North Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter Summer 2021 *Correction made to previous version sent

Commissioner Gelder D1 Summer 2021 header

** CORRECTION: Apologies for not including the name of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe's representative who participated in the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park virtual ecological restoration panel discussion June 3 in the update below. Our thanks to Hans Daubenberger, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Habitat Biologist and Research Manager, for joining the discussion and providing valuable insight.

Kitsap County COVID-19 updates

Although daily COVID-19 cases rose in Kitsap during April, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, with cases dropping in May. With more Kitsap residents getting vaccinated, vaccine eligibility for kids 12 and older, school back in session, and better weather ahead, there is hope that that the pandemic could be coming to an end.

County services

With decreasing case counts and more vaccinations, the County had a “soft opening” of the Courthouse and Administrative Building on June 1. The buildings do not have full staffing levels on site, but will be able to provide limited in-person services. The campus will be fully open by July 12, if current COVID trends hold.

Vaccine update

As of June 2, 52 percent of Kitsap residents 12 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and 45 percent were fully vaccinated. More than 118,000 Kitsap residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. Anyone 12 and older is now eligible for the vaccine. Kitsap Public Health is running community clinics throughout the County, and there are many other options out there, including local grocery stores and pharmacies. To find a location near you, visit the Kitsap Public Health’s vaccine information webpage.

American Rescue Plan

Kitsap County is slated to receive $53 million from the federal government's American Rescue Plan over a two-year period. The County is currently reviewing guidance on where funds can be distributed and planning to get this financial assistance out as soon as possible.


COVID-19 testing remains an important component in the battle against the virus. Please get tested if you have any symptoms. Check the Health District’s testing website for drive-through test site locations and to schedule an appointment. Registration is required, but health insurance is not.

The Health District's COVID-19 page continues to be the best source for case updates, resources and advice for staying safe and healthy.

Walk & Talks with Commissioner Gelder return August 7

Walk and Talk image

After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, Commissioner Gelder is looking forward to meeting with his constituents again in person during monthly Walk & Talks. The first one begins at 9:30 a.m. August 7 in the main parking lot of Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park. COVID restrictions in effect at that time will be followed. To view the Walk & Talk schedule through December 2021, click here.

North Kitsap Service Center update

NK shop

Kitsap County’s Public Works Department held a public meeting in April via Zoom to update residents on the proposed North Kitsap Service Center (NKSC). 

The NKSC will have two facilities:

  • A road operations and maintenance complex to replace the current facility on the corner of Bond Road and Highway 305 in Poulsbo, which is pictured here. The new site will contain an administration building and storage for equipment and bulk materials.
  • A Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility, including collection pads and safe storage buildings. North Kitsap currently lacks an HHW facility, requiring residents to drive to the Olympic View Industrial Park near the Bremerton Airport to dispose of household chemicals and hazardous waste.

The NKSC site selected is located on 15.64 acres near the Gunderson Road and Bond Road intersection, which is controlled by a traffic stoplight that vastly improves access for the trucks and road equipment mobilized daily. The new property also provides much more usable space than the current 2.95-acre site in Poulsbo (pictured here), which has become functionally obsolete.

The County contracted with Otak Engineering to design the new site and facilities. Currently, the design process is in the very early stages. An initial public meeting was held April 19 to provide an overview of the project. Five additional informational meetings will be held as the project progresses.

For more information, to submit questions and comments, and to watch a recording of the April 19 meeting, visit the project website at

Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park update


As part of the master planning process for the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park, the Kitsap County Parks Department organized a virtual ecological restoration panel discussion June 3. The event featured local experts in forestry and restoration ecology who shared information about what defines a healthy, natural forest and how it can coexist with active recreation. Current conditions in the park and plans for its restoration were reviewed. 

Panelists included Arno Bergstrom, forester of Kitsap County Parks; Roxanne Miles, director of Pierce County Parks; Hans Daubenberger, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Habitat Biologist and Research Manager; Dr. Jenise Bauman, associate professor and academic program director of Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment; Kirk Hanson, forestry director with the Northwest Natural Resources Group; Nathan Daniel, executive director of the Great Peninsula Conservancy; and Hillary Wilson, program manager of Forterra, a land conservancy organization.

Visit the project site at and click on the ‘How to Stay Involved’ tab to receive project updates and invitations to future meetings.

Sound-to-Olympics Trail


Kitsap County received federal grant funding for the north end Sound-To-Olympics Trail planning study. A request for proposals will go out this fall to hire a project consultant. The study should get underway in early 2022 and be complete by mid-2023.

The scope of the planning study for construction of a paved, shared-use path will encompass multiple segments, including:

  • West Kingston Road through the North Kitsap Heritage Park, west to Miller Bay Road and south to White Horse Drive;
  • Miller Bay Road to Port Gamble Road through what’s known as the North Kitsap Divide Property; 
  • Port Gamble Road to the southern trailhead of the Port Gamble shared-use-path on Stottlemeyer Road; and
  • Crossings at West Kingston Road, Miller Bay Road, Port Gamble Road, State Route 307 (Bond Road), and Stottlemeyer Road. 

Stay tuned for the opportunity to review and comment on the plan.

Legislative session roundup

Wa leg

The Washington State Legislature ended its session April 25 with passage of several bills of note that impact Kitsap County. One of the most noteworthy is House Bill 1336, the Public Broadband Act, which gives authority to public entities like Kitsap County, its cities and port districts, to provide broadband services to the public. The pandemic-related shutdowns of schools and workplaces showed us how important reliable, high-speed internet service is to residents. The county will explore how to use the new law to benefit our citizens.

Other priority bills that were passed include:

  • EHB 1271, which provides flexibility in court activities by allowing more electronic functions
  • SB 5015, which makes it illegal to install an unofficial or fraudulent ballot box
  • E2SSB 5163, amending allowed locations of civilly committed sexually violent predators
  • ESSB 5287, allowing counties with over 170,000 people to use tax incentives for multifamily development
  • 2SSB 5368, which encourages economic development in rural areas by allowing alternative means of annexation and tax credits for annexation
  • The Capital Budget includes funding for the acquisition of a portion of the Department of Natural Resources parcel of land in Silverdale

For more information on these and other bills, visit

North Kitsap Public Works projects


Warmer weather means that construction season is here for the County’s busy Public Works Department. Crews will be doing some regular maintenance activities like cleaning ditches, mowing roadside vegetation and repairing pavement. Here are some of the planned or in-progress projects happening this year in North Kitsap:  

  • Brownsville Highway sewer repair and road fixes
  • Washington Boulevard stabilization
  • Right-turn lane from Hansville Road to State Route 104
  • Central Kingston Regional Stormwater facility planning and design
  • Resurfacing of Jefferson Point Road and chip seal of Klabo to South Kingston Road
  • Resurfacing and chip seal of Seatter to Klabo to Jefferson Point Road
  • 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 just east of Siyaya Avenue
  • Landscape maintenance throughout Kingston
  • Continuing routine maintenance (ditching, mowing, sweeping).

2021 Earth Day Awards

Earth Day

Commissioners Gelder and Garrido with the 2021 Earth Day Awards, created by local artist Ken Blair of his Chameleon Glass Studios, who creates the sculptures using driftwood and scrap metal.

Since 1993, Kitsap County Public Works and County Commissioners have recognized groups and individuals for their dedication to sustainability and environmental protection and restoration. On April 21, five Earth Day Awards were presented virtually to award recipients nominated by the public for their work in environmental education and advocacy, habitat restoration, recycling and litter control. Congratulations to Deb Rudnick, Sinclair Inlet Cleanup Team, Kitsap Conservation District's Backyard Habitat Program, Northwest Hospitality and Magnolia Forest Preschool!

Learn more about the award winners here.

Highway 104 traffic congestion mitigation

Kingston hwy 104

The legislative session was disappointing for proposed Highway 104 improvements in Kingston. No funding was allocated for the holding lot and realignment projects. An agency partnership consisting of the Washington State Department of Transportation, Kitsap County, Washington State Ferries, the Port of Kingston and Kitsap Transit has been working on this project for years.

Partnership members are designing alternatives for a holding lane and Active Traffic Management System that will hold and release ferry traffic at Lindvog Road at a rate to not cause backups through downtown Kingston. Currently, uniformed law enforcement personnel must be present to meter traffic via a tally system. Design alternatives are being developed to cost targets of $1.4 and $2 million to match potential future funding opportunities.

Better than expected revenues allow some County rehiring


With the state-mandated closures of offices and businesses in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the County saw a decline in sales tax revenue, necessitating mid-year budget cuts across all departments. As a result, recruiting for vacant positions was suspended and departments were asked to reduce expenditures by 5 percent for the remainder of 2020.

While sales declined in brick-and-mortar businesses, a significant uptick in online shopping occurred which helped balance revenues. Additionally, Kitsap County received federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. These vital funds went directly to assist with the emergency response. We were reimbursed for most of our related expenses incurred in 2020, and able to provide financial support for small businesses, rental assistance, restaurant relief, quarantine and isolation capacity, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, equipment, workspace improvements and staffing costs for personnel tasked with responding to COVID-19.

County departments were asked to submit 2021 budgets with 10 percent less spending than the adopted 2020 budget. The budget reduction required 68 positions to be eliminated or left vacant for a savings of $4.9 million. However, due to better-than-projected sales tax venues, the overall budget was reduced by 6 percent, rather than 10 percent, allowing 25 of the vacant positions to be filled.

For the latest budget updates, visit the County's Budget & Finance webpage.