Community Government

Gig Harbor is about to get a sister city

Posted on July 26th, 2022 By:

Gig Harbor is a step closer to establishing a sister city relationship with Bodø, Norway.

Bodø (pronounced “boo-duh”) is the capital of Nordland County and lies just north of the Arctic Circle.

The City Council approved a resolution on July 25 allowing Mayor Tracie Markley to sign an agreement with Bodø to “enrich cultural understanding, create adult and student exchange opportunities and broaden cooperation to encourage goodwill between the cities.”

Norway-Gig Harbor connections

The idea has been in the works since 2019, when local Rotary clubs approached the city to develop sister city relationships with Norway and Croatia. A sister cities committee was formed to work with Rotary clubs in Bodø and in Selća, Croatia.

Last year, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs donated $3,000 for a History in the Harbor event celebrating Norway. Earlier this year, a Gig Harbor delegation met with the mayor of Bodø during the annual High North Dialogue conference.

And the Norwegian ambassador to the United States visited Gig Harbor this spring. Ambassador Anniken Krutnes came at the invitation of Lise Kristiansen, a Gig Harbor resident who is a member of the group working on the sister cities arrangement.

The agreement doesn’t obligate Gig Harbor to any financial commitment or specific actions. It simply states that the two cities will work cooperatively to organize mutually beneficial events and activities.

It also allows for a local sister city organization to manage the activities. Markley will work with local groups to find a suitable partner to take on that management role.

Other business

• The council authorized the mayor to appoint members of the parks commission, arts commission, design review board and lodging tax advisory committee.

In the past, a committee of three council members has publicly interviewed candidates and sent their recommendations to the council for final approval. Under the new procedure, the mayor’s recommendations are still subject to council approval.

• Councilmember Robyn Denson noted that the recent construction on Harborview Drive impacted downtown businesses “worse than Covid did.” She asked the council to consider making a donation to the Downtown Waterfront Alliance in the fourth quarter to help businesses recover, adding that the city qualifies for a state tax credit for such expenditures.

• The meeting concluded with a short executive session, closed to the public, to discuss a potential property acquisition. No action was taken.

The next council meeting will take place Monday, Aug. 8.