House is free -- if you move it -- NEWS ROUNDUP

The tower stays, but the historic house at the corner of Madison and Wyatt can be yours for a very good price – free. All you have to do is pay to have it moved off the property.  - RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo
The tower stays, but the historic house at the corner of Madison and Wyatt can be yours for a very good price – free. All you have to do is pay to have it moved off the property.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo

A historical Winslow house is being offered free of charge to anyone who will pay to move it.

So says owner Jim Laughlin, who plans to redevelop the property at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and Wyatt Way.

The home was built ca. 1892 by the son of island homesteader Riley Hoskinson, and was later occupied by the Pratt family, historian Jerry Elfendahl said. It was placed on the island’s historic resource inventory in 1987.

The house boasts about 1,200 square feet over two stories. It sags inside and might take significant work for restoration, but is said to be otherwise structurally sound.

“It’s really cute in many ways,” Laughlin said. “It’s got those tall, skinny windows, and a good roof.”

The house will make way for Laughlin’s Garden Lofts project, which will bring 16 condominiums, six apartment units and 3,000 square feet of commercial space to the Wyatt/Madison corner.

The buildings will wrap around the 550 Madison apartments in an L-shape, stretching north to a city-owned play park.

A picturesque wooden tower on the site will be moved to the front corner, to be incorporated into a public space there.

Significant trees, including a redwood and a popular willow that overhangs Wyatt Way, also will be retained.

Among the project’s conditions of approval is that Laughlin make an effort to have the Hoskinson/Pratt house preserved elsewhere. But plans to donate the house to a local public agency went nowhere, he said.

A small yellow rambler next door also is available free of charge, for anyone who will cart it off. Laughlin said he wants to have an arrangement to move the houses in place within 30 days.

Laughlin can be reached at 780-9734.

– Douglas Crist


****Police boost bike patrols

Seeing the patrol car window as a needless barrier between cops and community, interim Bainbridge Police Chief Matt Haney is sending more officers onto the streets on bicycles.

Seven Bainbridge officers earned bike-patrol certification after a week of training in July, joining Haney and two others who had earned certification previously.

Training and coursework covered safety, skills and agility; how to make traffic stops and other citizen contacts from a bicycle; and the proactive role of bike patrols in community policing.

“It creates an avenue for more interaction between the police and the community,” Haney said. “I can’t explain why, it just does.”

Islanders got a preview of the program this past February, when Haney and another officer completed the Chilly Hilly.

Haney has more than a decade of bike-patrol experience, having served as supervisor when the King County Sheriff’s Department started a bicycle program in 1990.

Perhaps because they were less conspicuous without their patrol vehicle, officers there found success nabbing car prowlers around SeaTac Mall, Haney said.

Here, it may give officers an edge policing the parking areas around the Winslow ferry terminal, often the scene of vehicle break-ins, thefts, vandalism and pay-box jimmying.

How much of an eight-hour shift is devoted to bicycling will be left to the discretion of individual officers. The only real limitation is that they not stray too far from their vehicles, in case an emergency call comes through.

But bike patrols will not be limited to the Winslow area. Officers will use vehicles with bike racks to reach outlying neighborhoods, and set out on two wheels from there.

The department maintains a stable of three patrol bikes, and will be purchasing more.

Officer Richard Christopher, one of the newly certified seven, spent several hours of each day this past week riding around Winslow. He reported numerous contacts with citizens – perhaps even more than when he patrolled on foot.

“You see parents telling their kids, ‘Look! A bike patrol!’” Christopher said, adding that citizens may simply find bicycle officers “less threatening.”

Now certified for bicycle patrol are officers Chris Jensen, Bob Day, Carla Masotti, Eric Stevens, Ben Sias and Dale Johnson, as well as Christopher.

Previously certified were officers Rob Corn and Shane Hanson.

Haney said the program will continue throughout the year, the changing seasons notwithstanding.

“I’ve ridden when it was rainy and windy,” he said. “It’s not optimal, but there are a lot of days around here when we can be riding bikes.”

– Douglas Crist

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