North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter Winter 2021

Winter Header

Happy New Year! 2020 was certainly a year we will be talking about for decades. I know many of you have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our health, social lives, schools and businesses – and our whole way of life. The disappointment and challenges of having to physically isolate from family, friends, and community, especially over the holidays, and the cancellation of so many activities and events, weighs on us. With the vaccine here in Kitsap now going into the arms of thousands of our first responders and most vulnerable residents, there is hope on the horizon.

While County Commissioners have been holding meetings virtually, the business of the county hasn’t paused. I want to thank you for putting your trust in me for another four-year term representing you on the Board of County Commissioners. I will continue to work for you to maintain and improve the excellent quality of life we enjoy here in Kitsap County.

If you have questions, issues or concerns about county services, projects and functions – or see something that needs attention in your neighborhood - please reach out to me at

COVID-19 impacts in Kitsap County

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic’s arrival in the U.S. and Washington state, we continue to deal with the strain on the healthcare system, economy and our way of doing business. With the arrival of the vaccine, we’re looking forward to a return to some kind of ‘new normal’ but we still have a long way. Thank you for all you do to mask up, watch your distance from others outside your household and follow other precautions to keep our communities, families and work places healthy and safe.

Vaccine update

In January, the Kitsap Public Health District and county Emergency Operations Center launched the first community vaccination clinic. Once registration for appointments opened, all available time slots were booked within about 30 minutes. Thanks to the help of over 1,000 volunteers who registered to assist in the effort, close to 2,000 people were vaccinated over a three-day period. Additional community clinics will be offered, provided the state allocates vaccine to support the site. Sign up here for updates on vaccine clinic via text or email.

It is important to stay informed, check with your healthcare provider and follow updates from Kitsap Public Health on its website at

New aid package

President Biden proposed a new $1.9 trillion aid package to provide support to families, schools and health officials and expand testing and vaccination efforts. The proposal still needs to be approved by the House and Senate but could provide up to $1,400 to eligible individuals, aid to families for utility bills and childcare and increase unemployment compensation. It would also distribute $350 billion to state and local governments to fund the pandemic response, distribute vaccine, increase COVID-19 testing, reopen schools and maintain vital services. The Commissioners and Health District will be watching the legislation in Washington D.C. closely and be ready to distribute available funds to the community quickly and efficiently.


COVID-19 testing is available at multiple drive-through sites. Please check the testing website for hours of operation and to schedule an appointment. Registration is required, but health insurance is not.

The Health District's COVID-19 site continues to be the best source for case updates, resources and advice for staying safe and healthy. Please continue to wear masks, social distance and avoid large indoor gatherings.

Brownsville Highway remains closed

Just before Christmas, heavy rains caused heavy flow and pressure through a sewer main along Brownsville Highway NE. The pipe was over 40 years old, and couldn’t withstand the pressure, releasing about 12,000 gallons of sewage, which was cleaned up by sewer utility crews. The leak, combined with heavy rains, caused material under the pipe to be undermined, making the roadway unsafe for drivers. As a result, Brownsville Highway remains closed between both ends of South Keyport Road until substantial repairs are made. Read more about the incident here.

Kitsap County Public Works is working to temporarily stabilize soils around the pipe to prevent further breaks until the pipe can be replaced. More information about the project is available here. To check the status of the road closure, check the county’s weekly Road Report.

Ferries to hold virtual community meetings this month


Washington State Ferries is hosting two virtual community meetings focused on the response to COVID-19, progress made on key projects in 2020 and answering questions from the public. New WSF director Patty Rubstello will lead the webinars alongside WSDOT Deputy Secretary Amy Scarton, the former head of WSF. The meetings take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10. To register for either session, go to

Legislative session

Wa leg

The Washington State Legislature began the 2021 session January 11. With the ongoing pandemic, most of its business is being conducted online, which is a significant change for our legislators as well as everyone else who interacts with them. We closely monitor bills impacting Kitsap County and do more focused lobbying for those most important to our community. For more information on the legislative session and to see proposed bills or hearing schedules, visit

Upcoming North Kitsap projects

Road Work Ahead

The County’s Public Works Department has been busy this winter dealing with mudslides, downed trees and local flooding and applying preventative salt brine on roadways. Staff continues planning for projects that will get underway as the weather improves, with several major projects coming up in North Kitsap.

Washington Boulevard stabilization (north of 4th Street)

This project in Kingston is on track for construction in late summer 2021. Design is 90 percent complete, and four out of five property acquisitions were completed. Visit the project site for more information here.

Central Kingston regional stormwater facility

A 30-percent review meeting was held in November, regarding underground vaults that will be placed on Port of Kingston property as part of a regional stormwater facility. Public Works is working with the Port of Kingston that will provide a permanent easement for the project. A monitoring well at the Port was installed to check ground water levels through the winter as this will have an impact on design. The County applied for a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology for approximately $700,000 and will know this month if the application was successful.

Upcoming road maintenance activities

  • Resurfacing of Jefferson Point Road from Klabo to South Kingston Road (chip seal)
  • Resurfacing of Seatter from Klabo to Jefferson Point Road (chip seal)
  • Structural repairs on Lindvog Road from State Route 104 to Berry Street
  • Crack sealing on Lindvog Road from West Kingston Road to State Route 104
  • Crack sealing on West Kingston Road from Miller Bay Road to .18 mile east of Siyaya Avenue
  • Landscape maintenance throughout Kingston
  • Continued routine maintenance (ditching, mowing, sweeping, etc.).

North Kitsap moderate risk waste collection facility

Planning and design are moving forward on a new facility to support North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island residents for safe disposal of household hazardous waste, without having to make a trip to Gorst. The facility will be co-located with a planned new North Road District operations facility at Bond Road and Gunderson. Construction is targeted for 2023-2024. See the project page here.

Buildable Lands Report, Shoreline Master Program updates

Two very important projects are underway at the Department of Community Development that can have an impact on future development in the county. These state-mandated efforts must be submitted to the State by June 30, 2021.

Buildable Lands Report

The Buildable Lands Report looks back at development patterns and population growth targets to determine if they went as planned. It also includes an assessment of whether there is enough land capacity in urban areas to accommodate predicted growth and affordable housing in the future. It provides an opportunity to course correct any issues and lays the foundation for a future update to the County's comprehensive plan. Much more information is available at the project webpage. For questions, contact Liz Williams, at or (360)337-5777.


Shoreline Master Program update

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a comprehensive plan guiding the development, conservation, and restoration of Kitsap County's shoreline. The SMP includes goals, policies, and regulations consistent with the Shoreline Management Act of 1971.The most recent comprehensive review of the SMP was completed in December 2014. The state requires a review of the SMP every eight years to align it with applicable state laws and guidelines in effect at the time of the review; assure consistency of the SMP with the County's comprehensive plan and development regulations; and provide existing code clarifications to improve usability and predictability for applicants and reviewers. More information can be found at the SMP webpage.

Gelder named to board of National Association of Counties


Commissioner Gelder was honored to be installed as a board member of the National Association of Counties (NACo) for 2021. Having recently completed a year-long term as president of the Washington State Association of Counties during a very challenging year, he will bring his in-depth knowledge and experience to the national organization.

NACo seeks to strengthen and advocate for America’s counties, serving nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees. Founded in 1935, NACo unites county officials to:

  • Advocate county priorities in federal policymaking
  • Promote exemplary county policies and practices
  • Optimize county and taxpayer resources and cost savings, and
  • Enrich the public’s understanding of county government

To learn more about NACo, go to

New easement for Port Gamble Ride Park access

Over the last several years, Kitsap County and its community partners have worked to develop a northern access to the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park and future mountain bike ride park. To develop the property, Kitsap County first needed connections to existing roadways through property owned by Olympic Property Group. The county was able to negotiate an easement for motorized and non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians to access Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park via Carver Drive off Gamble Way.

Remembering Lou Nawrot, Hansville Greenway volunteer

Sadly, long-time Hansville Greenway steward Lou Nawrot passed away in December. He was an early member of the Hansville Greenway Association, serving as a legal advisor and playing a major role in right-of-way negotiations between Kitsap County and Pope Resources to use their land for the trail system. He also devoted time over the years providing guidance to the stewardship group. He will be missed!

New "Commissioner’s Corner" highlights stormwater program


Commissioner Gelder visits the Whispering Firs regional stormwater facility in his latest "Commissioner's Corner."

Stay tuned for Commissioner Gelder's next episode of “Commissioner’s Corner,” the last episode in his five-part series on Kitsap County’s Public Works Department. The show highlights the Stormwater Division. This is a busy time of year and crews are working tirelessly to respond to landslides, downed trees and impacted roadways while also planning for and implementing flooding prevention measures. Many of their major improvement projects take place over the summer months. Subscribe to the County's YouTube channel to be notified when the episode is available. To view past programs, look for them on the YouTube site or visit Commissioner Gelder's website here.

New Parks Director named

Alex W

County Commissioners were pleased to announce the appointment of Alexander Wisniewski as the new director of the Kitsap County Parks Department. A resident of North Kitsap, his first day on the job was Jan. 19. He will manage the county's more than 60 parks, greenways and open spaces, totaling nearly 11,000 acres, in addition to the Kitsap County Fairgrounds and Events center and other community recreation facilities. He’ll be making rounds to meet with our parks stewards and jumping into planning and projects currently underway. Alexander replaces longtime parks director Jim Dunwiddie who retired in December after leading the department since 2009.

Lend a hand: volunteer opportunities

Kitsap County Volunteer Services provides opportunities to be actively engaged in our communities. Volunteers contribute their time, expertise and community spirit to improve and expand county services, making Kitsap County a better place to live, work and play. Even with the pandemic limiting many activities, we still have hundreds of volunteers actively – and safely – supporting county services and resources.

Emergency Operations Center volunteers

Volunteers are needed to support the Kitsap County Quarantine and Isolation site for individuals who've been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19, and lack safe alternatives for housing. Training and personal protective equipment is provided to protect the safety of volunteers. Click here to learn more and apply for this and other positions. Volunteers with medical training are also needed for the Kitsap County Medical Reserve Corp to help with future community vaccine clinics. Volunteers are also needed in non-medical positions. For details, click here.  

Parks stewardship

We have very active stewardship groups who help maintain county parks. Safety protocols are in place to protect volunteers during the pandemic. Learn more about opportunities and apply here.

Citizen advisory groups

Consider serving on one of our county advisory groups. We currently have vacancies for North Kitsap representatives on the Commission on Children and Youth; Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board; Kingston Citizens Advisory Council; Suquamish Citizens Advisory Committee; and Non-Motorized Facilities Citizens Advisory Committee. To learn more and apply, go to

Check out other volunteer opportunities at