North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: From gunfire to stormwater
By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor
The King County Sheriff’s Office gang expert who was supposed to speak to the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council tonight had to cancel due to a last-minute emergency – look for him next month instead – but it was an info-packed meeting anyway:
CRIME UPDATE: King County Sheriff’s Office storefront deputy Bill Kennamer presented this month’s update. “Everything is down pretty significantly except for assaults,” he began. “We’ve had a lot of shootings in the past two months … 6 in the White Center area in the past month … There are two gangs who are going at it, one lives in Burien, one lives in South Park, and they have been shooting each other up from Lynnwood to Kent.” Part of the problem, he says, is that “gangsters” who have long been in prison are now getting out. By shootings, he meant shots-fired, no-injury cases as well as ones where someone was hit.
One attendee said her husband was near one of the recent gunfire exchanges and wondered what more could be done to help deputies not just find shell casings, but find suspects. The more information witnesses can provide, the better, including getting the license plate numbers, Deputy Kennamer said. “It’s hard to do that when you’re ducking,” she retorted. Another attendee suggested taking a picture if you possible can. The deputy said, “we have some really, really smart detectives who are working these cases,” and they are very overworked, but doing the best they can.
Overall, though, things are better in many places, Deputy Kennamer said. No more dopers hanging around at Steve Cox Memorial Park, for example – “there are families using the park.”
The topic of marijuana retailers also came up; the deputy says there’s a new one where Lawless used to be on the west side of 16th. Someone wondered about what was happening with the taxes generated. “I think the county is really letting us down,” said NHUAC president Liz Giba. One place to convey that message: The Community Service Area meeting in June (see info at the end of this story).
And myriad community concerns were surfaced, including how to deal with abandoned vehicles, on private as well as public property (and if it’s private property, what constitutes an abandoned/derelict vehicle?).
COUNTY SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT UTILITY: From the King County Water and Land Resources Division, deputy director John Taylor spoke about the fee for the service they provide – dealing with water quality and water quantity. His presentation was full of facts about flooding, runoff, and more. Among other things we learned: About half a billion dollars worth of “drainage facilities” in King County right-of-way needs to be replaced in the next 10 years.
Single-family homeowners pay $171/year for surface water management. It generates $27 million that covers “maintenance of existing assets, programs that support agriculture and rural residents, habitat restoration, best-run government (programs).” They have developed a capital-facilities program “that’s going to deal with the stuff most likely to fail first,” Taylor said. The fee money is leveraged to generate more, including, for example, federal grants – he acknowledged those might be in question in the not-too-distant future.
The fee is going up this year – $70 more for each homeowner, a 40% increase (and he acknowledged that was less than they had asked). It will bring in another $8 million. It is a flat rate regardless of how big your property is. The commercial rates go as high as $3,669 per acre (if covered in impervious surface). The new rates will eliminate the backlog of urgent maintenance needs over 10 years, he reiterated. “By dealing with problems now, we will keep rates down in the future,” he added.
Also this year, there’s a special rate for low-income property owners, for the first time. And they’re going to increase grants “for community projects that protect water quality.”
Questions included, what happens if heavy rain brings a stream running past your driveway? The county can take a look at it “to figure out what’s going on.” Discussions of springs, soil, and even The Bog ensued. (“It was the community that turned The Bog around,” Taylor said, “and I think it’s better than it’s been in years – not perfect, but better than it used to be.” And he noted that just moving “the homeless problem” from The Bog “didn’t solve (it), just moved it.”)
Got a question for him? email@example.com and 206-477-4602.
Announcements at the meeting:
KING COUNTY COMMUNITY SERVICE AREA MEETING: The annual town hall is set for June 7th, 7-9 pm at Seola Gardens, with County Council Chair Joe McDermott, Deputy County Executive Rhonda Berry, and Sheriff John Urquhart expected to be there.
WHITE CENTER LIBRARY GUILD: NHUAC secretary Pat Price said the guild’s plant sale is set for noon-4 pm April 28th. (1409 SW 107th)
COALITION FOR DRUG-FREE YOUTH: Rudy Garza will conduct cultural-competency training noon-1:30 pm April 12th at Seola Gardens.
JUBILEE DAYS: Price said that July 19th will be the fireworks and carnival kickoff this year, and the festival will run through the 23rd. Giba noted that the street fair will expand into part of 16th SW this year. Jubilee Days will run through July 23rd.
MARY’S PLACE VOLUNTEERING: NHUAC board member Roslyn Hyde said they especially need people in mornings and evenings. She also said that dropping off donations unannounced is discouraged so let the shelter know in advance if you would like to donate something. She said the shelter is apparently up to about 30 people now.
CAMP SECOND CHANCE ADVISORY COUNCIL: The new advisory council for the Seattle-sanctioned encampment is still taking applicants and expecting to meet in early May.
The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets first Thursdays most months, 7 pm, at the NH Fire District headquarters (1243 SW 112th). Between meetings, check for updates at northhighlineuac.org.
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