District 1 News


12/18/2018Commissioner Gelder elected to top leadership role for Washington counties

Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder was recently elected as First Vice-President of the Washington State Association of Counties for 2018-2019 and will step up as President in the top leadership role in 2019-2020. The Washington State Association of Counties has served as the collective voice of Washington's counties for over one hundred years and provides training, legislative advocacy and a forum to build a statewide county legislative agenda. WSAC members include county commissioners, council members and executives from all of Washington's 39 counties.

"It's my great honor to serve as the First Vice-President," said Commissioner Gelder, who is 2018 chair of the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners. "As a subdivision of the state, counties play a unique role in the provision of services and programs to our local communities, often on behalf of the state.

"It is vital to maintain a strong voice of advocacy in Olympia and Washington, DC for adequate funding for infrastructure (roads, fish passage barrier removal), trial court public defense, and foundational public health services," he noted. "In addition, it's important to challenge new state-mandated services that shift the burden of funding onto the backs of local residents and taxpayers."
WSAC is governed by a board of directors led by the executive committee. Each year, county representatives elect officers for the following year.

Join Commissioner Gelder on one of his monthly "Walk & Talk" sessions through North Kitsap communities. Upcoming walks take place January 5, 2019, beginning at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center, 370 Brien Dr SE, and February 2, 2019, beginning at the Commissioner's Kingston office, located in the back portion of the building housing the Kitsap County Sheriff's precinct office at 26076 Illinois Ave. The Walk & Talks get underway at 9:30 a.m. sharp.
Visit Commissioner Gelder's website to view newsletters, Commissioner's Corner programs and an interactive map of North Kitsap communities, and to sign up for electronic news updates: https://www.kitsapgov.com/BOC_p/Pages/Dist1home.aspx. To learn more about WSAC, visit http://wsac.org

10/3/2018Join a focus group and help shape the future of cable TV in Kitsap

​(Port Orchard, WA) - What's your vision for media in Kitsap County in the next 10 years?  Sign up for a focus group on October 24-25 to weigh in on the future of community media,public technology, and cable television service.

Kitsap County is seeking your input on the future of cable service, community media, and technology needs for the next 10 years. Comcast and Wave Broadband submitted requests to renew their cable franchise agreements with the County.  A community process is being undertaken as part of the cable franchise renewal process. The process examines the past performance of Comcast and Wave and identifies future services that residents, schools, community groups, businesses and local government want included in the new cable franchise agreements.

Kitsap County is hosting a series of four focus groups October 24-25. There is an afternoon and evening group each day.  These focus groups provide a chance for interested community members to learn about franchise renewal and provide input regarding future services you want available through the cable systems serving the County.

Sue Buske of The Buske Group, a nationally recognized public policy consulting firm, will facilitate the focus groups. These groups provide information on

  • The cable franchise renewal process currently underway
  • How cable systems work, and how they can work in the future
  • Public, educational, and government access to cable television resources
  • Ways community groups and organizations, schools, businesses, residents, and government agencies can use a cable communication system.


The focus groups gather input from participants through brainstorming and completing an online questionnaire. There is no charge, and refreshments are served.

If you're interested, select the group that is most appropriate or convenient and RSVP online. All groups cover the same information but focus closer on the community in the title.

While the four scheduled meetings have a focus group title, they remain open to anyone who wishes to attend.  Each if these meetings will be very similar in agenda and format.  Each of the meetings will begin with an overview covering the "why" portion of the a franchise renewal and then the facilitator will attempt to draw out ideas on how the residents might better utilize our local PEG cable channel.  All County residents are encouraged to attend any of these meetings.

RSVP online here (kcowa.us/focusgroups) –or by email to George Geyer at gfgeyer@co.kitsap.wa.us or by phone at 360.337.4404

Wednesday, October 24
1:30 - 3:30pm     Government, Business and Technology
Kitsap County Administration Building
619 Division St., Port Orchard

5:30 - 7:30pm     Community Education
Kitsap County Administration Building
619 Division St., Port Orchard

Thursday, October 25
1:30 -3:30pm       Nonprofit and Faith-Based Organizations
Silverdale Water District
5300 NW Newberry Hill Rd. #100, Silverdale

5:30 – 7:30pm     Arts, Culture, & Heritage
Silverdale Water District
5300 NW Newberry Hill Rd. #100, Silverdale

8/2/2018Walk & Talk through North Kitsap with Commissioner Rob Gelder

​Join Commissioner Rob Gelder to "Walk & Talk" as he traverses through North Kitsap communities to talk about topics that are important to residents. No reservations required!


"Walk & Talk"  sessions are scheduled the first Saturday of the month, beginning at 9:30 a.m. sharp at the following starting points:


August 4, 2018

Port Gamble

Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park parking lot

(main lot, west side of highway 104)


September 1, 2018


Hansgrill - 7532 NE Twin Spits Rd


No October Event


November 3, 2018


Kingston office - 26076 Illinois Ave


December 1, 2018


Coffee Oasis - 780 NE Iverson St


January 5, 2019

Bainbridge Island

BI Senior Center - 370 Brien Dr SE


February 2, 2019


Kingston office - 26076 Illinois Ave


No March Event


April 6, 2019


Keyport Mercantile - 15499 Washington Ave


May 4, 2019


General Store - 9175 NE Shore Dr


June 1, 2019


Kingston office - 26076 Illinois Ave


July 6, 2019


Suquamish Pier


August 3, 2019

Port Gamble

Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park parking lot

(main lot, west side of highway 104)


September 7, 2019


Hansgrill - 7532 NE Twin Spits Rd


October 5, 2019


Kingston office - 26076 Illinois Ave


November 2, 2019


Coffee Oasis - 780 NE Iverson St


December 7, 2019


Kingston office - 26076 Illinois Ave


For more information, contact Commissioner Gelder at (360) 337-7080, rgelder@co.kitsap.wa.us. Click here for a Walk & Talk flyer.

8/1/2018Good News! Updates on improvements to traffic circulation in downtown Kingston

As shared at recent Kingston Citizen Advisory Council  (KCAC) meetings, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) was awarded $500,000 in a state appropriation to begin review of the constraints of State Route 104 in downtown Kington and impacts of ferry congestion on the community.  Additionally, Kitsap County was awarded a $740,000 regional grant to begin preliminary engineering for the re-routing of  highway 104 in downtown Kingston. 

These funding awards compliments each other and will allow planning efforts to determine cost estimates for construction. This is important information WSDOT will need to seek additional funding for construction of the re-routing project. The transportation committee of the KCAC is assisting in the review of some low-cost solutions to downtown ferry congestion for near-term improvements.

The update document that may be linked to here outlines the four elements of State Route 104 traffic circulation improvements in Kingston that are moving forward and the timeline for planning efforts. These include:

  1. Preliminary engineering for the widening of First Street to allow for re-alignment of highway 104 out of downtown to make for better local circulation and pedestrian traffic

  2. Installation of a camera and variable messaging signage on the toll booth for more real-time information for travelers using the ferry system and residents who want to know conditions along highway 104

  3. Low-cost signage and other near-term improvements in downtown Kingston

  4. An advance preliminary design for a ferry holding lot off Lindvog Road that would keep ferry traffic off the highway 104 shoulders and vehicles to the terminal in order to avoid congestion downtown

Click here to go to the WSDOT project website for Kingston ferry terminal traffic improvements.

5/24/2018North Kitsap Communities webpage

​Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder invites the public to explore the new North Kitsap Communities story map on the county's website.

The story map format allows viewers to scroll through information about North Kitsap, while accompanying maps adjust to provide a close-up look at the many communities. There are links to additional maps and community resources for those who live in the area or are planning a visit.

"In this day and age, we all try to find ways to explore and connect with our neighborhood. This is an interactive way to take a tour of our community, from the comfort of our home," said Commissioner Gelder.

For more information on North Kitsap Commissioner District 1 and to sign up for electronic notifications, visit Commissioner Gelder's website here.

11/22/2017Commissioner Gelder elected Second Vice President for WSAC

Commissioner Rob Gelder (second from right) was recently elected as Second Vice President for the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) at their annual conference in November. He has been a member of the Board and active with WSAC for 6 years, and is honored to take on a bigger role with the organization in 2018.

"Local government is where the rubber hits the road in the provision of services to the public.  As a subdivision of the state, it's often counties that have to do the work of the state without being given the funding to do so.  I see one of my roles as being an advocate for Kitsap and all 39 counties when it comes to asking the legislature to support good, sustainable, and common sense government." Said Rob Gelder.

WSAC is a non-profit association serving all of Washington's 39 counties, advocating for county issues in the legislature. Counties provide many services that cities and the state do not provide, including a huge proportion of law and justice programs. WSAC's legislative agenda for 2017 included advocating for reform to property tax caps, an update of the public records act and adequate funding of trial court for indigent defense services.

As Second  Vice President, Commissioner Gelder will continue his role with the legislative steering committee for 2018, and will work closely with other counties on legislative advocacy.

11/6/2017Poulsbo Pump Track

Commissioner Gelder was on hand with City of Poulsbo officials and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) to celebrate the grand opening of the Poulsbo Pump track on October 28. With Commissioner Gelder's leadership, Kitsap County transferred a seldom-used 1.8 acre park on Little Valley Road to the City of Poulsbo, in the hopes that it would benefit the community. The City then took proposals for development from interested organizations, and chose the pump track from several worthy applicants.  

The track, which was built with volunteers and donations from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, allows riders to traverse the hills and turns with minimal pedaling, and is fun for all skill levels. At the grand opening, Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson presented EMBA with a check for $11,415.50 – a return of their permit fees in recognition of the facility's public benefit.  The Poulsbo Pump Track is located at the corner of Little Valley Road and NE Bernt Road.

Photo: Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson (third from left), presents a check to Brian Kilpatrick (right) from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Looking on are Matt Slaney (left) from EMBA and Commissioner Rob Gelder.

7/13/2017Final Push for Kitsap Forest and Bay

Kitsap and its community partners are in the homestretch of the capital campaign to preserve the remainder of the forestland south of Port Gamble. The goal is to raise $3.5M to pair with state grants to acquire the remaining 1,600 acres of timberland, wildlife corridors and trail systems this year. With the necessary funding, Kitsap will be able to pursue construction of a world-class mountain biking ride park, as well as a regional trail connection (the Sound to Olympics Trail) between Port Gamble and Kingston. With the campaign winding down and the goal within reach, you can help cross the finish line. Please donate to these historic acquisitions that will preserve this land for future generations. For more information, please visit www.savePG.org.

7/13/2017Highway 104 Working Group

The Washington State transportation budget was approved with $500,000 earmarked for Kingston. Several years ago, stakeholders met to discuss a preferred alternative to having ferry traffic run through Main Street in downtown Kingston. Many local merchants complain that the ferry traffic blocks access to their businesses and tends to make locals avoid the area during peak ferry traffic. It was agreed that rerouting all ferry traffic to 1st Street, where currently the ferry traffic offloads, was the preferred alternative. Due to a lack of funds from any of the agencies involved, talks stalled.

With the new funding from the state budget, Commissioner Gelder has reconvened the key stakeholders to plan for the realignment. Representatives from Kitsap County Public Works, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the WSDOT Ferries division, State Patrol, the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council and other interested Kingston interests were on hand for a meeting in June to revive the realignment effort. Stay tuned for new developments on this project!

5/23/2017Sit a while and relax in Kingston’s giant Adirondack chairs

Commissioner Gelder relaxes in one of the new Adirondack chairs in Kingston, WA

Visitors coming into Kingston will do a double-take when they see the dozen giant-sized Adirondack chairs throughout downtown. As part of a local branding effort for Kingston to sit, relax and stay a while,  the hope is the brightly colored chairs will encourage people of all ages to stop and enjoy them while taking in the mountain and sound views, beautiful beaches, parks, and marina.

"The chairs are a great visual around the community that will convey fun and excitement, not to mention a reason to come play and stay in Kingston," said Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder, who supports the effort to increase economic development and tourism in North Kitsap. He hopes the chairs will grab the attention of those passing through town and get them to stop and enjoy the community while supporting local businesses and activities.

Commissioner Gelder has been involved in the planning for the big chairs for nearly a year, along with Port of Kingston Executive Director Jim Pivarnik and brainchild of the initiative, Susan Rodgers, owner of Cleo's Landing in downtown Kingston and long-time community advocate. She has had two big chairs in front of her business for years and saw how much they attracted people to climb around on them, sit and chill, take photos and look out over Apple Tree Cove. She worked with Doug Woodside, local builder and owner of Decks & Patio Covers in Kingston, to construct the additional chairs that were put in place earlier this month.

The chairs were paid for by individual and business sponsors, including Commissioner Gelder who purchased four chairs using his discretionary funds and placed them at Kola Kole and Arness county parks downtown. Other chairs are at the Port of Kingston's Mike Wallace Park,  Kingston Mercantile & Marine and Cleo's Landing.

As the buzz spreads about the big chairs, Kingston will join other Washington communities known for their oversize attractions like the Frogs on the Rock on Bainbridge Island,  the Run of Giant Salmon in Olympia and Hat and Boots in Georgetown.

Doug Woodside said there is already interest in four more chairs and they need four more orders as the chairs are built in blocks of eight. Local Kingston businesses and organizations interested in having chairs of their own can contact the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce at (360) 297-3813.

5/17/2017Commissioner Gelder selected to participate in national leadership program

Commissioner Gelder has been selected to join a group of 24 county government leaders from across the country to participate in the 14th Annual County Leadership Institute June 4-8 in Washington D.C.

The rigorous four-day program, developed by the National Association of Counties and Cambridge Leadership Association, enhances the capability of county officials to further develop their approaches towards solving complex challenges facing their counties and constituents, and to forge positive, sustained change in their communities. The curriculum provides tools to encourage innovation and creativity in a new era of government, resources for invigorating organization culture and best practices for effective communication, collaboration and decision-making.

"I'm truly humbled and honored to be selected for this training," said Commissioner Gelder. "To learn alongside other commissioners from around the country is a gift. I'm excited to be able to learn new or refined skills to help me in my role of service to Kitsap County. This is a unique opportunity to learn from experts and work with other county leaders as we strengthen our skills to tackle some of our greatest challenges.

Faculty from Cambridge Leadership Associates, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University will present a curriculum that provides a basis for the application of adaptive leadership and strategies for resolving issues in public service.

"County officials often address similar issues and can learn a great deal from one another," said Matthew Chase, NACo's executive director. "The County Leadership Institute fosters peer-to-peer learning and encourages common-sense solutions to challenges that counties and residents face every day.

Since its inception, the Leadership Institute has graduated nearly 300 leaders from 172 counties across 45 states. Two other Kitsap County Commissioners were previously selected to participate in the leadership institute: Josh Brown in 2011 and Jan Angel in 2005.