1 year after White Center pond cooking-oil spill, La Mexicana tells state it will cover $333,729 cleanup bill

October 24th, 2016 at 4:24 pm Posted in Environment, White Center news | Comments Off on 1 year after White Center pond cooking-oil spill, La Mexicana tells state it will cover $333,729 cleanup bill

(Canada goose captured for cleanup – WCN photo from November 2015)

The company responsible for the cooking-oil spill in a White Center pond last year (13th SW/SW 100th) says it will cover the third-of-a-million-dollar cleanup cost, much of which went toward rescuing more than 50 birds. That’s according to this update from the state Department of Ecology:

A White Center food manufacturing company, La Mexicana, has agreed to repay the state for its efforts to clean up vegetable oil that spilled into a White Center pond last year. The company has also committed to fund a local environmental restoration project.

The Washington Department of Ecology, other agencies and contractors spent weeks cleaning up the vegetable oil, and catching and cleaning more than 80 oiled birds in November and December 2015. The response efforts and cleanup work totaled $333,729, and about $250,000 of this amount was dedicated to wildlife response. La Mexicana said it will pay for the bill.

La Mexicana voluntarily accepted responsibility after realizing the spill had occurred at its White Center facility.

The spill happened on Oct. 30, 2015, when a 200 gallon container of cooking oil accidentally tipped over and spilled an estimated 175 gallons into a storm drain. That storm drain emptied into the White Center pond a few blocks away.

“La Mexicana became an involved response partner as soon as they realized the oil in the pond and the impacted wildlife were a result of the spill at their facility,” said David Byers, Ecology’s spill response supervisor.

Since the spill, La Mexicana has purchased spill response equipment, posted instructions and trained employees to contain, clean up and immediately report future spills.

Cooking and other edible oils, while less toxic to wildlife than petroleum products, cause environmental harm. The oil coats birds’ feathers causing them to lose insulation and buoyancy. Oil also damages habitat for other aquatic life by reducing oxygen levels and creating physical impacts on the water surface and shoreline.

“La Mexicana cares deeply about our community and the environment. We are grateful that we were able to partner with the Department of Ecology to restore the pond and the impacted wildlife. La Mexicana has implemented robust programs to ensure the protection of our natural resources, and the continuous improvement of our processes, products, and services,” said William Fry, general manager of La Mexicana.

Along with cost recovery, the state issued a separate $4,813.83 damage assessment to La Mexicana for harm to natural, cultural and publically owned resources. The assessment is based on the amount spilled and the resources placed at risk.

Ecology also fined La Mexicana $2,000 for spilling oil and failing to promptly report the spill. Ecology penalties may be appealed to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

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UPDATE: 26th SW crash sends one to hospital

October 24th, 2016 at 11:59 am Posted in Shorewood, Traffic, White Center news | Comments Off on UPDATE: 26th SW crash sends one to hospital

(White Center Now/West Seattle Blog photo by Patrick Sand)

11:59 AM: Thanks for the tips – 26th SW between White Center/Shorewood and West Seattle is blocked right now by a crash response at the intersection where SW 106th becomes 107th because of the crash in our photo above. Our crew is told 2 vehicles were involved and one person was taken to Harborview. King County’s major crash investigations team is on the way out so this might be closed for a while. Our crew says east-west traffic is being allowed through one lane at a time, but we would advise avoiding the area entirely. We will check back at the scene later; if you see it open again before we update, please let us know, text or voice, 206-293-6302 – thank you!

12:11 PM: Metro has sent a re-route alert because of this – “not serving stop at 26th/106th, use stop at Seola Beach Dr. SW & SW 106th or 26th/SW 100th.”

2:21 PM: The intersection remains fully blocked.

3:53 PM: Metro has just texted/tweeted that the bus stop on 26th SW is open again, which we’ll take as word that the intersection has reopened to all traffic.

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White Center coffee: Moonshot opens in ex-Caffé Delia space

October 22nd, 2016 at 12:23 pm Posted in Beverages, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Thanks to ex-Caffé Delia co-proprietor Matt for the update – their former space in downtown White Center has soft-opened today as Moonshot Coffee. As noted previously, the new owners are also proprietors of Burien Press. Here’s their announcement today:

Thanks to the amazing and talented people at Synesso, our new machine was installed last night. Because of that we’ve made the choice to go ahead and open for a few hours today for a “Please Excuse the Dust Pre Soft Opening” until 1 pm Saturday and from 9 am to 1 pm on Sunday. Additionally, we’re going to donate $1 from every drink sold to the good folks over at the Yes Foundation of White Center. We have a limited menu of coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. and Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company and some legendary Caffe Delia scones that we’ll serve until they are gone. We’re looking forward to making you coffee and meeting you.

Moonshot is at 9622 16th SW, next to Proletariat Pizza.

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FOLLOWUP: Demolition under way at ex-White Center Chevron, future Starbucks/Popeye’s

October 21st, 2016 at 4:25 pm Posted in Businesses, White Center news | Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Demolition under way at ex-White Center Chevron, future Starbucks/Popeye’s

Demolition is well under way at the former White Center Chevron, which closed just two weeks ago to make way for a Starbucks coffee shop and Popeye’s fried-chicken restaurant (we had first word of the project back in June). Thanks to Gill for the tip on teardown starting earlier this week; we went by this afternoon to check on the progress.

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UPDATE: Why King County Sheriff’s Deputies had 17th SW blocked

October 21st, 2016 at 12:18 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 1 Comment »


12:18 PM: Avoid 17th SW at and north of SW 104th. Deputies have it blocked for what they tell us are two separate incidents. At the north end, it’s a suspicious package. At the south end, shots were fired at or in a longtime trouble house. The person who fired them is st large and might be injured, but his whereabouts are unknown. More later.

4 PM: No additional information, but in case you were wondering, the street IS fully clear now.

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White Center food and drink: The Company Store to open this Saturday

October 21st, 2016 at 12:33 am Posted in Beverages, Food, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Almost three months ago, we told you that what had been Company would become The Company Store. And the opening date has finally been announced:

Take a look at what’s happening inside The Co. Store! Don’t worry, we’re opening this SATURDAY THE 22ND @ 5 PM.

In the heart of downtown White Center.

Thank you kindly for your patience!

We cannot wait to welcome you.

Come eat, drink delicious cocktails, and sip ice-cold beer.

Thank you amazing Crystal Barbre for your incredible art that we are so lucky to share with White Center.

We cannot wait to meet you!

The Co. Store
9608 16th Ave. SW

Company Store’s proprietors also note that it’s a 21+ establishment.

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‘November 1st is off’: Latest on the proposed White Center shelter

October 19th, 2016 at 3:30 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on ‘November 1st is off’: Latest on the proposed White Center shelter

Continuing to follow up on King County’s proposal for an emergency shelter in White Center:

Last time we spoke with Sherry Hamilton from the Department of Housing and Community Services, she wasn’t able to say for sure whether the original November 1st goal of opening a shelter was still a possibility.

But today, she told WCN, the November 1st date is definitely OFF – there is no way they will have a space vetted and ready to open by then.

No new goal date at this point, though Hamilton stresses that there remains a sense of urgency as the fall/winter weather intensifies.

The Department of Permitting and Environmental Review is still looking at the county’s application for a “change of use” at the former Public Health building at 8th/108th, which many community members decry as unsuitable because, among other reasons, it’s close to schools and a park.

But Hamilton stresses that they are interested in other possibilities. She confirmed that a community working group met last night for the first time – we are told that the White Center Community Development Association is involved, among others – and that the county was heartened to hear “a desire to help” people experiencing homelessness. The group, she said, was working on a list of “concerns” as well as discussing other possible spaces.

Still no date for a second community meeting, she added, as she had told us last week.

Meantime, she said that the department plans to update its webpage about the shelter proposal – possibly as soon as the end of today.

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FOUND DOG: Back home!

October 19th, 2016 at 3:02 pm Posted in Pets, White Center news | Comments Off on FOUND DOG: Back home!

(Update – this dog is back home now – info removed)

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#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool @ White Center Heights Elementary

October 19th, 2016 at 11:09 am Posted in Education, Schools, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Thanks to Sarah Fox for the photo from White Center Heights Elementary, which is joining in today’s regional #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool solidarity action, as noted here earlier this week.

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

October 18th, 2016 at 3:57 pm Posted in Libraries, People, White Center Library, White Center news | 4 Comments »

(WCN photos)

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

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

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

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

South Korea
United Kingdom

Congratulations to all!

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

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WEDNESDAY: #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool action planned @ White Center Heights Elementary

October 17th, 2016 at 4:56 pm Posted in Schools, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Received this afternoon:

Upwards of sixty White Center Heights Elementary staff plan to participate in the October 19 #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool action by wearing Black Lives Matter shirts to school “to address institutionalized racism in our schools and offer a space for dialogue among school staff.”

The action, which is taking place in schools across Seattle, demonstrates that educators across the city stand together with the community of John Muir Elementary, which received racist threats in response to their planned Black Men United to Change the Narrative event last month.

White Center Heights staff members are hoping to spark a larger conversation in our classrooms, across our community and the Highline School District at large.

Any other local schools participating? Please let us know!

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TONIGHT: North Highline Fire District public hearing

October 17th, 2016 at 12:40 am Posted in North Highline Fire District, White Center news | Comments Off on TONIGHT: North Highline Fire District public hearing

From the North Highline Fire District, a public hearing happening tonight (Monday, October 17th):


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the North Highline Fire District Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing to:

Review revenue sources for the District’s 2017 expense budget including property taxes and possible increases in property tax revenues per RCW 84.55.120, and

Review and establish the Fire District’s benefit charge to be imposed in 2017, per RCW 52.18.060(2).

Fire Station 18
1243 SW 112th Street
Seattle, WA 98146
October 17, 2016 at 7 pm

The benefit charge is explained on the NHFD website.

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Next Saturday, Duwamish Alive! needs you to help our area’s only river

October 16th, 2016 at 3:07 pm Posted in Environment, How to Help, White Center news | Comments Off on Next Saturday, Duwamish Alive! needs you to help our area’s only river

Next Saturday, it’s one of the two dates each year when hundreds of people volunteer to help our area’s only river, during the multi-work-party Duwamish Alive! event. Here’s how and where you can help:

Join our community effort to restore native habitat within the Duwamish Watershed on Saturday, October 22nd, while celebrating the connection of our urban forests to our river and salmon. Starting at 10:00 am volunteers will gear up at multiple Duwamish sites including one of our largest urban forests – the Duwamish Greenbelt to participate in planting and removing invasive weeds in an effort to keep our river alive and healthy for our communities, salmon and the Puget Sound. Volunteers are still needed at:

Pigeon Point Park
Roxhill Bog Park, headwaters of Longfellow Creek
Delridge Wetlands, tributary of Longfellow Creek
Longfellow Creek at Greg Davis Park
Hamm Creek/Duwamish Substation along the river
Herrings House Park, along the river

To volunteer, visit DuwamishAlive.org to see the different volunteer opportunities and RSVP to the contact for the site of your choice, or email info@duwamishalive.org

Other work sites include a river cleanup by kayak, shoreline salmon habitat restoration, and native forest revitalization while enjoying our autumn. Families, company groups, clubs, individuals, schools, community organizations, are encouraged to participate, and no experience is necessary.

The workday at all 15 sites begins at 9:30 with volunteer sign in and concludes at 2 PM. Refreshments, tools, and instructions will be provided. All ages and abilities welcomed.

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UPDATE: 3,700+ lose power in Top Hat, parts of Burien

October 14th, 2016 at 2:29 am Posted in utilities, Weather, White Center news | Comments Off on UPDATE: 3,700+ lose power in Top Hat, parts of Burien

Though the wind still hasn’t revved up that much, the power went out at 1:49 am for 3,783 customers (homes/businesses), mostly in Burien but also stretching into part of North Highline, particularly Top Hat. City Light’s map has yet to pinpoint what caused it; the guesstimate for restoration is currently 8 am.

4:15 AM: Outage over, per SCL map.

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WHITE CENTER SHELTER? Where the proposal stands, where your County Councilmember stands, and an ‘open letter’

October 12th, 2016 at 3:09 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 10 Comments »

(King County photo)

Two inquiries we’ve had out since the end of last week, both related to the proposed 70-bed shelter in the former Public Health building at 10821 8th SW, have been answered today:

WHERE THE PROPOSAL STANDS: Tomorrow marks four weeks since the only public meeting (WCN coverage here) held on the idea so far. We reported earlier this week that online files show the county applied for a change-of-use permit for the building less than two weeks later, on September 28th. County Housing division spokesperson Sherry Hamilton confirmed that in a phone conversation today, responding to our Friday request for an update: “We are in the process now with the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review, to take a look at the building and see if it’s viable … we don’t know how long it will take. While we’re doing that, we’re also continuing to look at any other possibilities – we told the community we were open to suggestions, and we also asked Facilities to see if there are any (county-owned) buildings we missed.”

Is a November 1st move-in still a possibility? Hamilton said she couldn’t entirely rule it out but “there’s no permit” and the permit process also is what will provide “information on what it would take” to use the building as a shelter.

So when will the promised second community meeting be scheduled? Hamilton replied that “it would be premature” to schedule one before they know what the building needs to be safe for occupancy, so there would be no point in “bringing the community back together now … we don’t know what to tell them yet.”

The county has a webpage about the proposal but as far as we can tell from daily checks, has not added anything new in more than three weeks.

COUNTY COUNCILMEMBER JOE McDERMOTT: We e-mailed our area’s county councilmember Joe McDermott – who is also the chair of the council – to ask where he stands on the proposal, as we had not heard or seen him address it yet. He replied today via e-mail, saying he’s “supportive” of it, with context regarding why. Here’s his response in its entirety:

Eleven months ago, I stood with Executive Constantine and Mayor Murray as we declared a State of Emergency on Homelessness. Homelessness affects youth and adults across the region, and continues to be a growing problem. From 2014 to 2015, the number of unsheltered people increased by 21%. From 2015 to 2016, that figure rose to 4,505, an additional 19% increase. Likewise, the number of people who were homeless (including unsheltered, and people in transitional housing, shelters, and unhoused) increased to 10,688 in 2016. Clearly with over 10,000 people homeless in our community we need to do more.

I am committed to making meaningful progress on homelessness. An important way to achieve progress is to find more places where people can move out of the cold, and to a warm place where they can begin their journey to permanent housing.

I am also committed to ensuring that public resources are put to their best and optimal use. Standing empty, county owned buildings do the exact opposite. A temporary shelter that provides enhanced services – like connections to housing, employment, and health care – will make a difference and address need among people living in the community. Addressing homelessness not only benefits the people who are experiencing homelessness, it makes our communities stronger, healthier, and more connected.

White Center deserves to have resources that strengthen the community and meets the needs of residents – both those who are currently homeless, and those who are housed. I am supportive of efforts to bring services and shelter to people who are experiencing homelessness, who are already living across the county and in every community including White Center.

With the county’s former Public Health Clinic building vacant in White Center, the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) proposes to use the building as a shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

As DCHS assesses community feedback after its meeting last month and has further conversation with the community, I am certainly hearing from members of the community about their reactions.
The concerns voiced to me include public notice, site location, and the population of people who may receive services. DCHS is actively working now to respond to these issues with a group of residents. I look forward to their successful work, as we must also acknowledge that we have problem today – and that every day that we delay is another that a person is needlessly living unsheltered.

I am particularly aware that this proposal gives some concern about children and their safety. This troubles me, as it seems to promote a stigma that people who are homeless are more likely to in some way harm children. As a gay man, I am a member of a community about whom similar stigmas exist and I find this concern troubling. And it appears to overlook that, sheltered or not, there are people who are homeless in White Center now. That being said, I know that DCHS is looking for ways to relieve some of the community’s concerns. I encourage that work.

People experiencing homelessness come from across the county and in fact are currently living across the county. There are people who are homeless in White Center today. Surely people are more stable, healthier, better able to connect to employment and education, and able to secure housing more successfully when they have some form of shelter, rather than sleeping in our neighborhoods. Providing shelter provides some improved stability for all.

I am supportive of DCHS’s continuing work to use the former Public Health Clinic in White Center as a shelter and look forward to the updated proposal that will address community concerns when it is presented. Let’s see the proposal after further work and continue our dialogue. We all have a responsibility to address this emergency.

ADDED 7:51 PM: We have since received an “open letter” from Adrienne Quinn, who is director of the department responsible for the project:

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TONIGHT: Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration for all of Highline

October 12th, 2016 at 9:09 am Posted in burien, White Center news | Comments Off on TONIGHT: Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration for all of Highline

Highline Public Schools invites you to this event tonight:

The whole community is warmly invited to a fun, family friendly, community-wide event – the Indigenous Peoples Celebration at the Highline Performing Arts Center. Please mark your calendars and plan on attending the celebration happening Wednesday, October 12th from 6:00 -7:30 PM at the Highline Performing Arts Center at 401 S 152nd St in Burien. Dinner will be served from 5 – 6 PM in the Highline High School Cafeteria at 225 South 152nd Street in Burien. The Highline Indigenous Peoples Celebration is designed to inspire, celebrate, engage, and empower the American Indian/Alaska Native community in Highline and welcome for all to attend.

If you have any questions please direct them to Native Education Program Manager Sara Marie Ortiz at 206.631.3162 or sara.ortiz@highlineschools.org. We hope to see you at the event!

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FOLLOWUP: Sale pending for former White Center Dairy Queen

October 10th, 2016 at 5:38 pm Posted in Businesses, White Center news | Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Sale pending for former White Center Dairy Queen

Five months after the abrupt closure of the White Center Dairy Queen, the site appears to be on the verge of being sold. That’s according to the online listing for the building at 10256 16th SW, now marked “pending.” The third-of-an-acre site has been listed at $1,185,000, with this pitch:

Former Dairy Queen in Seattle’s next major development neighborhood. Large vacant restaurant building on corner lot accessible from three streets. Indoor/outdoor seating, drive-thru window, walk-in cooler and freezer, and a 28-space parking lot. Zoned CBSO with lots of possibilities.

A DQ spokesperson had told WCN in June that the formerly franchised location would not reopen as part of their chain.

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WHITE CENTER SHELTER? Permit application under review

October 10th, 2016 at 3:41 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 5 Comments »

Three and a half weeks after the tumultuous public meeting regarding the proposed “emergency shelter” at 10821 8th SW, the county has yet to announce a date for its promised second community meeting. Our inquiries following the discussion at last Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting have not yet been answered – we have inquiries out both to the department responsible for the project, and also to King County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who represents this area.

But online records confirm that the county has applied for a permit “to make life safety improvements to operate a temporary emergency overnight shelter” at the ex-Public Health building. The county website shows the intake date as September 28th, less than two weeks after the hearing.

Side note: While reviewing King County Executive Dow Constantine‘s proposed county budget, we also noted that in the full 753-page budget document, page 84 mentions a budget transfer to support “custodial services” in 2017 and 2018 “in White Center for 50 beds per night” and also for the same number of beds in the Administration Building downtown.

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POWER OUTAGE: 7,700+ homes/businesses lose power in North Highline, Burien

October 8th, 2016 at 5:08 pm Posted in utilities, White Center news | 1 Comment »

As of 4:27 pm, power is out to more than 7,700 homes and businesses in Seattle City Light service area in parts of North Highline (map above from SCL website) and Burien (plus a few pockets of southeast West Seattle). No word yet on the cause. SCL is offering the guesstimate of 11 pm for restoration, but that is just a guesstimate, could be much earlier or much later. Note that assuming SCL’s map is accurate, downtown White Center is NOT affected – this is mostly south of 102nd.

5:28 PM UPDATE: The SCL map now blames “tree” for outage. Restoration guesstimate has updated to 11:25 pm.

6:13 PM UPDATE: SCL now says via Twitter “crews have now determined that the cause was due to a broken utility pole crossarm near the Duwamish Substation.”

6:47 PM UPDATE: About half of the original outage has been restored.

6:52 PM: And now all but ~500 are back on.

SUNDAY MORNING: According to the City Light map, everyone had power restored at some point very early this morning.

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Shelter concerns, Highline school bond, 50% stormwater-fee increase @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

October 6th, 2016 at 9:58 pm Posted in King County, North Highline UAC, White Center news | 5 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Topline from tonight’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, which drew about 40 people, more than double the usual turnout, and ran for three hours:

WHITE CENTER SHELTER? Three weeks after the tumultuous meeting (WCN coverage here) about the shelter proposed for the former King County Public Health Center at 8th SW and SW 108th, the topic was in the spotlight again at tonight’s NHUAC meeting.

Burien/Normandy Park FD fire marshal Ray Pettigrew was asked to speak about concerns raised by the county’s proposal to change “what is basically an office building and turn it into a residential structure.” Concerns, he said, would be the plan for “occupancy classification” – it would need fire alarms with automatic detection, for example. “You would have to put a different kind of sprinkler head in there that takes care of the fire quicker, so occupants have a chance to get out,” for example, Pettigrew said. Whatever you think of the proposal, the department must look at the safety of the 70 people the building would house, some of whom might have “some degree of impairment,” and firefighters’ safety would have to be taken into account too.

Exit paths should be no more than 75 feet, but he said plans for the building didn’t seem to have addressed that yet. There would likely be a need for fire suppression in the building’s kitchen, too. Carbon-monoxide detectors are needed as well as smoke detectors. He also mentioned “panic hardware” and the potential draw on resources, “a facility that might add one or two calls a day … you’re looking at impacts to the area, and how are they going to be mitigated?” In response to a question, he said there has been communication with the county Fire Marshal’s Office. “But,” pressed an attendee, “can they occupy it without all (of this mitigation)?” Yes, King County could do that, because they “own the permitting process.” Pettigrew made it clear that he doesn’t have the jurisdiction; Chris Ricketts, King County fire marshal, does.

Then a nearly surprise guest – King County Sheriff John Urquhart. He said he only found out about it a couple weeks ago, and while he probably has no say over the decision, “it’s probably going to add to our call load,” and if they have to add resources, they will. “Sounds to me like this train is coming down the track, but if anybody is going to stop it, it’s going to be this group here.”

What can citizens do if things go really bad? asked an attendee, bringing up the now-notorious Interbay sports-field camping. “You know why that’s happening? Because it’s the city of Seattle,” he said, bringing up pending legislation in the city that would reportedly allow camping on a lot of public property.

“But we don’t operate out here like that. If someone is camping on private property, we will get them out of there. If it’s public property – and they are trespassing – we will get them out.” He said, “I have compassion for the homeless, but they can’t be parking in front of somebody else’s house, for more than 24 hours.” If they want to park longer than that, “send them north of Roxbury,” he said, to laughter.

Attendees brought up safety concerns for kids walking to schools. But Urquhart pointed out that King County has had “tent cities for a long time, and crime didn’t go up” – because, he said, the encampments were self-governing and had rules. “We have devolved so far from there … it is a terrible situation,” Urquhart said.

He had called it a “political decision,” and NHUAC board member Elizabeth Gordon said, “You mean the executive’s office?” “And his people,” Urquhart replied. “…but that’s not a value judgment, that’s just the way it is. Dow and (Seattle Mayor) Ed Murray have said there’s a homeless emergency in this region, and they’re right, there is an emergency. … They have an empty building, and they want to put 70 people into it.”

If it goes through, and you see problems, one attendee said, “call 911 – call police – every time.” Urquhart said he agreed with that solution. “Super-important to call 911,” not just so they have a record of it, but so they can do something about it.

That segued into a reminder that while White Center might have the minimum-level two deputies on duty at any time, if need be, they can get backup from other areas of the King County Sheriff’s Office-served areas nearby.

Also – White Center resident Joseph Benavides (sp?) talked toward the start of the meeting about continuing community opposition to the shelter proposal, mentioning an online petition and crowdfunding for a lawyer.

NHUAC president Liz Giba said she had asked King County leadership to come to White Center for a meeting on the proposal, but had not received a reply.

Later in the meeting, she said they’re hoping to get guests to talk about it at next month’s NHUAC meeting, including elected officials such as King County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

CRIME UPDATE: Storefront deputy Bill Kennamer talked about this afternoon’s robbery – “four dudes with four guns,” but the store operator, Lawless Clothing, won’t cooperate. “We’re doing our best to shut them down,” he said, alleging that the business has an unlawful sideline. He mentioned that while the helicopter was in the area, it picked up a LoJack (stolen vehicle) signal, and while KCSO does not have LoJack in its cars, Seattle Police came over and helped them find the vehicle near the Evergreen campus.

Kennamer said the sheriff has made it clear, no fixed encampments in the unincorporated urban areas – White Center and Skyway – and, he said, they don’t have any. Overall, Kennamer said he would be surprised if this area has more than two dozen “regulars” experiencing homelessness, contrary to the county’s contention that there are at least 100.

He also confirmed that the KCSO storefront has moved to the new location announced earlier this year, the former White Center Chamber of Commerce building at Steve Cox Memorial Park.

For crime stats/trends, he showed the newest month-by-month charts on “case reports taken,” with some modest increases.

Have campers on Myers Way had an effect on crime rates? Kennamer was asked. He said he’s not seeing that.

The deputy also had positive words for the WC Chevron site’s redevelopment for Starbucks and Popeye’s; he said the car wash at 16th and 104th now is part of the trespass program so that should take care of loitering; Drunky’s Two Shoe BBQ should be open by mid-November; across the street, the former Hang Around (among other things) is going to be a beer place. The new Uncle Ike’s marijuana store between 14th and 15th “has had an immediate positive effect on the area … (the proprietor) wants to get soccer moms comfortable enough to come and buy weed (there).”

HIGHLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOND: With one month to go until the $233 million bond‘s fate is decided in the November election, former Burien Councilmember Rose Clark – co-chair of a 40-member citizen committee that worked on the proposal – spoke tonight to NHUAC. She said the committee “spent a huge amount of time” working on assessing district challenges, problems, and requirements. “Remember, a bond is only for buildings,” she pointed out – not textbooks, staff, etc.

She talked about the committee’s tour of HPS schools and finding one building “so old, so fragile, I swear if you take the ivy off the back of it, that building is going to fall down.” She admitted she voted against the last bond for reasons including her belief that Highline HS couldn’t be in worse shape than, for example, Evergreen … but seeing it, she said, swayed her. (The bond measure does include money to start designing new campuses for Tyee and Evergreen, she said; spending $10 million on design in this bond cycle will save $23 million in the next one.) Des Moines Elementary also seems in danger of crumbling “on the heads of the kids” at any moment, Clark said. The statewide class-size mandate for K-3 means more room is needed, in addition to existing needs, she said. Newer schools will get security retrofits – from door-locking to security cameras – and the district would get an emergency-operations center, Clark noted.

For a levy overview – see this page, which has a breakout of which schools would get what if the bond passes. And the district has three open house/tour events planned next week, including one at the Evergreen campus – see the dates/times/locations here. Based on current assessed valuation, this bond measure would cost you 79 cents for every thousand dollars of assessed value of your property.

At meeting’s end, NHUAC board members voted 6-1 to endorse a “yes” vote on the bond measure.

STORMWATER SERVICES PROGRAM: King County’s Trisha Davis spoke about the program and a proposed 50 percent fee increase. “Most of the development in the county was built without any stormwater controls,” she explained, unlike new development – such as the new White Center Library, which she said was built “with extensive stormwater controls.” Stormwater takes pollution off roads and sends it into waterways, where it can kill healthy salmon “within hours.” The stormwater-management fee pays for the program, $171.50 per single-family parcel; “commercial properties pay based on the amount of impervious surface they have.” The current fee brings in $24 million/year. But the county wants to address “more challenges” than it can do with that revenue, Davis said, including roadway drainage and retrofitting “areas without stormwater controls.” Roadway infrastructure that’s in danger of failing in the next decade alone would cost up to half a billion dollars to fix. Looking over the next century, the price tag could go up to $830 million. To start bringing in more money, she said, King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing a 50 percent increase in the fee, to $258 per residential parcel. The fee increase would affect about 80,000 property owners in the unincorporated area, according to Davis.

Would there be projects in the White Center area? Davis was asked. While she didn’t have a specific list, she said yes. In response to a question, she said that most property owners don’t know that they are aware for managing their own stormwater.

In Q&A, a variety of drainage/stormwater-related concerns arose, involving sites including the White Center Neighborhood Pond. While there are trash concerns, and some loitering problems, a King County Sheriff’s Office rep acknowledged, “it’s nothing like what it was” before camps in the area were removed.

MISCELLANEOUS ANNOUNCEMENTS: A library celebration is coming up on October 29th …White Center Kiwanis is selling candy bars, Godiva for $3, See’s for $2.50, to support local youth. An increase of community support has made them able to offer more support for local scholarships as well as uniforms for Mount View Elementary School. No specific locations/times for sales – “wherever we are.”

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets most months on the first Thursday, 7 pm. Watch northhighlineuac.org for updates and agendas. As the board points out, they need people to get involved and stay involved.

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