City Manager's Report
Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
Another challenging week is behind us. For my part, I am currently marking time more simply, and aim for days and hours during which most (not all) of the most important things are managed as well as possible. In some ways, this means each day passes in a blur, as we work to identify issues, quickly make decisions, and then communicate out so others can know. In other ways, time passes more slowly, as co-workers and neighbors spread out to separate corners, and regular activities and interactions slow and sometimes stop. Maybe “pause” is a more appropriate and hopeful word. 

Each day brings both successes and failures. From my vantage point at the center of our community’s work to help one another, I see continuous examples of extensive and meaningful support offered to individual islanders, businesses, and community organizations. I also see and appreciate real anxiety and stress among all of us, as we work to understand the range of public health issues and economic impacts. From the outset, this has been a crisis that calls for flexibility, resourcefulness, and the need to take a few moments in each day to simply connect with one another in a positive way. Thanks to the many of you who are doing these things, are helping in ways large and small, and are sharing your words of encouragement with those who need them.

Please continue to track important updates via the City’s website, and make sure others are aware of this resource as well. We are working hard to provide a wide range of information and updates, and the answer to many questions can be found in the tabs and links we are providing.

On Tuesday, the City Council met to receive a briefing on COVID-19 response efforts, and to hold a previously noticed public hearing on whether to extend the development moratorium for an additional six months. The extension was approved and, as a result, the moratorium will continue until early October 2020. At the meeting, the Council also decided to schedule weekly Council meetings during April. These meetings will include updates on the COVID-19 response, as well as items related to the City’s business continuity and emergency response decisions. More specifics on the timing, format, and public access for the April City Council meetings will be forthcoming.

For more information on these topics and other items, please see below.  

Best wishes,

Morgan Smith
City Manager
COVID-19 Updates
Update on City response
We continue to support Gov. Jay Inslee’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The rules remain in effect until April 6 (April 8 for non-essential businesses) but could be extended.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated and staffed to manage and prioritize resource requests across the community, and to coordinate additional communication and outreach. In response to the Governor’s order, some EOC staff is now working remotely instead of in City Hall.

Due to the Governor’s orders, City facilities will remain closed to the public through at least April 10. The closure includes City Hall and walk-in services at the Police Station lobby. Some City services are available to the public during this time through electronic submittals, email and phone.

The Bainbridge Island Municipal Court, located at 10255 NE Valley Road, is closed to the public through at least April 24. Judge Sara McCulloch approved an emergency administrative order March 23 to postpone and reschedule matters at the Municipal Court due to public health concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please follow the City's COVID-19 webpage for the latest updates.

In addition, City Manager Morgan Smith and Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage provided an update on the City’s COVID-19 response during the March 24 Council meeting. Watch the update here.
Status of restrictions on in-person public meetings and changes related to public records
On March 24, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an order modifying, suspending, and waiving provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA) to limit in-person contact and address other issues related to the COVID-19 situation.

Under the Governor’s order, City Council meetings can only occur remotely (i.e., not in person), and can only address matters that are necessary and routine or are necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and the current public health emergency.
Based on clarifying guidance from the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, the requirement that meetings are not to be conducted in-person applies to Council members as well as to the public.

This week, the Council confirmed that it plans to meet weekly throughout April. The next meeting is scheduled for April 7 and will be held remotely. The only topic for this meeting will be an update on the City’s COVID-19 emergency response. The start time for the April 7 meeting, the remote platform, and details on public access are being determined.

All City Advisory Group meetings, including the Planning Commission and Design Review Board are canceled through April 30. 

The City Attorney’s Office continues to assess the requirements of the Governor’s orders as they affect City services. 
Governor: Construction is not an essential activity
Gov. Jay Inslee released additional guidance on March 25 for construction activity in his ’ Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order.

Under the Governor’s order, “construction is not considered to be an essential activity.” As a result, all construction – residential and commercial – is not authorized while the order is in place and is subject to limited exceptions. 

Please refer to the Governor’s orders for more specificity, but in sum there are exceptions to this order for:
  • Construction workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction) for all essential facilities, services and projects included in the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” document provided by the Governor’s office.
  • Residential construction related to emergency repairs and projects that ensure structural integrity.

For additional information on limited exceptions to the order, please see the Governor’s construction guidance memo issued March 25.

If an activity allowed under this order requires a building inspection from the City of Bainbridge Island Building Department, please contact the Inspection line at 206-780-3789 and see the March 26 Building Inspection Update memo
All Bainbridge parks closed to vehicle access
The City and BI Metro Park & Recreation District support the safe use of parks during this public health emergency. The decision was made earlier this week to close all Bainbridge parks to vehicle access to minimize large gatherings. In the days leading up to this decision, Park District staff observed large gatherings, overflowing parking lots and people not following the social distancing guidelines established by health professionals. We are committed to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and hope that our community will respect the temporary changes put in place. At this time, all City and Park District parks remain accessible for people walking, running or biking. 

The park changes will remain in place throughout the duration of Gov. Inslee’s ’Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order that remains in effect through at least April 6. Learn more about the status of the Park District here.

Social Distancing
The Bainbridge Island Police Department has received several notifications from community members concerned about large gatherings involving youth. We’d like to remind parents and kids that the Governor’s order discourages large gatherings for any purpose, outside or at home (including sleepovers and parties). The Governor’s office is requesting that you cancel or postpone in-person visits. But, you don’t have to isolate yourself! Keep in touch with your family and friends through phone and video calls, emails and letters, and virtual gatherings. You can use phone apps and social media platforms for group conversations and video chatting. 

The Governor’s office encourages you to go for walks, check your mailbox and sit in the sun, but just remember to stay at least six feet away from others.
Bainbridge residents rally to sew masks, donate supplies for health care workers
Volunteers are arriving at Bainbridge Artisan Network (BARN) twice weekly to pick up kits of materials to sew protective masks to distribute to island health care workers and vulnerable patients. The volunteers are creating masks because the items are in short supply due to impacts on manufacturing and the increase in global demand.

Each kit contains materials for 9 to 12 masks, and each mask takes about one hour to sew. Once the masks are delivered back to BARN, volunteers wash them with bleach and pack them individually to keep them clean. Right now, there are enough kits in the community to make about 330 masks, and volunteers are hard at work assembling more; they hope to create at least 5,000.

“I am appreciative to be able to help out in any way during this coronavirus crisis. With the apparent face mask shortage in the medical community, this is an opportunity for me to contribute - even if in a small way,” volunteer Mary Tuffley said.

On March 20, the first 24 masks were delivered to Virginia Mason and Bainbridge Pediatrics.

Soon, the volunteers also plan to sew gowns and smaller face masks for pediatric patients. If you would like to volunteer to sew or donate materials, visit the Bainbridge Recovers site here.

Others are helping through donations of protective equipment. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located at City Hall, is collecting these much-needed supplies for health care workers on the island.

As of March 26, the EOC received the following items from community members who responded to the request for donations:

  • 1,004 N95 respirators (a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles – see here)
  • 282 surgical masks
  • 60 safety goggles
  • 16 face shields
  • 80 bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 125 handsewn face masks
  • Hundreds of gloves

“Thank you to everyone for contributing to this effort. Your generous donations will help us continue to support organizations in our community during this critical time,” Emergency Management Coordinator Anne LeSage said.

The EOC has delivered protective equipment to several critical island organizations, including Bainbridge Pediatrics, Bainbridge Island Senior Living, and Virginia Mason.

We’ve also provided supplies to Helpline House, Community Pharmacy, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses throughout the island that remain open to provide essential services. Many of the current community requests are for hand sanitizer to protect staff and volunteers.

During the week of March 30, volunteers will accept donations Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at City Hall (just leave your items at the bottom of the steps and a volunteer will get the items).

Bainbridge Prepares volunteers Andrea Bennett and Fiona Yates contributed to this story.
Residents use 'Map Your Neighborhood' program to for COVID-19 support
We’re encouraged to see that people are using the City’s Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) program during the COVID-19 outbreak to support each other and the community.

Phil Fergusson of the Phelps Rd MYN group says his neighborhood is using its email distribution list to help make grocery & pharmacy runs for those self-isolating, to check on vulnerable neighbors and to gather food donations to support the Helpline House pantry. Way to go! Thank you!

Learn about MYN in the March COBI Connects issue here.
T&C temporarily halts use of reusable bags
At this time, T&C is only putting groceries in unused paper or plastic bags - they are not allowing customers to use reusable bags at checkout for safety reasons during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Employees are giving customers the option to use paper bags or to put groceries directly in the shopping cart, and then customers can put the groceries into reusable bags once they get to their vehicles. That solution respects both any potential health concerns while also being mindful of the environmental goal established by the ban on plastic bags. Read more on T&C’s current practices here

T&C has waived the 8-cent fee charged for bags. In November, City Council increased the fee for large paper and thick plastic bags from 5 cents to 8 cents to be consistent with similar fees in Kitsap County, Bremerton and Port Orchard. The fee is retained by the retailer and is meant to offset the cost of bags and other costs related to the pass-through charge.

The City’s single-use plastic bag ordinance remains in place, but we don't anticipate any code enforcement during this time on this issue, as City staff is focused on life-safety concerns.
BISD to continue 'grab & go' meal program
The Bainbridge Island School District is providing free grab & go meals weekdays 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Ordway, located at 8555 Madison Ave. This is available to all Bainbridge Island youth ages 2-18. 

Students do not need to be enrolled in BISD to receive meals but must be present when picking up the meals.

If you are arriving on wheels, please stay in your vehicle – staff will come to you.

If you are arriving on foot, please maintain at least six feet between yourself and others.
Kitsap Public Health update
As of March 26, Kitsap Public Health reports 33 positive COVID-19 cases in Kitsap County (including five cases on Bainbridge Island). There have been 850 negative test results. Get Kitsap Public Health updates here
City Council Updates
Council approves development moratorium extension
City Council approved a six-month extension of the development moratorium. The moratorium, which has been in place since January 2018, will now expire Oct. 3. The extension allows staff time to complete affordable housing tasks and continue work to integrate the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) into the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO).
City Council seeking applicants to fill south ward vacancy
Bainbridge Island residents interested in serving on the City Council have until 4 p.m. Friday, April 17 to apply to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Councilmember Matthew Tirman who held Position No. 3 in the south ward. 

Residents interested in applying for the Council vacancy must have lived in the City of Bainbridge Island for at least one year as of March 17, 2020, must currently live in the south ward, and be registered to vote. Click here to view the ward map on the City’s website to confirm your residence is in the south ward.  

Application forms are available at City Hall, located at 280 Madison Avenue North, or on the City’s website.

The term of the vacated position will begin once a candidate is appointed by a majority vote of the Council and will expire after the results of the November 2021 general election are certified.

The timeline for filling the Council vacancy is as follows:
  • Friday, April 17
  • Applications are due to City Clerk by 4:00 p.m.
  • To be determined (due to the COVID-19 outbreak)
  • Candidate interviews at City Council meeting(s); City Council makes appointment.  

The City of Bainbridge Island operates under the Council-Manager form of government. The seven-member City Council serves as the legislative body of the City. The Council is responsible for setting policy, adopting the annual budget, adopting laws, determining the services the City provides and the funding levels for those services, and appointing people to its advisory boards and commissions.

For more information on the Council vacancy, please contact City Clerk Christine Brown at 206.780.8618 or
Police Update
Council approves Police Chief employment agreement
The City Council voted to unanimously approve the employment agreement for the City's new Police Chief Joe Clark.

Clark currently serves as Deputy Chief of Police for the Norfolk Police Department, where he has been employed since 1986.

He brings a wealth of policing experience to the City with a strong commitment to community engagement.

Clark expects to begin his duties as Police Chief in late April.

2020 Census Update
Complete the 2020 Census today
If you’re looking for something to do while at home, please consider taking a few minutes to respond to the 2020 census.  

The questionnaire should take most people only 10 minutes to complete.

There are three ways to fill out the Census:

  • Mail: Fill out the paper questionnaire and return by mail.

  • Phone: Call 1-844-330-2020.

The Census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and the Bainbridge Island community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding goes to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, services for senior citizens and other resources based on census data. 

Kitsap County communities have received an estimated $2,900 of federal spending per resident per year since the 2010 Census.

The results of the Census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. 

Kitsap County has a Complete Count Committee coordinating with a variety of community partners to help ensure that all Kitsap County residents are counted. See for additional information

As of March 25, 31.6% of Kitsap County residents have responded to the 2020 census. Keep it going! Learn more here.

The Census has extended the self-response date to Aug. 14.
Stay Connected
Contact Information

280 Madison Avenue North
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Phone: 206-842-7633