Commissioners Bios

The Port of Illahee is served by 3 commissioners, each elected to 6 year terms, with elections occurring every 2 years.

The commissioners are non-pay/non-partisan. They do, however, receive a stipend for meetings and extra duties as compensation.

James Aho
Elected 11/13 – term expires December 31, 2019E-mail address:

Jonathan (Jon) Buesch
Elected 11/17 to finish a 4 year term – term expires December 31, 2021

E-mail address:

John Burton
Elected 11/17 – term expires December 31, 2023

E-mail address:



Commissioners’ Biographies

James Aho

  • I moved to Kitsap County in 1969 and 10 years later decided I wanted to live in Illahee and have been here ever since.
  • I am a professional engineer having worked for the Navy and as a consultant for over 40 years, and am now retired.
  • I am an active member of the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee, and board member of the Illahee Forest Preserve and the Illahee Community group (both non-profits).
  • I have been an advocate for Illahee beginning when commercial fish pens were approved north of the dock (and successfully appealed). When high zoning densities became an issue I volunteered to be an Illahee Citizen Advisory Group member and helped write the Illahee Community Plan. I help promote the film “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time”, and volunteer to keep up the Illahee Preserve.
  • I am also a regular contributor to the website putting out updates on the wildlife and some of the events occurring in Illahee.


Jonathan (Jon) Buesch

I am a veteran.  I have a B.A. in Economics from Central Washington University.  I worked for a national retail company from 1974 – 1986.  I have been self-employed since 1986, starting and running 6 successful businesses until this year, when I retired.

Over the years I’ve been involved with many community groups and most notably as a Rotarian for 32 years, and am a member of the Rotary Club of East Bremerton.  I volunteer for the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit and serve as the treasurer.  I am also a board member for the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee.

I support current port plans to acquire the abandoned Illahee Store for a port office and community center and would support grant funding to convert the deteriorating property north of the dock to a marine park.  As a tax payer living away from the water I would also like to see commissioners more involved with other opportunities within the port district.

Port districts were created to promote economic development and a coffee shop type of business should be incorporated with a community center.  Recreation is recognized as economic development and I support grant funding to acquire additional undevelopable parcels adjacent to the Illahee Preserve and Illahee State Park, both natural resources and recreational treasures.

As a recently retired business owner, I would like to use my newly available time and business experience to help make the Illahee Community an even more amazing place to live.

John Burton: