Scenes from Night Out 2014 in North Highline

August 6th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, Neighborhoods, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

Thanks to North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Barbara Dobkin for sharing photos from a lively Night Out gathering in NH – our apologies for delayed publication. Above, NH Fire District firefighters stopped by. Below, King County Sheriff’s Office was represented too – that’s Major Jerrell Wills in uniform:

And he wasn’t alone:

Next year, let us know if you are having a Night Out party – we would love to stop by a few, as we do on the other side of the city-county line – whitecenternow@gmail.com any time!

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Night Out in White Center: Scenes from a block party

August 8th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Crime, Neighborhoods, safety, White Center news Comments Off

Thanks to North Highline/White Center neighborhood advocate Gill Loring for sharing photos from one of Tuesday night’s Night Out block parties – 20th SW between 102nd and 104th. The host was another neighborhood advocate, Ron Johnson (who also serves as a member of the all-volunteer North Highline Unincorporated Area Council). Here’s Ron chatting with one of the King County Sheriff’s Office team members who visited, Community Service Officer Peter Truong:

Also spotted at this party, White Center Storefront Deputy B.J. Myers:

Neighbors got a chance to talk with the officers as well as with each other:

Gill reports the party went on until dark.

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White Center Night Out 2011!

August 3rd, 2011 Tracy Posted in Neighborhoods, safety, White Center news Comments Off

Thanks to Gill Loring for sharing photos from Tuesday’s Night Out neighborhood crime-fighting celebrations in White Center. He reports, “Great crowd of neighbors numbering some 35. It is just satisfying to get a bunch of people together once a year and share what has been going on in our lives.”

And they had some high-profile visitors: “Peter Tuong, King County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Officer, showed up early on and the North Highline Fire Dept. arrived, lights flashing, a bit later.”

Plus; “(Burien City Manager) Mike Martin was making the rounds on his motorcycle.”

Gill continues, “(Burien City Councilmember) Gerald Robison stopped by as well. And the weather was PERFECT!”

Night Out is always the first Tuesday in August – so mark your calendar for August 7, 2012!

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A little citywide-media love for White Center Now!

October 2nd, 2009 Tracy Posted in Neighborhoods, Online, White Center news Comments Off

Seattle Magazine just published a little article about neighborhood-news websites. While we are always honored to see our bigger site West Seattle Blog mentioned, we were pleasantly surprised to see White Center Now included! There were no interviews conducted for this story, totally the writer’s observations, so we didn’t know this was coming till we saw a link go by a few minutes ago via Twitter. Here’s the page mentioning WCN. (Our “best of” list would include a few more, but we’re also glad to see the magazine mention quirky Blogging Georgetown and longtime Tacoma staple Exit 133.) Thanks to the growing number of people who are reading this site and even more importantly, sending us information to share.

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Georgetown Call for Artists

April 8th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Arts, Music, Neighborhoods Comments Off

Call for Artists – Artopia

Artopia Seattle is a grassroots celebration of emerging and established artists and communities. The event focuses on a wide rage of artistic disciplines including: sculpture, industrial design, performance (music, dance, fire, bicycles, motorcycles, carnival street performance, etc.), graffiti, illustration, comic art, painting, photography, graphic design, multimedia and multidisciplinary art, short film & video, tattoo art. No idea is too crazy for Georgetown.

If you are an artist working in one of these areas please fill out the form linked below.

Deadline: May 15, 2009

http://www.artopiaseattle.com/artists.php

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The Worst Blocks in White Center

March 11th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Crime, Neighborhoods, white center, white center community safety coalition 12 Comments »

I generally try not to dwell on the issue of crime in White Center because, on the whole, I think WC gets an undeserved bad rep on this issue.  The place has really cleaned up and there are now some very clean stretches where even petty vagrancy will not be found.  Such, however, is not the case for the three blocks of 15th Avenue SW just south or Roxbury.  Here you will find what White Center used to look like 15 years ago.  Vagrants, thugs, drug dealers and chronic alcoholics own these blocks.  On any given night (or day) you will see roving bands of miscreants plying their wares.  Whether it be the sale of black tar heroin, public drunkenness or just vagrants looking to rifle any car window left open.  I know the Sheriff’s Department considers this a high crime zone, as I have both talked to them and seen them on patrol.   More, however, needs to be done.

Looking south on 15th Ave. SW - DSHS Building to Left (google map)

Looking south on 15th Ave. SW - DSHS Building to Left (google map)

The area suffers these problems because of some structural issues relating to lack of citizen surveillance.  The DSHS building that occupies the block just south of Bartells’ is an architectural crime against humanity.  The designers of the DSHS building (formerly a Safeways) should be indicted in the Criminal Cout at the Hague.  It seems no effort was spared to make this into an insult to the community.   The entrance to the building faces the parking lot and has no sight of anything on the street.  The back walls all face towards the community creating an architectural dead zone; precisely what you don’t want when trying to integrate into a neighborhood (and create public safety).   The hidden spaces created by the building provide sleeping spaces for the homeless and the vagrants.   And the dead zone allows all manner of activity to go undetected.

Looking further south on 15th Ave. SW

Looking further south on 15th Ave. SW

Few of the business in this area have street level views (shops that front sidewalks).  As such, the shop owners, even if they were inclined to keep on eye on matters, cannot see what is going on.  It does not help that many of the businesses are run by first generation immigrants, who have some level of distrust for the police.  As well, many are not accustomed to the concept of community policing.  All this adds up to a three block free-for-all for criminals and miscreants.   I will be adding pictures of some of these folks, including at least one who is registered sex offender, obviously using his “homeless” status to keep from registering.

Suffice it to say, that until this last stretch of bad seeds is cleaned up, White Center will continue labor under the unfortunate appellation of Rat City.

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White Center neighborhood alert: Garage break-in

January 21st, 2009 Tracy Posted in Crime, Neighborhoods Comments Off

From Alison, who lives near Evergreen High School:

I just discovered that our garage on the far side of our yard has been broken into. Doesn’t look like anything was taken, if the thieves had looked through the window they would have discovered that it looks like a bomb went off in there and its impossible to get past the door. Equally annoying was the fact they ripped the hasp off the door-the padlock was not locked since it got water in it. We don’t keep anything of value in there so it was all for naught on the thieves part. I guess with the way things are people are pretty desperate, but I don’t think tarps and plastic flower pots really fetch much at the pawn shop these days.

King County Sheriff’s Office has burglary-prevention advice online.

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Volunteer to Clean Up this Saturday – South Delridge & White Center

January 7th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Businesses, Environment, Neighborhoods, Volunteering, white center 1 Comment »

Time to get out there and help spiffy up the White Center area.  Come and help with clean up and green up sponsored by the City of Seattle.  Mayor will be in attendance so if you want to chat with Mayor Nickels, here’s your chance.

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White Center’s neighbors in Top Hat get Times spotlight

December 13th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Neighborhoods, Real estate Comments Off

In the Times’ real-estate section, a nice feature about White Center-neighboring Top Hat, including some quotes from Heidi Johnson of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. Read it here.

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Greenbridge and its Critics

November 23rd, 2008 Ricardo Posted in development, Economy, Government, Neighborhoods, safety, white center, White Center Early Learning Initiative 9 Comments »

You have to hand it to Bush & Company, they were spot on when they proclaimed that the free market would most assuredly take care of such problems as affordable housing.  Who could have known, a mere three years ago, with housing prices skyrocketing and rents pricing out most renters, that a social revolution was brewing.  Social reformers and liberals cried out for government aid to build low income housing.  Who knew that the mind behind Bush had a smashing plan for bringing down the cost of housing across the board and across the nation?  Genius, pure genius!   Drive the economy into the ditch and pretty soon you are picking up quarter-million dollar homes for $100K in Florida and California.  Here in Seattle, rents have dropped dramatically and landlords are offering incentives to get their units occupied.  Problem is no one has the money to snatch the cheap real estate.  Ah, the magic of the free market at work.

What, you may well ask, does this have to do with the Greenbridge development?   Greenbridge is more than a housing project, it is a master plan for the community.  Greenbridge, and High Point, were developed with certain assumptions in mind.

The project, launched in 2001 with a grant from the federal Hope VI program — the same program that has contributed to the redevelopment of High Point and Holly Park — is supposed to include 1,025 living units. That’s a lot more housing than Park Lake held, but a lot less of it will be subsidized for the poor. The mix is supposed to include 300 rent-subsidized units, 353 workforce rental units, and 372 homes for sale at market rates. This represents a net loss of 269 rent-subsidized units. Instead of maintaining a large pocket of low-income housing in White Center, the county decided to disperse.

As well, the project was developed before the economy hit the squids and before the current real estate meltdown.  Hence, the criticism that some of the economic assumptions underlying the project were wrong.

The King County Housing Authority built the first part of Greenbridge at the height of the real estate boom, when prices for everything were sky-high. The sale of lots for market-rate housing was supposed to reimburse the county some of the cost. By the time the housing authority offered its first relatively small group of market-rate lots for sale, the market had plunged. Only one developer bid on the land, at a price way lower than expected. Having bought high, the county felt it couldn’t afford to sell low. It retracted its request for proposals. For now, the single-family portion of Greenbridge is on hold until the market picks up.

As well, some readers of this blog have expressed concern that the early learning center is a lot of wasted money, destined more for monuments than for education.   Needless to say, Greenbridge and its constituent parts have no shortage of critics.  This is so, despite the very involved political process used to  formulate its goals.  Unlike private developments, the development Greenbridge required input from a great many constituent groups.  As well, the philosophy behind Greenbridge incorporates the revolution in urban planning that did away with such government-manufactured ghettos such as Chicago’s infamous Cabrini Green towers.  When all is said and done, Greenbridge is supposed to be a place that is safe, pleasant and attractive.  And it will be organically connected to the larger White Center Community.

More to come, but feel free to jump in with your observations and comments.    (As always, be civil, or your comment will be deleted.)  In the interim, here are some pictures taken on November 23rd, showing the current progress.

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White Center Community Summit – Saturday, November 8th at Mount View Elementary School

November 7th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Businesses, development, Economy, Education, Environment, Families, Neighborhoods, Politics, Schools, Transportation, white center, White Center Community Development Association Comments Off

The White Center Community Development Association and Trusted Advocates will host the 2008 Community Summit this Saturday, November 8th at Mount View Elementary School.  The event starts at 8:00 am and ends at 3:00 p.m.  Please come and offer your input on the future of your community.   Mount View is located at 10811 12th Avenue SW.

This year’s community summit will gather families, government agencies and local community-based/non-profit organizations in a fun family-friendly environment.  Live cultural performances, ethnic foods, door prizes and children’s activities are just a taste of what the summit has to offer!

Come learn about the issues affecting your community and how you can be involved in a positive way.  There will be info booths and workshops on health, education, jobs, housing, annexation, immigration and more.  Translation services will be provided in Cambodian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Tigrinya, Somali, Amharic, Samoan, Arabic and English (other languages upon request).  Childcare will be provided.

For more info:  Ebony Davis: (206) 694-1082 ext.  168 – ebony@wccda.org or Ian Dapiaoen:  (206) 694-1082 ext. 175 or ian@wccda.org.

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New York Times Celebrates Fremont and Ballard: White Center Next?

October 31st, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Arts, Businesses, development, Neighborhoods, white center 2 Comments »

(Picture is from New York Times website)

The New York Times Travel Section celebrates the quirkiness of Seattle’s Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods, in a piece entitled, “A Seattle That Won’t Blend In.” It probably goes without saying, that once the literati celebrate a place’s Bohemian character, the place is no longer Bohemian and likely has gentrified to the point of gentility.  True Seattlelites, as the late Emmett  Watson of lesser Seattle might have noted, know that one is more likely to find Adobe geeks, PCC yuppies and trophy wives getting botox shots in Fremont than they are to find witches, hippies and beats.   But so be eat.  Let the tourists have Fremont and Ballard.

At Cafe Rozella we like to riff on the old Fremont, by saying that White Center is the “new” Center of the Universe.  In some sense, we do carrry the torch of real quirkiness, as affordability, ample bars and coffee houses feed the artitistic temperament.   And as we well know, The New York Times is not going to be celebrating our charms anytime soon.  So on this night of witches, warlocks and saints, drink a toast to the White Center that IS before we toast to the White Center that WAS.  Cheers!

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King County budget woes to affect annexation battle

October 14th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Annexation, King County, Neighborhoods, Parks, white center 14 Comments »

King County’s current budget woes will have substantial impact on a number of levels, not the least of which is the present and future of unincorporated King County, which is to say White Center. In today’s PI article on the subject the piece end with this, “To keep 39 parks open in urban unincorporated areas, Sims asked the council to maintain those parks for three years with $7.7 million currently set aside as incentives to cities that annex such areas.

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Celebrate the New Greenbridge and YWCA Learning Center

October 10th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Miscellaneous, Neighborhood House, Neighborhoods, white center, White Center Library Comments Off

Celebrate the new Greenbridge Library and YWCA Learning Center.
Open House on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 – 11am!
960 Newport Way NW
Issaquah, WA 98027
www.kcls.org

Bring your friends, family and neighbors and help celebrate the new
community building.
Wednesday, November 5, 11am
9720 Eighth Avenue SW
White Center, WA
Questions, call 425.369.3275.

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Speak up for Affordable Housing at Seattle City Council

October 6th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Economy, Neighborhoods, white center Comments Off

Reminder!  Please join us to speak up for affordable housing at City Hall tomorrow evening!

Homestead has been working in partnership with the Housing Development Consortium & the City of Seattle on Incentive Zoning legislation. A program is currently under consideration by Seattle City Councilmembers that would provide an incentive to developers who agree to build affordable homes within their developments, or near by. According to this new program, when the City of Seattle allows property owners to build taller buildings and earn more profit, in exchange, they would make a portion of the apartments or condos priced so that people making less than average can afford them.

Homestead would like to steward the ongoing affordability of ownership units produced through this program. Over time, this program could generate hundreds of affordable homes that stay affordable through the land trust.
The City Council needs to hear from you about the importance of this program and why they should vote for it. Please join us at this Public Hearing:

Seattle City Hall
Fifth Avenue between James and Cherry, Seattle, WA 98104

Tuesday, October 7, 4:30PM

If you have never attended a city council hearing, don’t worry, we’ll be there to help navigate! Meet at 4:30 in City Hall’s main lobby near the canoe sculpture to the right of the entrance. I’ll be there to answer any questions you have.

Feel free to pass this on to your friends and neighbors! It would be great to see you there.

Thanks,

Kristin

Homestead Phone: 206.323.1227

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Happening today: Energy Festival, Hicks Lake cleanup, Conversation Cafe

September 27th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Neighborhoods, White Center news Comments Off

ENERGY FESTIVAL: You’re likely to get a visitor today; here’s what it’s all about.

HICKS LAKE CLEANUP: You’re invited to join volunteers, 10 am-3 pm. Read more about it here; Dick Thurnau tells us that, to get there, you should “use the west entrance on 10 Ave. SW slightly north of SW112 th St. next to Cascade Middle School and meet at the West side Picnic Shelter restroom.”

CONVERSATION CAFE: 2 pm today at Cafe Rozella; read more here. Voter-registration drive all weekend, too, so if you’re not signed up yet, might be handy.

And that’s not all … check the White Center Now Events calendar page for more (including the Geocaching Cup and tonight’s football game)!

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Last reminder: North Highline community meeting tonight

September 18th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Neighborhoods, North Highline UAC Comments Off

7 pm tonight, at St. Bernadette’s (map), the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hopes you’ll join its members for a community meeting to discuss annexation, among other things.

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Coming up this week: North Highline community meeting

September 14th, 2008 Tracy Posted in Annexation, Neighborhoods, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

From the White Center Now events calendar (is your event missing? please e-mail us!) – This Thursday is the night when the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – the community council that represents YOU if you live in White Center and other areas between the Seattle and Burien city limits — invites you to a community meeting to discuss annexation and a whole lot more. Here’s our original preview; it’s at St. Bernadette’s (map)

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Notes from Cafe Rozella

September 11th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Businesses, Crime, Neighborhoods, People, white center 12 Comments »

A customer walks into Cafe Rozella and before I have chance to say anything he blurts out, “so, how many times have you been robbed?”  I stuttered, “What?”  He replied, “This is such a dangerous neighborhood, you must be robbed all the time.”  I got his order and looked him over:  silk pants, expensive sport shirt, Italian loafers — looked like a salesman.  “None,” I replied.

Ruminating for a minute, I said, “actually this is a very safe neighborhood.  Crime statistics show this is much safer than most other urban Seattle neighborhoods.”  Yeah, but you have so many creeps around here… blah, blah, blah… he stammered on.

“Where do you live?” I asked him.  “White Center,” he said with a laugh.  When he saw that I wasn’t in on his joke, he mentioned the very same neighborhood that I live in.   Now, I could clue this fool in, but I knew that he had a bagful of prejudices and preconceptions that no amount of small conversation would alter.

I thought about all the Rozella regulars who make this their second home:  tradespeople, programmers, biotech scientists, teachers, counselors, government workers, students, writers and artists.  Does this guy have a clue about the richness and diversity in this community?  I’ll admit that, as with any urban neighborhood, there are a fair number of street alcoholics who wander around like extras in the Blade-Runner movie.  But what of all the families walking to buy groceries at the Asian and Latin American markets?  Are they invisible?  Only to those too blind to see.

My dad was a mechanic and hence I relate well to people who do the complex jobs known as the trades.  God has a special place for the grace of those who work with their hands.  I love these people and they represent the best of our community.  And what of the artists who struggle to fulfill a vision — that takes courage.

All this went through my mind from that small exchange.  And the guy didn’t even leave a tip.

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Notes from Cafe Rozella

September 4th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Arts, Food, Miscellaneous, Music, Neighborhoods, People, white center 2 Comments »

A group of very charming young people just came by the Cafe.  Their English was halting so I spoke to them in Spanish, to which they were thrilled.  They also loved our poetry wall with its emphasis on Pablo Neruda.  Turns out they are dancers from Argentina and are here to perform traditional Tango.  (As readers may know the Tango originated in Argentina.)  They will be performing in late September.   Please check here for more details.

Most people are not aware that we sit near a small store-front mosque.  Everyday, you can see Muslims from the Horn of Africa make their way to the mosque for prayers.  They are a very handsome people and carry themselves with regal bearing.  I find it fascinating that they have travelled so very far away to wind up in chilly Seattle (the Switzerland of America).  I am still waiting for the day, soon to arrive, when we can enjoy fresh falafel sandwiches in White Center.

If White Center is any indication, Seattle continues to be a draw for people from other parts of the country — especially the midwest.  The greatest number come from Michigan followed by the Chicago area and Minnesota.  Then there’s the couple from the Yukon (I know that’s Canada).

Just finalized plans for an exhibition and sale of Oaxacan rugs.  The rugs are made by a women’s collective in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Oaxaca is heavily indigenous and the rugs will bring that imprimatur.  We will likely have music to go along with the exhibition.  That should happen on September 24th of 25th.   Click here for more details.

Charanga Danzon will provide the music this Friday at the Cafe.  Charanga Danzon plays traditional Cuban music and is comprised of some excellent musicians.  Should be a fun performance.

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