Putaansuu says he’s running again for mayor

Mayor cites achievements during term on transportation, zoning and parks

PORT ORCHARD — Mayor Rob Putaansuu said Tuesday he plans to run for reelection later this year.

The first-term city leader was elected mayor in 2015, defeating incumbent Tim Matthes after serving on the City Council since 2007. When elected mayor, Putaansuu resigned his 16-year job as manager and vice president of Columbia Bank.

“These last three years have been both challenging and extremely gratifying,” Putaansuu said in his Jan. 15 reelection announcement. “We’ve made so much progress but there’s much unfinished business.”

Putaansuu cited a number of significant achievements during his term as mayor, including securing funding for the Tremont Street improvements nearing completion, establishing new zoning and tax abatements to incentivize investment and affordable housing in Port Orchard, and designating two Opportunity Zones that cover most of the city to attract additional private equity.

The mayor also credited the support of the City Council in those efforts, including starting work on the Bethel traffic corridor overlay and completing McCormick Village Park, the city’s first regional park.

“We have much to do in the next few years, including the Bethel Corridor [project], Rockwell Park, additional segments of the Pedestrian Pathway, a new water well to end our dependency on Bremerton for water, and necessary sewer system upgrades,” Putaansuu said.

“These are exciting times for Port Orchard and we have so much opportunity to build on our recent accomplishments, but we need to stay focused on the issues that are critical to supporting our success in the years to come.”

While the year is still in its infancy, no candidate has yet surfaced to challenge Putaansuu for the mayoral seat.

The mayor is a 47-year South Kitsap resident and 17-year downtown resident with his wife Susan, a medical provider. He has been an active community member and volunteer over the last few decades, most notably with the South Kitsap Rotary Club. Putaansuu served as president in 2001 and was twice voted Rotarian of the Year, according to his campaign announcement.

He served as president of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce in 2002 and has been involved in the Kurt Wagner Education Fund, a financial resource for educational projects benefiting underprivileged youth in South Kitsap. Before becoming a City Council member, Putaansuu served on the city’s planning commission.