Central Kitsap Commissioner Newsletter Fall 2021


Happy Autumn! The Kitsap Peninsula has given us a wonderful showing of fall colors with the leaves changing and fresh snow on the Olympics. This is truly a beautiful place to call home. Another sign of the season is the welcome sight of school buses on the roads again, returning students to in-person learning.

Though COVID-19 continues to spread in our community and worldwide, cases are trending downward again. There is a renewed sense of hope the virus may be brought under control as we continue to take preventative measures that are becoming a new way of life. Thank you to everyone who remains vigilant, follows health guidelines and supports each other, our schools, local businesses and work places. My continued gratitude goes out to the volunteers who have worked so diligently during this pandemic to provide COVID testing, support vaccine clinics and maintain quarantine and isolation centers.

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

Service issues that began with Waste Management being unable to collect over 1,500 curbside compost (food and yard waste) containers in north and central Kitsap soon spread countywide over the summer and fall. Waste Management cited staff shortages that led to missed waste pickups.

Kitsap County does not have a contract or agreement with Waste Management for residential waste collection services in unincorporated areas. These services are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Regardless, Kitsap County Commissioners and the Kitsap County Solid Waste Division are closely monitoring this situation and in communication with both Waste Management and the UTC.

In August, I filed a formal grievance with the UTC against Waste Management. RCW 81.77.120 gives the Board of County Commissioners authority to comment to the commission in writing about service provided by regulated franchisees. On October 8, County Commissioners wrote a detailed letter to the UTC describing the inadequate services being provided to unincorporated Kitsap. You can read the letter here. Waste Management has reported to the County that they expect to be fully staffed by the end of December.

Visit our waste collection services page to learn about options available if Waste Management missed pickups in your neighborhood. 

COVID-19 response

Getting vaccinated

As of early November, all Washington residents five years or older are eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately, 75 percent of Kitsap’s population over age 12 has received at least one dose of COVID vaccine. 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 website for information on the COVID booster and a vaccine clinic calendar to find upcoming vaccine opportunities and other providers at kcowa.us/vaccine. Remember, vaccinations are free and insurance is not required.

COVID-19 testing

The Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center and Kitsap Public Health District continue to maintain drive-through community COVID test sites at multiple locations. 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 last summer. 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.

Around Central Kitsap


Pendleton Place tour

I left my signature, along with other elected officials, on the Pendleton Place apartments that are under construction on Kitsap Way in Bremerton during a recent site visit. The project will be the first large, permanent, supportive housing apartment complex for Kitsap County adult residents who are experiencing chronic homelessness and living with mental illness, substance use, and other health conditions. This 72-unit complex will be a public benefit to everyone in Kitsap and life changing to future residents.

Pendleton Place was conceived after a 2016 community homelessness workshop with speaker Lloyd Pendleton, for whom the project is named. He advocated a Housing First model for addressing homelessness. As the name suggests, Housing First links people experiencing homelessness with housing before job placement, substance abuse or mental health treatment, as making progress on those fronts is much more difficult without a stabile place to live. The project is expected to be completed in March of 2022.

An array of community organizations have partnered to provide this much-needed resource in Kitsap, including:

Kitsap Mental Health Services - operation of the apartment residences, providing 24//7 onsite staffing and assisting residents with access to mental health and substance-use treatment.

Bremerton Housing Authority - subsidies and property management services.

Peninsula Community Health Service - onsite primary care services.

WorkSource - employment skill-building and job search services.

Learn more about Pendleton Place here.


Seabeck Community Center tour

I had the pleasure of meeting with the board of the Seabeck Community Center and touring the newly renovated building that previously served as the gymnasium of the former Seabeck Elementary School. This new community center is the result of a partnership between the Central Kitsap School District, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, and local neighbors.

The school district repaired the building and residents are taking on responsibilities for its care and maintenance. The community center provides the Seabeck area with a gathering space for activities such as public meetings, educational events, birthday parties, farmers’ markets, and other possibilities. The dedication and drive of the community center board and other volunteers is making such a positive impact on Seabeck. For more information the Seabeck Community Center and how you can support the project, go to https://www.seabeckcc.org


September 11th Remembrance Ceremony

I joined other elected officials at Evergreen Park in Bremerton for the 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when nearly 3,000 people were tragically killed. The park was a fitting location for the remembrance as a piece of steel from the World Trade Center and limestone from the damaged Pentagon are installed in a 9/11 memorial there. I believe this memorial offers an opportunity to educate future generations on the significance of the event, its impact on our national consciousness and the heroism and bravery displayed on that tragic day.

We honor the sacrifice of first responders and recovery workers at the World Trade Center site and who embodied duty and service. Thank you to everyone who participated in our local remembrance ceremony.

Silverdale Transit Center

Progress is being made on the Silverdale Transit Center that will be located at the southeast corner of Ridgetop Boulevard NW and the State Route303/NW Waaga Way intersection, across from St. Michael Medical Center.. On October 5, the Kitsap Transit Board approved a purchase-and-sales agreement for the final piece of property needed. The project is out to bid and the construction contract is expected to be awarded in December, with the goal of a spring groundbreaking.

Development of the transit center will occur in two phases. Phase 1 includes re-aligning the upper portion of Sid Uhinck Drive and vacating another portion of the roadway. Phase 2 is for the overall transit center construction. The project also includes other safety improvements, including a signalized intersection and crosswalk. The project is expected to take 18 months.  

The Silverdale Transit Center will include up to eight bus bays, shelters, vehicle parking, stormwater management facilities, ADA-accessible site improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes, bike storage and a bus driver comfort station. For more information, click here.


Veteran's grab-and-go event

Thank you to the Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board, Kitsap Area Veterans Alliance and Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Program for organizing another grab-and-go event this fall. Veterans help veterans and their families by providing bags of food, personal hygiene products, and clothing to those who need extra support. There were six locations set up throughout the county. I stopped by the Sheridan Community Center in Bremerton to assist in the effort. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and contributed to serving the vital needs of local veteran families.

The salmon are running!

Salmon are returning home to spawn in streams throughout Kitsap. We are so lucky to be able to witness this magnificent life cycle. Chico Salmon Park in Central Kitsap is an excellent location to view this season’s salmon run. The 4.5-acre Kitsap County park is in the lower portion of the Chico Creek watershed. This unique area supports natural populations of native salmonids including chum, coho, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. Chico Salmon Park recently reopened after a two-year closure to replace the old box culvert under Golf Club Hill Road with a new bridge, which has helped restore the natural flow of the stream and remove a barrier to fish passage.

Now that the fall rains have restored full flow volumes to the creek, it will be exciting to watch this newly restored area and see how the salmon respond. Learn more about other salmon viewing locations and how you can become a salmon docent here.

County News


David Lewis appointed new County Clerk

I am honored to have been a part of the appointment of David Lewis to the position of County Clerk. The other Commissioners and I appointed David to fill the vacancy created with the resignation of Alison Sontag on July 30, 2021, who served in the position since August 2017. His term runs until elections in November 2022 are certified.

The County Clerk is the administrative and financial officer for Superior Court. The Clerk receives, processes, and preserves documents for Superior Court matters, including criminal, civil, family law, probate, guardianship, paternity and adoption. As financial officer, the Clerk collects fees and fines, victim restitution, and maintains the court's trust account. The Clerk also performs quasi-judicial functions such as issuing warrants of arrest, and provides jury management of all Kitsap County courts.

Mr. Lewis has worked for the County Clerk’s office for 37 years. He is knowledgeable and has an excellent reputation. I’m excited to see him in this role and looking forward to the perspective he will bring to the office.


Kitsap County Commissioner redistricting alternatives under review; public hearing Nov. 22 

As required by state statute, Kitsap County has reviewed 2020 U.S. Census data and proposed alternatives for revisions to its County Commissioner District boundaries. The district boundaries must meet several criteria including each being equal in population, using logical boundaries that do not split communities nor disadvantage any racial or ethic group or political party. Commissioners must approve a redistricting plan by December 31, 2021 so as not to impact the 2022 county election cycle.

A public open house took place Nov. 3. The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the alternatives during its regular business meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, November 22, 2021 via Zoom and in person at the Kitsap County Administration Building, 619 Division Street, Port Orchard

These alternatives, maps, descriptions and staff analysis can be found at the project website here.

Note that this process is independent of legislative redistricting efforts and consideration of congressional boundaries in Kitsap County. To learn more about those efforts go to www.redistricting.wa.gov.

Suquamish Tribe Port Madison Dialogues

In a four-part virtual series called the Port Madison Dialogues, Suquamish Tribal leaders and members shared with the community the history of the Suquamish Tribe, past and current issues, and the impacts of relationships between Tribal and non-Tribal communities. The series also featured beautiful poetry, songs, and stories. I had the privilege of co-hosting the third session of this important discussion that focused on current issues facing the Tribe including protecting treaty rights, challenges with climate change, and economic development that supports the Tribe.

Thank you to the Suquamish Tribe and the Dispute Resolution Center for supporting such crucial dialogues that build on our understanding of the culture, challenges and accomplishments of the Suquamish Tribe. I encourage everyone who was not able to attend the live sessions to watch recordings that are posted here.


Kitsap County Commissioners allocate $7 million for mental health

On November 8, County Commissioners approved $7 million in 2022 funding recommendations  from the Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Committee. The funds are generated from the 1/10th of 1 percent sales and use tax designated for mental health, chemical dependency and therapeutic court services in Kitsap County. 

For the last four years, the amount allocated has been around $5.5 million. Commissioners approved an additional $1.5 million because of the increased mental health challenges caused by the pandemic. 

Twenty-one of the programs approved for funding are continuation proposals from January 1, 2021. Ongoing funding was awarded for a variety of therapeutic court programs including behavioral health court, juvenile individualized and drug courts, and adult drug and veterans’ courts. Support for law enforcement includes crisis intervention training, hiring a crisis intervention officer to coordinate response for behavioral health calls and reentry services in the jail.

Other programs approved for funding are new, including animal-assisted mental health counseling, intensive therapeutic wraparound services for non-Medicaid covered youth, onsite counseling services at Fishline Food Bank and comprehensive services at the YWCA. Peninsula Community Health Services will provide school-based health center behavioral health services for youth.

Several projects focus on housing support for individuals with behavioral health issues. These include Kitsap Rescue Mission, Kitsap Homes of Compassion, Pendleton Place, Eagles Wings and West Sound Treatment Center. Kitsap Community Resources and Scarlet Road were awarded funds for specialized rental assistance for individuals with behavioral health disorders.

A complete list of the funding recommendations approved by Commissioners is available here.

Kitsap County Department Highlight: Human Services

Through this newsletter, I will begin highlighting different county departments to provide a better understanding of the county's function and the services and resources we provide, beginning with the Kitsap County Department of Human Services. The department provides essential services that promote the health and well-being of all Kitsap residents. Over 20,000 residents of all ages benefit directly from services provided by department employees or through one of the 87 organizations the department contracts with. Human Services administers an annual operating budget of more than $40 million with 97 percent of funding obtained through federal and state contracts and grants.​

The Department of Human Services encompasses multiple divisions and programs, including:

  • Aging & Long-Term Care
  • Coordinated Block Grants Program
  • 1/10 of 1% Sales Tax Program to fund Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Therapeutic Court Programs and Services
  • Commission on Children & Youth
  • Developmental Disabilities Program
  • Housing & Homelessness Program
  • Olympic Consortium WorkSource Program
  • Kitsap Recovery Center
  • Salish Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization
  • Substance Abuse Prevention
  • Veterans Assistance Program
  • Suicide Prevention Program

Program Highlight: Developmental Disabilities Program

With the Human Services Department, the Developmental Disabilities Program supports individuals who experience developmental disabilities and their families. With an annual budget of about $3.6 million, approximately 320 adults and 200 children are served monthly through county-funded services. I am especially proud of the employment services this program provides. Hundreds of local businesses, such as Lowe’s, CHI Franciscan, Mod Pizza, and Fred Meyer participate in this employment program that helps people who experience developmental disabilities find a job and earn wages to help them lead independent lives and contribute to the community.