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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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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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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New storefront deputy for White Center: Meet Deputy Bill Kennamer at September 3rd North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

August 30th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on New storefront deputy for White Center: Meet Deputy Bill Kennamer at September 3rd North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

Big agenda as the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council resumes its monthly-meeting schedule this week. NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin has just shared the agenda for the September meeting this coming Thursday – and it includes news of a new storefront deputy for White Center:

Mark your calendars and plan on joining the discussion at the next North Highline Unincorporated Council meeting on Thursday, Sept 3rd at 7 pm at the North Highline Fire Station: 1243 SW 112th Street.

Cass Turnbull, founder of Plant Amnesty, will be providing information on her efforts to preserve 32 acres of city of Seattle surplus land on Myers Way South (located between White Center and Highland Park – adjacent and south of the Joint Fire Training Facility, and Arrowhead Gardens senior housing). Seattle’s intention is to sell the land for commercial development. The area is steep, with wooded slopes, wetlands and a meadow that could very well be “Discovery Park South”.

We will also be addressing the issues that seem to continually arise at the White Center Bog/Pond. John Taylor and Ken Gresset from the King County Water and Land Resources Division would like to hear from the community on how this area can be best utilized for community enjoyment.

We have been fortunate to have wonderful, dedicated storefront deputies over the years. Our current storefront deputy, Julian Chivington, is no exception. The good news is Deputy Chivington has accepted a promotion, and the other good news is that Deputy Bill Kennamer will be taking Deputy Chivington’s place. Deputy Kennamer is very familiar with the White Center community, having served as a Metro Transit Deputy for a number of years. Both Deputy Chivington and Kennamer will be at the meeting to provide crime stats as well as information and answer questions regarding general community safety concerns.

See the agenda at:

Questions – contact

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council to talk about marijuana Thursday, last meeting until September

May 30th, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council to talk about marijuana Thursday, last meeting until September

Before taking a summer break from the monthly meeting schedule, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council will take a closer look at one of the area’s hottest topics:

When: Thursday, June 4 at 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th)

We are pleased to be hosting James Paribello and Frank O’Dell from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, who will provide the latest updates regarding legislation, siting, and licensing of recreational marijuana stores (502 stores). We will be discussing the process for potential conversion of the now unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries to 502 stores.

Specifically, we are interested in how this new legislation will impact the greater White Center/North Highline community. With 8 unregulated medical dispensaries and two licensed 502 stores presently in the community, as well as a potential grow/processing operation, how many more businesses will we see?

Plan on attending and bring your questions and concerns for this important and informative community discussion.

Our White Center Storefront Deputy, Julian Chivington, will also be on hand with information on crime trends and general community safety concerns.

All are welcome – see you there!

Questions: contact –

For the agenda please see:

(Please note: NHUAC will not be holding meetings in July and August)

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s May meeting: Crime stats, community planning, property values…

May 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 3 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Hot topics from crime to planning filled tonight’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

WHITE CENTER CRIME STATS: Storefront Deputy Julian Chivington was at the meeting to present a briefing. He primarily focused on sector K-1, though K-11 and K-7 are also part of the area. He showed hot spots for car thefts and car prowls; Part 1 crimes (homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, burglary, larceny, vehicle theft, arson) are going down, 83 incidents in April, down from 88 in the same month last year and a peak at 106 last July. He said new hires are beefing up the staffing – more incidences of 3 deputies in White Center or even 4, compared to it often being 2 until now. Part II crimes – almost everything else – are down even more significantly 85 in the past month, from a peak of 135 during one month over the winter. Violent crime has dropped dramatically, according to a 3 1/2-year chart he showed. Burglaries and attempts are down from 14 in March to 11 in April.

Deputy Chivington said he talked to the burglary/larceny detective today who “had a whole bunch of success stories” – 5 in custody in the last three weeks for vehicle theft, for example, including “a prolific vehicle thief/car prowler that hit both Seattle and us … he’s looking at some pretty good jail time.” He took a residential-burglary report and collected fingerprints – they’re waiting on the results – and “the neighbors had cameras pointed at the house … detectives went to (the suspect’s) house” and the suspect confessed, Deputy Chivington said. Looking through the reports, he said mail thefts are down; a lot of previous victims “have put up locked boxes for mail” or pitched in for locking mailbox clusters, and that seems to have helped.

The bus stop fight at 102nd on April 26th involved a stabbing, Deputy Chivington said, but the victim was not being cooperative with investigators.

Miscellaneous cases – One that involved the SWAT team recently happened because a stolen vehicle had been stripped and turned up at the “Gypsy Joker clubhouse” at 5th/116th, Deputy Chivington said … the deputy says he’s working on various “problem houses” in connection with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

ASSESSOR’S OFFICE UPDATE: Phillip Sit from the office of King County Assessor Lloyd Hara presented an update, starting with a reminder of the different tech tools you can use online to find out more about your property’s value, taxes, etc. One called LocalScape – recently launched – will show a variety of numbers you might be interested in – appraised values, number of properties, changes in appraised values by residential area, local sales – you can click on a pin to find out more about a specific property, when it was sold, for how much, etc. It also offers demographic data (including areas you can select, not just premapped areas).

“We visit your property every six years, so if something changes, we might not be aware of it,” he reminded everyone.

King County is the “second-fastest-growing urban county in the country right now,” said Sit. That includes 1,500 people moving here from California every month right now, he said. The county’s values has increased 13.9% since last year. 85 of 86 residential areas increased in value for their 2014 valuation, but only 20 of those areas, all on the eastside, “have increased beyond their 2008 valuation.”

The valuation card you get from their audience will show up starting later this May, and the number is set on January 1st. They survey a variety of things in the area – including teardowns and sales – to calculate the value. In an area with many teardowns, most of your assessed value might be on the land, not the house.

The big question: “Does higher assessed value necessarily mean higher property taxes?” Answer: “It depends – factors include assessed value of your property, total taxable property value in your community, budgets adopted by your local governments, voter-approved measures. In Seattle, for example, the amount of property tax per $1,000 of assessed value went down a dollar because of new construction.

P.S. Watch for an Assessor’s Office town hall in the North Highline area this summer.

OFFICE OF PERFORMANCE, STRATEGY AND BUDGET: Karen Wolf from this office, which is part of the County Executive’s department, came to talk about the Comprehensive Plan update – a process that’s starting now, to culminate with finalization next year. She says County Councilmember Joe McDermott has asked for a “sub-area plan” in this area to see if major changes to be made. That’s a “neighborhood plan, a deeper look at a community,” Wolf elaborated when asked by NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin what exactly that meant.

She was asked whether the county is looking at zoning that would require housing for multiple income levels – like Greenbridge and Seola Gardens, for example. Talk to your councilmember, she suggested.

Overall, they’re hoping to plan for a more walkable community, saying the past zoning was “a barrier to having retail businesses come in and create sidewalks so you could walk there.”

What about tax breaks to encourage more businesses, especially tech firms with many jobs, to locate perhaps on underutilized sites like Top Hat’s former Bernie and Boys market site? wondered NHUAC’s Elizabeth Gordon. She also asked what good it does to address economic/social inequity if you can’t really have any effect on what kind of development winds up going where? Wolf acknowledged that’s a conundrum, and went on to mention a New York Times story about commute times being a predictor of getting out of poverty. “So what can we do as planners to help improve that situation? That’s something we’re going to look at.” She said they’re looking not just at the “bad things present in a community” but also “the good things that are lacking. … We’re going to be learning a lot of this with you, as the process goes along.”

She learned a lot just hearing from NHUAC board members and meeting attendees, including the fact that White Center has only one grocery store. It was observed that Wolf shouldn’t have been surprised by what she’s hearing – as she clearly was – and it was pointed out by an attendee that NHUAC “has been de-funded,” which means the county isn’t getting as well-rounded of a view. “How many different groups do you listen to?” she was asked.

NHUAC’s Liz Giba suggested that “too many groups in North Highline don’t have open meetings” (which NHUAC does). Wolf said the next step is to “work with the community to come up with a vision,” and then to “work with professionals to (pursue it).”

Concerns were also voiced that North Highline needs more “economic diversity.”

Wolf tried to reassure concerns that, as NHUAC’s Elizabeth Gordon put it, “the plan (itself) is a silo,” by saying planners would be meeting with people involved in a wide range of components that go into the plan, including housing, safety, and transportation.

Timeline? Right now, Wolf’s department is “developing the scope of work,” which will be followed by developing a draft plan by next winter, and the County Council adopting the updated Comprehensive Plan about a year from now.

BOARD MEMBERS’ ANNOUNCEMENTS included a May 31st health fair “open to the community” announced by Elizabeth Gordon, at Breath of Life Church on 26th SW, 1 pm-5 pm; she also announced a June 26th fun-run fundraiser for the Evergreen campus. … Liz Giba mentioned TAF‘s summer camps – register ASAP! – info here … Barbara Dobkin mentioned a “potential marijuana grow operation” at 1109 1st Avenue S., right across from an I-502 recreational marijuana store, and that a comment period for a conditional-use permit is coming up; she has information about it, for anyone who wants to comment, for/against/otherwise – you can contact her to find out more.

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS: White Center Kiwanis is announcing its pancake breakfast coming up in July during Jubilee Days – “if you buy tickets early, you save $2 at the door” … White Center Library Guild is having plant sales on Fridays and Saturdays, noon-2 pm at the library, throughout the month of May, both vegetable and flower plants.

NHUAC meets on first Thursdays, 7 pm, at the North Highline Fire District‘s HQ. A Liquor Control Board rep is expected at June’s meeting, to talk about cannabis.

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What you’ll find out about at next Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

May 3rd, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on What you’ll find out about at next Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

From North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Barbara Dobkin:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting:

When: Thursday, May 7, at 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th Street)

Plan on joining us to hear how you can have an impact on the King County Comprehensive Plan update – which will be adopted by the King County Council in late 2016. The Comp Plan sets the groundwork for the continued growth and development of our community (North Highline/White Center). Karen Wolf, Sr. Policy Analyst of the office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, will provide details on the current plan – and how we can assist in formulating the updated plan.

We are also pleased to host Phillip Sit from the King County Dept of Assessments – housing prices are on the increase in King County – Phillip will be providing information on how housing prices in our community compare with the rest of the county. He will also be showing off the new internet tools that are available on the Dept of Assessments website.

Our White Center Storefront Deputy, Julian Chivington, will be also be on hand to provide updates on crime trends and general safety concerns.

Please see our website for more details and agenda:

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hears about marijuana rules in a ‘fluid’ atmosphere

April 10th, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 2 Comments »

Toplines from this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, featuring a discussion of the marijuana business and where it stands:

MARIJUANA REGULATIONS/PERMITTING/LAND USE: Ty Peterson from King County said “there’s a lot of misinformation out there” but “the atmosphere is very fluid,” with regulations diverging between cities, county, state, and several bills pending in the state Legislature. White Center has been “mostly retail oriented,” he said. They don’t know how many recreational-marijuana outlets could be allowed in the Highline area, except “no more than 11” since that’s how many were allotted to King County “at large,” covering the unincorporated area and about half a dozen small cities such as Black Diamond and Maple Valley, get to “split these 11” – and 4 are in operation now.

He said the interest has been in White Center and Skyway because of the zoning classifications. The county has been trying to do mapping based on the rules but is not having much success yet. “We know there’s right now 11 licenses – the state Liquor Control Board is likely in the future to increase the number of licenses” but 7 remain. Kenmore, Covington, Enumclaw, and Skyway have licenses granted right now. No retail license has been granted in this area yet.

Peterson talked about the 1,000-foot “as the crow flies” distance that the state was enforcing between marijuana businesses and youth-oriented facilities. The county has no such rule, because the state said it would enforce that. There are some limitations – such as 2,000 square feet for a basic permit – and that’s still undergoing interpretation.

“The intent was not to create a marijuana mall,” said Peterson, in terms of figuring out what “2,000 feet per parcel” means and whether that could lead to a 10,000-square foot building hosting five 2,000-foot shops.

Where are the pending applications here? A production facility on 1st Avenue is one of them, he said, adding that it’s being reviewed very carefully because the building already has a medical-marijuana dispensary.

NHUAC’s Elizabeth Gordon asked for clarification if this is just still in a wait-and-see period, as the county comes up with some rules and waits to see if the state will override. Peterson said the county is exercising ‘some basic zoning parameters” but is aware “it’s a moving target” regarding what the rules are and to whom they apply and all. Right now, any further county rule changes are on hold pending what the state decides to do during this session – Peterson said they expect the medical/recreational marijuana oversight to be merged in some way or another. It was noted that House Bill 1552 is the bill considered to be most likely to pass.

He agreed that the medical side of the marijuana business was responsible for most of the problems they’re hearing about because it’s not being “regulated by anybody.” There is no limit on how many dispensaries/access points there can be. Dobkin pointed out that there are 8 in a very small area. “A community like ours is … hit hard” by the concentration.

The whole thing is up in the air right now, seemed to be the bottom line, with questions swirling around permitting, enforcement, and the industry’s future. What about money for helping a community like White Center deal with the impact? asked NHUAC’s Liz Giba. Peterson said that wasn’t necessarily on the table right now.

Gordon brought up a related point – with marijuana concerns converging here because of an abundance of low-rent commercial space, what about economic incentives to help bring in a broader range of tenant choices for landlords?

It was suggested that the county’s comprehensive plan update could help with that, because it includes an economic-development section. Or, a sub-area (community) plan for the area could help, too. King County’s Alan Painter added that the idea had possibilities. Dobkin added that a county rep will be at next month’s meeting to talk about the comprehensive plan.

Peterson said there’s a marijuana-information page on the county’s permitting website, including an e-mail address you can use to send related questions.

LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD: A rep who handles marijuana businesses once they’re approved says there is an application listed in the 9600 block of 16th SW. Olympia reviews and licenses applicants – that’s when he takes over. He says there are security requirements – sensors on doors, video surveillance that has to be recorded for up to 45 days (and has to be high-resolution), multiple cameras in a room, sample jars, security at the doors, etc. One place had a $12,000 safe, he noted.

GRAFFITI VANDALISM: NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin noted a major amount of new graffiti/tagging along 15th SW on a building near Bartell Drugs that has a “for rent” sign up. She also noticed vandalism at Mount View Elementary.

SERVICE OPEN HOUSE: Alan Painter from King County announced that this year’s unincorporated service area open house will be held in North Highline, 7 pm April 23rd at Seola Gardens. (Before we published this report, the flyer came in:)

A new “work plan” will be available in time for the meeting, he said, in response to a question from NHUAC’s Giba.

JUBILEE DAYS FUNDRAISER: Giba announced that the White Center Eagles are hosting one on April 25th, with a dance-a-thon starting at 3 pm and a prime-rib dinner/auction starting at 7 pm. There are also prize-drawing tickets being sold as a fundraiser.

Watch the NHUAC website for meeting schedules and hot topics –

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Here’s what’s on the April 2015 agenda

March 29th, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Here’s what’s on the April 2015 agenda

From North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Barbara Dobkin:

NHUAC meeting:
When: Thursday, April 2 @ 7pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th Street)

Mark your calendars and plan on joining us on Thursday, April 2 at 7 pm for the monthly North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC) meeting. The meeting will focus on King County regulations for Recreational Marijuana stores and processing plants – specifically – those that are slated to open in the greater White Center area.

Ty Peterson from the King County Dept of Permitting and Environmental Review (DEPR) and Kim Gabbard, Marijuana Unit Supervisor at the WA State Liquor Control Board, will be providing updates and information regarding zoning, permitting and licensing.

Our White Center Storefront Deputy, Julian Chivington, will be providing updates regarding crime trends and general safety issues and concerns.

Please see NHUAC website for more details and agenda:

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

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 April’s meeting will include a closer look at the marijuana issue.

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

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:

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New White Center library on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council agenda for February 12th

February 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on New White Center library on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council agenda for February 12th

This month’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council is coming up Thursday, February 12th, 7 pm at the NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th). Here’s the agenda shared by president Barbara Dobkin:

7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call –
Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes

7:05 pm Public Announcements

7:10 pm Public Comment
3 minutes for Individuals
5 minutes for Groups

7:20 pm Sherry Williams, Deputy Director, Operations –
Technology Access Foundation (TAF)

7:35pm Greg Smith, Facilities Manager
King County Library System

8:00 pm Committee Reports

8:10 pm New Business
*March Meeting

NHUAC MEMBERS: Jessica Stoneback – Richard Miller – Elizabeth Gordon – Elizabeth Devine

COUNCIL OFFICERS: President – Barbara Dobkin: Vice President – Liz Giba:
Treasurer – Christine Waldman: Secretary – Pat Price

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Next North Highline UAC meeting: The sheriff & the deputies

November 26th, 2014 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Next North Highline UAC meeting: The sheriff & the deputies

One week from tomorrow, North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s December meeting will feature Sheriff John Urquhart (raincheck from last meeting) and Deputies Julian Chivington (new storefront deputy) and Joe Winters (who patrols parks). Here’s the official agenda, from president Barbara Dobkin:

7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call – Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes

7:05 pm Public Announcements
7:10 pm Public Comment

King County Sheriff’s Office
7:20 pm Sheriff John Urquhart
7:50 pm Deputy Julian Chivington – White Center Storefront Deputy
8:00 pm Deputy Joe Winters – South End Park Patrol

8:10pm Pat Price and Liz Giba – Discussion regarding Lakewood Park

8:20 pm Bong StoDomingo – King County Community Service Area Liaison – Update on Graffiti in North Highline

8:30 pm Committee Reports

The meeting will be at 7 pm Thursday, December 4th, at the North Highline Fire District HQ, 1243 SW 112th.

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Video: New storefront deputy & bog-area encampments @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

November 11th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Video: New storefront deputy & bog-area encampments @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

That’s our video of last Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, with two major topics, plus some other updates:

KING COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE UPDATE: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (explained here) is coming to White Center, announced Major Jerrell Wills, who says this is “a perfect location for it … another tool to help us help you … to address some of the homelessness, afflicted, mentally ill in our communities.” The state Department of Corrections has arrested some felons in WC, including “registered sex offenders that were not in compliance,” he said.

But the big attraction in the KCSO appearance (the sheriff himself, by the way, couldn’t be there after all) was the introduction of new Storefront Deputy Julian Chivington. “I’ve never had a job where I’ve had to do public speaking,” he warned. He talked about his background – born and raised in Ohio, served in the Army including “a couple tours in Iraq,” member of the KCSO SWAT team, six years in the Sheriff’s Office but new to this precinct.

He’s working “2 to 10 pm on a rotating schedule,” he noted. That’s a change from the four/10s that his predecessor Deputy BJ Myers worked. It’s a flexible schedule, Maj. Wills noted, so it can be adjusted for special events. But he’ll also be away at times for training and other duties related to the SWAT (Tactical) Team (including callouts). He *will* be at NHUAC meetings, as were his predecessors, he confirmed to NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin.

The discussion with KCSO reps also included safety concerns, one of which had taken up the first part of the meeting:

WHITE CENTER BOG ENCAMPMENT PROBLEMS: Wesley Chin from King County provided the first part of the update, including details of cleanup efforts – removing 6 truckloads of brush and debris, in hopes of discouraging encampments from returning. Assistance was also offered to those who had been illegally camping. It wasn’t just a matter of public safety, he said, but also a matter of protecting water quality. Ken Gresset also spoke, with more details about how they hope to “open up” the site in the next round of work, because, he said, it’s not the homeless people there who are the major problem, but criminals including sex offenders and drug addicts. So many hypodermic needles, in fact, that some volunteers can’t work there any more, he said – piles of them. They might try to get a grant to help pay for more cleanup.

In Q/A with NHUAC members, Gresset explained the problem isn’t just going to go away entirely – the area has so much accessibility and is convenient to services, such as the two drug stores just up Roxbury. Some of what he’s seen there, he said, was downright scary – even a “one-man underground bunker.”

OTHER NOTES: North Highline Fire District‘s board has a special meeting this Thursday, November 13th, at 5 pm, to talk about the implementation of the benefit charge approved earlier this year by voters.

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Annexation tax credit expiring – will another tax emerge? – and other North Highline Unincorporated Area Council topics

October 2nd, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Issues from annexation to homelessness, with many more along the way, were part of the discussion tonight at the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s October meeting:

STATE REP. JOE FITZGIBBON: He came with an update on the legislative session, starting with a status report on the annexation sales-tax credit, a key tool if the remaining North Highline area is ever to be annexed to a city. The tax credit expires December 31st of this year; Fitzgibbon sponsored legislation to renew it last session, but wasn’t successful – he said the overall state budget concerns made it an “uphill battle” for any sort of tax credit. This doesn’t mean “the tax credit can’t come back,” he said, but doesn’t expect any sort of incentive to be in the same format – maybe “a medium-term funding solution can be found.” He said that the city of Seattle had told legislators that they couldn’t make annexation pencil out “even WITH the tax credit,” saying they’d want a higher credit – doubled, in fact. “We were not able to offer that,” he said dryly. In response to a question, he said he did not envision support for annexation without a public vote. “One of the ideas that’s been floated is that you could create a special taxing district in this area to fund public safety needs” but not indefinitely, “that can work for the time being until such time as Burien or Seattle decides to offer annexation again.”

The McCleary decision, requiring the state to fully fund education, will mean up to $3 billion more is needed – “almost 10 percent of our state budget” – and legislators are trying to figure out how to get that money. Fitzgibbon says he thinks it has to be raised via an additional revenue source. “We’ll probably be working on that for many months in the 2015 session.”

On transportation, he believes there is a “continuing need” for the Legislature to provide “local funding options” for transit and roads, among other things.

An income tax would be good, multiple attendees tell Fitzgibbon, who noted that it was shot down last time it was on a statewide ballot. He says he supported it and would also support a capital-gains tax, which he expects will be discussed in the coming year.

KING COUNTY CONSORTIUM CONSOLIDATED HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN: Valerie Kendall came to presenthis is related to federal grant money, explained in handouts with lots of numbers, charts, and trends. One note of interest: Average rent in South King County is currently $988; in East King County, it’s $1,474; in North King County, $1,225. The county is working on a plan to end homelessness, the guest declared. She said they’re expecting to have to help many seniors – the “silver tsunami.” Overall, she said, her presentation was meant to “capture the pulse of the community” with where things stand and where they are going. You can take an online survey by going here. She heard concerns from NHUAC board members that some of the county’s policies have led to concentrations of poverty in the White Center area.

WELCOME TO WHITE CENTER: A family introduced themselves saying that they bought into Greenbridge, priced out of Seattle, and want to get involved with the community.

NO WORD YET ON A NEW STOREFRONT DEPUTY … according to president Dobkin. She suggests anyone and everyone with questions/concerns should contact Major Jerrell Wills and Sheriff John Urquhart.

BIKE CORRAL COMPROMISE? Bong Sto.Domingo from the county said he had been at a meeting prior to this one and a new plan is in the works.

NEW NHUAC BOARD MEMBER: Elizabeth Devine, a social worker with the Veterans Administration, said she has no political experience but admires neighborhood solidarity – “I’m one of your neighbors and I want to contribute.” She has lived in North Highline for five years. She lived in Capitol Hill before that, and says she “couldn’t have afforded a garage” there. She says she’s been burglarized twice and “I want to stand up for our neighborhood.” NHUAC members voted unanimously to appoint her to the board, and she took office immediately. President Dobkin explained that two board members had been lost recently because of factors in their lives. Anyone interested in joining NHUAC can e-mail her.

HIGHLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOND OPPONENT: Karen Steele of Normandy Park spoke in opposition to the $385 million bond measure on the November ballot. She says the bonds approved in 2002 and 2006 are not yet paid off so it will be $1 billion worth of bonds that the district is paying off until 2035. She thinks that will be a tax burden rendering some residences unaffordable. “More money does not mean better schools,” she concluded. Here’s the text of the ballot measure. An attendee pointed out that these are bonds and the money only can be spent on buildings, not salaries, about which Steele had raised concerns. It was noted that Highline Public Schools has not reached out to NHUAC to see their support or at least make their pitch; someone else noted that citizens should attend school board meetings and get involved.

NEW LIBRARY: Questions are swirling around the project, including its status, word of a six-foot fence, and what the library system plans to do with the parcel it won’t be keeping.

BOARD ANNOUNCEMENTS: Council member Pat Price says discussions are under way about a possible tribute to Dick Thurnau, maybe even renaming the park to which he devoted so much time and care (Lakewood Park, home to Hicklin Lake), maybe a plaque honoring him. Some fundraising is expected. … Council member Liz Giba reminds everyone that the White Center Food Bank fundraising dinner is October 18th, the more there, the better.

INVITATION: Southwest Suburban Sewer District board commissioner Bill Tracy invited everyone to find out more about the district, including taking a look at its Salmon Creek treatment plant.

SERVICE AREA GRANT APPLICATION TIME: Interested in one of King County’s community-engagement grants? Apply by the December deadline – details here.

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Rep. Fitzgibbon, ‘Consolidated Plan’ top the agenda for Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

September 28th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

At least two major reasons to be at Thursday’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – explained in this agenda summary from NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, ***October 2*** (corrected date) at 7 pm
WHERE: North Highline Fire Station – 1243 SW 112th Street

Mark your calendars and join NHUAC for a very informative community discussion with 34th District Legislative Representative, Joe Fitzgibbon. Find out what is happening in Olympia, and how it impacts us in North Highline, and more importantly, how we can impact legislative decisions.

We are also pleased to be hosting Valerie Kendall, King County Housing and Community Development Planner. Ms. Kendall will be providing important information regarding the “King County Consortium – Consolidated Plan”:

“The Consolidated Plan is the guide to the investment of approximately $6 million per year in federal housing and community development funds, and an additional $47 million per year in other federal or related state and local funds, to address housing, homelessness, and community development needs throughout the King County Consortium. The Consortium includes nearly all cities and towns in King County and the unincorporated areas of King County outside of the City of Seattle.”

This is an important opportunity to learn how we can have input on how this money will be spent in North Highline – funding can be allocated for sidewalks, park improvements, etc. – What would you like to see in our community? They want to hear from us –

We are also pleased to be interviewing North Highline resident, Elizabeth Devine, for an open seat on the NHUAC board –

See you there!

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Be there! King County Sheriff’s Office @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next meeting

August 28th, 2014 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Be there! King County Sheriff’s Office @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next meeting

Questions/concerns about crime/safety/policing in White Center and vicinity? Bring them to next week’s September meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

NHUAC Meeting
When: Thursday, Sept 4 at 7pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112st Street)

Please plan on joining us for an important community discussion with Major Jerrell Wills from the King County Sheriff’s Office. This is an opportunity to let your voice be heard about concerns in the North Highline Community, and importantly, learn what the Sheriff’s Office is doing to replace the currently vacant White Center Storefront deputy position.

Deputy BJ Myers, who served as the White Center Storefront Deputy for the past 3 years, and a regular at NHUAC meetings, providing updates on public safety issues, will also be in attendance – for the last time.

Hope to see you all there –

Barbara Dobkin
President, North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

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Video: Crime briefing begins North Highline UAC’s June 2014 meeting

June 9th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Video: Crime briefing begins North Highline UAC’s June 2014 meeting

If you couldn’t make it to last Thursday’s June meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – NHUAC’s last meeting until September – we have video highlights. First, tonight we bring you president Barbara Dobkin‘s introduction, followed by a crime/safety briefing and Q&A with King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy BJ Myers:

Toplines of what he said: Top Hat has been a trouble spot lately, and the recent deadly shooting is just one of the notable crimes. (Though some other media outlets keep referring to the location as “White Center” or “near White Center,” yes, it was Top Hat, and Deputy Myers referred to the location that way too.) No, he said, the gun used in the killing has not been found, but suspect Drurell J. Collier is jailed in lieu of $2 million bail and will be arraigned Wednesday. He also talked about the arrest in the 24th/Roxbury rape/assault case; suspect Christopher Anthony Brown was booked into jail here, after extradition, later Thursday night. And Deputy Myers talked about gunfire damaging a car and other property along 107th – people apparently didn’t call 911 when it happened, but he urges that everything be reported. He also mentioned possible cuts for KCSO again in the next budget cycle.

Wednesday: The centerpiece of the meeting, a discussion of the North Highline Fire District‘s status and upcoming ballot measure.

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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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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets Thursday: Here’s what you’ll hear about

April 27th, 2014 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets Thursday: Here’s what you’ll hear about

Next Thursday, May 1st, is the next meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – all welcome – and here’s what’s on the agenda, as shared by president Barbara Dobkin:

We hope to see you at the next NHUAC meeting:

When: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station, 1243 112th Street SW

Please join us for a presentation from the Health Educator for the King County Dirt Alert Program, Denise Sharify as well as Diana Smith from the Dept of Ecology on the lingering effects from the Asarco Copper Smelter. Learn how you can test your soil and get assistance cleaning up contaminated areas.
For almost 100 years, the Asarco Company operated a copper smelter in Tacoma. Pollution blown from the smelter’s 571-foot smokestack settled on the surface soil over 1,000 square miles in Puget Sound. Arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals are still in the soil as a result of this pollution, and will continue to be a health risk for years to come.

The Tacoma Smelter Plume covers parts of King, Thurston, and Pierce counties. The three county health departments and the Department of Ecology are working to reduce harm from soil contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Also on the agenda – Updates regarding the planned Capital Improvements to the Boulevard Park Library. Denis Feil, Librarian Services Manager and Angelina Beneditti, Library Cluster Manager will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.
In 2004 the residents of King County approved a Library Bond Levy to rebuild and improve libraries in the King County Library System. While most of the work has been completed on libraries throughout the county, we are still waiting for the promise made to this community for a new White Center Library and capital improvements to the Boulevard Park Library.

BJ Myers, White Center Storefront Deputy will be available to provide community safety updates and crime trends.

Community Matters –
Be informed – Be Involved – Be Heard

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