UPDATE: King County Sheriff’s Office callout at Saar’s Super Saver Foods

July 19th, 2021 at 3:59 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | No Comments »

3;59 PM: If you’re wondering what’s going on at Saar’s: Shoppers and staff were evacuated because deputies are dealing with a person in crisis. That’s all we know so far; we’re monitoring the situation.

5:09 PM: Not resolved yet. The person was armed with a knife, which is why the response is sizable.

5:33 PM: Deputies have the person, a 31-year-old man, in custody.

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ROAD WORK: SW Roxbury repaving this week

July 18th, 2021 at 6:06 pm Posted in Traffic, Transportation, White Center news | No Comments »

Heads up – SW Roxbury will be repaved between 24th SW and 25th SW this week, with King County Road Services and the Seattle Department of Transportation partnering on the project. The work is planned Monday-Tuesday, 7 am-4 pm. The alert says that “traffic will be reduced to one lane with crew members directing drivers.” Also: “For people walking, rolling, and biking in the area, sidewalk access will be maintained.”

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WHITE CENTER SCENE: Crowd fills Taradise Café lot to celebrate the life of its founder

July 17th, 2021 at 6:19 pm Posted in People, White Center news | No Comments »

Thanks to Gill Loring for the photos. Family and friends gathered in the Taradise Café parking lot this afternoon to remember the café’s founder, Tara Eckman Scott, who died last week at 51.

The celebration was still going strong after more than an hour. Those in attendance knew her not only from her White Center café but also from her days at West Seattle’s gone-but-not-forgotten Charlestown Café.

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UPDATE: Taradise Café proprietor Tara Eckman Scott dies at 51; Celebration of Life planned Saturday

July 12th, 2021 at 7:08 pm Posted in People, White Center news, White Center obituaries | 8 Comments »

MONDAY REPORT: Tara Scott, proprietor of White Center’s Taradise Café, has died at age 51. After a reader tip, we found confirmation via this social-media post from one of her sons, Ohio State football player Gee Scott Jr. He wrote that “the woman whose smile lights up any room she’s in … who taught me what it is to unconditionally love … that brought me into this world” died this morning. Ms. Scott, a West Seattle resident, opened her restaurant five and a half years ago. It has been closed for more than two weeks because of what the café said was “an unexpected flood in the basement.” Ms. Scott was 51 years old.

ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: A tribute to Ms. Scott is growing outside the Taradise Café:

The note on the bricks expresses gratitude and asks that people not leave candles, saying another memorial will be announced soon,

TUESDAY EVENING: The family has announced a Celebration of Life for 4 pm Saturday in the Taradise Café parking lot.

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White Center Library reopens

July 12th, 2021 at 5:35 pm Posted in White Center Library, White Center news | No Comments »

If you haven’t been yet – the White Center Library (1409 SW 107th) has reopened. New hours are 1-8 pm Wednesdays, 10 am-5 pm Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, closed Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. KCLS notes, “Services will be modified at first and will expand over time” – not just at the WC Library, but at its other reopening branches. Here’s more about the way things are working at reopened libraries, for now.

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SUNDAY: Greenbridge gathering to grieve, post-fire

July 10th, 2021 at 9:26 pm Posted in Fire, Neighborhoods, White Center news | No Comments »

(WCN photo, Friday)

Sunday at noon at Greenbridge Plaza, all are invited – here’s the announcement:

This event is being organized by The Boxing Gym Westside. It is meant to be an opportunity for everyone in the White Center community to come together in a spirit of love and healing. A space where we can grieve the loss of the spaces we have held so dear by celebrating them and looking forward.

There will be live drumming with Otoqui Reyes of Hijos de Agueybana as well as other local artists.

**This is a free event**

The Boxing Gym Westside is organizing this event, but please feel free to check the list below for ways that you can contribute to whichever of the businesses speak to your heart.

Please do not let an inability or lack of desire to make a donation keep you from joining us.

This is a casual gathering with no bathrooms provided. Please account for that and also consider that we will be in a neighborhood with many homes surrounding the space – let’s be mindful of the energy we are bringing into that space and let’s also be sure to clean up after ourselves.

Additionally, have a mask handy and please plan to follow all state guidelines for masking, etc.

Ways to donate via crowdfunding:

*Here’s one for the Boxing Gym
*Here’s one for staff of the affected businesses
*Here’s one for Nuggi, the boba-tea shop that was opening soon
*Here’s one for La Tipica Oaxaqueña
*Here’s one for Dottie’s Doublewide (for new owners who were preparing to reopen)
*Here’s one for John’s Hair and Nails
*Here’s one for Rat City Tattoo

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UPDATE: 16th SW blocked after crash, gas leak

July 9th, 2021 at 6:08 pm Posted in Traffic, White Center news | 1 Comment »

6:08 PM: King County Sheriff’s Deputies are blocking off 16th SW in White Center south of Roxbury after a report of a crash and possible gas leak at 16th/98th. Updates to come.

6:24 PM: Deputies have just told dispatch “the gas is off” but the closure will continue for a little while until Puget Sound Energy arrives. Our crew is now there, and a fire captain tells us they’re talking with nearby businesses to get them to “air out” as the leaked gas dissipates.

6:41 PM: Added a photo of the car that hit the gas line on the north side of Beer Star’s building.

6:50 PM: Deputies just told dispatch that all but the 16th/98th intersection can reopen; cleanup there will take a while longer. Businesses will be reopening too.

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FOLLOWUP: Fire that destroyed 7 White Center businesses now reclassified as arson

July 9th, 2021 at 2:00 pm Posted in Businesses, Fire, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | No Comments »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(WCN/WSB photo, Monday)

Thanks for the tips. We’ve confirmed with the King County Sheriff’s Office that the fire which gutted the LumberYard Bar and seven other businesses in downtown White Center early Monday is now being investigated as arson. Though the original tentative determination was that it was likely accidental, KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer tells WCN that they received “new evidence” that led investigators to “reclassify it as arson.” Though the LumberYard has posted on social media that “This most likely is also a hate crime,” Sgt. Meyer would not speculate on a potential motive. Anyone with any information should contact KCSO.

We just went over to the fire scene to see if we could find out more; no one’s around, but we did photograph the signs asking for tips – 800-55-ARSON. That’s reiterated in this statement just sent by the White Center Pride Committee:

The White Center Pride Committee is deeply disturbed and saddened to learn that the fire at The Lumberyard Bar on July 5th has reportedly been reclassified from an electrical fire to arson. The possibility of this being a hate crime targeted at an LGBTQI+ gathering space is also being investigated. Not only was The Lumberyard Bar destroyed, but also 7 other businesses, many of which were minority owned.

We will continue to stand with all of the businesses and individuals that were impacted by this horrible act. Our community is strong and will never back down in the face of adversity. We implore anyone with information to reach out to the King County Sheriff’s Office with any information at 206-263-2070 or 1-800-55-ARSON.

The fire broke out after 1 am on Monday. No injuries were reported. But along with the LumberYard, it devastated neighboring businesses The Boxing Gym, La Tipica Oaxaqueña, John’s Hair and Nails, Rat City Tattoo, Nuggi (which was soon to open), and Dottie’s Doublewide (which was getting ready to reopen)

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County offers help for unincorporated-area small businesses affected by pandemic

July 8th, 2021 at 10:38 am Posted in Businesses, King County, White Center news | No Comments »

Applications are open for a King County program to help small-business owners in unincorporated areas including North Highline. From the announcement:

As part of King County’s initiative to help our region recover from the pandemic, the King County Council has dedicated $4.5 million to help small business owners in unincorporated areas.

The application period opened Wednesday, July 7 and closes Wednesday, Aug. 4. Small business owners can apply online at kingcounty.gov/localbusinesshelp or by calling 206-477-3800 beginning today.

King County Local Services will administer this new grant program, which is open to businesses with 30 or fewer employees and $3 million or less in annual gross income.

Owners who receive grants will be reimbursed for business-related expenses incurred since March 3, 2021. Reimbursable expenses include rent, payroll, business utilities, goods and services, and COVID-19 accommodation costs.

This program is specifically intended to help small businesses, as was the county’s first round of grants offered last year. Through that earlier program, more than 571 businesses received or are in the process of receiving up to $5,000 each from King County Local Services, for a total of nearly $3 million.

In 9 languages:

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FOLLOWUP: Scenes from 16th SW, as White Center fire victims clean up and carry on. Plus, ways to help

July 6th, 2021 at 6:57 pm Posted in Fire, How to Help, White Center news | No Comments »

36+ hours after the devastating fire in the heart of White Center’s business district, we found determined business owners at work this afternoon, cleaning up and carrying on. Above, La Tipica Oaxaqueña is doing business outside their fire-damaged space.

Out front of the LumberYard Bar, where investigators say the fire started in the basement (though as of this afternoon they still hadn’t announced exactly how), we found proprietors Nathan and Michale:

They told us they’re grateful for the overwhelming support they’ve received, including crowdfunding that’s already maxed out at $100,000+. They told us they’re determined to stay in White Center, though they’re looking around for a new space.

Also seen on 16th: A county inspector:

The county was working to determine which spaces were safe to reoccupy and which were not. Those that aren’t will have to get an independent engineer to assess safety once repairs have been made.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: As mentioned above, the LumberYard has maxed out on GoFundMe – but other campaigns have not. Here are links:

*Here’s one for the Boxing Gym
*Here’s one for staff of the affected businesses
*Here’s one for Nuggi, a boba-tea shop that was opening soon
*Here’s one for La Tipica Oaxaqueña
*Here’s one for Dottie’s Doublewide (that page notes it had new owners who were preparing to reopen)
*Here’s one for John’s Hair and Nails
*Here’s one for Rat City Tattoo

Also benefiting the new owners of Dottie’s, Endolyne Joe’s in West Seattle (9261 45th SW) plans to donate 50 percent of its 4-9 pm proceeds this Thursday (July 8th).

Other fundraisers? Please let us know – whitecenternow@gmail.com – so we can report them here and on partner site West Seattle Blog!

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UPDATE: Fire in downtown White Center guts LumberYard Bar; major damage to neighboring businesses too

July 5th, 2021 at 2:19 am Posted in Businesses, Fire, White Center news | 6 Comments »

2:19 AM: County and city firefighters are working to fight a building fire at 16th and Roxbury. It was originally dispatched as a city callout so we’ve been covering it on our partner site West Seattle Blog here.

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

2:48 AM: We’ve confirmed the fire is centered in the building holding the Lumberyard Bar and Rat City Tattoo. Firefighters are still working to extinguish it.

4:15 AM: The fire’s not out yet. City and county crews are still there, fighting it from both sides of the building.

No injuries reported; we’ll have more followup information later this morning.

ADDED 10:43 AM: We went back this morning – in the view above, you are looking into the building from the alley side. Fire crews are still there:

We talked to Chief Mike Marrs of Fire District 2, which includes White Center and the rest of North Highline. The investigator finally got into the building a few hours ago to try to determine the cause.

Other businesses to the north were damaged – including broken glass. Firefighters were expected to be on scene, with 16th remaining closed in that block, until noonish. We will check back again.

NOON: A crowdfunding page is set up to accept donations for the LumberYard.

12:54 PM: More photos of the aftermath, inside adjacent businesses too:

We’ll add any other crowdfunding links we find out about. (Added: Here’s one for the Boxing Gym. Here’s one for staff of the affected businesses. Here’s one for Nuggi, a boba-tea shop that was opening soon.)

1:47 PM: Fire District 2 public-information Shauna Sheppard says they do NOT believe this was caused by fireworks. So far they’ve traced the origin to the LumberYard’s basement, and they believe it was accidental, though the specific cause remains under investigation.

ADDED TUESDAY: More crowdfunding – this time for La Tipica Oaxaqueña, and for Dottie’s Doublewide (that page notes it had new owners who were preparing to reopen).

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FIREWORKS: Sales begin for last legal holiday in North Highline

June 28th, 2021 at 11:23 pm Posted in Holidays, White Center news | 2 Comments »

The last season of legal fireworks-selling in unincorporated King County has begun. That stand by Roxbury Lanes is one of multiple fireworks stands that opened today. The rules allow sales 9 am-11 pm daily through the 4th of July (Sunday), and the 4th is the only day you can legally set them off (9 am to midnight). Starting next year, fireworks will be completely banned in unincorporated King County, as they are in jurisdictions neighboring White Center – Burien, Seattle, and Tukwila.

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UPDATE: Taradise Café ‘closed until further notice,’ blames basement flooding

June 27th, 2021 at 6:19 pm Posted in Businesses, Restaurants, White Center news | 14 Comments »

ORIGINAL SUNDAY REPORT: Another White Center establishment that’s closed temporarily – Taradise Café. Not because of the heat wave, though. And not, its ownership says, because of the recent shootings outside the establishment that left two people dead. The sign above is what we found on the east front door this morning, checking out reader tips; below is what the café posted on social media Friday afternoon:

Taradise is temporarily closed due to an unexpected flood in the basement. Although this is an unforeseen disruption, the sheriffs came into our establishment looking for any reason to get us shut down. They have been trying to place blame on us for the unfortunate shootings that happened recently although we had nothing to do with it and it was not Taradise customers or affiliates. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and will be back up & running as soon as possible. We appreciate all the love and support from our customers, especially those that are regulars. Stay safe & we will see you soon. Nothin’ but love!

ADDED MONDAY: We checked today with King County Local Services. One week ago, they opened an investigation based on this complaint from someone, alleging a code violation: “Demolition of covered parking area and remodel of Cafe’ including addition of covered exterior seating area and possible other fire and building code violations.” However, the case is still open and a Local Services spokesperson says even if a violation is eventually found, this type of violation would not be a cause for closure.

ADDED WEDNESDAY: We also had inquired Monday with Public Health, which finally provided this information today:

During a routine site visit to the restaurant, a basement sewage backup became apparent, which presented an imminent health hazard. The operator closed the facility, as required, and may not resume operating until Public Health can verify the required steps have been taken to resolve the hazard.

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Too hot to skate

June 26th, 2021 at 11:50 pm Posted in Weather, White Center news | Comments Off on Too hot to skate

The heat wave has brought temorary schedule changes for some businesses. Among them: White Center’s Southgate Roller Rink, closed all weekend because of the weather.

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HEAT WAVE: King County and WCCDA opening Top Hat cooling center with individual rooms

June 25th, 2021 at 2:47 pm Posted in King County, Weather, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | 4 Comments »

We’re now under an Excessive Heat Warning through Monday. Just received this announcement about the site once set up (but never used) for pandemic quarantine/isolation:

With high temperatures expected to soar past 100 degrees through the early part of next week, the county will make 20 air-conditioned units available from 4 p.m., Saturday to 10 a.m., Wednesday. Overnight stays will be available.

The White Center Cooling Center is located at 206 SW 112th St., in the Top Hat neighborhood.

Those who are interested should call 206-572-5557.

The center will offer a way for residents—including those experiencing homelessness—to escape the heat. The center will welcome overnight stays as well as an air-conditioned area with water and refreshments for shorter visits.

Those who stay overnight will be able to enter and leave the facility from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The doors will be locked outside of those hours, with some exceptions for late arrivals.

Service and emotional support animals are welcome. Masks and social distancing guidelines will be followed per Washington State and King County requirements.

Teams from King County and the White Center Community Development Association will staff the site, and private security will be on-site day and night.

This effort is a partnership between DCHS, Local Services, FMD and the White Center Community Development Association.

At this time, the White Center Cooling Center will be the only such facility offered in unincorporated King County. You can find other cooling centers on the King County Emergency Management blog.

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SUNDAY: 500 bicyclists to start and finish Ride for Major Taylor in White Center

June 24th, 2021 at 7:46 pm Posted in Lakewood Park, Sports, White Center news | Comments Off on SUNDAY: 500 bicyclists to start and finish Ride for Major Taylor in White Center

A big bike ride in and near White Center, West Seattle, and beyond is set for Sunday (June 27th), and Cascade Bicycle Club spokesperson Paul Tolmé emailed the announcement to be sure you know:

Cascade Bicycle Club’s Ride for Major Taylor will take place this Sunday. We would like to alert residents that there will be bicycles on the roads (and many youth bicyclists) and we ask for drivers to be alert and aware of our youth bicyclists. Cascade and its Major Taylor Project would also like to thank residents for being courteous to our riders.

And due to the forecast heat, we’d also like to let residents know that we encourage them to come out and cheer on our riders — and maybe offer willing riders a spray from the garden hose to cool off :)

Above is the 26-mile route map (see the route’s turn-by-turn description on the second page here); below, the 65-mile route (or here, with turn-by-turn on the second page).

Both start from the bicycle playground at Dick Thurnau Park. Registration is closed, as they maxed out at 500 riders. P.S. The ride is a benefit for the Major Taylor Project; read about its namesake, a superstar runner and rider in the 19th/20th centuries, here.

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Stage 1 burn ban for unincorporated King County starting Thursday

June 23rd, 2021 at 4:22 pm Posted in King County, Safety, Weather, White Center news | Comments Off on Stage 1 burn ban for unincorporated King County starting Thursday

With a heat wave on the way, an outdoor burn ban is about to kick in. Here’s the announcement:

King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts has issued a Stage 1 fire safety burn ban for the unincorporated areas of King County starting Thursday. The ban will remain in effect until further notice.

The weather forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-90’s throughout the weekend, with readings climbing to nearly 100 degrees Sunday. The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for King County.

The Stage 1 fire safety burn ban applies to all outdoor burning, except for barbecues and small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property with the owner’s permission.

“Extreme heat and especially dry conditions have increased the risk of wildfire dramatically,” Ricketts says. “People in both rural and urban unincorporated areas need to use caution.”

Recreational fires still pose a risk, so their use shall be limited and respected accordingly. Ricketts says recreational fires must:

-Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds, and not be used as debris disposal
-Be no larger than three feet in diameter
-Be located in a clear spot, free from any vegetation for at least ten feet in a horizontal direction and at least 25 feet away from any structure, and allow 20 feet of vertical clearance from overhanging branches
-Be attended at all times by an alert individual with equipment capable of extinguishing the fire

If your property is inside city limits, please contact your local jurisdiction for their requirements. This ban remains in effect until further notice.

With Fourth of July fireworks sales beginning across the county, Ricketts also reminds users to stay mindful of their surroundings when discharging fireworks.

It’s every individual’s responsibility to help prevent fires that destroy lives, property, and our wildlands. For more information, visit the Local Services Fire Marshal’s website.

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Highline Bears invite you to ‘Rename Our Team’

June 22nd, 2021 at 10:42 am Posted in Highline Bears, Sports, White Center news | 2 Comments »

The Highline Bears, the White Center-based summer collegiate baseball team, are looking for a new name and inviting you to suggest one (or more!).

This all began with the recent news that the team’s mascot Buntly the Bear was retiring.
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“Buntly has been the heart and soul of this team since day one. Replacing him with just another bear didn’t seem like the right thing to do,” general manager Justin Moser explained in a video released this morning.

So the Bears have launched a naming contest. You can suggest a name and send it with an explanation of “why the name embodies the community and greater Pacific Northwest.” Submit your idea via RenameOurTeam.com. The team will narrow the list and then ask fans to vote for a winner.

Moser says the team is looking for “a name that’s original, that’s fun, crazy, and embodies our community and the great Pacific Northwest.”

Backstory from the team’s announcement:

The Highline Bears launched the team in 2015 and have steadily grown a following in the greater West Seattle/White Center area. The team is a summer collegiate team where players from colleges around the country come to hone their skills during the summer months. Players stay with host families or bunk with local players that are on the team, while playing a rigorous game schedule.

While the baseball is always competitive, the Bears games are beloved for their affordability for families, fun promotions and intimate atmosphere.

The contest runs through 9 am July 4th. Prize: Lifetime tickets for Bears – or whatever the new name is – games!
For more information on the Highline Bears visit www.HighlineBears.com

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LIVE MUSIC: Drunky’s Two Shoes announces July 3rd double bill

June 19th, 2021 at 8:51 pm Posted in Music, White Center news | Comments Off on LIVE MUSIC: Drunky’s Two Shoes announces July 3rd double bill

The June 30th reopening will open the door to a lot of what’s been shelved these past 15 months. That includes live music. Drunky’s Two Shoes BBQ in White Center is hosting a double bill, Great American Trainwreck with The Memphis Radio Kings, on July 3rd. Doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, $10 cover. You can RSVP by going here.

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Here’s what happened at the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s last meeting before summer break

June 15th, 2021 at 11:05 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Apologies for the delay in this month’s report!

June 3’s online meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council was the last before NHUAC’s summer break.

Here’s what happened:

DRUG-FREE YOUTH: Marissa Jauregui from the Coalition of Drug-Free Youth in White Center/North Highline reviewed what the program’s been working on. She’s been the coordinator for almost a year. The coalition has more than a dozen organizations as partners. “About this pandemic year,” Jauregui said, challenges were many but accomplishments were made all the same. A community survey revealed drug and alcohol use are seen as a big problem:

Here’s how they’ve tackled the problem this year:

They ran YouTube ads, distributed health kits, and offered community training. Other activities have included park cleanups and club meetings at Evergreen High School. For younger students, they’ve done life-skills training for about 100 seventh- and eighth-graders at Cascade Middle School, to decrease the risks associated with peers’ drug and alcohol use. And they’ve offered parent training, including classes in Spanish and Somali.

ROADS FUNDING: Department of Local Services deputy director Danielle de Clercq talked about the Roads levy-lid lift. Funding isn’t keeping up with need, she said.

Here’s what they’re looking at sending to voters in November:

Here’s some of the ways they propose to spend the money:

The proposal was going to the County Council.

GREENBRIDGE UPDATE: The work on Division 8 has had permits for years, but work is just starting now. That’s the reason for the tree removal some are noticing. They will be replaced, and the project area will have “parklets,” Mark Rowe from the county said. This area is the “market-rate housing” part of the project, which previously focused on affordable housing.

17TH SW/SW 100TH: NHUAC also had asked for an update on this project. Land-use planner Christy Vogler and builder Joe Haberzedle joined the meeting to answer questions. This is a plan for 9 townhouse units in two buildings, replacing a parking lot, and they’ll be rented out. The project did not require an environmental review, said Vogler; it’s relatively small. No community notice was required because this includes fewer than 20 units. The builder said they focus on “mainly small in-fill development projects” but this one is unique as they’ll retain ownership. They’re going to be 4-bedroom units, some with 2-car garages, some with 1-car garages. They’ll share a driveway off 17th.

Nearby residents asked why there’s no sign on the property about the upcoming project; Vogler said there should be and promised to get a land-use inspector on the case. A side discussion then broke out regarding safety at a nearby intersection; Local Services said that would have to be taken up with Roads.

Next step at the site is foundation-pouring, as well as excavation for the second building, Haberzetle said.

KING COUNTY PARKS VOLUNTEER PROGRAM: Lina Rose brought a quick overview as well as information about the new Youth Conservation Corps and more. Service learning is big for Parks, and in past years, they’ve worked with about 10,000 volunteers – fewer since the pandemic, of course. Here are toplines about the new YCC, a paid internship program that’ll be part virtual, part in-person:

She said they have “completely amazing candidates” whose applications are being reviewed right now. She then showed the White Center=area parks where work is under way now, including:

And here’s how to get involved:

TEEN PROGRAM: Darlene Sellars talked about this 30-year-old program that helps teens with a variety of skills.

It’s based at Steve Cox Memorial Park and has fitness, academic, volunteer, and other types of programs. They had 50 distribution events for food, pet food,and PPE. They also had a delivery program. There’s even a YouTube studio from which teens have produced more than 100 videos. They also started a postcard-writing program and are happy to send postcards to anyone. 40 staff work with them – 35 are past program participants – and they’ve served tens of thousands. There are volunteer opportunities for teens coming up, too. The bicycle club is new and engages in service programs as well as fun. They’ll have a program on Night Out again this year, too.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE: Deputy Bill Kennamer said a carpet-cleaning business has moved into the former Northmart, and didn’t have anything else to report – it was quiet at the time.

NEXT MEETING IN SEPTEMBER: Watch here and nhuac.org for the announcement when it gets closer.

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