While the site was down: Three updates – Power outage, Evergreen Pool, Hicks Lake

August 27th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, Hicks Lake, Seattle City Light, White Center news Comments Off on While the site was down: Three updates – Power outage, Evergreen Pool, Hicks Lake

Sorry for the “outage” here – not related to the City Light power outage – our server-management company detected a problem that required emergency maintenance, taking White Center Now (and many other sites) down for a while. Looks like it’s done now. We posted some news on partner site West Seattle Blog in the meantime – we use separate server managers for the two sites to dramatically reduce the chances both will be down at the same time, so if ever you notice this site down, please check there or check our Twitter page at http://twitter.com/whitecenternow.

Here are the updates, linking to the full stories on WSB:

-Power outage: All but a few hundred homes/businesses are back on. More here.

-Evergreen Pool: It WILL close September 1st, according to King County Council Chair Dow Constantine, who hopes that will be temporary while the agreement for WhiteWater Aquatics to take over the pool is negotiated. More here.

-Hicks Lake: Warning signs are posted because of an algae bloom. More here. Also, here’s the entirety of the note we received from King County’s Doug Williams:

We just got results back from the state Department of Ecology that confirms a blue-green algae bloom at Hicks has surpassed the safety threshold. While there aren’t likely too many people swimming there right now, it’s possible that people could let their dogs swim and/or drink from the lake. Not a good idea!

We’ve posted signs that ask people to stay out of the water, and don’t let their pets swim in or drink from the lake.

Toxic algae can have some nasty effects on people and pets. In minor cases, it can cause a rash, eye and throat irritation, etc. It’s a neurotoxin that, in serious cases, can cripple your liver, mess with your nervous system, etc. Those are pretty rare situations; you’d have to ingest a lot of the stuff to get that sick. But it’s still important for everyone to heed the warnings and keep out of the water – pets, too.

When will the algae bloom go away? That’s a good question. We’ve seen blooms last for weeks; sometimes they don’t go away until the weather cools down and the sunlight becomes elusive.

We will collect water samples weekly for analysis by DOE. Once we have two weeks where the samples come back below the established acceptable threshold for human contact, we’ll take down the signs.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council report #2: Evergreen Pool, and more

August 7th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, North Highline UAC, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council report #2: Evergreen Pool, and more

Big agenda at Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting. We recapped the crime update earlier today; now, the topic that took up the largest portion of the NHUAC meeting – the future of Evergreen Pool, the county’s only 9-lane indoor pool.

After months in which the pool’s prospects of survival seemed iffy at best – and right now, it’s still facing closure at the end of the month if nothing changes — a plan to keep it open has surfaced:

That’s Joel Schweiger, head coach of the WhiteWater Aquatics swimming organization, which includes almost 100 area swimmers. He opened his presentation by recapping the group’s seven-year history, leading up to its status now with workouts five days a week, 48 weeks a year at Evergreen Pool. He says “other summer league pools” are involved with WhiteWater too, including Arbor Heights. Swimmers’ parents run the non-profit organization “through an elected board of directors.”

He didn’t get into the numbers that the group has crunched, but briefly showed that they expect revenue from swim-lesson programs, teams, and event rentals to provide the operating budget, from which they would handle pool maintenance as well as operations.

According to Schweiger, staff cuts would be necessary – he says they believe that’s a big part of the pool’s current budget problem, so “restructuring staffing to appropriate levels” would be necessary: “Staffing costs are one of the things pulling the pool down.” He said lifeguards and instructors would make more, but not managers.

But long operating hours would still be possible, he said – 5 am to 9 pm Mondays-Fridays, 8 am to 3 or 4 pm on Saturdays, and a “smaller scale” on Sundays, plus he promised more commitment to public-swim and free-swim hours.

If the WhiteWater Aquatics plan goes through, he says, the pool would still close temporarily at the end of this month, for maintenance work including federally mandated safety upgrades on the drain system, then they’d aim to reopen it and “begin programming in October.”

WhiteWater came before NHUAC members seeking a letter of support for their efforts to take over the pool. It wasn’t a slam dunk; several members questioned him sharply regarding how they would ensure public involvement on the board, not just the team-involved parents who he had said are part of it now. And community member Rachael Levine told the council she and other people concerned about the pool didn’t want them to commit support to WhiteWater before others had a chance to come forward; eventually it was pointed out that meetings about the pool’s potential closure had been under way for months, and if no one else had come forward so far, who’s to say they would now?

Levine’s concerns also included making sure of a commitment to “wider community use” of the pool, and determining that the business plan was sound enough that the pool wouldn’t be back under threat of closure in a year or so.

Questioned further by board members including chair Greg Duff and Heidi Johnson, Schweiger said the pool would remain open to school groups, therapy groups, and others: “We want all those groups in there, and (to) expand on (them).”

The question of who would actually own the pool still seems to have a few details to work out – “we’re looking at how to deal with that,” Schweiger said – Highline Public Schools owns the land, King County Parks owns the building but might turn it over to the school district, he explained. But his group has not yet appeared before the Highline school board, he acknowledged.

In the end, a majority of board members voted in favor of a letter of support; Ray Helms said, “I think supporting an organization that is trying to work to keep the pool open and acknowledges it needs the public support is not too far out of the question … with the understanding that we hope in the final phases there will be full public participation.” Pat Price noted that the letter is, in the end, just a letter, and that NHUAC doesn’t hold “a lot of clout” in the situation, saying, “In the end, we’ll be lucky to see the contract.” Christine Waldman observed, “The county wants out of the pool business, and we’re running out of time.”

The letter of support will be written by Heidi Johnson and sent to various stakeholders including the Parks Department, King County Council and the school district. Schweiger said his organization has another meeting next week to determine more of the next steps in the process.

Our next story: The annexation discussion from Thursday night’s meeting. In the meantime, miscellaneous other notes —

COMMITTEES AND EVENTS: NHUAC chair Greg Duff says he wants to hear at least two committee reports every month – “we’re not hearing from the committees enough.” And he wants two people in charge of each special event, instead of just one – to lighten the load and to ensure backup in case someone gets sick, has an emergency, etc.

NHUAC WEBSITE: Board member Ron Johnson got big kudos for keeping it updated. But he says he can’t do it alone: Got an article? An event to add? Send it to him. (The website’s at northhighlineuac.org)

COMMUNITY REMINDERS: The annual Pasefika festival is tomorrow, noted Pat Price.

STEVE COX PARK PICNIC SHELTER: Christine Waldman is working with the Parks Department to get it moved.

BUS SHELTERS BY THE WHITE CENTER FOOD BANK/PUBLIC HEALTH: Ron Johnson’s been working on this one for a while, at 8th/108th, and says it got bogged down in the bureaucracy – but now the shelters are supposed to be installed this fall.

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Evergreen Pool: Still awaiting its fate; $ talk today

June 30th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, King County, White Center news Comments Off on Evergreen Pool: Still awaiting its fate; $ talk today

This afternoon at 1:30 Today, the King County Council Budget Committee will take up spending issues including $80,000 proposed to keep Evergreen Pool open two months beyond what at one point was going to be its shutdown date – today. County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s office says the final vote won’t be till July 13, but that the pool will stay open at least till then. As for what would happen beyond the two-month extension – nothing’s been determined yet.

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Evergreen Pool may get a two-month reprieve

June 4th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, King County, White Center news Comments Off on Evergreen Pool may get a two-month reprieve

Just received from King County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s office:

Today, I co-sponsored legislation for a supplemental appropriation ordinance that includes two additional months of funding for pool operations. This money will keep the pool open through the warm summer months—the facility was originally slated to be closed at the end of June; this funding extends operations through the end of August.

I am currently working with Councilmember Larry Gossett, the chair of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, on finding funds to keep the pool in operation for the remainder of the year.

Obviously, these are just temporary solutions, but they give more time to community members who are working on a proposal to keep the pool open permanently by transferring it to private or non-profit operation.

I am also coordinating with the 34th District state legislators (Rep. Sharon Nelson, Rep. Eileen Cody, Sen. Joe McDermott) to set up a strategy meeting in the near future to continue this community discussion.

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Newest developments in the fight to save Evergreen Pool

May 18th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, King County, White Center news 3 Comments »

Two advocates for keeping Evergreen Pool open, veteran Cyril Miller and North Highline firefighter Ed Marrs, are pleading their case with King County Council leaders today, according to this seattletimes.com story, which says they’ll be meeting with County Council Chair Dow Constantine and Councilmember Larry Phillips this afternoon. Evergreen Pool remains slated for shutdown after the end of next month unless either the county finds more money or a community coalition figures out how to take it over.

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2 reasons to attend next week’s 34th District Democrats meeting

May 8th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, Politics Comments Off on 2 reasons to attend next week’s 34th District Democrats meeting

1. All three White Center (and beyond) state legislators will be there to update the results of the legislative session — a few days BEFORE their town hall in White Center.

2. The group will consider a resolution opposing the potential closure of White Center’s Evergreen Pool.

The 34th District Democrats meet at 7 pm Wednesday, The Hall at Fauntleroy in West Seattle.

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“April Pool’s Day” this Saturday at Evergreen Pool

April 21st, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, Fun 1 Comment »

This info was left as a comment on an old story about trying to keep Evergreen Pool open – so we wanted to republish it here:

April Pool’s Day
Saturday, April 25th from noon to 2:30 pm

This free, annual, family-friendly event promotes water safety & includes fun activities, demonstrations, & even canoe rides in the pool.

Stop by to find out more about saving this great asset of our community from the County’s Chopping Block.

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Big turnout sought for Evergreen Pool

March 17th, 2009 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, King County, White Center news 2 Comments »

There’s word of a meeting this Friday, 11 am-noon, at North Highline Fire District HQ, regarding the future of Evergreen PoolPat and Bob Price forwarded the note through mailing lists with a plea for a big turnout to show that the pool shouldn’t be shut down to save money. They say Margaret Anthony from King County will be there to talk about the pool. 1243 112th SW is where you’ll find the fire station, if you haven’t been there before.

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Waste Free Holidays – including White Center deal!

November 13th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, Holidays, King County Comments Off on Waste Free Holidays – including White Center deal!

Check out the Waste Free Holidays participant list on the King County website, just revealed today – we’ve just started browsing WFH, and noticed this Evergreen Pool deal is among the offerings.

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Budget crisis may drain away Evergreen Pool

October 15th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Evergreen Pool, King County Comments Off on Budget crisis may drain away Evergreen Pool


Lots to read through in the county budget proposal from Executive Ron Sims, and some White Center-centric notes already have been featured here. We are continuing to read through the documents (which you can find here) and just hit on one in particular — in the proposed Parks budget, Evergreen Pool could face shutdown at the end of next June unless, as the budget summary language puts it, “King County secures sufficient flexibility and revenue tools from the state legislature to sustain (it).” For now, the $172,000+ that would be saved by closing Evergreen Pool is considered to be in the “lifeboat” — afloat unless that $ doesn’t come through.

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