PO honors longtime Councilman Clauson

The legacies of the longest-serving elected officials in Port Orchard history live on in the street signs downtown.

Robert Geiger’s remarkable 45 years of service up to 2007 was commemorated with the renaming of the angled stretch of road known as Bank Street to Robert Geiger Street.

He was one election cycle away from being able to tie that record mark, but longtime Councilmember John Clauson’s 41 years of service called for that same level of recognition along with a bronze plaque.

‘It has been an honor to serve alongside Councilman Clauson,” Mayor Rob Putaansuu says in a news release. “John’s leadership and dedication has made Port Orchard better and stronger.”

The location of John Clauson Way was fitting given his work as executive director of Kitsap Transit: by the downtown waterfront, near the ferry dock and on the same stretch of road used as a South Kitsap hub for the agency’s bus routes.

“I feel extremely honored and humbled to have had the trust and support of the citizens of Port Orchard for all the years I was allowed to serve,” Clauson said. “I think of all the great people that I have worked with, community members, fellow elected (local, state and federal), and some wonderful city staff.”

Clauson’s service as an elected councilman goes back to 1983, serving on behalf of projects from the minor roundabouts to the major building of Port Orchard’s City Hall, but his service to his community went back even further as a student at South Kitsap High School, a volunteer firefighter at the Orchard Heights station, a business owner and many other occupations.

As to why he continued to serve the city for so many years, he said, “Port Orchard is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Where else can you find a community that has a small-town feel, great people, and is a short distance away from whatever you may want to do or see?”

He added there was a part of him that had hoped to see victory in the latest election cycle, though he said it was “only from the standpoint of wanting to see some projects through to completion like the Community Center and the Bethel Road improvements.”

Clauson was one of three exiting council members to be honored at the close of the year’s meetings, the others being Shawn Cucciardi and Cindy Lucarelli. Both Clauson and Lucarelli lost in the general election to Eric Worden and Heidi Fenton. Cucciardi did not run.

Councilmember Mark Trenary said while it was a council that did not agree on everything, there could at least be an agreement that the betterment of the city was always a primary interest.

“I thank each of you for the knowledge that you’ve passed on and for your service to the citizens of Port Orchard,” Trenary said.