We applaud the Exchange for its thoughtful approach to reconstructing its operation after a devastating fire in February.
The original structure was created piece by piece, and the building and grounds reflected that. It was funky and crowded and eclectic.
Now that Orcas Recycling Services is basically starting from scratch, there are permitting and insurance requirements. But their plan is also influenced by a changing vision.
Executive Director Mark DeTray says they are raising the standard and want to create a hub of community activity – something that islanders will feel a sense of ownership with and contribute to during the design process. The ORS board is also fixing the parking problem and will have covered areas for all of the Exchange’s items.
As DeTray pointed out, one of the incredible things about the operation was its ability to coexist next to the smelly activities of the transfer station. It was a place to reuse and recycle, but it was also a venue for social activity while hunting for treasure. And it served an important need for those on a tight budget.
San Juan County is often raked over the coals by the public. But this is an instance to thank county staff – they have supported ORS with the clean-up and future building process. The county even gave a major discount for hauling away burned debris.
The Exchange was special and ORS has no intention of letting that magic die away. It will be back and better than ever.