Mayor coins Bremerton motto: ‘Legacy City’

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By Josh Farley of the Kitsap Sun
July 30, 2016

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BREMERTON — At a ribbon-cutting Friday for the recently expanded Blue Sky Hobbies on Fourth Street, Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent expressed optimism about the city’s future. But then she abruptly pivoted toward its past, in just one sentence.

“We are, what we now call a ‘legacy city,'” Lent said to those gathered in the store.

Three years into her second term, Lent said she’s finally landed on a motto for the city. She hopes to make “Bremerton: The Legacy City” an integral part of the city’s marketing efforts. She plans to discuss the slogan with the City Council.

It will get a prominent start. The city’s arts commission is tasked with selecting 16 works of art for the Chimacum, the new ferry that will ply the waters between Seattle and Bremerton in early 2017. Each work will include the work’s title, artist and phrase “The Legacy City of Bremerton.”

The mayor expects to roll out the motto over her next year and a half in office, and — if re-elected — in her next term.

She landed on “legacy” in part because of developing plans to honor music legend Quincy Jones on Fourth Street. A group, including architect Steve Rice and landscape architect Emily Russell, has been meeting for 1 1/2 years pondering how best to revitalize the one-way stretch of Fourth between Washington and Pacific avenues. The mayor has embraced the idea of honoring Jones and has invited him to come to the city as the proposal materializes.

The legendary musician, producer and winner of 27 Grammy Awards discovered his love of music in Bremerton one night when he and some friends broke into an armory and his fingers first touched a piano. “Every cell in my body said ‘this is what you’re gonna do the rest of your life,'” Jones told “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert earlier this year, after he’d referenced his time in Bremerton.

Lent had searched for a theme, akin to maritime in Gig Harbor or “Little Norway” in Poulsbo. But she realized this year that Bremerton’s motto should instead focus on people and the “fingerprints” they leave.

“These are things that make us different than Poulsbo as a Little Norway or Gig Harbor being a maritime city,” she said. “And we’re more than a Navy town.”

The mayor said the idea has solidified throughout several events through spring and summer, citing the Armed Forces Day parade in May — the proclaimed longest running in the nation — and a reunion of sailors from the spy submarine Parche, the sail of which now adorns the area around the Bremerton ferry terminal. She even cited the Bremerton Summer BrewFest, wondering if the thousands-strong crowd rivals that watching President Harry Truman speak at the corner of Fifth Street and Pacific Avenue on June 10, 1948.

Lent said that it’s difficult to walk anywhere in Bremerton without finding a commemorative plaque or a war memorial. And she expects more legacies to come. She’s going to add memorabilia to the building that bears the name of retired longtime congressman Norm Dicks as the city attempts to purchase its first and fifth floors.

And she sees future legacies in that of Marvin Williams, whose namesake center is being constructed at Eighth Street and Park Avenue, and Nathan Adrian, the Olympic swimmer who will compete in the Rio Olympics next month — and who already has a street named for him.

“So (as) a legacy we’re going to find all the different things that came here before us … and the things that are exciting for someone to experience when they’re visiting the city of Bremerton,” she said.

Josh Farley covers Bremerton for the Kitsap Sun and is the editor of the Sun’s Bremerton Beat blog. He leads a story walk each month to take readers where news breaks in the community, and hosts a monthly trivia night at the Manette Saloon to test their news knowledge. An Oregon native and St. Mary’s College of California graduate, he’s been with the Sun 10 years.