Town of Friday Harbor
San Juan Island

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60 Second Street
PO Box 219






What's New

"The obscure we see eventually.  The completely apparent takes a little longer." - Edward R. Murrow

Trout Lake Level: -48.5" below the spillway ~ 9/28/16




Town of Friday Harbor Waterline Replacement Project Construction Update

Construction Update:  Week of August 29th, 2016

 Location(s) of work:  Underground construction is complete except for tie-in locations.  This week, Contractor is scheduled to tie-in the new waterline at the following locations:

  • Douglas and San Juan Valley Rd.

  • Spring St. at the Water Maintenance Facility

  • San Juan Valley Rd. near the EMS/Hospital

 Work Days/Hours:  Monday – Friday; 7AM-7PM, Monday Night  9PM – 9AM shift to make waterline tie-ins

 What to expect:  As we get close to completing the water main installation; there will be an impact on traffic heading into Town from San Juan Valley Rd.  There will be several active work areas between the EMS/Hospital to Water Storage Tank on Spring St. 20 minute delays will be likely in this area

Please avoid if possible; however traffic control representatives will be on-site at all times to assist commuters

Detours:  You can bypass our construction by using the following alternative routes to detour in or out of Town.

  • Beaverton valley Road
  • No.2 School House Road
  • Douglas Road
  • Bailer Hill Road

Any questions or concerns please feel free to call (360) 378-0360


Town receives Department of Health award for top water quality in the state

The Town of Friday Harbor received top honors for providing some of the clearest drinking water in the state for three consecutive years. The Washington State Department of Health presents the Treatment Optimization Program (TOP) Award to water operators that meet significantly higher water quality standards than those set by the government. Steve Deem of the Washington State DOH presented the award May 17, 2016, at Town Hall.  The Town is one of only eleven systems in the state to receive this year’s award.

The Town’s water department voluntarily participates in the stringent DOH program which challenges operators to exceed the minimum legal standards for three consecutive years. According to Town Public Works Director Wayne Haefele, the DOH has set an extremely difficult goal. "It requires that water systems make the TOP goal a priority in everything we do and every decision we make," said Haefele. TOP Award winners must maintain extreme water clarity, known as low "turbidity", while simultaneously complying with every other measurement of water quality without exception for three consecutive years. Turbidity is considered one of the most dependable tests for confirming the removal of potential pathogenic organism from water.

The DOH created the Treatment Optimization Program in response to a 1992 waterborne disease outbreak in Milwaukee, WI that killed 100 and sickened a significant percentage of the population.


Local artists and photographers invited to submit works for new Town banners

The Town of Friday Harbor is seeking donations of local photographs and artwork to be used on the decorative and informative banners adorning light poles throughout downtown. "We’re looking for banner submissions that capture the art, nature, people, activities, and lifestyle of Friday Harbor," said Town Administrator Duncan Wilson. Banners are rotated three times per year to reflect spring, summer, and fall seasonal activities, events, and holidays.

Islanders are invited to submit works to the Town of Friday Harbor Business Office:  60 Second Street, PO Box 219, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. Questions should be directed to Duncan Wilson at (360)378-2810 or


Town Business License Program - This is an important notice to Business Owners to provide information concerning new and existing business regulations in Town.

Whether you are a new business or one receiving a notice in March that it is time to renew, you should be aware of changes to Friday Harbor Municipal Code, Chapter 5.04. The Town amended its Business Licensing Program by passage of Ordinance No. 1563 on June 4, 2015 and Ordinance No. 1590 on February 4, 2016. The Town recommends that businesses review FHMC Chapter 5.04 for complete amendments.

Temporary Business Licenses are available. The Town amended FHMC to create temporary business licenses for flexibility under the current program for participation in temporary activities. Activities are intended to include types such as artisan fairs, farmer’s markets, promotional events, itinerant vending and other specialty contracting. People engaged in business within the Town may obtain a license valid for a period of 30 days.  All regulations of the current program will apply to both annual and temporary licenses. The fee for a temporary business license is $15.

 The business license year, or the time period that a business license is active, was amended to run from April 1st to March 31st.  A complete application is required before the planned date of your opening. License renewals for existing business are due by the expiration of your current license on March 31, 2016. Your business will become unlicensed if the renewal fee is not paid prior to the license expiration.

 Renewal notices will be mailed to existing businesses the week of March 1, 2016.  Businesses known to be operating in Town which fail to renew their license in a timely fashion will not receive a second notice stating that they are unlicensed.

 Operating without a license.  All businesses operating without a license are committing a civil infraction and may be fined as provided by FHMC Chapter 1.18. Town has approved a 30-day grace period for renewals because of this transition.  Infractions may be issued to those operating after May 1, 2016.

 Engaging in business includes activities occurring “over-the water” or “staged” within the public right-of-way. Conducting business has always included activities such as staging or picking up participants for tours or other activities that may also occur outside Town limits.  Therefore, Town expanded the definitions of the Business License Program to clarify that:

“Over-the-water” means engaging in business or staging for business over the water under the jurisdiction of the Town as defined in Chapter 19.04 FHMC. (ie: the Port of Friday Harbor or other private marinas)

“Staging” means business or the process of activity planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling business resources in Town. (ie: motorized, bicycle, whale watching, kayaking, fishing charter, zip-line or other tours, that several participants are collected or organized in locations such as side-streets or parking lots.)

 For additional information regarding the Town Business License Program, contact the Town Clerk at 360.378.2810 or refer to FHMC Chapter 5.04 available at


 The Town Council Implements Temporary Business Licenses

 On February 4, 2016, the Town Council adopted Ordinance No. 1590 amending the municipal code regarding business licensing.  Town staff will implement the changes beginning in March.

 All businesses operating within the Town limits, unless the business qualifies as exempt from the program, are required to obtain a license regardless of the type or duration of its activities.

 The Town recognizes a need for flexibility under the current program, especially in recent years, for participation in temporary activities such as artisan fairs, farmer’s markets, promotional events, itinerant vending and other specialty contracting or services which are intended to occur less than 30 days per licensing year.

 “Allowing temporary licensing will encourage greater participation in events at the Brickworks and other venues, by seasonal vendors, and provides flexibility for specialty contractors that may not have their business physically located in Town,” said Town Administrator Duncan Wilson.

 Ordinance No. 1590 will allow any person engaged in business within the Town to obtain a business license valid for a period of 30 days.  All regulations of the current business license program will apply to both annual and temporary licenses. The fee for a temporary business license will be $15. 

 For more information regarding the current business license program contact the Town at (360) 378-2810.


From:  Duncan Wilson, Town Administrator

Re:  Trespassing at Trout Lake

Date:  July 2014

Trout Lake is an environmentally sensitive area consisting of approximately 600 acres that supplies the drinking water for the Town of Friday Harbor.  The Town has recently installed security cameras to monitor activity at the Trout Lake Dam and to regulate access to the Town’s water shed.

Town officials were greatly disturbed to find evidence of significant trespassing activity at the lake which was detected with these security cameras.  People have been photographed with their horses, dogs and apparently have been swimming in the lake; all in violation of posted NO TRESPASSING signs at the locked gate.

"We understand that Trout Lake is a very beautiful and pristine area, but has remained so because it is a protected watershed where access is restricted" said Duncan Wilson, Town Administrator.  "The State Department of Health and the Town are extremely concerned about this unauthorized intrusion into the watershed, especially during the summer months when the fire risk is so great."

Because of the limited access points, the Fire District has restricted ability to combat a wild land blaze in this area.  A fire in the watershed has the potential to significantly impair the water system for years and could contaminate the lake with slurry that would jeopardize the provision of clean water to the entire community, according to Steve Deem from the Washington State Department of Health.

The Town will be requesting that the County Prosecutor bring charges against all individuals who enter the premises without official business subsequent to this notice.  Trespass in the Second Degree is a misdemeanor and carries a potential penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

New, larger warning signs are being posted near the restricted access points and Town personnel will be doing inspections throughout the week to ensure compliance.  The Town appreciates everyone’s cooperation in keeping this area free of unregulated human contact.  For those interested in finding appropriate and beautiful areas of the islands that are open to the public for hiking please visit


Town Parks Map (.pdf)      Town Time Limit Parking Map (.pdf)


WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?  The next time it rains, look at a street gutter or roadside ditch. The rain, rather than seeping into the soil, flows quickly off roads and roofs. It picks up detergents, oil, grease, heavy metals, and trash from roads, sediment from construction sites and pesticides and fertilizers from lawns. It rushes through storm drains and, when discharged to the local waterways, erodes the natural eco-system. Contrary to popular belief, most storm drains are not connected to treatment systems. Whatever enters the drain is discharged directly, untreated into local waterways. What started as a friendly rain, is now a serious polluter.

Stormwater pollution is also known as "nonpoint source pollution," as it comes from many locations that, while each may be very small, cumulatively have a large impact. Stormwater pollution can make monitoring and treatment of our drinking water more difficult and costly. In addition, it can hinder the health of the aquatic ecosystem and eventually result in the loss of our waterways for recreational purposes.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?  Businesses, residents and visitors can promote the protection of water quality by taking action to reduce those activities that lead to non-point source water pollution. You can help by using the following tips below to prevent pollution. More information is available by contacting the San Juan County Public Works Department or the Town of Friday Harbor.

Additionally, the Town is in the process of marking storm drain inlets in private parking areas with decals and distributing informational handouts to businesses.


  1. Never dump anything down a storm drain or into a drainage ditch.

  2. Recycle motor oil and other vehicle fluids.

  3. Throw litter in its place.

  4. Clean up after your pet.

  5. Check and repair your vehicles for leaks.

  6. Dispose of household hazardous wastes at designated locations.

  7. Compost yard clippings.

  8. Use fertilizer and pesticide only when needed (Read the label!).

  9. If you wash your vehicle at home, do so on the lawn rather than the pavement.

  10. Tell a friend or neighbor about how to prevent stormwater pollution and get involved in your community.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Downtown Friday Harbor - early 1950's    link to (much) larger version - 638kb

photo courtesy Bob Low

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Neither the Town of Friday Harbor nor any agency, officer, or employee of the Town warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information presented here, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information.
Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity who relies on any information obtained from the system, does so at his or her own risk.

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