FOLLOWUP: White Center crash victim has died, family says

April 10th, 2015 at 11:24 am Posted in Crime, White Center news | 3 Comments »

(WCN photo from last Thursday)
We’ve learned from the family of the woman hit by a suspected drunk driver last week that she has died. 55-year-old Rebecca Delgado, a White Center resident, was hit while crossing 16th SW last Thursday and was taken to Harborview with injuries that included skull fractures, according to the police report. She died at the hospital, her son, who lives out of state, told us via e-mail early today.

As reported here earlier this week, bail was set at $30,000 for the driver, a 50-year-old Burien woman; she posted bond and got out on Easter Sunday. She had not been charged as of our last check; we’ll be checking again today with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

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

April 10th, 2015 at 1:40 am 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 – northhighlineuac.org.

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Changes ahead for SW Roxbury

April 8th, 2015 at 7:47 am Posted in safety, Transportation, White Center news | Comments Off on Changes ahead for SW Roxbury

The Seattle Department of Transportation‘s final plan for SW Roxbury – for which it has curb-to-curb responsibility – went public last night at a meeting in West Seattle. Here’s the presentation:

SDOT's SW Roxbury plan

The biggest changes are rechannelization – one lane each way plus a center turn lane – west of 17th, a speed-limit drop to 30 mph from 15th SW east, and 300 feet of sidewalk where none exists, east of 30th SW. Read details of the meeting on our partner site West Seattle Blog.

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FOLLOWUP: Suspected drunk driver out of jail

April 6th, 2015 at 11:06 pm Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Suspected drunk driver out of jail

The 50-year-old driver arrested after hitting a pedestrian in White Center last Thursday is out of jail. We’re not identifying the suspect yet, as she is not yet charged. But the jail register shows that her bail was set at $30,000 and that she got out of jail over the weekend. Court documents say she told a King County Sheriff’s Deputy that she had had three beers before driving; the deputy wrote that her speech was slurred and that she “had difficulty walking.” She also is reported to have said she was sorry for hitting the pedestrian, who was reported to have suffered “severe skull fractures.”

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SAFETY: Road resurfacing in the works for SW 107th west of White Center

April 6th, 2015 at 5:07 pm Posted in safety, Transportation, White Center news | 3 Comments »

West of White Center, SW 107th east of 26th SW is in for special treatment – the only North Highline-area road on the list referenced in this King County announcement:

More than two dozen of King County’s busiest roads will get a surface treatment that provides tires with better grip and reduces the likelihood of skidding, thanks to a $3.2 million federal grant.

The surface treatment and additional guardrails will be installed on roads that King County’s Department of Transportation identified as high-crash locations outside of cities – in Highline/North Shorewood, on Vashon Island, outside Woodinville, in the Snoqualmie Valley, south of Issaquah, near North Bend, north of Covington, and between Auburn and Black Diamond.

“Drivers throughout unincorporated King County will be safer thanks to additional guardrails and an innovative solution to slippery roads,” said Executive Dow Constantine. “By focusing federal funds on the busiest roads with the most accidents, we will make the most of this investment in our region’s safety.”

So-called high-friction surface treatments bond aggregate materials to the top layer of a roadway, channeling away water and providing tires with more grip to reduce the likelihood of skidding and loss of control. The county has identified 24 locations for this treatment and four locations for guardrail and other improvements based largely on crash history and average daily traffic. Sites throughout unincorporated King County were chosen where the risks of running off the road are greatest.

“My district includes hundreds of miles of winding rural roadways where curves or hills create greater risks for skidding off the road,” said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “These new roadway treatments help tires grip the road in dangerous areas. I am encouraged to hear that other transportation departments are also saying that this is an economical way to measurably improve safety.”

“Those that rely on the King County road system will be happy to know that with the help of federal funding we’re going to deliver targeted safety improvements to make our roads safer,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “We’re looking forward to having these improvements on Kent-Kangley Road, south of Issaquah, near Shadow Lake and near May Valley road.”

The county’s Road Services Division is scheduled to install the high friction surface treatments and guardrail in 2016. The agency has had to reduce service for roads and bridges in the unincorporated areas of the county significantly as revenues declined during the recession, and as a result, there is a growing backlog of county road needs. Recent strategic planning deemed safety as the most important consideration for allocating precious road dollars. With this federal safety grant, driving will be safer at these 28 locations.

The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and administered by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

We obtained the information about SW 107th by checking with King County Transportation Department spokesperson Jeff Switzer.

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UPDATE: Woman in critical condition after being hit by suspected drunk driver in White Center

April 2nd, 2015 at 6:39 pm Posted in safety, White Center news | 4 Comments »

(UPDATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON: KCSO says the victim is still alive, in critical condition)

6:39 PM: Thanks for the tips via Twitter. We’re on our way to find out more about the crash that has closed 16th SW north of 107th. According to a tweet from KING TV, a pedestrian was hit and seriously hurt. Avoid the area TFN.

7:08 PM: Sgt. BJ Myers of the King County Sheriff’s Office confirms that a pedestrian was hit and is reported to have been seriously hurt; the driver is in custody for suspected DUI. Sgt. Myers says investigators are likely to be on scene for a few more hours. Driving by on the way to the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, we noted the closure appears to be from 106th northward now.

7:24 PM: According to Sgt. Myers, the victim is a 50-year-old woman in serious condition. The driver is a 55-year-old woman. And the road’s expected to be closed until about 8:30. Meanwhile, our photographer has just sent photos from the investigation scene, which we’re adding above.

8:57 PM: Just drove through the area – 16th is open again.

8:33 AM: KCSO announced this morning that the victim died at the hospital. The driver is now booked for investigation of vehicular assault.

12:16 PM: KCSO now says they had erroneous information. The victim is STILL ALIVE but in critical condition.

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White Center businesses: Star Palace grand-opening party today

April 1st, 2015 at 10:29 am Posted in Arts, Businesses, White Center news | Comments Off on White Center businesses: Star Palace grand-opening party today

Been to Star Palace Boutique and Lounge yet? Proprietor Prisilla wrote to let us know she’s having a grand-opening party today (though it’s been open for a few weeks):

I just opened a new eclectic, local, art boutique in White Center. It is located directly across the street from Proletariat Pizza and is called Star Palace. I opened the store with hopes to give all of the amazing artists and designers in Seattle a place to showcase their work.

I am having a grand opening party on Wednesday, April 1st, from 12-8 and would love to
see some local south side faces.

Star Palace is at 9617 16th SW, right next to Herban Legends.

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Recognize these suspects? Let KCSO know!

April 1st, 2015 at 10:12 am Posted in boulevard park, Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | Comments Off on Recognize these suspects? Let KCSO know!

No further details but if you recognize either or both of these suspects … King County Sheriff’s Office just put out this alert via Twitter:


And this addition:


P.S. For this month’s update on North Highline crime trends, don’t miss Thursday night’s NHUAC meeting – more info here.

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Amber Alert for toddler missing from South Seattle

March 31st, 2015 at 8:45 pm Posted in Not White Center but we're mentioning it anyway, White Center news | Comments Off on Amber Alert for toddler missing from South Seattle

(Cross-posted from our partner site West Seattle Blog)

An Amber Alert was sent out less than an hour ago for Aaron Lopez, a toddler who is missing, likely with his (non-custodial) father, last seen just south of here:

Authorities say that the child may be in the company of Daniel Lopez-Andino. He is the non-custodial parent. He abducted the child after a strong-armed robbery of the child’s mother.

They were last seen the area of East Marginal Way and Boeing Access [map]. Daniel is diagnosed as bipolar and is off medication. They may be traveling in a 2003 Silver/Aluminum BMW 325I vehicle, with license plate: WA #701ZNB. If you have any information on the whereabouts of this child, please contact 206-583-2111 immediately.

911 would work too. Full description information is on this page.

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

March 29th, 2015 at 6:29 pm 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: northhighlineuac.org

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VIDEO: 2015 White Center 5K in semi-surprise sunshine

March 28th, 2015 at 10:30 am Posted in How to Help, White Center 5K, White Center news | 1 Comment »

After a rainy night, semi-surprise sunshine greeted the third annual White Center 5K this morning. Our video, above, shows the runners/walkers heading out from the starting line at White Center Heights Park. One thing that sets it apart from many other 5Ks is the superhero theme – and costume-clad participants were all for it:

The White Center 5K is a benefit for local nonprofits, including the White Center Food Bank, whose development director Kristina Dahl (in our photo, below, with executive director Rick Jump) was in Wonder Woman costume:

Also benefiting: The White Center Community Development Association and the YES Foundation of White Center. Community members joining in the 5K included local businesspeople like the Albaeck family from Proletariat Pizza:

For the 276 participants who wore timers, the results are already up on this page – the top male finisher was 42-year-old Steven Colmus, at 22:42, and top female finisher was 35-year-old Alisha Winger at 24:56. Top listed youth finisher was 12-year-old Tessa Surface at 31:21. Congratulations to all!

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Reminder: Highway 99 closures this weekend

March 28th, 2015 at 10:04 am Posted in alaskan way viaduct, Traffic, Transportation, White Center news | Comments Off on Reminder: Highway 99 closures this weekend

Traffic/transit/travel alert!

North of here, Highway 99 is closed from the West Seattle Bridge to the Battery Street Tunnel until 6 pm today and then again 6 am-6 pm tomorrow for its twice-yearly inspection, and from the BSTunnel north to lower Queen Anne, it’s closed all weekend, until very early Monday. So plan your travel accordingly! Find details on the closures here. If you use Metro, here’s the reroute info for the routes from WC/West Seattle that use Highway 99.

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Tomorrow! White Center 5K – not too late to participate

March 27th, 2015 at 8:34 pm Posted in Fun, How to Help, White Center news | Comments Off on Tomorrow! White Center 5K – not too late to participate

(WCN photo from 2014)
Saturday morning brings the third annual White Center 5K, and even if you’re not signed up already, you can be part of it! Though online registration is over, you can sign up on site starting at 8 am (the 5K starts at 9) at White Center Heights Park (7th SW/SW 102nd). Local nonprofits are the beneficiaries.

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Followup: Brodie Lamb sentenced to 22 years for murdering his mother Margaret Ryan

March 21st, 2015 at 10:18 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | Comments Off on Followup: Brodie Lamb sentenced to 22 years for murdering his mother Margaret Ryan

(December 2012 gathering honoring murder victim Margaret Ryan)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

268 months in prison – 22 years and four months – is the sentence that King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen has given Brodie Lamb, the 44-year-old man who stabbed his mother Margaret Ryan to death at her White Center apartment in November of 2012. That’s the top end of the standard range for his crime, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney Office‘s sentencing report.

As we first reported two months ago, Lamb pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder. The sentence represents 20 years for that, plus two extra years for use of a deadly weapon, and is what the prosecution recommended.

According to documents from the Friday afternoon sentencing hearing, Lamb will get credit for the two years and four months he has already spent behind bars since his arrest the night of Ms. Ryan’s murder, and when he gets out, he will be on probation (technically, community custody) for three years.

The sentence also directs him to participate in mental-health treatment; the case dragged out longer than many because of issues of whether he was competent to stand trial, and he spent time along the way at Western State Hospital. He had been on Mental Health Court probation until a few months before the murder, and had stopped taking anti-psychotic medication, according to the prosecution’s report. His criminal record included a 2008 assault against his mother, who was 69 years old when he killed her, as well as an attack that broke the ribs of his 75-year-old landlady.

Documents submitted by prosecutors before yesterday’s sentencing included the 911 call in which Lamb told dispatchers he had killed his mother because “she wanted to lock me out [of her apartment], homeless,” and then repeatedly begged for emergency responders to “come save her life.” He was not allowed to be at her apartment, but kicked the door down that night and stabbed her more than a dozen times.

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VIDEO: Groundbreaking celebration for new White Center Library

March 19th, 2015 at 11:05 pm 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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If you see this White Center house on fire tomorrow – it’s intentional

March 18th, 2015 at 8:07 pm Posted in fire, Traffic, White Center news | 5 Comments »

We received an alert this evening including word that the 97-year-old house in that King County Assessor’s Office photo is about to be no more:

On March 19, 2015, the South King County Fire Training Consortium will be conducting live fire training at 10635 4 Ave. SW [map] between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.

Live fire training is the carefully controlled burning of a specially prepared house that exposes firefighters to the conditions that they would find at an actual house fire. Firefighters practice extinguishing the fire, searching for victims, and clearing smoke out of the building.

Prior to the house being burned, all the oil-based materials including carpets, tar paper, and asphalt shingles are removed to reduce health risks and pollution.

Unfortunately, some smoke will be produced as the training is conducted. We recommend that people living in the area close their windows as a precaution. Those with respiratory sensitivity may want to consider being away from home during the training times.

There will be a temporary closure of 4 Ave. SW in both directions between SW 106 Street and SW 108 Street from 6:30 am until 7:30 pm. This closure will allow fire apparatus and personnel to move around the property safely. Detour signs will be posted and traffic rerouted. Homeowners on the closed section of street will be able to get in and out of their residences.

The South King County Fire Training Consortium is made up of eight fire departments and was created to allow firefighters from different departments to train together, using a common standard, and in a cost effective manner. The SCKFTC serves over 650 firefighters.

Metro also has sent an advisory that Route 131 will be rerouted for a while because of this.

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New noise rules for unincorporated King County

March 16th, 2015 at 5:29 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Sent by County Councilmember Kathy Lambert today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 13th, 2015 at 1:25 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 1 Comment »

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

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

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

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

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Crash under investigation; KCSO says driver fled deputies

March 8th, 2015 at 8:40 pm Posted in White Center news | Comments Off on Crash under investigation; KCSO says driver fled deputies

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

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

March 6th, 2015 at 12:54 am 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 northhighlineuac.org. April’s meeting will include a closer look at the marijuana issue.

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