Driver charged in deadly April crash, said to have had blood-alcohol level 4 times legal limit

October 8th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news No Comments »

(WCN photo from April 2015)
Six months after 55-year-old Rebecca Delgado died from injuries suffered when she was hit while crossing 16th SW at SW 104th, the driver who hit her is charged. 50-year-old Jamie Starr Larson of Burien got out of jail after a few days, while Ms. Delgado was still fighting for life in the hospital, a fight she lost eight days after she was hit. We’ve been checking on the case periodically for months, and this week, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Larson with vehicular homicide.

The charging documents begin starkly: “On March 31, 2015, the defendant, Jamie S. Larson, turned 50 years old. She celebrated by drinking alcohol for the next two days.” On April 2nd, she thought she was sober enough to drive – though she was unlicensed and uninsured. That’s the day she hit Rebecca Delgado in a marked crosswalk, with flashing beacons activated by Ms. Delgado’s husband, and with another driver stopped for her; the documents say Larson whipped around that driver, and that’s when she hit Ms. Delgado.

Larson is said to have told investigators at the scene that she had only had three beers, but she didn’t do well on the field-sobriety tests, and a blood test administered later led to an estimate that her blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been .32, four times the legal drunkenness level. The charging papers say she also had taken an anti-depressant, that she admitted having a substance-abuse problem, and that she has one drunk-driving conviction on her record from 21 years ago.

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PHOTOS: Cleanup at ‘The Bog,’ before and after

October 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in safety, White Center news 2 Comments »

We’ve reported before on efforts to clean up “The Bog” – and to make it less conducive to illegal camping, drug use, and crime. Aside from other concerns raised by those activities, the fact is that the area needs to stay clean because of its role in the area’s drainage system (as today’s rain reminds us).

The latest cleanup was a big one, and community member Gill Loring shares photos as well as post-cleanup info from King County senior engineer Ken Gresset, who, as we’ve reported here previously, has been leading cleanup efforts:

This past weekend, Ken and a group “Friends of the Trail” (their second time helping out) as well as a NH resident and her daughter got to it.

Excerpted from Ken’s e-mail: “Many thanks to all involved for a great cleanup last weekend. The group “Friends of the Trail” led by Wade Holden pulled out all the stops over two days and took 8 large truckloads of debris to the dump along with around 40 syringes.

Many thanks to Deputies Kennamer, Paul and Syson for their onsite security work and for Captain Boe for arranging their presence. Thanks also to North Highline residents Christine and her daughter who braved the onsite conditions to help out. The Sheriff’s department gave the campers three weeks of almost constant notice that the cleanup was coming and to take any possessions they wanted to keep with them.

On another bright note we did encounter one of the campers who seemed sincerely interested in getting help and we are working with a neighbor who knows her to get her connected to social services.”

Excerpted from another e-mail: “I walked all of the trails today. I didn’t find any camps and only encountered one person in the area. I explained the trespass laws to him and he moved along.

The key is going to be continued police presence to make the place unattractive to the illegal users. As soon as the place is posted, we will start enforcing the trespass laws. The place looks great!”

And from the North Highline resident who helped: “My daughter & I were able to help for about an hour or so…It was disgusting, smelled really bad back there & yet people were willing to live in that! Ken, the “trails crew” was great! They pulled out several mattresses, sofa, tv, clothes & crap – yes, really! Hopefully in the future there can be a work party to start clearing out some of that brush to open things up a bit more! I’d be there, just let me know when!”

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‘Traffic garden’ in the works for Lakewood Park

October 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Lakewood Park, Parks, safety, White Center news No Comments »

From the Cascade Bicycle Club‘s newsletter, word of something new on the way to Lakewood Park:

The Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation is honored to be the recipient of a 2016 Youth Sports Facilities grant from King County Parks. This grant will provide $75,000 for the creation of a new traffic garden in White Center in Lakewood Park.

The White Center traffic garden will be a bicycle skills park where learners of all ages and abilities can practice bicycling in a safe, car-free environment. With on-site bicycle storage, traffic signs and real-world infrastructure elements, the Traffic Garden will be the perfect place to come and learn about bicycle safety.

The newsletter says groundbreaking is expected early next year, “with programming beginning in the spring.” We’ll be checking with Cascade later today to find out more.

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UPDATE: Evergreen football player Kenney Bui has died, 3 days after injury during game

October 5th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Evergreen High School, Sports, White Center news 2 Comments »

8:16 AM: An injury suffered during Friday night’s Evergreen-Highline football game in Burien has an Evergreen player in critical condition. That’s according to our regional news partner The Seattle Times, identifying the player as Kenney Bui and reporting that he is at Harborview Medical Center after emergency surgery. Bui is a senior at Evergreen; KING 5 quotes Highline Public Schools as saying counselors will be available on campus today for anyone who wants to talk about what happened.

2:58 AM: As also noted in comments, Highline superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield has announced Mr. Bui’s death:

It is with great sadness that School Board President Bernie Dorsey and I share with you that TEC High School senior Kenney Bui, who was critically injured in Friday night’s Evergreen v. Highline football game, died this morning at the hospital.

This is a devastating loss for all of us — Evergreen students, families, and staff, and our entire Highline community.

Our deepest condolences go out to Kenney’s family and all who knew him. Please join us in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers.

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SATURDAY: Volunteer at North Shorewood Park!

October 5th, 2015 Tracy Posted in How to Help, Parks, White Center news No Comments »

You want to be there – just a little time can make a big difference:

It’s happening 10 am-2 pm next Saturday (October 10th) – lots more information, including what to bring (and a map, if you’re not already familiar with North Shorewood Park), on this flyer.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council talks marijuana, and more

October 2nd, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

As is usually the case, the monthly North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting sprawled across a long list of topics and concerns.

Before the main announced topic – marijuana and the prevalence of shops both legal and illegal in North Highline – the NHUAC board and attendees heard the newest information on crime:

CRIME STATS UPDATE: White Center’s new storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer says the major categories show an overall year-to-year decline: 14 auto thefts in the past month, compared to 24 in the same month a year ago, “a real dramatic month,” he noted. The Coronado Springs Apartments area is a hotspot. Auto recoveries: Six this past month, compared to 11 the same month last year. Nine assaults, compared to 13 a year earlier; aggravated assaults, 3, up from 0 the same period last year. Commercial burglaries, forced: 2 compared to 1; just one non-forced, same as the period in 2014. Residential burglaries, 2 down from 5 (forced), 3 down from 5 (non-forced). Asked about the recent arson spree that led to an arrest, he said the officer who arrested the suspect, Joyce Ziegenfuss, took her into custody within hours of a “be on the lookout” bulletin happening. (We just checked the King County Jail Register – she remains in custody and was charged with arson.)

Despite all that, some at the meeting said they don’t feel safe in the area. King County Sheriff John Urquhart countered that forcefully, saying he was in Kent the previous night, where there was a “gang homicide” outside the Target store. “When was the last time there was a homicide in White Center?” he asked. (Answer: Going on two years.)

Then came the wide-ranging, multi-guest discussion of marijuana stores, dispensaries, rules, laws, concerns …

WASHINGTON STATE LIQUOR AND CANNABIS BOARD: The area’s new rep spent a few minutes speaking to NHUAC. He mentioned the new rules regarding marijuana businesses that were announced about a week ago; he says several public hearings will be held around the state to “welcome feedback” on the rules. (You can find them listed on this page of the WSLCB website, including one in Seattle on November 16th.) He also discussed changes made by the State Legislature this year, particularly how the medical cannabis business is to be integrated into the recreational business. The state Health Department will be overseeing the issuing of cards, for starters, and he says it’s believed that will reduce the number of fraudulent issuances.

One of the questions asked of the rep was: If the new rules are removing limits on how many marijuana stores will be allowed in a certain area, how will the proliferation be regulated? He said it depends on how many applications are received, among other factors. “So when can we say, we’ve got enough?” the attendee pressed. The rep suggested sharing that feedback with the WSLCB. “Our board is always receptive to that kind of feedback.” He added, “We began with a very conservative number of shops, based on trying to capture 5 to 10 percent of the black market, and then it would be revisited down the road.” Now, they’re hoping to target up to “20 percent of the black market,” he said. “I think we’ve got a long way to go before we capture the illicit market, which is our goal down the road … there’s still a very viable and very large illicit market out there.”

If this area is going to have a disproportionate number of marijuana stores – up to eight allowable, it was said repeatedly, according to the current formula – how can residents be sure they benefit from an appropriate amount of the revenue? asked one attendee. No clear answer ensued, but the rep said there’ll be a “formula.” Right now, spreading the entire $15 million tax revenue around the state would “be very thin,” he added. Overall, the advice was to speak to state legislators (at least one of whom might be attending a NHUAC meeting later this fall). That wasn’t much consolation to attendees who said that it felt as if the area has become a “dump site” for “vices.”

SHERIFF’S TAKE ON IT: Next up, Sheriff Urquhart declared he knows why there are more stores in areas like this – because too many other jurisdictions have banned them. He wondered if there is anything the state can do “to ban that practice.” Said the WSLCB rep, “No – that was the attorney general’s interpretation.” Sheriff Urquhart says then the law should be changed, since the intent of Initiative 502 was that every area would “take its share,” but without that happening, areas like this one that have no way to ban them are winding up with a disproportionate share.

Meantime, he says five of the 15 “illegal” dispensaries in the unincorporated urban areas are out of business, of the ones targeted at the news conference held back in July (WCN coverage here). He says King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is “dedicated to” putting other shops out of business by going to court – via civil laws (as regional media reported last month) – by year’s end, if necessary. There was some back and forth with the state rep as to whether some of those stores would continue to have a grace period until next July or not.

NHUAC board member Elizabeth Gordon – who runs an I-502-licensed marijuana store in downtown White Center – noted that some areas that don’t have anti-pot-store rules, such as West Seattle, don’t have legal stores because they have few or no spaces that qualify given the buffer-zone rules, and “that’s another reason for the clustering … in this area.”

“Until this all settles out in the next three, four, five years, we’re just not going to know how this is going to work … I call this a giant social experiment in the state of Washington, because that’s what the voters wanted,” said the sheriff. “We just don’t know how this is going to work out.” He looked at the state rep in the audience: “You might have to change your name back to the Liquor Control Board.”

The state rep noted that the buffer-zone rules were changing.

“Could the county limit the number of stores in an area?” Urquhart asked King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who replied that Bellevue had tried to do that but is “currently being sued … for doing so.” (Here’s a Seattle Times [WCN news partner] story from last year.)

MCDERMOTT ON MARIJUANA, AND MORE: Taking his turn as speaker, the county councilmember said the moratorium on dispensaries in the county is in its second six-month extension, and he hopes to extend it one more time. The moratorium was news to some in the room; McDermott said if someplace new has opened, the county needs to be notified so it can enforce the moratorium. NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin said it’s hard for the community to know what’s going in and where. McDermott noted that if it’s a legal store, there’s supposed to be a notice in the window. Board member Elizabeth Devine said, “No one’s claiming that pot shops are the end of western civilization … but because it’s new, you’re having (some who are responsible) applying next to some (who are not).” She said the fact that cannabis businesses are “all-cash” is a particular challenge/concern. “We just need you and the other legislators to look out for us because all sorts of interesting things can happen … otherwise, all hell can break loose.” McDermott said that’s exactly why he had pursued the aforementioned moratorium, and pressed Olympia to take steps to address the unregulated medical-marijuana business. One man said he felt there isn’t enough concern being shown for White Center; he wants to see “more law enforcement .. more response from the community when we ask for things to stop … cleaning up our streets and sidewalks.” He says White Center isn’t what it used to be, earlier in his 67 years of living here. McDermott noted that King County is not necessarily the best local government for WC. Board member Liz Giba said that she wishes information about unincorporated White Center and Skyway – both urban areas – could get information, broken out from the rest of the unincorporated area. Giba said she would get in touch with McDermott regarding what kind of information she’s looking for.

Resident Gill Loring suggested that anyone concerned about cleanups and other action can get in touch with Bong Sto. Domingo at the county. He also asked McDermott what’s up with annexation; McDermott said all he’s heard are “the same rumors,” regarding Seattle trying to “keep its foot in the door.” Whether the potential sales-tax credit is available at the level that the city wants for annexation was still in question. In the meantime, what can be done for the basics in the area? Loring asked – especially the roads? “The long-term outlook for county revenue is bleak,” answered McDermott. The county has lobbied for increasing the limit on sales-tax revenues, to get more money, and to get support from other jurisdictions, but nothing’s been finalized. Another question from Loring: Has the county researched why larger businesses aren’t opening in/moving to areas like this, given their proximity to the city? McDermott said he’d look into what’s being done in the economic-development area.

Later in the discussion, talk turned to the empty spaces in the heart of the business area, and what could be done about that. “This is a great community,” said one man. “Why can’t we attract people?” Discussion also wandered to trash pickup, and the perceived lack of a requirement for it, in some parts of the business district. Sto. Domingo explained that there IS a requirement, under health laws, but enforcing it is the challenge, with a shortage of resources. McDermott explained that the county’s in the middle of a two-year budget cycle, so nothing regarding funding for those resources can change for at least a year. Sto. Domingo said the crew that comes out periodically is working on it, but the problem seems to be breaking out “every other day.” Dobkin wondered why business leaders such as the White Center Chamber of Commerce aren’t involved in advocating for it; she says that on Sunday mornings in particular, downtown is in terrible shape.

BOG CLEANUP: This weekend county crews will be back at “The Bog,” per NHUAC members and Deputy Kennamer. Anti-trespassing signs will be going up in the area. Shrubbery cleanup will be happening in the 11th/12th/Roxbury vicinity – though that’ll cost a fair amount of money, the deputy noted, up to $60,000.

RENAMING LAKEWOOD PARK FOR DICK THURNAU: The County Council is expected to finalize this (prior WCN coverage here) on October 12th, and assuming that happens, a celebration is planned at November 7th at the Technology Access Foundation‘s Bethaday Community Learning Space.

NORTH SHOREWOOD PARK WORK PARTY: Watch for the official announcement of this, coming up soon.

UNINCORPORATED-AREA GRANTS: The deadline for applying for King County’s “community-engagement grants” is coming up next month – November 16th – it was pointed out. Find out about them here.

MARTIN’S WAY: One of the new owners of the former McMurphy’s at 16th SW & SW 112th, Vik, said the mural is complete and he is thankful for community support. He said he hasn’t had to call KCSO in nine months. He expressed thanks for the accessibility of County Councilmember Joe McDermott (who was present at the meeting). He said he is hoping to create a school at the site, teaching technology among other things. You can find out more at the website for what he says is called Martin’s Way (which started when he had a facility by the same name in the North Delridge area a few years back).

NHUAC COMMITTEES: Open to the public to get involved on a variety of fronts, Dobkin reminded everyone – if you’re interested, e-mail her (find her address on the NHUAC website).

WHITE CENTER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Gordon says they’re trying to recover their former e-mail list – many people who used to get notifications of meetings, for example (including us here at WCN), haven’t had word for some time. You can e-mail, she says.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets on first Thursdays, 7 pm, at the North Highline Fire District‘s HQ. In November, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is scheduled, and is expected to bring members of his staff, with topics including the “community justice” program relating to abandoned/vacant houses, often bank-owned and taken over by squatters.

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YOU CAN HELP! Buy your ticket ASAP for White Center Food Bank’s Harvest Dinner

October 1st, 2015 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Food Bank, White Center news No Comments »

Just two weeks until the biggest night of the year for the White Center Food Bank and its supporters – and ultimately, the people it helps day in and day out:

The White Center Food Bank’s 11th Annual Harvest Dinner & Auction is coming up on October 17th at South Seattle College’s Brockey Center. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and helps us to continuing feeding our community; in 2014, we served 64,473 people from White Center, West Seattle, and Burien. The auction is really fantastic this year, with items ranging from restaurant gift cards to a week in Mallorca, Spain, and everything inbetween; the dinner is a delicious steak and salmon entrée (vegetarian also available). Tickets are on sale RIGHT NOW! Last year, the event sold out, and we hope for the same this year. Information, tickets, and a preview of items up for bid, all available at

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WHITE CENTER WEEKEND: Live music @ WC Eagles on Friday

October 1st, 2015 Tracy Posted in Music, White Center Eagles, White Center news No Comments »

No plans for Friday night yet? From the White Center Eagles:

If you are a Fleetwood Mac fan, we have a special evening planned for you! Solstice (and Friends) are appearing at the White Center Eagles this Friday night, October 2nd, from 7 PM to 11 PM. They are a Fleetwood Mac cover band. Their repertoire also includes a great selection of rock and blues. We have a large dance floor. Dinner from 5 PM to 7 PM. Please join us for a night of awesome music and dancing. Eagles and signed-in guests only!

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Marijuana stores in the spotlight again at October 1st North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

September 26th, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

Just announced:


When: Thursday, October 1 @ 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th Street)

Plan on joining the discussion at the next NHUAC meeting with our special guests:

• King County Council Representative – Joe McDermott
• King County Sheriff – John Urquhart

The discussion will focus on the licensing of marijuana stores in the unincorporated areas of North Highline and Skyway/West Hill. Presently the state has 11 licenses available for the whole of unincorporated King County- 8 of those licenses have already been issued for stores in the urban unincorporated communities of North Highline (3 stores) and Skyway/West Hill (5 stores). There are also changes coming that may allow for an unlimited number of these licenses to be granted. How will this impact our community? Should regulations be enacted to prevent the concentration of these stores in our community?

Also on hand will be our new White Center Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer to provide updates on crime trends and general community safety concerns.

Your voice matters on these important community issues. Hope to see you at this very informative meeting

For more information see: or email:

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Happy 10th anniversary, Mac’s Triangle Pub!

September 25th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Businesses, White Center news Comments Off on Happy 10th anniversary, Mac’s Triangle Pub!

Tomorrow (Saturday, September 26th) is a milestone anniversary for Mac’s Triangle Pub – 10 years! You’re invited to come celebrate, all day and all night. They’ll be open 9 am-2 am, with the day playing out like this:

Breakfast special
Introduction of the new Triangle Burger
Huskies playing Cal Bears
Live music by Mercy Mercy
New limited edition 10th Anniversary T shirt
Community photo op!
2005 pricing!

Go see Mac and the team at Delridge/16th/Roxbury.

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FOLLOWUP: Rename Lakewood Park in honor of Dick Thurnau? County councilmembers to consider September 29th

September 22nd, 2015 Tracy Posted in Lakewood Park, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Rename Lakewood Park in honor of Dick Thurnau? County councilmembers to consider September 29th

Following up on County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s announcement last month, he’s sent word that you are welcome to come tell a Council committee next Tuesday (September 29th) what you think about renaming Lakewood Park in honor of its longtime champion, Dick Thurnau:

At the request of many in the community, I have introduced legislation renaming Lakewood Park in honor of Dick Thurnau, a longtime neighbor and advocate for the park. The legislation will be considered by the Council’s Transportation, Environment, and Economy (TrEE) Committee on Tuesday, September 29th. This meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am.

I invite all interested individuals to attend the upcoming meeting to share your thoughts about this proposal to rename Lakewood Park to Dick Thurnau Park:

What: Transportation, Environment and Economy meeting
Where: Council Chambers, King County Courthouse, 10th floor
Time: 9:30 am

Directions to the Courthouse can be found here; just scroll to the bottom of the page. A meeting agenda will be posted later this week.

Further comment would be welcome when the legislation is before the full Council sometime following committee action.

If you’re not able to make the committee meeting, please consider emailing your comments to me at You can also watch the meeting on KCTV’s Live Stream on the day of the meeting.

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UPDATE: Crash-and-grab break-in at Top Hat pot shop

September 22nd, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, top hat, White Center news 3 Comments »

11:09 AM: Thanks to the reader who tipped us to this: The Nimbin recreational-marijuana store at 10861 1st Avenue South in Top Hat is cleaning up after an early-morning break-in via vehicle. We are still working to get information from the King County Sheriff’s Office, but they confirmed that, as our tipster said, a vehicle drove into the shop, and that they would be open today even as repairs continue – they were not commenting on what if anything was stolen. This is one of three state-licensed marijuana stores that have opened this year in unincorporated North Highline. We’ll update when we get info from KCSO.

12:46 PM: KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says a neighbor heard the crash around 2 am, then looked out to see that a “white truck” had backed into the shop. “The witness saw a man exit the truck and enter the business. The man was in the business for about a minute then returned to the truck and sped off. When deputies arrived they contacted the owner who responded to the scene. It appears as though some cash and an assortment of packaged marijuana was stolen.” No description of the driver other than “male.”

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Food-truck owner to open bricks-and-mortar Charlie’s Restaurant in White Center

September 18th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Food, restaurants, White Center news Comments Off on Food-truck owner to open bricks-and-mortar Charlie’s Restaurant in White Center

Another new restaurant is on the way to White Center. Veronica Weaver, proprietor of the Charlie’s Buns N’ Stuff food truck, is opening a restaurant at 1521 SW 98th St., Suite D, next week. That’s two doors east of Pho Tai. Starting September 25th – one week from today – Charlie’s Restaurant will be open seven days a week, 11 am-7 pm. The food truck has specialized in cheesesteaks and “gourmet half-pound burgers.”

UPDATE: Looks like the hours have changed a bit – Tuesdays-Sundays, 11 am-9 pm.

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FOLLOWUP: $30,000 bail set for arson suspect

September 15th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, fire, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: $30,000 bail set for arson suspect

We know more today about the 36-year-old woman jailed for investigation of multiple White Center arsons – such as, she has “a flame on (her) right arm.” That’s from the section of the police report where suspects routinely are described. She appeared in the jailhouse courtroom this afternoon, where bail was set at $30,000, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Court documents describe the five fires she is accused of setting late Sunday night/early Monday morning. Two were at Samway Market; two others in dumpsters in a nearby alley; and the fifth was in a recycling bin outside the Mac’s Triangle Pub in South Delridge, across Roxbury from the south edge of White Center. Court documents say she was identified via surveillance video that shows her lighting multiple fires, and that she has been arrested for arson in the past; she allegedly told investigators that “voices in her head told her to (set) the fires because they were pretty,” the crime report says. Prosecutors will decide by week’s end on whether to file formal charges.

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King County Sheriff’s Office reports arson suspect arrested

September 14th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, fire, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on King County Sheriff’s Office reports arson suspect arrested

The new King County Sheriff’s Office Storefront Deputy for White Center, Bill Kennamer – introduced at this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting (WCN coverage here) – reports the arrest of an arson suspect. After what he describes as “several” arsons this past weekend, “today at about 11, Master Police Office Spence found and arrested the suspect in these arsons. The Arson Investigators responded and the suspect admitted to lighting the fires. She was booked into the King County Jail on 4 counts of Arson 2nd Degree.” Thanks to a reader tip, we know one of the fires was at the Samway Market on 15th SW late last night. We’re following up in search of more information.

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PHOTOS: Holy Family Street Fair today & tomorrow

September 12th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Fun, Holy Family, White Center news Comments Off on PHOTOS: Holy Family Street Fair today & tomorrow

The annual Street Fair at Holy Family Church and School starts at 11:30 am today and continues through 8 tonight, then on Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. On the west side of the church, 20th SW will be closed south of SW Roxbury, and that’s where you’ll find vendors, entertainment, and more. No charge for admission – but bring $ for food/drink and raffles, among other things.

ADDED 4:38 PM: Stopped by for a few photos! Above, that’s Gabe Alisna from Dignity Memorial. Below, a familiar sight on the Holy Family grounds:

We also found the Seattle Fire Department’s Engine 11 visiting – popular with kids:

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White Center Eagles announce open house this Saturday

September 10th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center Eagles, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Eagles announce open house this Saturday

From the White Center Eagles:

Open House: The White Center Eagles is open to the public this Saturday, from 12 Noon until 11 PM. Bring the family. We have plenty of parking. 10425 15th Ave SW. 206-248-1400

The Black River Falls band will be entertaining outside from 5 PM to 9 PM. (with Wally Giffin on steel guitar and Larry Broad on fiddle.)

Chicken S–t Bingo from 3 PM on. Horseshoe To Tournament begins at 12 Noon. Free pool all day – we have four pool tables.

Dinner at 4 PM: Country Style Ribs, Baked Beans, Corn on the Cob, Cornbread, and Marionberry Pie ala mode for dessert. All for $10.

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New storefront deputy, cleaning up White Center Bog, saving Myers Parcels, all discussed @ September’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

September 3rd, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 3 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Even with a Seahawks game as competition, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s first meeting of fall drew a respectable turnout, eight board members and about 20 members of the public.

NEW STOREFRONT DEPUTY: Deputy William Kennamer, who’s been with the King County Sheriff’s Office for 17 years, introduced himself, saying he is “pretty pleased to be here,” having “just got the job” and saying, “I worked hard to get the job.” He’s been most recently with King County Transit Police. He says he is hoping “to be here a while,” not having aspirations such as the ones that have taken a few of his predecessors out of the job before long. “I’m pretty easy to get along with, I have a pretty good sense of humor – if you ask me a question, I’ll tell you if I don’t know, and I’ll get back to you with the answer … If you ask me my personal opinion, I’ll tell you, and it might be different from department policy, but I work off department policy and state law.” He also said he’s fast to answer e-mail, and the phone “if I’m working” – 206-510-7342, – his “core hours” are 10 am-6 pm Mondays-Fridays, but with a “four-hour flex” so that he can change his shift if needed for something such as attending this meeting. He added that he’s a SWAT Team member and that means he’ll be out on training three Wednesdays a month. He’s only been on the Storefront Deputy job since Tuesday so he had no observations to share yet, aside from “White Center’s way better than it was 17 1/2 years ago” – which is when he started, patroling here, as part of KCSO.

He was asked about crime stats. His sectors, he said, include White Center, Top Hat, and the unincorporated area of South Park, K1 and K7; he’s not accountable for Greenbridge, which is K11, handled by its own deputy, and promised to bring stats for those areas to future meetings. He had some – 15 residential burglaries in August of last year, 7 in August of this year, for example; the violent-crime index (robberies and assaults) were 14 in August of last year, 5 in August of this year. Major crimes, Part 1, numbered 96 last August, 80 this year; Part 2 numbered 116 last August, 95 this August. Ten auto thefts in August (no comparison number), he added; 16 fourth-degree assaults, 3 aggravated assaults, 4 commercial burglaries, 6 vehicle recoveries – “none of them were stolen from this area,” but they were abandoned here.

One more note – his position as a transit deputy “will not be replaced any time soon.” Board members wondered how that would affect area bus stops. He said he spent most of his time in White Center and Burien patroling for things such as people drinking at stops, so there likely will be more of that in the wake of his move. Recruiting is tough, he noted, when asked – fewer people apply to even take the test.

WHITE CENTER BOG: Two King County reps, John Taylor and Ken Gresset, came back with an update, following up on a promise to launch a community-outreach process about improving the situation there. Taylor was asked to give some background: “It’s a stormwater facility and future Housing Authority development site … there are two stormwater-detention ponds .. that are managing all the stormwater that’s coming from up on the slope.” When it was developed, it was planted as a wetland with buffers around the edges, but the plantings have grown, created screening, areas where people can “camp out and hide and conceal themselves,” overgrown areas that attract a lot of campers during the summer. Gresset noted that about $137,000 has been spent on three major cleanups in the past few years. It’s bounded by Roxbury, 100th, 12th/13th. “When I went out it was basically anarchy there, (lots of) camps, screams in the middle of the day … basically what we did was we went into remove the brush and increase the visibility on the site, built an access road for deputies to use to access the site.” He said lighting provided by the Parks Department has helped and might be expanded. Some cutting’s been done, but more needs to be done, Gresset said. The area had in the past generated hundreds of calls to King County Sheriff’s Office per year, and Gresset said that’s way down this year, but people still have been camping there this summer.

“We’ll keep cutting brush and cleaning it,” Taylor said, and promised they’ll be cleaning out the junk and garbage before winter. But he said the conversation needs to go further – what more could be done to keep people from coming back? Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, or activities, or … ? Ideas floated so far, he elaborated, included building a perimeter trail, maybe even a fitness trail; perhaps a small soccer field in a flat area on the site; a disc golf course that had been mentioned before, though, might not work out, because the area is wetland so much of the time and is bisected by a path that might be incompatible. “If we had an idea, how would we go about trying to make it happen?” asked an attendee. While the stormwater department is spending a lot of money, maybe a partnership with parks and community members would be helpful, the county duo suggested. At that point, a neighbor of the site got up and offered some more backstory, including an offer to trim some of the trees “so we can have vision through the whole area” – she said she’d like to see it kept natural, but “this summer was the worst, it’s just been horrible” in terms of overgrowth.

Brainstorming ensued. Bottom line, Taylor said, none of the departments with a stake in this have big budgets to do something, so it has to be a creative solution. NHUAC board member Elizabeth Devine pointed out that the questionable activity isn’t necessarily the fault of homeless people camping in areas like this but often of those who prey on them. “When there’s an underground bunker, though – that’s pretty chilling,” Taylor observed, referring to what was discovered during an earlier cleanup.

Nearby resident Gill Hodges urged people to “just use it … we’ve had fewer problems (in the area) because people are just using it. Walk through it.” The county reps said a volunteer cleanup is planned in the not-too-distant future.

MYERS WAY GREENSPACE: Cass Turnbull of Plant Amnesty noted that she’s “new to the political process” – she’s a gardener by trade, and has run the nonprofit for about 20 years. A few years ago she and some others started TreePAC, another nonprofit. “One of our first jobs was to try and save some City Light surplus substations.” She showed a slide deck with photos of the 38-acre Myers Way greenspace, a long-ago gravel pit, currently owned by the City of Seattle, “currently in the disposition process,” which she says means they believe it would be best sold off for commercial development. (We wrote about this in February on our partner site West Seattle Blog.) It includes wooded areas and wetlands, as well as Hamm Creek, she said, showing some photos, including even an unofficial concrete pond and stairs someone built. “It was originally 50 acres Nintendo bought to build an office park, then sold to the city for a training center” – which was built on part of that land. Then, she told the story of John Beal and his interest in the Duwamish River, starting with his cleanup of Hamm Creek. “What feeds Hamm Creek is the Myers Parcels (area),” she said. At one point, she said, the site was to be sold to Lowe’s – not for a store, but for offices, etc. – and the deal fell through, so the city has it back in the “disposition process.”

Seattle Parks doesn’t want it, she said, while declaring that she believes the city should keep it. Ideally, as a “natural park” – with a visitors center, rangers on site, fenced and gated, with guided nature walks and areas for free play – “Myers Park.” It would also be good for the seniors who live in housing nearby, she suggested. At the very least, it could be greenbanked – saved for the future, when the money would exist for it to be bought, improved, maintained. “Once the land is gone, you’ll never get it back – this is the largest unbuilt piece of property for miles and miles around, and if we don’t save it, it won’t be there in the future.”

What can supporters do to help? Sign a petition at, she suggested. Also e-mail Seattle City Council members to ask that surplus land not be sold for development,, 206-684-8566. And, she said, tell your neighbors and friends.

She was asked what the status of its ownership is, within the city. She believes the city is paying off an “interdepartmental loan.”

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES: Two are still open, an attendee noted, wondering why, since the time when it was suggested they should close – by King County Sheriff’s Office and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office – has long passed. After several scheduled agenda items, the topic came up again, and NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin pointed out that there are two licensed recreational-marijuana stores already in the unincorporated areas, and a proposal for a processing/growing facility, and said there’s concern that those stores will proliferate. (One attendee said three licenses are already granted in the unincorporated area; looks like the third is at 10825 Myers Way S. in Top Hat [map], not far from the Nimbin shop, under the name “West Seattle Cannabis Company.”) Dobkin proposed asking county leaders to put some restrictions on how many stores could be in the area. “Why would we put all the pot stores in a community with a vulnerable population? … It doesn’t speak to equity and social justice.” An attendee said a short time later that it’s too bad White Center can’t make its own rules. “I wish White Center could be its own city, but it doesn’t have the tax base,” noted Dobkin. “More marijuana stores!” quipped someone in the audience.

NEW BOARD MEMBER: NHUAC’s board approved a new member at the start of the meeting, Dominic Barbera.

RENAMING LAKEWOOD PARK IN HONOR OF DICK THURNAU: Board member Liz Giba said the County Council is advancing this. (Here’s our most-recent report, from mid-August.)

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Giba announced that Rich Miller of Poor Boys’ Auto Repair, “a longtime lover of White Center,” had died of a stroke last month. “He was a friend to me and a friend to White Center.” … Giba also announced that October 17th is the date for the White Center Food Bank‘s fundraising dinner; tickets are on sale, at a reduced rate until October 1st. … The White Center Library Guild is collecting petition signatures to have a room at the new library – under construction on SW 107th – named after longtime library advocate Rachael Levine. … Application period will start the day after Labor Day for the county’s Community Service Area grants, according to county rep Alan Painter.

NHUAC usually meets 7 pm first Thursdays at the North Highline Fire District HQ – watch for updates on the next meeting; Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg is scheduled to be at the November meeting …

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Happy back-to-school day for Highline Public Schools students

September 3rd, 2015 Tracy Posted in Education, Schools, White Center news Comments Off on Happy back-to-school day for Highline Public Schools students

It’s the first day of the 2015-2016 school year for most local students, as noted here last month, so just a reminder to be careful out there! In addition to Highline Public Schools, in the White Center area, Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School is back in session too. West Seattle Montessori (in WC) will be starting next Wednesday (September 9th).

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UPDATE: Power outage in White Center

September 2nd, 2015 Tracy Posted in utilities, White Center news 4 Comments »

3:37 PM: Thanks to the person who texted to let us know about the power outage in downtown White Center and vicinity – 262 homes and businesses, according to the Seattle City Light map. We’re checking on the cause.

4:12 PM UPDATE: City Light’s map does not seem to be accurate – we just drove down 16th and 17th SW downtown and saw illuminated OPEN signs on both sides of both streets.

7:12 PM UPDATE: The outage is entirely over now, according to the online map. We’ll be asking SCL tomorrow about the cause.

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