PORT ANGELES – The Port Angeles Waterfront Center has brought in a familiar face to take the lead in their fundraising efforts. Jessica Hernandez is the new Director of Development for the planned performance and arts center in downtown Port Angeles.

As a former Executive Director of the Port Angeles Food Bank, past President of both the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Port Angeles Rotary Club, Hernandez has developed what Executive Director Chris Fidler describes as “the skillset and wide range of contacts” that are “the right mix at precisely the right time”.

Earlier reports from the Board of Directors were that they hoped to break ground on the project later this year. We asked Hernandez if they were still on track.

“Yeah, so what I can say is that we are over halfway toward our fundraising goal. We are I believe we’re at about 55%, 54-55 percent of fundraising. You know, you want to start talking about groundbreaking when you’re closer to like 75 or 80%. So that definitely dictated why they were saying; hey, we need to get somebody who they can spend all day working on, cultivating potential donors and major gifts and which is why they brought me on board to be part of this team. So I will say that that’s definitely still a potential plan for us is to potentially break ground in October.” 

Hernandez says she’s excited not only about the Waterfront Center, but about the way developers of several planned projects are working together on a broader scale for the benefit of the whole downtown area.

“I think it’s really important to continue to share the message that this is a collaborative project that has been really exciting. Potential site Partners like the Feiro Marine Life Center, and collaborating with the Tribe with what they’re doing downtown, having meetings with the other developers that are doing exciting things down here. We’re all talking and working together. There’s a real purpose and strategy with how we plan on working with one another to develop this area down here. And so it’s been really exciting to just kind of watch all these folks come together and say, how can we do this the best for the community and collaborate in a real meaningful and impactful way. So I think that’s one thing that I would really highlight.”

The Waterfront Center is a planned 500-seat multi-purpose auditorium and 300-seat state-of-the-art conference facility that will be built near the foot of Oak Street downtown. The late Donna M. Morris left a gift of over $9 million in 2016 to be used specifically for the design, construction, and ongoing operation of a performing arts center in Port Angeles.

Photo by pawaterfrontcenter.org