Central Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter

District 3 Summer Newsletter

Happy Summer! I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and well. Thank you for your commitment to practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings and other measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. I am especially grateful for first responders, nurses, doctors, teachers and other essential workers who are on the front lines. 

As Kitsap’s businesses open, it is important we continue to follow public health guidance. In this "new normal," while there are adjustments for everyone, I believe this gives us an opportunity to form stronger community bonds. Through this shared experience, we are learning to connect in different ways, like Zoom meetings, physically distanced barbecues and caravan celebrations, to name a few.

Please use this newsletter as a resource and way to stay informed. Contact me directly at ewolfe@co.kitsap.wa.us for additional information on projects or any other issue or concern.

COVID-19 response

Resources for residents

To stay informed of local conditions, go to the Emergency Operations Center’s Kitsap County Coronavirus Resources and Information website at http://kcowa.us/covid19resources. You’ll find links to updated information for businesses, workers, transportation and much more.

To sign up for 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, maintains a 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, call 2-1-1 or text ‘coronavirus’ to 211211.

County operations

Kitsap County departments continue to provide and expand online services. Many of our employees are telecommuting and most public service counters remain closed. Services are still being delivered either remotely or in-person by appointment. The public is encouraged to visit http://kcowa.us/online for updated details on contacting individual departments with links to each department and a list of services available online. 

Kitsap County Pathway to Recovery Playbook

The Department of Emergency Management’s Emergency Operations Center created the Kitsap County Pathway to Recovery Playbook. This document provides guidance for businesses throughout all the four phases of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Plan. The Playbook is updated frequently as the Governor’s Office makes clarifications. There is a date on the cover that will indicate the latest version. Please educate yourself with this document.

Safe Start recovery

Kitsap’s move through the Safe Start COVID-19 recovery plan

During the COVID-19 response, our businesses have suffered dramatic losses and recovery has been slower than we hoped. However, I do not believe we should sit idle. Everyone is responsible for taking safety precautions of maintaining six-feet of distancing from others, washing hands and wearing face coverings. Doing this will help our county recover from this pandemic.

On April 16, the Board of County Commissioners wrote Gov. Jay Inslee requesting modification of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, asking him to allow residential construction to resume. Kitsap County was the first county in Washington to write the governor about this. I felt halting residential construction was detrimental to our economy and Kitsap’s housing supply and the work could be done safely. It has been estimated that nearly 3,600 construction jobs in Kitsap were impacted by COVID-19-related closures.

On April 24, Gov. Inslee responded favorably to our letter and residential construction was allowed to resume with safety protocol plans in place. This was a success for Kitsap, allowing builders and the construction industry to go back to work. Click here to read the letter to Gov. Inslee.

On May 27, the Board of County Commissioners approved the county’s application for a variance to move into Phase 2 of the Safe Start COVID-19 recovery plan. This was an important step to help us begin to lift the burden on our local economy. On May 28, our application was approved and many businesses were allowed to open under specific guidelines to provide the goods and services we need.

The Kitsap Board of Health approved the county’s application to move to Phase 3 of the Safe Start plan June 19 and with County Commissioners' approval, the required documentation was submitted to the state. But this month Gov. Jay Inslee has twice extended a pause on all pending applications to move to the next phase due to concerns about increasing positive COVID-19 cases statewide. The current extension is paused until further notice.

County leaders are in daily contact with Kitsap Public Health officials and continue to monitor the status until the governor provides further guidance. To stay informed about the latest data from the health district, visit their comprehensive risk assessment dashboard, which is updated weekly.

We’re all in this together and I am honored to be a part of the collaboration of local leadership protecting public health while supporting our local economy. We’ve worked together to bring state and local funds here to ease the financial impact of the pandemic on businesses and non-profit service providers and this remains a priority.

Construction site inspections

Commissioner Wolfe joins building inspections

On April 29, I accompanied our Department of Community Development inspector on two construction site inspections. It was a pleasure to see the job site safety requirements being followed. Both inspections I observed passed the necessary criteria to move the projects forward. This was a wonderful experience to see partnerships between the county and construction industry further develop.

Helping those in need during the pandemic

Salvation Army and Kitsap Rescue Mission assistance

The Salvation Army plays a key role in assisting those in need during this crisis. In a letter of thanks to Kitsap leaders, they shared statistics on the assistance and services they provide.  Meals are one service offered. From March 1 to April 30th, 13,895 meals were prepared and served to their guests. The Salvation Army and many other organizations and individuals are working hard to contribute and ease the burdens of those who are less fortunate.

The Kitsap Rescue Mission (KRM) also provides overnight shelter for homeless men, women and children. The 24-hour shelter is currently located in the Pavilion at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds has been serving an average of 50 guests a night. Guests are physically distanced and beds are uniquely arranged to protect the health of those who stay there. County staff from our human services and parks departments diligently worked out an arrangement for KRM to use this facility to safely house people in need of shelter during the pandemic. Please take a virtual tour with this video.

We’re grateful for the work of these organizations in providing a safe place for people to sleep.

Full Circle Meals

Full Circle Meals

I had the opportunity to help Full Circle Meals on May 4. This non-profit organization raises funds and then pays restaurants to make meals for residents in need. Local restaurants have been greatly impacted during the pandemic. This program supports local restaurants like Ambrosia Catering and Axe & Arrow Gastro Pub, among many others, and provides them with much-needed income. Full Circle Meals has delivered more than 10,000 meals throughout Kitsap since April!

This boost to the economy benefits everyone and is another example of how our Kitsap community has responded to this crisis. Kitsap County provided $50,000 to Full Circle Meals through the Arc of the Peninsulas.

To learn more about Full Circle Meals and how to help, visit the Full Circle Meal's Facebook page.

Full Circle Meals

Little Blue Pantry in Navy Yard City

My young friend Ryder (pictured below) recently helped me stock the newest Little Blue Pantry, located in Navy Yard City. The small blue house contains donated non-perishable food items, pet food, hygiene supplies, and both adult- and child-sized face masks. Jack Stanfill and Beverly Kincaid launched the Little Blue Pantries project in Bremerton last March. With an eager team of volunteers and donors, they are keeping the pantries well-stocked to bridge the food gap for households and individuals with limited or no access to food banks or government subsidies.

This grassroots effort to assist with immediate and local needs may be expanded in the future. Drop by the Little Blue Pantries at 816 National Avenue, 1150 Marine Drive, and in Sheridan Park at the corner of Lebo and Elm streets. We lift each other up when we all pull together.

Little Blue Pantry

All-chamber meeting May 19

All Chamber ZOOM

Amidst this COVID-19 crisis, representatives from the Kitsap chambers of commerce met May 19 with local leaders to address the needs of small businesses. We have active chambers in Silverdale, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Kingston and Bainbridge Island. This was a great opportunity for elected officials to hear not only about challenges businesses face but also some of the creative ways they’ve helped each other survive impacts from the pandemic.

The chambers of commerce collaborated to compile a valuable Back to Business Toolkit that offers a variety of resources for successfully getting businesses up and running again. The chambers are also promoting a new site at kitsapcovid19.com and a local COVID-19 Business Support Facebook page. We are lucky to have such active chambers here in Kitsap to advocate for and support our local businesses.

Pictured above with Commissioner Wolfe is a screen shot of local mayors, county commissioners,  and chamber representatives during the virtual meeting May 19. The chambers are an integral part in supporting our small business community. 

County Commissioners honor the life of Tex Lewis

Tex Lewis

Kitsap County Commissioners passed a resolution June 8, honoring the life of Quentin “Tex” Lewis, a resident of Silverdale for over 40 years who passed away May 7. Tex, often called “Mr. Clear Creek Trail,” was one of the founders of the Clear Creek Task Force and rallied volunteers, sponsors and community partnerships to create and maintain the Clear Creek Trail and its natural environs.

He helped coordinate field trips for thousands of local elementary school students to release salmon fry raised in their classrooms into Clear Creek each spring, got youth involved in planting trees and inspired them to be future stewards. Tex was a beloved institution in Central Kitsap and the legacy he left behind will be enjoyed for generations to come.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tex in 2018 as part of my Commissioners Corner program, which may be viewed here. Tex never looked for credit or accolades – he only wanted to ‘get the job done.’ He is sorely missed.

To learn how you can get involved in the Clear Creek Task Force and volunteer as a trail steward to help carry on the extraordinary legacy of Tex, go to clearcreektrail.org.  

Photo credit: Kitsap Daily News

High school graduation

CKSD 2020 Grad

Central Kitsap School District did a wonderful job giving the Class of 2020 a unique graduation experience after their in-person graduation was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The district worked with school administration, teachers and parents to provide virtual ceremonies and a socially distanced parade to award diplomas and celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class. I was inspired their ability to cope and adapt to create memorable experiences. .  

CKSD 2020 Grad


Juneteeth 2020

Photo Credit: Cristina Roark Photograph

Properly masked, along with my fellow County Commissioners, Charlotte Garrido and Rob Gelder, I participated in the Juneteenth Monumental March for Black Lives, organized by the Juneteenth Freedom Festival community planning team. Juneteeth, marks the date June 19th 1865, on which news of the end of slavery reached slaves in Southwestern states. The Bremerton march was led by youth dancers, drummers and other musicians, beginning at the Norm Dicks Government Building and concluding at Evergreen Park. This was an impressive community celebration. The Board of County Commissioners also passed a Juneteeth proclamation recognizing this important day. I encourage everyone to learn about the historical significance of Juneteenth in our country’s history.