District 3 Commissioner Newsletter

Commissioner Ed Wolfe's winter newsletter

Happy New Year! We wish you health and prosperity as we enter a new decade. I look forward to my second term serving as your County Commissioner.

There are a lot of exciting projects underway in Kitsap County that will maintain and improve our quality of life and natural beauty while also accommodating growth. It’s about balancing the preservation of our pristine environment with economic development necessary to support affordable housing, strengthen the business community and expand employment opportunities. For a list of the Board of County Commissioners' 2020 priorities see my letter to the editor published the end of December 2019. I hope you enjoy this update which highlights key activities since my last newsletter. 

If there is anything I can do to assist you, contact me at ewolfe@co.kitsap.wa.us or (360) 337-7080.


Veterans Administration Clinic opening

VA Grand Opening

The grand opening of the new VA Outpatient Clinic in Silverdale was November 26. I am so excited for the convenience and quality service this clinic now offers Kitsap County’s 37,000 veterans. The $9.7 million, 15,000 square-foot facility replaces the undersized clinic in Bremerton. The Bremerton clinic was able to treat 4,400 veterans. The new clinic treats 6,000. This allows more veterans to receive care close to home rather than trekking to Seattle or Tacoma for important medical appointments.

VA Grand Opening w/ Derek Kilmer

Congressman Derek Kilmer gave remarks at the ribbon cutting, as did Michael Tadych, VA Puget Sound Health Care System Director. It was great to see some of the veterans that will be served by the new clinic in attendance at the dedication. For more information visit https://www.pugetsound.va.gov/locations/silverdale.asp.

Emerald Heights Elementary School visit

Emerald Heights Elementary School visit
Emerald Heights Elementary School visit thank you

One of my favorite things is meeting with constituents. A recent highlight for me was visiting Mrs. Fleck's second grade gifted students class at Emerald Heights Elementary in Silverdale, where I met with some younger Central Kitsap citizens. Her students asked excellent questions about what I do and how local government works, how my job is different from a mayor and how old you have to be to be a County Commissioner. We also talked about ways to be a good citizen and the fabulous parks in Central Kitsap. With a minimum age of 18, I can picture some of these kids being excellent candidates in the not too distant future!

Sub Group 9 Bangor wins Tex Lewis Award for Clear Creek volunteering

Kitsap County wouldn’t be the same without our Navy and civilian volunteers. I’ve mentioned their roles and contributions many times in past newsletters and I’m still amazed at all they do. In 2018, nearly 4,000 volunteers contributed 187,000 hours countywide, valued at $5.9 million in support of county services. Our parks see some of the biggest benefits from volunteers.

The Clear Creek Task force awarded the Tex Lewis Award to the volunteers of Submarine Group 9. The Tex Lewis Award is named after one of our outstanding citizens who was instrumental in creating the Clear Creek Trail. The Clear Creek Task Force has given out the award since 2007 to “Friends of the Trail who inspire and support us.” 

Thank you to Sub Group 9 and Captain John Francher, Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer of staff enlisted personnel, and congratulations to his amazing enlisted sailors for this well-deserved recognition! 

Tex Lewis Award

From left to right are Master Chief Petty Officer and Command Master Chief Gabe Miller; myself; Chief Petty Officer and Staff Senior Enlisted Advisor Phillip Damuth; Senior Chief Petty Officer Phillip Wickline, volunteer coordinator of the Clear Creek clean-up effort; and Captain John Fancher, Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer of staff enlisted personnel.

Kitsap County Human Rights Conference

Human rights conference

The Kitsap County 29th Annual Conference for Human Rights took place December 6 at Olympic College. Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman provided a moving welcome at the start of the day. Over 200 people attended and participated in the many interactive sessions and closing panel discussion. The event was organized by the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights

The "Community Leadership at the Center of Human Rights and Policing" panel included from left to right, André Taylor of Not This Time!, Corey Walster of Civil Survival, Tracy Flood of the NAACP Bremerton Unit 1134, and Kody Russell of Kitsap Strong. The annual human rights conference is sponsored by the Board of County Commissioners, Olympic College and many other generous supporters.

Big Beef Creek property acquisition

One of my favorite views in Kitsap County is from Seabeck, looking across Hood Canal towards the Olympic Mountains.  A recent land transfer, that includes 1,083 feet of shoreline, ensures the estuary and surrounding environments are preserved and protected. The Great Peninsula Conservancy and Hood Canal Coordinating Council (HCCC) joined forces to purchase property along the shoreline at Big Beef Creek in Seabeck and will work together to restore the habitat. I’m pleased to serve as vice chair of HCCC this year.

The Big Beef Creek estuary is a popular site for birdwatchers as bald eagles, herons and kingfishers take advantage of the abundance of fish and shellfish there. I am excited this valuable habitat will be preserved for future generations. To learn more about the Great Peninsula Conservancy and the important preservation work they do on the Kitsap Peninsula, visit https://greatpeninsula.org/. To learn more about the HCCC, visit http://hccc.wa.gov/.

Big Beef Creek

Contributed by Great Peninsula Conservancy

New tax law allows local governments to use funds for affordable housing


Last year, the Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance and resolution of intent allowing us to take advantage of RCW 82.14.540, a new state law authorizing local governments to retain a portion of sales tax for the purpose of creating affordable housing. This is not a new tax on our citizens – it redirects a portion of sales tax that would otherwise go to Olympia. We were notified in November that this portion will be $548,947. The funds can be used for acquiring, rehabilitating or constructing affordable housing, operating and maintaining new units of affordable housing, or providing rental assistance. The dark green counties in the map above have passed a resolution and ordinance to allow use of funds. The light green ones have passed a resolution, but not an ordinance, and the grey counties have not taken action. For more information, visit https://1406status.com/.

Canvassing Board tasked with certifying elections

Canvassing Board

As chair of the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners last year, I served on the county’s 2019 Elections Canvassing Board with Prosecutor Chad Enright and Auditor Paul Andrews. The board is tasked with conducting a formal assessment, or canvass, of each election. We review vote totals, determine the validity of challenged ballots, administer recounts if necessary, and certify results of the election. There were three elections in 2019. I was shocked at the number of ballots in the November election that weren’t counted due to simple errors like turning them in late or without a signature. I’m impressed with the care and diligence of the elections staff in our Auditor’s Office and the volunteers who make sure every valid vote is counted. Please exercise your right to vote, and follow all the instructions on the ballot to make sure it is counted!

Kitsap’s hazard mitigation plan gets FEMA approval


The Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management (KCDEM) received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for its 2020-2025 Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan was an impressive collaboration among  KCDEM, other county departments, fire districts, utility districts, school districts, tribes and the cities of Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton and Port Orchard.

The document lays out a plan to address potential hazards we face in Kitsap, including earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, wildfires, floods, severe storms and drought. As seen by the 2018 tornado in South Kitsap, we never know when disasters will hit. This plan helps us better prepare for emergencies and protect lives and property.

To view a draft of the plan, click here. For more information, visit KCDEM at www.kitsapdem.org or call (360) 478-5871.