Bay Street Association calls it quits

Citing lack of interest and low attendance, the Port Orchard Bay Street Association has officially disbanded.

Association vice president and city councilman Ron Rider made the announcement at Monday night’s city council meeting. He said the association simply couldn’t keep its status as a non-profit organization — no one wanted to take on leadership responsibilities.

State regulations stipulate an organization must have, at a minimum, a president, vice president and secretary/treasurer. Rider said nobody was willing to take an officer position and, with the departure of the secretary, they had a opening which needed filling.

“In the past, we’ve had nobody willing to fill a vacancy,” Rider said. “It’s like pulling teeth.”

Rider himself tried to leave the vice presidency months ago but couldn’t because there was no replacement. He said many association meetings have been non-viable because there was less than five members present — the legal minimum for a quorum.

“It just got to feel the association was a waste of time,” Rider said. “There’s just not enough interest downtown. People are more concerned with ‘what’s in it for me?’ And that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.”

In preparation for the group’s departure, Rider and the other officers approached the Fathom o’ Fun Committee to see if the Fathoms organizers could take over Festival by the Bay — the association’s biggest annual event.

Fathoms chair Phil McCormick, a former association president, said the board unanimously agreed to keep Festival by the Bay alive. To help defray the extra expense of a second festival, all the money left in the association coffers will be turned over to the Fathoms committee.

“It’s a substantial amount,” Rider said, estimating the funds were enough to keep the festival going for several more years.

McCormick, who helped start the Festival by the Bay, didn’t anticipate any problems with running both events.

“Everything’s pretty much laid out (for Fathoms),” he said. “We’ll have enough volunteers for the festival.”

Association president Jack Grable, who took over the position last fall, said he had sensed the end was coming.

“I made the phone calls every month and you could count on one hand the people that were going to show up,” Grable said.

However, Grable emphasized the collapse of the association was not permanent by any means. He said the officers left the door open for the association to start up again someday when interest in it was renewed. Grable said he fully expected the association to be reborn at some point, although he would not predict when.

“That’s the reason we left it open.” he said.

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