Central Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter Summer 2021

District 3 newsletter header summer 2021

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful summer we're having and getting out to our beaches and parks.  My wife and I moved to Kitsap 23 years ago after falling in love with the warm sense of community and natural beauty here. Many others who visit feel the same and look to call Kitsap home, too. This has led to many discussions about growth management, affordable housing, traffic control, and how we preserve Kitsap's unique character and natural resources. County Commissioners realize the decisions we make now in these areas will determine what the future quality of life will be for decades to come.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a factor in our lives. Effective August 14, Kitsap Public Health Officer Dr. Gib Morrow directed all Kitsap residents age 5 and older regardless of vaccination status to mask up in indoor public spaces. Please familiarize yourself with the directive. I am proud of our county's response to the pandemic. I remain grateful to everyone for doing their part and supporting each other. A special thank you to the volunteers who helped with the quarantine and isolation centers and vaccination clinics. With vigilance and vaccines, let's beat this virus once and for all. 

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!


Waste Management issues

Waste Management was unable to collect over 1,500 curbside compost (food and yard waste) containers on some collection days the end of July. I've heard from constituents who are frustrated with the lack of service and having to deal with storing the extra waste.

Kitsap County does not have a contract or agreement with Waste Management for residential waste collection services in unincorporated areas. Those services are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).

I filed a formal grievance with the UTC on behalf of residents here, especially those who were impacted in Central Kitsap. Waste Management responded to my grievane in a letter describing their situation and what they are doing for the yard waste customers:

  • Yard waste customers not serviced on July 16, 29, 30 will have collections the week of their regular service day.
  • All missed materials will be collected at no extra charge.
  • Waste Management will issue one-month credit to customers who were not serviced two times in July, on their next invoice.

Visit our waste collection services page to learn about services available throughout Kitsap County.


Commissioners appoint new sheriff 

On August 9, Kitsap County Commissioners appointed Undersheriff John Gese to complete the term of former Sheriff Gary Simpson, who retired in June. Sheriff Gese has served as interim sheriff since the beginning of July. The current term ends in 2022, when the position will be filled by general public election.  Thank you to all of our candidates and everyone involved in the selection process


COVID-19 response

Getting vaccinated

As of mid-May, all Washington residents 12 or older are eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  Approximately, 66 percent of Kitsap’s population over age 12 has received at least one COVID-19 immunization. Thank you to Kitsap County Public Health, local healthcare providers, and all the organizations and businesses hosting pop-up vaccine clinics, making it easier for people to access the vaccine. We are slowly but surely making progress in getting everyone vaccinated.

Check out the Kitsap Public Health vaccine clinic calendar to find upcoming vaccine opportunities and other providers at kcowa.us/vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free and in most cases, an appointment is not necessary.  

COVID-19 testing

The Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center and Kitsap Public Health District reopened drive-through COVID-19 testing sites at the Kitsap Harborside Conference Center parking garage in Bremerton and at City Hall in Poulsbo. Tests are free. Go to http://kcowa.us/covidtesting for details or learn about other local testing sites.

County operations

The Kitsap County Administration Building reopened July 12. However, some departments have reduced office hours for the public as many services are now available online. If you plan to visit the county campus in Port Orchard, please check kcowa.us/online for updated details on department office hours and links to online services.

American Rescue Plan funding

Kitsap County Commissioners and staff are meeting regularly and creating a plan for the distribution of the $53 million of federal funding that the County has received from the American Rescue Plan Act to cover programs and COVID-19 pandemic impacts through 2024. Funding is intended to deliver recovery relief to families, workers and businesses. Funds may be used to not only continue the public health response to the pandemic but to address other related needs as well. This includes support of small businesses, non-profits, rent assistance, food security, broadband infrastructure, homeless shelters and services, and mental health programs.

County Commissioners are awaiting final federal guidance on how these funds can be distributed to the community. In the meantime, we're creating a plan of action so that when the funds become available, we will get them distributed as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Kitsap has been reaching out to key stakeholders in the business, housing, social service and homeless community for proposals. If you have any questions, please contact Eric Baker in the Commissioners' Office at ebaker@co.kitsap.wa.us.

Around Central Kitsap


Earth Day Awards

I had the honor to present Kitsap County Earth Day Awards to Carin Anderson and Jesse Adams of the Kitsap Conservation District. They manage the Conservation District’s Backyard Habitat Program.

Carin works with homeowners for restoration projects to help preserve natural resources on their property and then teaches them how to monitor and care for improvements. She works with landowners, governments and contractors to accomplish these critical projects and is able to use state and federal funding sources to pay for the work. In 2020, Carin applied for $1,580,000 of supplemental funding and has received $520,000 in funding for projects so far.

Jesse is involved with streamside planting and noxious weed removal, and assists landowners with project maintenance. Through community engagement with volunteers, Jesse installed 7,128 plants on 40 projects in 2020. Jesse was key in the Orca Recovery Day 2020 outreach for Kitsap, which brought 1,700 people to action across 17 states and four countries to plant almost 6,000 trees, restore over 22 acres of vital habitat and pick up over 53,000 lbs. of trash.

Learn more about all of our 2021 Earth Day award winners here.

Whaling Days

I had a great time attending Whaling Days in July. After the 2020 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was nice to see many families in attendance. The live music was spectacular and it felt like old times again. Thank you to the Silverdale Whaling Days Board of Directors, vendors and performers for making the event so special. For those of you who don't know, Whaling Days has been an event in Silverdale since 1974 and raises funds that are distributed back to the local community to support other non-profit organizations and student scholarships.

kitsap fair 2021

Kitsap County Fair and Stampede

The Kitsap County Fair and Stampede returns August 25-29! This is one of my favorite events and I love all the vendors, live music, the rodeo and bull riding. The event has rich history - the first recorded Kitsap County Fair was held in 1923.

The fair is free (small fee for parking) though tickets must be purchased for some events including the stampede. Most of the usual attractions will be back including the carnival, 4-H animals and Extreme Bulls.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional sanitation and cleanliness measures will be in place at all events. Please remember to follow CDC guidelines while in attendance. Learn more about what's planned for the fair and find information on purchasing special event tickets on the Kitsap Fair and Stampede website



Coroner's Office public burial ceremony last month

On July 10, I attended a public burial ceremony held by the Kitsap County's Coroner's Office for three residents considered indigent at the time of their passing and whose remains were unclaimed or whose families didn't have the funds to bury them.

Through generous donations, the county was gifted two large cemetery plots at the Old Silverdale Cemetery. These plots provide a beautiful setting for these individuals to be interred. Thank you to our donors and to the Coroner's Office for ensuring these individuals were laid to rest with respect and dignity.


Silverdale Transit Center

Kitsap Transit is constructing a new transit center in Silverdale. I'm excited to see this addition to the St. Michael Hospital expansion and adjacent roadway improvements. The Silverdale Transit Center will include up to eight bus bays, shelters, vehicle parking, stormwater management facilities, ADA-accessible site improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes and bike storage. The project is funded with federal, state, county and private dollars. For those who don't use a vehicle, the location of this transportation hub will make it easier to access medical care. The construction contract will go out to bid later this year. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

For more information, click here.



Commissioner's Corner episode spotlights
Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue

Watch me repel from Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue's training tower at Station 41 in my latest episode of Commissioner's Corner episode!

After landing safely on the ground, my interview continues with Central Kitsap Fire Chief John Oliver regarding fire services in our community including an update on Kitsap's potential fall fire season.

County News


Kitsap County Public Works Wheels & Steel event

Our Kitsap Public Works hosted a Wheels & Steel event to help clean up neighborhoods and give residents an opportunity to dispose of waste tires and scrap metal that would otherwise litter our neighborhoods and pose public health risks.

The Kitsap County Solid Waste Division received funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology and partnered with Navy City Metals to collect old tires and scrap metal at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds April 29-May 1. Over these three days, 642 residents disposed of 75 tons of passenger tires and 14.5 tons of scrap metal - including 129 BBQ grills! Customer service was improved from previous years by splitting the event into three days, which greatly reduced the waiting time for residents. Thanks for everyone who helped with this event!


Site visit to Silverdale Way project 

I love getting out (especially in the summer) to visit project sites. In early July, I visited the Public Works team hard at work paving Silverdale Way between Byron Street and the Newberry Hill roundabout. The completed overlay paving added about 1.5-inches of asphalt to the existing roadway, making the drive into Silverdale much smoother. I'm pictured here with Jacques Dean (at left), Public Works Roads Supervisor.



Chico Creek crossing

County staff from the departments of Community Development, Public Works and Parks took me on a tour of Chico Creek Salmon Viewing Park. They showed off the completed new bridge on Golf Club Hill Road at the Chico Creek crossing. A narrow box culvert was removed to restore natural habitat and enhance fish migration.

But work in this area is still not done. Another bridge is proposed in the Chico area as more box culverts are set for removal under Highway 3. This will further increase salmon migration and fish habitat. The Washington Department of Transportation is the lead on this project. For more information, please visit the project website.



Association of Combat Veterans

I recently joined the Association of Combat Veterans for a "grab and go" event to distribute food to veterans in need. The association is comprised of veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces who ride motorcycles recreationally. 

The association supports Washington Veterans Homes including Retsil in Port Orchard. Members raise money for facility repairs or to purchase equipment these facilities need but don't have the funds for.

Learn more about resources available to local veterans and their families here

law day logo

Law Day

As past president of the Kitsap County Bar Association, I attend their annual Law Day celebration each May. The event celebrates our Constitution and provides an opportunity for the public to understand the legal processes that defend our liberty, justice and freedom. This year’s Law Day theme was “Advancing The Rule of Law Now,” and the keynote address was given by Washington State Suprme Court Justice and Kitsap resident Sheryl Gordon-McCloud who provided a detailed history of the 19th Amendment that finally allowed women the right to vote.