North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

White Horse LPGA Tournament

LPGA Trophy

Kitsap County’s first ever national professional golf tournament was held at White Horse Golf Club June 9-10. Although the weather wasn’t ideal, the inaugural Suquamish Clearwater Ladies Professional Golf Association Legends Cup was a success. The event featured some of the greatest players in the history of women’s golf. Great Britain’s Trish Johnson took home the top prize at the tournament.

Under ownership of the Suquamish Tribe, which purchased the golf course after it went into foreclosure in 2010, White Horse was transformed into a premier Northwest, world-class course. The course was redesigned after complaints it was too challenging for average golfers. The redesign made it the beautiful, challenging – but not too challenging – destination course that it is today.

The LPGA Legends Tour will return to White Horse next year, with the option for another two years. For more information on the tour, visit To learn more about the fantastic golf course in our backyard, or to book your own tee time, visit

Harrison Medical Center Construction Continues

Harrison Hospital

Commissioner Rob Gelder joined his fellow commissioners and mayors from each of Kitsap County’s cities on a hard hat tour of the newly expanding Harrison Medical Center campus in Silverdale. The $500 million project is taking shape quickly. State-of-the-art construction techniques are being used, such as computer 3-D modeling. The new building will also be the most energy-efficient hospital in Washington state, taking advantage of southern exposure to keep heating costs low and utilizing shades to cut down on cooling costs in the summer.

The hospital campus will connect to the Clear Creek Trail, providing opportunities for staff, patients and visitors to get outside and exercise. Boulders unearthed during the site excavation will be used in a “healing garden” and lumber from trees logged when the site was cleared will be used in interior features.

Expansion of the hospital’s square footage will allow room for CHI Franciscan Health to expand services. The new facility will feature a large cancer center, additional surgical services, heart and stroke care, a birthing center with a neonatal intensive care unit, orthopedic care and a 24-hour emergency room. The hospital will be more conveniently located for North Kitsap residents, as well as those seeking medical services from Jefferson, Clallam and Mason counties. It is scheduled to open in 2020.

Harrison Hospital

Visits to North Kitsap Schools

In May, Commissioner Gelder was invited to tour two North Kitsap schools with North Kitsap School District Superintendent Dr. Laurynn Evans. They visited Kingston Middle School and Gordon Elementary, where they visited classrooms, including Jamye Lyons’ kindergarten class (pictured), and discussed challenges with the changing face of education. School funding and safety were discussed at length. The layout of some schools has come under scrutiny recently due to recent school shootings across the country. School administrators are looking at the number of entrances to the schools, vents above doorways and the security of portable classrooms that are located apart from the main buildings among many other considerations.

With the recent passage of a four-year capital levy, needed upgrades – including school safety improvements – will be made at schools throughout the district. The capital levy will bring in an average of about $10 million annually. Safety improvement priorities are intercom and access control systems that will enable staff to communicate, control access to a building and lock down a campus.    

The North Kitsap School District has reached out to Sheriff Gary Simpson to request an additional school resource officer (SRO) in Kingston. The cost of SROs is usually shared between local law enforcement agencies and school districts. There is already a Poulsbo Police Department SRO working at North Kitsap High School. School resource officers are a growing trend nationwide, with over 17,000 of them assigned to schools. They undergo specialized training in working with youth and are often able to diffuse tense situations before a crime is committed.

Sheriff Simpson and the Board of County Commissioners worked with Administrative Services to dedicate funding for new SROs in Kingston and the Central Kitsap School District. With some reallocation of funding designated for patrol cars and computers, and funding from marijuana taxes, the Sheriff’s Office hopes to have new hires on board in time for the beginning of the school year this fall.

Jamye Lyons Kindergarten class

Spotlight: Salish Sea Expeditions

Salish logo

Salish Sea Expeditions is a unique non-profit organization, dedicated to engaging middle- and high-school students in Puget Sound marine science research. Its mission is to inspire youth to connect with the marine environment through boat-based scientific inquiry and hands-on learning, instilling curiosity, confidence, and critical thinking.

Based on Bainbridge Island and founded in 1994, Salish Sea Expeditions shares the 61-foot sailboat, Carlyn, with Four Winds Westward Ho Camp on Orcas Island. Salish Sea Expeditions uses the boat during the school year, and the camp uses it during the summer. They are currently engaged in a campaign to outfit a larger second vessel, which will enable them to operate year round, serving more students than ever before.

“Salish Sea Expeditions inspires students to engage with hands-on marine science and the Puget Sound by partnering with local middle- and high-school classes to develop science research projects that the students can conduct aboard ship over multiple days at sea,” said Executive Director Seth Muir. “Over 21 years our programs have served over 17,000 students and 1,000 teachers.”

Students, teachers and parents give the program rave reviews. Experiences with learning outside of the classroom are rare – and can be unforgettable for students. To learn more about this unique organization, book at class, or provide support, visit

Estuary Liberation Celebration

Estuary Liberation Celebration

The opening of the West Kingston Road bridge was reason enough for drivers to celebrate – but the environmental benefits were also worthy of a celebration. On June 9, Stillwaters Environmental Center hosted an “Estuary Liberation Celebration” to highlight the newfound freedom of tidal waters through the Carpenter Creek estuary. Water flow previously had only a five-foot culvert under the road to pass through. There is now a 150-foot bridge span that allows greater circulation of tidal flow and makes it easier for marine life to move freely into the estuary. After several months of construction delays, the bridge opened to traffic April 30.

The celebration included docent-guided walks to a viewing platform overlooking the new bridge, food, music, a native plant sale and speakers included Commissioner Gelder, Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman, representatives from Stillwaters, the U.S. Navy and Kitsap County Public Works.

Founded in 1999, Stillwaters has been monitoring Carpenter Creek, educating the community and advocating for environmental improvements, including the new bridges across West Kingston and South Kingston roads. Their monitoring program has been featured throughout the region and provides excellent opportunities for college students to complete internships focusing on environmental science. For more information about Stillwaters Environmental Center, and to view photos of the West Kingston bridge construction, visit

Suquamish Shores Property

As highlighted in recent media stories, 36 acres of land that had been leased to private homeowners in downtown Suquamish, known as the housing development Suquamish Shores, was returned to the Suquamish Tribe after 50 years. The Suquamish Shores lease expired May 31, 2018. Fifty years ago, the tribe had no steady source of income to establish a tribal government, so the tribal council agreed to a controversial lease with a private non-tribal corporation to bring in some steady income. The corporation then initiated leases with individuals who built homes on the property. The existing homes are being removed to make room for the tribe’s three-phased plan to redevelop the property over the next 10 years. The first phase will focus on community spaces, including a park, walking trails and playground. Construction will begin in late summer, with completion scheduled for 2020. For more information, visit

Suquamish Shores

Suquamish Way Construction Wrapping Up

Suquamish Way

Construction is almost done on the new and improved Suquamish Way. Paving and fence installation is almost wrapped up. The finishing touches including some minor cleanup, road striping and improvements to South Street. The new six-foot sidewalk, bike lane and fencing give non-motorized travelers a much safer route to and from downtown Suquamish. Visit the project website for more information.

Check Out Commissioner Gelder’s Latest “Commissioner’s Corner”


In Commissioner Gelder’s most recent episode of “Commissioner’s Corner,” he visits the recently completed B.A.R.N. – the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network – on Bainbridge Island. Commissioner Gelder interviews board president Catherine Camp and board member Jeff Williams about how the B.A.R.N. concept was developed and how it operates. The cameras visit many of the specialized studios for a look at the tools, machines and workspaces available in the impressive 25,000 square-foot facility. Check out the video at, or learn more about the B.A.R.N., including class offerings, at 

Mark Your Calendars

Discover Kingston: community open house Sept. 20

The Kingston Citizens Advisory Council invites the public to its annual open house, scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Kingston Village Green Community Center. The Discover Kingston Community Open House will provide an opportunity to meet with community groups, nonprofits and public agencies that offer services and opportunities to the citizens of Kitsap County, especially those located in North Kitsap. Stay tuned for more details!

KCAC Open house

Changes to the 2019 county budget process: town hall scheduled Sept. 24

Talking about the county budget doesn’t usually attract a lot of spectators, but it is very important for the public to be aware of where their tax dollars are going. County Commissioners approve the final budget. In past years, individual county department gave presentations to Commissioners and a citizen budget committee that were aired on Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television and posted on the county website. This year, departments will give their budget requests to Commissioners in smaller public meetings. A draft budget will be created and presented to the public in a series of town hall events – one in each commissioner district - in late September and October. The North Kitsap budget town hall is scheduled for 4:30-5:30 p.m. Monday, September 24 at Poulsbo City Hall, 200 Moe St. NE. For more information, visit the budget website at

Wildcat Lake
Commissioner Gelder (front left) joins representatives from the Kitsap TriBabes and the Northwest Laborers Camp and Parks Director Jim Dunwiddie (right) to cut the ribbon on a new picnic shelter at Wildcat Lake County Park. The TriBabes, a womens fitness and triathlon training group led by Lisa Ballou, raised nearly $4000 for the shelter. The Northwest Laborers Camp poured the concrete pad at no cost, and Navy volunteers cleared the site.