Town of Friday Harbor
San Juan Island

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60 Second Street
PO Box 219






What's New

"The obscure we see eventually.  The completely apparent takes a little longer." - Edward R. Murrow

Trout Lake Level:  +8" ~ 4/06/17


Town will host Spring Cleanup May 15 through 19

The Town of Friday Harbor is pleased to offer its residential refuse customers a one-time-only curbside pickup of items that are too large or too heavy for their refuse cans the week of May 15-19. “The Town saw an opportunity to encourage neighborhood cleanups and to assist our customers with their spring cleaning efforts,” said Town Administrator Duncan Wilson. He says this one-time service is being offered free of charge to its non-commercial customers.

Specific rules apply regarding the volume and type of items that will be accepted. Customers should review the information included with their monthly billing statement. This information can also be found HERE.

The Town reserves the right to deny pickup of items. These unaccepted items must be removed by the customer within two days of their refuse pickup day. Unremoved items and anything left in front of empty homes will be investigated by Code Enforcement as illegal dumping. This service is solely to assist existing Town refuse customers and no items may be brought to or left in Town.

Regular refuse and recycling will be picked up separately that week as usual. Customers are to set these cans apart from their large refuse pickup pile.

Happy Spring Cleaning!


Park Street Sewer & Water Line Replacement Project - Scheduled to begin the week of April 3rd, 2017

This project is in anticipation of other street and sidewalk improvements that are scheduled to begin in May 2017. Improvements are estimated to be completed within sixty (60) calendar days.

The Town awarded the project to Ariston Pacific, Inc. from Bellingham, Washington.  The Contractor will be mobilizing equipment on Monday, April 3rd and Tuesday, April 4th. Construction is currently scheduled to begin Wednesday, April 5th.  Construction will take place on Park Street between Hillcrest Place and Blair Avenue at these locations:

  • Sewer Main Replacement: From Blair Avenue to Scenic Place;
  • Water Main Replacement: From Price Street to Marguerite Place; and
  • Sidewalk construction: From Price Street to Marguerite Place.

The project includes removal of portions of existing asphalt, trenching and grading in order to install new sewer and water mains.  Local access will be maintained at all times during construction, but travelers should expect delays and limited access during certain phases of the project.  According to Town Administrator, Duncan Wilson, every effort will be made limit closures and to have both lanes of traffic open in the evenings and on weekends.

The Town has notified neighboring property owners of the potential road closures and possibility of utility interruptions.  The Town will notify property owners of scheduled utility service interruptions with a "Red Door Tag" prior to shut-off. Service interruptions for individual parcels are anticipated to last a few hours while the parcel is connected to the new utility line. Red Door Tags will also serve as a means of immediate communication between the Contractor and individual property owners.

Later this year drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians can look forward to safer travel when the second phase of improvements begin bringing a new sidewalk on the north side of the street.

There will be a Project Manager on site at all times.  Questions regarding the project can be directed to the Project Manager or to Town Hall by calling 378-2810.

Contact: Duncan Wilson, Town Administrator, (360) 378-2810, ext 226,



March 7, 2017

Town of Friday Harbor seeks artists’ proposals for Ed Warbass memorial bench sculpture

The Town of Friday Harbor is accepting proposals for an Ed Warbass memorial bench sculpture sponsored by the Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC). The artwork is to be located on a park bench near the First Street entrance to Sunshine Alley. Proposals will be accepted until July 14, 2017.

The artwork is to honor a local historical figure and town founding father. It should be life-sized and recognizable, but need not be a strictly literal interpretation.

According to the published FHAC guidelines, the art selection process will include forming a sub-committee of Commissioners and community representatives who will review the submissions and present selected proposals to the public for comment at an open forum. "The FHAC continues to demonstrate our commitment to include the community in the public art selection process," said Commissioner Diane Martindale. She explained that the commission wants all interested citizens to voice their opinions and share in the excitement of bringing more art into the town.

All proposals will be considered with preference going to those from local artists. The FHAC will review and select one or more proposals to recommend to the Town Council. The Council will determine the final selection. Interested parties should review the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Ed Warbass Memorial Bench Sculpture Project here.

The FHAC was formed in 2015 to advise the Town Council on the cultivation, selection, acquisition, and placement of public art. Eight island residents, including one student, are appointed by the Mayor to represent the interests of the Town, the community, and local artists.


February 23, 2017

Town of Friday Harbor considering a Mini Painted Roundabout at the Argyle Avenue & Spring Street Intersection

The public is invited to learn about and comment on the proposal to install a mini painted roundabout at the intersection of Argyle Avenue and Spring Street. The Town Council meeting will be held on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers located at 60 Second Street.

The intersection provides unique challenges in terms of congestion, traffic control, and pedestrian safety. It is a high-volume intersection for the Town during certain hours of the day and peak seasons. Motorists have challenges making turns and often block the crosswalks to turn effectively.

The Town has explored traffic and pedestrian improvements at the location for years. Potential solutions have included expanding the intersection, installing all-way stop signs, and the feasibility of traffic lights. A major concern is that these methods may increase congestion in other locations on Spring Street.

In 2015, the Town authorized a study for the feasibility and preliminary design of a roundabout at the intersection. Town staff has suggested installing a "painted" mini roundabout to fully gauge the impacts to the downtown core.

"It’s an awkward intersection with potential hazards," said Town Administrator Wilson. "Studies indicate that roundabouts can be safer and more efficient than traditional stop signs or traffic lights. A roundabout should decrease distractions for drivers, create a safer environment and give an alternative to circling the block to regain access to lower Spring Street."

Other goals for installing a "painted" mini roundabout include:

  • Providing a low-cost (and reversible) street modification that can be installed in a short amount of time.
  • Measuring its effectiveness for traffic control before committing to a long-term investment and change.
  • Raising safety awareness and gathering community feedback by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
  • The conceptual design for the project can be found here. Other drawings and mock signage will be put on public display at Town Hall. Changes to the Argyle Avenue and Spring Street intersection would include:
  • Removing stop signs and replacing them with yield signs.
  • Installing a painted traffic circle at the intersection’s center.
  • Using paint on the roadway and installing directional signage for traffic control markings.
  • Moving crosswalks to appropriate locations.

More information regarding roundabouts can be found at these Department of Transportation websites:

The public is encouraged to use the intersection, give feedback, and participate in upcoming meetings. Comments and concerns regarding this proposal can also be forwarded to the Town by contacting Amy Taylor, Town Clerk at 378-2810 or emailing



Business License Renewal - The Town of Friday Harbor is mailing renewal notices early for 2017-2018

Renewal notices will be mailed to businesses the week of February 13, 2017. The business license year, or the time period that a business license is active, runs from April 1st to March 31st. License renewals for businesses are due by the expiration of the current license on March 31, 2017.  A business will become unlicensed if the renewal fee is not paid prior to the license expiration date. The Town will not be sending a second notice to businesses known to be operating in Town that they are unlicensed.

For additional information regarding the Town Business License Program, contact the Town Clerk at 360.378.2810 or refer to FHMC Chapter 5.04 available here.



Citizens Respond to Call for Food Bank Assistance

December 12, 2016

Town of Friday Harbor utility customers have once again shown their holiday spirit by contributing to the Harbor Life Ring program to benefit the Friday Harbor Food Bank. The Town distributed a letter in the October utility billing statement informing customers that any donations they made in November would be contributed to the Food Bank. In addition, the Town stepped up and agreed to match the first $1,000 donated. Including the Town match, the Food Bank will be receiving $4,141.

"The response from the citizens has been outstanding" said Mayor Carrie Lacher. "We continue to be impressed by the generosity in Friday Harbor". Bill Cumming, director of the Food Bank was also excited to hear the news. "I want to thank this community once again for stepping up and serving those in need" he said. "These donations will assure a happy holiday season for a great number of people."

The Harbor Life Ring program was introduced in 2013 to provide financial support to families in need of relief from utility bills when unable to make ends meet. Once a year the proceeds are dedicated to supporting the Friday Harbor Food Bank during the holiday season. The Town thanks all those who contribute to the Food Bank, both through this program and other private donations.

Duncan Wilson, Town Administrator


Town of Friday Harbor Receives Two Grants totaling $1.2 Million for Rebuild of Web Street and A Street and for sidewalk on Nichols

November 30, 2016

The Town of Friday Harbor is pleased to announce that it has received two grant awards in the total amount of $1,200,000 from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board. The first grant in the amount of $975,000 will be used to rebuild Web Street and A Street. The project would start at the intersection of Web and Argyle (in front of Big Store) and continue down Web to A Street where it would then turn north on A to Nichols Street. The project will include the construction of curbs, gutters and sidewalks as well as a new driving surface.

The second grant in the amount of $230,000 will build new sidewalks on the South side of Nichols Street from A Street to B Street. This grant will include new curbs and gutters on Nichols in addition to the sidewalk.

The Town made application for the grants in October of this year and they were two of 378 different submittals from around the State of Washington. A total of $301 million was requested statewide and $117 million of those were funded.

The Town will be responsible for a $134,000 match between the two projects. This match will be paid from monies collected by the Transportation Benefit District sales tax of 0.2% authorized by the voters in 2014. The TBD tax proceeds must be used exclusively for transportation capital investments within the Town.

The Town will begin the engineering work for these projects in 2017 with construction expected in 2018. "I am so pleased the Town will be able to continue its work towards improved walkability and traffic flow. We want to thank the Transportation Improvement Board for these opportunities", said Mayor Carrie Lacher. "These upgrades and repairs are long overdue and will result in expansion and improvement of our downtown core".


From:  Duncan Wilson, Town Administrator

Re:  Trespassing at Trout Lake

Date:  July 2014

Trout Lake is an environmentally sensitive area consisting of approximately 600 acres that supplies the drinking water for the Town of Friday Harbor.  The Town has recently installed security cameras to monitor activity at the Trout Lake Dam and to regulate access to the Town’s water shed.

Town officials were greatly disturbed to find evidence of significant trespassing activity at the lake which was detected with these security cameras.  People have been photographed with their horses, dogs and apparently have been swimming in the lake; all in violation of posted NO TRESPASSING signs at the locked gate.

"We understand that Trout Lake is a very beautiful and pristine area, but has remained so because it is a protected watershed where access is restricted" said Duncan Wilson, Town Administrator.  "The State Department of Health and the Town are extremely concerned about this unauthorized intrusion into the watershed, especially during the summer months when the fire risk is so great."

Because of the limited access points, the Fire District has restricted ability to combat a wild land blaze in this area.  A fire in the watershed has the potential to significantly impair the water system for years and could contaminate the lake with slurry that would jeopardize the provision of clean water to the entire community, according to Steve Deem from the Washington State Department of Health.

The Town will be requesting that the County Prosecutor bring charges against all individuals who enter the premises without official business subsequent to this notice.  Trespass in the Second Degree is a misdemeanor and carries a potential penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

New, larger warning signs are being posted near the restricted access points and Town personnel will be doing inspections throughout the week to ensure compliance.  The Town appreciates everyone’s cooperation in keeping this area free of unregulated human contact.  For those interested in finding appropriate and beautiful areas of the islands that are open to the public for hiking please visit


Town Parks Map (.pdf)      Town Time Limit Parking Map (.pdf)


WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?  The next time it rains, look at a street gutter or roadside ditch. The rain, rather than seeping into the soil, flows quickly off roads and roofs. It picks up detergents, oil, grease, heavy metals, and trash from roads, sediment from construction sites and pesticides and fertilizers from lawns. It rushes through storm drains and, when discharged to the local waterways, erodes the natural eco-system. Contrary to popular belief, most storm drains are not connected to treatment systems. Whatever enters the drain is discharged directly, untreated into local waterways. What started as a friendly rain, is now a serious polluter.

Stormwater pollution is also known as "nonpoint source pollution," as it comes from many locations that, while each may be very small, cumulatively have a large impact. Stormwater pollution can make monitoring and treatment of our drinking water more difficult and costly. In addition, it can hinder the health of the aquatic ecosystem and eventually result in the loss of our waterways for recreational purposes.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?  Businesses, residents and visitors can promote the protection of water quality by taking action to reduce those activities that lead to non-point source water pollution. You can help by using the following tips below to prevent pollution. More information is available by contacting the San Juan County Public Works Department or the Town of Friday Harbor.

Additionally, the Town is in the process of marking storm drain inlets in private parking areas with decals and distributing informational handouts to businesses.


  1. Never dump anything down a storm drain or into a drainage ditch.

  2. Recycle motor oil and other vehicle fluids.

  3. Throw litter in its place.

  4. Clean up after your pet.

  5. Check and repair your vehicles for leaks.

  6. Dispose of household hazardous wastes at designated locations.

  7. Compost yard clippings.

  8. Use fertilizer and pesticide only when needed (Read the label!).

  9. If you wash your vehicle at home, do so on the lawn rather than the pavement.

  10. Tell a friend or neighbor about how to prevent stormwater pollution and get involved in your community.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Downtown Friday Harbor - early 1950's    link to (much) larger version - 638kb

photo courtesy Bob Low

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