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Paint the Town event 'exceeding expectations'

As of noon, downtown Port Orchard was rocking and rolling -- and getting a splash of love from dozens of paintbrush-wielding volunteers.

Port Orchard's much-discussed Paint the Town event commenced as of 8 a.m. Sunday with crews of volunteers desecending on Bay Street and planning to stay until 8 p.m. at least in order to give the neglected downtown structures a little love.

By mid-day, workers were being serenaded by live music while children of the volunteers happily bounced in an inflatable toy a block away.

Most downtown businesses will be closed for the day and the road is blocked to traffic.

The effort, organized and financed mostly by radio personality and South Kitsap resident Delilah Rene, is intended to spruce up the city's downtown core -- where she owns a restaurant -- in anticipation of the Cedar Cove Days festival slated for later this month.

"This is exceeding all of our expectations," said Phil Herzog, a Poulsbo-based consultant who helped Rene organize the project. "We asked for help and Port Orchard responded. This is really overwhelming."

Beyond the aesthetic considerations, Herzog said the effort was a dramatic example of what the South Kitsap community can accomplish when it wants to.

"I work a lot in economic development," he said. "And what you're seeing out here today is what sets successful communities -- places where people want to live and raise their kids -- apart from other places. Port Orchard is really making a statement today."

Volunteers are still needed. Just check with at the desk at the corner of Bay and Sidney and get painting.

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