Central Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter Spring 2021

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Happy Spring! With vaccination efforts underway, children returning to classrooms, and more capacity for activities, springtime feels more hopeful than ever. Unfortunately, COVID-19 remains active in Kitsap County and we passed a sad milestone of 100 deaths in April. So please continue to wear masks, maintain distance from others outside your household and get vaccinated as soon as possible. I am proud of Kitsap’s response to this health crisis. Let’s keep up the good work.

This newsletter is a resource for my constituents. Contact me at ewolfe@co.kitsap.wa.us with your questions or to share issues or concerns – remember, I work for you!

volunteer appreciation

Thank you to Kitsap County volunteers!

Kitsap County Commissioners proclaimed April 18-24, 2021 as Kitsap County Volunteer Appreciation Week in recognition of the more than 4,000 volunteers who annually contribute their time, talent, and expertise to county government. Kitsap County also joins the country in observing National Volunteer Week. View the Commissioners' proclamation here. Gov. Jay Inslee also proclaimed this week as Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Read more about the incredible contributions of Kitsap County volunteers here and in a letter to the editor I submitted thanking everyone in the county who has assisted in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I couldn't be prouder to call Kitsap County home!

COVID-19 response

Vaccine locations and registration

As of April 15, everyone 16 and older is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately, 170,000 doses have been administered to Kitsap residents The Kitsap County Health District has done a phenomenal job setting up efficient vaccination sites throughout the County. About 22,000 doses have been given at these community vaccine clinics in East Bremerton and Poulsbo. A third community vaccine site has opened in South Kitsap. To make an appointment, get on the standby list and sign up for vaccine notifications for these clinics, go to kcowa.us/vaccine. There are multiple locations at pharmacies and other healthcare clinics. Visit the Vaccine Locator for a list of sites and links to registration. 

Drive-through COVID test sites

COVID-19 testing is an important part of keeping the virus from spreading through families, workplaces and our communities. If you feel sick or were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, please get tested. Our drive-through community test sites are a joint effort between Kitsap Public Health and the Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center. Testing is available at multiple locations throughout Kitsap for anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, been exposed to a COVID-19 case, or meets other testing criteria. Pre-registration is required but health insurance is not. Go to http://kcowa.us/covidtesting to learn more and register.

COVID-19 and other resources

The best way to learn about COVID-19 activity in our community, testing sites and vaccine availability is to subscribe to receive electronic notifications via email or text from Kitsap Public Health and the Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center. Click here to subscribe to these notifications and choose from dozens of other topics, including inclement weather, the weekly road report, current project updates and much more.

Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center continues to maintain a coronavirus resource and information website at http://kcowa.us/covid19resources with updates for businesses, workers and families. Check the state's Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery for the latest guidance for businesses and other reopening information

Volunteers needed

The Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center is expanding community vaccine clinic operations and needs both medical and non-medical volunteers to support this important work. Learn more about how you can help our community and get involved here.

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. However, 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 Eviction Prevention Assistance 

Kitsap County received grant funding for eviction prevention and utility assistance for renters impacted by COVID-19. Kitsap County and Kitsap Community Resources partnered to launch a new rental and utilities assistance program this month. Grant funds are available for eviction prevention and utility assistance for renters impacted by COVID-19, who are behind on rent and at risk of losing their housing. To learn more, go to kcowa.us/kepa

Around Central Kitsap


Bayshore update

The Bay Shore, Washington & Byron Improvement Project in Old Town Silverdale is progressing. The project began in October 2020 and will replace and upsize 3,900 linear feet of outdated sewer gravity main, upgrade 1,400 linear feet of existing sewer lines, and includes the installation of 8-foot sidewalks and new street lighting. I am most excited about the new sidewalks throughout Old Town. This will add to the interconnectivity of Silverdale. I visited the site recently (pictured here).

In April, crews continue working on potable water main installations, curb gradings and storm crossings on NW Byron Street from Washington Avenue NW to Pacific Avenue NW. The project is set to be completed in December of 2022. For weekly updates on traffic and street closure, please visit the Project Website.

Central Kitsap Community Council

The Central Kitsap Community Council (CKCC) is another great way to stay informed on Central Kitsap issues and projects. The Council includes representatives from businesses, public agencies and the school district. Speakers are invited to monthly meetings to present information on topics specific to Central Kitsap. Past presenters have included: Kitsap County Sheriff Gary Simpson, Dr. Erin Prince, Superintendent of Central Kitsap Schools, and Matt Wheelus, Vice President at St. Michael Medical Center. Members of the public are encouraged to ask questions and provide comments at these presentations. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month beginning at 5 p.m. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council is meeting via zoom. Please visit the CKCC Website for upcoming speakers and past meeting minutes.

Library Tour

Tour of lower Central Kitsap High School campus

I had a great time touring the Central Kitsap High School lower campus which includes the new Silverdale Library. To meet the needs of a growing community, the Central Kitsap School District and Kitsap Regional Library partnered to build a new library in Silverdale.

The existing library will be relocated from Bucklin Hill Road to the south end of the Central Kitsap High School campus. The new library will be roughly 12,000 square feel and offer seven meeting and study areas. There is even a room with beautiful view of Dyes Inlet, big enough to host events for as many as 125 people (post pandemic). The library is scheduled to open late fall of 2021. Learn more about programs and services currently offered at the Silverdale branch of Kitsap regional Library at https://www.krl.org/silverdale.

American Legion

2021 American Legion speech contest

Congratulations to three local high school students from Central Kitsap who competed in the Washington State 2021 American Legion Constitutional Speech Contest! The competition required students to write, memorize and perform a short oration about the Constitution. Students also responded to a randomly drawn article from the Constitution for up to five minutes. Top placing students received cash prizes. I was privileged to have been one of the sponsors of the event. Public speaking is a challenging skill for anyone and these students nailed it! The Central Kitsap students included Mollie McKee, 3rd place; Wyatt Vertefeuille, 4th place; and Kara Shepard, 5th place. Mollie was also invited to share her speech at the American Legion Auxiliary state convention in Bellevue this summer.

County News

Veteran program hits new high for funding allocations

The January report for the Kitsap County Veterans Fund report showed a new record of direct payments to veterans in need: $51,464 was distributed to veterans for resources such as rental assistance, food, and auto repair. The 2020 overall distribution average was $25,500 per month. As a veteran in a military community, I am grateful of the unwavering support that is provided to our local veterans. Funds like these provide veterans stability during crucial times. To learn more about the Kitsap County Veterans Assistance program and find other resources for veterans and their families, click here.

Creating a diversity, equity and inclusion committee 

The other Commissioners and I began the process to create a diversity, equity and inclusion committee for Kitsap County government. This is a long-term commitment to improve and more deeply integrate diversity and equity in the delivery of services and resources to Kitsap communities and the county workforce. We're in the process of issuing a request for qualifications to hire a consultant to help form the volunteer advisory committee and work closely with staff and county leadership. We hope to have someone on board by this summer and get this important work underway. Link to full press release can be found here.


Policy manager awarded Economic Champion title

I had the honor to introduce Eric Baker, our policy manager in the Commissioners' Office, as a Kitsap Economic Development Alliance "Economic Champion" award recipient at their annual meeting March 25. Eric’s work during the pandemic included ensuring federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds were spent appropriately across a wide array of local agencies, small businesses and individuals. He's continuing that work as we begin distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

He is also the go-to for all three Commissioners on policy issues, tracking legislation and moving forward county initiatives.

Buildable Lands Report

Along with local cities, the Kitsap County Department of Community Development is updating its Buildable Lands Program. This effort is required in the Washington State Growth Management Act. A report will be issued by June 30, 2021, determining whether growth is occurring as planned within urban areas. This report will include a look back to evaluate whether development trends between 2013-2019 were consistent with development assumptions and policies in Kitsap's Countywide Planning Polices. After looking back, the report will look forward and evaluate land supply in urban areas to accommodate growth targets and projections. To learn more, visit: DCD's Buildable Lands Update

Shoreline Master Program update

In addition to the Buildable Lands Report, the Department of Community Development is also working on an update of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The most recent comprehensive review of the SMP was completed in December 2014. Periodic reviews are required by the state. The purpose and scope of the 2020-2021 periodic review is to align the SMP with applicable state laws and guidelines, assure consistency of the SMP with the County's comprehensive plan and development regulation, and provide existing code clarifications to improve usability and predictability for applicants and reviewers. For more details about this update please visit SMP Update.

Kitsap Transit


Southworth fast ferry inaugural ride

On March 27, Kitsap Transit's fast ferry had its inaugural Southworth-to-Seattle sailing. It was an exciting journey that only took 26 minutes. Previously, Southworth ferry riders could only travel to West Seattle. This new ferry brings riders directly to the Seattle ferry terminal.

Along with numerous other elected officials, I was joined on the sailing with Congressman Derek Kilmer and Kitsap Transit Executive Director John Clauson (pictured with me here). This new service is the result of years of hard work and dedication from the Kitsap Fast Ferry Task Force and Kitsap Transit. Thank you to all who were involved and spent years envisioning this transportation resource for Kitsap. Fast-ferry service is also available to Seattle from Bremerton and Kingston. Learn more here


Kitsap Transit electric buses

In addition to getting a new fast-ferry service route underway, Kitsap Transit is also transitioning from gas-fueled buses to electric. Pictured here is the Enviro 500 all-electric double-deck bus made by a company called Alexander Dennis. The 80-passenger bus has a range of up to 250 miles with 650 kilowatts of battery storage, according to the manufacturer. The entire Kitsap Transit Board feels strongly that this is the future of bus transportation. I’m excited to be in line as the chair of the Kitsap Transit Board in 2022 and to shepherd in the new electric buses for a smaller carbon footprint.