Business

Housing shortage for 'stuff' filled

An apparent housing shortage for the stuff belonging to Whidbey Islanders has been alleviated with the opening of Island Mini Storage on Highway 20 in Oak Harbor next to Frontier Industries.

Brent and Denise Morrow received their final occupancy permit from the city this week. Although they have been renting units for some time, the final permit allows them to operate fully, including moving in caretakers Pete and Lula Reimer who will live on the premises.

The new facility brings 357 new storage units to the island, and not a moment too soon, according to the Morrows.

“This area was totally full,” said Brent Morrow.

“There was definitely a need for mini-storage in Oak Harbor,” Denise Morrow said.

The couple owned a mini-storage facility in Anacortes for six years until “retiring” seven years ago. “I was tired of being retired,” Brent Morrow said. So they looked around and saw that Oak Harbor was in need of additional storage units.

Brent Morrow said there were 1,500 storage units in Oak Harbor when they started studying the area, and that wasn’t enough. “It was full last year,” he said. “You couldn’t get any.” Not surprisingly, Oak Harbor’s well-traveled Navy population creates a huge demand for storage locally.

The couple went through a lengthy permitting process with the city but ended up with an attractive facility by mini-storage standards. The 4 acres of asphalt and 9 green and beige metal buildings are enclosed by a chain-link fence with three strands of barbed wire on top. But a variety of young landscaping trees are planted around the perimeter and will some day screen it from view. Environmentally, a large stormwater retention pond and “environmental swale” should control water and provide habitat for native plants.

The Morrows say about one-third of the units are already rented. They come in five different sizes, ranging from 5x10 feet to 10x25, with monthly rent from $39 to $119. Open storage is also offered at $1.50 per foot.

The Morrows are proud of their units. They have roomy 12-foot ceilings and are well insulated. As an added protection, a moisture barrier was placed under the cement floor. For information, call 279-8655.

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