County releases Year in Review 2023

Submitted by San Juan County

San Juan County is proud to present the organization’s 2023 Year-In-Review, highlighting accomplishments, notable projects, and the breadth of programs and services provided to island communities. The public is encouraged to access the document on the County website by scrolling the PDF at or visiting the San Juan County Newsroom at

“The success of the past 12 months was made possible by and through the diligent work of the employees, elected officials, and those who gave generously of their time to serve on any number of boards and commissions,” wrote County Manager, Mike Thomas, in the introduction. “I am proud of the work, successes, and organizational changes you will read in the Review.”

By the Numbers Highlights

The review includes ‘By the Numbers’ highlights that span Environmental Stewardship programs to Public Works Projects, recruiting and hiring stats, calls for service to the Sheriff’s Office, and more, including:

$2 million generated by the HomeFund for affordable housing projects

$635,000+ federal ARPA funds allocated to support community services including resource centers and daycare

36,000 meals provided via senior services programs

10,000+ calls for service to the Sheriff’s Office

43 full-time and 29 seasonal positions filled

65,111 site visits to the ‘Engage’ platform at

2,109 immunizations administered by Health and Community Services Department

1,002 responses to the Public Works Survey –‘How should your roads work for you?’ at

132 creosote pilings removed from San Juan Island’s Jackson Beach

Find more ‘By the Numbers’ highlights in the full Year-in-Review.

2023’s Notable Projects and Programs

The 2023 Year-In-Review celebrates successes across County departments including the Orcas Island Ferry Terminal Landing improvements ( for better accessibility, the launch of the ‘Engage’ platform for increased community engagement, the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of San Juan County (, numerous health clinics and upgrades to Parks and Fair facilities, and the adoption of the 2024/25 biennial budget, to name a few.

To magnify its voice and strengthen advocacy efforts, the County joined a multi-county consortium (SWISS) to partner on common issues such as housing, health, transportation, and ferries. Council published an open letter to state officials regarding the impacts of poor ferry service in the Islands.

The County completed ground-breaking scientific work on a Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment Study that provides the science needed to assess future impacts to shoreline ecology, public infrastructure, and private property. Sea level rise, along with climate change science and information, will be included in the 2025 Comprehensive Plan update and used in capital project decision-making.

Exasperated by difficulty recruiting and maintaining staff, the County boldly adopted a 32-hour work week – the first County to do so in the state. The change yielded a notable increase in applications and successful recruits.

Thanks to the vision of the voters, the HomeFund provided $2 million for affordable housing projects. The County passed a housing sales tax and selected a private partner to build a public/private affordable housing development in Friday Harbor.

“The progress and lessons learned in 2023 will serve the County and community well as we begin 2024,” Thomas wrote.

The public is encouraged to view the Year-In-Review document by scrolling the PDF at or by visiting the County’s Newsroom: