Posted 11/8/23

Tasteless photo

To the editor: Where is your taste? You have placed this oh so sad news of another druggie/robber with two pictures on your front page. How can this be when such …

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Tasteless photo

To the editor: Where is your taste? You have placed this oh so sad news of another druggie/robber with two pictures on your front page. How can this be when such wonderful events such as Red Pine’s fantastic movie and interview on pages #19 and 21 have been placed in the back of the newspaper?

If you want to stay in business in this town a much needed change in your orientation must occur. I have read the Leader for all 32 years I have resided in PT and may cancel our subscription if you cannot select more appealing news ready events.

Oma Landstra

Port Townsend

Welcome, editor

To the editor: First, let me welcome you to Port Townsend, quirky little village that it is, and also congratulate you on your new position as editor of The Leader! As a former writer for a local Tacoma/Pierce County newspaper it is obvious to me there has been a marked improvement in our local rag since you came onboard...kudos to you and your staff.

Kris Theorell

Port Townsend

Tuning up our proofreader

Callalum County? Twice?? On the front page??? Doesn’t anyone there read over the articles before printing them? Do you have an editor? Maybe Erik Dolson is from Arkansas, but he should be given a list of Washington place names before being turned loose with a keyboard.

Carolyn Hunt

Arkansas? — ED.

Positive/neutral topics only

I feel frustrated that I need to write this letter. Often front page articles explicitly reference horrific events. For example on October 25, 2023 there was an article about creating images of child sexual abuse. Even I, an adult, don’t want to read that, let alone children who might ask parents what that’s all about. Another example was the man bludgeoned over the head by his wife while he slept. That article went on and on for weeks!

Children should not see these articles. The Leader is what I consider a nice newspaper written for the mostly intelligent people who reside here. It is not a cheap tabloid. When Erik arrived here and started his new job I read his introduction letter (to his reader). I hoped that he would be the kind of person to censor the front page. 

Erik, I implore you to hide these types of articles further back into the paper so hopefully children won’t see them. 

Jill Turnbull

Port Townsend

Old sewers under new pavement?

To the editor

They have begun to repave our streets and I am wondering if the condition of our old sewers has been checked first. I would hate to see the new streets torn up if repairs or replacement become necessary anytime soon. Is “The Leader” able to investigate this and report to the community?  

Thank you for any answers you may be able to secure.

Rhonda Hall

Port Townsend

Who will care for the aged? 

Dear Editor,

There is currently a housing crisis in both Jefferson County and Port Townsend, though the city has yet to declare this. In the 40 years I have lived here, rental housing has always been tight, but never has the supply been as low and expensive as it is today.

Jefferson County’s vacancy rate hovers between 0-1%, while a healthy vacancy ranges from 5-7%. In June of 2023, the national vacancy rate was 6.3% (HUD). This means that people who are working in the community can’t find an affordable place to live.

Therefore the community, which used to be relatively diverse, is becoming more homogeneous and less vibrant. Additionally, our service-related industries have been severely impacted by the housing crisis. Short-staffing and limited hours are all directly related to housing availability. The housing crisis doesn’t discriminate: baristas, dental hygienists, nurses, teachers, and non-profit workers, and other service workers are all impacted, and thus us.

According to HUD, a fair-market 2 bedroom rental would include utilities and be just shy of $1200, while local Port Townsend rents are currently conservatively around $1,900-$2,000 per month, or higher, not including utilities.

In a community where there are 18,500 housing units, 3,300 are empty units (HSN). Empty units can reflect vacation or investment properties, owner recently deceased, or other complex reasons but are not available to people who need housing. Jefferson County also ranks number 38 out of 39 counties in the state for affordability for first-time home as well as all home buyers .

To address this issue, we as a community must come up with creative solutions to increase affordable housing. The city needs to give incentives to builders to encourage building affordable workforce housing such as donating the land for Evans Vista and maximizing the number of affordable units, Cherry Street can become a land trust so houses can remain affordable in the future for working people.  

We all know the Uptown Community needs some diversity and children. Winthrop, Lopez Island and Twisp have done this. The Housing Solutions Network Website is a good place to find out more about these issues.

We are currently the oldest aged county in the state and one of the top in the US. As people age they will need more support services especially if they want to remain in their homes. If the current housing crisis continues adult care workers, who are generally relatively low paid, will not be able to afford to live in Port Townsend or Jefferson County.


Wayne Bleier

Port Townsend

Dear Jefferson County Community,

Do you know how important Jumping Mouse Children’s Center is to the mental health of approximately 100 kids aged 3-11 in our county every week? Through expressive play therapy, supported by skilled therapists, children process psychologic trauma preventing them from thriving at home, school, and our community. We are the only one treating those aged 3-6.

Early mental health intervention is key to a healthy life. Jumping Mouse provides mental health services in Brinnon and Chimacum elementary schools and in the Port Townsend clinic. No child is excluded for inability to pay. They receive individual therapy for as long as necessary.


As a nonprofit, Jumping Mouse receives grants from Jefferson County and other organizations. We bill private insurance and Medicaid. We also rely on community members to help support our child and family therapy.

Members of our Board of Directors contribute monthly to our organization, and we ask you consider doing the same. A monthly donation of $10-$60 (more if you are able) would join other community members and us in ensuring a financial safety net for Jumping Mouse to continue its care for Jefferson County children.

We know there are many “asks” in our community for donations and, like us, many nonprofits are struggling financially. We hope you agree with us that nothing is more important than the health and safety of our children. Please join us in creating a community where our children can receive the mental health services needed to thrive and grow into a healthy adult. Please go to https://www.jumpingmouse.org to donate to this effort.


Mary Sepler, Ron Dionne, Sasha Marshall, Phyllis Kaplan, Molly Hong, Brandon Jackson, Dave Eekhoff, Carla Caldwell, Paul Heins, Trish Beathard and Russ Yates. Jumping Mouse Board of Directors

Port Townsend

Please slow down.

Yeah, I know you are rushed because of roundabout construction adding 30 seconds to your habitual drive time. Consider then, that Discovery Road construction will be with us for the next six months. Please adjust your habitual driving.

There is nowhere inside Port Townsend where it’s legal and reasonable to drive above 30 mph. That’s what sets Port Townsend apart from most towns and all cities in the region and what keeps life here safe, sane, and less chaotic.

The uptick in vehicle speed is sadly noticeable as one tries to back out of a diagonal parking space on Washington or Tyler. That extra second that you ‘save’ as you dash by, is not worth years of regret if you rear-end some careful, perhaps elderly or brand-new, driver.

We’re all in this together and safety is a collective responsibility.

Take care.

Forest Shomer

Port Townsend

Lucky cat

After my cat died, I went down to the Humane Society on Critter Lane and fell in love with an enormous tabby cat named Mr. Dobbs whose owner had died. The cat wandered the neighborhood, so someone took him to the shelter where he became a favorite, uncaged and gentle as a lamb. I was smitten. But they said he had to have some dental surgery to remove a few teeth. I waited until their vet could do dental surgery. I visited him every day, and two weeks later, I got to take him home--with no dental charge!

The Humane Society paid for the dental extractions, medication, and fed him. I know he was cared for and spoiled. They told me they’d pay for any follow- up appointments, and offered a free vet check for a couple of weeks later.

What a lovely cat I took home! He turned out to be passionate about piano music, and when I play, he sits next to me and purrs.

I know if anything happens to me, there’s a safety net for Mr. Dobbs. Not long ago, he would have been declared a nuisance, and sent to the pound…and if not adopted in a few days, euthanized.

The Humane Society of Jefferson County receives no funding by the county or the national Humane Society for the shelter!

Please join me with some financial support for our local Shelter. You can donate with your card on their website at www.hsjcwa.org. You might even pay them a visit and fall in love.

Sally Kiely, Port Townsend