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Plaque honoring fisherman's contributions saved from the tide
PORT GAMBLE — The late Andrew Anderson spent a lifetime in fishing, a career in fisheries policy the world over, and retired first on the Hood Canal and later Poulsbo, close enough to keep a line in the water.
In 1985, three years after his death, a fishing pier jutting off the Hood Canal Bridge was named for him, the Andrew W. Anderson Recreational Fishing Area, and a plaque bearing his name above Gov. Booth Gardner's was placed at the site.
It was meant to honor not only his contributions writing about the Hood Canal's maritime activity and his work to have built a public fishing pier on the bridge, but to the greater Poulsbo area.
Anderson's family is now spread through Oregon and California, and two years ago his grandson and his great-granddaughter visited the public fishing post bearing the name of their ancestor.
Instead, they found the pier closed, considered a homeland security risk. It's since been hauled off with the rest of the east span of the bridge. And the plaque?
"There was no plaque," said Paul Anderson, 75, Andrew Anderson's son.
On Saturday Andrew Anderson's heirs met at Salsbury Point County Park, a short distance from the original site, and rededicated the plaque at its new home.
The effort to install the plaque, and then reinstall the plaque, would have likely embarrassed Andrew, Paul Anderson said.
"He would probably think it was too much fuss about not much," Paul Anderson said.
But for the family, and for the community, it meant not having his memory carried away with the tide.
Born in 1901 in Dawson, Yukon, Andrew Anderson graduated from the University of Washington and rose through the ranks of the federal government's fisheries program, finally being appointed U.S. Representative to Europe for Commercial Fisheries, based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In 1966, Anderson and his wife, Kay, retired to a house on Lakeness Road, and from there Anderson immersed himself in the community, sitting on the Hood Canal Advisory Board for 10 years, writing extensively about the Hood Canal, serving as chairman of the North Kitsap Park and Recreation Commission and was named Poulsbo Person of the Year in 1981.
When honored for his efforts to instill the Norwegian theme in Poulsbo, including starting the tradition of importing a Yule log and placing the horn and crown emblem at the post office, he was treated to a ringing bicycle deliveryman bringing him logs. A newspaper account noted that Anderson “appeared slightly embarrassed.”
“This is better than a moment of silence,” Anderson said, a Kitsap Herald reporter wrote.
At first, Kay Anderson was against having her late husband's name attached to the pier that could accommodate 240 fishermen, knowing he wouldn't have liked the attention.
After some time, and some persuasion, Kay Anderson relented. The late Republican state Sen. Ellen Craswell, then of Chico, introduced the measure in the Legislature. A county commissioner spoke at the dedication, a crowd turned out to hear speeches about how good it was that taxes paid for something taxpayers could use.
Flash forward 24 years, the pier is gone, the plaque is sitting in an office, having been removed in 2005 for bridge construction.
Finding the plaque proved rather simple, Paul Anderson said. Andrew's other son, Rolf, contacted the state Department of Transportation. He got spokeswoman Becky Hixson on the phone, who, by coincidence, happened to have the plaque sitting in her office.
"We weren't sure how to contact the family," Hixson said. "We just hung onto it until we could connect back with them."
The family called the county, looking for a new home for Andrew Anderson's plaque, and officials agreed to place it as Salsbury Point County Park.
It sits near the park's boat launch pier, a popular spot for anglers. On the day of rededication, Paul Anderson was pleased to see the nearly constant stream of boats and people and kids playing nearby.
He's hoping his grandkids, and great-grandkids, will remember what Andrew Anderson did.
"And pass it along," he said.