History: Part 4

Winslow, Commerce & Seattle

The island’s commercial center and greatest concentration of population is in Winslow, the island’s only town, which has a variety of shops, offices and several apartment complexes. The ferry terminal and the repair facility for the State Ferry System are also located here. Lynwood Center, Rolling Bay and Island Center also contain some retail shops. There is a large variety of cottage industry and home-based business throughout the island, and a light manufacturing area at Day Road and State Highway 305.

swimsuitsThe island’s population is about 19,000, with over 95 percent of the residents listed as White. Those of Asian ancestry (Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese) form the largest minority, followed by Native American, Hispanic and Black. The average household size is 2.6 members, with a median age of 36.5 years and a median household income of $47,495. The statistical average household income is $60,781, indicating the presence of many upper income families. A survey conducted by the school district revealed that Bainbridge has an exceptionally high number of college graduates among its population.

The island is bisected by State Highway 305, which connects the Ferry Terminal and the Agate Passage Bridge, and is a major route from Seattle to the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas. Increasing ferry traffic congestion, the possible expansion of Highway 305 and discussion of building new bridges generates a great deal of local controversy.

Because of the physical beauty and delicate ecological balances, Bainbridge Island has been the focus of much environmental concern. The Association of Bainbridge Communities (ABC) was formed in 1978 and was instrumental in bringing about the cleanup of industrial sediment from Eagle Harbor. This group continues to monitor environmental issues. In 1992, the City Council passed an Environmentally Sensitive Areas Ordinance, making a strong stand on aquifer recharge, development runoff, fish and wildlife habitats, and wetlands preservation.

Today, Bainbridge Island blends its close proximity to Seattle with a rural life-style. Only 35 minutes by ferry from the heart of Seattle, islanders may easily enjoy its cultural and economic benefits. At the same time, Bainbridge has preserved the sense of space, the caring about each other, and the tranquility which are part of the rural atmosphere. The challenge for the future will be to maintain this unique blend in the face of growth.

Currently, our most pressing concerns are preservation of open space and the enviroment, transportation, housing affordability, and maintaining our island tranquility. The wisdom and vision that islanders bring to the resolution of these problems will shape the future of the island for generations to come.