North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

from Commissioner Robert Gelder

Kingston Transportation Forum set for October 25

Transportation Forum

Kingston residents, commuters and business owners are all too familiar with downtown traffic issues. In order to give residents an opportunity to talk directly with transportation agencies, Commissioner Gelder has scheduled a Transportation Forum October 25. He has asked representatives from Washington State Ferries, the Washington State Patrol, Kitsap County Public Works, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Kitsap Transit to attend and share what they are working on locally to address traffic safety and congestion. There will also be time planned for the public to ask questions.

The Transportation Forum will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 25 at the Kingston Village Green Community Center, 26159 Dulay Road NE. If you are unable to attend the event, please feel free to email questions in advance to Jennifer Haro in Commissioner Gelder’s office at


Highway 305 Open Houses

A working group has been studying problems and possible solutions to traffic and safety issues on State Route 305 from the intersection with State Route 3 in Poulsbo to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. The group is a coalition of representatives from Kitsap County, the cities of Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo, Kitsap Transit, the Suquamish Tribe, and the Washington State Department of Transportation. The group will hold three open houses in October to provide the public the opportunity to review and comment on possible strategies and projects being considered for improving the SR 305 corridor.  Information on existing and future corridor conditions and strategies/projects to address congestion, safety, and access issues will be presented. 

The open houses are scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday, October 19 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Bainbridge Island City Hall, 280 Madison Ave N
  • Tuesday, October 24 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Suquamish Tribal Council Chambers, 18490 Suquamish Way NE
  • Wednesday, October 25 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Poulsbo City Hall, 200 Moe St. NE

Please come to the open house that is most convenient for you. This is a great opportunity to look at what the group has been working on and to give your comments and feedback. For more information, visit, or contact David Forte at (360) 337-5777 or

County Parks Department public survey will guide planning for the future

The Kitsap County Parks Department is in the process of updating its Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan and is looking for input from the public. Kitsap residents are encouraged to take an online survey to let staff and decision-makers know their top priorities. More information is available, along with the survey, at

Public Works awards

Kitsap County’s Public Works Department does amazing work – much of which goes unnoticed by residents. Besides maintaining our county roads, Public Works does a great job of managing sewer and stormwater systems, solid waste disposal and building bridges. Their innovative work has gained the attention of other agencies outside the county and led to recognition both regionally and nationally.

Bucklin Hill Bridge Award

Bucklin Hill Bridge

The recently completed bridge, which restored tidal flow to the Clear Creek estuary, in addition to improving traffic in Silverdale, won state awards and recently received the 2017 Transportation Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association (APWA). The bridge construction was the largest project ever undertaken by Kitsap County. Project manager Tina Nelson was on hand to receive the award at the national APWA conference in August.
Picture: Tina Nelson (2nd from left), receives the APWA Project of the Year award from APWA past president Ron Caulkins (left) along with Granite Construction project manager Nathan Lightner and project superintendent Zach Hanna.

Alternative Fuels

Clean Cities Award

Kitsap County received the Western Washington Clean Cities award for Best Achievement in Propane Autogas. The award recognizes efforts to adopt or expand propane-powered vehicles. The county made investments in the installation of new on-site fueling facilities, and converted 10 vehicles to run on propane. Propane is less expensive than gasoline (by about a dollar per gallon), and burns much cleaner.

2040 award

Clear Creek Vision 2040 Award

Commissioner Gelder was proud to nominate the Public Works Stormwater Division for a Vision 2040 Award to recognize its project to restore 30 acres of wetlands and floodplain in the Clear Creek watershed. The project was tested over the winter of 2016-2017, which had record rainfall. The results were excellent -– flooding was drastically reduced. Three bridges and enhanced walking trails were also added, improving recreational access. Josh Brown, executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council and former County Commissioner representing Central Kitsap, presented the Vision 2040 award to the Board of County Commissioners September 25 on behalf of the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC). The Vision 2040 Award recognizes innovated projects and programs that ensure a sustainable future as the Puget Sound region grows.
Picture: (Back Row, left to right) Commissioner Ed Wolfe, Commissioner Rob Gelder, PSRC Executive Director Josh Brown, Kitsap County Stormwater Manager Chris May and Public Works Director Andrew Nelson. (Front Row) Commissioner Charlotte Garrido and Kitsap County Stormwater Project Manager Renee Scherdnik.

Sewer Treatment Plant Award

Sewer Treatment Plant Awards

One of the underappreciated divisions of Public Works is the Sewer Utility, which not only treats sewage but also monitors wastewater and sewer systems constantly to ensure there are no spills or issues with the systems or facilities. This year, the Washington State Department of Ecology recognized the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant in Brownsville and the Manchester Treatment Plant in South Kitsap with “Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance” awards for their excellence in environmental testing, sampling and reporting.
Picture: (left to right) County Commissioner Rob Gelder, sewer utility employee Ken Young, Commissioner Ed Wolfe, Commissioner Charlotte Garrido and Utility Operations Supervisor Patrick Kongslie accept the Outstanding Performance Award for the Manchester and Central Kitsap treatment plants.

American Public Works Association Accreditation

Kitsap County has one of only four county public works departments in Washington State that has earned accreditation from the American Public Works Association. Kitsap County Public Works was first awarded accreditation in 2013 after a rigorous assessment process, and was reaccredited this year. The objectives of the accreditation program are to:

  • Encourage self-improvement and the raising of standards
  • Offer a voluntary evaluation and education program rather than government-regulated
  • Recognize, motivate and maintain good performance
  • Improve public works performance, services and professionalism
  • Instill pride among agency staff, elected officials and the local community

Kitsap County’s Public Works department has always done a great job of managing its many functions and serving the public. This recognition from an esteemed national organization confirms that our county has one of the best public works departments in the country!

Public Works

West Kingston Road Bridge

The bridge on West Kingston Road is nearing completion! Commissioner Gelder was on hand recently for the placement of girders. Thank you all for your patience during this project.

West Kingston Rd Bridge

Business Spotlight: Kitsap Maritime Heritage Foundation

Kitsap Maritime Heritage Foundation

The Kitsap Maritime Heritage Foundation (KMHF) is truly a one-of-a-kind organization in Kitsap County and only one of four in Washington. Located near the Brownsville Marina, the non-profit foundation’s mission is to celebrate the region’s artistic, cultural and historical maritime heritage through exhibitions, education, and helping people of all ages and abilities have hands-on nautical experiences.

Founding members first met in 2009 while volunteering on a tall ship moored in Seattle. They envisioned Kitsap having its own tall ship moored locally. In 2013, the group gained nonprofit status, which allowed them to raise funds for the acquisition and restoration of Fiddler’s Dream, a two-masted schooner resembling ships that sailed Puget Sound from the late 1800s to the 1940s.

Volunteers are working to restore the ship. It had been neglected for several years and being left out in the elements did a lot of damage. But thanks to generous donations, the deck was replaced and the interior and mechanical systems will be refurbished. Olympic Resource Management donated two trees from its forestland to use as masts on the ship. In order to complete the entire restoration, KMHF is raising an additional $217,000 by selling deck planks and obtaining additional grants and donations. The sooner funds are raised, the sooner restoration will be complete. For more information and to donate, visit

The restoration process and the ship itself are used as teaching tools for those wanting to learn about the maritime heritage of our region. KMHF has teamed up with the Olympic Educational Service District’s Pathways to Success Program and Joint Base Lewis-McChord on its Reconnect program. Pathways to Success is a program that helps economically disadvantaged youth gain job skills. They are paid for their work and learn valuable skills for possible careers as carpenters or shipwrights. One of the youth interns has even been accepted into a merchant marine program a year earlier than usual due to his experience with Fiddler’s Dream. The JBLM Reconnect program sends military personnel who are in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction to the Fiddler’s Dream to help them reconnect with the community as part of their rehabilitation therapy.

The Fidder’s Dream Dockside Education Program is geared towards third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders, in partnership with Central Kitsap schools. Students visit four learning stations to learn about maritime history, marine biology with an underwater camera, navigation and marine charts. It is a unique opportunity for them to apply science and math skills while developing teamwork and a greater understanding of the marine environment we live in.

Once Fiddler’s Dream is completely restored, there are endless possibilities for educational programs, festival appearances and even corporate retreats or team-building events. KMHF is currently looking for members to serve on its advisory committee. For more information, go to or follow KMHF on Facebook at .

Liberty Bay open to shellfish harvesting

Liberty Bay

The opening of Liberty Bay to commercial shellfish harvesting is great news for North Kitsap residents, shellfish harvesters and Puget Sound! Years of effort on the part of local agencies, led by the Clean Water Kitsap Coalition (which includes Kitsap Public Health District, Kitsap County Public Works Stormwater Division, Kitsap Conservation District, and Washington State University Extension), along with the Suquamish Tribe, City of Poulsbo and the Washington State Departments of Ecology, Health, Natural Resources and Transportation, have resulted in huge water quality improvements in the bay.

The Liberty Bay Watershed Restoration Project, which began in 2009 and continued through 2014, resulted in substantial improvements. Through its Pollution Identification and Correction program, the health district tested dozens of septic tanks in the watershed for pollution, and identified 50 that were failing. Ninety-seven percent of the failing systems were fixed. The Kitsap Conservation District worked with several local farms and landowners to correct issues with animal waste contaminating Liberty Bay. Over 860 residents also received education related to the prevention of fecal coliform sources.

The efforts of landowners, farmers, volunteers and public employees working together to improve the water quality of Liberty Bay has been a success and we commend them for their commitment. Cleaner water is important for everyone – not just the clams.