POULSBO — Election Day was just another day on the job for Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson.
First, beginning at 8:30 a.m., she was at a meeting of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, which would consider a new voting structure that might bring the City of Bremerton back into the regional planning organization; approve the coordinating council’s budget and scope of work for 2018; and discuss growth management, transportation and economic development in the region.
Then, at 12:30 p.m., she participated in a meeting of the Kitsap Department of Emergency Management, which would vote on the department’s 2018 budget ($406,883); discuss the process of hiring of a new director; and get updates on Homeland Security funding, tsunami signage, and severe weather shelters.
Then, she planned to await election results from 7-8:15 p.m. at Western Red Brewery on Jensen Way, then move on to Slippery Pig until 10 p.m. for what she was confident would be a celebration.
Her confidence proved prescient.
Erickson was elected Nov. 7 to a third four-year term as Poulsbo’s 21st mayor, garnering 1,450 votes to contractor Ricky D. Moon’s 233 in early results posted at 8:10 p.m. by the Kitsap County Auditor Elections Office.
Updated election results will be posted at 4 p.m. Nov. 8, the Elections Office reported.
Erickson is in line to be one of the longest-served mayors in Poulsbo’s municipal history. S.P. Jensen, the 10th mayor, served 14 years 6 months between 1938 and 1952. Richard Mitchusson, the 18th mayor, served 13 years 1 month between 1985 and 1999. Peter Iverson, the second mayor, served 12 years between 1910-1922. If she completes her third term, she’ll tie Iverson for length of service.
Prior to her first term as mayor, she served two years on the City Council. Previously, she was chief financial officer of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and has an undergraduate degree in economics from University of Washington.
Erickson was challenged by Moon, a self-described graduate of the “School of Hard Knocks” and a building contractor who maintains several Front Street buildings for Sound West Group. His platform: Poulsbo is growing too fast for its infrastructure; the small-town character that draws people to Poulsbo is at risk; and downtown needs a parking garage.
“I would put a moratorium on construction growth in residential units until I was assured that the only sewer line leaving Poulsbo is going to accept the volume and pressure” from increased residential construction, he said during the campaign. “If the pipe [to the wastewater treatment plant in Brownsville] breaks or cracks, Liberty Bay will not be the same. Who is to blame and who’s going to pay for it?”
To improve traffic flow downtown, he pitched this idea: No big trucks from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Front Street becomes a one-way street, with return traffic routed the other way on an improved 3rd Avenue.
If he were elected, he said he’d hope, at the end of his term, to be able to look back and say he helped keep Poulsbo safe and friendly, had solved the major issues he was given, and had ensured Poulsbo residents had adequate water and wastewater services.
Moon hit some hurdles in his campaign. He admitted he’d have much to learn on the job; for example, he didn’t know much about the Growth Management Act, which governs how counties and cities plan for growth in order to prevent sprawl and protect open spaces. And several scrapes with the law came to light, including a fourth-degree assault and a DUI that was reduced to negligent driving.
By virtue of her experience, Erickson was able to point to a record of stabilizing the city’s budget as Poulsbo weathered the recession and recovery periods, and tougher protections for environmentally sensitive areas. Her second term was marked by turmoil in the police chief and city clerk’s offices, but those issues had been resolved by the second half of her term.
She was also able to clearly articulate how growth is managed: the city code protects critical areas and requires larger open spaces; the city plans 20 years ahead for future infrastructure needs, charging developers impact fees so residents don’t pay the costs of growth.
“We cannot stop growth,” she said during the campaign. “We must manage growth so Poulsbo changes in ways we love, retaining and enhancing its charm.”
Erickson and Moon had much of the same vision for downtown. Erickson said she wants to improve 3rd Avenue to improve traffic flow there, improve the walkability of Front Street by giving pedestrians the right of way, and building a parking garage in King Olaf parking lot. But the candidates’ similarities ended there.
Erickson said she believes Poulsbo can grow and still retain its small-town character and cultural heritage. At the end of another four-year term, she expects Poulsbo will still be vibrant, “with beautiful neighborhoods where people can raise their families, more public open spaces and pathways created, trees retained, daffodils planted, infrastructure improved, congestion relieved, public safety maintained, a healthy business economy intact, Liberty Bay clean and protected.”
She added, “Being mayor of Poulsbo is a 60-hour-per-week job, managing 95 employees [and a] budget of $31 million. My dedication is to Poulsbo.”
The City of Poulsbo was incorporated on Dec. 3, 1907. Mayors Andrew Moe to S.P. Jensen were elected to two-year terms. Since Mayor Martin Anderson’s election, mayors have been elected to four-year terms.
1. Andrew Moe: From incorporation to Jan. 11, 1910 (2 years).
2. Peter Iverson: Jan. 11, 1910 to Jan. 10, 1922 (12 years).
3. Otto K. Strizek: Jan. 10, 1922 to Jan. 7, 1924 (2 years).
4. Paul Paulson: Jan. 8, 1924 to Nov. 19, 1924 (11 months; died in office).
5. Elmer A. Borgen: Nov. 19, 1924 to Jan. 5, 1925 (2 months).
6. Selmer Myreboe: Jan. 20, 1925 to Jan. 4, 1926 (1 year).
7. Elmer A. Borgen: Jan. 20, 1926 to Jan. 9, 1928 (2 years).
8. John Ryen: Jan. 10, 1928 to Jan. 7, 1932 (4 years).
9. Selmer Myreboe: Jan. 8, 1932 to Jan. 5, 1938 (6 years).
10. S.P. Jensen: Jan. 6, 1938 to June 4, 1952 (14 years 6 months).
11. Martin Anderson: June 18, 1952 to June 1, 1960 (8 years).
12. Frank Raab: June 1, 1960 to Feb. 5, 1969 (8 years 8 months).
13. Hal Hoover: Feb. 6, 1969 to Dec. 3, 1969 (10 months).
14. Maurice Lindvig: Dec. 3, 1969 to March 10, 1976 (6 years 3 months).
15. Clyde C. Caldart: March 10, 1976 to Dec. 31, 1981 (5 years 9 months).
16. June E. Atack: Jan. 1, 1982 to March 12, 1985 (3 years 2 months; resigned).
17. Curtis G. Rudolph: March 13, 1985 to Nov. 20, 1985 (8 months).
18. Richard Mitchusson: Nov. 27, 1985 to Jan. 5, 1999 (13 years 1 month; resigned).
19. Donna Jean Bruce: Jan. 6, 1999 to Dec. 31, 2005 (6 years).
20. Kathryn H. Quade: Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2009 (4 years).
21. Rebecca Erickson: Jan. 1, 2010 to present.
— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.