North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

Commissioner Robert Gelder's Newsletter

Poulsbo Pump Track

Poulsbo Pump Track

Commissioner Gelder was on hand with City of Poulsbo officials and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) to celebrate the grand opening of the Poulsbo Pump track on October 28. With Commissioner Gelder's leadership, Kitsap County transferred a seldom-used 1.8 acre park on Little Valley Road to the City of Poulsbo, in the hopes that it would benefit the community. The City then took proposals for development from interested organizations, and chose the pump track from several worthy applicants.  

The track, which was built with volunteers and donations from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, allows riders to traverse the hills and turns with minimal pedaling, and is fun for all skill levels. At the grand opening, Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson presented EMBA with a check for $11,415.50 – a return of their permit fees in recognition of the facility's public benefit.  The Poulsbo Pump Track is located at the corner of Little Valley Road and NE Bernt Road.

Photo: Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson (third from left), presents a check to Brian Kilpatrick (right) from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Looking on are Matt Slaney (left) from EMBA and Commissioner Rob Gelder.

Ferry Christening

Suquamish Ferry Christening

Commissioner Rob Gelder joined dignitaries from state government and the Suquamish Tribe on January 4 to christen the state’s newest ferry – the Suquamish. The ceremony took place on the car deck of the Suquamish at Vigor Shipyard in Seattle, where the boat was built. Governor Jay Inslee congratulated the workers that constructed the vessel and others who helped make the new ferry a reality. He also shared his vision to for the first zero-emissions ferry to be built in Washington.

Leonard Forsman, chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and the Affiliated Council of Northwest Indians, spoke at the event and provided a history of his tribe, which has inhabited central Puget Sound for thousands of years. Forsman noted the new ferry maintains the values and visions of his tribe, plying the same waters as his ancestors it is named after. A tribal elder offered a blessing on the ferry, and Suquamish singers and drummers performed.

Amy Scarton, the Washington Department of Transportation assistant secretary who manages the Ferries Division, broke the traditional bottle of champagne on the bow of the Suquamish to christen and welcome it to the fleet. The Suquamish will begin sea trials mid-year, and begin carrying passengers on the Mukilteo-Clinton route in the fall.

Kingston Seaside Townhouse Development Public Meeting       

On January 23, Commissioner Gelder will host a meeting to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the 140-unit Seaside townhouse development project planned for Lindvog Road, between West Kingston Road and Highway 104. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Village Green Community Center, 26159 Dulay Road, Kingston. Along with Commissioner Gelder, the project developer and staff from Kitsap County Public Works and Community Development will present details, answer questions and address concerns.

SR 305 Header

Highway 305 Project

Anyone who travels on Highway 305 during commute hours knows the corridor can be a real headache for drivers. After a series of open houses and a survey in the fall of 2017, the Highway 305 project has transitioned from outreach to practical design. The Washington State Department of Transportaion retained Parametrix, a planning and engineering firm with offices in Bremerton, to create practical design solutions for the problems and choke-points along the Highway 305 corridor.  The study’s findings will include a prioritized list of strategies and phased projects. WSDOT will further refine these, conduct preliminary engineering and build the projects as funding becomes available. For more information and to see results of last year’s survey, visit, or contact David Forte at (360) 337-5777 or

Business Spotlight: Vibe Coworks

Vibe Coworks

Commissioner Gelder recently took part in a hard-hat tour of the future home of one of Kitsap’s most innovative new businesses – Vibe Coworks. He is proud to be a “Founding 40” member of the shared workspace community. Vibe’s temporary location, Vibe Lab, is next door to its future location, under construction on 8th Avenue in Poulsbo. The flagship Vibe Coworks Poulsbo location will share the building with ChocMo, High Spirits and Crabtree Kitchen + Bar, which is sure to make the building a popular destination to gather for work, food and play when it is completed in the spring.

Founded in 2016 by Alanna and Marcel Imbach, Vibe Coworks seeks to offer Kitsap professionals a unique alternative to long commutes, expensive leases or less-than-ideal home offices. The space offers Vibe members workspaces, meeting rooms, a community kitchen, and the social aspects of an office, but without the commute and office hours or distractions of a home office. Fully equipped conference rooms can be booked on an hourly basis by anyone in the community.

"What we're building here at Vibe is so much more than the region's most cutting edge physical workplace. We're building a powerhouse community of do-ers. People who share in a belief that relationships with real people matter, space matters, and that innovation happens best when seemingly unlikely people, businesses, nonprofits and partners find themselves working side-by-side, “said Vibe Coworks CEO and Cofounder Alanna Imbach. “What Vibe represents for Kitsap County and the greater West Sound region is an opportunity to reinvent the way we think about our relationships, our work and all of our personal and professional aspirations."

Vibe Coworks uses a membership model, with prices ranging from $105/month for five days a month, up to $415/month with a private desk and unlimited days. Day passes are also available for $35. Businesses and organizations can also become members, with different plans allowing their employees between five and 50 days a month at Vibe. Several meeting spaces and an event space are also available to reserve when members need to meet with clients or have video-conferences.

For more information about Vibe Coworks, or to become a member, visit their website at, Facebook page  at  or find them on Instagram @Vibe_Coworks. 

Vibe Coworks
Commissioner Rob Gelder (second from left) joins Bryan Johnson, Anna Reyes-Potts and Eric Potts on a hard-hat tour of the new Vibe Coworks building in Poulsbo.
Vebe Coworks
Architect drawing of the finished exterior of the building.

Annual Homeless Point-in-Time Count

Two times a year, the Kitsap County Department of Human Services and Kitsap Continuum of Care Coalition conduct a ‘point-in-time’ count of people living without homes throughout the county. One count is done in the summer, and the other in winter. The 2018 winter count takes place the week of January 23-26, with trained volunteers seeking out homeless residents and not only counting them but also helping to connect them to services. The count helps inform local, state and federal agencies about the scope of homelessness in our area, so that adequate resources can be allocated.

The Point-in-Time Count is in tandem with Project Connect community service fairs that provide free one-day, one-stop services for those who may be homeless or at risk. A Project Connect fair was held January 25 in the Village Green Community Center. Over 50 organizations participated and offered free services including housing referrals, health care and screenings, haircuts, clothing, bedding and much more.

For more information, visit or call Cory Derenburger at (360) 337-7287. For more information on Project Connect and available homeless and housing resources, go to

Commissioner Gelder elected Second Vice President for WSAC


Commissioner Rob Gelder (second from right) was recently elected as Second Vice President for the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) at their annual conference in November. He has been a member of the Board and active with WSAC for 6 years, and is honored to take on a bigger role with the organization in 2018.

"Local government is where the rubber hits the road in the provision of services to the public.  As a subdivision of the state, it's often counties that have to do the work of the state without being given the funding to do so.  I see one of my roles as being an advocate for Kitsap and all 39 counties when it comes to asking the legislature to support good, sustainable, and common sense government." Said Rob Gelder.

WSAC is a non-profit association serving all of Washington's 39 counties, advocating for county issues in the legislature. Counties provide many services that cities and the state do not provide, including a huge proportion of law and justice programs. WSAC's legislative agenda for 2017 included advocating for reform to property tax caps, an update of the public records act and adequate funding of trial court for indigent defense services.

As Second  Vice President, Commissioner Gelder will continue his role with the legislative steering committee for 2018, and will work closely with other counties on legislative advocacy.

Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park Addition

Thanks to a unique partnership and community fundraising efforts led by Forterra, another 1,500 acres have been added to Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park. The Kitsap Forest & Bay Project raised $3.5 million to purchase the property, which brings the park up to about 4,000 acres. The bargain price for the land allows its former owner, Pope Resources, to retain logging rights for the next 25 years, but in the long run, the logging will make way for replanting the land to create a healthier and more diverse, natural forest. If more funds are raised, trees can be purchased to save them from logging, although many of the most valuable ecological features are already protected in the purchase agreement.

A stewardship group was formed to maintain the park’s trails, and a management plan will be developed over the coming months. Volunteers from the community, the Evergreen Mountain Biking Alliance, Great Peninsula Conservancy and the North Kitsap Trails Association have been working hard for years to build and maintain trails in the forest, and will continue efforts in the future.

“As communities around Puget Sound continue to grow, the need for accessible open space is growing, too, as a vital component of our quality of life,” said Commissioner Gelder. “The scale of this project surpasses major parks in cities around the world. With 4,000 acres conserved, this park provides a refuge that will be enjoyed for many generations to come. On top of that, it helps a growing recreational economy.”

Commissioner Gelder as a long-time supporter of the Kitsap Forest & Bay project and will continue to be involved in future park planning. For more information on visiting the park, or to view a trail map, visit or

Emergency Vehicle Training
Commissioner Gelder joined Commissioners Wolfe and Garrido and Sheriff’s Office staff for a day of emergency vehicle operation course training at Bremerton Raceway.

West Kingston Road Bridge

West Kingston Road Bridge

Kingston residents and visitors won’t have too much longer to wait until West Kingston Road reopens. The 150-foot bridge over Carpenter Creek will be completed in March, after delays in the construction schedule. To learn more about the project or to sign up for notifications, visit