South Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

District 2 Commissioner Newsletter

Tornado Recovery

An EF-2 tornado hit the Port Orchard area on December 18 -- unlike anything we have seen before in Kitsap County. Up to 300 yards wide, the tornado was on the ground for 1.4 miles and winds reached 120 miles per hour. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured, although 24 families lost their homes, with severe damage to another 22. Several businesses on Bethel Avenue were also damaged and forced to close while repairs are made.

Tornado 2019

Emergency response

While the power and force of the tornado were fantastic, so was the emergency response. Personnel from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and South Kitsap Fire & Rescue were on the scene immediately after the storm, helping residents evacuate and checking damaged houses to make sure all homes were vacated. Kitsap County Public Works crews arrived quickly and did a phenomenal job clearing trees and debris from the roads so that emergency personnel could access the damaged neighborhoods and residents could evacuate. The Department of Emergency Management set up a command center and helped coordinate the necessary services. Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development also sprang into action, inspecting 566 buildings within days of the storm.

Kitsap Alliance at tornado 2019

Community Response

The community collaboration was one of the best things to come out of the tornado. Volunteers sprang into action immediately helping people with cleanup, or bringing food and water. Over $70,000 was donated to several nonprofits for the effort. Groups and businesses organized work parties, helping residents clear debris and cut up trees. A young Kitsap Alliance soccer team (pictured, with Commissioner Garrido and Coach Travis Buell) delivered cookies throughout the neighborhood. Several woodcarvers visited the area and carved artistic pieces from storm debris. Businesses and service organizations offered free meals, hotels and volunteer cleanup to the victims. Puget Sound Energy sent crews to remove trees that were leaning dangerously over roads and homes. Volunteer work parties even cut downed trees into firewood which was donated to Helpline.

Team Rubicon, a disaster response team featuring volunteer military veterans, was on the scene quickly. They deployed 36 volunteers who stayed into January helping with debris removal, chainsaw work and roof tarping. When the emergency and search and rescue operation stepped aside, the United Methodist Disaster Response Team took over, coordinating communications, cleanup efforts, helping residents with their daily needs and anything that needed to be done.

Community Tornado Response

Long-term recovery

Commissioner Garrido visited the neighborhood frequently, meeting and offering support to residents. The long-term recovery will require support for the residents as they navigate insurance claims, contractors, temporary housing and the rebuilding process. Some of the households had limited income and little insurance. It may be years until a sense of normalcy and stability returns for many in this neighborhood.

A Tornado Recovery Committee continues to review the efforts. Community organizations such as the Lions Club, South Kitsap Helpline and local churches are involved, as well as the Washington Department of Emergency Management. Representatives from several Kitsap County departments, including Human Services, Community Development and Emergency Management assisted. The Salvation Army takes on long-term case management to help connect residents with money and services that they need.

Commissioner Garrido extends her gratitude to all those who volunteered their talents, brought food and treats to the neighborhood and offered financial assistance to help their neighbors in need. It was truly heartwarming to see the community come together around those whose lives were uprooted. They will still need community support as each of them continues to rebuild their life.

February snow response

Snow plow

February 2019 will long be remembered for the record snowfalls that hit the area. Dubbed “Snowpocalypse” or “February Freeze,” the weather system brought up to 24 inches of snow in some parts of the county, keeping people in their homes for days.

The snow response from Kitsap County Public Works was remarkable. For nearly two weeks, employees worked twelve hour shifts to ensure a 24-hour response. County crews drove nearly 46,000 miles during the event plowing, treating roads with 400 tons of salt, applying 3600 tons of sand, and responding to dozens of downed trees and road closures.

Kitsap County’s snow plowing policy ranks roads in three tiers. To learn weather related information in the future, visit the Inclement Weather webpage or call the phone line at (360) 337-5775.

In addition to Public Works, Commissioner Garrido would like to thank other staff who braved the weather to serve Kitsap County citizens, even when County offices were closed. The Auditor’s Office Election staff collected ballots throughout Kitsap County and counted them for the February 11 election – which was not postponed due to weather. Facilities staffers needed to prepare for our offices and courts to reopen by plowing parking lots and clearing sidewalks at the main campus and other locations. Human Services and Emergency Management employees opened emergency shelters countywide. As always, our Sheriff’s deputies, juvenile and jail staff work 24/7 to keep us safe, even during snow days.

Winter wonderland

Southworth ferry schedule changes

Triangle Route

Washington State Ferries released a new sailing schedule for the Southworth/Vashon/Fauntleroy route – also known as the Triangle Route – after an extensive public process. The first major revision in 15 years will improve efficiency during peak commuting hours to better serve those who live in South Kitsap and Vashon Island as they travel to and from Seattle. The new schedule, effective March 31, is available here.

The Triangle Improvement Task Force met from 2016-2018 to examine issues affecting the route. They worked with Ferry Advisory Committees to review a study by the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance that recommends short and long-term options to improve service and efficiency. Many of the suggestions involve changes at the Fauntleroy dock, and will be implemented over time. For more information, visit

Anderson Point Park parking lot expansion

Anderson Point Park
Anderson Point park parking lot

One jewel of the Kitsap County park system is Anderson Point Park in Olalla. It features a long stretch of rare sandy beach with incredible views of Colvos Passage, Mount Rainier and Vashon Island. The park is located on SE Millihanna Road, which is accessed from Banner. As it has grown in popularity, more visitors have exceeded capacity for the park’s small parking lot. In February, trees were cut to make way for a larger parking lot. A joint venture with the Public Works stormwater utility and the Parks Department, the project provides a cost savings as the work is being done internally. The root wads from the harvested trees can be used for county stormwater projects, which will save costs for Public Works. Work will be scheduled when permits are approved. Stay tuned for updates.

Neighborhood update – Harper


Over the past several years, Commissioner Garrido has engaged with South Kitsap’s Harper community for several projects - especially the widening of Southworth Drive and the Harper Estuary Restoration project. Kitsap County recently received a grant from the Department of Ecology, which begins the estuary restoration and also developing a park improvement plan.

Related activities are:

  • Engage community members
  • Remove invasive plants and bricks to maintain estuary health
  • Monitor water quality
  • Design and build key park and public use improvements

The Harper estuary restoration and park planning project will invite the community to engage and build from previous participation. Commissioner Garrido hosted a community Harper Park “Walk-shop” in late February. The tour stems from a January grant meeting where County representatives and community members discussed park and estuary improvements, such as the waterfront, park facilities, trails, and interpretive features. Harper residents jioned with Kitsap County staff to walk the park and the estuary area and share ideas about possible improvements. The community ideas about the future of Harper Park and estuary have been summarized and conceptual drawings shared with the community at another meeting in March. More exciting progress is expected to continue. Learn more at

Manchester Elementary School visit

Commissioner Garrido recently met with Manchester Elementary School fifth grade students to hear what they value about the Manchester community and issues they believe exist today and into the future. Students, with staff from the Department of Community Development and Policy Division, shared their perspectives, then queried their parents about the Manchester community. The information from the students was presented to Commissioner Garrido in February.

This community conversation aims to reach people who live, work, and play in Manchester. Over the last six months, Western Washington University interns and volunteers from the League of Women Voters, along with County staff, interviewed local people as well as representatives from the Manchester Citizen Advisory Committee. A survey is now available to give more Manchester residents the opportunity to have a voice in the conversation. Their ideas will be presented to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners and staff later this year to help inform future community planning. If you live in the Manchester area and would like to take the survey, visit

Manchester Elementary