last year’s Wildland Fire

Fighting Training in Port Ludlow. This year’s exercise will be a two-day event.

Port Ludlow Post Office Status

Both the Village Council and PLA have been in contact with the officials of the Postal Service in Port Hadlock and Seattle regarding maintaining service in Port Ludlow. Although there is no final arrangement, the Postal Service is in the process of working on a contract to continue operations here with a goal for services to be continued on an uninterrupted basis.


The Utilities Committee recommends the following to the PLVC Board:

It is recommended that the Board take the position that clean water is essential within the Port Ludlow community and that Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc. (OWSI) should undertake appropriate steps necessary to ensure clean water is provided.  It is a further position that how such actions are paid for should be considered in a collaborative manner with OWSI, PLVC and the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC). 

It is further recommended that the Board not take a position at this time on the water surcharge application due to a current lack of adequate information.

Approved by the PLVC Board at their regular meeting on April 4, 2019.

Utilities Committee Presentation and Recommendation

OWSI submitted a general rate increase by surcharge to the UTC on March 5th.

The following summarizes the application:  General rate increase request that would generate approximately $100,440 (14.2 percent) additional annual revenue. The filing is requesting a surcharge to support a new manganese filtration treatment plant and full-time disinfection with chlorine.  This treatment plant is being designed to eliminate the manganese, arsenic and iron water quality issues.  This surcharge will cover the costs being incurred in the evaluation of the system and a construction estimate for the water treatment system. A surcharge of $5.00 per month ($10 per billing cycle) is being requested.  The surcharge will expire in 2038 or when $2,014,214 of the project costs are recovered.

Since the March 5th Informational Meeting, the Utilities Committee has had many communications with the UTC and DOH and met in person on March 22nd with UTC and DOH staff.  We’ve also had many Committee meetings in an effort to provide the best information to the community. I’m estimating that over 200 hours of volunteer time have gone into this effort.  The following is a summary of the facts as we know them today:

From UTC:

  1. OWSI applied for a surcharge request and has submitted all the supporting documents required for a surcharge pursuant to WAC 480-110-455.  When ruling on a surcharge request, the UTC only considers the project cost and owners ability to pay for that project.  The financial condition of the company and allocated expenses between business units are not considered as they would be in a full rate case.
  2. Annual Reports that OWSI submits are only used by the UTC to determine the amount of annual fees the company pays based on their revenues. There is no audit or evaluation of the information submitted unless something unusual jumps out relating to the fees owed.
  3. The UTC prefers at least a 70% ratepayer – 30% water company split of cost to ensure the owner has skin in the game.
  4. Surcharge monies are required to be deposited in a separate bank account which can only be used to pay project expenses and repay the loan.
  5. The application for surcharge assumes $2.2M project construction cost which is an estimate at this point. Once construction is completed, an application for a revision will be made by OWSI which would result in the specific surcharge being based on actual costs.
  6. The UTC Docket for OWSI’s application is 190160 and will be considered at the April 11th Open Meeting of the commission. It’s scheduled to be on the regular agenda.  Staff will present their recommendation, persons may make a short-concise public comment (usually 3 minutes) after which the Commissioners will deliberate and make a ruling.  They can make one of three rulings.  They can approve the application as submitted, they can suspend the ruling for further information, or they can suspend the ruling for a formal process in which case the attorneys take over.

From DOH

  1. The DOH has awarded OWSI a Loan of $2.1M with a 20-year repayment period. The interest rate is 2.25 percent which could go to 1.75 percent if the project completed in two years. The two-year time period begins the date the loan is countersigned by the DOH.
  2. An Environmental and Cultural Review must be completed and accepted by the DOH before the loan is approved and funds made available, but those are anticipated to be completed before the end of August.
  3. The DOH requires a progress report with every draw request and a Quarterly Report. Before the loan is closed out, the company must submit an audit.
  4. Strict bid, project management, and construction procedures are required due to the fact that both State and Federal regulations apply.

From OWSI:

  1. Greg Rae will be the project manager and HDR Engineers will handle the day-to-day details.
  2. The Environmental and Cultural Reviews are scheduled to be completed in August.
  3. Final engineering documents that will go out to bid are scheduled to be completed in February 2020.
  4. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2020.
  5. OWSI has indicated that they will make their best efforts to complete the project within two years.

Closing Comments: 

  1. Although many questions have been asked on the PLVC website and to Committee members, there is unanimous agreement within the Utilities Committee that the project needs to be done and completed as quickly as possible.
  2. It is obvious that the community is better off in the long run if the majority of the project costs are funded by the DOH loan at 2.25 percent or less and repaid by the surcharge. Any monies the company contributes to the project costs are subject to a return on investment of up to 12 percent and could be used in the future for a rate increase.
  3. OWSI ratepayers that want to submit a comment should look at the UTC website, http://www.utc.wa.gov, and click on “Submit a Comment” under Consumers in the middle of the page. Any received public comments should be submitted by tomorrow, April 5th as they will become part of the public record and used by staff to make their recommendation to the Commissioners.  The UTC Staff Memo will be available on the UTC website three days before the Open Meeting on April 11th – a week from today.

So, as a result of the Utilities Committee thorough research and deliberation, we unanimously recommend the following to the PLVC Board:

It is recommended that the Board take the position that clean water is essential within the Port Ludlow community and that Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc. (OWSI) should undertake appropriate steps necessary to ensure clean water is provided.  It is a further position that how such actions are paid for should be considered in a collaborative manner with OWSI, PLVC and the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC). 

It is further recommended that the Board not take a position at this time on the water surcharge application due to a current lack of adequate information.

Advance Planning Seminar

The Beach Club
121 Marina View Drive, Port Ludlow
Saturday, March 2, 2019

12:30 Sign-in
1:00 – 4:00 Program

Cost of seminar: Free
Peace of Mind: Priceless!

  • Get some tools to help you have crucial conversations with your loved ones about end-of-life options.
  • Learn how to maximize your quality of life in your final days.
  • Leave with a completed Advance Directive which reflects the latest thinking on the medical realities facing all of us at end of life.
  • You are encouraged to bring your adult children with you.

Sign-up at the Beach or Bay Club



MARCH 5th, 3 – 5 P.M.

The PLVC Utilities Committee is hosting a Informational Meeting where OWSI will explain the application they are making to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) for a new water treatment surcharge. The funds from the surcharge will be used construct a filtration system to meet Washington State Department of Health (DOH) regulations. The proposed surcharge will amount to $5 per month for each customer. Representatives from the UTC, DOH, OWSI’s engineering consultant, and OWSI will be in attendance to present the details and to answer questions.

A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) link will be created on the PLVC website, where answers to questions about the surcharge will be posted. Furthermore, if you have additional questions, please Contact Us.

We look forward to seeing you on March 5th.

Russ Michel
Utilities Committee Chair

When the Lights Go Out

Sat., February 2, 2019, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at the Beach Club.

When the Lights Go Out Presentation

Port Ludlow has experienced quite a few windstorms and subsequent power outages this winter. WHAT IF our next outage isn’t due to a windstorm or other short-term cause, but is the result of a catastrophic disaster that knocks out power indefinitely, for months?

This is a very real concern because many of our neighborhoods are all electric or a combination of propane gas and electric. What do we do if power is interrupted for the long term? What can individuals or neighborhoods do to prepare for communication, heating and cooking without normal utility power?

All these questions and more will be answered at “When the Lights Go Out” seminar, presented by Mark Bauserman, and associates. Mark is a volunteer with the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management and a member of the Local 2020 Jefferson County Neighborhood Prep (NPREP) Committee.

The seminar, hosted by the PLVC Emergency Management (PLVC-EM) and sponsored by the LMC, will be offered free of charge. Seating is limited. Registration is not required, but those who do register will be guaranteed a seat. Register today at http://bit.ly/WhenTheLightsGoOutReg

If you’re planning to attend, please come prepared with knowledge of the size of your electrical service (found on the main breaker of the household electrical panel) and the size of any liquid propane tanks you might have serving appliances, such as hot water, dryers, stove, heating or fireplace. Please email nbneighborspl@gmail.com if you have questions or need more information about the seminar.

Please email nbneighborspl@gmail.com if you have questions or need more information about the seminar.


During the discussions surrounding the PUD’s recently passed 2019 budget, General Manager Larry Dunbar stated the goal to heighten focus on improving the customer experience, crew safety, and overall system reliability.

Recent near system-wide transmission outages have led the PUD to survey its transmission corridor for potential tree hazards. Trees are the PUD’s number one cause of outages.

The 30 – 45-year-old aging electric distribution infrastructure also fails from time-to-time resulting in an outage. During the last six weeks the PUD has experienced three faults in the underground cable along Swansonville Road which serves as the primary feeder for power to Port Ludlow. These faults have led to the repeated loss of power for thousands of customers in the Port Ludlow area. In 2016 and 2017 only one fault occurred. The underground cable is approximately 9,000 lineal feet. It is the original cable and is at the end of its service life.

To improve system reliability, the PUD recently finished the installation of a new conduit system for the first 2,700 lineal feet along Swansonville Road. Beginning Saturday December 15th, the PUD will begin installing about 600 feet of cable into the new conduit, including the section where the most recent faults occurred. PUD crews may be closing one lane of Swansonville Road which could extend into next week. Flaggers will be on site. PUD staff are continuing to evaluate the cost and timeline to complete the remainder of the project and will present the findings to the Board of Commissioners in the new year.

You can continue to keep up-to-date by visiting the PUD website at www.jeffpud.org

Russ Michel
PLVC Utilities Chair

“BIRD HILL” Neighborhood Gathering (PLVC Emergency Management Event)

Port Ludlow Village Council – Emergency Management

Invites you to attend a special “BIRD HILL” Neighborhood Gathering Join with neighbors to discuss and plan your Bird Hill neighborhood strategies for helping each other in the event of a long-term emergency disaster.

Monday, October 22nd 6:00-8:00 PM Port Ludlow Beach Club

Emergency preparedness is a necessity for our area. Your input will be germane to the success of Bird Hill and our individual streets’ action plans.

We are STRONGER when we prepare TOGETHER! For questions, comments or to let us know you’ll be coming, email nbneighborspl@gmail.com.