New noise rules for unincorporated King County

March 16th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news 1 Comment »

Sent by County Councilmember Kathy Lambert today:

Council adopts updated noise guidelines for Unincorporated King County
Simplifying and clarifying

The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted a modernized and simplified set of noise guidelines for residents living in the unincorporated communities of King County. The revised regulations cover a wide number of issues, ranging from options in addition to decibel levels to who will be the contact people for faster response.

“There were 1603 noise complaints in 2013. I hope the clarity of the new law and enforcement as well as the mediation process will help to make the noise concerns greatly reduced,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, the sponsor of the legislation.

Lambert further remarked, “In crafting this legislation, we were very cognizant of the fact that noise is a deeply personal issue to people, and that we needed to balance noise protection with the need for legitimate noise from business and industry.”

King County has a policy of minimizing exposure of residents “to the physiological and psychological dangers of excessive noise and to protect, promote and preserve the public health, safety and welfare.” For many years, the county has found the current noise code difficult to enforce due to resource constraints and unclear code provisions from 1977.

The legislation adopted today is an effort to expand, simplify and clarify these codes to make them more effective and enforceable. The legislation is a collaborative product that has been over a year in the making, with key input from agencies directly affected such as the Sheriff and Public Health who currently share responsibility for enforcing the noise ordinance, the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review which handles construction permits, the County Prosecutor’s Office and the Dispute Resolution Center as well as input from individual residents, many business groups such as the construction industry, and many community groups.

The legislation shifts the enforcement focus for neighborhood noise from only technical decibel measurements to revised public disturbance provisions which are clarified and defined to include “any sound that unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the peace, comfort or repose of a person or persons.” Examples in existing code are retained that illustrate types of noise that constitute public disturbances. This is an approach that has been successfully used by other law enforcement jurisdictions, including some that are served by the King County Sheriff’s Office. Construction noise enforcement is also greatly simplified, relying on strict hour limits.

Under the new noise code, it is clarified and coordinated so if you are experiencing loud and raucous neighborhood noise, you would call the Sheriff. The Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER) will be primarily responsible for enforcing construction noise limits. The county hopes that the first step people will take is to talk to each other; the new legislation encourages mediation.

This ordinance has already gone through SEPA review. With the Council’s adoption of the ordinance, the next step will be be to obtain required approval from the state Department of Ecology before the provisions would go into effect. Standards are also deemed approved if the Department of Ecology fails to act within 90 days. If all of the processes receive the necessary approvals, the new regulations would likely go into effect this summer.

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Update: SWAT standoff over near 14th/116th, suspect in custody

March 13th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

1:25 PM: A person with a warrant out for their arrest is “holed up inside a house near SW 116th/14th SW,” according to the King County Sheriff’s Office, which says SWAT team members and negotiators are there. They don’t believe anyone else is in the house. Streets are blocked off in the area, so avoid for now. More to come.

2:10 PM: We’re just back from the scene, where we talked with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. BJ Myers (video added):

He says the person in the house is wanted on warrants relating to drug/weapon cases.

2:18 PM: And we’ve just learned the suspect is out of the house and in custody.

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Crash under investigation; KCSO says driver fled deputies

March 8th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center news Comments Off

King County Sheriff’s Office is at the scene of what media-relations officer Sgt. BJ Myers describes as a crash near 11th/108th, with a vehicle having flipped while its driver was fleeing from deputies. According to Sgt. Myers, this started with a collision in Greenbridge, and the driver is now under arrest for suspicion of hit and run. No one else was in the vehicle, according to KCSO.

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@ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Disc golf at the bog? – crimefighting in WC – marijuana concerns – more

March 6th, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Another information-packed monthly meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. You really had to be there to get it all, but here are what hit us as the highlights;

KCSO UPDATE: Deputy Julian Chivington said the numbers in local districts are about the same as before: 361 reports written for January, 348 for February. Residential and commercial burglaries are both down, he said. And he shared a “success story” he heard from a Block Watch captain, with neighbors noticing “suspicious people ringing the bell, trying the door” at a Top Hat-area house, and it turned out they were indeed trying to break in; two people were arrested and booked into jail, and one was armed, he said.

Graffiti vandalism is a big issue, he said, and it’s difficult to track down business owners for permission to paint it over; a lot of it happens near roofs, and that is an extra complication. So they are drafting a “blanket letter” to get one-time approval from business owners to tackle graffiti when it happens – so there’s no delay when the weather is conducive. He drew laughter by talking about how plainclothes personnel caught a vandal whose work was in progress, suggesting he pose for a photo; he obliged, and was arrested, said the deputy. Asked about gang graffiti, he said he had been looking into it, and found that there are two gang groups that are “in a little bit of a skirmish right now … claiming their territory right now,” mostly north of the city limits, in West Seattle.

NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin asked about the former Papa’s Pub on 16th in downtown White Center, which had been in the process of remodeling for a new business, but now is boarded up, with the boards having been tagged. That hadn’t been on Chivington’s radar lately, but a few doors down, he said, the apartments above the former Club Evo on 16th are involved in an eviction process; the owner is going to remodel the apartments and “try to find decent tenants,” he said.

And he mentioned something we had heard at the Highland Park Action Committee meeting last week – that there’s a proposal to get the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program going in White Center. … Regarding ongoing 15th/Roxbury problems, he mentioned contacting the Metro Street Crimes division about Route 120 and its stop in front of the DSHS; he said they had been riding undercover for a while. He also said business owners have been sending him photos of drug sales in progress, and that investigators will start building some cases.

The deputy said he participated in the One Night Count, between Myers Way and 509; nobody was in the bog area, he said, with Southwest King County numbers totaling 209 people found sleeping outside that night, more than 3,000 in all in the county. He also mentioned the ongoing drug problems in local alleys, with meth constituting much of the problem, but heroin also involved.

SPEAKING OF WHITE CENTER BOG – DISC GOLF COURSE?: Ken Gresset from Department of Natural Resources and Parks said they have cleared about 80 percent of what they can do in the bog vicinity, and that calls for drug use, illegal camping, and other problems are reported to be down. “We won’t know until the end of the year but it’s possible that this has taken 800 calls away from the Sheriff’s Department … at 150 dollars each … (which means) it’s a very worthwhile project.”

So now – what about a permanent use for the site?

Gresset said he was looking for community input on activities “to keep the illegal activity down,” and specifically the possibility of a disc golf course there – 18 holes unless wetland restrictions keep it to 9. Issues might be parking, lighting. “Look at the activity we’re driving out – gunshots, screams – and then we (might get) complaints about parking. I would rather have complaints about parking.” He said he’ll be applying for a grant in the spring. Erosion is a challenge, it was acknowledged. But overall, they’re currently seeking community support for the disc-golf idea.

UPDATE FROM COUNCILMEMBER MCDERMOTT: White Center and vicinity’s King County Councilmember Joe McDermott was at the meeting to update NHUAC on a variety of things. He introduced a new member of his staff, Lan Nguyen. He offered an update on several things such as proposed regulation of medical marijuana, a bill that was heard earlier that day; the Board of Health, which he’s on, has voiced its concerns, particularly, he said, involving the “access and appeal to kids” of edible marijuana – a statewide policy to fold medical marijuana into the regulated I-502 markets would be the best solution, he said. Even if the bill is approved, he said, it wouldn’t take effect until July of next year, which is not fast enough for “the increase we’re seeing in poisonings” involving children and edible marijuana, so he is pursuing other ways of addressing that, possibly unilateral action by the Board of Health. Nguyen said the bill he mentioned is 5052.

He spoke about the concerns regarding Environmental Health fees going up and affecting community events such as farmers’ markets and pancake breakfasts. Those fees will not go up this year after all. “I can’t guarantee you those fees won’t ever go up,” he warned, because of “a budget hole,” but he said they want to make sure fees don’t harm such community events.

NHUAC’s Elizabeth Gordon asked about a recreational marijuana store that’s apparently coming to White Center; McDermott suggested a protest to the Liquor Control Board, but Gordon said she was under the impression that if the location met the basic criteria, it would be approved without regard for any community concerns. Dobkin said one is also in the works for the Top Hat area. NHUAC’s Elizabeth Devine said it was a shame that a vulnerable community seemed to be getting targeted with businesses like these.

The discussion continued into other aspects of marijuana marketing and how they’re affecting businesses – smoking outside “medical marijuana” enterprises in White Center, for example – as well as the “black market” and what’s happening to it.

Asked about the annexation situation, McDermott recapped that the city of Seattle “put its foot in the door” before the end of 2014, stating that if pursued, it would be put to a public vote, but saying there are no “inside discussions” that he’s aware of.

Dobkin brought up construction continuing but roads continuing to crumble and infrastructure not supporting it. McDermott pointed out that property taxes are being paid and that does “increase the tax base,” paying into the roads fund, while acknowledging that it isn’t necessarily enough to pay for what needs to be done, and reiterating that the county doesn’t have the money to provide urban-area services.

CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Al Tijerina made one of his periodic visits, saying he hasn’t been able to visit WC as much because he has only a third of the staff he used to have – 5 now, 15 not so long ago. He asked if any specific nuisance properties were of concern; one near 12th and 109th was mentioned by NHUAC’s Christine Waldman. “No one’s filed a complaint,” noted Tijerina. “We’re always complaint-driven; we can’t file complaints on our own.” Several other properties were brought up. Deputy Chivington said he had recently heard from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office asking about problem houses that might be in need of help.

Tijerina said, “There’s nothing worse than the problems I have with abandoned houses that are vacant” – abatement of those problems could take two, three, even four years because of funding, he said.

Here’s how to report a problem for code enforcement:

*Call the hotline – 206-296-6680 - tell county staff the address and problem and staff will open a case. Also – you can file online via the county website (here’s where to go). Photos can be sent in to be added to the case, too.

NEW LIBRARY: With the groundbreaking set for 3 pm March 19th, as reported here last week, president Dobkin voiced ongoing concerns about its future, given that the prospect of Seattle annexation is back in play, looking for a commitment that even if that does happen, this will remain a library. NHUAC’s Liz Giba noted that the library bond originally was a 10-year bond with libraries to be built within that timeline. Traffic concerns also were voiced, related to the calculations used for how many trips would be made to the new library compared to the current one.

SPEAKING OF ANNEXATION: Gordon talked about various issues of interest in Olympia including an extension of the sales-tax credit related to annexation; she said she told legislators for this area that it’s vital that local residents are at the table if there’s any sort of negotiations related to annexation, especially involving facilities such as libraries and schools.

EVENT REMINDERS: Gordon also mentioned the White Center Eagles pancake-breakfast fundraiser for Evergreen Athletics this Saturday, and an upcoming PALS boxing tournament.

OFFICER CHANGE: Christine Waldman asked to step down from the treasurer role, which Pat Price will take over.

NEXT MEETING: NHUAC usually meets on first Thursdays, 7 pm, at the North Highline Fire District HQ. Watch for updates at northhighlineuac.org. April’s meeting will include a closer look at the marijuana issue.

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Deadly crash at 1st/112th

March 5th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center news 3 Comments »

The King County Sheriff’s Office has reported via Twitter that a motorcycle rider is dead after a collision with a truck at 1st Avenue S./112th. The rider was a 39-year-old man; the people in the truck were not hurt, according to the KCSO tweets. More when we get it.

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Did you hear the booms? Raid this morning linked to Seattle Police case

March 5th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 5 Comments »

This morning we happened onto an online discussion of early morning gunshot/explosion-type noises just east of White Center. Following up to see what we could find out, King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. BJ Myers, who is currently serving as its media-relations officer, told us it was a Seattle Police raid, not KCSO. We then took our inquiry to SPD, which has just published details to its online “blotter”:

A cello taken in a Seattle break-in was just one of the hundreds of suspected stolen items found by Seattle police Thursday morning inside a Burien home.

SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force has been on the trail of a ring of burglars, suspected of targeting homes in North Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia. This morning, around 7 AM, SPD SWAT served a warrant at the home in the 12000 block of 1st Avenue S., where police found “a ton of stolen stuff,” according to Major Crimes Task Force Captain Eric Sano.

Police arrested two people inside the home for warrants, and are now investigating and sorting through evidence. Police believe some items found inside the homes may have been taken in unreported break-ins.

We’ll have more updates as the case develops.

P.S. If you’re interested in general crime/safety news from the unincorporated area, don’t miss the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting tonight at 7 pm, at the NH Fire District HQ, 1243 SW 112th.

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White Center Sunday Market in the works

March 4th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Fun, White Center news 2 Comments »

From a post in the forum of our partner site West Seattle Blog:

To potential craftspeople and farmers: Several businesses in White Center are looking to begin a fun, eclectic Sunday Market on 16th Ave SW beginning on April 5th. Participating businesses would allow individuals with locally produced crafts or foods to set up booths in front of their stores from 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays. This is going to be a beautiful year, and we want to bring the fun down to a new and improving Rad City. Please contact Chris at 3604738393 or Prisilla at 2068327625 if you are interested in participating.

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White Center Bog updates and more at this Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

March 2nd, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Here’s what’s coming up this Thursday at the March meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

Thursday, March 5 at 7 pm
North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th Street)

Plan on joining NHUAC at our next meeting, Thursday, March 5. We are pleased to be hosting our District 8 King County Council Representative, Joe McDermott, and his Legislative Aide, Lan Nguyen.

Additionally, Ken Gresset, Senior Engineer for the King County Water, Land Resource Dept, will provide updates on work that continues at the White Center Bog. Ken has been instrumental in helping to get this problem area cleaned up and wants to know what the community would like to see there.

We are also pleased to have Al Tijerina, King County Code Enforcement Officer, who is assigned to this community – this is a good opportunity to let Al hear about any specific code issues you may have.

Our White Center Storefront Deputy, Julian Chivington, will provide information on crime stats and general community safety issues and concerns.

For more information, please see our website: northhighlineuac.org

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Groundbreaking ceremony March 19th for new White Center Library

February 27th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off

The announcement came with the newest event listings for the White Center Library – a groundbreaking ceremony is set for the new library, 3 pm March 19th. No details of the ceremony yet; the new library site is along 107th, east of 16th. Here are the plans/drawings shown at the November 2013 public meeting about the project.

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White Center traffic alert: Fiber installation at 15th/Roxbury next week, and ongoing elsewhere

February 27th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Traffic, Transportation, utilities, White Center news 1 Comment »

Maybe you’ve seen the sign warning about lane closures at 15th/Roxbury next week; we heard about it through a reader tip. That led us to chase down details, and the King County Department of Transportation tells us it’s part of a more-extensive project:

King County has issued a permit for fiber optic installation on 15th Avenue Southwest between Roxbury Street and 107th Avenue Southwest, moving east on 107th Avenue Southwest and then south along 12th Avenue Southwest to Southwest 114th Street in the White Center area. Most of this work will involve attaching fiber to existing utility poles, so traffic disruptions should be minimal with possible intermittent lane closures.

There is more extensive work being planned at the intersection of 15th Avenue Southwest and Roxbury that will involve 200 feet of underground installation taking up to five days, half in the city, half in King County. That more intensive work will require the closure of one southbound through lane on 15th Avenue Southwest north of Roxbury and a northbound left turn lane on 15th Avenue Southwest at Roxbury. Work is planned 9 am to 3 pm weekdays March 2 through March 6. Traffic control will be in place around the work zone.

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White Center Eagles invite you to breakfast to help the Evergreen Wolverines baseball team

February 27th, 2015 Tracy Posted in How to Help, Schools, Sports, White Center news Comments Off

The Evergreen Wolverines need you to help them take the field for this year’s high-school baseball season. Simple and tasty way to do that – breakfast, one week from tomorrow! Here’s the announcement:

The White Center Eagles Club (FOE) is holding a fundraising breakfast on Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the White Center Eagles Club located at 10452 15th Ave. SW, in support of the Evergreen High School boys’ baseball team – the “Wolverines.”

Because of recent thefts of equipment and lack of funding, the team is in desperate need of basic equipment and field improvements to field a team this season. Baseball lovers from Southwest Seattle, White Center, Burien, SeaTac and surrounding areas are asked to contribute to help put a team on the field for 2015. Members of the team and coaching staff will be present to help serve breakfast. For any further information please contact the White Center Eagles Club at 206-248-1400.

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Mardi Gras Donuts now open in White Center – beignets and all

February 26th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Food, White Center news 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
White Center Now/West Seattle Blog co-publishers

First word arrived via a tweet directed at us by Caffé Delia, with a photo of newly opened Mardi Gras Donuts and the message, “Donuts! In Rat City!” So we headed over to investigate.

More than the donuts, it turns out, Mardi Gras Donuts is all about the beignets.

That’s what proprietor Michael Williams (“call me Mike”) told us.

The donuts are a sideline to the beignets (ben-YAYS, as he pronounces it in his New Orleans accent – “New Orleans-born and raised,” he says proudly).

He’s been open a few days at 9828 16th SW (a storefront that’s been a bakery before). Signage just went up yesterday. No decorations inside, and when we walked in, we wondered if he would tell us he’s not really open yet. But — he is.

His marquee item, the beignets, are 3 for $2.25. He says he’s making and selling other types of donuts because that’s expected – cakes, glazed, honey buns, apple fritters, twists, donut holes.

He’s here as what sounds to be the latest stop on a cross-country journey of sorts. He worked in a donut shop in New Orleans that gained fame via a Food Network feature in 2011. Later that year in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, he opened his first Mardi Gras Donuts shop, featured in local news there.

Deciding to make a move, Williams said he almost wound up in Fargo, North Dakota, where he owned some property. The prospect of deep-freeze winter was a little much. Talking to a wholesaler, he heard Seattle didn’t have much in the way of beignets. So, here he is.

6 am-8 pm for starters (Williams says he’s still figuring out the hours depending on how the customer flow goes), and during the morning, they’ll make hot glazed donuts while you wait. P.S. – Cash only.

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Grocery-store changes: First nearby Albertsons-Haggen conversion date set

February 26th, 2015 Tracy Posted in burien, White Center news Comments Off

As announced back in December, the Burien Albertsons grocery stores are being converted to the Haggen brand. And we’ve just received information on the timetable for the conversion of the store that’s closest to White Center – 12725 First Ave. S. – as announced by the company:

6:00 pm, Sunday, March 8 – Burien Albertsons store closes
12:01 am, Monday, March 9- Haggen takes ownership of the store
4:00 pm*, Tuesday, March 10 – Burien store reopens as Haggen (*Opening time is tentative)

The conversion of the southernmost Burien Albertsons, at Five Corners, is expected to happen in late May.

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Suspect in custody after search crosses into county

February 25th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, west seattle, White Center news 1 Comment »

11:53 PM: Still trying to unravel exactly what happened, but Seattle Police tracked a suspect into White Center tonight and have just taken him into custody near Marv’s Broiler in downtown White Center. The call apparently started with a report of a man with a knife in South Delridge; SPD was searching, and then found their suspect, who was reported to have been on a bicycle. King County Sheriff’s Deputies were on the case too. We’ll add anything more that we find out.

12 MIDNIGHT: Photo tweeted by Katt:


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Sentencing postponed to next month for Brodie Lamb

February 20th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 1 Comment »

Today was the originally scheduled sentencing date for 44-year-old Brodie Lamb, who pleaded guilty last month to murdering his mother, 69-year-old Margaret Ryan, in 2012. But it’s been postponed a month because members of Ms. Ryan’s family were unable to come to court today. The hearing is rescheduled for 1:30 pm Friday, March 20th. As first reported here on January 23rd, Lamb pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder for stabbing his mother to death, and prosecutors are recommending a 22-year sentence.

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Roller derby at Southgate on Saturday!

February 20th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Fun, southgate, Sports, White Center news Comments Off

The Rainier Roller Girls are bouting at Southgate Roller Rink on Saturday, vs. Faster Pussycats. And it’s not just a chance to see roller derby – the announcement also says:
“There will be an amazing bake sale with treats from Stuffed Cakes, Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe, and Mighty-O Donuts. There will be a Storm Trooper photo booth and many Star Wars characters from Garrison Titan and Alpha Base! A super-fun old school punk rock night of roller derby you won’t want to miss! And 10% of proceeds go to Wild Felid Advocacy Center of Washington!” See the Facebook invite here.

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White Center Crime Watch: Bank-robbery attempt

February 12th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

Thanks to Gill for the tip on law-enforcement activity – the King County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were looking for a suspect in an attempted bank robbery in the 9600 block of 17th SW. They used a K-9 team but they weren’t able to track down the suspect. So far, this is all the description information KCSO has released: Black male, dreadlocks, gray hoody. KCSO didn’t identify the bank, but (updated) a reader tells us that KCSO cars were outside the Bank of America.

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Highline Public Schools special-election results: Prop 1 passing, Prop 2 with less support (so far) than first time around

February 10th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Election, Schools, White Center news Comments Off

The first votes were counted tonight in the special election for two Highline Public Schools measures. The operations levy Proposition 1, which required only a simple majority, is passing with 57 percent – here’s the full look, from the county website:

Construction/renovation Proposition 2 needs 60 percent to pass, and while it was close in the last election, it’s further back this time, at least so far:

Another round of votes will be counted tomorrow.

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Election day for Highline Public Schools measures

February 10th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center news Comments Off

Today is Election Day for the Highline Public Schools measures, which means you have to get your ballot into the mail, with postage, by this evening, or get it to a dropbox by 8 pm.

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What this morning’s search in White Center was about

February 9th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

If you saw the search activity this morning – it even rerouted Metro buses off 15th SW between SW 102nd and SW 106th for a while – here’s what it was about, according to King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates: “There was a domestic violence call; the subject fled on foot and we did an extensive K9 track with us and SPD. He wasn’t located. He was armed with a handgun and was threatening to harm himself.”

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