Port Development History
The Port of Brownsville was established by a vote of the people in 1920 and the first Port Commissioners were elected on June 1, 1920. The Port of Brownsville has continuously provided public recreational opportunities since its formation.
In the 1960s, the number of recreational boats greatly increased, as did problems of damage due to vessel traffic and stormy weather. The existing configuration of moorage and boating facilities was first constructed in the 1970s, as identified in the Port Comprehensive Scheme of 1967 and earlier United States Army Corps of Engineers “Pleasure Boating Study Conducted for Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Comprehensive Study.”
In the late 1990s, the Port completed a new $1.2 million breakwater system which substantially increased the protection for boats moored at the Port and also provided more than 1,000 linear feet of guest moorage space. Also completed in conjunction with this project was North and East breakwater access for the physically challenged via an electrically operated “ramp rider.”
In the year 2000, work on a new over-the-water pavilion was completed and a retaining wall was installed to protect the public from potential landslides. The new facility is quickly becoming a popular place for functions such as weddings, receptions, picnics, and visitors’ functions. It also provides a quiet location for reflection on the beauty and grandeur of the Pacific Northwest. In 2006 a section was added to this facility to house a large commercial BBQ greatly improving an already popular facility.
In 2000, the Port also completed a new fueling dock, adding an esthetically pleasing office and two new fuel dispensers replacing the one old dispenser.
In 2001, the Port built a new gazebo and fire pit and added significant landscaping in the Burke Bay Overlook Park making this site one of Kitsap County’s premier park sites. Again, this facility has been used for weddings, receptions, neighborhood picnics, visiting yacht club functions and as a gathering place for port tenants and the people who live in the district of the Port of Brownsville.
The Port also became a member of the Washington Water Trails in 2001 becoming part of the Cascadia Marine Trail. As part of this effort, the Port built campsites in Overlook Park for users of “beachable human and wind powered watercraft.”
In 2002 the Port committed $50,000 of its unreserved fund balance to Kitsap County for future restoration of Steele Creek for salmon migration. This commitment was to support the Steele Creek Organization for Resource Enhancement which had been transporting adult Chinook, Coho and Chum salmon above a migration barrier on South Fork Steele Creek since 1996. The restoration as required by local Native American Tribes was completed in 2006.
In 2002 / 2003, the Port completed several of its Comprehensive Scheme goals by building a new and upgraded main gate, building a new boat ramp facility, established a child life vest pool, repaired and opened for use the Power and Sail boat grids with strict environmental compliance rules for their use and instituted an electrolysis study to find and eliminate hot spots in the marina.
The Port also saw in 2003 the delivery of “Waterloo” the first floating pump out / restroom facility in Kitsap County. This addition has been very popular with tenants and guests alike.
In 2004, the Port took delivery of a second much smaller floating pump out / restroom, (Mini-Loo) making it the second of its kind in Kitsap County. Visiting boaters have nothing but great things to say about this additional pump out on the Ports breakwater. The Port also completed work on the breakwater access walkway project replacing a rickety old creosote supported walkway with a galvanized steel and plastic wood structure supported by galvanized steel pilings. With the removal of the creosote pilings and log boom this project improved the Ports environmental standing in the community.
To further inform the public of the benefits and amenities the port has to offer the general public as well as the boating community, in 2005, the Commissioners voted to have a Brownsville Appreciation Day. The 4th Saturday of September was selected as the date of the event which constituted an open house of the entire marina and grounds. It included the sale of hamburgers, hotdogs, soda and coffee, with all monies collected being donated to the four elementary schools in the Brownsville port district. The event included live music, kid’s games; dinghy rides through out the marina provided by members of the Brownsville Yacht Club and sailboat rides provided by the Peninsula Sailing Club. This event will celebrate its fifth year in September 2009.
In 2005 the Port purchased a refurbished 36’ by 12’ self propelled barge type floating work platform with a knuckle style 4 ton hydraulic crane mounted to the front. The barge has been outfitted to be a floating fire fighting platform as well as being able to perform routine maintenance such as dock or brow replacement or repair. The unit has been used to step and un-step sailboat masts, remove and replace engines and transmissions on boats and has been used to perform a multitude of port related maintenance from dock repair to putting a new roof on north breakwater gate. So far we have not had to test its fire fighting capability and we hope we never do.
In August 2006, the Port, in conjunction with Grays Harbor Historical Society hosted Washington State’s Tall Ship Ambassador, the sailing vessel Lady Washington, a full size replica of the original ship. The visit included free tours of the ship and for a fee three hour adventure sails that included blank cannon fire. This event proved to be so successful that Grays Harbor Historical Society now brings not only the Lady Washington but the sailing vessel Hawaiian Chieftain.
In 2006 the Port installed ten, 40 foot finger piers on the inside of the east breakwater greatly increasing the guest boater capacity. The Port also expanded the marina with the installation of five, 50 foot slips at the end of E-dock as well as upgrading the electrical service to that area.
In 2007 the Port purchased a shut down fire station adjacent to the Port. This building is being refurbished for future use.
In 2008 the refurbishment of the fire station continued and included the installation of a sewer line from the building to the county sewer lift station. This sewer line included the first Recreational Vehicle sewer dump station in Kitsap County that was connected directly to the sewer treatment plant.
2008 also saw the purchase of a new pump out boat. This boat has quickly become very popular with the Port’s permanent tenants and guest boaters.
This new comprehensive scheme or five-year-plan strives to continue in the footsteps of our forefathers. It is an attempt by members of the public, the Port commissioners and staff to channel our limited resources into those projects that will best help the Port of Brownsville to meet its mission of “To provide public access for affordable, safe and responsible use of land and marine resources by maintaining and enhancing recreational and port facilities for the community”.
The Port’s public, tenants, commissioners, and staff take pride in this facility and our ability to serve all in the furtherance of its mission.