The community of Port Townsend is as varied as the geography that surrounds it. From recreation in the Olympic Mountains to drama at the downtown theatre, the reflection of life here is both connected to the land and to the people. Discovery Bay, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Port Townsend Bay surround the city as it sits at the northeast end of the Quimper Peninsula. It is the seat of Jefferson County.
Port Townsend is "the most sophisticated place west of Seattle" according to one resident in a previous National Geographic Travel article, and it shows.
It is an eclectic community of artists, long-time residents, boat folks and those looking to avoid the standard cookie-cutter places around it. The politics are contentious, because everyone is right, of course. The music and theatre scene are thriving, and there are many hidden gems in the visual arts, writing and poetry of the area. There are numerous Community Organizations.
Coastal Living Magazine has a 2007 article on "Hidden Gems" with PT included >> Read it here! Budget Travel magazine included PT in it's America's Coolest Small Towns contest as well, but we didn't win...
Historically, PT was major seaport in the 1800's, and most of that eras' original architecture has remained. Port Townsend is one of only three Victorian seaports in the U.S. on the National Historic Register.
Besides an active historical theme, Port Townsend also combines the best of developing and established artists of all disciplines in presenting workshops, events, Gallery Walks, October's Art in Port Townsend juried art show and festivals year-round. You can never have enough art and PT is considered one of the best small-town art communities in the nation.
Many of today's industries are still based in maritime trades, manufacturing, tourism and timber. Port Townsend Paper still remains the largest employer in the area, though mostly small and mid-size businesses thrive here. There is a strong desire to remain a sustainable community both economically and environmentally.
National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations rated Port Townsend 24th out of 109 historic destinations worldwide to visit and live based on authenticity and stewardship. It seems that there's both an aesthetic and social desire to see places like Port Townsend be viable and authentic. It is a major reason people relocate or retire here.
We have a large rural hospital at Jefferson Healthcare providing health services for a wide range of care.
Just the Facts
- Port Townsend's population is approximately 9,300 from Census Data.
- Jefferson County's population is between 26-27,000.
- Established in 1851, we're over 165 years old!
- Weather is moderate, cooler and windier than the I-5 corridor megalopolis and way more pretty.
- Hospital and a fire department provide health, safety and fire assistance. City Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff provide law enforcement.
- A variety of Education Opportunities, including vocations such as massage, woodworking and boat-building and the home-schooling option in K through 12 is very popular. Community colleges are here, and we're only missing a four-year accredited college.
- Jobs are scarce, so creativity is encouraged and small businesses are the norm.
- Median home prices are near $288,000.
- Per capita income is about $29,000.
- Our sister city is Ichikawa, Japan. They visit us sometimes - we should do that more often...
- According to the City of PT we have 9.5 square miles area within the city limits, 88 miles of paved streets, 10 miles of unpaved streets, 30 miles of sidewalks and 33 miles of non-motorized trails.
The combination of art, music, natural beauty, active citizens, varied economy and history make Port Townsend and Jefferson County a unique place to live or visit.
Jefferson County Communities
Port Hadlock, Chimacum, and Irondale comprise the Tri-Area in East Jefferson County. Surrounding communities include:
Port Ludlow - Residential community, marina and resort.
Cape George Colony Club - Residential community west of PT on the Quimper Peninsula.
Marrowstone Island - Home of Fort Flagler and the town of Nordland.
Quilcene & Brinnon - Local events and news for south Jefferson County (North Hood Canal Chamber of Commerce).
Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission - mostly North Olympic region.