Saturday, February 9, 2013

Oh NO!!!!

The Exchange on Orcas has burned down. That is such a shame. You can find more about it here and here. At least no one was hurt.

No one was hurt, but it hurts.


  1. The building may have burned, but the spirit of The Exchange is alive and well and will be rebuilt and be even better!


  2. Wonder if Kyle will let us rebuild.

  3. If the Eco-zealots had their way, it WOULD NOT have been able to be rebuilt. It would have been non-conforming in one of 5 or more possible ways. Probably in a wetlands buffer or a wildlife habitat. Might have been within 300 feet of a seasonal stream which empties into an eel grass area.
    Who knows. The goal of non-conformance is non-use!

  4. Honestly- this should be a VERY interesting permitting situation. There is nothing about the existing structures, which live on County property that met code.

    The rebuild of anything there could be a huge permitting fiasco.


  5. Remember when the kids driftwood shack at Crescent Beach got red tagged by the "code enforcement" folk from the county.Because it did'nt comply. Was'nt engineered. No permit.

  6. This is easy. Make a donation to the FOSJ. Pick up your permit in the morning. Getting rid of the hazardous waste? What hazardous waste. Besides its owned in common. It fits the agenda. It vibrant. See its just that easy.

  7. Frankly I am disappointed. I would have expected Kiwihut, or Kyhat, or whatever the Lopez enviro gnomes are called to have rushed over and taken copious samples so they could prove that the water runoff from controlling the fire is a pollution hazard. A complete EPA superfund equivalent site remediation will need to be done at the county's expense. Probably a cool half million dollars or so.


  8. The grant applications have taken wing. Will be interesting to see who gets the money. Would be nice if the exchange got the help, instead of having some other group control their future. Another victory turned to ashes. Maybe.

  9. These recent posts to the TH regarding the burn down of the exchange on Orcas and the eventual rebuild are, by my compass, over stated and and not helpful to the TH as being a thoughtful forum.

    Unlike others, I will freely admit I was wrong if this rebuild turns into the usual permit fiasco. With the Winter Council we have on board I somehow hope for the best, as I know you all do.


  10. I have been hoping for the best for years. But, if you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.


  11. Can't control my thoughts, do you know of some group that can help me?

  12. I agree that worries about repermitting the exchange are premature.

    But I do think that this is an important story because it exemplifies how fragile the middle class is in the County.

    How many parents have bought soccer cleats (or more crucially winter jackets) for their kids there? I have. How many backyard farmers have bought supplies for their chicken coop which would have been cost prohibitive at the retail hardware rate? I have.

    How many tons of carbon were saved by trips off island avoided (not to mention in the remanufacture of the demanded goods)? How many tons of solid waste have been prevented from not arriving on the islands because of the Exchange?

    If the Friends are what they claim to be, I would expect no less than a full court press from them to get this back up and running.

    Instead, though, land use laws in the County have been used to persecute this very type of common sense environmentally friendly and democratic institutions. One need look only so far as the trouble Frank Penwell got into this past fall with his Consignment Treasures.

    We live in an entropic universe so we should try to suck all the usefullness out of the things we have worked so hard to make.

  13. Well first thing, Public Works needs a $600,000 planning grant.

    But I am grieving a bit. It is just another part of the old islands now lost. I lived on San Juan for a number of years before I even realized this place existed.

    A friend introduced me. It was a revelation. I fell in love with the islands all over again. I often stopped by on runs to Eastsound if it happened to be open. I bought stuff there. I wandered around through the well organized detritus, it was like the place was curated.

    I hope there will be a rebuild. It will never be the same but maybe it can even be better and stranger than ever.

    And it will be a good test of public will vs the buffer boffins.

  14. But the buffer boffins think they ARE the public will!

    The "rebuild" will be an opportunity to prove how "easy" and "accomodative" the CAO actually is! First, everyone knows (don't they?) that none of the 5 critical areas could possibly apply to the property. Therefore, none of the 4-8 experts and expensive reports will need to be generated. The FOSJ would be committing political suicide to do their usual appeals stunt. The only problem will be avoiding the urge to build a LEED Platinum Zero Carbon Footprint No Net Energy Native Material Free Recycled Organic non GMO fiber Heritage Friendly ADA Compliant Union Labor only Fung Shui'ed structure!

  15. By the stroke of a pen, just make it an essential public facility. Then County can build whatever it pleases, CAO be damned.

    Remember, human habitation is the big problem (your home, your land, your hat, your body, your privacy). But if the government deems some building essential for your public safety, convenience and necessity, bring on the bulldozers!

    I have a feeling this is kind how the affordable housing trusts get things done. Just a feeling ...

    That aside, I am so sorry we lost The Exchange. A monument to roadside American folk art, like those little houses in the Mojave Desert built with Budweiser bottles or the Watts Towers.

    Guess you'd need permits to build those too nowadays.

  16. Yes you would!

    Contemporary example. On the Oakland side of San Francisco Bay near Berkeley were some tidal flats. People used to build elaborate driftwood "art" structures. They were marvelous, and driving south on I80 looking to your right, they were a treat to see. One day, all gone dut to the eco-zealots law suit.

  17. VOTE! (Early and often)

  18. I loved the exchange also, in fact we went through a period of serious finacial incapability and everything we seemed to need was somehow available at the exchange, in fact to this day I know if I have a need it likely can be found at the exchange. A very large part of the flair that works for the exchange is the open air,broken diverse & in your face whimsy of the structures. I have real doubts that cd&p would not impose some "civilized" version of replacement. We have to fight that. I dont think the attempts to civilize these islands have done anything possitive to support islanders. In fact it flies in the face of what island life is. We need each other now not our civilizers

  19. And does "civilizing islanders" save the whales and increase salmon runs?


    I well remember those wonderful drift wood "kinetic art" constructions on the shoreline just before you got to the Bay Bridge on-ramps.

    What harm did they do other than elevate the human spirit?

    What harm do the Watts Towers do other than show the power of human aspiration to reach to the heavens from the midst of urban poverty?

    What harm does a little house made of Budweiser bottles do, or a front yard full of hand crafted whirligigs?

    The true economic driver here is not ecctourism it is the fierce independence and brilliance of the people who tend to come here and do what ever it takes to hang on her.

    We are not cultivated our real resource. That is a tragedy of the commons. I don't just mean artists. I mean academic entrepreneurs, inventors, patent holders, risk taking investors, the best and brightest from every endeavor and walk of life. Concentrate in a population that would hardly fill a fifth of CenturyLink Field.

    Speaking of CenturyLink, how's that DSL thing working for ya? We can fix that too.

    Our resource is a concentrated mother lode of Cultural Creatives. And we are forcing them out, while expanding our police powers to enforce what we cannot addord. any inside the largest employer around here. It shows.

  20. Did you know Religion is the only defense to these codes? It is true, in fact religion can trump a lot,
    Ive suggested several times we might form a religion to oust some of these unwelcome advances into our community.
    The Amish tested the building code and Won!

  21. You all realize that tips fire would most certainly occurred if the Orcas Exchange had obtained proper electrical permits for their structures/operations??

    Instead they had some hodge podge of countless extension cords reminisciant of Clark Griswald's Christmas lights.

    Public safety and welfare be damned. It's the island way.

  22. Previous post edit to say "not have occurred"

  23. Natural coarse of events,
    living free is the only life for an islander, and that includes learning from mistakes as well. If we are to believe life will be better as restricted caged animals protected from the environment around us, no we deserve freedom or may as well drop dead now

  24. Religion. Well we talk politics a lot, sex maybe not so much but give it time. Here comes religion. Uh. Oh.

    The Holy Church of Gaia.

    The ideology that's gotten itself in the driver's seat these days sort of behaves like a church. To be fair, economists seem like preachers to me as well.

    One formal council critter was well known for evoking faith, higher powers and religion for declining oaths of office, pledging the flag and other minor duties of office.

    So we create a new religion. The Islander's Blind Light Church of the Presumptuous Assumption.

    Our precepts. You can't tell us nothing. You leave us alone. Our bodies are our temples and hallowed be the ground we walk upon and paid good money for. We'll forgive us our trespassers. Once. We'll never forget them. Don't come round here no more, hear?

  25. The exchange didn't have proper electrical permits? The cause of the fire has been determined? Is there something in the papers?

  26. Are you folks talking to David Stockwell of the DOE?

    One guy across the road from me has wires hanging all over the place. The very wealthy man down the road had everything permitted and inspected. Who's house burned down?

    I actually am in favor of inspected building construction, but it was the wealthy man's house that burned down. (That said, I'm a little reluctant to do any hands on stuff with the many switches and stuff hanging around in the other place.)

  27. You mean Pope David Stockwell?

  28. As an aside. I think the "Please prove you're not a robot," identity thing the TH uses is great and should be used by all eye doctor's instead to the mundane eye chart they use now.

    I'm going with the spin circle this time for sure.

  29. Tomorrow is the big day.

    Message to Lisa Byers:

    I expect you will do well, but hope you will not. I'm actually a bit socialist like you. Socialism works well for Pot-Luck dinners, public schools, fire departments and insurance companies. Beyond that it has not done well.

    People like to work for their own personal betterment usually resulting in land ownership.

    Capitalism with all its faults does that well. It does motivate people and has proven to do so.

    So if your election goes forward, I hope you will think about this a bit.


  30., news, for the record/rumor control. "This page has been set aside to provide straightforward facts and information to correct errors and misperceptions that have appeared in widely circulated sources". Last posting of straightforward facts by county, 9-12-2012, almost five months of dead air from the county. Interesting that the last county "truth message" from the county council decided that Consignment Treasures be declared an "essential public service". The same must apply to The Exchange. Will the county not allow it's citizens to do anything with out government supervision? This is truly tribal bonding, I don't agree with you, you don't agree with me, but we can still work together. The lack of compassion and empathy shown by the county has taken the wind out of my sails. Where are the depositions on secret meetings? Where is anything? Guess we don't need to know.

  31. Today is an important day TH, this much blather concerning a junk pile that burned to the ground is ridiculous, if we are saddled with Byers and Pratt we're SCREWED...if there are more than 10 people who actually read or post on this blog you better stop whining and get off your ass and do something about it, today would be a good start, vote, call EVERYONE you know, carry a sign, whatever it takes.

  32. I haven't voted yet.

    What is the assembled TH wisdom. Jarman or Forlenza?

    Which one of them has the higher chance of beating Pratt in the General?

    I don't believe Lopez will let us have both of them in the primary. Hell, Lopez barely allows us to have electricity!

  33. Who is responsible for the "run by district, vote by county" abomination?

    It basically mean that forever more we will be ruled by three Lopez clones.

    Welcome to the Glorious People's Socialist Democratic Republic of San Juan de Lopez!

  34. The unhappy answer to the question:

    "Who is responsible for the "run by district, vote by county" abomination?"

    We are. The voters voted for the recommendations of the Charter Review Commission, a number of those folks are now serving on the campaign committees of Pratt/Byers.

    The thing about a democracy is that we we do tend to get the laws and leaders that we deserve ...

    We would do well to study more carefully the measures brought to us for a vote, and a primary in San Juan County that cannot muster 50% of the registered voters is a sad testimony to the pickle we are in.