Your local government’s proposed budget for the next two years

September 27th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on Your local government’s proposed budget for the next two years

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a nearly $16 billion budget for 2023-2024. The announcement focused on areas including these:

Investing in our environment

-Converting Metro’s bus fleet to zero-emissions: $180 million to purchase battery-electric buses and $43 million in zero-emissions infrastructure to ensure that Metro’s 1,400 coach bus fleet is zero emissions by 2035.

-Restoring fish habitat: $28.5 million in capital investments to remove blockages to fish passage habitat. King County will restore access to 50 percent of fish passage habitat by 2032.

-Expanding access to heat pumps and solar panels: $1 million to expand the Energize pilot program, which installs high-efficiency heat pumps in homes occupied by residents with low and moderate incomes in White Center and Skyway, to include solar panels. The County will also invest $1.9 million to provide private lenders with more flexibility to offer better financing options to higher-risk homeowners for home upgrades that also improve the environment.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

-Building affordable housing near transit: $45 million in bonds backed by lodging tax revenues will be issued in 2023 to fund affordable housing near transit stations.

-Supporting housing operations: Up to $30 million to fund operations, maintenance, and services for existing and new supportive housing sites.

-Make homelessness rare, one-time, and brief by supporting the King County Regional Homelessness Authority: $96 million to continue funding a coordinated crisis response to homelessness led by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.

Justice & Safety

-Preventing Gun Violence: $9 million to support 52 Regional Peacekeepers Collective, trusted messengers delivering a community-led approach to gun violence prevention including critical incident response, hospital-based referrals, and hot spot remediation activities.

-Ensuring safety for transit riders and staff: $21 million to support 140 Metro transit security officers providing support and visibility on Metro buses, transit centers, and stops. An additional $5.1 million will support Metro SaFE Reform Initiatives, including a new partnership with the Department of Community and Human Services and community-based organizations to connect people in crisis on and near Metro transit with resources and services.

-Implementing body-worn cameras: $5 million to provide all Sheriff patrol deputies with body-worn cameras. Deployment of cameras and associated training will begin immediately and phased in over the next three years.

-Expanding treatment programs for people in or being released from King County jails: $6.3 million to maintain and expand jail-based opioid treatment programs and services for people being released from the jail with substance use disorder or other behavioral health conditions.

Anti-Racism & Pro-Equity

-Funding participatory budgeting: $10 million for a second round of participatory budgeting for residents of urban unincorporated King County. The first round of participatory budgeting concluded successfully in August 2022, with residents selecting 45 capital projects to fund in their communities.

-Supporting community-led diversion programs: $11.9 million to continue the Restorative Community Pathways program and the Community
Diversion Program to provide community-based accountability and services for youth and adults outside the court system.

-Vacating drug convictions: $2 million to community groups to build awareness about options to vacate drug convictions and provide services that address the needs of individuals affected by the collateral consequences of contacts with the criminal system and drug convictions, such as persistent barriers to housing and employment.

Behavioral Health

-As a part of this budget package, Executive Constantine is transmitting a proposal for a new levy to fund behavioral health and pending passage by the King County Council will be presented to voters for their approval this spring. Over the next nine years, King County will invest, build, and transform the way people in our community care for one another.

The Crisis Care Centers levy would make a generational investment of nearly $1.25 billion to:
-Create a network of 5 crisis centers

-Stop the loss and expand by nearly half the number of residential treatment beds

-Deploy more services even before the new centers open, and

-Recruit and retain an outstanding and representative workforce to serve the people of King County.

The King County Council now starts its work on reviewing and amending the budget – watch for public hearings in the weeks ahead.

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PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING: The winners are …

August 18th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING: The winners are …

After an event last night in Skyway, King County went public with the list of who’s getting what after the first-ever “participatory budgeting” vote in the unincorporated urban areas, including White Center/North Highline. Here are the local organizations/projects chosen, in two groups of recipients (the second for programs/services to be funded by a share of cannabis-tax revenue):

White Center/North Highline

White Center Food Bank “New Location Renovation Fund” ($875,000)
White Center Community HUB “Construction Fund” ($750,000)
Khmer Community Temple Support ($750,000)
Spray Park/Outdoor Cooling Center; Cool Me Down – White Center ($725,000)

White Center/North Highline (Funded by Marijuana Tax Revenue)

Gifts of Hope ($175,000)
Nepantla Cultural Art Programming ($150,000)
Acts on Stage – Programming ($75,000)
Green Education – New Start ($66,000)
Mental Health – Grief Support ($32,500)
White Center Heights Elementary School – Family Resource Center ($25,000)
Wolverine Select – Funding ($16,500)

Between North Highline and other urban unincorporated areas, $11 million of spending was decided in this first-ever round of “participatory budgeting.” The county says more than 2,600 people voted. Here’s the full announcement, including the list of funded projects/programs in other areas.

P.S. The new spraypark is planned for Steve Cox Memorial Park.

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2 MORE DAYS: Your vote can get $ to local nonprofits

August 9th, 2022 Tracy Posted in How to Help, King County, White Center Food Bank, White Center news Comments Off on 2 MORE DAYS: Your vote can get $ to local nonprofits

As mentioned last week, the county’s Participatory Budgeting vote is on right now – you have today and tomorrow to vote online and help decide how to spend $3+ million. One of the contenders is the White Center Food Bank, which says it has found a new location in downtown WC (but isn’t saying exactly where yet).The WCFB needs money “to renovate and transform our space into an innovative food bank for all who need it.” You can vote here.=

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TOMORROW: Your chance to vote on how to spend $3.6 million public dollars

August 1st, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news 1 Comment »

The county’s been talking for a while about “participatory budgeting” – you decide how to spend public dollars – and now it’s time to vote, including an in-person event in White Center tomorrow. Here’s the announcement:

In a first for King County, residents of five urban unincorporated areas can vote on which proposed community projects should receive public funding Aug. 2-10. Residents can cast their votes online or in person at one of several community events.

It’s time to vote! Five urban unincorporated communities will get the chance to decide which proposed community projects will happen as part of King County’s first Participatory Budgeting process.

From Aug. 2-10, anyone who lives, works, owns a business, receives services, goes to school, or worships in the following unincorporated areas can cast their vote to fund projects in their community — projects that were proposed and developed by community members.

East Federal Way
East Renton
Fairwood
North Highline/White Center
Skyway/West Hill

Community members will be able to vote online or at one of several in-person community events.

HOW TO VOTE

Votes may be cast in one of two ways:

Online (publicinput.com/yourvoiceyourchoice)

At an in-person event (see schedule below)

Tuesday, Aug. 2
White Center: 6-8 p.m., Greenbridge (near Dubsea Coffee)

More on participatory budgeting 

In 2021, the King County Council approved Executive Constantine’s new approach to community investment – one that’s centered on racial equity. It gives people who live, work, play, or worship in the county’s five urban unincorporated areas the chance to directly choose how more than $11 million is spent in their communities.

Participatory budgeting allows communities to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending. Residents help decide how to spend money on capital projects (physical things that are bought, built, installed, or fixed up) or programs and services.

The Community Investment Budget Committee, a group of appointed residents from King County’s urban unincorporated areas, met virtually to create the framework for the new participatory budgeting process.

Where does the money come from? The funds for the capital projects are backed by bonds. The funds for programs and services in North Highline/White Center and Skyway-West Hill come from King County’s general fund and are supported by marijuana retail sales tax revenue. 

Learn more: publicinput.com/yourvoiceyourchoice

In North Highline, your vote involves what to do with $3.6 million – and how to split it among some or all of these projects:

Final Project List – Capital Improvement Projects:

White Center Food Bank – New location renovation fund
White Center Community HUB – Construction fund
Acts on Stage – Building Renovation fund
Acts on Stage – 250-Seat Public Performing Arts Theater
Khmer Community Temple – Sidewalks
Spray Park/Cooling Center “Cool me down – White Center”
Community Garden/P-Patch – “Food in my backyard” – Grant fund
Final Project List – Marijuana Tax Revenue Funds (Programs/Services) Projects:

Acts on Stage – FREE After School/Summer youth programming
Green Education – New Start High School
Youth Drop-In Center @ Log Cabin
Voter Education Bond Levy
Wolverine Select Youth Basketball – Funding
Nepantla Cultural Art – Capacity/Community Building
White Center Heights Elementary School – Family Resource Center
Documentary Film “Gentrification in White Center”
Gift of Hope – Capacity/Community Building support
Salvation Army – Workshops
Gameshape – FREE Youth program
Mental Health / Grief Support
Parent Education / Advocacy Support

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FOLLOWUP: New sheriff moving ahead with big changes

July 9th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: New sheriff moving ahead with big changes

We’ve reported before on new King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall‘s plan to create community advisory groups as part of her vision of the office’s future – and that’s part of an announcement from the sheriff and executive on Friday:

Executive Dow Constantine and King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall announced new plans and updates for the vision, structure, and community engagement of the King County Sheriff’s Office, including the creation of a community advisory board.

Executive Constantine and King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall announced the first big steps the Sheriff will be taking as the agency rethinks how public safety is delivered across King County. These updates, released just two months since Cole-Tindall was named Sheriff, focus on four main areas of action, including revising the mission, vision, and values of the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), reorganizing the structure to improve service, creating a strategic framework, and establishing a standing community advisory board.

“The health of our community depends on the ability of every person to live a safe and productive life, and Sheriff Cole-Tindall’s new plan for the King County Sheriff’s Office shows exactly how we can rethink and reimagine the delivery of public safety for the people of King County,” said Executive Constantine. “The Sheriff understands that we must move away from broken structures when they aren’t working for our community and toward sensible reforms that bring about systemic change, and her commitment to this is conveyed throughout these new ideas and actions.”

“Our work must always be centered around the vision and values of the communities we so proudly serve,” said King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall. “I am honored to lead an organization of public servants who share my commitment to implement new and contemporary approaches that enhance trust and public safety.”

At the core of the new strategy is a renewed partnership with community. This commitment is reflected in the revised mission, vision, and values that incorporate policing with compassion, showing and leading with grace, and treating everyone with respect and kindness.

It is also incorporated into the reorganization of the office, which will create two new divisions – Community Programs and Services, and Special Operations – in recognition of both the evolution of the criminal legal system and the need to improve how public safety is delivered.

With the adoption of a new strategic framework and the creation of an advisory board, KCSO will be able to ensure accountability, increase transparency, encourage innovation, and have a forum for trust-building between law enforcement and the community that allows for advisement on policy concepts and implementation.

Sheriff Cole-Tindall and KCSO leadership will begin implementing these new changes in September 2022.

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Another anti-displacement discussion ahead for North Highline and other areas of urban unincorporated King County

June 14th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on Another anti-displacement discussion ahead for North Highline and other areas of urban unincorporated King County

From King County:

King County’s Department of Community and Human Services and Department of Local Services are partnering with community advisory group members to host a second virtual community meeting on Tuesday, June 21st, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., to discuss specific follow up items: Community Preference implementation and metrics and evaluation ideas from the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline Anti-displacement Strategies Report. This report analyzed potential anti-displacement strategies for the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline communities and, after an extensive community process, recommended ten actions.

Click here to sign up to join us for this meeting!

At this virtual community meeting on Tuesday, June 21st, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., participants will be asked to consider a proposal for defining elements for the Community Preference Program. This is one of the near-term actions identified from the report. A Community Preference Program prioritizes applicants with a connection to community for a percentage of units in new affordable housing developments. We will be looking for feedback on ideas for what criteria will count towards being considered a person with a “connection to community.” In addition, the team will present proposed metrics to track implementation of the ten anti-displacement strategies recommended in the report. Click here for more info and to sign up to join us for this meeting!

To familiarize yourself with content prior to our meeting, review the Skyway-West Hill & North Highline Anti-displacement Report summary.

We hope you will join us for this important meeting and please share this opportunity with other folks who live and work in Skyway-West Hill and North Highline!

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Alice Morgan-Watson, Planner & Community Engagement Analyst, at Alice.MorganWatson@kingcounty.gov.

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SATURDAY: Talk about how to deal with displacement in North Highline and other urban unincorporated areas

June 9th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on SATURDAY: Talk about how to deal with displacement in North Highline and other urban unincorporated areas

How can our community grow and change without leaving people behind? That’s the topic of a discussion to which you’re invited on Saturday. Here’s the invitation:

King County’s Department of Community and Human Services, the Department of Local Services, and Skyway-West Hill & North Highline community leaders are hosting a virtual community meeting on Saturday, June 11th, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, to discuss next steps from the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline Anti-displacement Strategies Report. This report analyzed potential anti-displacement strategies for the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline communities and, after an extensive community process, recommended ten actions. Registration will close on June 10th at noon, after that anyone interested in joining the meeting will need to email: alice.morganwatson@kingcounty.gov for access info. Click here to sign up to join us for this meeting.

At this meeting participants will be asked to consider a proposal for implementation details for the Community Preference Program. This is one of the near-term actions identified from the report. The Community Preference Program will prioritize applicants with a connection to Skyway-West Hill or North Highline for some of the units in new affordable housing developments in these neighborhoods funded by King County. We will be looking for feedback on:

-the criteria to determine who is eligible for the preference,
-what documentation will be required to demonstrate a connection to the community, and
-how to reach community members who are interested in new affordable housing leasing and purchasing opportunities.

In addition, the team will present proposed metrics to track implementation of the ten anti-displacement strategies recommended in the report. Click here to sign up to join us for this meeting.

To familiarize yourself with content prior to our meeting, review the Skyway-West Hill & North Highline Anti-displacement Report summary.

We hope you will join us for this important meeting and please share this opportunity with other folks who live and work in Skyway-West Hill and North Highline!

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Alice Morgan-Watson, Planner & Community Engagement Analyst, at Alice.MorganWatson@kingcounty.gov.

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Peace In The Hood job fair in White Center next week

June 1st, 2022 Tracy Posted in Jobs, King County, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news Comments Off on Peace In The Hood job fair in White Center next week

Got a teen or young-adult jobseeker in the household? This event one week from today might be perfect:

The 6th annual Peace in the Hood Job Fair for ages 16 – 24 is coming up on Wednesday, June 8th from 3-5pm outdoors at Steve Cox Memorial Park (1321 SW 102nd).

The PNTH Job Fair provides employment and mentorship opportunities to youth ages 16 – 24 and is presented in partnership by the YWCA, Pioneer Human Services, Communities of Opportunity, and the King County Parks and Recreation White Center Teen Program. 30+ employers, and 10+ resource providers are expected to attend. Resume & employment application assistance will be provided in advance and day of at the WCTP Log Cabin. The extremely popular PNTH youth Basketball Tournament is scheduled at SCMP the following Wednesday on June 15th. More details are available at eventbrite.com/e/peace-n-the-hood-job-fair-for-young-adults-16-24-years-old-tickets-334746585047

PARTICIPATING EMPLOYERS scheduled to attend include: King County Parks (summer jobs), King County Metro, King County Dept of Local Services, Taco Time, Starbucks, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen/Ambrosia QSR (multiple franchise stores), Fred Meyer, Amazon (hourly jobs), YMCA Greater Seattle (summer recreation jobs), Airport Jobs (representing employers at SeaTac Airport), US Postal Service, Bloodworks Northwest, McLendon Hardware, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County (summer recreation jobs), SMS International Shore Operations, Pioneer Human Services, Macy’s, Target, Skyhawks Sports Academy (summer recreation jobs), and SEKISUI Aerospace.

PARTICIPATING EMPLOYMENT/TRAINING and COMMUNITY RESOURCE PROVIDERS scheduled to attend include: YWCA Greenbridge Learning Center, WA Dept of Social & Human Services caregiver careers, ANEW construction trades pre-apprenticeship training, AJAC advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeship training, YES Foundation of White Center, WA National Guard, and AmeriCorps.

For additional information, please contact Jody Addicks, King County Parks, at 206.477.2095

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White Center Ponds makeover ahead. First – questions for you

May 29th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Environment, King County, White Center news 4 Comments »

From King County Parks:

King County is looking for public comments on plans to redesign the White Center Ponds between SW 100th Street and SW Roxbury Street and 11th and 12th Avenues SW. We’ve got a 10-question online comment form through our PublicInput platform where we’ll collect public opinion about options for redesigning the ponds to improve water quality, public safety, and other important aspects of this community feature.

You can read about the project, and get the link for the survey, by going here.

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VIDEO: King County Executive comes to White Center to announce land-conservation ballot measure

May 19th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Environment, King County, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(WSB/WCN photo)

$1.81 a month to raise more money to save the “last, best” green spaces from disappearing.

That’s what King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing charging property owners in a ballot measure he announced at White Center Heights Park.

The cost, Constantine says, is what the owner of a “median-priced” home in King County would pay if voters approve the measure, which he is asking the County Council to place on the November general-election ballot.

Even at that, he says, it’s not an entirely new tax – he says it would bring back what property owners used to pay for the half-century-old Conservation Futures Program. The announcement explains:

Land conservation in King County – and 13 other counties – is largely funded by the Conservation Futures program that the state created 50 years ago. A series of actions by the state has dramatically reduced the amount of revenue that the program can generate for counties. Voters have the option to restore the local program to its original rate of 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value from its current rate of 3.12 cents. That would cost the owner of a median-value home about $21.75 more per year.

Constantine was joined at the park – setting of other media events for environmental programs – by De’Sean Quinn, the Tukwila City Councilmember who co-chairs the Land Conservation Advisory Committee, as well as Open Space Equity Cabinet co-chair Michelle Benetua, Trust for Public Land’s Northwest director David Patton, and King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. Here’s our video of what they said:

The money raised by this would, according to the announcement, “accelerate the Land Conservation Initiative, a regional partnership of communities, cities, farmers, businesses, and environmental leaders to protect 65,000 acres of the highest conservation-value open space.” Constantine launched the initiative three years ago. The land it’s saved includes a five-acre site in North Highline. That’s one of the sites intended to bring public green space closer to more people; Constantine said that 20 percent of the people in King County don’t live close to any. It’s about equitable access, climate change, wildlife protection, and more, he said while making the case. Quinn lauded him for the “political will” to push for this “to meet the urgency of now.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Dembowski, who chairs the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee, will sponsor the proposal. Councilmembers have until late July to approve sending it to the November ballot. Meantime, the Land Conservation Initiative continues working on potential sites to protect – not only via buying them; sometimes other tools are used, such as conservation easements, or the purchase of development rights, to take the pressure off property owners. Constantine said they can’t comment on what’s in negotiations or under consideration, for obvious reasons.

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It’s your money – help decide how it’s spent!

May 17th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on It’s your money – help decide how it’s spent!

Time for the next step in participatory budgeting! Here’s the announcement:

King County is holding a pair of meetings on the dozens of project ideas it received via its Participatory Budgeting process. The meetings will help prepare residents for the larger “Community Vote” scheduled for June, when they will vote on which projects receive funding.

Nearly a year after King County embarked on a new process that gives communities the power to choose how money is invested in their neighborhoods, residents will get the chance to learn about the community projects that could come to their areas.

The Community Investment Budgeting Committee, the group of residents from King County’s urban unincorporated areas that created the framework for the new Participatory Budgeting process, will lead a pair of virtual Project Expo Community Meetings on May 23-24.

Those who attend these online meetings will learn about the dozens of project ideas that were submitted by the public earlier this year. Both meetings are scheduled from 5-7 p.m., and take place via Zoom:

Skyway and White Center/North Highline areas: May 23
East Federal Way, East Renton and Fairwood areas: May 24

For Zoom login and for more information, please visit www.publicinput.com/yourvoiceyourchoice.

These meetings will prepare residents for when they will get to vote on which projects will receive funding during a “Community Vote” scheduled for June. Details on the public vote will emerge in the coming weeks.

“It has been really exciting to work with new community leaders throughout unincorporate King County,” Participatory Budgeting Program Manager Gloria Briggs said. “I am truly proud of the community-led process we have built, and to think we did it all virtually! Participatory budgeting is a transformative process that will be impactful in our communities and the future of unincorporated King County.”

Shaping the framework

Briggs says it’s remarkable the program has the point where it’s presenting project ideas and preparing for the community to vote on them, given the county’s Participatory Budgeting process isn’t even a year old.

The Community Investment Budget Committee (the group of community members who are guiding participatory budgeting in unincorporated King County) is now in its proposal development phase.

The committee is working with more than 40 community members to rate and prioritize ideas submitted by the public earlier this year and turn them into project proposals. These project proposals will be shared with the public and placed on a ballot. Then community members will vote in June on which project proposals to fund.

To date, it’s received an assortment of project ideas, including requests for sidewalks, community art, community gardens (see photo), and various youth programs.

Work to date

In 2020, the King County Council approved a new approach to community investment – one that’s centered on racial equity. It aimed to give people who live, work, play and worship in the county’s five unincorporated areas the chance to choose how $10 million is spent. Below is a timeline:

June 2021: Convened 21-member steering committee
December 2021: Completed design of the participatory budgeting process in selected unincorporated areas of King County.
February 2022: Community submitted ideas on how to spend monies
March 2022: The program identifies 40 community volunteers commit to serve as “Proposal Advocates” to help build selected ideas into detailed proposals that will go to ballot for community vote

More on Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting allows communities to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects. Residents can help decide how to spend money on capital projects (physical things that are bought, built, installed, and/or fixed up), programs and services.

King County approved funding for this program in its current two-year (2021-2022) budget:

Skyway/West Hill: $3.9 million for capital projects, $810,000 for services and programs
North Highline/White Center: $3.1 million for capital projects, $540,000 for services and programs
East Federal Way: $1.96 million for capital projects
East Renton: $301,000 for capital projects
Fairwood: $720,000 for capital projects

The Community Investment Budget Committee developed the participatory budget process in urban unincorporated King County. This marks the first time King County has used this community drive approach for its unincorporated areas.

Participatory budgeting has five phases: developing the rules, brainstorming ideas (February), developing ideas into project proposals (March-May), voting (June), and funding winning projects (June and onward). Your participation will make all the difference!

Who can participate? Anyone at least 12 years old who lives, works, owns a business, receives services, goes to school, or worships in any of the areas above.

Where does the money come from? The funds for the capital projects will be backed by bonds. The funds for services and programs in North Highline/White Center and Skyway-West Hill come from King County’s general fund and are supported by marijuana retail sales tax revenue.

How can I learn more? The best way to get information about participatory budgeting is to visit www.publicinput.com/yourvoiceyourchoice. You can find information on upcoming sessions, get information on the participatory budgeting process and more.

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TUESDAY: North Highline Subarea Plan and more @ County Council committee

April 25th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news 3 Comments »

We’ve been tracking the North Highline Subarea Plan; most recently, the NH Unincorporated Area Council discussed it at this month’s meeting (WCN coverage here), after King County Executive Dow Constantine sent it to the County Council as part of the proposed Comprehensive Plan update. Tomorrow morning, councilmembers’ review gears up with a committee briefing. Here’s the announcement:

On Tuesday, April 26, the Local Services and Land Use Committee will receive a briefing on the Executive’s proposed 2022 Comprehensive Plan update and the 2024 Comprehensive Plan scope of work. The committee meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., and will be held remotely. For information on how to watch the meeting or provide public comment, please visit the website for the Local Services and Land Use Committee. Staff report information for the two items is available here.

2022 Comprehensive Plan Update

On March 31, 2022, the Executive transmitted the proposed 2022 update to the 2016 King County Comprehensive Plan as Proposed Ordinance 2022-0162. The 2022 update includes consideration of the Skyway-West Hill Subarea Plan and North Highline Subarea Plan. The legislation has been referred to the Local Services and Land Use Committee for review over the next several months for potential amendment and recommendation, with final adoption by the full Council anticipated in December 2022. More information about the Council’s review of the proposal can be found on the 2022 Comprehensive Plan website.

2024 Scope of Work

On March 24, 2022, the Executive transmitted to the Council the proposed scope of work for the 2024 Comprehensive Plan as Proposed Motion 2022-0156. The scope of work has been referred to the Local Services and Land Use Committee for review, with final adoption by the full Council in early June 2022. More information about the Council’s review of the proposal can be found on the 2024 Comprehensive Plan website.

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Three local groups/projects get county grants

April 7th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Three local groups/projects get county grants

King County just announced a list of more than $100,000 in grants for groups and projects in unincorporated areas via the Alan M. Painter Grant Program. The program is explained as follows:

Community groups in unincorporated King County competed for the grants, which range between $500 and $5,000 each. Applicants had to match at least one quarter of the total cost of their projects, and the projects had to be accessible to all unincorporated residents, regardless of race, income, or language.

Community Engagement Grants support projects that advance the King County Strategic Plan and achieve at least one of the following goals:

-Promote the engagement of unincorporated area residents in community or civic activities
-Educate local residents about issues that affect them
-Implement a community enhancement project
-Identify and gather community needs and priorities
-Meet King County’s equity and social justice goals of increasing fairness and opportunity for all people, particularly people of color and those with low incomes and/or limited English proficiency

Here’s the full list. The local recipients include the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (which meets tonight), receiving $2,270; Southwest Little League is getting $4,000; and the Seola Riparian Repair project will receive $3,500.

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Here’s what happened at King County Local Services’ North Highline Town Hall

March 27th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news 2 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Unlike county-convened Town Halls of the past, the one held this year focused more on planning initiatives than specific county services

The town hall was held online this past Tuesday night. Department of Local Services director John Taylor facilitated. He recommended checking out the Community Work Plans:

COUNTY COUNCILMEMBER: This area’s King County Councilmember Joe McDermott said he’s recovering from COVID. He noted that his district stretches from Capitol Hill to Burien to Vashon/Maury Islands. He acknowledged the fires that have ravaged White Center’s business district in the past year and recapped King County attempts to help with recovery and security. He also noted the NH Subarea Plan, participatory budgeting, and the new fireworks ban, taking effect this year. He also said the county’s worked hard to distribute state and federal funding that’s come in for pandemic relief – requiring eight “supplemental budgets” to work it all out. This money’s gone to everything from vaccines to rent relief to increasing shelter capacity to addressing food insecurity by supporting food banks.

PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING: Next guest was a member of the Community Investment Budget Committee working on this, Kimnang Seng. He explained the committee includes members from the county’s five “local service areas,” including North Highline. Since June, the committee has met once or twice a week. “It’s been a challenging experience, but it’s been a great one,” Seng said, adding that the CIBC has kept equity in the forefront. White Center submitted the most ideas for spending a share of the county-allotted money, more than 300; in May, he said, the community will get a ballot to vote on some of them. “Now we are in the proposal-development phase.” Here are the sort of things they’re looking at:

Skyway and White Center have some extra money to spend in this process, from the marijuana tax, because the areas have borne the majority of cannabis businesses:

For more information on Participatory Budgeting, go here.

COMMUNITY NEEDS LIST: We’ve reported on this before. The needs can be “anything that’s within the power of the county to deliver,” said Taylor. They’ve been working on it with the White Center Community Development Association, whose executive director Sili Savusa spoke. Here’s the overview of the process:

She also broke out the characteristics and demographics of participants. (Also, 40 percent were homeowners, 44 percent renters.)

It’s a 39-point list, Savusa said. They organized it into seven areas, ranked on a 1-5 scale of least to most important. Here are the highest-ranked points in housing:

Highest-ranked points in community:

In employment:

For businesses:

In safety:

For parks:

And for transit/streets:

Savusa pointed out that the top 20 priorities had a lot of overlap. They’ve also drafted a “vision statement’ for North Highline:

POLLING: The meeting then moved into some informal online polling regarding some of the same emphasis areas. It was a rather small sample, and they had some technical difficulties along the way, so we’re not chronicling. Overall, the answers from the meeting attendees seemed to run along similar lines to previously conducted survey results the county presented along the way. Topics of note along the way included “building more sidewalks.”

Q&A: Liz Giba was first to ask one. She explained that she had asked the county with help in protesting a recent application for another marijuana-growing/processing business on 16th SW and was rejected. She went ahead and found a way to protest the application, which she says has since been denied, but wondered why the county couldn’t help. McDermott thought that type of business wouldn’t necessarily require the type of buffer that another type of cannabis business might have. King County’s Jacqueline Lewis, who’s working on the Subarea Plan, noted that the plan that’ll be presented to the County Council later this month would specifically disallow that type of business “in a large part of White Center.” Another attendee asked about a “disconnect” in the Subarea Plan and zoning maps. Taylor said the Subarea Plan reflects what was heard from community members, not something the county is trying to push. He said the proposed plan is the result of two years of work with the community. McDermott said zoning maps are not an obligation to build. No, but it means that level of building could be done, the attendee reiterated. The next attendee to comment observed that the zoning maps were difficult to read. She also said none of her neighbors were aware about the changes in the works. McDermott promised “a lot more conversation” as the proposed plans and changes worked their way through the official public-hearing process.

The next participant to comment said he felt many of the questions were “out of touch” with community concerns, such as needs at schools, and a growing “class divide.” He proposed questions such as ‘how can we reprioritize our spending?’ for addressing needs such as mental health. McDermott talked about the Regional Homelessness Authority and its work.

Giba returned to the zoning maps’ density proposals, reiterating that some drastic changes are possible. The county reps said zoning changes don’t guarantee that redevelopment will occur, but rather open the door for it. But the bottom line is that “this is where growth is supposed to go,” in the urban areas, per state policy, Taylor pointed out. An attendee countered that White Center isn’t necessarily as “urban” as you’d think, and a lack of infrastructure is a challenge – she listed problems such as a lack of adequate street lighting, an absence of sidewalks. She says she’s often heard that concerns “will be addressed in the future” but remains concerned that there isn’t even enough baseline information/awareness about what’s proposed. “Our voices aren’t being heard.” McDermott responded, “I hear your voice,” and stressed again that this isn’t “smokin’ through council,” that a final vote is maybe six months or more away. The attendee said she has an architecture background and has been researching the walkshed in her neighborhood, and in terms of it being characterized as a “transit corridor,” that ‘doesn’t meet the sniff test” – she has to walk a mile for a bus.

Another participant suggested visualizations to help the community understand what’s being proposed. Then Barbara Dobkin chimed in about transportation safety, and dramatic density changes: “What this (could do) is wiping out a community.” She also said that she “do(esn’t) have much faith” in the county after some problems over the years, going back to 2012 when community advocates were told there would be no marijuana stores in North Highline – and suddenly there were half a dozen. Fast forward to current challenges she said the county was addressing – and suddenly they’re going to upzone. She listed a lot of recent building and said, “Trust me, it WILL happen.” She also echoed the previous speaker in saying nobody in her neighborhood is aware of the process. McDermott said he would do his best to be an advocate; Taylor said his department has tried its best to be responsive. He said his department is “agnostic” about what’s in the plan and just wants it to be “the best plan for the community.”

What happens next with the Community Needs List? It’ll be provided to county departments for them to consider and consult in the budgeting process, Taylor said.

Thyda Ros of the Khmer Community said she wants to be sure they’re included in discussions and consideration for budgeting; they are still without a commuunity center, for example, and are dealing with displacement.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH KC LOCAL SERVICES: Town Halls may be only once a year, but they offer online Local Lunch Q&A opportunities at noon Fridays – find out more here.

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Weekly White Center stop for new King County shower trailer

March 24th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news Comments Off on Weekly White Center stop for new King County shower trailer

King County has formally announced its new shower trailer (county-provided photo above), which already is making weekly stops at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center (9 am-1 pm Fridays). Here’s the announcement:

Executive Dow Constantine announced the launch of a new program bringing a mobile shower to people experiencing homelessness in Kent, Renton, and Seattle. The mobile shower by Clean the World, a global leader in water, sanitation, hygiene, and sustainability, brings health and hygiene to those currently unsheltered in our region.

King County launched the mobile shower at several locations across the region to support basic hygiene needs for people experiencing homelessness. The mobile shower, purchased with American Rescue Plan funds, is part of key strategic initiatives laid out last year to support people experiencing homelessness. This program brings clean water, soap, and washing facilities that reduces the risk of infection and illness like COVID-19. Currently, the mobile shower visits sites in North Seattle, downtown Seattle, South Seattle, and South King County. The program is slated to expand locations throughout the year.

“The ability to bathe is basic to human dignity, and something most of us are fortunate to be able to take for granted. The launch of this mobile shower with our partners at Clean the World gives people the chance to feel refreshed, gain confidence, and live healthy lives,” said Executive Constantine. “The additional funds from Congress for this project are greatly appreciated as we look to identify strategies big and small to support those experiencing homelessness across our region.”

The shower trailer is completely self-contained and can provide up to 250 showers a week. It includes four private stalls with sink, toilet, shower, and dressing area, including one ADA compliant stall equipped with a baby changing station. The unit is sanitized after each use. Hygiene kits, including soap, shampoo, toothbrush, and toothpaste will be provided along with towels.

Individuals will eventually be able to access wrap-around services at partner host sites that may consist of mental health or substance abuse assessments, food assistance, help getting identification, clean clothes, healthcare, veterinary care for animals, job placement training, and housing assistance. At some locations, Clean the World plans to partner in the future with the County’s Mobile Medical Van.

“Expanding the Fresh Start WASH & Wellness Program into King County means connecting the vulnerable population in this area to critical hygiene and wellness services that will offer a comprehensive approach to both physical and mental health. King County wants to support people experiencing homelessness with the resources needed to transition out of their situation and make them healthier and more confident in the process,” says Shawn Seipler, Founder & CEO, Clean the World. “A warm shower, hygiene supplies, and access to vital resources offered through our many service partners is a big step in that direction.”

King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is partnering with cities in South King County to deploy the mobile shower unit, in addition to operating Seattle locations. Hours of operation will vary at each location.

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REMINDER: Town Hall for unincorporated North Highline tonight

March 22nd, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on REMINDER: Town Hall for unincorporated North Highline tonight

Two weeks after we first noted that King County’s presenting its annual Town Hall for unincorporated North Highline online again this year, tonight’s the night, coming up at 6 pm. This page has all the info you need for watching and/or listening.

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How should the new fireworks ban be enforced? Time for your comments

March 16th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news 8 Comments »

This is the first year fireworks will be illegal in North Highline and the rest of unincorporated King County. So how should that be enforced? The county has just announced it’s time for your comments:

Local Services is accepting public input on a proposed ordinance that establishes a complaint-based process for warnings and citations for fireworks violators.

Now that consumer fireworks are prohibited in the unincorporated areas, King County is working to establish a complaint-based process that addresses violators and wants to hear from the public.

Residents can submit their comments on the proposed ordinance through April 10. The amendments include:

-Classifying violations as “civil violations” rather than criminal. It also specifies that a violation of a “reckless manner which creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person or damage to the property of another” is classified as a gross misdemeanor.

-Requiring a public complaint be filed with the Permitting Division of King County Local Services to trigger enforcement of fireworks violations and imposition of civil penalties. Complaints must:

Include enough information for the violation to be actionable.
Be specific to violations occurring on properties in unincorporated King County.
Be tracked by the department for reporting purposes.

Establishing the procedures for issuing warnings and citations for violations, specifically that:

-A warning will be issued for the first complaint against the person, and a citation will be issued for the second complaint.
-Warnings/citations can be revoked or modified by the director if there is an error.
-The director’s decision on contested warnings/citations is appealable to the hearing examiner.
-Warnings/citations must tracked by the department for reporting purposes.

To read a draft of the Proposed Fireworks Enforcement Ordinance, as well as a plain language summary of the proposed changes, visit Permitting’s Legislation for public review and comment page.

Submit a comment

Comments may be submitted via the following methods:

Postal mail: Robin Proebsting, King County Permitting Division, 35030 SE Douglas St. Suite 210, Snoqualmie, WA 98065-9266
Voicemail: 206-263-3000
E-mail: permittinglegislation@kingcounty.gov

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North Highline’s King County Town Hall set for March 22nd

March 6th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline’s King County Town Hall set for March 22nd

Your local government – King County – is presenting online town halls for unincorporated “community-service areas,” and North Highline gets its turn at 6 pm March 22nd. Here’s the announcement:

King County Local Services is again bringing local government directly to unincorporated areas with the return of its popular Town Hall series.

As the local government in unincorporated areas, King County will hold 11 virtual events in March. Residents will be asked to prioritize the community needs submitted to Local Services in 2021. These priorities will help inform King County department budgets.

The series will kick off on Wednesday, March 9, with a meeting for residents and businesses in the unincorporated Bear Creek/Sammamish area. Here’s the full schedule of events:

March 9: Bear Creek/Sammamish
March 10: Skyway/West Hill
March 14: East Renton
March 15: SE King County
March 17: Vashon Island
March 21: Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River
March 22: North Highline (White Center)
March 24: Snoqualmie Valley/NE King County
March 28: Four Creeks/Tiger Mountain
March 29: East Federal Way
March 30: Fairwood

Each event will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom. Find information about how to join in the Town Halls section of the Local Services website. Questions? email AskLocalServices@kingcounty.gov

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Toplines from County Councilmember Joe McDermott’s online Town Hall

March 3rd, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on Toplines from County Councilmember Joe McDermott’s online Town Hall

Housing and transportation were the main topics on Tuesday night when local King County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s online Town Hall got to Q&A.

McDermott, the council’s vice chair, started with a recap of changes and accomplishments. In the former category, his district is changing with the recent redistricting, including adding “the south half of Burien.” In the latter, he recounted the pandemic response – including more “supplemental budgets’ than usual – as well as the unincorporated-area fireworks ban and the bicycle-helmet law repeal.

Before he wrapped up introductory remarks, he reminded attendees about the Subarea Plan process.

The first question was about Sound Transit, which is currently taking comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the West Seattle and Ballard extensions. (McDermott is on the ST Board.) The attendee was concerned about issues including cost and displacement. Regarding the former, McDermott acknowledged that the ‘cost delta” between the “preferred alternative” and some other options had shrunk, and the community might be able to get a desirable outcome without third-party funding. Another attendee said the Andover station option in North Delridge had a better chance of “preserving neighborhood character.” McDermptt did not commit to support for that option but said he’d welcome taking his board colleagues on a tour of the area.

What’s the county doing about homelessness? McDermott mentioned the launch of the Regional Homelessness Authority and initiatives such as Health Through Housing. Another question about homelessness – what can be done to make more resources available on Vashon Island? McDermott promised to work with islanders. Yet another attendee wanted to see something done to make it easier to build low-income housing – maybe lower costs and fees. Will the county change zoning to support more “middle” housing? McDermott agreed that more density was needed.

What can be done about trash along Highway 509? McDermott said it’s a tangled web of jurisdictions, along a state highway.

Someone else brought up air-traffic noise; McDermott directed them to the FAA.

Another attendee pitched for McDermott to support the National Infrastructure Bank.

As the hour wrapped up, McDermott promised another Town Hall in the future. Meantime, if you have questions/comments/issues, here’s how to contact him: joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov

-Tracy Record, WCN editor

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Planning, development, road changes, more on the agenda for North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s March meeting

February 27th, 2022 Tracy Posted in King County, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Planning, development, road changes, more on the agenda for North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s March meeting

What’s changing in our area and how can you have a say? Several big topics are on the agenda for the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s March meeting, online this Thursday night. Here’s the announcement we just received:

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard!

Where? North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
When? Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 7 pm

Join Zoom Meeting:
us02web.zoom.us/j/4554402206?pwd=VTBjU2huaXZ0YkNSMmQ3V1BMckFCUT09

Meeting ID: 455 440 2206
Passcode (case sensitive): NHUAC2022

Unable to join via Zoom?
Please Call: 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 455 440 2206
Passcode: 590112761

Thanks to all who participated in NHUAC’s February meeting! The discussion about the Subarea Plan for North Highline was an intense and important one and it is not over. Jacqueline Reid of King County’s Department of Local Services (DLS) will join us again in April to discuss the recommendations Executive Dow Constantine makes to the Subarea Plan. His proposal is expected to go to the King County Council by March 31st for deliberation. We are hoping Councilmember Joe McDermott will also be able to join us. Mark your calendar for April 7th!

The Subarea Plan is not the only tool DLS is working on to enable increased density in North Highline/White Center. Jesse Reynolds will be joining NHUAC this coming Thursday (March 3rd) to discuss the North Highline Urban Design Standards project. Jesse is manager of the project, which is charged with creating an urban design framework for new commercial, multi-family, and mixed-use developments. The proposed standards include formalized public input in the development review process. Thursday’s meeting will give you an opportunity to weigh in on what is being proposed for that process as well as the county’s ideas for designing a safe and welcoming neighborhood with a distinctive identity. Please join us to learn about the proposed design standards, share your opinions, and welcome Jesse who recently moved to Arbor Heights.

Another big change we heard just a little about at the February meeting was King County’s 16th Ave SW Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Project in White Center, which aims to add safer street crossings at all intersections, streamline travel lanes, increase on-street parking, and possibly add bike lanes. Broch Bender, Road Services’ communications manager, will join us for a more in-depth presentation and to listen to ideas and comments from community members.

Last, but certainly not least, come learn what has been happening in our community our from Community Deputy Bill Kennamer!

Knowledge is power.

Learn, share, and help make North Highline a healthier community.

March 3, 2022 at 7 pm – Invite Your Neighbors!

Here’s our coverage of February’s NHUAC meeting, which includes a link to the still-open survey about the 16th SW plan.

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