Of Faith and Detente

Sep 4, 2013 | 4 comments

Yesterday’s meeting at the Oysterville Schoolhouse was informal, unofficial, and well-attended.  It involved County, State, and Village spokespersons plus some two dozen Oysterville property owners.  Its purpose:  to discuss the status of the Oysterville National Historic District.

The meeting was initiated in response to concerns by the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historical Preservation and by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.  They had been alerted by a property owner in the village regarding some specific renovations to structuresMeeting at the Schoolhouse within the District that had not followed Oysterville Design Review Guidelines and perhaps were not up to national standards.  Uh oh.

In response to the complaint, the preservation architects came to the village and took a look.  Then they wrote a letter to the County more-or-less taking them to task for not having stricter oversight on what happens here in the village and requesting a meeting maybe in Olympia or South Bend.  We Oystervillains [sic] suggested the meeting be here in Oysterville since the items under discussion are located here.  They agreed.  Which brings us to yesterday.

Faith Taylor opened the meeting, talked about its purpose and said that her instructions from the Board of Commissioners were to make sure that the National Historic District could be, would be retained.  HOORAY!

Walking TourThat was the most positive support from Pacific County that Oysterville has had for the last twenty years.  We all breathed a sigh of relief and most of the angst in the room dissipated immediately.  The next three and a half hours sped by.  The ‘players’ explained their roles, how they could help us, what some possible scenarios might be and how they could assist us with ‘next steps.’

We took a walking trip through the District, discussing and clarifying concerns from all sides.  We regrouped, talked some more, and in the end, we left the schoolhouse better informed than when we had entered.  I can’t attest to any ‘group sentiment,’ but the individuals I did speak to after the meeting felt that it had been a productive and positive use of time.  And those of us who live in Oysterville felt, for the first time in years, that the County might, indeed, have our backs once again.  Yay!!


  1. Nancy

    Hooray for your side, the bay side, the village side. Your side is what keeps O’Ville as it is intended to be, Oysterville National Historic District…it takes a village….

  2. Greg

    I was especially taken with the fact that WE can ask questions of the National Register folks for advise and suggestions. The moderator was very skillful in the way in which she consistently guided the conversation and subdued distractive lines of questioning. And how refreshing to see the three groups hash this out before us while we watched and occasionally provided clarification.

    • sydney

      You are so right on, Greg. I’m so happy that the meeting happened on a Tuesday and that you could be there. Take notes for us Friday — I’m eager to hear what transpires next.

  3. Stephanie Frieze

    How lovely to hear of governmental agencies actually being helpful!


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