Forks mayor talks of replacing burned structure, city’s first women police officers
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Bob Pensworth of Joyce talks to Congressman Derek Kilmer about communications issues in Neah Bay during a Wednesday visit to Forks, where Kilmer was a speaker before the Forks Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Bryon Monohon, center, delivered the State of the City address. -- Photo by Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

FORKS — The city will begin the process in March of deciding how to replace a structure that burned last fall, and for the first time in its history, the Forks Police Department will soon have two women patrol officers, Mayor Bryon Monohon said in his State of the City address Wednesday.

Monohon provided the annual mayoral update for a crowd of 60 people at a Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting at JT’s Sweet Stuffs.

Attendees also heard from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, who opened the meeting during a tour of the North Olympic Peninsula.

A final insurance decision is awaited on how much the city will receive to replace the city-owned International Order of Odd Fellows hall, Monohon said.

The IOOF hall, and the historic Olympic Pharmacy building next door at 61 N. Forks Ave. — which most recently housed Dazzled by Twilight souvenir shop — burned to the ground in an Oct. 29 fire that displaced a Mexican grocery and left a community theater homeless and a weaving class without looms.

The fire was the first of four blazes in 65 days.

Most are due to the age of the buildings and old wiring, Monohon said.

“There is not an arsonist at work in Forks,” he said.

Monohon said a community meeting will be held in late March to develop what the new building will look like and what kind of uses it will be designed to accommodate.

The final design will be made by the City Council.

“Using a fast timeline, a rebuild will occur in early or middle 2014,” Monohon said.

An audience member asked Monohon what his own personal preferences would be for the replacement.

“I would like to see, if it was my dream world, a multiuse facility space for performing arts and community-gathering place where people want to walk in there,” Monohon said.

Monohon said he envisions something similar to the Liberty Theater in Astoria, Ore., with at least one storefront in it and a corner entrance.

There has been no news on what the Bank of Alaska, the owner of the Olympic Pharmacy building, will do with that property, he added.

“Yes, we have two ladies in uniform and on the street,” Monohon said.

“You don’t want to get into a shooting match with them,” he said, noting their marksmanship on the shooting range.

Julie Goode, who previously was a police officer in Suquamish, recently joined the department, he said.

Monohon said a second female officer, Jamie Suedel, is expected to graduate from the Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Academy today.

“She is originally from Bellingham and has a psychology degree from University of Washington, Tacoma.”

Monohon said the issue that the city got “beat up on” the most in 2012 was the city’s plastic Christmas tree.

“The city crew has liked the ease of the artificial tree and not having to spend a lot of time on the tree after every major December storm,” Monohon said.

The “deluge of comments” received in December was the first time Monohon said he has heard from the public about the tree after several years of use.

“Our green-laser-eyed Santa Claus has caught more than its share of complaints as well,” he said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 30. 2013 6:17PM
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