FIGHTING CRIME: King County Sheriff’s Office advice on avoiding auto theft

May 26th, 2016 at 2:36 pm Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, safety, White Center news | Comments Off on FIGHTING CRIME: King County Sheriff’s Office advice on avoiding auto theft

The King County Sheriff’s Office deputy who presented the crime briefing at this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, Deputy Corbett Ford, has information to share to help you avoid becoming a victim of auto theft. He shares it in Etwo languages, first, English:

Every day someone becomes a victim of auto theft. We all think it isn’t that big of deal until it happens to you. A vehicle is stolen in the United States almost every 46 seconds. In 2014, there were 689,527 reported stolen vehicles. That amounts to more than $4.5 billion US Dollars. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metro area ranked 8th in the nation with 20,268 reported stolen vehicle. This is a problem that affects all of us.

Following are a few Crime Prevention Tips that can help to keep your car from disappearing and ruining your day:

-NEVER leave your vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.
-Park in busy and well-lit areas.
-Equip your vehicle with an alarm and other anti-thefts devices.
-Lock your doors and keep the windows closed, even when your vehicle is parked in front of your home.
-Keep your vehicle information where you can get to it quickly.
-Report auto theft immediately. Police need your license plate and vehicle information.

And now, en Español:

Todos los días alguien se convierte en una víctima de robo de autos. Nadie le da importancia hasta que le sucede. Un vehículo es robado en los Estados Unidos casi cada 46 segundos. En el 2014, se reportaron 689.527 vehículos robados. Esta cantidad de autos robados asciende a más $ 4,5 billones de dólares. El área metropolitana de Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue estuvo en el octavo lugar a nivel nacional con 20.268 informes de vehículos robados. Este es un problema que nos afecta a todos.

Siguiendo algunos consejos de prevención del delito usted podria aprender como protejer su vehiculo.

-Nunca deje su vehículo si usted tiene que salir del auto.
-Estacionese en áreas concurridas y bien iluminadas.
-Equipe su vehículo con la alarma y otros dispositivos contra robos.
-Asegure las puertas las puertas y mantenga las ventanas cerradas, incluso cuando el vehículo está -estacionado frente a su casa.
-Mantenga la información de su vehículo donde se puede acceder a ella rápidamente.
-Reporte inmediatamente el robo de su auto. La Policía necesita el numero de la placa y la informacion del vehiculo.

Deputy Ford also shares the Top 10 List of Stolen Vehicles, as reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau for 2014:

1 Honda Accord (1994)
2 Honda Civic (1998)
3 Subaru Legacy (1997)
4 Toyota Camry (1991)
5 Ford Pickup (Full Size, 2000)
6 Acura Integra (1994)
7 Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size, 1998)
8 Honda CR-V (1999)
9 Toyota Corolla (1993)
10 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size, 1999)

Thanks to Deputy Ford for the info – share it with your friends and neighbors!

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TONIGHT: King County ‘Town Hall/Open House’ for unincorporated North Highline

May 24th, 2016 at 10:57 am Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on TONIGHT: King County ‘Town Hall/Open House’ for unincorporated North Highline

This annual event is happening tonight:

It’s a chance to hear about, and ask questions about, a wide variety of county services, programs, and issues.

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VIDEO: White Center Library grand-opening celebration

May 21st, 2016 at 12:41 pm Posted in Libraries, White Center news | 1 Comment »

The new White Center Library is open! If you want to be part of Opening Day, get there by 5 pm, if you haven’t been there already. A half-hour-long ceremony got things going this morning, starting with music by the Cascade Middle School Symphonic Band:

King County Library System director Gary Wasdin observed that the WC Library groundbreaking was one of the first big things he was involved with after starting the job last year:


He said this is the fourth library that KCLS has opened this year. Next, KCLS Board of Trustees president Rob Spitzer, who said they’d “learned a lot about the community” in the process of getting this library built:


All the while, a steady rain continued, but the crowd wasn’t daunted – many brought umbrellas:


It’s not a ribboncutting without an elected official, and this one featured 34th District State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who noted that the library in Burien, where he lives, is a jewel, and this one too will be a “community gathering place” close to WC’s downtown.


Overall, Rep. Fitzgibbon proclaimed, those who planned and advocated for and built this library “nailed it.”

The new WC Library will have an even-closer relationship with Highline Public Schools, with Mount View Elementary next door, and the district’s superintendent Susan Enfield offered a few words at today’s ceremony too:


She also declared it a “wonderful community hub … not just a place to read and check out books.” It’s also a place to see art – including the red panels around the building, which architect Nick McDaniel from NBBJ explained are representations of White Center’s murals:


June McKivor, president of the White Center Library Guild, spoke next:


While she has lived in WC since 1976, she said, the community’s library history goes back much further, and she mentioned a few milestones, which also were detailed in the event program, including the first library opening “below the Fieldhouse steps” in 1946, six years before the guild itself formed. (The Year McKivor moved to WC is the year the old library on 16th SW opened.) But the most important history she shared was that of the fight to make sure this branch actually got built: “A few years ago, this beautiful building was in danger of not being built.” A petition drive ensued, proving “strength in numbers,” she said.

McKivor and Wasdin joined next in honoring someone whose passionate advocacy made a big difference – she was often the face and voice of the Library Guild in so many venues – Rachael Levine:


A plaque with rock sculptures in the garden on the north side of the library now pays tribute to her:


“Community is not one person,” Levine said, “it’s all of us.”

And then, everyone was reminded that the best way to advocate for the library is to use it. Once the ribbon was cut and the doors opened, they did:




Again, the library is open until 5 pm today – go celebrate!

(If you see this before 2 pm, that’s when you can enjoy Rimawaynina Cumbe, Traditional Cumbia Colombiana.)

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TODAY: White Center Library grand opening

May 21st, 2016 at 4:34 am Posted in Libraries, White Center news | Comments Off on TODAY: White Center Library grand opening

(Photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Today’s the day! The brand-new White Center Library will be dedicated and celebrated today, starting at 9:30 am. Above, the photo is by West Seattle photographer Christopher Boffoli, whose work “Octopus Survey” will be on the wall in a library conference room. Below, the photo is by Gill Loring from the White Center Library Guild, during a preview inside:

(Photo by Gill Loring)
Gill says visitors need to know that the library’s main parking lot will be closed for the celebration, but offsite parking has been arranged at a nearby church. It’s been 14 months since the formal groundbreaking for the 10,000-square-foot library at 1409 SW 107th, funded by a bond measure passed by voters a dozen years ago.

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‘Bike Everywhere Day’ station today at Dubsea Coffee

May 20th, 2016 at 3:42 am Posted in Transportation, White Center news | Comments Off on ‘Bike Everywhere Day’ station today at Dubsea Coffee

It’s “Bike Everywhere Day” – formerly “Bike to Work Day” – and if you’re biking, you have a “celebration station” to visit in White Center: Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge, SW 99th/8th SW. It’s co-sponsored by the YES! Foundation and the Major Taylor Bike Club, and bicycle riders are invited to stop for free coffee, bananas, treats, bike checkups, and info about bicycling in WC. 6 am-9 am.

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Teenager shot in North Burien

May 19th, 2016 at 8:44 am Posted in burien, White Center news | Comments Off on Teenager shot in North Burien

Though this happened in North Burien, just outside our coverage area, we’ve had some questions about it this morning, so we’re publishing the King County Sheriff’s Office news release:

At around 12:13 am (today), King County Sheriff 911 communications received reports of the sounds of gunfire in the area of SW 116 St and Ambaum Blvd SW, in Burien. Very shortly thereafter, they received updates that a man had been shot in the chest and was lying in a parking lot of an apartment complex in that same area.

Deputies from Burien arrived in the area within minutes and found the victim, later learned to be 17-year-old male, lying near an apartment complex in the 11400 block of 16th Ave SW. The victim had a single gunshot wound to his chest. Deputies as well as medics from North Highline Fire and King County Medic-1 provided aid to the victim at the scene before he was rushed to Harborview Medical center for emergency surgery.

Because of the nature of his injuries, Deputies were only able to get a very limited description of the suspects from the victim. At the time, they were described as two Hispanic males wearing dark clothing. It is believed that they fled on foot and then possibly in a silver or gray 2000s-era sedan. A K-9 track was attempted but no suspects were located.

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How would Seattle annexation affect the North Highline Fire District?

May 18th, 2016 at 2:17 am Posted in Annexation, North Highline Fire District, White Center news | 5 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

While it’s still a year and a half until the earliest date that residents of unincorporated North Highline would vote on Seattle annexation, a deadline is near:

The North Highline Fire District Board of Commissioners has two weeks to write up its position on the proposed annexation for the King County Boundary Review Board, whose public hearing starts two weeks after that.

But first, the board wants to make sure it has all the information it needs to take a stand. Some of it came during an extensive Q&A during the board’s Monday night meeting, with Seattle city and King County reps in attendance, but the board also is awaiting written answers to some key questions. By meeting’s end, the Seattle reps promised to speed it up, though NHFD lawyer Brian Snure observed that it would have been better if this information had all been in months earlier.

No way to go back in time. So here’s what did happen Monday night.

Guests for the discussion, which took up most of the public portion of the meeting (which ended with a closed-door session), were Seattle’s longtime annexation point person Kenny Pittman, Seattle Fire Department Assistant Chief of Operations Jay Hagen, and Karen Freeman from the King County Executive’s Office.

Existing Seattle Fire stations are well positioned to cover the NH area, Chief Hagen said, meeting the 4-minute response standard. “We try to get a fire engine to the emergency alarm location within 4 minutes, 90 percent of the time.” So if NH Engine 18 is busy, what does that do to response times? It would go up to 5 minutes, 10 seconds, but that’s still better than the service SE Seattle gets, he said. “In all four corners of the city, the coverage would be better here than other areas of Seattle.”

Commissioner Liz Giba asked what response time meant. “First we have to process the call – CPT is time from when the phone rings at public-safety answering point, they process the call, look for a geocoded address on the map, match to computer on fire apparatus, and send alarm to the station. When bell rings at station, we end answering time and start turnout time – until the wheels roll over threshold of station door. Then we have response time, the actual driving time to the incident. … We would ask them to gear up quicker for an aid (medical) response than for a structure fire response – an extra 20 seconds or so, about 80 seconds.”

That’s engine response, he explained. For ladder-truck response – West Seattle has only one, Ladder 11 at Station 32 in The Junction. But that’s about equidistant for what NH would get right now. “In a perfect world we’d like to rearrange things and have a ladder truck closer. … Those are the longer apparatus and the (ones) we use in Seattle are tillered, with asteering wheel on the back set of wheels … they do search and rescue, forcible entry, ventilation … they’re dedicated to certain functions on the fire ground. In Seattle we have about a 3 to 1 ratio, engines to ladders. If annexation occurs, the engine here would be the 34th engine in Seattle, and we have 11 ladder trucks spread around the city.”

SFD has a 4-platoon system, 4 groups of firefighters who relieve each other sequentially, while NH has a three-platoon system. sends two battalion chiefs to structure fires for command and control – “they’re the ones you might see with radios giving orders, or they might join firefighters inside the structure.” Then there’s Deputy 1 who has command over the entire city. All companies are staffed with four personnel at all times.

Medic unit coverage: Seattle has BLS (basic life support) – the EMT level of care, closest to the alarm location and they can get there and decide whether ALS (advanced life support) is needed or can they handle it on their own? “They pave the way to success by doing things (to prepare for) the ALS unit.” All Seattle firefighters are EMTs. The paramedics in King County, meantime, “all come from the same school … all highly regarded.” Last year, he said, they had a 62.5% cardiac-arrest survival rate. They get international visitors – one from the UK, for example, said that where he was from, they had a 12 percent survival rate. SFD is the “rolling classroom for Medic One.” He says they already provide a good level of service for ALS. But – Medic 4, he noted, is moving to downtown Burien this summer, close to NH. Seattle’s Medic 32 is at Station 37 (West Seattle’s southernmost station) during the rebuild of Station 32. “The honest truth is, when we go back to our normal condition, the medic unit is not as close as the (one) that serves this area – we’d have to do some work to make that an improvement.” They don’t have plans “developed” yet.

In response to Giba’s question, Hagen noted that the new Station 32 in the West Seattle Junction will be finished in about a year. He also noted that this area is “rich in need” – 1,000 ALS alarm in the past year. If you carved the same acreage from, say, West Seattle’s Admiral District, he said, that only generated 209 alarms in the past year.

Hagen said he thinks “there’s a great company here … at face value, not a lot would change. What’s notable to me is the depth and breadth of services that the city of Seattle could bring to bear … larger organization, more follow-on services, I think that would be noteworthy.” Comissioner Julie Hiatt asked about follow-on examples. “Technical rescue services, like trench rescue,” Hagen began. (A unit is positioned in SODO, 4th and Horton.)

North Highline (and Burien) Chief Mike Marrs said those services are provided through Zone 3 responses, any station out of King County. It would come out of on-duty firefighters as opposed to specialty crew members who are always on.

What if the specialists are busy? Giba asked. If it’s going to be more than 2 hours before they are, they have callbacks to bring personnel in. “Every Seattle firefighter is trained to the awareness of (assessing) operational level,” he said, how to call for additional resources, for example. They also could call for mutual aid if need be, Hagen said – Seattle is zone 5, South/West suburbs are zone 3.

Hiatt asked for an example. So Hagen spelled out a trench-rescue scenario, a “low priority, high impact, high risk type of emergency” that might happen every six weeks or so. If one is already in progress and a second one is called, the first-arriving firefighters know what to do – to stabilize the situation, waiting for more advanced resources to arrive. “Chances are we might do more than one of those things at once, reinstate our backup team AND call for mutual aid.”

Pittman then spoke. He said the average tax bill would go down in NH if annexed. Seattle “really does have a low tax rate because we have a huge assessed value and state law limits how much (they can charge). … Residents in this area are affected by special-purpose districts, and NHFD is a special-purpose district. If annexed … the only thing that would exist for Highline is if they passed a bond that would stay with property owners until paid off.”

“How about financing for the fire services?” Pittman’s reply: The city budgets overall for everything.

He mentioned the state sales tax that would be partly funneled to Seattle – $7.75 million a year for a 6-year period, while the previous version was $5 million for 10 years – without costing anyone anything more.

His spreadsheet showed that annual taxes on an average NH property would go down about $200 a year – dropping from $3,239 to $3,011.

Asked about the recently passed Move Seattle transportation levy, Pittman replied incorrectly that it wasn’t a property tax – but it is (“The $930 million levy will be paid for through a property tax that will cost the median Seattle household (valued at $450,000) about $275 per year, for nine years.”)

He was asked about school districts. This area would remain in the Highline Public Schools system unless something happened to change that in the future. The school districts would have to go to the Educational Service District to ake a change – “there are no plans to do that, and no discussions to my knowledge (about that).”

Back to fire-related matters. He mentioned that firefighters would retain their seniority and benefits – “the two unions would have some discussion among themselves” about who goes where,” and the Fire Departments also would have some details to work out, if there were any layoffs. But again, they’d need more firefighters than they have now. What about administrative staff? “We’re looking into that,” said Pittman.

What about rank? asked Giba. Pittman said that people would be evaluated on an individual basis to see if they met the qualifications for the Seattle version of the title they hold in NH. Hagen elaborated, “I called the president of Local 27 this morning, Kenny Stewart, to say we’d be having some of these discussions – he’s in pretty close communication with NH leadership, some of this stuff hasn’t been worked out yet.” They’d look at resumes, training, etc. Hiatt wondered if there are set criteria for evaluation. Local 27 VP Jeff Miller was in the room and said “That all gets worked out in union negotiations … as a union we wouldn’t be doing any evaluating but we’d be advocating for people to keep their seniority,” etc.

“It’s a pretty well-documented body of knowledge,” Hagen added.

Hiatt asked him for elaboration on administrative staff.

“They’re not necessarily at the fire stations – we have them at the training facility, Harborview, headquarters – I’m going to guess we have in the 50s, admin employees who are in Local 17.” Hagen said he couldn’t commit to what the situation would be under annexation – there’s one administrative staffer at the NHFD HQ – “I think we’d find a place for that person to go.”

What changes would people see in this building?

Pittman didn’t think many, but acknowledged that the building is used a lot for community meetings, so that would be worked out. The vehicles would be the biggest change.

No plans for station relocation? asked commissioner Dominic Barrera.

“Not at this time,” said Pittman. If there was a need to relocate the building, he added, it would probably be a little further north and east, “but there are no plans for that, let me be real clear.”

The real question, he said, is whether the plans would continue for a station in the potentially to-be-annexed area, “and there are no plans to have no station here” – he pointed out that this station would help service parts of West Seattle too.

“Is there any way you can give us an assurance there will always be a station in area Y?” asked Hiatt.

“An iron-clad guarantee? … It wouldn’t make sense to not have one in this area,” said Hagen.

“But it doesn’t make sense to not have one in Arbor Heights,” Hiatt pressed (an area annexed to Seattle in xxx). “… We wouldn’t want to be Arbor Heights.”

What about mutual-aid agreements if north Burien suddenly was without the NH fire station? Seattle already has several, said Hagen.

Do you feel a responsibility to north Burien? pressed Hiatt, saying it would leave “a hole.”

The Boundary Review Board would look at “doing no harm,” replied Pittman. He also said he had been “having conversations with Chief (Mike) Marrs … we take it very seriously.”

Hagen mentioned Seattle’s remodeling of fire stations – 30 of 33 done – “we would be making (upgrades) to this station,” including a decontamination area. “We’ve made a commitment to storing our protetive ensemble in a cimte-clintrolled system … with airflow through … the gear degrades a lot more quickly if we don’t take care of it. So we’ve made a commitment to appropriate gear storage facilities.” He said they also are committed to seat belts, strapping things down in cabs, cancer and heart attack. They also have put a functional gym system in every fire station, for health and wellness. They have facilities to capture the “diesel soot” as engines come in and out. “And on sleeping arrangements, we have gone to 1 person per room.”

Mutual aid is not automatic right now for Seattle, Hagen acknowledged, but it could be.

That surfaced concerns about North Burien losing coverage if the remaining portion of North Highline became part of Seattle. So – How would Burien get pre-approved for (automatic) Seattle mutual aid? Hagen said the county’s 50 fire chiefs meet regularly, and Seattle’s new Chief Harold Scoggins “is very comfortable operating in that environment … I see it as a trend we’re moving toward in this county.”

“Wouldn’t being the closest to Arbor Heights put an additional strain on this station?” asked Barbara Dobkin of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

Hagen pointed out that “if we remove the political boundary,” then Engine 26 (South Park) and Engine 11 (Highland Park) would take part of what’s currently the North Highline area, so this station wouldn’t necessarily be serving everything it does AND more.

Pittman then picked up the timeline. The Boundary Review Board takes this up in June. Either a November 2017 or November 2018 election could follow. The former would result in annexation taking effect in January 2019, after a “full-blown budget process with the City Council.” Or, if a 2018 vote, then it would take effect in January 2020. “So there’s time to work out these issues.”

“So shouldn’t people have answers to these questions before they vote?” asked Giba.

Yes, and that’s what they’re working on now, said Hagen and Pittman. Two to three weeks away.

“We have to take a position and develop a brief on annexation and whether we support it by May 27th,” before the Boundary Review Board meeting, said the NHFD board’s lawyer. Without all the answers, it would be difficult for them to support it. So, the lawyer said, why do you have to have a Boundary Review Board hearing this soon for a November 2017 annexation vote?

Because they already asked for a one-year extension,and the main issue – the tax credit – has been addressed, Pittman said.

Anything you’d like to add? Giba asked Freeman.

No, she replied, but she’d answer questions.

First question – is King County financially assisting any government over these annexed areas? No, she said. Part of why we’re supporting annexations is because we (are low on money).

What about finding North Burien a place to build a fire station? Freeman recapped some past discussions including “an agreement that sunsetted in 2012” – the year by which the county had envisioned all the annexations would be complete. “We’re well past that date and we’re not done.” Three “islands” are claimed by Renton, there’s one outside Federal Way, there’s this one, and “63 smaller islands” elsewhere in the county.

“So you’re not going to find a parcel for North Burien (fire station) if the annexation goes through?” Hiatt asked.

“That’s correct,” said Freeman.

What would happen to the community if annexation was voted in, before it took effect? Dobkin asked.

We’d continue to serve it as best we can, said Freeman, adding that the county is looking at a “significant budget shortfall” in the next biennium. And “service continues to degrade.”

Pittman pointed out that it would only be a year between the vote and annexation taking effect.

Hiatt wondered if medic mutual aid could be available out of Burien, expressing concern that there’s just one unit in WS and it’s a ways away. “There’s a couple options” said Hagen – “one would be to make an arrangement with Medic 4 to provide that service in this area, the existing medic unit in West Seattle could be relocated further south …” Currently, they don’t call for mutual aid until everyone’s tied up, but that could change, Hagen said. “…I can tell you your concern is heard.” But, “There’s really no good reason we don’t have automatic aid right now … we can give easier than we can get … most of the time.”

Pat Price from NHUAC asked about timetable for the Duwamish annexation and how that’s affecting NHFD. “We’re still working through the interlocal agreement with King County … still looking at (possibly) putting it on November ballot this year, and it would take effect in 2018.”

Chief Hagen committed to getting answers to the e-mailed questions as soon as possible – even if partial, Hiatt stressed and he agreed to that.

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County Council committee to consider marijuana-zoning legislation starting tomorrow

May 17th, 2016 at 4:30 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 12 Comments »

Following up on the surprise vote three weeks ago for a four-month moratorium on new marijuana businesses in unincorporated King County, the County Council starts its closer consideration tomorrow. The announcement:

Two special meetings of King County Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee to consider legislation impacting zoning for the production, processing and sale of legal marijuana in unincorporated King County.

WHO: The Metropolitan King County Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment committee (TrEE).

WHERE: King County Courthouse, 10th floor, 516 Third Ave, Seattle 98104.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 18th, 2016, 9:00 am and Thursday, June 16th, 2016, 9:00 am

BACKGROUND: In 2013, the King County Council adopted initial zoning regulations governing the production, processing and sale of legalized marijuana in unincorporated King County. Since adoption of these initial zoning regulations, King County has received and processed numerous applications for marijuana-related land uses.

Some residents have expressed concerns regarding the existing regulations for marijuana production, processing and retailing. In order to review these concerns in rural areas, as well as consider an Executive proposal to regulate clustering of retail locations, the King County Council voted to pass a four-month moratorium on the acceptance of applications for or the establishment or location of new marijuana producers, processors and retailers on April 25th, 2016.

Two ordinances have been introduced. They are Ordinance No. 2016-0236 and Ordinance No. 2016-0254. Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski, chair of the TrEE committee, says it’s his intention “to review the legislation at this first special meeting and move expeditiously to consider any amendments to the existing marijuana zoning codes, so that the Council can make any changes to the code that are appropriate, and lift the temporary moratorium on this legal industry as soon as possible.”

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Community Service Area event on May 24: The official announcement

May 13th, 2016 at 9:22 am Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on Community Service Area event on May 24: The official announcement

As mentioned at last week’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, the annual Community Service Area event for unincorporated NH is coming up later this month. Here’s the official announcement we just received:

King County Town Hall/Open House

King County Community Service Areas Program

North Highline/White Center

Residents of unincorporated King County are invited to meet with County officials to discuss issues affecting White Center and North Highline.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
7 to 9 PM

Seola Garden – Providence Bldg, 11215 5th Avenue SW

County Councilmember Joe McDermott
Rhonda Berry – Executive Office Chief of Operations
Sheriff John Urquhart

For more information contact Alan Painter, Program Manager, Community Services Area Program 206 477-4521 or

Interpreter services available upon request

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UPDATE: King County Sheriff’s sergeant shoots suspect in White Center

May 9th, 2016 at 5:48 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 2 Comments »


5:48 PM: King County Sheriff’s Office has just texted that there’s been a shooting at 15th SW and 100th involving a deputy. The suspect is reported to be injured. More when we get there.

6:04 PM: Our crew says the Chevron station at that intersection is taped off and a TV helicopter is overhead.


6:43 PM: Sheriff John Urquhart is at the scene, reports our crew, who just talked with Sgt. Jason Houck, acting media-relations officer. (Added: Video of our interview with Sgt. Houck:)

What KCSO says so far is that they responded to a call of two people fighting at the Chevron, one possibly armed with a knife. When they got there, they confirmed one did have a knife. That person was told to drop it, but, KCSO says, he kept moving toward the sergeant who was the original responding deputy. Told repeatedly to drop it, he didn’t, Deputy Houck said, and the sergeant opened fire.


Two shots were fired, one hitting the man in the abdomen. He has been taken to Harborview Medical Center.

6:52 PM: KCSO tells us the sergeant is a 25-year veteran, and that the other man involved in the original fight is being questioned.

11:28 PM: The KCSO news release:

On May 9th, 2016, just after 515pm, King County Sheriff 911 Communications received reports of what a caller described as two males having a “knife fight” in front of a bus stop in the 9900 blk of 15th Ave SW, in the White Center area of unincorporated King County. Multiple King County Sheriff Deputies initially began to respond to the scene.

As the first Deputies were arriving on the scene approximately one minute later, several people began running from the area of the fight. A King County Sergeant, who had also responded to the area, got out of his car to talk to one of the men whom he had observed leaving the area of the fight. As the Sergeant got out of his car, the man began walking directly toward him, holding a knife at waist level. The Sergeant repeatedly ordered the man to stop and drop the knife, but the man continued advancing directly toward the Sergeant.

Despite multiple commands by the Sergeant to the man to stop and put the knife down, the man continued walking directly toward him. As the man continued walking toward the Sergeant, still holding the knife and ignoring commands to stop, the Sergeant fired two rounds at him. Both rounds hit the man in the stomach. At about the same time, another deputy whom had just arrived on scene, deployed his taser at the man as he advanced on the Sergeant. It is unknown at this time if the taser actually made contact or had any affect on the man.

Once the man was cleared of any further weapons, and it was safe for people to approach him, King County Deputies and North Highline Fire Medics performed 1st aid on the man. He was transported to Harborview where, at the time of this press release, he was in surgery, in critical condition.

The Sergeant that shot the man is a 17-year veteran with the King County Sheriffs Office. Prior to working for the King County Sheriffs Office, he was a Deputy in Maricopa County Arizona. The Sergeant is on paid administrative leave. This is a common practice for officer-involved shootings.

The man that was shot, is a 54yoa W/M that is believed to be a transient from the White Center area.

King County Sheriff Detectives will be diagramming the scene, collecting evidence, and talking to as many witnesses as possible to determine the circumstances that led up to this event.

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UPDATE: Fire at White Center apartment complex

May 9th, 2016 at 3:06 pm Posted in fire, White Center news | Comments Off on UPDATE: Fire at White Center apartment complex

3:07 PM: Thanks to Jonathan for the top photo and tip: North Highline firefighters are at an apartment complex near Steve Cox Park this afternoon after flames tore through at least one unit. Our crew is at the scene now waiting to talk with the incident commander to find out more about what happened; so far, we know only that no one was seriously injured. More to come.

(WCN photo)
3:11 PM: NHFD tells us that three units were damaged by the fire – they don’t know yet what started it. No one was hurt; one resident went in to rescue his cat, which is also OK.

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White Center food: Proletariat Pizza launches weekend brunch

May 7th, 2016 at 7:19 pm Posted in Food, restaurants, White Center news | Comments Off on White Center food: Proletariat Pizza launches weekend brunch

With Mother’s Day tomorrow, brunch is on many minds. Starting this weekend, Proletariat Pizza is serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, 9 am to noon (with lunch starting at 11, if you prefer). Co-proprietor Stefanie sent the first menu:

Proletariat Pizza is in its seventh year at 9622 16th SW.

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SEATTLE ANNEXATION? Next discussion: North Highline Fire District Board on May 16th

May 6th, 2016 at 12:07 pm Posted in Annexation, North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news | Comments Off on SEATTLE ANNEXATION? Next discussion: North Highline Fire District Board on May 16th

Quick followup to the announcement at last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting (WCN coverage here) that the King County Boundary Review Board has scheduled its public hearing on possible Seattle annexation:

As mentioned in our story, the BRB public hearings are set for 7 pm June 13-14 at the Technology Access Foundation’s Bethaday Community Space.

We followed up this morning with Seattle city government’s point person on the proposed annexation, Kenny Pittman. He said the city is still waiting for its formal notification of what’s on the BRB website, so it hasn’t made an official announcement of the hearings yet. He also said the city has yet to set up the webpage it promised at the March Dubsea Coffee community meeting, with information about the proposal and process. We asked if any further community conversations are scheduled; not yet, he said, but he did mention that he will be at the North Highline Fire District board’s meeting on May 16th (7 pm, NHFD HQ, 1243 SW 112th) at the board’s invitation, and will be bringing along a Seattle Fire assistant chief.

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@ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Sheriff’s Office storefront move, annexation hearing, possible project, ‘The Crew’ demystified …

May 5th, 2016 at 9:10 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Topics large and small – including one topic that literally weighed tons! – were on the agenda tonight at the May meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

The highlights:

SHERIFF’S STOREFRONT MOVING: Major Jerrell Wills confirmed that the King County Sheriff’s Office White Center storefront will indeed move from 16th SW to Steve Cox Memorial Park. (This was first discussed at the November 2015 NHUAC meeting.) “Part of the objective (is) to get a facility that is accessible to everyone … and, more than adequate. With the cottage (at the park), we have that.” He said they also believe the relationship with the park “will be a benefit to the community.” It also will save some money for the county, no longer leasing private property, Major Wills said. He promised it won’t mean a decrease in foot patrols in the business area – not that those happen often anyway, he acknowledged, as the local deputies are very busy. “The presence in the downtown corridor shouldn’t change.” They hope to move in late July/early August. Some concerns about the storefront move were voiced – “this isn’t our best solution,” lamented one attendee – but it appears to be a done deal.

Wills was asked if there was any budgetary possibility of removing the storefront deputy, and he said right now “there’s no discussion” of that happening. Community member Gill Loring offered complimentary words about Deputy Bill Kennamer, the latest to hold that position. Wills noted that Kennamer worked hard to get that position and “we’re really fortunate” to have him as well as former storefront deputy Jeff Hancock, who is now focused on Greenbridge, in their roles.

CRIME REPORTS: Deputy Ford from the King County Sheriff’s Office filled in with the briefing. 75 “Part 1” crimes in the past month, down from the same time last year, but “Part 2” crimes are up – 86 assaults, stolen property, fraud, vandalism, drugs, fights, trespassing, vandalism. “They kind of fluctuate up and down.” In specific categories, car thefts are way down – 19 in April last year, 7 in April this year. Residential burglaries, meantime, have gone up in both forced and nonforced categories. He said much of this is tied to drug abuse – “any time you have (that), you’re going to have continued property crimes – they have to get the money from somewhere.”

He said crime prevention is paramount – to fight auto theft, for example, lock your vehicles, increase lighting, don’t leave your keys in your car. He told the tale of the night that someone stole a car with a child sleeping inside, “and thank goodness we were able to get the child back safely” – but he noted how many law enforcement resources it took to find the child and the car, when “all (the car’s owner) would have had to do was take her key.” Also – don’t leave things out at night – “the ability to recover stolen property is not good.”

Various issues brought up while he had the floor included “transient RVs.” The deputy suggested, “That will be a never-ending battle. … As you see those, continue to call, because the more calls for service we get … the easier it is” (to do something). “If we have legitimate calls for service, ‘we have a suspicious vehicle .. the vehicle doesn’t move’ … I would really encourage additional phone calls.” SW 112th was mentioned as a trouble spot, as well as Myers Way S. just over the city-county line.

(Deputy Ford had mentioned being a relatively recent arrival from Utah; later in the meeting, Major Wills explained that he was part of a “lateral” program that was bringing “amazing” law-enforcement officers to the KCSO – Ford, for example, had been a sergeant in Utah.)

BOUNDARY REVIEW BOARD TO CONSIDER SEATTLE ANNEXATION: Toward the start of the meeting, it was mentioned that the dates are set for the King County Boundary Review Board to consider the proposed Seattle annexation of White Center and the rest of remaining unincorporated North Highline. The public hearing is set for two nights, 7 pm June 13 and 14, at the Technology Access Foundation‘s Bethaday Community Space at Dick Thurnau Memorial Park (605 SW 108th) – here’s the official notice. The online file for the proposed annexation is here.

NEW MIXED-USE BUILDING WITH AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND COMMUNITY AGENCIES: We first reported this here on April 24th. Tonight, Steve Daschle from Southwest Youth and Family Services was invited to tell NHUAC more about it. He first presented a primer about his agency – you can get the same toplines in our West Seattle Blog report about the recent Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting at which he mentioned the project. He had told the DNDC that his agency’s clients are moving further and further south into the county, and they have no choice but to move their services with them. Their support for students and families, he says, have had exceptional success.

He then talked about the Communities of Opportunity initiative, a partnership between Seattle Foundation and King County, and how agencies have been trying to identify a “high-level challenge” faced by White Center and what can be done about it. The resultant discussion focused on bringing a wide set of services together in one place in WC, Daschle said, creating a “synergy of support.” That led them to focus on the former County Public Health building at 8th/108th, and they are now in a “very early (stage)” of discussing co-locating the White Center Food Bank, Southwest Youth and Family Service, the White Center Community Development Association, and some meeting space, plus “some housing on top,” at that site. They’re talking with Capitol Hill Housing, which was responsible for the Unity Place project, Daschle said, promising a “significant public engagement” stage ahead – “if it appears feasible for us to go forward – we haven’t even done a feasibility study” to find out if they could launch a capital campaign to raise money to build something.

The project is currently owned by King County Parks, he noted.

Rick Jump of the White Center Food Bank, housed on the site, pointed out that the building the county Public Health Department used to use was built in 1961, and that the county has long been seeking tenants, but has been unsuccessful because of the building’s condition.

Asked about equity and social-justice issues, and whether this would increase the number of economically challenged people in White Center, Daschle talked about what his agency has seen in the years it’s been located in Delridge, and that this project would be more for serving people who are already in the area. NHUAC board members challenged that and voiced concerns, such as employment prospects for economically challenged youth, and whether this would affect the “economic diversity” of the area, which already has “a high concentration of poverty.” An attendee suggested that, after hearing Daschle mention the displacement of people in West Seattle by gentrification, that indicates the project would be better built “where they’re being displaced,” not in WC.

Daschle agreed that a community conversation is needed – very many elements of the potential project are not defined, such as how many units it might have. (Asked how his agency was funded, he said 65 percent public, 10 percent United Way, and then various other grants and other types of funding.)

OFFICER ELECTIONS: Liz Giba is the new NHUAC president – as of the next meeting, following a unanimous vote tonight. Barbara Dobkin served as president for five years and was elected to serve as vice president. Elizabeth Gordon was elected as secretary.

ABOUT ‘THE CREW’: Julie Maas, assistant division director of the Community Corrections Division of King County, explained that the division offers “a variety of alternatives to jail,” and the work crew that is often seen on community-cleanup detail “is one of them.” The crew “has a very strong presence in White Center,” she said. They take out crews every day of misdemeanor defendants from District Court – all misdemeanor “sentenced cases (who) come to our program and go out on crews every day all over the county.” Other cities pay the division “to come into their cities and do work for them,” and the revenue “helps pay for the program,” she said, while some is subsidized by the county, including the work in unincorporated communities such as White Center and Skyway. They do landscaping, trails, clean up parks, and more. They’ve directed more resources in the past year to WC and Skyway and less to downtown Seattle, she noted. They do more-frequent “quick sweeps.”

She was joined by Seth Oakes, a recent arrival in the area who does the crew assignments. Daily, their participation ranges from 27 to 60 – “depending on how many people we get on any day of the week, (affects) how big a crew is (and) how much we’re able to accomplish in one day.” Accomplishments in White Center:

10,280 pounds of illegally dumped garbage in January
13,480 pounds removed in February
9,000 pounds in March
4,500 pounds in April

That’s 57 trailer loads of items such as discarded furniture. Smaller tasks are handled too, including emptying trash cans and picking up trash along the street. The lower numbers did not necessarily represent less trash but instead fewer crew members and less time spent in WC.

Maas said they’re trying to “get a better handle” on the problem in the area so they can take it to the County Council and figure it what can and will be done – including code enforcement, not just having crews pick up trash.

She also said that education and outreach seems to be in order, as the continuous pickups might “enable” more dumping. “Really getting business owners and homeowners educated about the laws” might reduce the problem, Maas suggested.

A discussion ensued about what’s required of businesses in unincorporated North Highline – do they have to have trash service?

MARIJUANA MORATORIUM: Giba reported on the county council’s recent move, while saying it’s not clear yet which potential establishments are far enough in the process to not be affected. “It’s a start,” observed Dobkin.

WHITE CENTER LIBRARY: 9:30 am May 21st is the ribboncutting that starts the library’s grand opening – “a gem of a building,” proclaimed regional manager Angie Benedetti from the King County Library System, with elements “stunning and unique to this community.” She said that KCLS’s director and Highline Public Schools‘ superintendent will be among the speakers.

KING COUNTY COMMUNITY SERVICE AREA INFORMATIONAL MEETING: This annual meeting is 7-9 pm Tuesday, May 24th, at Seola Gardens‘ Providence Building – more information here.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council usually meets on first Thursdays, 7 pm, at NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th) – watch between meetings.

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UPDATE: Man in wheelchair hit and killed in White Center, second death at 16th/104th in 13 months

May 4th, 2016 at 5:44 am Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 2 Comments »

(ADDED: WCN photo, Wednesday night, roadside memorial)

5:44 AM: We have confirmed with the King County Sheriff’s Office that someone was killed in a crash at 16th/104th over the weekend. We got a report that deputies had blocked the road there early Sunday but weren’t able to go check it out; then we noticed what looked like a small roadside memorial later in the day. Now KCSO confirms a fatality crash and promises more information later today.

6:32 AM: The victim was in a wheelchair when hit and killed by a driver who left the scene but later turned himself in, according to this news release just in from KCSO:

In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 1st, 2016, King County Sheriff’s Deputies happened upon a person lying in the street, with a wheelchair next to them, near the intersection of SW 104 & 16th Ave SW.

Deputies were able to quickly determine the victim, a 63-year-old Native American male, had been struck while trying to cross the street in his wheelchair. Deputies and North Highline Fire / Aid crews attempted to render aid but the man later died of his injuries.

The vehicle that had hit the man was initially gone when Deputies first came upon the scene. However, approximately 4 hours later, a 51-year-old Hispanic male, returned to the scene and turned himself in to Deputies. The suspect admitted to knowing that he had hit something, but told Deputies he thought it was a shopping cart. When he learned it was a person he had hit, the suspect said he consulted a pastor and then came back to the scene to turn himself in.

 The suspect was booked for investigation of Felony Hit and Run.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. The pedestrian in the wheelchair was in a lit crosswalk at the time he was struck.

Checking the WCN archives, we note this is the same spot where a drunk driver hit and killed 55-year-old Rebecca Delgado last year. Online court files show that driver, Jamie Starr Larson, is still awaiting trial.

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North Highline UAC’s May meeting: About ‘The Crew’; more on potential housing development

May 2nd, 2016 at 5:56 am Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | Comments Off on North Highline UAC’s May meeting: About ‘The Crew’; more on potential housing development

This Thursday night, you’re invited to the monthly meeting of this area’s community council, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, 7 pm Thursday (May 5) at the North Highline Fire District’s HQ at 1243 SW 112th (parking/entrance at back of the station). From NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

Plan on joining NHUAC for the monthly community meeting when we will be hosting:

Julie Mass and Seth Oakes from the King County Community Corrections Division: Julie and Seth oversee the “Crew,” the folks with the yellow vests who you may have spotted in and around the White Center Business District, picking up trash, both big and small, painting out graffiti, etc. These folks make a huge difference in our community – find out ways that you too can help keep White Center looking its best.

Steve Daschle, Executive Director of West Seattle-based Southwest Youth and Family Services, was invited to provide information on the preliminary plans to build tax-exempt housing at the site of the former Public Health Department on 8th Ave SW at 108th Street. This is an opportunity for residents to weigh in on what type of housing is best suited for our community.

As always, our White Center Storefront Deputy, Bill Kennamer, will be on hand to provide updates on crime stats and general community safety concerns.

For more information and the agenda please see the NHUAC website: or contact:

We first reported on the aforementioned housing proposal last week.

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TODAY: 14th annual Cambodian New Year Street Festival in White Center

April 30th, 2016 at 12:06 am Posted in Fun, White Center news | 1 Comment »

It’s a springtime tradition in White Center – the Cambodian New Year Street Festival in White Center, presented by the Cambodian Cultural Alliance of Washington. It’s happening today (Saturday, April 30th), 10:30 am-5 pm on SW 98th, between 15th and 16th. Admission is free and a big schedule of music, dancing, and other entertainment is planned. Here’s the schedule, from CCAW’s Facebook page:

See you there!

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Need a better connection? Check with the library!

April 27th, 2016 at 12:02 am Posted in Libraries, Online, White Center news | Comments Off on Need a better connection? Check with the library!

Announced by the King County Library System:

Have a mobile device, but no Internet access away from home? KCLS can help!

Beginning May 3, patrons can check out mobile hotspot devices from six King County Library System locations in a new pilot project funded by the KCLS Foundation. For the next six months, the Boulevard Park, Burien, Foster, Greenbridge, Valley View, and White Center libraries will offer WiFi hotspots for 28-day check outs, including cellular service by AT&T. Approximately 200 units will be used during the pilot program. These tools enable Internet access on the go, from any place within range of AT&T mobile service.

The hotspots are free of charge, with a few special rules:

*They cannot be put on hold
*First come, first served
*They must be checked out and returned in person to one of the participating libraries
*28-day checkouts with no renewals
*Internet access will be disabled at the end of the 28th day
*10¢ per day fine for late returns, and replacement costs will be charged for lost devices
*The device containers will include operating instructions in several languages, and each hotspot can connect up to 10 devices at a time. A troubleshooting number for patrons to contact AT&T for any assistance needed. KCLS staff will not provide tech support for these items.

To learn more, search the KCLS Catalog for “KCLS Hotspot” at

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WEDNESDAY: Evergreen Campus back to Evergreen High School? Doubleheader meeting

April 26th, 2016 at 2:31 pm Posted in Evergreen High School, Schools, White Center news | Comments Off on WEDNESDAY: Evergreen Campus back to Evergreen High School? Doubleheader meeting

If you’re interested in the campaign to turn the Evergreen Campus back into Evergreen High School, you’ll want to know about a doubleheader meeting there tomorrow – a school board work session on “small schools,” 5-6 pm, followed by a community meeting at 6. Full details here.

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April Pool’s Day success, and more, at Evergreen Community Aquatic Center

April 26th, 2016 at 8:10 am Posted in Evergreen Pool, White Center news | Comments Off on April Pool’s Day success, and more, at Evergreen Community Aquatic Center

Bryan Hastings from Evergreen Community Aquatic Center says April Pool’s Day this past Saturday brought “a fantastic showing”: About 100 kids! The day included a special check presentation for a grant that will make water-safety learning affordable for even more – he shared the photo and the official news release:

Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning, according to
the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning
ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. On April Pool’s
Day, State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, joined Amerigroup Washington as they presented a $7,000 check to Evergreen Community Aquatic Center to increase the number of swimming lessons for about 1,500 underserved children in the Puget Sound area.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support and partnership of Amerigroup Washington, because without their support Evergreen Community Aquatic Center would not be able to impact so many underserved kids and teens this year,” said Bryan Hastings, White Water Aquatics Management Board President. “With this grant, we hope to continue to provide much needed swimming instruction and water safety programming to kids who need it most.”

As summer approaches, the number of local youth visiting a local pool or (body of water) will also increase.

Thanks to the donation from Amerigroup Washington, Evergreen Community Aquatic Center will be able
to provide life-saving instruction for more children across King County. Swimming lessons empower
youth to be well prepared for emergency water situations. The swimming instruction provided at the
Center also provides training on how to properly wear a life jacket and teaches each participant with
rescue skills that will enable them to swim their way to safety should they experience an unexpected

“Swimming enables kids and teens to stay active and physically fit. That’s why we support Evergreen
Community Aquatic Center, to help ensure that our youth build life-long healthy habits with a strong
understanding in water-safety,” said Daryl Edmonds, president of Amerigroup Washington. “The
Evergreen Community Aquatic Center is working to build secure futures for our local youth by helping
them stay safe while participating in healthy water activities.”

State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon attended the April Pool’s Day event, where Evergreen
Community Aquatic Center and Amerigroup Washington celebrated the joy of swim by providing water
safety activities and free swim time for local families and community members. The Center raffled off
free life jackets, free swimming lessons and other door prizes.

For more information about water safety and how you, or someone you know, can sign up for reduced-
priced swimming lessons, call (206) 588-2297.

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