From Ethiopia to an Evans Scholarship: The journey of Tadu Dollarhide

Posted 3/6/24

Public comment sought on short-term rentals

Jefferson County will hold three public sessions to invite comment and shape regulations regarding short-term rentals such as Airbnb and HIP Camp.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

From Ethiopia to an Evans Scholarship: The journey of Tadu Dollarhide


Public comment sought on short-term rentals

Jefferson County will hold three public sessions to invite comment and shape regulations regarding short-term rentals such as Airbnb and HIP Camp.

Sessions will be held March 12 at the Cape George Fire Station, March 13 at the Tri-Area Community Center, and March 14 at the Quilcene Community Center. All sessions start at 5:30 p.m.

Airbnb and HIP Camp represent two ends of the short-term rental spectrum for transient or tourist accommodations of less than 30 days. One is typically within a single-family residence and the other may be in a tent outside. While tent camping is approved through a public hearing process leading to a conditional use permit (CUP) to determine appropriate infrastructure such as septic and parking, rentals within an existing single-family home are only required to document life safety compliance such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a way to escape in the event of a fire.

The county is requesting public input because rentals of less than 30 days reduce workforce housing, generally defined as long-term rentals serving Jefferson County’s work force such as caregivers, teachers, and firefighters. 

At these sessions, staff plans to explain current regulations, expanded enforcement options regarding un-permitted rentals, and discuss how other counties such as San Juan and Chelan balance the need for tourist housing against long-term rentals serving the workforce. Commissioner Kate Dean said the goal of these sessions is to determine if and how to change existing regulations.


Deadline approaching for business loan programs


The Port Townsend Main Street Program offers two seasonal loans for businesses in the Downtown and Uptown Port Townsend Commercial Historic Districts: The LENT (Light at the End of the Tunnel) Microloan Fund, and the HUD Loan Fund. Both programs have an approaching spring deadline of March 15 at 5 p.m.

The LENT program offers low-interest microloans ranging from $500 to $4,000 maximum as a tool to offset some financial impacts businesses endure from emergency situations. Priority will be given to business owners with shops in the commercial historic districts that are experiencing a loss of business due to natural disaster, infrastructure failure, major equipment failure, or similar hardship. Priority will also be given to impactful infrastructure projects that would benefit not only the business applying, but also neighboring businesses and the local economy.

Businesses that would otherwise qualify for conventional financing will not be considered for LENT microloans. These loans receive zero percent interest for one year. Payoff within three years offers incremental interest rate increases up to 5%. Amounts under $1,000 must be repaid in one year. Emergency applications will be reviewed in a time-sensitive manner. Upon re-payment of loan funds, money is returned to the program for recirculation as part of future LENT fund microloans. 

HUD low-interest loans are available for property owners to rehabilitate commercial buildings in Port Townsend’s historic districts. These funds can help property owners accomplish historic preservation goals, address seismic concerns, or make safety improvements in their buildings. With these funds, building owners have painted the exteriors of their buildings, repaired roofs, fixed staircases, re-pointed brick facades, and installed windows and skylights.

Retroactive proposals may not apply. Loan requests may be between $1,000 to $40,000 with a 10-year term. Interest charges are set at 5%, but with early repayment the interest could be as low as zero.

Interested business owners fill out a brief HUD application that includes a photo of the building, total budget, timeline for work, two estimates, and the funding amount requested. More details and a downloadable application can be found on the Port Townsend Main Street Program website at Completed applications must be returned to the Main Street Program office at 211 Taylor Street #3 in Port Townsend.

For more information or to see if your project qualifies, contact the Port Townsend Main Street office at 360-385-7911 or email


LWV presents countywide student essay competition


To encourage informed and active participation in democracy, the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County invites all the county’s students aged 13-18 to participate in a “future voters” essay competition. With the understanding that voting is a core tenet of our democracy, the competition asks, "If you could vote in the 2024 election, what issue would most influence your vote?”

This essay contest enables students to ponder the role of voters in a democracy and what it means to participate in an election. Cash prizes of $150, $100, and $75 will be awarded to the top three essays.

Essays must be the original unpublished work of one student, and must be a maximum length of 500 words. All essays must be typed in 12-point font, double-spaced with one-inch margins, and must have a title. All sources must be cited. An essay cover page must be included with the following information: title of essay, student name, age, student or parent email address and/or best contact phone number. Including the name of the student’s school or homeschool group is optional.

The essays will be judged using a blind panel method that ensures judges do not know the name or affiliation of the student. Each judge will score the essays on content and style. A proctor will combine the scores to determine the winners.

Essays must be emailed to by midnight March 31. Persons submitting via shared google docs must give permission to view the document.

For more information, contact Jackie ( and Gwen ( Submission criteria and details can also be found on the League of Women Voters Jefferson County website at