Bainbridge Island Real estate Information

History: Logging and shipbuilding were the first thriving businesses on this island in Puget Sound, followed by truck farming of vegetables and berries for the Seattle markets. Many island families were forcibly relocated when Japanese Americans were interned during World War II. In an effort to maintain control over its own land use decisions, island residents in the early 1990s voted to annex to the city of Winslow, creating a new island wide municipality. While trying to hold to its rural roots, the island has increasingly become a bedroom community for Seattle commuters.

Major Attractions: Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Performing Arts Center, shops in downtown Winslow, Bainbridge Island Winery, island berry stands, Fort Ward State Park. It’s not hard to determine the limits of the city of Bainbridge Island. It’s the water. Islanders created something unique in 1991 when they voted to join the unincorporated portions of the island with what had been the city of Winslow to form an island wide city. Prompted in large by Bainbridge residents’ dissatisfaction with land-use decisions made by Kitsap County commissioners in Port Orchard, the annexation vote created something of a rural city, and the self-rule islanders hoped would help keep it that way. While the issue was hotly contested during the annexation campaign, islanders today, with the benefit of hindsight, seem generally supportive of the city concept. The city has established that future population growth will be concentrated in the traditional community centers on the island-Winslow, Rolling Bay and Lynnwood Center among them.

The geographic boundaries tend to forge a sense of community on islands anyway, and Bainbridge Island tends to look eastward, rather than westward, for its connections. Many islanders feel more a part of Seattle than Kitsap County. The 30-minute ferry ride to Seattle, and the frequent sailing schedule, makes Bainbridge, Kitsap County’s only true commuter city. The nature of those commuters tends to make for some fancy demographics on the island as well. With only 8 percent of the county’s population, Bainbridge Island accounts for nearly 20 percent of Kitsap County’s land value. The typical home on Bainbridge sold for about $275,000 last year, while the typical home in the rest of the county sold for about $124,000. Those demographics translate into strong local support for the public schools, an active parks and recreation department funded by local taxes, and a strong commitment to open space and parks, including the decision last year to purchase Gazzam Lake as a nature preserve and the previous purchase of the Grand Forest. It also translates into a very literate population that justifies a top-quality bookstore in Winslow (Eagle Harbor Books) and the nearly new Bainbridge Performing Arts Center.