by Patricia Pirnack (Hamilton)
I was so saddened to hear about Mike Krieger’s accident and passing. I read the obituary in The Islands’ Sounder but felt like I needed to also add to Mike’s contribution towards “saving” Orcas Village.
Many have probably forgotten this bit of history, but the Village was threatened by a major development. In 1997 Robin Rosauer’s Six Shooter Corporation wanted to build a 25,000 sq. ft. Supermarket with a parking area to accommodate 85 vehicles. This is where the WSF overflow parking area is now. Mike was passionately opposed to this as were many of the villagers and surrounding residents as well. Four of us formed ORCAS or Orcas Residents Concerned about Supermarkets. We came up with that name in Mike and Susan’s lovely house overlooking West Sound. Our group consisted of Mike as President, Pierrette Guimound as VP, Patty Monaco as Treasurer and myself as Secretary.
It took us nearly four years to fight this development and further development by WSF. We enlisted Peter Eglick as our attorney who Mike and I knew through our connection with Friends of the San Juans. Mike also found us both water and traffic experts who disputed and found many discrepancies with the so-called “experts” provided by Rosauer. We had many meetings at Mike and Susan’s place and spent hours working on this, especially Mike. Many joined the fight and helped defeat this ridiculous and inappropriate idea for the Village. Rosauer had wanted to dynamite the rocky outcrop by the hairpin turn heading up or down from the ferry staging area. It was further proposed that Orcas Hill Road would accommodate the trucks that would deliver the groceries and supplies to the market. That road was and I believe still is 20 feet wide!
It was such a wonderful time to read in the Findings of Fact by Wick Dufford, the Hearing Examiner who presided over the Appeal of Determination of Significance for the Proposed Orcas Village Market (the group) ORCAS for the Intervenor…. “this is Orcas Island, not Bellevue.” Hearing Examiner Dufford denied the appeal of Six Shooter Investment, Inc. The County ended up buying the 4.3 acres and negotiated again with WSF to acquire the property. WSF did finally buy the parcel but they in turn wanted to build three 4000 sq. ft. buildings that would be interconnected to cover a 12,000 sq. ft. area with parking!
WSF envisioned a restaurant, shops and businesses. We highly discouraged this and another delay and fight was on. Fortunately, WSF came to their senses and decided a better use was to provide overflow parking. Then we had the Orcas Sub Area Plan to hash out with the county and subsequent Orcas Village Plan. Mike was highly involved in this as well as many residents of the area. Again, we met at Mike and Susan’s place for some of the meetings.
So, when you drive to the landing, to the loading area or Orcas Village and come up or down the hill prior, envision a giant supermarket, a dynamited area with entrance and egress onto Orcas Road. Imagine the traffic situation especially when the ferry is unloading. Imagine Orcas Hill Road and traffic and trucks going up and down that road. Then please think again of Mike Krieger and his dedication and love for the islands and for Orcas Village. He will be and is greatly missed.