Jingle all the way, just the other way, council suggests

Who could oppose a Jingle Bell Run, right?

No one on the Port Orchard City Council, although some members would like to redirect the route for the 5k run/walk.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, when the Jingle Bell Run came up for approval, some who said they support the event voiced concern about closing Bay Street to westbound ??? traffic through downtown for most of the afternoon on Dec. 3. That’s the day the fundraising event for the Arthritis Foundation will be held in conjunction with the city’s annual Chimes & Lights Festival on the waterfront.

The council discussed the possibility of changing the planned route — which calls for participants to go east on Bay from City Hall to the Annapolis pier and back — to go west instead to Ross Point, away from the heart of downtown.

That was not exactly welcome news to the volunteer who’s spent a year organizing the first Jingle Bell Run in Port Orchard.

“I find that interesting, because this is not the first time that route has been used for a 5k,” Sheila Cline said Wednesday in a phone interview from Atlanta, where she was participating in a satellite media event with the Arthritis Foundation.

She said the route going east on Bay through downtown “has been the plan all along, and everyone’s been aware of what the route was, including pretty much everyone at City Hall.”

The council decided Tuesday night to continue discussion of a possible route change at its next meeting Nov. 8.

Councilman John Clauson’s concerns about the planned Jingle Bell Run route focused on two Kitsap Transit bus routes that connect twice an hour with the passenger ferry downtown. Clauson, who works for Kitsap Transit as service development director, said he didn’t think the buses would have time to take a detour on their routes and still get passengers to the waterfront to connect with the ferry to Bremerton.

Cline said she has a meeting scheduled next week with the transit agency.

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