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:  +8.75 ~ 04/20/18


Town of Friday Harbor Named Tree City USA by Arbor Day Foundation

The Town of Friday Harbor was named a 2018 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to urban forest management. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

"Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like Friday Harbor make smart investments in urban forests," said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits."

Trees are assets to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits. More information on the program is available at

ABOUT THE ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.

For more information, contact: Town of Friday Harbor, Amy Taylor: 360-378-2810,



Business License Renewal - Avoid a Citation!

The Town of Friday Harbor wants to thank all businesses that were prompt in renewing their business licenses for year 2017/2018.

We are now a month into the new business license year and the Town is auditing its records to determine who is no longer doing business in Town or may be operating without a license.

The Town is currently inactivating all accounts that were not renewed for the 2017/2018 license year.  This week, the Town Code Enforcement Officer will be issuing citations to those businesses who are known to be conducting business without a license.  This is a Class IV civil infraction.

Unlicensed businesses are urged to avoid this unpleasant action by renewing their license or contacting the Town to make arrangements.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your business license, please contact the Town Clerk at 378-2810.  For more information regarding the business licensing program, see Friday Harbor Municipal Code Chapter 5.04.


The Town of Friday Harbor thanks our customers for your generous donations to help Hospice of San Juan

A fundraising effort by the Town of Friday Harbor and its customers resulted in a $2550 donation to Hospice of San Juan. Town utility customers were encouraged to support this local charity through the Town’s Harbor Life Ring program which collects charitable donations included with customer’s utility payments. Hospice of San Juan received all donations made on the April bills, plus an additional $1000 in matching funds from the Town.

"The Town is proud of the generosity of our citizens and their willingness to join us in supporting this critically important local organization," said Town Administrator Duncan Wilson, adding, "Hospice of San Juan allows those in need of hospice care and their families to stay on-island to be surrounded by their island neighbors."

Hospice of San Juan is one of the only all-volunteer, non-profit hospice organizations in the country. For over 30 years it has provided the island with compassionate and professional respite, support, therapy, transportation, and use of medical equipment—all at no cost to the patient or family. They collaborate with mainland-based Hospice of the NW, but are able to provide more immediate and continuous local assistance.

Harbor Life Ring is an on-going program that invites Town utility customers to assist those in need of urgent assistance with their utility expenses by contributing extra funds with their monthly bill payment. Donations to Harbor Life Ring and Hospice of San Juan are tax deductible.


February 23, 2017

Town of Friday Harbor considering a Mini Painted Roundabout at the Argyle Avenue & Spring Street Intersection

The public is invited to learn about and comment on the proposal to install a mini painted roundabout at the intersection of Argyle Avenue and Spring Street. The Town Council meeting will be held on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers located at 60 Second Street.

The intersection provides unique challenges in terms of congestion, traffic control, and pedestrian safety. It is a high-volume intersection for the Town during certain hours of the day and peak seasons. Motorists have challenges making turns and often block the crosswalks to turn effectively.

The Town has explored traffic and pedestrian improvements at the location for years. Potential solutions have included expanding the intersection, installing all-way stop signs, and the feasibility of traffic lights. A major concern is that these methods may increase congestion in other locations on Spring Street.

In 2015, the Town authorized a study for the feasibility and preliminary design of a roundabout at the intersection. Town staff has suggested installing a "painted" mini roundabout to fully gauge the impacts to the downtown core.

"It’s an awkward intersection with potential hazards," said Town Administrator Wilson. "Studies indicate that roundabouts can be safer and more efficient than traditional stop signs or traffic lights. A roundabout should decrease distractions for drivers, create a safer environment and give an alternative to circling the block to regain access to lower Spring Street."

Other goals for installing a "painted" mini roundabout include:

  • Providing a low-cost (and reversible) street modification that can be installed in a short amount of time.
  • Measuring its effectiveness for traffic control before committing to a long-term investment and change.
  • Raising safety awareness and gathering community feedback by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
  • The conceptual design for the project can be found here. Other drawings and mock signage will be put on public display at Town Hall. Changes to the Argyle Avenue and Spring Street intersection would include:
  • Removing stop signs and replacing them with yield signs.
  • Installing a painted traffic circle at the intersection’s center.
  • Using paint on the roadway and installing directional signage for traffic control markings.
  • Moving crosswalks to appropriate locations.

More information regarding roundabouts can be found at these Department of Transportation websites:

The public is encouraged to use the intersection, give feedback, and participate in upcoming meetings. Comments and concerns regarding this proposal can also be forwarded to the Town by contacting Amy Taylor, Town Clerk at 378-2810 or emailing



Business License Renewal - The Town of Friday Harbor is mailing renewal notices early for 2017-2018

Renewal notices will be mailed to businesses the week of February 13, 2017. The business license year, or the time period that a business license is active, runs from April 1st to March 31st. License renewals for businesses are due by the expiration of the current license on March 31, 2017.  A business will become unlicensed if the renewal fee is not paid prior to the license expiration date. The Town will not be sending a second notice to businesses known to be operating in Town that they are unlicensed.

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 here.





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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