North End welcomes Bauer as new leader

HANSVILLE — As Hansville resident and local consultant Steve Bauer prepares to be sworn in to the North Kitsap Commissioner’s seat Monday, he’s already reviewing potential projects and communities, groups and people he wants to work with during his tenure as the North End’s representative. Having replaced former Commissioner Chris Endresen, who took a position as U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s state director and served her last day at the county at the end of June, Bauer said he’s ready to pick up where she left off and plunge into the myriad of budget issues plaguing the county.

“I think of the three commissioner districts, this one is the most interesting by far,” he said. “That was a big part of the attraction to the job, this is definitely the pick of the county.”

Bauer has been the driving force on many projects for the Hansville community over the years, including the Hansville Futures Project, which has helped lay groundwork for the coming years in the area, and working with the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Committee. He also has a background as a consultant, and has worked with the county before.

“He’s got an open mind,” said Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman. “I think the county needs his experience. I think we share some values in common like critical growth and maintaining our environmental habitat.”

He also said Bauer is a relative unknown, but the tribe is looking forward to meeting and working with him.

Kingston Community Center Foundation chairwoman and Kingston Parks, Trails and Open Space committee member Bobbie Moore said she also doesn’t know much about Bauer, but is ready and willing to discuss both organizations’ goals and priorities with him.

“I’ve only met Mr. Bauer briefly, and talked with him a little,” said Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Chairman Ron Charles. “I don’t know too much about him... It sounded like he has a good background, I was impressed and he had the impression of someone who will do well for North Kitsap.”

Bauer said once he has settled into the commissioner’s position and wades through the financial background he’s studying now, he will turn his attention to several projects still awaiting approval, funding or attention Endresen didn’t have a chance to complete.

“I think all the parks work she’s done such as Norwegian Point Park, Heritage Park and the trails systems,” Bauer said of what he will be reviewing. “I’m real excited to pick it up.”

Olympic Property Group President Jon Rose and Bauer have been working together for about two years, and first met when the acquisition process began on Hansville’s newest park — Norwegian Point. Rose said he’s looking forward to working with Bauer, and feels he’s already been doing a lot of work as a private resident that will translate well to the commissioner role.

“He’s a guy who’s put in a lot of private time of his own before the thought of being county commissioner even came up,” Rose said. “He can do vision, he sees the bigger picture and not get stuck on the details. I think he’s got a lot of courage to add this layer of complication to his life.”

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