Volunteers needed to paint Port Orchard on Sunday

Delilah has spent much of this week painting a new mural in the alley between Myhre’s and Slip 45.  - Jeff Rhodes
Delilah has spent much of this week painting a new mural in the alley between Myhre’s and Slip 45.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes

When the idea to paint downtown Port Orchard came to light in May, Delilah Rene thought she’d be lucky to get half of the property owners to agree to the plan.

“If I got that many,” she said, “I thought it would be a success.”

Turns out her projections were far too conservative.

“We got a lot of push back,” Rene said on Tuesday, but then it snowballed. We got up to 75 percent, and I had to get out of the way. Now, 92 percent of Port Orchard will get repainted.”

Bay Street will be closed on Sunday between the triangle on the west side of town to Rockwell on the east, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vehicle traffic will be routed down Kitsap Street.

Even if hard work is the order of the day, the plan is to make it fun.

There will be free movies for the children of volunteers at the Orchard Cinema between noon and 6 p.m., with several other children’s activities scheduled.

Refreshments will be served, and teams will compete for prizes as they complete their tasks.

“With the scope of things, I don’t expect that it will all get completed,” Rene said. “But if it doesn’t get done, we’ll keep coming back every weekend until it’s done.”

Two weeks ago, she said the worst that could happen would be if it rained. Now, with western Washington in the grips a record-breaking heat wave, the opposite weather extreme could become an obstacle — even though Rene admits that an overabundance of sunshine will be less discouraging than torrential rain.

So on Sunday enough volunteers will show up, or they won’t.

Rene is telling people that “several hundred” volunteers will show up. But Leah Wattree, who is managing the volunteer effort, said Wednesday that only 50 people are actually committed.

“This is starting to stress me out a little,” she said.

Rene’s initial promise to buy paint was also intended to recruit other investors, but none materialized.

She isn’t specific and won’t say how much of her own money she is spending on this — only that it’s “a lot.”

She does admit that the paint cost — even with donations — is about $25,000.

Beyond this, she has rented port-a-potties, play equipment and bought food at her own expense.

While generous, these are not completely selfless acts.

“I have one business downtown and I’m about to open another,” she said. “This is an investment for me. I want clients to come downtown.”

Downtown businesses will keep regular hours on Saturday.

Stores expected to open on Sunday through the paint effort include Los Cabos, Morningside Bakery, Moondogs Too, Myhre’s, Shishini BBQ House, The Ale House, The Candy Shoppe, The Puget Sound Wine Shop, Jawapas, Off the Wagon Antiques, Wisteria Lane and Rene’s business, Delilah’s Cozy Kitchin.

Many of the stores and restaurants will offer special deals for volunteers.

The city has donated the use of several dumpsters to cart off the trash. The painting will be conducted by four local contractors who have donated their expertise, under the supervision of BLC Group President Robert Baglio.

The contractors, which will staff teams assigned to each quadrant, are Ecklund Paint and Drywall, Nail Painters, CHC Painting and Corliss Painting.

The follow-up efforts, if they occur, won’t include Rene.

She is leaving for her first vacation in six years, taking her children to Hawaii.

“I’m either going to go there and celebrate how awesome it came out,” she joked, “or I’m going to go and never come back.”

If you go:

Volunteers are needed for both Saturday and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Volunteers make their own hours, and can work for as long or as short as they want.

On Saturday, people with weed eaters will be especially needed, as a major task is to clean around several houses at the east end of town.

All prep work will take place on Saturday.

The painting process will commence on Sunday morning.

There are two signup locations — in the alley between Myhre’s and Slip 45 and at 703 Kitsap Street.

Volunteers will be assigned to tasks and teams at that time.

Bay Street will be open on Saturday, but will be closed on Sunday between during the actual painting.

There is no special parking designated for the event, although time limits for downtown parking spaces will not be in effect.

Volunteers are also expected to be on hand to route volunteers to parking on the waterfront.

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