White Center Community Summit planned for January 28th

January 17th, 2017 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Community Summit planned for January 28th

Just announced – this year’s White Center Community Summit, coming up on January 28th. From the WC Community Development Association:

White Center Community Summit 2017 at Evergreen High School
830 SW 116th
Saturday, January 28th 8:00 AM-3:00 PM

Each year the White Center CDA hosts a community summit to bring neighbors together to talk about the state of their community and plan for White Center’s future – on January 28, the CDA will host the annual summit at Evergreen High School.

This year’s summit theme is “Call to Action.” What current initiatives are being undertaken and how can we, as community members, come up with our own solutions to growing our community strengths or addressing community issues? The Summit is also a time to celebrate ourselves as a neighborhood, so please bring a friend and join us!

The summit is always free and open to every resident of White Center, including youth. Free child care, interpretation services, and breakfast and lunch are provided.

We start early with free breakfast and local community organizations tabling so that residents can meet and learn about groups working in their neighborhood. There will also be offerings from local businesses like food and product samples, so attendees can celebrate businesses, parks, & upcoming events in White Center.

All summit attendees will hear a brief overview of the “State of White Center”, exploring trends in major issue areas, and then will have the opportunity to break out into small groups to discuss and mobilize around an in-depth issue of their choice – housing, health, economic development, safety, or education.

Youth, don’t be shy – you’ll be given special time to learn about each topic and present your findings to the larger groups.

Last year, residents came together to meet with county, city, and CDA staff to learn about as well as voice concerns and ask questions about annexation. The results of last year’s summit will be available for attendees to view.

You can register via wcsummit.org.

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Annexation briefing on Seattle City Council agenda for Wednesday

January 17th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Annexation, White Center news Comments Off on Annexation briefing on Seattle City Council agenda for Wednesday

(Map from agenda for January 18th City Council committee meeting)

We watch Seattle City Council agendas for our partner site West Seattle Blog, and just found out that Wednesday afternoon’s meeting of the council’s Education, Equity, and Governance Committee will include an annexation briefing, both the North Highline and South Park/Duwamish proposals.

Documents for the meeting at 2 pm Wednesday (January 18th) in City Council chambers at City Hall are online. This one says that the city is currently looking at 2018 for the potential North Highline vote, and includes other details:

(If you can’t read it via Scribd, see the PDF here.) City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who represents West Seattle and South Park, had told us the same thing recently regarding timeline, saying that the South Park annexation was moving more slowly than expected so she didn’t expect the possible NH vote before 2018.

Keep in mind that the City Council still has steps to take before it even calls for a vote. Wednesday’s briefing is NOT an action item, so there is no vote of any kind scheduled, but the committee meeting does have a public-comment period.

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White Center community members come together to discuss a community response to graffiti

January 13th, 2017 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center news 14 Comments »

By Cliff Cawthon
Reporting for White Center Now

White Center community members gathered at the NorthMart Furniture store on Thursday to discuss the rise of unauthorized graffiti on walls and local storefronts in the business district.

(Part of a tag on the NorthMart building, the meeting site)

The area is known for its murals reflecting the diversity of the area, but concerned residents have noticed a recent uptick in graffiti that they say destructively differs from those murals. 

(One of White Center’s distinctive murals)

“We are an artistic community, but these [tags] are territorial and can potentially cause violence,” says Bobby Beeman, president of the White Center Chamber of Commerce. A little over a dozen people came to take part in the community meeting where the Chamber and their partners in the Community Development Association presented a three step proposal, and solicited input from community members on solutions to the problem.

Participants came from various parts of the White Center community – local businesses, representatives from King County including staff from the office of County Council Chair Joe McDermott, members of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, and people from the neighborhood.

The unauthorized graffiti tags worry some of the business owners, as they are concerned that defaced storefronts mean that the businesses will be unappealing to shoppers. Despite the concerns about the graffiti, community members wanted their response to be productive rather than punitive: “We do not want to send air of threat … however, this is going to stop one way or another.”

In the Chamber’s plans, disaffected or homeless youth between the ages of 15-25 are the social group that the chamber wants to focus on engaging. One participant, who identified himself as Brian, the owner of adult-video store Taboo, spoke to how he thought that youth are being used by individuals as a way to designate gang or criminal territory. The danger of this going unaddressed, from Beeman’s perspective, affects everyone: “When you’re on the street and there aren’t safe spaces to put your head it becomes a violent situation”

Many in the room stressed that homelessness isn’t necessarily associated with, or causing, this issue. That’s important given the recent controversy over siting of a shelter in White Center. In regards to engaging homeless youth, and youth in general, Beeman and the Chamber, as well as their allies, proposed a three-step plan to take action and engage them as well as other youth and potential graffiti artists in the area. 

The three-point plan is based around repair, advocacy, and youth and community engagement. McLendon Hardware in White Center has agreed to give a discount – through the Chamber – to business owners who cannot afford paint, as well as to equip them with other tools.

Seth Oakes from the King County Community Work Program, part of the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, said his department is willing to “move forward and help in [graffiti and trash removal] where we can,” going forward. This first phase of this plan, as it was identified in the meeting, can build upon the Community Work Program; which re-directs people who have been charged into community service projects in lieu of incarceration or detention.

The second part of the plan relates to the Chamber and the White Center Community Development Association’s commitment to advocacy, by partnering with graffiti artists, advocates, and locals to determine and develop future spots for murals. The hope is that artspace can displace and disrupt graffiti tags and activity and get people active and involved with the community.

The third and last phase would focus on bringing youth into the process. NHUAC president Liz Giba was excited about the prospect of engagement, both as an alternative to criminal prosecution and as a preventive and educational tool: “I think it would be cool if the kids helped develop them.” Giba stressed the value of openness: “Bring them into the neighborhood, I think that … everyone has something to offer.” 

This plan still doesn’t change the law. King County Sheriff’s Office Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer said that graffiti is vandalism, a misdemeanor, with potential penalties including a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Lan Nguyen from Councilmember McDermott’s office shared that McDermott and his colleagues in county government are also working to explore alternatives to incarceration and criminal penalization for youth: “[We] want to work on figuring out what we have … who’s eligible and how can they get connected with that. I think the idea of a community coming together to say, ‘We don’t want youth to go through this harsh and punitive system, we want to be there to support him or her and support the family, [is] wonderful and beautiful.”

If you want to learn more or get involved with the push to remove graffiti from the area, email WhiteCenterCC@gmail.com.

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White Center’s Big Al Brewing closing after 8 years

January 12th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Beverages, Businesses, White Center news 2 Comments »

(WCN photo: Big Al on opening day in 2008)

Back in August, the New York Times spotlighted five White Center establishments.

Among them: Big Al Brewing, which had opened at 9832 14th SW on an August day, eight years earlier – one of the first stories covered here on WCN.

Today, in the mid-January chill, “Big Al” himself, Alejandro Brown, announced he’s closing. From his announcement:

Every time I sit down to write this I have to stop because it’s too damn hard. But some things have to be said. Saturday, January 14th will be the last day of Big Al Brewing as we know it. We are closing our doors. Phew, hard part over. There are many contributing factors that led to this decision but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. I’d rather focus on the positive. What an amazing 8 years it has been!! I lived my dream and experienced things I could have never thought of in my wildest dreams!

Big Al Brewing’s award-winning brews include the Chile IPA that won a silver medal in the Washington Beer Awards last year.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: January meeting toplines

January 11th, 2017 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: January meeting toplines

Our toplines from the January meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

NEW BOARD MEMBERS: Recent resignations created vacancies on the board, and two people have stepped up to join: Roslyn Hyde and Rich Leibfried.

NHUAC president Liz Giba said she was impressed by how they stepped up during the past few months of discussions about the 8th/108th shelter. Leibfried is a budget analyst for a health-care organization and Hyde is a graphic designer. Both have roots on the East Coast and lived in other parts of the metro Seattle area before moving to North Highline. Hyde said she first got involved in the shelter discussions because the site is near her home, but realized that she is most interested in finding ways to give a voice to people who don’t feel like they have one in public-affairs issues. She plans to be part of the One Night Count later this month (here’s how to get involved). Asked about annexation, both said they are still researching that issue and keeping an open mind.

CRIME BRIEFING: Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer was at the meeting, with a review of 2016 crime stats compared to a year earlier. Burglaries are way down, violent assaults up. One big issue of concern right now – rampant graffiti. That will be the subject of a meeting tomorrow morning (Thursday, January 12th), 9 am at Northmart in downtown WC. Deputy Kennamer also was asked about current drug problems in White Center and replied that heroin is the biggest one right now, with much of the dealing involving one person who sells small quantities to others and keeps some for himself.

SEPTIC TANK FEE FIGHT: NHUAC also heard from a county resident about the fight over a proposal to charge annual fees to people with septic systems. It wasn’t clear, though, how many such systems there are in North Highline.

HHUAC meets first Thursdays most months, 7 pm, at North Highline Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th) – watch northhighlineuac.org for updates between meetings.

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MLK Day of Service: You can help Monday at White Center Heights Park

January 10th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Holidays, How to Help, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on MLK Day of Service: You can help Monday at White Center Heights Park

On Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day next Monday, it’s again a Day of Service, with many volunteer opportunities around the nation. Here’s one in White Center, from Lina:

Celebrate MLK Day with King County Parks staff and neighbors as we work to improve the health of White Center Heights Park. Event is 10 am-2 pm and we will be learning about the plants and animals of the park, digging out blackberry and planting native trees and shrubs. Please contact Lina Rose for more information – lina.rose@kingcounty.gov , 206.491.5014

Here’s where to find WCH Park.

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White Center Food Bank executive director Rick Jump to retire

January 8th, 2017 Tracy Posted in White Center Food Bank, White Center news 2 Comments »

(Also posted to partner site West Seattle Blog)

Announced late tonight – the longtime executive director of the White Center Food Bank is retiring. Here’s how Rick Jump announced it:

To the clients, donors, volunteers, and staff of the White Center Food Bank and to the greater
White Center Community:

I have lived in White Center for 35 years; raised my children here, forged lifelong friendships, built partnerships, and helped to grow the White Center Food Bank for the past twelve years. It has been both my professional and personal passion to help support the most vulnerable in our community.

It is a unique place – one built on community, diversity, and resiliency despite the many challenges we have faced.

I am proud to call White Center my home.

This is why my decision to retire as the Executive Director of the White Center Food Bank is made with a heavy heart. I arrived at this decision after both I and my wife, Judy, have struggled with health issues in recent months. As much as I love this community, after 12 years of dedicating my life to helping others, it is time that Judy and I take care of ourselves.

I leave the White Center Food Bank knowing that it is in good, capable, and caring hands and am excited to see how it continues to grow to meet the needs of White Center now and into the future.

Thank YOU all for being such a wonderful community and for your support of the White Center Food Bank over the past 12 years. They have been some of my most formative and inspiring years of my life.

We are awaiting replies on a few followup questions, including when Jump plans to leave and what the process will be for choosing his successor. His list of achievements is long, including winning the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce “Westsider of the Year” award in 2011 (that’s when we took the photo you see above).

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BIZNOTE: Aaron’s Bicycle Repair moves to 9614 16th SW

January 8th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Businesses, White Center news Comments Off on BIZNOTE: Aaron’s Bicycle Repair moves to 9614 16th SW

In case you haven’t been downtown in a while … Aaron’s Bicycle Repair has moved a few blocks to a new location in the heart of downtown White Center, 9614 16th SW. Closed Sundays and Mondays, so your next chance to check it out is on Tuesday (hours listed here).

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Community meeting for revised White Center shelter proposal set for January 24th

January 5th, 2017 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on Community meeting for revised White Center shelter proposal set for January 24th

Another update late today on the revised shelter proposal for the former King County Public Health building at 8th SW/SW 108th – the long-promised second community meeting is set:

King County Department of Community and Human Services invites the public to attend a community meeting about the proposed temporary family shelter at the former White Center Public Health building.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 on January 24 at the Seola Gardens Community Center (10821 8th Ave. SW.). Mary’s Place, the shelter operator, will be in attendance to discuss the shelter program. See the King County White Center Shelter webpage for updates, including the community agreement crafted by King County, the White Center Community Group, and Mary’s Place.

If you wish to submit comments for the community agreement, contact Valerie Kendall at valerie.kendall@kingcounty.gov or by phone at 206-263-9076.

A shelter update is also on the agenda for tonight’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, 7 pm at NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th).

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THURSDAY: 1st North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting of 2017

January 2nd, 2017 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on THURSDAY: 1st North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting of 2017

First Thursday of the month – in this case, first Thursday of the year – means January 5th will bring the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s first meeting of 2017, as just announced:

Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 7 pm

North Highline Fire Station at 1243 SW 112th Street in White Center
(Parking and Entrance are in the Back of the Station)

Please join North Highline’s volunteer community council at our first meeting of 2017!

A new year brings new opportunities. Those opportunities are often hidden in the challenges that stand in the way of a safer, healthier, and more positive future. In North Highline, those challenges include the concentration of poverty, the concentration of marijuana businesses and homelessness.

An example is King County’s response to our community’s opposition to a low-barrier, 70-adult homeless shelter in White Center. North Highline’s opposition was heard. King County revised its plan. Instead of a low-barrier shelter, White Center’s old Public Health building will instead become the new home of Mary’s Place Family Shelter and Resource Center. Mary’s Place has an excellent reputation. Many of us believe that what started as a challenge is being transformed into an opportunity for success. Any available updates will be shared at the meeting.

Speaking about success, Betsy Howe, of Citizens Opposed to Onsite Septic System Management Washington, graciously rescheduled her presentation from last month to allow us to learn about Mary’s Place. She will join us this month to tell us about the group’s success in tabling King County’s “Turd Tax” on septic systems and its ongoing efforts. If your property includes a septic system, take this opportunity to learn about the group’s success and plans.

At December’s meeting, the need for more community participation on NHUAC’s board was discussed. We are happy to announce that NHUAC was heard! Thursday’s meeting will include an opportunity for those who have responded to our call to speak prior to a vote by current board members.

And last, but definitely not least … White Center Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer will update us with news and statistics from KCSO.

See you Thursday, January 5th at 7 PM – Bring a Friend!

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard

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HAPPY 2017! Snow in North Highline and beyond

January 1st, 2017 Tracy Posted in Weather, White Center news 3 Comments »

Thanks to Gill for the photo – a snowy start to 2017 in North Highline and points north and south (the National Weather Service says Sea-Tac Airport recorded about two inches). The snow started a few hours into the New Year. It’s stopped, and forecasters are NOT predicting any more, but it will be cold for a few days – highs in the low 30s, lows in the 20s.

P.S. As of mid-morning, Metro is still on snow routing in some area – check here before you go.

ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: One more photo from our snowy New Year’s Day – thanks to Barbara Dobkin for this one:

About 3 1/2 inches, she estimated!

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Start the New Year with free boot camps at FitBody Solutions

December 30th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Health, White Center news Comments Off on Start the New Year with free boot camps at FitBody Solutions

If fitness is in the plan for you for 2017, here’s an irresistible offer: FitBody Solutions in White Center (a new advertiser on our partner site West Seattle Blog) has free bootcamps coming up next week:

January 2nd, 4th, 6th, at 5 am, 6 am, 7 am, 45-minute classes. Call or e-mail to save a space – 253-642-7179, info@fitbody-solutions.com – FitBody Solutions is at 1521 SW 98th, next to Bok-a-Bok.

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YOU’RE INVITED! White Center Kiwanis Baked Potato Dinner on January 12th

December 29th, 2016 Tracy Posted in White Center Kiwanis Club, White Center news 2 Comments »

The Kiwanis Club of White Center hopes to have dinner with you next month to support local youth! Here’s the announcement:

Join us for our 6th annual Baked Potato Dinner supporting the New Start High School Kiwanis Key Club.

Come enjoy a baked potato bar, chili, salad, rolls, dessert, and beverages….

The Ricky Gene Powell Band will be providing music entertainment!

Day: Thursday, January 12, 2017
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Cost: $15 or 2 for $25, Family: $30, Kids under 12: $7, under 5: Free
Where: New Start High School 614 SW 120th St, Burien

Here’s the official flyer.

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VIDEO: White Center Christmas Tree Lighting 2016

December 18th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Holidays, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: White Center Christmas Tree Lighting 2016

Santa and friends reigned in White Center on Saturday night, at the community Christmas Tree Lighting celebration right outside Mac’s Triangle Pub.

As previewed here on Friday, local businesses and organizations joined forces to make it happen. At 6 pm, the music started, and just after 6:30, with a countdown … and the help of Santa and Ms.Claus … the tree was lit:

Warm beverages were offered to keep spirits bright despite the below-freezing temperature.

It’s been six years now since the community Christmas tree tradition was revived in 2010.

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White Center weather: Icy bog

December 17th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Weather, White Center news Comments Off on White Center weather: Icy bog

Thanks to Gill for the photo from an icy morning at the White Center bog – might not look this way soon, since temperatures are finally expected to climb back above freezing sometime Sunday.

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White Center Christmas Tree Lighting set for Saturday

December 16th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Holidays, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Christmas Tree Lighting set for Saturday

Just in – word of White Center’s next big holiday celebration:

This Saturday 12.17.2016 at 6 pm, celebrate the holidays at White Center’s community Christmas tree! Try out some hot beverages from new White Center shop Moonshot Coffee, dance to DJ TTop, and take photos with Santa!

Located at Roxbury and 16th Ave SW in front of Mac’s Triangle Pub .

Food donations are accepted and will be delivered to the White Center Food Bank.

Primarily sponsored by:
The Triangle Pub
Tom the Live Butcher
White Center Tools

With additional donations from:
Moonshot Coffee
The White Center Chamber of Commerce
White Center Community Development Association
McLendon Hardware

For questions contact Tommy of Tommysound, White Center Chamber of Commerce Vice President, 206.229.7937

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Congratulations to White Center boxing, soccer programs recognized by King County Council

December 13th, 2016 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news 2 Comments »

The photo and report are from the office of County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who represents our area on the council:

On Monday, the King County Council recognized two exceptional at-risk youth programs based in White Center. The Councilmembers welcomed members of the Greater King County Police Activities League (GKCPAL) White Center Boxing Club and the White Center Teen Program Aztecs Soccer team to Monday’s council meeting, honoring them with an official County recognition highlighting their athletic successes and contribution to the community.

“Providing young people with safe and engaging alternatives is exceedingly important,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott. “These two programs in White Center offer opportunities to build self-esteem through athletics, as well as teaching other essential life skills.”

Founded in 2007, The White Center PAL Boxing Club is a part of a larger youth services program designed to appeal to at-risk youth in the White Center and surrounding area. It is run by a local chapter of the century-old Police Activities League, a national volunteer organization that aims to provide activities for at-risk youth and allow them personal interaction with police officers.

The Boxing Club is located in the White Center Community Center on the grounds of Steve Cox Memorial Park. Over the summer the club’s tournament team took second place in the National Junior Golden Gloves Tournament in Nevada.

“The White Center PAL Boxing Club is one of our longest running outreach programs,” said Executive Director of GKCPAL Jared Karstetter. “It has obtained national attention and success, but most importantly it has taken at-risk youth out of harm’s way and placed them on a path to success academically, physically, and mentally.”

The White Center Teen Program (WCTP) is managed by the King County Parks and Recreation Division and has been operating since 1991 at the White Center Community Center. The Aztec soccer team was created out of the WCTP in 2007. A second team (FC United) was added to the soccer club in 2010. The teams practice year round at Steve Cox Memorial Park.

“We are especially proud of the accomplishments made by both the Aztecs and PAL Boxing and honored to be able to provide a home for both programs at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center,” said King County Parks Director Kevin Brown.

As of 2016, there are thirty players practicing with the WCTP Soccer Club, bringing the running total of Aztec Soccer players to over two hundred. In addition to weekly soccer practices, the team attends ongoing tutoring sessions and leadership activities. The team also volunteers regularly in their community including the White Center Spring Clean, the National Night Out Against Crime, the White Center Youth Summit, and the Annual WC Halloween Carnival.

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NEW BUSINESS: Lil’ Bug Studio opens today

December 11th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Businesses, White Center news Comments Off on NEW BUSINESS: Lil’ Bug Studio opens today

It’s opening day for a new White Center business – Lil’ Bug Studio, an “active learning play space.” A grand-opening celebration is set for 2-5 pm. Proprietor Kristi Keithly explains, “This is a free event for the community and will include cupcakes, apple cider and everyone in attendance can enter a drawing, to win a free kids’ birthday party package, valued at $225 – 1 entry per family.” Lil’ Bug Studio is at 10007 13th SW.

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WHITE CENTER SHELTER: Brief online update from King County

December 7th, 2016 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on WHITE CENTER SHELTER: Brief online update from King County

We’ve already reported it here – and it was discussed at last week’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting – but in case you hadn’t heard, the county’s decision to open a family shelter at the 8th/108th building is now officially online, here.

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VIDEO: Deputy Steve Cox, 15 other fallen law enforcers honored with new King County Sheriff’s Office memorial

December 2nd, 2016 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photos/video)

That’s the plaque for King County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Cox on the new memorial KCSO just dedicated for the 16 law enforcers it has lost in the line of duty. Deputy Cox, the White Center community leader who was killed 10 years ago today, is the most recent, but, Sheriff John Urquhart warned somberly, won’t be the last.

The short ceremony in the jury room at the King County Courthouse downtown this morning also acknowledged the sad coincidence that this event, long in the works, comes as the state mourns a Tacoma police officer killed in the line of duty this week. After the ceremony, everyone moved to the courthouse lobby outside the Sheriff’s Office, with fallen officers’ family members in the front row for the unveiling:

Family members had been given roses as they entered the ceremony, and many were placed below the memorial before they left:

We also recorded video of the ceremony at which Sheriff Urquhart and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn spoke.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: Here’s that video:

And here’s the official KCSO news release about today’s event: Read the rest of this entry »

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