Former Poulsbo mayor Mitch Mitchusson dies

Former Poulsbo mayor Richard "Mitch" Mitchusson died Friday night, his attorney Matt Clucas said Saturday. Mitchusson was 71.

An Oklahoma native, Mitchusson served as Poulsbo's mayor from 1985 to 1999. He was the city's longest serving mayor and its first full-time paid mayor.

It was during his terms in office that discussion about finding a new municipal campus began. On Wednesday night, during Poulsbo's new city hall opening ceremony, Mitchusson was recognized as one of Little Norway's honorary grandparents. His wife Barbara, who accepted on his behalf, said he would be pleased with the distinction.

Mitchusson was battling cancer at the time of his death. He also had a form of dementia known as Pick's Disease, his family said in a statement. It was that disease that led to several stalking and assault charges filed against him in 2009, the family said. Mitchusson pleaded not guilty, and was released on house arrest in June 2009. Charges against him were pending for several months due to difficulty in obtaining health evaluations. Those charges will be dismissed, according to Clucas.

Mitchusson was well-known around Poulsbo, and his work was not forgotten by people in town after the charges were filed, the family statement said.

"So many of them would tell a story about Mitch and how he took the time to help them with something," it reads.

Mitchusson worked as the city's public works director before winning the 1985 mayoral election. He went on to win three more elections.

Front Street was renovated, the Business Improvement Area Association (now the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association) was formed and nearly 515 acres were annexed into the city under Mitchusson's watch. He oversaw early plans for a satellite Olympic College campus in Poulsbo.

Memorial service details are not yet available.

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