Scenes from Night Out 2014 in North Highline

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

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

And he wasn’t alone:

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

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Election 2014: North Highline Fire District ‘benefit charge’ passing

August 5th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 1 Comment »

It needs 60 percent approval – and so far, after the first ballot count in tonight’s election, the North Highline Fire District benefit charge has almost 70 percent approval. Here’s the full list of election results from around King County; next ballot count will be out tomorrow afternoon.

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North Highline ballot measure: Hearing next Monday; ballots on the way

July 16th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news 3 Comments »

King County Elections is sending out ballots for the August 5th election starting today, and if you live in the North Highline Fire District, you will be asked to vote on Proposition 1, the “benefit charge” measure. The district is having a public hearing next Monday, July 21st, during its regular meeting (7 pm, NHFD HQ, 1243 SW 112th). Here’s the fact sheet it’s circulating:

P.S. If you want to return your ballot without having to pay postage, the drop-off van will be back in Greenbridge August 2nd, 4th, 5th – details here.

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34th District Democrats endorse North Highline Fire District measure

July 10th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 5 Comments »

Less than a week until King County Elections sends out the August 5th ballots, which will include the North Highline Fire District benefit-charge ballot measure. Last night, meeting in West Seattle, this area’s biggest political organization, the 34th District Democrats, endorsed the measure. If you’re still getting up to speed on what it’s about, see the video in this WCN story from last month’s NH Unincorporated Area Council meeting.

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North Highline Fire District benefit-charge vote ahead August 5th: Presentation @ NHUAC

June 11th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 4 Comments »

Heard about the “benefit charge” for the North Highline Fire District that’ll be on the August primary ballot? If not, here’s your primer, from last Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting:

Lt. Ray Pettigrew stood in for Chief Mike Marrs, who he said couldn’t make it because of illness. With maps and a PowerPoint, he explained the money proposal, as well as some basics about the NHFD itself:

*Each station has 1 engine staffed with three firefighters at any given time, he said – sometimes a bit more because of volunteers.

*Vast majority of the job is going on aid calls

*278 false alarms – “almost one per day”

*42 hazmat calls

*526 “other” calls – illegal burns, barbecues mistaken for fires

About 12 calls a day between the two stations, so “they’re pretty busy.”

He says it’s a matter of financial need – “we’ve done everything we can to try to cut expenses
… we’ve used reserves … we’ve contracted to have Burien chief also be the North Highline chief,” but they’re about out of reserves if no new funding is found. In addition, he noted, the district has gotten smaller, with the 2010 Burien annexation, for example.

Proposition 1 on the August ballot needs a simple yes/no vote. If passed, it sets up a six-year run for the charge – with potential renewals thereafter. It’s not a tax, Pettigrew stressed, “it’s a fee,” and it’s charged based on factors such as square footage and whether a building has sprinklers or not.

For the average owner of a 2,000 square foot home worth $250,000, their tax/fee bill would go up $6/month, he said. It would only be charged for structures, not for empty land. Other districts with a “benefit charge” include Kent, Auburn, Woodinville, and Eastside Fire.

“It allows us to stabilize our funding so we’re not subject to property values going up and down, more ability to plan long range,” he said.

The NHFD commissioners voted at their April meeting to put it on the August ballot.

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Fire district’s future in the spotlight @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council next Thursday

May 30th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

As the flyer shows, the next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting is less than a week away. And it’s a hot topic in more ways than one, as announced by NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

When: Thursday, June 5 – 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station – 1243 112th Street SW

Please plan on joining us for an important community discussion regarding the future of our North Highline Fire District (NHFD). The residents of North Highline will have an opportunity to vote in August on a “Benefit Charge” to provide much needed support our NHFD. Fire Chief Mike Marrs will provide information on the past, present and future of fire district and what impact the Benefit Charge will have on property owners as well as the fire district.

We will also have our White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers on hand to provide updates on crime trends – this is a great time to share your concerns regarding community safety.

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Early-morning fire guts 13th SW home; no one hurt

April 7th, 2014 Tracy Posted in fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 5 Comments »

North Highline Fire District crews are still at the scene of a house fire on 13th SW south of SW Roxbury. The incident commander tells WCN that no one was in the house when it caught fire before dawn; there are residents in an RV on the property, and the house was full of items being stored. An investigator will be working in the hours ahead to find out what started the fire.

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Video: White Center Heights Elementary kindergarteners meet first responders

March 13th, 2014 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

Thanks again to White Center Heights Elementary PTA president David Sonsteng for the alert about the WCH kindergarteners’ big day today – Emergency Services Day. The weather was perfect for them to meet their visitors outside – above, the North Highline Fire District; below, the King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit and its famous helicopter Guardian One:
Listen to the excitement in our video clip recorded as the helicopter approached and landed:

Also on hand – an American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance crew. If public-safety crews respond to an injury/illness situation that is not necessarily serious enough to require a medic unit, the private ambulance crews of AMR are called in.
This was part of a “community helpers” module the kindergarteners were working on, Sonsteng explained. First graders were part of the event too.

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King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, North Highline firefighters visit Beverly Park Elementary School

October 19th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Helicopter, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

(Also published on partner site The South Park News)

Kids at Beverly Park Elementary – just south of South Park – got a big thrill Friday when the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One came to visit. Our video shows its landing. Luckily the fog had lifted enough that they could keep their appointment.

That’s Deputy John Pugh, above, who flies Guardian One.

North Highline firefighters were there too:

The students were excited to meet the visiting law enforcers and get a look at their cars.

Later, a busy day and night resumed for KCSO’s air support unit – here’s a tweet with both their helicopters, Guardian 1 and Guardian 2:

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White Center house fire under investigation; no injuries reported

June 9th, 2013 Tracy Posted in fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

King County’s fire investigator is working to find out what caused a house fire in the 10600 block of 17th SW; thanks to the readers who messaged us about it. It’s out now. Nobody home when it happened, and no injuries were reported, the North Highline Fire District incident commander told us.

Lesley recorded video while smoke was pouring from the house:

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Late-night house fire under investigation

May 8th, 2013 Tracy Posted in fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

Fire did major damage to a house on 28th SW just north of Explorer West Middle School late Tuesday night. A King County fire investigator was on scene early this morning trying to find out what started the fire; the incident commander from North Highline Fire District told WCN that the homeowner wasn’t home when it started – though he had arrived by the time we got there – and nobody was hurt.

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Just two nights till North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next Public Safety Forum

April 30th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, fire, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

Questions about crime prevention and crimefighting, fire prevention and firefighting? Here’s your reminder that you’ll want to be at the North Highline Fire District HQ this Thursday night (May 2) for the next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Public Safety Forum. From the original announcement:

We are pleased to be hosting King County Sheriff John Urquhart and North Highline Fire Chief Mike Marrs.

Sheriff Urquhart will be here to take our questions, and listen to community concerns about public safety and the sheriff’s department staffing levels for the North Highline area.

Once again our White Center Storefront Deputy position is in jeopardy, as the special funding allocated in 2011 expires at the end of 2013. Will the 2014 budget include funding for this essential position?

The North Highline Fire District, which is funded solely by property tax money from North Highline, is facing critical financial challenges. Chief Marrs will discuss the history of our North Highline Fire District, operational status, and future challenges and options.

Storefront Deputy BJ Myers is scheduled to be there too. The forum’s set to start at 7 pm Thursday, 1243 SW 112th – everybody welcome.

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North Highline fire crew gets kudos for helping ‘distraught grandma’

March 3rd, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

This photo and accompanying report appeared today in the WCN inbox:

I was in White Center recently to welcome my sixth grandchild into the world. During this time I took the older kids on errands etc. On one trip to the Safeway I accidentally locked my 2-year-old granddaughter in the van. I was totally distraught and had someone call the police to help. During the time I was waiting on the police a firetruck answered a call to this Safeway. After the firemen/emt’s completed their initial call they noticed the distraught grandma in the green sweater standing by her van. They all came over, brought tools and after about 30 minutes were able to unlock my van. While they were working on the lock they were very positive and friendly. No one made me feel bad or commented on the situation I had created. These men came to my rescue and did it with grace and professionalism even when I was not the original call.

I have attached a picture of just two of the gentlemen but all of them need to get credit for the act of kindness they showed to the distraught grandma in the green sweater in the silver van. A big thank you is well deserved.

J.D. Curry
Odessa, TX

Good going, North Highline Fire District!

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Seattle City Council schedules ‘Annexations’ briefing next Tuesday

February 14th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Annexation, North Highline Fire District, south park, White Center news Comments Off

4:44 PM: Does Seattle have renewed interest in the bulk of North Highline, now that voters have said no to Burien? We might get a hint next Tuesday, when the Seattle City Council’s morning briefing – usually scheduled for Mondays, but delayed because of Presidents Day – includes an agenda item titled “Annexations.” The only supporting documents accompanying the agenda right now are two maps of the unincorporated area – this one (which appears oriented toward discussing fire services) and this one – which don’t give a hint as to the prospective discussion’s direction. One of the presenters is Council President Sally Clark, with whom we checked when the Boundary Review Board rejected Tukwila’s proposed annexation of the so-called “Duwamish Triangle” area in southern South Park. Seattle had been interested in pursuing both that area and South Park’s “Sliver by the River,” but when we had checked with Clark, she said there wasn’t yet a plan for what the city planned to do next. Once we get a response to our questions, we’ll add it; in the meantime, the briefing is toward the end of the 9 am Seattle City Council briefing meeting next Tuesday at City Hall.

9 PM: We have heard from Council President Clark, who tells WCN/WSB:

… we scheduled this briefing to bring councilmembers up to speed on both:

1. Area Y (North Highline) after the rejection of Burien by voters in November.
2. Sliver Q – the catchy new name for the Duwamish Triangle and the Sliver by the River together.

We’ll cover what may happen now after the Area Y vote and after the Boundary Review Board’s rejection of Tukwila’s petition.

If you can’t make it to downtown Seattle for the briefing, it’ll be live on the Seattle Channel’s website – – as are all the City Council’s proceedings. No votes are taken during “briefing” meetings, but we’ll keep an eye on the agenda to see if any additional documents turn up by Tuesday.

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North Highline fire commissioners say ‘Thanks’ to Local 1810

January 25th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news 1 Comment »

The North Highline Fire District’s Board of Commissioners wants to make sure the community hears about this letter of appreciation for its IAFF Local 1810 firefighters – so they have shared a copy for publication. If you can’t read it in the Scribd format below – you can open it here as a PDF.

North Highline Fire Commissioners say thanks by

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North Highline Fire District board meeting, report #2: Dave Duff returns as commissioner

August 17th, 2012 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

(Dave Duff, right, takes the oath of office, read by Ray Austin)
By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

The North Highline Board of Fire Commissioners has a new chair – who’s also one of its former chairs.

Last night, Dave Duff was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Wayne Alishokis resigned in May.

Wayne Alishokis had been on the board since 2006, when he succeeded … Dave Duff.

This probably explains why the public interview for Duff, the only person to seek the job, lasted less than 10 minutes.

The executive session in which commissioners Ray Austin and Liz Giba discussed Duff’s merits lasted a little longer. And then, when back in public session, they voted unanimously to appoint him, and then to make him chair, with Austin as vice chair.

Chief Mike Marrs had explained that a second potential candidate had expressed interest, but “pulled out,” leaving Duff as the lone applicant.

During the aforementioned brief interview, Duff recapped some of his history with the district, including leading a bond campaign to replace engines and upgrade stations, and ultimately so much involvement that he, his late wife Judy, and their daughter Deanna were, he noted, “voted as honorary members” of NHFD.

Deanna, a journalist, was in attendance last night as her father was appointed and sworn in.

But obviously this is a far different time for the NHFD than when Duff served a decade ago. Most of the remaining unincorporated area is less than three months away from deciding in the November election whether to approve annexation by Burien.

During the interview, when Giba asked Duff what he would like to see happen with the district, he acknowledged this is a “transition” time, and that if the annexation proposal should be rejected, it would mean “hard changes,” but whatever happened, he wanted to be part of it, “to ensure that services are provided here, no matter which way it goes.”

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North Highline Fire District board meeting, report #1: On the Central Washington firelines

August 16th, 2012 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

First, and shortest, of three reports from tonight’s North Highline Board of Fire Commissioners meeting, led by newly appointed (more in report #2) commissioner Dave Duff, a former board chair who was elected tonight to serve in that role again:

Chief Mike Marrs told board members Duff, Ray Austin, and Liz Giba that both districts he leads are participating in the state’s mobilization to the Taylor Bridge Fire in Central Washington – with one firefighter from NH, two from Burien. They are expected to be there at least a few more days, he said. There may be future needs, the chief said, with the possibility that more “type 1 structural engines” would be requested.

(Here is the latest on the fire from our partners at The Seattle Times.)

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North Highline Fire District Commissioner Wayne Alishokis resigns

May 22nd, 2012 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news 2 Comments »

This was announced at last night’s board meeting, and confirmed today in a news release we just received from the North Highline Fire District:

Wayne Alishokis, retired North Highline firefighter and current commissioner, resigned his position at last evening’s regular board meeting. Mr. Alishokis served as commissioner since 2006 and as board chair for the past three years. He stated in a letter to the board, “I believe the board has dealt with most all issues in preparing for the potential annexation by the City of Burien so this is a good time for me to move on.”

Because of this resignation, North Highline Fire District is now accepting letters of intent for Mr. Alishokis’ vacant fire commissioner position in accordance with RCW 52.14.050. Interested persons must reside within and be a registered voter of the Fire District. The interim position will begin immediately after appointment and end upon certification of the November 2013 election.

Letters of intent will be accepted through Friday, June 15, 2012 and may be mailed to North Highline Fire District, 1243 SW 112th St., Seattle, WA 98146.

The other two commissioners currently serving are Ray Austin and Liz Giba.

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North Highline Fire District board meeting tonight

January 24th, 2012 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

Continued from its regular third-Monday time slot, the North Highline Fire District Board of Commissioners meets tonight, 7 pm, NHFD headquarters. Read on for agenda details: Read the rest of this entry »

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North Highline Fire District board talks about 2 annexations, and more

December 22nd, 2011 Tracy Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news Comments Off

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

The week before Christmas is usually low on public meetings, but the North Highline Fire District Board of Commissioners had some hot topics to discuss tonight, in a meeting that lasted just under an hour:

BURIEN ANNEXATION: The board voted to authorize a letter supporting the “Area Y” annexation that Burien is pursuing. The main impacts, if annexation is approved, the board was told, involves the areas that it covers now but are not included in the annexation, such as the “sliver by the river.” So as a result, they would ask for agreements ensuring that those areas would still have fire protection after the annexation, regardless of their governance status. The letter of support “has to be filed tomorrow,” they were told. Commissioner Liz Giba, elected to the board last month, said she’d like to see it more focused on support for the annexation than on concerns – and offered a cover letter she drafted, “which talks about why this is a good thing,” before it’s sent to the Boundary Review Board, which considers the annexation proposal on January 9th. The letter was the result of a decision to write a letter showing support, while also noting concerns. Discussion between Giba and Commissioner Ray Austin focused on whether it was OK as written by the board’s lawyer – six pages. “I just want it to be clear that this is a letter of support,” Giba said. In the vote, most of her “cover letter” was approved for incorporating into the documentation they would turn in. They also decided that Giba will speak briefly on the commission’s behalf at the January 9th hearing.

SEATTLE ANNEXATION: Commissioner Wayne Alishokis says he met with reps from the Seattle Mayor and Council to talk about the “sliver on the river” annexation. He says they told him the council is fully in favor of it while the mayor is neutral, so they are hoping to move it ahead next year, and to have that annexation completed by January 2013 via the “interlocal agreement” process that wouldn’t require going before the Boundary Review Board. The only complication – not expected to cause a problem, though – is the maintenance agreement involving the now-under-construction South Park Bridge. (He also made it clear he met with them as “an individual,” not as an official representative of the NHFD board.) “Sounds like tremendous progress,” remarked Commissioner Giba.

CONTRACT RATIFIED: The board voted to ratify a new contract with IAFF Local 1810.

CHIEF’S REPORT: 2 firefighters are off on injury, Chief Marrs commented. He also talked about participating in recent multiple-department training/testing exercises, one at the Burien Park & Ride simulating a multiple-casualty incident (shooting), as well as a recent haz-mat training exercise (simulating a tanker truck hitting a jersey barrier and splitting open). He briefed the board on an ongoing situation over sprinkler/fire-lane access concerns at Seola Gardens, which he says is trying to “get some variances or do something different,” with a County Appeals Board meeting being the latest development. The disagreement with the King County Housing Authority apparently includes their contention that someone was allegedly given a verbal agreement in the past saying the development didn’t need sprinklers, with which NHFD disagrees.

PUBLIC COMMENT: In this period at the start of the meeting, Pat Price asked if there were any updates from the committee to spend the inheritance. Chief Marrs says it’s “on (his) list of things to do” after the first of the year and they’ll figure out where things stand. Gill Loring expressed appreciation for the meeting being held at night – previously many meetings were on weekday mornings – and wished everyone “Happy Holidays.”

BOARD COMMENT: Giba thanked everyone in attendance and expressed hopes they will come to more meetings, with the scheduling change.

SPEAKING OF SCHEDULING: The board decided to meet on the third Monday of the month – most months – but has to choose an alternate date for next month’s meeting, since that will be a holiday (King Day).

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