Central Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

District 3 Commissioner Newsletter

I hope you and your loved ones are staying well. With the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic and the situation changing daily, we are going through unprecedented times. My fellow Commissioners and I rely on our local and state public health officials to stay informed of the latest developments, restrictions and guidelines to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

On March 8, we adopted a Proclamation of Emergency in Kitsap County that activated an emergency operations center in our Department of Emergency Management. They are mobilized to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in Kitsap. This includes obtaining medical supplies, identifying needs and resources available, coordinating with local jurisdictions and agencies, and making federal and state funds available to support and protect the public here.

As residents here – like families all over the world - grapple and adjust to the abrupt closures of schools, restaurants, places of worship and public events, we are working with local, state and federal agencies to provide support and relief our families and local businesses need now and in the coming months. We hope you will heed health warnings and adhere to the recommended social distancing.

To stay informed of local conditions, go to the Emergency Operations Center’s Kitsap County Coronavirus Resources and Information website at https://www.kitsapgov.com/Pages/coronavirus.aspx . To sign up to receive daily bulletins, including results of COVID-19 test results, visit the Kitsap County Public Health District website at kitsappublichealth.org. The state Department of Health also provides information at coronavirus.wa.gov. The Kitsap Community Foundation, in coordination with the Emergency Operations Center, has a new website called Kitsap Cares that provides resources for individuals, businesses and organizations, and ways to give through donations and volunteering. Still have questions? Contact the coronavirus hotline 800-525-0127.

Here is a link to a COVID-19 fact sheet that provides prevention information. Dr. Susan Turner, the county’s chief medical officer at the Kitsap Public Health District, and I put together this public service announcement with the help of the great crew at Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television that expands on these prevention measures.

Kitsap County departments have shifted the delivery of face-to-face public services to online services and eliminated public access to their offices. Offices are closed, and most employees are working from home. The public is encouraged to visit our new web page at http://kcowa.us/online that details new hours of operation, contact information for each department and a list of services available online. 

Facing hard times like these, with so much uncertainty, brings out the best in us. Please take care of each other. Offer to run errands for the elderly. Help those less fortunate as much as you can. Support local restaurants by ordering take-out. Enjoy the outdoors (while staying six feet away from others of course). Together, we’ll get through this!

I work for you so if there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me at ewolfe@co.kitsap.wa.us or (360) 337-7080.


Now, for some good news!

Night to Shine

Night to Shine 2020

One of the favorite events of the year for me and my wife is Night to Shine, which was held on February 7. The Board of County Commissioners sponsors this every year. Night to Shine gave a prom experience to over 400 people with special needs. Thanks to 1,000+ volunteers and caregivers, guests receive a red-carpet experience, get paparazzi photos and VIP treatment. Not only do the prom-goers get special attention, but Night to Shine provides their parents and caregivers pampering and respite, away from all the excitement.

The folks at the Tim Tebow Foundation put on Night to Shine dances all over the country and in 12 nations. Newlife Church organizes our Kitsap event. For more information visit https://nighttoshinekitsap.com/. Picture is of my dear friend Hannah.

Military Appreciation Day

Military Appreciation Day

I enjoyed getting a chance to show appreciation for our military at the annual Military Appreciation Day, held March 7 at the County Fairgrounds. Sponsored by the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce and made possible with dozens of volunteers and donations, it gives active and retired military families access to resources and services. Pictured here with a couple of Navy servicemembers are Joe Kochera, Port of Bremerton Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn, Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, me, Tricia Reese, Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler, Jason Wright and Kathleen Gordon.

The Veterans Administration’s investment in a new $9.7 million veterans’ clinic in Silverdale provides a valuable resource to the 37,000 veterans residing in Kitsap County. We support our veterans and their families here in many ways, including:

  • Stand Downs twice a year offering free meals, clothes, groceries, dental care and assistance from over 40 service organizations and nonprofits.
  • The Unforgotten Run to Tahoma normally held on Memorial Day Weekend is a poignant ceremony and motorcade to bury, with full military honors, deceased indigent veterans.
  • Veterans Drug Treatment Court gives veteran offenders a second chance and path to recovery.
  • Veterans Advisory Board advises Kitsap County Commissioners on resources and services for local indigent veterans, grants emergency assistance and helps maintain a Veterans Memorial Garden at Howe Farm in South Kitsap.

For more information on services available to veterans, visit  https://www.kitsapgov.com/hs/Pages/VAB-LANDING.aspx.

New courthouse update

As a Kitsap attorney, I made a lot of trips over two decades to the Kitsap County Courthouse while representing my clients. Any visitor can see that it is outdated (the last major upgrade was completed in 1978), but what many don’t realize is there are serious security concerns with the current building.  As a growing county, we will need additional courtrooms and parking to meet future needs.

After a two-year feasibility and space needs study, we were provided with several different options for a new courthouse. We are moving forwarding with phase 1 of the least expensive option at $54 million. This includes property acquisition for new parking areas and a new courtroom building with 12 new courtrooms. As of today, design of the new building should be complete by 2021 with construction completed by the end of that year. The project will be funded through Real Estate Excise Taxes. Delays could occur due to the pandemic.

To see site plans and for more information, go to https://www.kitsapgov.com/BOC_p/Pages/Courthouse%20Project.aspx.

Courthouse Update Option 5

New roundabout coming to Greaves Way in Silverdale

Proposed Greaves Way - Old Frontier Road Roundabout

Due to safety concerns, Kitsap County Public Works is in the planning phase to install a new roundabout at the intersection of Greaves Way and Old Frontier Road. It is at the top of the county’s intersection safety list due to the number of accidents there. The roundabout will provide safety and efficiency improvements for motorists and pedestrians by reducing “conflict points,” crossing distances for pedestrians and vehicles, vehicles speed and red-light runners.

The Washington Transportation Improvement Board will provide funding for 80 percent of the $1.5 million project. The traffic study and a concept design are complete, and the design phase should get underway soon, pending restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic response. The project could wrap up in 2023.

Presentation to Board of County Commissioners

Painting, constitution presented to Board of County Commissioners

Thank you to members of the John Paul Jones Chapter of the Washington State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution who made an appearance at a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting. Dressed as some of our Founding Fathers, they presented County Commissioners with a painting of the Constitutional Convention, a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of the Constitution.

Pier extension coming to Bangor

Naval Base Kitsap logo

The Pentagon awarded a $89.4 million contract to extend an existing pier at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor that serves three Seawolf-class submarines. The 520-foot extension to the berthing pier will also enhance utilities, communications systems and include fixed and mobile cranes and utility buildings, among other improvements.

The project was awarded to Manson Construction Company of Seattle. Work is expected to get underway this year and be complete by July 2022. The result not only improves long-term operational effectiveness but will also support other classes of submarines used for research and development and improve training capacity.

Another dock project proposed at Bangor will add an additional pier and maintenance facility to support the fleet of Trident submarines.

Pier extension image

CK School District partnership with Alaska/Horizon Airlines

CKSD partnership with Alaska & Horizon Airlines officials signing MOU
CKSD Alaska & Horizon

The Central Kitsap School District (CKSD) signed a memorandum of understanding with Alaska/Horizon Airlines at a March 11 ceremony, which I attended. This partnership offers fantastic opportunities for students. The new and remodeled Central Kitsap schools feature aviation classrooms that will accommodate the new program. Pictured are : CKSD Assistant Superintendent for Finance Doug Newell and Superintendent Dr. Erin Prince. 

A few of the highlights:

  • Four CKSD aviation teachers will have the opportunity to attend flight school, paid for by the airlines.
  • Students at Ridgetop, Central Kitsap and Fairview middle schools can enroll in an aviation classroom experience and Olympic and Central Kitsap high schools students have the option to enroll in aviation ground school classes.
  • Students will get exclusive tours of the airlines’ offices and facilities.
  • Professionals who work in different specialties within the airlines will connect with students to share their experiences and talk about the different careers available in the industry (only 13 percent of airline employees are pilots).
  • Students will earn certificates after completion of competencies and courses, guaranteeing them interviews with the airlines after graduation.

I’m grateful to the CKSD administration and the airlines for collaborating on this fantastic opportunity for students – and to the taxpayers who continue to support CK schools!

Kitsap County Bar Association installation dinner

Bar Association installation dinner

I enjoy staying in touch with our local Kitsap County Bar Association and their activities in Kitsap County, having served as president in 2007. Recently I attended their annual dinner where our own Kitsap County Prosecutor Chad Enright served as the emcee at the event. Neil Wachter was sworn in as the new president for 2020.

The Kitsap County Bar Association continues to support our community, from pro bono legal services to collecting food for Backpacks for Kids. Here, I’m pictured with attorney Steve Olsen, Judge Sally Olsen, Sue & (former Bremerton Police Chief) Steve Strachan, and Mrs. & Mr. Tony Otto.

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency considering clean fuel standard

Kitsap County is a member of Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA), which includes King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. As required by the federal Clean Air Act, the agency monitors and takes steps to remedy air-quality issues created by vehicle and factory emissions and wood smoke with the goal of reducing harmful emissions.

To combat greenhouse gas emissions, the PSCAA is assessing the benefits of a Clean Fuel Standard that would require fuel distributors, such as gas stations, to focus on cleaner burning fuels or pay for credits. Similar standards were imposed in California, Oregon and British Columbia.

Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler and I are the Kitsap County representatives on the PSCAA executive board. While I am supportive of reducing harmful emissions, I am hesitant to support a 'localized' clean fuel standard as I believe it is a broader statewide issue. I am concerned a regionalized approach would not have a substantial benefit to our environment and meanwhile put Kitsap businesses at a disadvantage and increase fuel prices locally.

The Board of County Commissioners will discuss the proposed fuel standard in coming months and agree on a formal response from Kitsap County to submit to the PSCAA board. For more information, go to https://pscleanair.gov/528/Clean-Fuel-Standard or contact Eric Baker, policy manager in the Commissioners’ Office at ebaker@co.kitsap.wa.us, (360) 337-4495.

New policy analyst, Katharine Shaffer, joins Commissioners’ Office staff

Katharine Shaffer

I am excited to welcome Katharine Shaffer as a new policy analyst in the Commissioners' Office. She will work with me on Central Kitsap projects, planning and constituent concerns, and serve as staff liaison with the Central Kitsap Community Council.

Katharine spent the last five years as a planner in the Department of Community Development and is passionate about public speaking and engagement. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. Originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, like many people in the area, the Navy brought her to Kitsap County where she has settled with her husband and two daughters. She joins our team April 13. I look forward to introducing her to you!