A Legacy Fit for King – Passing of Former JPUD Commissioner Wayne King
Jefferson PUD staff mourn the loss of former District 3 commissioner, Wayne King, 81, of Gardiner. King is remembered as being a leader when the PUD expanded services widely and for being instrumental in bringing public power to our community.
“Wayne was an instrumental part of our utility,” said Kevin Streett, PUD General Manager. “He was a big driver in getting us to where we are today and will be deeply missed.”
King was first elected commissioner in 2000, a time when Jefferson PUD was strictly a water and wastewater utility. King was on the Board for the purchase/exchange of the City of Port Townsend’s Tri-Area water systems for the PUD’s Glen Cove system in 2001, a project that expanded PUD water service nearly 4-fold. He played an important role in expanding water services to Marrowstone Island residents. Piece by piece, King brought resources to his large district with water and sewer system connections for Kala Point and Beckett Point residents, to the acquisition of a struggling water system on the Toandos Peninsula (Jefferson County Water District #3).
“Wayne was a great mentor and an invaluable source of experience,” said Dan Toepper, Commissioner for District 3. “He encouraged me to run for his seat and he will be truly missed by this commissioner.”
King helped set the stage for purchase of the local grid from Puget Sound Energy, marking the first private-to-public utility infrastructure purchase in Washington State in 70 years. His efforts led to customer-owned electric utility services for 20,000 residents, but he didn’t stop there.
As a commissioner, King worked for modernization of the PUDs aging infrastructure with efforts to begin advanced meter buildout. His efforts help lay the groundwork for PUD broadband with the goal of expanding fiber internet service to rural residents.
King, who grew up in Bakersfield, CA, was known as a famous competitive drag racer – “The Peregrine” and one of the original members of the Smokers Car Club.
“He was without pretense, and you never had to guess what he was thinking,” said Kenneth Collins, Commissioner for District 2. “We enjoyed each other’s sense of humor, and I felt a genuine warmth for him at the time that he retired.”
In all, King spent 18 years as a board commissioner representing his district and the utility regionally and across the country as a proponent for county residents and publicly owned utilities. King decided not to seek re-election in 2018, noting he planned to spend time in his machine shop building race car motors and car tuning.
King is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Wayne King is remembered for his unwavering support and commitment for Jefferson County residents.