North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

Whispering Firs

The Kitsap County Public Works Stormwater Division held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest stormwater park on June 27 (pictured above in the header). The Whispering Firs Regional Stormwater Facility is designed to manage stormwater runoff from approximately 115 acres of developed land in the Ridgetop area. Previously, it flowed into Clear Creek with little or no treatment.

In addition to capturing runoff, removing pollutants and managing stormwater flows, the park is open for public use! There are walking paths around the ponds and landscape features, benches, and scenic views to enjoy.

The $2.5 million project was designed by local firms N.L. Olson & Associates and Parametrix. Native plants for the landscaping were provided by the Kitsap Conservation District. The park is located at 12354 Silverdale Way NW.

Whispering Firs

Kingston Traffic

Residents of Kingston brace for extreme traffic congestion on a regular basis during the summer. Traffic headed to the ferry terminal often backs up on State Route 104, sometimes almost to the intersection with Miller Bay and Hansville roads. There are many factors leading to the congestion, but the most common is that drivers often don’t know to pull onto the shoulder to wait in line for the ferry and instead line up in the lanes of traffic, blocking local access to downtown driveways, businesses and other local roads.

Although Washington State Ferries (WSF) is a state service, and Highway 104 is a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) highway, Commissioner Gelder and county staff are working with the community and state agencies to improve the situation. Here are a few of the ongoing efforts:

  1. Kingston Complete Streets In 2016, Kitsap County adopted the Kingston Complete Streets plan. Twenty projects to improve safety, mobility and appearance in Downtown Kingston were identified. Work will soon start on Washington Boulevard enhancements. Preliminary engineering will be complete by the end of 2019 for the rerouting of Highway 104 from Main Street to 1st Street, which was the top-rated project of the plan.
  2. Highway 104 working group Commissioner Gelder has organized and facilitated meetings with WSDOT, WSF, Washington State Patrol (WSP), Kitsap Transit, Kitsap County Public Works and several community members since 2017. The group has helped steer where $500,000 in state funding would go for long-term traffic solutions, including enhanced pedestrian signage and a feasibility study for a future holding lot at Lindvog Road (see below for more information on those projects).
  3. Short-term traffic management The Kingston community breathes a collective sigh of relief when the Washington State Patrol shows up to direct traffic and implement the boarding pass system at Lindvog Road. Funding for WSP has been uncertain in previous state budgets. Commissioner Gelder sent a letter to the 23rd Legislative delegation requesting funding to extend WSP traffic control, resulting in State Senator Christine Rolfes securing  $650,000 for the WSF terminal operations budget, of which a portion will be dedicated to traffic control in Kingston. WSF and WSP are finalizing a schedule for proactive traffic control. Stay tuned for details.
  4. Highway 104 realignment In addition to $740,000 secured for preliminary engineering for the realignment, Kitsap County was just awarded $1.4 million for right-of-way acquisition from the Puget Sound Regional Council Rural Town Centers program. Since Highway 104 is under the jurisdiction of WSDOT, the funds were transferred to the state to complete preliminary engineering, which should be complete in late 2019. WSDOT will also manage the right-of-way acquisition process.
  5. Lindvog holding lot The Port of Kingston is managing a feasibility study for a vehicle holding lot at the southeast corner of Lindvog Road and Highway 104, funded with a portion of the $500,000 in state funds designated for long-term traffic solutions. Kitsap County is actively involved in the project. When complete later this year, the study will help identify the costs and obstacles of a new holding lot and possible funding sources.

Kitsap County takes traffic issues in Kingston very seriously. Commissioner Gelder has worked diligently to bring the different agencies to the table and advocated for Kingston at the state level. Senator Rolfes has been very responsive to the needs of Kingston and helped secure funding to move projects forward. The solutions to traffic issues in Kingston are not simple, nor are they inexpensive, but plans to resolve the issues for the long term are moving forward and if we are to be successful in our requests for funding, we need to have the support of the community.

WSP directing traffic in Kingston

Kingston Coffee Oasis opening soon

Coffee Oasis sign

The Coffee Oasis is a valued community partner in Kitsap County doing amazing work with local youth. They also serve up a great cup of coffee and food at their cafes in Bremerton, Port Orchard and Poulsbo. They will open their fifth café within the month in Kingston! The Oasis Center, which will offer a welcoming environment and services for youth who face homelessness and other challenges, will take an additional month or so to complete but services will be provided in a temporary location on site.

Staff is making the final touches on equipment, prior to final inspections. Once everything is approved, a “soft open” is planned with limited hours to acclimate staff to the new equipment, environment and clientele. Staff, for both the café and youth programs, is being trained now at other Coffee Oasis locations. Programs planned at the Kingston site include in-service networking, mapping, street outreach, and a list of events for community and youth engagement.

To learn more about The Coffee Oasis, visit

Ridgetop Boulevard project enters phase 2

Ridgetop post card

Most people think of Ridgetop Boulevard as a part of Central Kitsap, but as far as County Commissioner districts are concerned, anything north of Waaga Way is in District 1. The first phase of improvement to Ridgetop Boulevard wrapped up last month and bids open July 30 for phase 2 that covers the area of Quail Run Drive to Pinnacle Court. Construction is anticipated to begin in September. For more information or to sign up for project updates, visit the Ridgetop Boulevard project page.

Washington State Transportation Commission discusses Kitsap transportation issues

The Washington State Transportation Commission met in Bremerton in June, giving representatives from around the state perspective on transportation issues in Kitsap County. Every other month, the commission, based in Olympia, moves its meeting to a different community in the state.

Commissioner Gelder gave a presentation to the group, detailing Kitsap’s transportation challenges including:

  • State Route 104 ferry traffic backups in Kingston
  • A troubling financial forecast with increasing project costs and flat revenue
  • Roads vulnerable to sea level rise
  • Urban road standards required in rural areas
  • Mandatory accessibility upgrades for preservation projects

As part of his role as vice president of the Washington State Association of Counties, Commissioner Gelder advocates for a financial model that sustainably supports road improvement needs in Kitsap and counties throughout the state.

View Commissioner Gelder’s presentation to the Transportation Commission here.  

Helpful new apps

The apps below were highlighted in Commissioner Gelder’s last newsletter but are worth checking out if you haven’t already.

TestIT app

Help measure broadband connectivity

Earlier this year, the TestIT app was launched to collect accurate data about broadband connectivity. Data on broadband speed are provided to the federal government by the companies that provide the broadband services. That data is often inaccurate and inflated, which is why the TestIT app was launched.

The TestIT app can be installed on any iPhone or Android device for free and is available in the app stores. It runs a test to gauge broadband speed from any location. It will tell the user the download and upload speeds, whether they meet required minimums speeds, and if those figures are above or below average.

Each test result is sent to a national database that is analyzed and shared with the Federal Communications Commission. The more people that use the app in more locations, the better the data, which will hopefully lead to better connectivity for everyone. The TestIT app is sponsored by the National Association of Counties, which partnered with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

SeeClickFix app

Use SeeClickFix to report road issues and requests for service

Kitsap County residents can download the SeeClickFix application to quickly report non-emergency maintenance issues to Kitsap County. It can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device or accessed from a computer.

If you see a streetlight that’s not working, a sign that needs replacing (unless it’s a stop sign – call 911 for those), a pothole that needs paving, or noxious weeds growing, give SeeClickFix a try. Or, you can always report a problem through Kitsap 1 at or (360 )337-5777.

Prescription drug discounts available for Kitsap County residents

prescription pill bottle

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has a program to help citizens of its member counties (including Kitsap) save money on healthcare costs. Administered by CVS Caremark, the NACo Live Healthy Prescription, Health & Dental Discount Program provides 15- to 50-percent discounts on a variety of prescription drugs, dental care and medical services.

The prescription program provides an average savings of 32 percent on thousands of medications. There are 42 participating pharmacies in Kitsap County, and 68,000 pharmacies nationwide. The dental program helps people who are not insured and can complement insurance plans or work with health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts. While the prescription program is free, the medical and dental programs have a small charge of $69 per year for individuals or $79 per year for families. Visit to find out if one of these programs would be a good fit for you and your family.

Business Spotlight: Torpedo Town Diner

Torpedo Town Diner Logo

Recently relocated from its previous location inside the gates of the Keyport Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Torpedo Town Diner is now open to people without a special ID. Charles and Karlene Dachenhausen ran the diner on base for nine years to serve young people in uniform that may be living far from their homes and families.

The Dachenhausens are a Gold Star family who in 2018 lost their son Benjamin, a Navy information systems technician, 2nd class. They use their son’s memory to provide a “culinary hug” to their customers, according to Charles.

In addition to running the Torpedo Town Diner, the Dachenhausen’s farm, Rock Nest Ranch in Seabeck, is the largest pork producer in Kitsap County. The name is a tribute to the rocky soils in the area and has produced pork since the spring of 2000.

The diner serves amazing comfort food, including Rock Nest Ranch pork, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a large patio, a dining room and full bar. Preview the menu at or go to the Facebook page for mouth-watering photos of meals and the live music schedule.

The Torpedo Town Café is located at 1783 Highway 308 in Keyport and open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call (360) 598-0142 for more information.

Plan ahead for poor summer air quality

Air quality index table

July has been cooler and wetter than we’re used to this time of year, which will hopefully fend off forest fires and another smoke-filled August. Major wildfires are becoming a new normal across the western states. While we can hope for the best, we need to plan for the worst. Luckily, Kitsap County has been spared in past years from large fires, and we hope to keep that lucky streak going. What we have not been spared from is the poor air quality that descends on the Kitsap Peninsula, caused by fires elsewhere.

Breathing smoke-filled air carries health risks, especially to those in sensitive groups including children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with heart and lung conditions. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) monitors air quality throughout Kitsap, King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. There is a monitoring station in Bremerton. PSCAA issues warnings about the levels of health concern (see table above), varying from green (good) to maroon (hazardous).

To reduce your risk of exposure to harmful air, it is recommended you stay indoors (at home or retreat to a commercial building that has a good air conditioning system), use a HEPA filter on your HVAC system, or close the fresh air intake on your air conditioner, if you have one. Some people get creative and make their own clean-air filter using a common house fan and a furnace filter. A how-to video and other tips for breathing clean can be found at this link.

Walk and Talk

Upcoming Walk & Talks with Commissioner Gelder

Anyone looking for a chance to talk about county issues with Commissioner Gelder is welcome to join him on his monthly Walk & Talk sessions the first Saturday of each month to share ideas, compliments, or complaints, or to hear what the Commissioner has been up to. The walks start at 9:30 a.m. (Please note that there will be no Walk & Talk in August.)

  • September 7 – Hansville, Hansgrill, 7532 NE Twin Spits Road
  • October 5 – Kingston, Commissioner Gelder’s Office, 26076 Illinois Avenue (entry on the side of the building)
  • November 2 – Poulsbo, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park

For more information, contact Commissioner Gelder at (360) 337-7080,, or click here for a Walk & Talk flyer.

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

Sewer Treatment Plant

Commissioner Gelder’s most recent “Commissioner’s Corner,” a half-hour television program produced and aired on Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television (BKAT), our local public access station, is available for viewing. This episode focuses on the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant and all that goes into the treatment of wastewater. The episode can be viewed here.

The next episode, coming soon, will highlight the Roads Division of Kitsap County Public Works. Stay tuned to learn more about what it takes to maintain the 915 miles of roads in the county. To learn about the history of Kitsap County’s road system, view the first two of three parts of the “Getting You There” series at The unique story map has great photos and historical information about the road system.