Former island dentist and family donate property to OPAL

Submitted by OPAL Community Land Trust

Rita and Dr. Stephen Bailey donated one-quarter of their Kidder Way parcel in a recent sale of the property to OPAL Community Land Trust. Phil Carter, a teacher at Orcas Island School, his wife Janna, the high school office manager, and their two children, who had been renting the home for just over a year, were able to affordably purchase the home from OPAL.

The Baileys wanted to find a way to keep the Carters in the house they had come to call home.

“[I had thought] wouldn’t it be beautiful if? And then a week later it happened,” said Stephen.

“Our biggest struggle was to find somewhere affordable to live when we first came to the island. So, it’s beautiful and a little bittersweet for us, too. To be able to do this for the Carters, but only after we’ve left the island,” added Rita.

The Kidder Way property is located just east of the Medical Center on Mt. Baker Road. When the Baileys first purchased the property in 2007 they had many ideas for its use, including a new dental office or a long-term care facility. With the escalation of the housing crisis on the island, they felt its best use would be as affordable housing.

“If you don’t have affordable housing, you don’t have people who can afford to live and work on the island. If you don’t have people who work on the island, your services can’t be met,” explained Rita.

The Bailey’s gift has not only provided a permanent home for the Carters but will also allow OPAL to create further affordable housing on the three remaining lots, including long-term rental housing in a small cottage already situated on the remaining property.

“We are longtime supporters of OPAL,” said Rita. “We were so ecstatic; (it’s) an amazing legacy and amazing gift for all involved. I just love the fact that it will help the community.”