Re: New Switch Rod or stay w/ 9' 8 weight?
I say go for it. Switch rods are ideal for your conditions. You can use Spey style casts in the limited space that you have. I found Spey style casting to be less wear and tear on my casting arm. Also you can use a switch as a long nymph rod.
Here in Northern California, I use either a full length Spey or switch for my Steelhead fishing. It's such an effective tool. There have been days that I "switched" from single handed nymphing to full on Spey fishing.
As for weights, I am not sure since I don't fish that region. I'd err towards a seven weight since I know that they could handle up to 18 pound Steelhead. Great Lakes Steelhead are Eel River (California) strain Steelhead. We use six and seven weights for them. An eight weight to me is a BC or Alaska stick.