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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Poulsbo area was historically inhabited by the Suquamish people for at least 5,000 years, until they were moved to the Port Madison Indian Reservation after the signing of the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855. Poulsbo was founded in the 1880's by Norwegian immigrant Jørgen Eliason, who was joined by other Norwegian and Scandinavians relocated from  Midwestern states.

Until World War II, many Poulsbo residents retained Norwegian as a primary language. During the war the population diversified and English became the dominant language. Today Poulsbo's population is ~ 12,000 and growing (2.26%).

Demographics (, US census, 2019):

  • White: 8,891 - 83.86%

  • Two or more races: 552 - 5.21%

  • Hispanic: 501 - 4.73%

  • Asian: 440 - 4.15%

  • Black/African American: 137 - 1.29%

  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 72 - 0.68%

  • Native American: 9 - 0.08%

  • Born in US: 92.5%, Born in WA: 36.8%

  • Poulsbo Adults: 8,332 (2,289 of whom are seniors)

  • Education: HS grad: 19.34%, Some College: 25.75%, Bachelor: 25.3%, Graduate: 15.9%

  • Poverty rate: 7.52% (9.82% female, 4.7% male)

  • Median Income: Families - $99,120, Non-Families - $40,781

  • Households: Owner: 63.9%, Renter - 36.1%

The Pledge

"Poulsbo is committed to being a welcoming, diverse, and equitable community where all people can have access to tools and opportunities to improve their quality of life, allowing them to reach their full potential. During its meetings the Poulsbo City Council will use this lens to inclusively view its discussions and actions."  statement read by the mayor before all council meetings, followed by a land acknowledgement of the Suquamish people.



  • 2022-23 Hispanic, BIPOC, & LGBTQ students routinely face bullying and racist slurs in schools and on buses. Multiple threats of school violence have been made, including one involving charges of hate crimes. Kitsap Sun article 5/22

  • Police killing of Stonechild Chiefstick in Poulsbo's Waterfront Park, July 2019 - Officer Keller received no charges and, in fact, was promoted the following year; federal lawsuit filed against the City of Poulsbo by the Chiefstick family, July, 2021

  • Continuing reports of harassment of People of Color in schools, businesses, and other settings

  • White supremacy, racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ flyers and signs posted sporadically in Poulsbo and throughout the county

  • Armed, local militia members patrol of Front Street during the peaceful George Floyd demonstration, July 2020

  • Gateway Church invites Joseph Backholm, anti-LGBTQ conservative, to speak against Critical Race Theory, August, 2021

  • Following ongoing public pressure, Mayor Erickson enrolled the City of Poulsbo in G.A.R.E. (Government Alliance on Race and Equity), a government network with real tools to advance racial equity and opportunities for all communities, in 2021. Mayor Erickson designated Councilmember Britt Livdahl as Council liaison for work with G.A.R.E. Livdahl attended the annual Washington state G.A.R.E. conference in Portland in late April and has been invited to debrief Poulsbo for All on her experience and how we might support her efforts with the city and city government.

  • In recent years Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and Kitsap County have created Race Equity Advisory Committees to begin to address issues of racism and equity. For three years members of the Poulsbo community have petitioned Poulsbo's Council to do the same. To date, there has been no discussion in public meetings of any plans for a Poulsbo REAC. However, Councilmember Livdahl attended the recent joint meeting of the Bainbridge and Bremerton REAC committees. Watch the video recording here!

  • Poulsbo officials need basic skills for communicating and engaging with our community around all of these challenges.

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