FRIDAY: White Center Library Guild plant sale

April 26th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Gardening, How to Help, Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news No Comments »

Just two days away!

Friday afternoon, be at the White Center Library (1409 SW 107th) to support the guild and get your gardening season into gear!

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YOU CAN VOTE: White Center Library a finalist for DJC’s ‘Building of the Year’

February 16th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news 3 Comments »

(WCN file photo)

Found out today from the Daily Journal of Commerce that the beautiful new White Center Library, which opened last May, is a finalist in their “Building of the Year” competition. And you can vote – go here to find out more about the contest, and to vote before the end of the month. (Scroll down – the library’s at the bottom of the list.)

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First class of new citizens sworn in at new White Center Library

October 18th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Libraries, People, White Center Library, White Center news 4 Comments »

(WCN photos)

With the new White Center Library in its first year, it’s seeing a lot of firsts – and this afternoon brought another. It was swearing-in day for the latest quarterly citizenship class held at King County Library System facilities. 17 people were in the class, and 14 were at this afternoon’s ceremony.

Officials from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services presided, as did executives from KCLS, including, above, system director Gary Wasdin. He pointed out that libraries are a resource for finding out what’s happening in their communities, and that staffers will be able to help the new citizens find out how to register to vote.

Thanks to Gill for the tip about today’s ceremony. We unfortunately didn’t get there in time for the national anthem being sung by 4th graders from nearby Mount View Elementary. Also featured: A video with President Obama, also featuring Aretha Franklin singing “America the Beautiful.”

ADDED WEDNESDAY: We just got the list of countries represented by the new citizens:

South Korea
United Kingdom

Congratulations to all!

ADDED: Two more photos, courtesy of Gill – the first one includes the aforementioned students who sang:

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SATURDAY: White Center Library Guild sale

August 12th, 2016 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on SATURDAY: White Center Library Guild sale

Happening tomorrow!

This Saturday, August 13th, 11 am to 3 pm, our White Center Library Guild will have its 1st Sidewalk Sale at our NEW Library, 1409 SW 107th St. The Guild sponsors extra programs for the Library that would not happen otherwise. There will be lots of books, plus many other donated treasures. We need your support, hope to see you there !!!

Hard to believe the library’s been open almost three months now – after so many years of waiting and anticipation.

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Myers frustrations, libraries’ future, more @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

June 2nd, 2016 Tracy Posted in Annexation, North Highline UAC, White Center Library, White Center news 8 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

The most intense discussion at tonight’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting was a side trip off the agenda and outside the county – the Myers Way campers, with and without vehicles, on City of Seattle-owned land right over the boundary.

But first, from the agenda – WC’s new library – and its role in the annexation debate:

NEW LIBRARY, AND ITS FUTURE IF SEATTLE ANNEXATION HAPPENS: New NHUAC president Liz Giba pronounced the new White Center Library “awesome.” KCLS executive director Gary Wasdin took centerstage right after that, declaring it a “wonderful space.” It’s now been almost two weeks since the dedication/ribboncutting (WCN coverage here). He quoted Rachael Levine of the White Center Library Guild – present at the NHUAC meeting too – who had said at the ceremony, “if you want to support the library, use it.” He said, “Every single step of the White Center Library has been driven by community.”

He acknowledged that “top of everybody’s minds” is the issue of annexation and what happens if White Center is annexed by Seattle. “Nothing has really happened” since last time he talked about it, he began. For one, he reminded everyone that KCLS also has a library in Greenbridge. “Should annexation (happen), a decision has to be made about the future of those (two) libraries … and whether they are King County libraries or Seattle Public libraries … To be perfectly fair, that’s not my decision to make.” It’s the community’s decision, he said. “We will support whatever decision is made and will make it work and will fight to make sure you have libraries. … As a reminder, there are basically two options … assuming annexation is approved and happens: Option 1, that SPL takes over operation of the libraries,” which he said would require “some kind of written agreement with the city of Seattle” including a commitment that they would remain libraries. Or “Option 2, Seattle contracts with King County Libraries” to operate them. “Why would you do that? Actually, there are pros and cons to both sides.” That includes the fact that library patrons would continue to be both city and unincorporated-area residents. “We have an agreement with SPL that (people can) interchangeably use both systems.”

As for finances – with the caveat that it’s his opinion – “I think it makes more sense for Seattle to contract with us. … Let’s say annexation takes place, you all stop paying the King County Library operating tax. … Seattle could opt to pay us for the lost tax revenue, to continue to operate the two libraries. The reason that’s a benefit to the city of Seattle is that the cost of operating them is far more than the tax revenue that is generated.” He says that likely wouldn’t and couldn’t be an indefinite agreement, “but it’s the option that we’ve floated … we’ve shared it with Kenny (Pittman, Seattle’s point person on annexation).” He again said the community ultimately needs to make the decision. And he suggested that those interest in this should share it “with anybody who will listen to you” – and that includes the Boundary Review Board, which has a two-day hearing on Seattle’s annexation proposal coming up in two weeks in White Center (he said KCLS will have two staff members at the hearing), June 13, 14 and possibly 16. “You have a little leverage here because they [Seattle] need a positive vote. … Libraries are different … You all paid for this library” – via levy – “so you should have a say in … what you think the future of that library should be.”

Wasdin said he hasn’t seen anything regarding the cost of “the physical act of annexation” – he alluded to a past agreement, now expired, that at one point had KCLS planning to pay Seattle to take the libraries, but that was before the current WC libraries were built. Now, “it would just be a transfer … obviously with a lot of logistics …” and that could be complicated, including the fact that the state owns the land on which the new library was built, Wasdin said. He said it’s around $2 million a year to operate the two libraries in WC. Getting things in writing are important, he said, given that whatever commitment elected officials make, there’s no guarantee they’ll be in office forever.

Wasdin also pointed out that for example, KCLS operates a library in downtown Seattle, in the Convention Center – operating its 49 libraries is NOT a matter of district boundaries.

“This is the cheaper option for them,” Wasdin reiterated, in terms of the decision to be made if annexation happens – but he said he doesn’t believe most layers of Seattle government, such as the mayor and council, have even thought about it yet.

Asked about the debt on the buildings, Wasdin said that the bond payment, through 2024, would continue, as far as he knows. He said that’s another argument for KCLS continuing to operate it even if the area is annexed – they’d still be paying it off.

What about the old White Center Library building? It’s been sold to West Seattle Montessori School – the deal hasn’t quite closed yet, said Wasdin. “That’s a very special building, sentimentally,” he added.

As Wasdin’s section of the agenda wrapped up, NHUAC board member Elizabeth Devine said she was looking forward to the new library’s air conditioning with the sizzling weather expected this weekend.

CRIME BRIEFING: Storefront deputy Bill Kennamer was at the meeting with the newest information on local crime trends. Here are the three sheets he circulated:

Auto theft is way down – though they’ve recovered more cars than were stolen locally (“stolen somewhere else and brought here”), said Deputy Kennamer. Burglaries “have spiked significantly,” and he thinks both the heroin-use epidemic and increase in people experiencing homelessness are to blame. A resident in the Myers Way area says the latter “is getting ugly … if we don’t do something about this, it’s going to drag the community down.” Another attendee said, “The police can’t handle all this … and it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.”

Deputy Kennamer says he’s frustrated too – “the only thing I can do is hassle people as they come and go, I can’t tow cars, I can’t call code enforcement” because the Myers Way site is in Seattle city limits. He also talked about the pollution that seemed to be happening on the land on the east side of Myers because of unauthorized encampments. Asked how many people are there, he suggested hundreds, and thought at least 11 RVs are currently camped by the entrance to the Myers Parcels on the west side of the street.

(If you don’t read our partner site – here’s the latest proposal for what the city might be doing with the land.)

Much discussion ensued with concern about whether Seattle Police are doing anything about the problem, and some alleging that the Seattle City Council has taken action or made statements somehow hindering SPD from doing anything.

Elizabeth Gordon of the NHUAC board suggested that perhaps the community could use this situation as leverage related to the ongoing annexation discussions, “basically something that says, ‘this is what we want if you want us to vote for annexation – that doesn’t guarantee we’ll vote for annexation but it sure might help,” perhaps requesting a city-county task force “to address the situation on Myers Way jointly,” among other things.

One attendee noted that it’s “not just a law-enforcement situation” and mentioned a model in San Francisco for how people experiencing homelessness are being helped, “not the model we have (here) now.”

NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin said in her view it’s a “Seattle problem” that the city is not addressing. Board member Devine said she’s worked with people experiencing substance abuse and it’s important not to “lump all the homeless” together, but it is important to take a look at those who are “a menace to our community” and ensure they are not “immune from the consequences of their behavior … (don’t just) say ‘the homeless’ and think we are covering it all.” Her voice broke as she spoke of someone who wound up along Myers Way because he was down on his luck, and got mugged and robbed by “predators.”

Deputy Kennamer said at that point that earlier in his law-enforcement career, people experiencing homelessness broke into three categories – substance-addled people who had burned all their bridges, people with mental illness, people running from the law. Now, he said, he is seeing a younger group of people who decide to live this way “and steal everything they can steal … and the vast majority … are drug addicts – that’s the group we have to aggressively police. … I spend the bulk of my day dealing with them, chasing them from one park to another park … but I’m not handcuffed. The Sheriff’s Office is not handcuffed.”

While he says “there’s drug dealing going on,” he says the days of meth labs in RVs appears to be over – it all comes from elsewhere.

Discussion meandered back to why people are on the streets, and one attendee pointed out that many have wound up there because of domestic violence. Board member Devine pointed out that services are available for DV survivors – that they could call 211 to seek resources.

Keep calling police, Deputy Kennamer advised, as well as political pressure – “show up at the King County Council meeting – you have a voice.”

The talk then circled back to an attendee wondering if there could be a regional way to examine the problem. “We are talking about human beings living in a region, and we should be looking at a way to deal with it rather than just looking from one place to the next.”

Toward the end of the discussion, Kennamer pointed out that the shortage of law-enforcement resources leads to a shortage of ability to be proactive. And improvement isn’t on the horizon – he said a recent meeting included information that the department is almost $4 million short, which could mean no air and sea resources.

Meantime, Deputy Kennamer said September 1st is the target date for the White Center storefront to move from 16th SW to its new home at Steve Cox Memorial Park.

After he left the front of the room, NHUAC president Giba worried aloud that the Myers situation did not portend well for how Seattle would treat this area if annexed. But she expressed hope for working in collaboration with Highland Park and South Park – “they are our neighbors.” Meantime, though, she noted that King County government is the current government of this area and needs to be pressured to protect the area from being abused.

ANNEXATION CODA: Before meeting’s end, annexation came up again, with the aforementioned Boundary Review Board hearings looming. NHUAC president Giba said that what’s needed right now is information from Seattle – “be straight with us.”

COMMUNITY SERVICE AREA MEETING: President Giba gave a recap of the recent annual North Highline Community Service Area meeting at Seola Gardens; among other observations, she said it was disappointing that this area’s King County Councilmember, Joe McDermott, wasn’t there. “It was shocking that our councilmember wasn’t there,” said NHUAC board member Dominic Barrera. One top county official who was there, Sheriff John Urquhart, drew kudos for his presence and presentation.

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Gill Loring announced the work party this Saturday, 9 am-1 pm, at North Shorewood Park (see our earlier announcement for details) … Another attendee announced June 9-10, 1-4 pm, car wash at New Start High School … The King County Council committee’s next hearing on proposed marijuana rules is coming up at 9 am June 16th, said Mark Johnston, who’s been a community watchdog on the issue, saying anyone with concerns about marijuana zoning in unincorporated King County should “speak up” – public comment will be part of that meeting … Another attendee noticed a sign up for a new affordable-housing project at 1st and 112th in Top Hat, almost 300 residential units and 38,000 square feet of commercial space. (We’re researching this right now and will have a separate followup.) … White Center Kiwanis‘s annual Jubilee Days pancake breakfast is coming up … Petitions for Initiative 1491, allowing a family member to petition the court to “suspend access to a firearm of a loved one who has become a danger to himself and/or others,” were brought to the meeting … A part-owner of the Highline Bears was on hand to make sure NHUAC knew about the team, with home games at Steve Cox Memorial Park the next three Friday nights, 7:05 pm.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets first Thursdays, 7 pm, but will be on hiatus now until September, when the county Comprehensive Plan will be on the agenda – watch for updates. You’ll also see board members at the aforementioned Boundary Review Board hearing – again, here’s the notice for that hearing, set for two days and possibly a third.

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Ballot dropbox site proposed for White Center

April 18th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Politics, White Center Library, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)


Tonight we know the locations where King County Elections is proposing to add more than three dozen fixed ballot dropboxes, including White Center, West Seattle, and South Park this year; Boulevard Park might get one next year. Read the full news release here.

Toplines for our area:

In White Center, the dropbox would be at the White Center Library (the address listed in the county report is for the current one on 16th, though the new one on SW 107th is scheduled to open soon, so we’ll be doublechecking on that tomorrow). West Seattle’s location would be the High Point Library. The South Park Library is proposed for a dropbox by the November general election. And the Boulevard Park Library could get one next year.

A 132-page report including how and why these locations (and the others around the county) were chosen – and why some other locations were not chosen – can be seen here.

The county says it will spend $239,695 to have the boxes made, wrapped, and installed. Assuming approval is received from the King County Council and all property owners, this would put 91.5% of the county’s population within three miles of a dropbox, the county says. A public hearing is planned before the County Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 9:30 am Tuesday, April 26th, in the council chambers downtown.

The current WC Library used to have a dropbox, but since its removal, the county has only sent a temporary van to Greenbridge for a few of the final days before each election.

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Full Tilt Ice Cream launching ‘Seattle Icon’ flavor series, with White Center event April 16th

March 12th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Full Tilt Ice Cream, White Center Library, White Center news 1 Comment »

Something fun to get on your calendar for next month and beyond – a new series of “Seattle Icon” flavors that White Center-founded Full Tilt Ice Cream is about to launch. And it starts with a celebration of libraries – especially the new one in the works for White Center! – check the special event mentioned in the announcement:

Full Tilt Ice Cream is launching the Seattle Icon series this spring and summer. This series will pay homage to the people, places, and events that have made Seattle the amazing place that it is. The series will run from April to September, and span both living and existing icons as well as Icons from Seattle’s rich past. The flavors will be available in the 4 Full Tilt scoop shops for one week only.

The first Icon in the Series is going to be Nancy Pearl, Seattle’s librarian. This will coincide with National Library Week. A portion of the proceeds will be going to the White Center Library Guild to help with the new library being built. Nancy has requested a peanut butter ice cream with a fudge swirl. She will also be a guest scooper at Full Tilt’s White Center location April 16th, at 2 pm. The White Center library is also going to unveil pictures of the yet unfinished library. Future Icons in the series will include Mudhoney, the Space Needle, Richard Hugo, Sub Pop, Frances Farmer, Easy Street Records, August Wilson, and many others.

Full Tilt Ice Cream is a family-owned ice cream shop that started in White Center, Washington in 2008. All of Full Tilt’s ice cream is produced using local cows, and as many local ingredients as possible. Now with over 30 flavors in pints available at grocery stores all over the Pacific Northwest, and hundreds of flavor possibilities at the local scoop shops as well as restaurants and hotels around town.

The first special flavor will be available starting April 11th, FT tells WCN.

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VIDEO: Groundbreaking celebration for new White Center Library

March 19th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news 1 Comment »

Local students will benefit mightily from the new White Center Library, so it was only fitting they participated in today’s groundbreaking ceremony:

Much ceremony and celebration accompanied the formal groundbreaking this afternoon, including high-school musicians from the Evergreen campus:

Proud day for the White Center Library Guild – here’s president June McKivor:

And of course for the King County Library System, whose board president Robin McClelland was there:

King County Councilmember Joe McDermott spoke:

The official address is 1409 SW 107th, identified by KCLS two years ago:

As the library’s groundbreaking announcement puts it, “The new library will be larger and brighter, 10,000 square feet, with more windows, with more study tables, study rooms, dedicated spaces for kids and teens, more materials, more computers, better wireless, and a large flexible community meeting room that can be opened up for general use when not reserved for use by the community.” The project is funded by a bond voters approved 11 years ago.

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Groundbreaking ceremony March 19th for new White Center Library

February 27th, 2015 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Groundbreaking ceremony March 19th for new White Center Library

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

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Tomorrow and Saturday: White Center Library Guild Holiday Bazaar & Book Sale!

November 6th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Holidays, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Tomorrow and Saturday: White Center Library Guild Holiday Bazaar & Book Sale!

No, it is NOT too soon to think “holidays.” White Center Library Guild is having its popular annual bazaar and book sale the next two days – Friday and Saturday – and hopes you will come celebrate – all the details are above.

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107th SW site being pursued as home of new White Center Library

February 27th, 2013 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news 3 Comments »

(Sketch of future library site, from KCLS Board briefing document)
A site on the south side of 107th between 14th and 16th is now the focus of the King County Library System‘s plan to build a new White Center branch. That’s after a vote of the KCLS board last night – 4-0 with one member (Burien City Councilmember Lucy Krakowiak) abstaining. Here’s how the briefing document for the board (see it here) described the site:

Site C consists of three parcels of land located at SW 107th Street and 14th Avenue SW. The site is currently owned by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and was originally purchased by the Housing Commission for affordable housing under Washington State’s Rapid Response Program (RRP), a loan program initiated by the State Legislature in 2008 for the preservation or development of affordable housing and community facilities. The Housing Commission had entered into a loan agreement with a partner for the development of affordable housing on this site but the partner was unable to obtain the necessary financing for construction and the deal fell apart. As a result the State has now taken steps to prepare to sell the parcel. Their asking price is $1.3M.

KCLS has been told by the Housing Commission that the library would qualify under the Rapid Response program for a long-term low or zero interest loan (30 years) with fully deferred payments for the life of the loan and no upfront cash other than closing costs. The site is slightly larger than what is needed for the library. The State would allow KCLS to purchase the remainder at fair market value so that KCLS could resell it, but there is even greater interest in finding a community service partner organization that could co-locate with KCLS and potentially qualify for the same favorable loan terms under the State program.

This was one of three sites KCLS was considering; the other two were both on 16th SW – the White Center Library’s current site (plus an additional parcel the county would have to buy) and the former El Chalan/Ezell’s/Wendy’s restaurant site. The board’s briefing document suggested there’s some urgency to get this purchase moving, as the site’s owner had another prospective buyer.

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White Center Library Guild yard sale rescheduled: This Sunday!

July 17th, 2012 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Library Guild yard sale rescheduled: This Sunday!

While you’re in downtown White Center – and environs – for the Jubilee Days Street Fair, parade, etc., on Sunday, here’s something more to check out:

White Center Library Guild’s HUGE Yard Sale is being held this Sunday, July 22nd. Opens 10 AM at The Muffler Shoppe (10011 16th Ave. SW) parking lot on the SW corner of 16th Ave. SW/SW 100th. There will be plants, furniture, clothes, books, giftware, dishes and more. All proceeds benefit White Center Library programs including books and supplies for the employee-award-winning Children’s Librarian.

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White Center Library Guild invites you to its upcoming sale

June 7th, 2012 Tracy Posted in White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Library Guild invites you to its upcoming sale

Help the White Center Library Guild provide special programming – especially for kids/teens – by supporting its sale on June 22nd and 23rd!

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Details: King County Library Board shelves consolidation, till info’s in on annexation

June 29th, 2011 Tracy Posted in boulevard park, Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Details: King County Library Board shelves consolidation, till info’s in on annexation

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

More than 50 community members were in attendance as the King County Library Services Board of Trustees met in Issaquah Tuesday, hoping to have their collective voices heard regarding the North Highline Library Service Recommendation to consolidate the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries.

(From left, Liz Giba of NHUAC, Burien City Councilmember Rose Clark, WCCDA’s Virgil Domaoan, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, NHUAC president Barb Dobkin)
The White Center Library Guild presented its petition (as reported here) to the Board with just shy of 1,800 signatures. Comments to the Board were broad, repeating many of the same issues presented in previous meetings. But the perceived lack of effective outreach to the regular WC and Boulevard Park library users was pointed out by Virgil Domaoan, community builder director of the White Center Community Development Association, who lives in Boulevard Park.

He joined the petition efforts initiated by the White Center Library Guild and discovered during their doorbelling campaign that people had not heard about the potential library closures and were concerned how they would get to another location to use a computer every day. He pointed out these are families who do not have the computers commonly found in other neighborhoods where internet access and computer ownership is common place. Domaoan said only one person refused to sign the petition, a mother who wanted her son to be present when she signed it so he could witness what she was doing as a civic lesson.

Greg Duff, former North Highline Unincorporated Area Council member who is a candidate for Burien City Council, told the Board that his petition drive at the recent Burien Wild Strawberry Festival resulted in two main takeaways from the public he spoke with: It was suggested that Board members themselves visit the Boulevard Park and White Center libraries any day around 4:00 PM to see for themselves the high volume of computer users. The second takeaway was why should they, as voters, ever vote for a library bond again when they were lied to about the 2004 bond?

Astha Tada, speaking to the Board as a former teacher and as a Guild Member, wore an 18-pound backpack as she spoke. That’s the average weight of what kids carry every day back and forth to school, saying she learned that when she “googled” it in her research. In true teacher fashion, she wore it to illustrate the unwieldy weight children would be expected to bear while walking even further to a new library location from school and home because, she said, there will be no transportation options for them when they do not have money for a bus.

Safia Jama told the Board through a Somali interpreter that she is the mother of six children raised in White Center for the last 15 years. “Every day I have taken my children to the library in White Center. My children are in elementary, middle and high school and university. I am not lying. All of them use the library every day.”

Having heard all of these and many other passionate and articulate speakers, the Board spared any debate regarding convening an Executive Session to hear the staff’s proposed sites for a new library, as Director Ptacek suggested the Board do as the agenda outlined. The agenda was changed and a motion was made and immediately approved to delay any decisions on consolidation until further information was available about the potential for the Burien annexation of North Highline.

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Happening now: White Center Library Guild yard sale

June 25th, 2011 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Happening now: White Center Library Guild yard sale

The White Center Library Guild‘s yard sale IS on today, till 3 pm – 1110 SW 116th – rained out last week but today, so far so good! (Thanks to Gill for the photo.)

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Details: North Highline consolidation discussed, delayed at Library Board meeting

May 25th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Details: North Highline consolidation discussed, delayed at Library Board meeting

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

We’ve already reported that, when the King County Library Services Board of Trustees met Tuesday evening in the North Bend Library, board members voted to delay a potential vote on the Library Service Area Analysis for North Highline and related staff recommendations. Here are details of how that unfolded:

Speakers advocating for a delay in any vote to proceed with consolidation of the Boulevard Park and White Center Library’s included King County 8th District Councilmember Joe McDermott. He told the Board that the issue of potential annexation for the areas remained very much in flux, since Seattle’s councilmembers have said they will revisit the issue next February, but won’t stand in the way if Burien wants to pursue annexation sooner.

Considering that, and the indication that Burien’s council may start annexation discussion this summer, Councilmember McDermott encouraged the Board to delay any action or vote regarding the libraries for at least a year when such consideration might be more appropriate, or at least might provide enough time for the process to move forward more definitively.

Director Bill Ptacek said that the Board had already delayed a decision regarding the North Highline area and that the interim result of that delay was the Library Service Analysis recently conducted by surveying people online and over the phone. The surveys, according to Project Manager Jennifer Wiseman, provided a lot of feedback regarding much-needed improvements to the Boulevard Park and White Center Libraries which would be addressed by the now seven-year old 2004 bond funds. The survey also, she said, “tested” the consolidation idea via two questions and suggested there’s support for it – in the first question, about 65% support via the phone surveys (800 respondents) and 44% online. Then, when the second question was asked with specific details about consolidation, the support increased 5% on the phone interviews and 10% on the online questionnaires, yielding just slightly over 54% approval online). Wiseman also noted that the online respondents were not representative of the community and skewed the results because they were predominantly white female college graduates over 50.

White Center Library Guild President Rachel Levine and North Highline Unincorporated Area Council members Pat Price (a Boulevard Park resident) and Barbara Dobkin (a White Center resident) also spoke. Price pointed out to the Board that White Center has a high percentage of people without vehicles, as well as little east-west bus service, so the walking distance from schools and homes to libraries is important. Dobkin told the Board that she and other voters who supported the 2004 bond did so with the understanding that bond funds would be put toward improvements as designated within the bonds, not a closure or consolidation. “This isn’t what we voted for.”

Ptacek, in addressing the reallocation of the 2004 bond funds, said that the recommendation to reallocate the bond funds to a new library are based on the “good bids we’ve been getting” for construction. The Library Guild’s Levine expressed her concerns about the impartiality of the agency that conducted the surveys, but also read a letter on behalf of the Guild vowing to continue to work together with the KCLS Board.

A community member and retired teacher who now volunteers at Cascade and works with White Center youth in service projects held up a photograph of the kids “to whom we have a moral responsibility.” Kids in the Highline area are out of school on Fridays early and they need a safe place to study, away from crowded, noisy homes and where they have access to resources, she said, imploring the Board not to forget the children of White Center.

Board Trustee Bill Spitzer moved that any decision be postponed until the next Board meeting in June (to be held in Issaquah at the Library Services Center). He said that he was reluctant to vote with only three of the five Board members present. He also said he was sensitive to the logistical dilemma for White Center residents who might not have been able to attend a meeting 45 miles away, even though more than a dozen community meetings have been held on the matter.

With that, the motion was seconded, and the action item to address the North Highline Library Service recommendations was delayed until at least next month’s meeting. Board President Eadie asked the staff to provide the Board a list of potential sites, if any are known, for a new North Highline location at that meeting.

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Reminder: North Highline on the King County Library Board agenda today

May 24th, 2011 Tracy Posted in boulevard park, Libraries, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Reminder: North Highline on the King County Library Board agenda today

Will the King County Library Board vote to consolidate the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries? It’s on the agenda today for their 5 pm meeting – at the North Bend Library. Find the agenda linked here. White Center Now will be there and we’ll let you know what happens.

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Hicks Lake meeting TONIGHT at White Center Library

March 22nd, 2011 Tracy Posted in Environment, Hicks Lake, White Center Library, White Center news Comments Off on Hicks Lake meeting TONIGHT at White Center Library

Just a quick reminder – the meeting about potential county action to try to help with Hicks Lake‘s water-quality problems is at 6:30 pm tonight at White Center Library. Here’s the original announcement with details.

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Notes from the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s March meeting

March 4th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Annexation, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center Library, White Center news 9 Comments »

From WCN contributor Deanie Schwarz at last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting:

Last on the agenda, but top of many minds – NHUAC voted unanimously to immediately draft a letter to each Seattle City Council member reaffirming NHUAC’s previous position to support the annexation of Area Y to the city of Burien.

Mike Martin
, Burien City Manager, usually updates NHUAC at its meetings. Annexation was one of his topics: Martin said that the Burien Council is obligated to honor the Memorandum of Understanding with Seattle and therefore will not be taking a position regarding any Boundary Review Board process that might be triggered if Seattle council members vote in the next month to keep the process going. However, he told NHUAC that there are still internal conversations being held within their city hall and that NHUAC and citizens of “Area Y” should not let Burien’s official silence belie the fact that “we are intensely interested.”

Other highlights: Martin recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. regarding the Block Grants for 2011. Martin says that he’s never, in 15 years of such trips to D.C., seen the state of confusion regarding the status of Block Grants, which he says have been put into “an 11th hour” jeopardy. These funds may impact work on Puget Sound Park, he notes. He will update the Council as the outcomes of those grant funds becomes known.

Martin also mentioned that Burien is currently in the midst of a Police Status study to evaluate whether the city will continue to contract with outside law enforcement agencies or begin a process to develop the city’s own police department. The study also includes data collection on the feasibility of a new police station, in the event a new department were to be founded.

There were no solid or significant trends to observe over the past few months; however, the KCSO rep did note that auto thefts have gone down from 29 to 11 after a particularly active period a few months ago.

There also was a bit of good news regarding the staffing numbers for deputies in King County. The recent annexation in the Kirkland/Juanita area may allow for reallocation for some officers to the North Highline area, though such a determination is neither confirmed nor finalized.

The King County Library System (KCLS) Director, Bill Ptacek, and Jennifer Wiseman, Project Manager/Public Services, addressed the gathering with the most extensive presentation and discussion of the evening.

In 2004, King County voters approved a bond to fund library improvements throughout the entire county service area, as well as build new libraries. While Burien’s library was completed in 2009, funds were also allocated for a new White Center library from the same bond. Also, the housing development at Greenbridge in White Center also recently incorporated a new, though smaller, library.

A North Highline Library Needs Assessment Study is currently being conducted via phone; an online questionnaire went live on March 1 at The survey is open to the entire public, does not require a King County Library user number and can be responded to in English or Spanish. The deadline for responses is March 30. The KCLS Board will be considering the results of the survey at its April meeting, when they determine whether to improve the existing libraries or build a new facility.

They also talked about a draft Library Service Area Analysis – you can read the 30-page report online here: The report contains the following Trends & Conclusions of KCLS (page 22):

Key Trends & Conclusions

Usage Trends

Use of the Greenbridge, White Center and Boulevard Park libraries is concentrated to patrons in the immediate neighborhood.
The Burien Library is a destination library that draws people from throughout the area, including South King County and Seattle.
All of the libraries in the area studied, excluding the Kent Library, exceed the System cost per circulated item.
The Southcenter, Burien, Des Moines and Kent libraries are the most effective based on cost per visitor.
The White Center Library draws the greatest number of patrons from Seattle.

Geographic Considerations

There is a high concentration of schools located near the White Center and Burien libraries compared to Boulevard Park Library.
There are three Seattle Public Library (SPL) branches within close proximity to the libraries in the “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group.
In the event that the remaining unincorporated area is annexed to Seattle, the Seattle Public Library (SPL) has indicated a strong interest in maintaining library services at the Greenbridge Library.
␣ With limited public transportation routes, and only two points at which to cross underneath it, State Route 509 presents a geographical divide in the North Highline community.
␣ Five schools are located in the remaining unincorporated area of North Highline.

Demographic Trends
␣ Growth trends during the past decade are inconsistent with growth projections for the “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group.
␣ FAZ growth projections of 3.7% to 16.6% in the North Highline area are less significant than King County projections of 19.5% by the year 2020.
␣ The Boulevard Park, White Center and SeaTac FAZs are very similar socio-economically.
␣ The “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group is considerably more diverse than King County.
␣ There is a significant percentage of population with limited access to vehicles in the area studied.
␣ A significant proportion of the population in the area studied is unemployed.

Library Distribution Conclusions
␣ After accounting for potential growth in the area, the square feet per 1,000 of population in the northern portion of the “Highline/Des Moines/SeaTac” FAZ group is notably higher than the System average, while it is significantly below the System average in the southern portion of the FAZ group.
␣ Determination of the distribution of library facilities and their respective service areas should be made with consideration to topography challenges (including natural and manmade barriers).

Ptacek explained to the gathering, including some members of the White Center Library Guild who together voiced their various concerns regarding the potential combining of the Boulevard Park and White Center libraries, that the goal of the KCLS is to have an equitable distribution of library resources available to the greatest numbers of users.

The KCLS Library Service Area Analysis Policy is described below, taken from their Public Services Manual PDF for the same, dated 2/10:


The King County Library System (KCLS) maintains and operates library facilities in a prudent and fiscally sound manner and is continually looking for ways to meet public needs while effectively managing public resources. This policy outlines the process for analyzing the distribution of library resources within a particular area to ensure that public resources are applied for the best possible public benefit.

Declining funding, population shifts, building obsolescence or other reasons may require the Board of Trustees to consider closing and consolidating library facilities. When considering action to alter the distribution of library services, the following will occur:
· The Library Director will keep the Board of Trustees informed of situations that may warrant an analysis of the library service area.
· KCLS staff will conduct a Library Service Area Analysis on an as needed basis, or as part of a regularly scheduled community study.
· Citizen input will be considered through one or more public meetings and/or other methods of collecting input in advance of a final decision by the Board of Trustees.
· Public notice of no less than thirty (30) calendar days will be given prior to a final decision by the Board of Trustees.


The Library Service Area Analysis process is used to:
· Measure how effectively a redistribution of library resources would meet community need.
· Assess the best configuration of staff and resources to enable the library cluster to provide more programs and services to the community.
· Determine whether operational efficiencies may be gained by consolidating two smaller libraries into a single, comparably sized or larger facility.
· Investigate how the current allocation of library resources compares to the rest of the Library System to ensure an equitable distribution across King County.


During a Library Service Area Analysis, the following data will be collected and analyzed (if available):
· Library usage, including traffic, circulation and computer usage
· Library operational and staffing costs
· Socio-economic demographics
· Per capita measures
· Cross-use with other library jurisdictions
· Address of patrons frequenting the facility or facilities
· Size or scale of service in cluster model
· Local transportation routes, especially transit
· Area traffic patterns
· Population centers and growth forecasts
· Proximity to schools and daycares
· Proximity to senior living facilities
· Development in the area, including types of zoning
· City documentation (from similar area studies)
· Local area needs assessments (conducted by other agencies or jurisdictions)

Desired Outcomes

Based on the results of a Library Service Area Analysis, KCLS staff may recommend redistribution of library resources. Such recommendations will be made after considering the extent to which an alteration achieves the following outcomes:
· Results in increased offerings of library programs and services
· Results in increased library use
· More effectively meets community need for library resources
· Provides the community with more sustainable, lower-cost facilities
· Creates operational efficiencies
· Minimizes duplication between two library institutions in the same geographic area
· Optimizes the regional provision of library services
· Positions KCLS for new service opportunities and a greater role in building community
· Provides equitable distribution of library resources across the Library System

DEFINITIONS (if applicable) ·
Redistribution of Library Resources: May include closing or consolidating a library, adding a facility, developing services outside the facility, or reducing the size of or expanding a library.

NHUAC meets on the first Thursday of the month, 7 pm, North Highline Fire District HQ.

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Celebrate the New Greenbridge and YWCA Learning Center

October 10th, 2008 Ricardo Posted in Miscellaneous, Neighborhood House, Neighborhoods, white center, White Center Library Comments Off on Celebrate the New Greenbridge and YWCA Learning Center

Celebrate the new Greenbridge Library and YWCA Learning Center.
Open House on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 – 11am!
960 Newport Way NW
Issaquah, WA 98027

Bring your friends, family and neighbors and help celebrate the new
community building.
Wednesday, November 5, 11am
9720 Eighth Avenue SW
White Center, WA
Questions, call 425.369.3275.

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