In the Press

Edibles - Spirits Bar & Grill

By Carol Riley - Contributing Writer, Port Ludlow Voice

article published October 2020

Sometimes I  can't decide if I am in the mood for a great cocktail, a fabulous meal, or a dining experience with good service and a great view. Well, I know a place where you can get all three -- Spirits Bar & Grill at the Old Alcohol Plant (OAP), in Port Hadlock.

I was drawn to the OAP when I moved here 18 months ago because of their mission. Proceeds from the inn and the restaurant support Bayside Housing & Services, a housing, advocacy and human services organization. Their model of providing not only transitional housing to the vulnerable in our community, but counseling, employment assistance, and a move to permanent housing as well has proven to be very successful.

Spirits Bar & Grill has been a gift for everyone who wants to dine out -- literally. They take reservations for outside dining on the spacious patio with views of the Port Hadlock Marina, their expansive lawn, and their beautiful gardens. The gardens are not only lovely, they supply 95% of the produce and herbs used in the preparation of the food. All the meals are cooked from scratch using local ingredients and fish from the Salish Sea.

"Consistency is the goal" says the man at the helm since Fall of 2018. Chef Troy Murrell, formerly of Meadowmeer Golf & Country Club in Bainbridge, has brought a maturity and sense of purpose to the Spirits kitchen that shines in the food offerings. He is a calm and guiding hand in the kitchen, serving not only as a chef, but as a mentor to the kitchen staff with an emphasis on training. The kitchen staff responds, and you can taste it in the food. Creamy clam chowder, the delicious coconut almond prawns, the seafood risotto (my "go to" favorite), and the burgers are standout offerings. Murrell says he relies on "food prophecy" when he is planning his menus -- trying to divine the best use of his ingredients and the tastes of the guests. Murrell was scheduled to be a guest chef at the now cancelled 2020 Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival cooking his delicious crab cakes. Don't despair -- see below for some great news.

Friday night is Prime Rib night at Spirits and Saturdays will see the debut of a scallop dinner featuring the large U-10 fresh scallops. I had the pleasure of trying this dish -- perfectly pan-seared scallops and sautéed fresh vegetables over the creamiest, silkiest polenta I have ever tasted. October will be the Spirits version of the Dungeness crab festival. Fresh live crab waiting to be served hot, chilled, half or whole, and in crab cakes, of course.

Even though the weather will get cooler, we will still be looking for outside dining opportunities because of COVID-19. OAP is doing a great job of providing safe dining options and is planning to put heaters on their outside covered patio to we can continue to feel safe and enjoy eating out as long as possible.

OAP has a wonderful, informative website and the Spirits Bar & Grill menu is inventively presented at oldalcoholplant.com, so check it out and make plans for a great night out.

Bayside Housing opens 10 more rooms during virus emergency

In the once-empty Old Alcohol Plant, Bayside Housing organizers fill rooms with individuals in need. The non-profit provided shelter to 59 people last year and has provided nearly 22,000 bed nights since it opened in 2016. Now, organizers are opening more rooms in the hotel during the coronavirus pandemic for those who are homeless.

COURTESY PHOTO

Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2020 3:00 am

Lily Haight
lhaight@ptleader.com

Bayside Housing is opening 10 more rooms in the Old Alcohol Plant hotel for homeless individuals.

Bayside is a nonprofit organization that uses revenue from the hotel to fund transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness. Typically, they have about 20 rooms for singles, couples and families who are in risky or no-housing situations, such as living outside, in cars or couch-surfing.

The nonprofit also has staff members who help individuals job search and transition into permanent housing.

During the corona virus pandemic, organizers at Bayside Housing decided to open 10 rooms in the Old Alcohol Plant hotel that aren’t currently being used by customers for more transitional-housing services.

“When there’s less, you’ve got to give more,” said Leslie Shipley, development director at Bayside Housing. “That inspired us to go ahead and expand our services.”

With an $18,000 grant from the Jefferson Community Fund’s COVID-19 Emergency Response, the nonprofit is starting to house individuals who have been on a wait list.

While they give preference to veterans and seniors, they will also house those who are the most vulnerable.

“At the end of the day, it’s about those who are most in need,” Shipley said.

Bayside Housing is funded by revenue generated at the Old Alcohol Plant hotel and the Spirits Bar and Grill restaurant. Because of the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, the hotel has not been earning the same revenue it usually does.

The grant from the Community Foundation will help the nonprofit start expanding services, but it will take community support to continue them.

“We have no doubt we will make this happen,” Shipley said. “We’ve asked our supporters for help, and they have really stepped up. It’s been a wonderful response from the community.”

In addition to donating to the nonprofit, community members can also continue to support the Spirits Bar and Grill by ordering meals for takeout and curbside pickup.

Revenue will go toward supporting individuals who need housing during this pandemic.

“In this time we want to make sure people are safe,” Shipley said. “It’s always a tragedy when someone doesn’t have a safe place to go home. But right now, during this pandemic, it is not a time to be without a door to close behind you at night.”

In the news again!  Old Alcohol Plant and Bayside's garden are featured.  A few things to know that are not in the story.  Bayside has housed and fed 59 people last year alone and with community outreach, over 100.  Since we opened in 2016 we have provided over 21,000 bed nights.  We provide safe, private rooms to individuals and families who came from homelessness or insecure housing situations and provide assistance in securing permanent housing.   

'Edible landscape' feeds community

Patrick Ryland picks cabbage from the community garden at the Old Alcohol Plant. The garden goes to serve the restaurant at the hotel, but also the residents of Bayside Housing, a transitional housing service for individuals experiencing homelessness.

PHOTO COURTESY KIRA MARDIKES

Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2020 3:00 am

Lily Haight
lhaight@ptleader.com

Under the spring sun, shoots of green are beginning to pop up from dark soil.

At the Old Alcohol Plant Hotel in Port Hadlock, an edible landscape is coming to life.

Rows of flowers are beginning to grow and herbs are beginning to reach toward the sky, with the blue bay sparkling in the background. But it is also nutritious: lettuce, kale and radishes are coming up in terraced veggie gardens that overlook the bay, while fruit trees and berry bushes are blooming with the promise of sweetness in the future.

Local farmers Kira Mardikes and Patrick Ryland work the land in this garden, but they hope in the future to forge a community of people working the land together to benefit from the fruits and vegetables.

Mardikes and Ryland started farming together at Finnriver Farm. But in 2018, they met Gary and Susan Keister, owners of the Old Alcohol Plant and founders of Bayside Housing, who proposed the vision of an edible landscape on the property,  one that provides food as well as being beautiful.

The food Mardikes and Ryland grow now goes to the Old Alcohol Plant’s kitchens, where it is made into dishes served at Spirits Bar and Grill.

But produce also goes to residents of Bayside Housing, a transitional housing service at the hotel for those who are homeless.

Bayside is a grass-roots organization that developed in tandem with the Old Alcohol Plant Hotel in Port Hadlock. The restoration of the Old Alcohol Plant allowed for the creation of the non-profit, which receives funding from revenue generated by the hotel. As a result, 17 rooms in the hotel are available as transitional housing for homeless individuals and families.

Since opening in April 2016, Bayside has provided shelter to more than 80 people and transitioned 50 of those into more permanent housing situations. The hotel also provides job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness.

The community garden developed alongside the non-profit to provide produce for residents of Bayside, who might not have a steady income or be able to afford organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We also encourage residents to harvest food themselves,” Mardikes said. “Kale and raspberries are the most popular crops.” 

"It’s really fun to connect with residents who want to spend time in the garden.”

To create an edible landscape, Mardikes and Ryland have turned every inch of the property into a garden. There are lettuce patches and annual vegetables interspersed with herbs, orchard fruit, berry bushes and edible vines such as hops and goji berries. They also grow flowers throughout the garden.

The landscape not only provides nutrition and physical health for residents, but also joy, beauty and mental health.

“I think it’s something that a lot of people can feel subconsciously when they step on the property,” Ryland said. “We have a strong philosophy of building soil and the health of the soil. It permeates the whole experience of the place.”

The appreciation of a beautiful garden will come out in different ways, Mardikes said.

“People will focus on certain expressions of it, like expressing awe over a 13-foot sunflower,” she said. “Things are alive here. Things are thriving here.”

Before the governor’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order went into place, Mardikes and Ryland were planning to work with Bayside Housing to open the garden up as a community space with volunteers working the land and in return receiving fresh fruits and vegetables.

They still plan to do this, but have put the plan on hold until the order is lifted.

“We want to open it up to anyone feeling like they need to get their hands in the dirt,” Mardikes said. “Especially right now, socially distanced common gardening is an activity people can do and still stay healthy.”

For now though, the two are generating interest from community members who might want to be involved in the future, as well as continuing to grow food for the Old Alcohol Plant, Bayside residents and local food banks.

While the governor’s order is in place, the hotel is closed to guests, but Spirits Bar and Grill still offers curbside pick-up of takeout orders. The money generated from this and the hotel goes toward supporting Bayside Housing, which houses individuals in need.

According to Leslie Shipley, development director for Bayside Housing, without revenue from the hotel, Bayside Housing needs support through donations and patronage of the Old Alcohol Plant’s take-out menu.

To learn more about Bayside Housing and how to help, go to baysidehousing.org.

Bayside Housing looking to build tiny-home village

This tiny home village was built by the Low Income Housing Institute in Olympia. It is similar to what Bayside hopes to build in Jefferson County to help house farmworkers in the Tri-Area. Photo courtesy Low Income Housing Institute

Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2020 3:00 am

Lily Haight
lhaight@ptleader.com

Port Hadlock non-profit Bayside Housing has partnered with the Low Income Housing Institute in Seattle to develop a tiny-home village to provide housing for farm workers in Jefferson County.

Bayside, which has begun early planning of the tiny-home project with community partners such as the Housing Solutions Network, the Community Boat Project, Finnriver Farm and others, hopes to initially build tiny homes for farm workers and then develop cottages for low-income working families. 

Bayside Housing is a grass-roots organization that developed in tandem with the Old Alcohol Plant Hotel in Port Hadlock. The restoration of the Old Alcohol Plant allowed for the creation of the non-profit, which receives funding from revenue generated by the hotel. As a result, 17 rooms in the hotel are available as transitional housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

“The vision of Bayside was to bring people in here and, once they were stabilized, move them into more permanent housing,” said Gary Keister, director of Bayside Housing and the Old Alcohol Plant. “That just doesn’t happen. Most have to move out of the county. I don’t think we’ve placed more than five here in Jefferson County.”

Since opening in April 2016, Bayside has provided shelter to more than 80 people and transitioned 50 of those into more permanent housing situations. The hotel also provides job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness.

But since starting their transitional housing services, Keister said Bayside staff have noticed a new challenge they hope to address: providing workforce housing for low-income families and individuals in the county, specifically in the Tri-Area communities such as Port Hadlock, Irondale and Chimacum.

“For people working for $15 or $18 an hour, it’s very difficult to find housing,” said Leslie Shipley, development director at Bayside. “These are the people who are serving you food at local restaurants or clerking at local stores.”

According to research done by Jefferson County’s Housing Solutions Network, Jefferson County is the third most least affordable county in Washington state. Not only that, but 47% of Jefferson County renters are cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on rent.

Rental vacancy rates hover between 0-1% (the national average is around 7%), so even those with stable incomes cannot find available housing, according to the Washington Department of Commerce.

Seeing a need for workforce housing, Bayside Housing is considering developing a tiny village to house farmers and other workers in Chimacum, Port Hadlock and Irondale.

Currently, Bayside’s wait list for transitional housing has 60 applicants on it waiting for a place to live.

“We want to continue to do what we’re doing, but we recognize that we need to go down this other track to provide housing at whatever level we can,” Keister said.

On Dec. 12, Bayside Housing board president Ken Dane sent a letter to the Board of County Commissioners asking the county to consider a partnership to establish the village.

In the letter, Dane asked the county to consider donating or leasing county-owned property at Chimacum Park for the tiny-home village.

“The facilities are not homes per SE but often described as ‘wooden tents,’” Dane wrote. “They offer shelter, privacy and lockable doors. They are serviced by portable sanitary and shower facilities. The best of the villages are clean, well-kept, supervised and afford a starting point for homeless people to begin a reintegration into the community. They are a beginning, not an end point.”

The tiny-home village would provide temporary housing for farm workers and people experiencing homelessness, Dane wrote.

The village would eventually make way for longer-term housing. Bayside hopes to build 12 to 16 small cottages or mobile homes for low-income families.

The Low Income Housing Institute is willing to partner with Bayside to build the tiny homes, Keister said.

He estimates it would cost Bayside about $500,000 to build the tiny-home village.

“The big thing is the land and the infrastructure,” he said. “If we can get the land from the county, that would make a huge difference.”

WHY CHIMACUM PARK?

Chimacum Park is located on 9635 Rhody Drive in Chimacum, next to the Tri-Area Community Center and down the road from Chimacum Schools.

“This park has been sitting vacant for 10 to 20 years,” Keister said.

Not only is the park near local farms, making it a good spot for farm worker housing, but it is also near the high school. Bayside’s proposal includes moving the Community Boat Project to Chimacum Park from its current location near the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building. The Community Boat Project, run by Wayne Chimenti, provides jobs and volunteer opportunities for high schoolers. Many students commute to the project after school to learn boat-building and carpentry skills.

“The project will be losing its space in Port Hadlock in the near future,” Dane wrote in the proposal letter. “The land under consideration would be ideal for a transplanted project.”

But Chimacum Park is currently zoned for parks and recreation use only. Not only that, but the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation department is considering transforming the park into a campground.

“Chimacum Park is an open, public, day-use park that is well-used by many people for recreation, dog-walking and as a great corridor for kids walking to school,” said Matt Tyler, manager of the county’s parks and recreation department.

The long-range plan for the park is to develop it into a campground, he said, as a way to benefit the local economy.

“Whenever you bring in money from outside, it reverberates around the county,” Tyler said. A campground would provide recreational opportunities for visitors who come to tour Jefferson County’s agricultural areas and business for local operations such as Finnriver Farm & Cidery, the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, the Keg & I and others.

The parks department does not have the capital or staff to convert the park into a campground currently, Tyler said.

“It would require a whole new revenue source for the department to hire an additional staff person and pay for utilities like garbage and water,” he said.

However, part of Bayside’s proposal is to also start a public RV park next to the tiny-home village—which would fit with parks and recreation’s long-term plan. The RV park would generate revenue to support the non-profit’s tiny-home village. 

Keister said Bayside has not yet heard back from the county commissioners regarding their proposal.

“The proposal has not been acted upon by the commissioners,” he wrote in an email to the Leader. “The plan is to start having community gatherings to explain the project and to make certain that no misinformation is being distributed.”

EARLY STAGES

No matter how the county responds, Bayside is committed to building tiny-home village, Keister said.

“We’re going to do this somewhere, somehow,” he said. “It’s just a matter of finding the right location.”

Though they are still in the early stages of developing the village, he said they have been searching for possible locations outside of Chimacum Park.

Another challenge will be working with the county on permitting. 

Tiny homes used as a permanent dwelling, regardless of whether it’s on a foundation or trailer, cannot be self-contained, says the Jefferson County website. They must be connected to a permanent septic or sewer hook-up and have a permanent water source similar to park model homes, which are a growing sector of the prefab housing business.

A village of tiny homes would have to go through a very specific permitting process, said Jodi Adams, permit and administrative manager at the Jefferson County Department of Community Development. It would likely have to go through a permitting process similar to that of building a RV park or campground.

Jefferson County’s Housing Solutions Network has a Tiny Home Committee, which is working on suggesting changes to the county’s ordinances on tiny-home villages, Keister said.

“We’ve got to get creative to find a way to get people out of living in cardboard boxes and broken-down cars,” Keister said.

Blues with a purpose

Inaugural blues fest to benefit Bayside Housing

For Ahmad Babbahar, better known as Harlem Ren, homelessness is a personal issue. His father, also a musician, spent time living on the streets.

COURTESY PHOTO BY JEFFREY EICHEN

Posted Wednesday, September 11, 2019 3:00 am

Chris McDaniel
cmcdaniel@ptleader.com

When it comes to singing the blues, perhaps one of the best topics is homelessness, says Ahmad Babbahar, better known as Harlem Ren.

“My father ended up being homeless in his life. He was a musician. So, anything I can do for the cause and to help people transition is cool.”

Babbahar is one of several acts from the Port Townsend area taking the stage during the inaugural Skunk Island Blues Festival Sept. 14. Proceeds from the show benefit Bayside Housing and Services.

“We have a lot of blues out here anyways, when we have music in the restaurant, and the bands that play are super champions of what we are doing so we wanted to make it a cool place to jam,” said Bethany Smith, Old Alcohol Plant events coordinator.

Bayside Housing offers temporary housing for veterans, seniors and people who are working and need housing in order to obtain or retain a job.

Smith invites attendees to dress up as the Blues Brothers to celebrate the event.

However, instead of eating four fried chickens and a Coke with a side of some dry white toast, Smith recommends the pig roast by Chef Troy.

“He roasts it in the ground like pit barbecue and it will be like a buffet,” Smith said. “He does a great job with the buffet.”

The festival lineup includes Babbahar, Hounds of Townsend with John “Greyhound” Maxwell, Badd Dog Blues with Andy Koch and Lost in the Shuffle with Gerry Sherman.

“Music is such a universal language, so anytime you can play and let people hear what you do, and can slide in a little message in there, that is cool,” said Babbahar.

Sherman has been working with the Old Alcohol Plant since it opened a few years ago, and stands behind their mission at Bayside.

“I think what they are doing with Bayside is great,” he said. “We have some wonderful local blues musicians, and there are a lot more of them in the Northwest.”

He predicted the festival can grow with local players who are gaining an audience. “I can see quite a future, Sherman said. ”John Maxwell is pretty well known and is becoming a national act.”

Sherman said the site is attractive both because of its beauty and history.

Sherman said the venue is closer than people imagine. “Hopefully, we will have a great showing and a lot of people enjoying the music and helping to benefit Bayside.”

Lost in the Shuffle opens the festival.

“We do some of my originals, and the other guitar player and harmonica player, Ralph Baker, we kind of switch between vocals,” Sherman said. “He has his style of stuff and I have my style of stuff and it is pretty much blues.”

Sherman grew up in New England, and said exposure to the folk movement there during the 1960s got him into the blues.“They were intrigued and interested about the older blues musicians that in their day had been really good musicians and very popular in the south and into Chicago.”

Transitional housing

The transitional housing program, located in the building adjacent to the Old Alcohol Plant Inn in Port Hadlock, has grown from eight rooms to 20 rooms since its opening in 2016. The facility recently moved its first families into newly renovated rooms capable of hosting them, a goal since it opened in 2016, according to Gary Keister, owner of the Old Alcohol Plant.

Bayside also recently passed 17,400 bed nights, Keister has said.

By comparison, numbers provided by Bayside from June 2017 reported 5,427 total bed nights. Its guest count at the time was 12, about half the current number, Keister said.

In 2017, the average length of stay was 124 days, with the shortest being 27 and the longest 380. Since then, Keister said the average has risen above 200. Meanwhile, the waiting list sits at 60 to 80 people at any given time.

Smith said the nonprofit hopes to raise about $5,000, after expenses are paid, during the festival.

“We need to hire a new development director, but we have a wish list on the website, which has all the things we need,” Smith said. “Of course the money can go towards the general things we need to keep the program going, including keeping the hotel rooms up for the guests and replacing bedding that gets worn out.”

The 20 rooms available at Bayside are always occupied, Smith said.

This is due to a lack of housing in Jefferson County, affordable or otherwise, that was underestimated by the founders of Bayside.

“We have a wait list.”

The residents are primarily referred by OlyCAP, Jefferson Healthcare, Dove House, Discovery Behavioral Health, and the Serenity House shelter in Port Angeles. Those with jobs or fixed incomes such as social security pay 30% of their incomes, while those without income pay nothing.

The program is subsidized by profits from the Old Alcohol Plant and three fundraisers a year: The Townsend Bay Music Festival in the summer, the Skunk Island Festival in the Fall, and the annual Bayside Gala. This year’s Townsend Bay Music Festival essentially matched last year’s raised sum of $7,500.

Bayside offers residents classes on subjects such as financial literacy, a “Women to Women” listening circle, and an art therapy class taught by a former resident. Bayside staff help residents obtain IDs if necessary, and volunteers drive residents to the hospital and food banks.

“We help them fill out Section 8 vouchers and applications for housing and it also gives them an address, which is huge in identification and opening a bank account,” Smith said.

Gardening classes are offered to Bayside staff and residents in the numerous vegetable and flower gardens that dot the property. These gardens are harvested by the two resident gardeners for the Inn’s restaurant, Spirits Bar and Grill, with some vegetables donated to Bayside’s weekly Sunday resident dinners.

Bayside residents can volunteer in the dye garden, which grows plants used to make fabric dyes, and can even farm their own plots.

Those interested in being volunteers at Bayside, with opportunities to help drive residents or host the Sunday dinners, among other things, call (360) 385-4637 or email info@baysidehousing.org.

Bayside Housing and Services passes

17,000 bednights

Holyhocks that are used for making dyes grow in the terraced garden on the property of the Old Alcohol Plant Inn and Bayside Housing and Services. Below: The building to the left serves as a hotel, while Bayside Housing is at right.

LEADER PHOTO BY BRENNAN LABRIE

Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2019 3:00 am

Brennan LaBrie
blabrie@ptleader.com

Bayside Housing and Services continues to expand. The transitional housing program, located in the building adjacent to the Old Alcohol Plant Inn in Port Hadlock, has grown from 8 rooms to 20 rooms from its opening in 2016.

It just moved in its first families into newly renovated rooms capable of hosting them, a goal since it opened in 2016.

Bayside also recently passing 17,400 bednights “That means that many people were not sleeping in the streets, the forest or on the beach,” said Gary Keister, owner of the Old Alcohol Plant.

By comparison, numbers provided by Bayside from June 2017 reported 5,427 total bednights. Its guest count at the time was 12 about half the current number, Keister said.

In 2017,the average length of stay was 124 days, with the shortest being 27 and the longest 380. Since then, Keister said the average has risen above 200. Meanwhile, the waiting list sits at 60 to 80 people at any given time.

“If we had twice the space we would fill it,” he said.

This is due to a lack of housing in Jefferson County, affordable or otherwise, that was underestimated by the founders of Bayside.

“We did not foresee this,” Keister said about the average increase in bednights. “We were hoping to move people out between 90 and 120 days and it’s upwards of 200 simply because there is no housing. The preponderance of our people have moved out of the county.”

Residents have been relocated as far as Pierce and Skagit counties, he added.

Bayside Housing offers temporary housing for veterans, seniors and people who are working and need housing in order to obtain or retain a job. Keister said many of the residents are elderly women, many of whom have experienced abuse. Their residents are primarily referred to them by OlyCAP, Jefferson Healthcare, Dove House, Discovery Behavioral Health, and the Serenity House shelter in Port Angeles.

Those with jobs or fixed incomes such as social security pay 30% of their incomes, while those without income pay nothing. The program is subsidized by profits from the Old Alcohol Plant and three fundraisers a year: The Townsend Bay Music Festival in the summer, the Skunk Island Festival in the Fall, and the annual Bayside Galas. This year’s Townsend Bay Music Festival essentially matched last year’s raised sum of $7,500.

Bayside offers residents classes on subjects such as financial literacy, a “Women to Women” listening circle, and an art therapy class taught by a former resident. Bayside staff helps residents obtain I.D.s if necessary, and volunteers drive residents to the hospital and food banks.

Gardening classes are offered to Bayside staff and residents in the numerous vegetable and flower gardens that dot the property. These gardens are harvested by the two resident gardeners for the Inn’s restaurant, Spirits Bar and Grill, with some vegetables donated to Bayside’s weekly Sunday resident dinners.

(This article includes material from The Leader’s archive.)

The beauty of Mother Earth

Hiba Jameel of Seattle, born in Iraq, sees art as a way to heal.

COURTESY PHOTO

Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2019 3:00 am

Chris McDaniel
cmcdaniel@ptleader.com

For painter Hiba Jameel of Seattle, the act of painting is thrilling.

“For me it is a rush,” she said. “Painting is a physical act so I get on with it and go, go, go until I am done.”

Jameel is a mixed-media painter who incorporates acrylic and oil paint and gold leaf into her images, generally of human figures.

“I start the background with acrylic. I finish up with oil. The gold leaf goes at the very end.”

It takes Jameel between two days to a week to finish each painting, depending on the size and subject matter.

“I just have a certain way of doing things,” she said. “It is a process for me. Some people like to work on something, leave it, and then come back to it a few years later. I just don’t happen to work that way.”

A collection of Jameel’s work, and additional paintings by oil painter Hart James of Olympia, will be on display through Aug. 4 at the Old Alcohol Plant, 310 Hadlock Bay Road in Port Hadlock.

Both women honor motherhood and Mother Earth through their art.

James creates thick abstract landscape celebrations of Mother Earth while Jameel composes voluptuous paintings that evoke the motherly figure.

Growing up on a farm, James absorbed the natural world, she said. Toting a backpack filled with empty jars, and Golden Guidebooks on insects, plants and birds, she said she spent her days studying the beauty, the transience, the process and cycles, the details of construction in nature.

“My work speaks of the energy of nature,” James said. “The current of the water, the flow of the air over us, the rock formations that form the foundation under our feet and the movement of those foundations.”

The natural world should not be taken for granted, James said. “It is as much a part of us as our circulatory system. Nature is on the inside.”

For her painting, James generally takes photos of scenes that capture her attention.

“It can take anywhere from a day to three years to finish a painting,” she said. “It is never quite right, so you just keep working on it.”

Most of the time, though, James tries to paint quickly.

“I am trying to capture the energy and spirit of the place and of nature. If you do that quickly, then you are more apt to catch that. Sometimes you finish before you should so you sit on it and realize you need to do some more work.”

Born in Baghdad, Iraq during the first Gulf War, Jameel said her art serves as a way for her to process her world, whether it is to fulfill her civic duty by criticizing the political climate in the U.S. and Iraq or to express the sensitive, sensual facts of life through painting beautiful nude figures.

Jameel also paints to heal from childhood wounds and engage others in art-making by conducting interactive art events.

“The goal is to teach people two things,” she said. “First I can bring about awareness of the physical manifestations mental health can have on a human being and the second point is to teach people how to use art as a form of healing.”

Jameel uses the traditional teacup she grew up drinking from as a symbol of her heritage and as a part of her identity.

The human figure to her is a body of language that she can use to interpret experiences and convey messages. In one of her pieces, the “Amorousness of the Motherly Figure,” she deals with the complexities and the emotional depth found in the motherly figure, embracing all the evidence of childbirth to make the audience question the beauty standards of the modern world.

The Gallery is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 360-390-4017 or visit

oldalcoholplant.com.

Seafarer’s Festival raises funds for Community Boat Project

Polly Nole graduated from Chimacum High School in June. Now, she’s a paid intern at the Community Boat Project, where she’s learning hands-on building skills, sailing, and working with the team to build her own tiny home. All of the Community Boat Project’s programs are free for students. To raise money for these to continue, the Old Alcohol Plant is hosting Seafarer’s Festival from 3 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 2, featuring storytelling, live music, an open mic, a clambake, and more.

LEADER PHOTO BY LILY HAIGHT

Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Lily Haight
lhaight@ptleader.com

When Polly Nole, 18, graduated from Chimacum High School, she was not enticed by the draw of a four-year college.

Growing up, she had found inspiration from her parents, Sheriff Joe Nole and Teri Nole, who are avid backpackers and had both been backcountry rangers.

“I remember thinking that it was so cool they had done that,” she said. “I wanted to do something that, later in life, my kids would look up to.”

She pondered living in Seattle, but the high cost of rent and the distance from home weren’t ideal. Working part time at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, Nole wanted her post-grad life to be local, environmental and to teach her some new skills.

That is how she ended up at the Community Boat Project, an inter-generational maritime education program based in Port Hadlock, where she got a job as a paid intern, despite having no experience in building, boating, or woodworking.

“Why train people who already know something?” said Wayne Chimenti, founder and director of the Community Boat Project.

The program is the perfect place for Nole: she’s learning building skills, participating in their voyager’s sailing program, and working with other team members to build herself a tiny home.

Nole is part of the Community Boat Project’s “Shelter from the Storm,” project, where they are hiring interns to learn hands-on skills, while trying to build affordable housing.

This program, as well as the many other programs offered at the nonprofit Community Boat Project, is community funded. To raise money for building supplies and programs, the Old Alcohol Plant and the Community Boat Project are teaming up to host a Seafarer’s Festival from 3 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 2.

The festival will feature sea tales from adventurers like Olivier Huin, who just returned from sailing the Northwest Passage, as well as sea shanties, a clambake, live music, poetry reading, and an open mic for people to tell their own stories of being at sea.

Money raised will go toward funding projects like Nole’s tiny home, which Chimenti sees as a way to battle the county’s affordable housing crisis.

“Polly’s been in town her whole life,” Chimenti said. “She’s working three jobs right now and she’s going to be a keeper for the workforce. But where is she going to live?”

For Nole, the prospect of moving out of her parents’ house, searching for a place to live and then being burdened with monthly rent was uninviting. But she still wanted independence.

“I didn’t want a normal house,” she said. “I wanted to live differently.”

Now, she gets to build her own home however she wants it, and the cost will only end up being around $3,000.

“The American Dream is changing,” Chimenti said. “It used to be 2,000 to 5,000 square feet all for yourself. Now there’s a whole new mentality. People want to be more free, they don’t want to be in debt.”

Watching the walls to her home go up one by one, Nole said she feels very connected to it. Not only that, but she’s getting to learn everything it takes to build a tiny home.

“It’s really confusing, but I’ve been learning a lot,” she said. “It’s still hard to believe that this right now will one day be finished and be my home. Each day we do more on it, the more it feels like mine.”

This is the fifth tiny home the Community Boat Project has built from the beginning, but they have also helped complete several others, Chimenti said.

Building tiny homes is just one of the many programs the Community Boat Project offers.

They also host high school students in their Puget Sound Voyagers class, which meets once a week to learn maritime culture and go sailing. Once a year, this class heads out for a spring journey and sails around the Puget Sound for a week.

In their boat shop, Chimenti and his team teach high school students and interns boat building skills. Every year, a team of students builds a community boat and take turns learning the art of sailmaking at Chimenti’s sail loft.

The Community Boat Project is also stewarding the Felicity Ann, the historic 23-foot sloop Ann Davison sailed into history as the first woman to sail the Atlantic solo in 1953. This boat will be used to host sailing classes to empower women, girls and transgender individuals who want to learn how to sail.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS LOCAL STORIES

As a nonprofit, all of these programs are community and grant funded.

“We do entirely free programs,” said Nahja Chimenti, who runs the Puget Sound Voyagers class. “We need funding to provide this.”

Many of the students, volunteers and team members from the Community Boat Project plan to share stories and poems of their time out at sea at the Seafarer’s Festival.

Roz Delaney, who began volunteering with the Community Boat Project at the age of 14, will be sharing stories of a summer spent at Bristol Bay and the experience of driving a fishing boat back home through the Inside Passage.

Nahja Chimenti will tell stories of growing up on a tall ship with her parents, while boat builder Eric Schow will be reading his poetry about sailing.

“This is going to be a totally local event,” Wayne Chimenti said. “It will highlight just how many interesting people we have here in our community.”

The event kicks off at 3 p.m. with stories from Olivier Huin about his journey, followed by the open mic, live music from the Unexpected Brass Band, and more poetry and storytelling until late in the evening. There is a suggested $10 donation.

From defunct mill to arts mecca

Ansel Adams’ photography became famous nationwide. He spent much of his time outdoors capturing natural scenes in black and white. This photo appeared in the 1950 Yosemite Field School Yearbook. COURTESY PHOTO BY J MALCOLM GREANY

Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Dean Miller
dmiller@ptleader.com

Over a century after it was constructed by the family of photographer Ansel Adams, the site of the former Classen Chemical Company’s Alcohol Plant in Port Hadlock has become a refuge for the down and out, with a special focus on the arts.

“I think we wanted to make this a welcoming place for the community,” said Gary Keister, managing partner of the property. “Art and music kind of lends itself to people enjoying themselves and being a part of the experience.”

The property hosts art primarily from area artists, but also has artists in residence from out of the area, Keister said.

“We have some very high end art. That kind of art that is outside of the mainstream is what we are looking for, art that prompts people’s imagination and creativity.”

Music has become a big factor at the facility, Keister said.

The focus on the arts is a natural fit for the legacy of the Adams family, Keister said, which includes famous photographer Ansel Easton Adams.

Adams was a young boy when his father began building the plant in 1909, and visited the site throughout his youth, said his son Michael Adams during a phone interview from his home in Fresno, California.

“I don’t know when his last trip was but it was probably in his teen years.”

In the late 1800’s, Samuel Hadlock helped develop a site in Port Hadlock to be known as the Washington Mill Company, which was owned by William J. Adams, who was the grandfather of Ansel Adams, according to the Old Alcohol Plant website. The former mill site is now occupied by the Wooden Boat School on S. Water Street in Port Hadlock.

In 1907, the Washington Mill Company closed, laying off numerous workers. This happened after plans to build a railroad connecting the North Olympic Peninsula to the rest of Washington were scrapped.

Facing a financial crisis, Charles H. Adams in 1909 began construction of the Classen Chemical Company’s Alcohol Plant.

Adams said his grandfather, while a student at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered and patented a process to make industrial alcohol from sawdust, which was in great supply from the local timber mills.

“They had this asset, the sawdust, so they took his patented process and built the plant and produced the alcohol,” Michael Adams said. “We’ve got a bottle of the alcohol from it.”

The Alcohol Plant shipped all of its product to San Francisco, but ran into intense competition beginning in 1913 when Western Distilleries (C&H Sugar) bought up all the available stock options, taking control of the company.

This caused The Alcohol Plant to close permanently in 1913.

“The thing had fallen apart and Ansel’s father was the responsible person for paying off all the bills after everything failed,” Michael Adams said.

The plant stood vacant for decades and fell into disrepair.

In about 1947 or 1948, Ansel and Michael visited the property.

“We had gone to Alaska together, then on the way back we drove through that area,” Michael Adams said. “It was all overgrown at the time but we climbed around and saw all the cement ruins which were solid and could be utilized later.”

By that point, the family had zero interest in the property, Michael Adams said.

“I have no idea who owned it then. Probably a bank, but I don’t have any knowledge of that. It was an interesting piece of history.”

The abandoned site would remain a skeletal concrete structure for another three decades before being acquired by retired Buick dealer John Ray Hanson in April 1979.

Throughout the 1980s, Hanson spent about $4 million transforming the former Alcohol Plant into a hotel and marina.

Hanson sold the property to Paul Christensen, who continued the transformation and opened the Inn at Port Hadlock in 2006.

The business did not do well and was foreclosed. It was later purchased by Inn Properties, LLC in December 2014, renovated and reopened on July 1, 2016.

“We are really pleased that it is functioning and that somebody can find some use for it,” Michael Adams said. “I saw it a couple of times after my dad showed it to me and it was just an overgrown, great big cement relic.”

Returning decades later, he found it had become a hotel with a functional marina.

“It was absolutely a total surprise to us,” Michael Adams said.

Hotel with a mission

In addition to a tourist destination, the Tower Building of the hotel provides temporary housing to community members in need as they improve their quality of life and transition into permanent living situations, Keister said.

This standalone nonprofit entity is called Bayside Housing and Services. All the current owners are involved with Bayside’s mission and are committed to supporting those in need.

The nonprofit is independent of the for-profit side of the Old Alcohol Plant Hotel and Restaurant.

The for-profit and nonprofit have separate boards and are independent entities.

“We hope at some point to merge it all into Bayside so that we have some perpetuity in that,” Keister said.

If they were alive, his father and grandfather would likely be proud of what the old plant has been turned into, Michael Adams said.

“I think they would be very excited and very pleased that something they had their hands on at one time became successful,” Michael Adams said. “My father was never involved with that plant at all, but my grandfather I think would have been very happy and pleased to see that some good use has come from it.”

And, as a tribute to the history of the Adams family, the hotel has dedicated a wall to the works of Ansel Adams.

“We have tried to help them get some material related to Ansel,” Michael Adams said. “We were happy to support them in that respect.”

Elijah and the Midnight Oil

Elijah Berry wanted to paint farmers for his first art showing at the Old Alcohol Plant Inn’s gallery last year. Those paintings are now displayed in the Inn’s lobby.

LEADER PHOTO BY BRENNAN LABRIE

Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Elijah Berry often finds himself painting at midnight.

It’s not entirely by choice - his 50 hours a week working as sous-chef consume most of his daylight hours - but he enjoys it.

“It’s very satisfying,” he said of his midnight painting sessions, “because it’s kind of extreme.”

He likes the challenge of fitting both cooking and painting into one day. “I like to stay busy.”

Recently, he painted an underwater scene at midnight after getting home late from work, and it’s one of his favorite pieces to date.

Berry’s art hangs beside gardener Kira Mardikes’ in the lobby of the Old Alcohol Plant. Four portraits, two of hands and two of farmers, demonstrate his skills in oil painting. Right behind this wall, he is hard at work most days, doing the long hours required of the sous-chef at Spirits Bar and Grill, the Inn’s restaurant.

His paintings were displayed at the Inn’s gallery last year, shortly after his arrival, in a show called “Food and Flowers.” He was the “food” and she the flowers. It was his first time ever showing his art.

A lifelong sketcher, Berry said he didn’t get serious about art until a few years ago, when he began using oils.

“When I started oil painting, specifically, it really just clicked with me,” he said.

Berry, at 23 years old, has worked in restaurants his whole career. A graduate of Sequim High School, his first job was as dishwasher at the Fountain Cafe in Port Townsend, and he’s worked his way up the food service ladder since then.

His position at Spirits inspired him to start taking not just his cooking more seriously, but his other passions as well. He started playing basketball more, and decided to take his interest in art and passion for drawing to the next level.

At the time of the show, he said he was “totally new” to art.

“I had never really taken it seriously,” he said. “Cooking was really more of my main focus.”

And while Berry continues to be dedicated to his culinary career, art has taken an increasingly larger role in his life. The positive feedback he got from his show, along with the support for his ideas from the Inn’s staff, have encouraged him to keep painting.

Berry enjoys painting portraits above all else, and especially hands. For the show, he chose to paint farmers and their hands, as the process of growing food has always fascinated him. In fact, it was the Inn’s garden program that was implemented shortly after he arrived that has excited him most about working there. One of the farmers he chose to paint was Patrick Ryland, Mardikes’ fellow gardener at the Inn and a favorite model for the two artists.

More recently, Berry has grown an interest in painting animals, wild and domesticated alike, especially dogs

His influences include impressionist Claude Monet and “grand manner” portraitist John Singer Sargent. However, his favorite artists, he says, are the contemporary artists he follows on Instagram, a social media platform that emphasizes images over words where artists share their work. Both Berry and Mardikes run Instagram accounts for their art. Berry says he hopes to expand his internet presence as an artist to “stick with the times,” especially with what he believes is the challenge of finding spaces for artists to display their work in public. He acknowledges his good fortune of having his employer put up his work.

“I got lucky. A lot of times people have a hard time getting a chance to show their art,” he said.

Berry is always looking for ways to weave his passion for cooking and art together. Some ideas he has are creating a special dish and painting it for display at the restaurant, and painting the plates that he serves food on.

He is currently working on building his portfolio so he can put on shows across the Peninsula, with a showing in the works in Port Angeles later this year.

From Plot to Plate

Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 8:00 pm

Leader photo by Jimmy Hall

 

Gardeners Patrick Ryland and Kira Mardikes spread organic soil, enriched with compost, bark mulch and bio-char, creating the best conditions for the Old Alcohol Plant's garden for its restaurant, the Spirits Bar and Grill. 

A coordinated effort between kitchen and grounds staff brings a closed cycle to a Port Hadlock restaurant. 

Located on the edge of Townsend Bay, the Old Alcohol Plant's garden is filled with all manner of herbs, greens, edible flowers and vegetables, grown naturally, organically and seasonally, and used for the Old Alcohol Plant's restaurant, the Spirits Bar and Grill. 

A pair of groundskeepers, Patrick Ryland and Kira Mardikes, were hired on by the Old Alcohol Plant in a dual role of keeping the property in ship-shape condition, while filling the garden with all manner of edible plants. The pair worked together at Finnriver Farms, giving them both confidence that they could tackle the sizable project, as well as continue churning out produce for use in the Spirit's dishes. 

Anything leafy and green grown that is used at the restaurant comes from the garden. The first season of growth began in the spring, but the concept sprouted up last year, recalled Ryland and Mardikes. The restaurant had to rely on outsourced food before the garden got going. The kitchen staff uses everything from the garden in its salads, seasonal vegetable sides and herbs to garnish plates and season the dishes. 

A side venture Old Alcohol Plant staff are eyeing is packaging their teas, also grown in the garden to sell in the inn gift shop. This would be the first foray into selling a product from the Old Alcohol Plant umbrella. 

A considerable amount of work had to go into the garden before planting the first seed. The maintenance shed was morphed into a garden shed, housing starter plants for propagation as well as a dehydrator, to dry out all the different seasonings and herbs, complete with a door, screen racks and heater. 

Before the conception of a garden was in place, terracing was installed. There weren't any plants taking up the space, except for weeds, mustard plants and hemlocks. Once the space was cleared, the crews got to work pulling weeds and preparing it for planting starters. 

They added a trellis for beans and tomatillo vines to snake their way up, and built a walking path by hand, using only the lightest machinery to accomplish the task. Near the bottom of the terraces, three circles marked out beds for a variety of crops, including sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, head lettuce and kale. 

“We came up with the trellis up the wall to take advantage of the vertical space. For the most part it was structured,” Ryland said about the process of bringing the garden into actuality, adding that they had to start over from scratch to lay out the beds. Though satisfied with the work done up to this point, Ryland and Mardikes are looking to expand their gardens farther on the property. 

One aspect that sets the garden apart from others is the complete composting system Ryland and Mardikes have created. Organic soil is acquired from Beaver Valley's Bishop’s Dairy, an all-organic valley dairy, which is then mixed with compost from the restaurant, creating a better environment for growing microbes. The soil is sifted to get as much bark mulch and bones from the leftovers out as possible. Mardikes called it a closed cycle, as the compost is mixed with bark mulch and bio-char, which is acquired from the Port Townsend Paper Mill. “Composting needs to become the standard, and it’s not yet,” she said. 

The year-around garden is helped by a “temperature regulator” Ryland pointed toward Port Townsend Bay which helps limit the extremes in temperature, as other locations in the area. When colder temperatures settle in, Ryland and Mardikes will also protect the crops by using hoop houses with greenhouse plastics, as well as Reemay garden cloth to keep the ground warmer for certain plants. 

The kitchen staff, made up of Devin Dixon, the head chef, and Sous Chef Elijah Berry is in constant communication with Ryland and Mardikes to harvest what will be needed for the evening, with any of the leftover greens to be used the following day. 

There is a daily harvest of chives and other herbs for that night, which are regularly harvested for greens for chefs to use in their dishes. A log is used for quick reference, saving the team from the struggle of rummaging through fridges to see if they have ingredients in stock. 

“It’s a partnership that requires some trial and error, and communication,” Ryland said, remarking about the dedication Berry has to gardening as it relates to what makes it into each dish he turns out, so much so he had to turn the reins of the garden to Ryland and Mardikes so he didn't get too involved. 

“It’s crazy how much progress we’ve been able to make with the support of the other staff,” said Ryland. 

The pair of gardeners work 20 to 30 hours per week on the grounds. Additional work is also being done in tandem with residents of Bayside Housing, who utilize the hotel as supportive lodging while they look for more secure permanent accommodations. 

“We are all about community here,” said Bethany Smith, of Old Alcohol Plant marketing. “Having the Bayside, hotel and the restaurant connected is important.” 

To add to the community mission, staff also provide workshops that are free and open to Bayside staff, that focus on different parts of gardening, such as soil fertility, herbs, tea blending, and other topics of interest. 

While serving fresh ingredients to the kitchen, the goal of the garden is to bring all entities under the same roof. 

“We’ve made it our mission to make this land a beautiful and welcoming space, so people who are spending time here going through hard times feel the beauty and the positivity,” Ryland said. 

Ghosts of Jefferson County - Old Alcohol Plant

Old Alcohol Plant, Port Hadlock WA Images of America, Jefferson County JCHS, Published 2006

Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011 5:00 pm

The Classen Chemical Company which manufactured alcohol and bastol (a food for cattle) from sawdust began operations in 1911. When W.J. Adams Washington Mill Company went out of business in 1906 at Port Hadlock his son Charles Adams, father of the noted photographer Ansel Adams, and many of his family members, plus local investors including a Chinese immigrant named Joe Wah, the cook at the Washington Mill Company at Port Hadlock, invested over a half million dollars erecting buildings and equipping them with expensive machinery brought from France.

Alcohol was manufactured out of sawdust, the dust being converted into stock food after the other ingredients had been extracted. The bastol or stock food did not take well, while the expense of producing alcohol from wood was found to be excessive. The process was abandoned. Three hundred barrels were returned to the company in February of 1913 as not up to standard. By this time the plant had discarded the use of sawdust in the manufacture of alcohol and substituted molasses with the results of a much superior product. The molasses was brought from Honolulu by tank steamers. Thousands of barrels were shipped to San Francisco but the company had difficulty disposing of it.

By early 1913 the stockholders were losing their investment to numerous assessments. Joe who had invested in the enterprise was dropped out after investing $5,000 in the unprofitable venture. He later owned the Merchants cafe in Port Townsend and had a farm at Oak Bay. In July of 1913 the San Francisco investors visited the plant and suspended operations for a year. By August it was decided not to resume operations and the plant was closed. Many employees lost their jobs. In November of 1913 the machinery used in the sawdust portion of the process was sold as scrap including one piece of equipment that weighed 15 tons and cost the company $25,000.

A letter written by Charles Adams to his mother, Mrs. W.J. Adams in which he blamed the failure of the company on the trust his father had set up before his death in 1907. This included the members of the Adams family. He felt the directors had "put us out of business," by making a deal with the Western Distilleries to get the company out of debt. He ends the letter with, "some day somebody is going to make a success out of the Classen process but it is not for me. I guess I was a few years ahead of time in this. We made fine alcohol out of sawdust and a fine cattle food, but something was wrong somewhere and this is the end for a time. You will get something out of your stock someday I hope." There was an agreement with the distilleries that the company would not compete for three years.

The Company kept the equipment used in the molasses process, and in October of 1915 it looked as though the stockholders would get something for their money. The company dropped the idea of wood alcohol and went into the manufacturing of denatured alcohol which was selling well. The investors were promised dividends but that didn't happen. Their biggest problem was getting the molasses from San Francisco. No ships had large enough tanks for hauling it; the ship they had used earlier had removed their tanks. This plan also fell through and the company decided to try making chemicals but another failure.

The plant never returned a dollar to its stockholders. And the plant sat idle.

In 1929 the plant was cleaned out and just the empty shell remained. It was put up for sale in 1933 for back taxes. Patrick Smythe of Tacoma was high bidder at $20,000 dollars. In May of 1935 the Leader announced "Golden Pine Distillery gets permit." And in 1936 "Million Dollar Alcohol Plant May Run Again." But by 1940 it was put up for sale again by the county.

In 1945 local realtor H.J. Carroll bought the plant for $2200. In 1945 a man who had owned a machine shop in Seattle offered him $5,000 for the building; he had the world's largest lathe and needed a place to store it. He also wanted to use the building for manufacturing lawn mowers. Carroll made an agreement that he would take $5,000 and when he had fifteen employees working for him he would pay him another $5,000. The plans never worked out and it was sold again in 1958. Realtor Carroll stated in his Oral History that the building was like a chain holding progress down; the land would have been worth more if the building was not there, the cost of restoring it was prohibitive and he was glad he had rid himself of it.

The building would eventually be rebuilt as a restaurant, hotel and marina. The investor's dreams of success left to the ghosts of what might have been.

Old Alcohol Plant Inn

310 Hadlock Bay Road

Port Hadlock WA 98339

Hotel reservations 360-390-4017

Takeout food and restaurant reservations: 360-302-6348

© 2019 by Old Alcohol Plant Inn

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