WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: Robbery charge filed in ‘shoplift gone bad’

June 12th, 2024 at 9:55 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | No Comments »

If a shoplifting incident turns violent, it becomes a robbery in the eyes of the law. And that’s why the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed a charge of second-degree robbery against a man who allegedly tried to steal a bottle of water from Saar’s Super Saver Foods in White Center. Court documents say it happened Friday evening, May 23, when a store employee confronted 44-year-old Brandon L. Wilson about hiding the water bottle in his pants. Police say Wilson then hit the employee in the face and pushed him down while trying to get away. He was detained and 911 was called; deputies arrested him and booked him into the King County Jail, where he remains in lieu of $2,000 bail. Court documents say Wilson has a record including, in the past four years, cases of Criminal Trespass, Displaying a Weapon, Property Destruction, and Assault. When he was arrested, he was also wanted on a Renton warrant in a misdemeanor case of theft.

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Councilmember visit, infrastructure and noise ordinance discussion @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s June meeting

June 11th, 2024 at 5:25 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 1 Comment »

By Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for White Center Now

Neighbors and special guests met online last Thursday for the June meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC).  The event was facilitated by NHUAC president Liz Giba and vice president Barbara Dobkin, and was the group’s last meeting before summer break.

COUNCILMEMBER VISIT: First on the agenda was an opening session with new King County Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who provided an update about her first 5 months serving on the council. Mosqueda serves as chair of three committees: King County Board of Health, Health and Human Services, and Regional Transit.  She was joined on the call by her deputy chief of staff, Chris Lampkin.

Mosqueda noted that she particularly likes to “geek out” on health-related topics, as it relates to one of her stated goals of “improving social determinants of health so a kiddo born anywhere in the county has the opportunity to grow up healthy and happy.” She touted the work that her committees has been doing, and successes such as Crisis Care Center funding.

She also talked about the White Center HUB (which recently broke ground), upcoming public safety forums, District 8 Days, the Highline Activities Gala, and the Boys and Girls Club.

Mosqueda said the #1 issue she’s heard from small business owners in District 8 is workforce housing, which her team has made a major focus. She also talked about her team’s work on the 2024 King County Comprehensive Plan, and the ongoing map amendments, as well as investments in trees and greenspaces (of particular interest in White Center, she said, due to a high number of “heat islands” because of so many paved spaces). She said her team plans to create a “2-pager” summary of the plan, to distribute to constituents.

Mosqueda also discussed questions raised by meeting attendees including noise complaints regarding Tim’s Tavern (see details below), neglected buildings such as the vacated ex-Bartell Drugs store, properties on 16th Ave SW impacted by arson, and the distribution of heat pumps as part of the Energize King County program.

SEWER AND SEPTIC: Next on the agenda was a presentation about On-site Sewage/Septic Systems (OSS) from Public Health’s assistant division director Meagan Jackson and program manager Lara Brezina. OSS helps ensure that the more than 85,000 sewage/septic systems in Seattle are safe, including in urban areas such as North Highline, where raw sewage can have significant effects on health and safety.

They noted that their program in King County is responsible for permitting, making sure that systems are in good working order and making sure they work for as long as possible.  Brezina said they are in the process of revising codes this year (info here, with adoption occurring in January 2025), and are in the process of getting input from the community, as well as aligning with the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Jackson said there are three key purposes and outcomes:

  1. Advance equity in OSS infrastructure (certify newly trained experts)
  2. Remove unnecessary barriers and costs
  3. Integration with regional policies.

They also talked about the Equitable Wastewater Futures Program, designed to provide options for dealing with systems that are past their intended life span.

NOISE CONCERNS AND TIM’S TAVERN:

Also discussed at the meeting were ongoing concerns about noise from outdoor live music at Tim’s Tavern in White Center (see our coverage of this topic from last month’s NHUAC meeting). Councilmember Mosqueda commented on it before she had to leave the meeting, saying that she loves the fact that Tim’s came to White Center (she is an ex-officio board member of the 4Culture arts organization), but that her team has also heard the concerns from neighbors about loud music, particularly at night, and agrees that the rules need to be consistently enforced.

Later in the meeting, the county’s permitting director Jim Chan and external-affairs director David Daw provided some updates. Tim’s co-owner Mason Reed was also in attendance at the meeting, and spoke in response to the concerns from officials and from residents.

Several attendees noted that in recent months, the live outdoor music at Tim’s is ending promptly at 10 pm or earlier (Reed confirmed that his team began enforcing this more strictly, about two months ago).  Attendees generally agreed that this is an improvement from the past when the music would often go later into the night, but neighbors were adamant that more needs to be done to address the music volume, especially when it’s outdoors. Several neighbors shared their stories and experiences with regard to challenges they’ve faced with the music volume and the disruptions it has caused, as well as concerns with how their past complaints have been responded to by Tim’s staff.

Chan (permitting director) reiterated that “property owners have due process,” and that “we want to be sure that all voluntary options are explored” before things are escalated any further. He said that his office was waiting for a “fee waiver” payment from Tim’s to be made before they can hold a meeting with Tim’s and take the next step in code enforcements.  Reed (from Tim’s) confirmed that he was in the process of making the payment, and that the process of setting up the meeting with the county should proceed next week.

Reed emphasized that “it was never our intention to come in and disrupt the neighborhood” and that his team is working hard on options to mitigate noise concerns, and working with county officials. He said that all of the noise complaints are sent to him directly, and that the concerns “weigh heavily on me” and he takes them very seriously.  Tim’s had previously operated in Greenwood but was shut down during the pandemic, then reopened in spring of 2023 in White Center in the former Drunky Two Shoes location (WCN coverage here), which also had live music.  Reed said he wants Tim’s to be a community hub and a good neighbor — “I moved my entire life to White Center; I believe in it.”

SHERIFF’S OFFICE UPDATE: White Center’s Storefront Deputy, Detective Glen Brannon, provided his monthly update (he also spoke during the discussion about music at Tim’s, saying that it was the very first issue that he started working on when he joined 18 months ago, and that he’s hoping for resolution).  He noted that he’s been in training recently. He commended NHUAC for their monthly meetings, saying “I’m honored every time I do this; you do a great job bringing guests in.”

He said that he expects to see a typical uptick of activity in the summer, and has already noticed (for example) more graffiti activity, particularly on 16th Ave SW.  He said that his office has had great cooperation with school districts and the parks department.

One attendee asked about the frequency of car thefts — Brannon noted that they seem to have leveled off, and he added that as of last week, changes went into effect for Washington’s police pursuit laws, which will permit officers to engage more frequently in car pursuits. He said that KCSO hasn’t released their new policy yet, but it will happen soon, and he expects that the number of thefts will drop off.  When asked about carjackings, Brannon said those are different because if there’s violence involved, then officers have always been able to pursue.

Brannon also responded to attendee questions and comments including another multi-agency drug bust in Burien, encampments, and troublesome properties.

COUNTY PARKS: Darlene Sellers from King County Parks shared details about events at the White Center Teen Program (Log Cabin), as well as free summer lunch programs for kids between July 1 and August 16 at Steve Cox and Dick Thurnau Memorial Parks.

NHUAC will resume its monthly meetings this fall (perhaps in-person, according to council leaders).

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BIZNOTE: BECU to open branch in White Center

June 11th, 2024 at 11:06 am Posted in Businesses, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Just announced, a commercial tenant for the big new development on the south end of downtown White Center. The news release is from BECU:

BECU, Washington’s largest credit union, today announced its plans to open a new Neighborhood Financial Center (NFC) in the White Center neighborhood … The location will join more than 60 centers in supporting BECU members’ everyday financial needs, including recently opened locations in Monroe and Columbia City, as well as upcoming locations opening in Gig Harbor, Shoreline and Tacoma.

Located on the corner of Southwest 107th and 16th Avenue Southwest, the White Center NFC will be just over 3,000 square feet and could serve more than 16,600 people who live in the area. It will join existing locations in Tukwila, Burien, Kent and Renton in serving communities in South King County.

At this new NFC, BECU member consultants will provide financial advice and expertise. This includes one-on-one support for establishing membership and opening accounts and loans, such as mortgages, small business services, investments and trust services.

As with other BECU NFCs, the White Center location will have access to technology designed to meet members’ needs quickly and efficiently, such as Video Banking. It will also host new capabilities and special programming designed to enhance the member experience, including offering integrated spaces available for financial health seminars, community events and other onsite functions.

Supporting Local Communities
As a not-for-profit co-op, BECU gives back to local organizations that are creating meaningful change in its communities. Earlier this year, BECU honored the White Center Food Bank during its 10th annual People Helping People Awards as one of more than 30 nonprofits to receive an award. The funds will support the organization’s collaboration with the Silent Task Force on the BIPOC Food Distribution Project, which focuses on increasing access to healthy food within underserved and vulnerable communities.

Through its philanthropic giving, BECU has extended funds to other community partners that support White Center residents, including Freedom Church, Highline College Foundation and Renton Regional Community Foundation. More information on BECU’s commitment to its members and communities is available in its newly launched 2023 Annual Report.

BECU says it expects to open the branch this winter. In addition to the South King County locations mentioned in the announcement, the credit union also has a branch a few miles north of White Center, in West Seattle.

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CLOSURE ALERT: Steve Cox Memorial Park tennis courts closing for two months

June 10th, 2024 at 1:56 pm Posted in Sports, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news | No Comments »

(WCN file photo)

Just in from King County Parks:

The Steve Cox Memorial Park tennis courts will be closed for improvements June 12-August 20.

Improvements include resurfacing the tennis courts, constructing a new ADA ramp, installation of root barriers, sidewalk repair, and fire lane striping.

If you would like to reserve the court once it reopens, please contact the King County Regional Scheduling office, regional.scheduling@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-6150.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we complete this important work! We will share reopening information as we near the end of construction.

Questions? Contact parksinfo@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-4527.

It’s been 12 years since the courts were renovated.

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CRIME WATCH: Highline Schools reports vandalism at Evergreen High School construction site

June 8th, 2024 at 10:03 am Posted in Crime, Highline School District, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Highline Public Schools says vandal(s) have struck at the Evergreen High School construction site, but the district hopes it won’t be a setback to the schedule. Here’s the news release the district sent Friday:

The construction site for the new Evergreen High School facility was vandalized on May 31. A water hose was inserted into duct work, flooding a significant portion of the structure. Insulation and drywall sustained water damage. Clean-up started immediately after the damage was discovered.

Contractors are assessing the extent of the damage and any impact to the construction schedule. More information is anticipated in a couple of weeks.

Insurance coverage will minimize the financial impact to the district for clean-up, mitigation, and reconstruction costs. The contractor is taking additional security measures.

The general contractor, Cornerstone GCI, says they will do their best to complete the project on time. This will depend on the extent of the damage. The facility is scheduled to open for students in September 2025.

The King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

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30+ restaurants for this year’s Taste of White Center on June 29!

June 5th, 2024 at 1:34 pm Posted in White Center Food Bank, White Center news | No Comments »

Just announced – the Taste of White Center, 11 am-3 pm on Saturday, June 29:

The White Center Food Bank is excited to bring together our neighborhood’s wide variety of restaurants for a family-friendly event and fundraiser. With 30+ restaurants participating, attendees purchase $5 tickets to try a variety of foods like banh mi sandwiches, bubble tea, tacos, pizza and much more. Iconic restaurants like Puffy Pandy, Tomo, El Catrín, and others are ready to serve up amazing bites! Join us for a fun-filled event with food, vendors, a kid’s area and live music!

Each ticket is an opportunity to taste a small plate, drink or dessert from participating restaurants. All ticket proceeds support the White Center Food Bank, while sponsorship dollars go to the restaurants to purchase ingredients and pay for event costs.

Tickets will be available for purchase at three locations in downtown White Center in the area of 16th Ave SW, between Roxbury and 100th St. A ‘menu’ will be given to each attendee at the time of ticket purchase, with a map and details on restaurants and items available. This is a first come, first served event, with limited quantities available at each establishment.

White Center Food Bank looks forward to hosting this celebration and sharing the diverse culinary talents of our neighborhood around the one thing that always brings community together: FOOD!

More Info: whitecenterfoodbank.org/taste-of-white-center

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THURSDAY: Here’s what’s planned for last North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting before summer break

June 3rd, 2024 at 12:23 am Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | No Comments »

You’re invited to plug into community discussion and information Thursday at the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s online meeting:

Where? North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting

When? Thursday, June 6, 2024, at 7 pm

Join Zoom Meeting:
us02web.zoom.us/j/87019592786?pwd=a0puSEpGTmFrZnpiTUgvZHg2OTduUT09

Meeting ID: 870 1959 2786
Passcode: NHUAC2024 (case sensitive)

Unable to join by Zoom? Please call: 253.205.0468

Meeting ID: 870 1959 2786
Passcode: 87497528

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On Thursday, June 6th at 7 pm you are invited to join NHUAC’s last meeting before our summer break. It is sure to be an information-packed discussion about important issues in and opportunities for the North Highline community.

Our new King County Councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda, will update us after her first 5 months on the council. She chairs three important committees: (1) King County Board of Health, (2) Health and Human Services Committee and (3) Regional Transit Committee. We’ll ask her about the ways life, health, and safety in North Highline can be improved by her work and her goal of improving “…social determinants of health so a kiddo born anywhere in the county has the opportunity to grow up healthy and happy.” Have any suggestions? Join us and add your voice to this important conversation.

We will also be joined by Jim Chan, King County’s Division Director for Permitting, and David Daw, External Relations Manager. We hope they will be able to report progress in gaining compliance from Tim’s Tavern with the county’s noise ordinance and zoning, which prohibits outside music venues in White Center. White Center’s Storefront Deputy, Detective Glen Brannon, will also be invited to participate in the conversation.

In urban areas such as North Highline, raw sewage can quickly impact neighbors. Keeping On-site Sewage/Septic Systems (OSS) safe and working well is vital to keeping all of us healthy. Public Health’s Meagan Jackson, OSS Interim Assistant Division Director, Environmental Health Division, and Lara Brezina, Interim Program Manager, OSS Operation and Maintenance, will update us on OSS.

Last, but certainly not least, Detective Brannon will share what the Sheriff’s Office has been doing to help make a safe North Highline.

Knowledge Is Power.

Learn, share, and help make North Highline a healthier community.

Thursday, June 6 at 7 pm – Invite Your Neighbors!

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WEDNESDAY: Young job-seeker in your household? Peace N The Hood job fair in White Center

June 2nd, 2024 at 11:21 pm Posted in Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news | No Comments »

This Wednesday afternoon brings a chance for teens and young adults to meet with prospective employers:

More details here!

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WEEKEND SCENE: White Center Pride Street Festival 2024!

June 1st, 2024 at 1:11 pm Posted in Fun, White Center news, White Center Pride | 1 Comment »

It’s on! Rainbows everywhere to contrast the gray sky over this year’s White Center Pride Street Festival, happening on 16th SW between Roxbury and 100th until 11 pm. Entertainment, food, and drink abound.

And people!

See whitecenterpride.org (and our preview) for more on what’s happening in the hours ahead.

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PRIDE: White Center street festival Saturday

May 30th, 2024 at 10:46 am Posted in Fun, White Center news, White Center Pride | No Comments »

(WCN photo, 2021)

The White Center Pride street festival is just two days away! 11 am-11 pm Saturday, June 1, on 16th SW in the heart of White Center between SW Roxbury and SW 100th, music, performances, more (toplines here). It’s free, but if you buy a wristband, that’ll connect you with special deals:

-Expedited access to VIP drink lines
-Backstage experiences
-Premium seating
-All-day discounts at 15+ bars and restaurants

From Happy Hour prices to $5 Wells, $4 Pints, $4 Slices – exclusively for wristband holders.

You can buy yours online for $15 (that link is also where you’ll find the list of participating venues), or look for the White Center Pride booth at the festival on Saturday.

ADDED: We asked for details – festival organizers provided these lists of performers and DJs:

Performers
Rylee Raw
Londyn Bradshaw
Kymera
Drew Paradisco
Melody Lush Paradisco
Kenzie
Mia Moore
Queen Andrew
Dean the Vampire King
La Cienaga
Dion Dior Black
Whispur Watershadow
Ovary Act
Summer Heaux
Kameron Michelle
Kitty Vixen
Dolly Madison
Isabella Richards
Fraya Love
Jolene Granby
Holli B. Sinclair
Celys St. James Black
Sasha Scarlet
Cherri Bepsi
Tymira
Becca Wong
Kymera
Justin Lane
Jizzuhbell Johnson

Bands
Polari
Frecuencia Acustica
Creature Hole
Soulbaum
The Night Cry
Stephanie Anne Johnson
Amy Hall
The Aquanets
Man Plus

DJs
Baby Van Beezly
DJ Memo
DJ Last Eye
DJ Ed Martin
DJ Clover
DJ Cookie Couture
DJ Redline

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FOLLOWUP: Tommy Joe Garrett hit-run death suspect charged, one day after initial release from jail

May 28th, 2024 at 3:48 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | No Comments »

(First published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(Victim’s photo, as displayed at April 27 vigil)

The man initially accused in the hit-run death of 81-year-old Tommy Joe Garrett, then released when a judge disagreed with prosecutors’ charging proposal, has been charged after all. 37-year-old Isaiah L. Cooper of Puyallup has been in custody since last Thursday, after the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed a charge of felony hit-and-run two days before that – the day after he was released from jail. The jail docket indicates Cooper’s bail is set at half a million dollars.

The charging document suggests what the additional evidence might be – a warrant to uncover the car. Here’s how the document summarizes the allegation – warning that it includes a graphic description of the collision:

On Monday evening on April 22, 2024, the defendant, 37-y-o Isaiah Lewis Cooper, was driving his Jeep Compass in the White Center neighborhood of King County. He went to a McDonald’s where he is seen driving. No one is seen in the passenger seat. There is no apparent damage to the hood of the car. He is not seen responding to anyone in the rear seat. This is captured on video.

Approximately 5-minutes later, and a couple blocks from the McDonald’s, at 10:09 p.m., 82-year-old Thomas Joseph Garrett was walking in the crosswalk of SW Roxbury St and 15 Av SW. Video shows a Jeep, later identified as the defendant’s, strike Mr. Garrett. The impact caused Mr. Garrett to fly onto the hood of the defendant’s vehicle and he is carried on the defendant’s car hood for approximately three seconds. The defendant brakes, causing Mr. Garrett to roll off the hood and onto the road. The defendant then continued to drive eastbound on Roxbury, leaving Mr. Garrett abandoned in the roadway. The traffic behind the defendant comes to a stop, as bystanders halt traffic and call for help. Both law enforcement and medics attempted to perform aid on Mr. Garrett before he was transported to Harborview Hospital, where he was pronounced dead within the hour of the collision.

Based on the surveillance and eyewitness reports, investigators were able to identify the defendant in the driver’s seat at the McDonalds. The defendant’s cell data corroborates that he was within 148’ of the collision. It also showed that he went to Port Orchard on 4/24/2024. His car was later recovered from his father’s house in Port Orchard. It was covered with a tarp and the defendant’s father confirmed that the defendant dropped it off and covered it “several weeks ago.”

On May 16, 2024, law enforcement contacted the defendant. He admitted that he had been in the vicinity of the collision on 4-22-2024 and that he subsequently left his car in Port Orchard. He denied hitting anyone. The Jeep was seized with the cover still on pending a search warrant to uncover it.

The case prosecutor then goes on to write that she “received the following information” from the “primary investigating detective”:

On May 20, King County Superior Court Judge J. Bender approved a Search Warrant to uncover the suspect vehicle. According to King County Det. Skaar, the uncovering revealed damage on the hood of the car consistent with a low-speed pedestrian collision. Specifically, Det Skaar stated that he observed multiple dents along the edge of the hood up to the back edge of the hood to the right of the center line, consistent with the damage that he would expect based on the video of the pedestrian strike on 4-22-2024. The license plate, which had been properly on the front bumper of the Jeep on the night of the collision at the McDonald’s was now moved from bumper to passenger side dashboard.

We noted in a previous report that Cooper’s record was said to include “numerous driving violations”; the charging document lists them – scattered over the past 15 years – as DUI, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, no insurance, speeding, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, driving on the wrong side of the road, and making a false statement to law enforcement, as well as Seattle Municipal Court warrants for a 2019 case alleging “no interlock” and suspended license. Cooper is scheduled for arraignment – the hearing at which a defendant enters an initial plea – next Monday, June 3.

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SUNDAY: Last day for Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center

May 25th, 2024 at 9:09 pm Posted in Businesses, White Center news | No Comments »

As announced by Ann Magyar – who co-founded Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center in 2008 with husband Justin Cline, who died earlier this year – tomorrow is the WC shop’s last day.

Ann announced in early April that, with Justin gone, “it’s time for Full Tilt as we know it to end.” P.S. The crowdfunding page to help the Magyar-Cline family is still open.

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Sidewalks, bike lanes on the way in Metro project

May 24th, 2024 at 12:59 am Posted in Safety, Transportation, White Center news | 1 Comment »

From the Metro Matters website:

Construction crews are launching work soon in White Center to make it safer to walk, bike and access nearby King County Metro RapidRide H Line bus service.

Four blocks of new sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes will be built on Southwest 100th Street to fill in existing gaps between Greenbridge community and RapidRide H Line service on 15th Avenue Southwest. New street lighting also is planned along the road.

Completing these connections between 10th and 14th Avenues Southwest will make it easier and safer for 2,550 residents in the King County Housing Authority complex to travel to and from available bus service.

White Center vicinity map showing sidewalk improvement segment from 10th to 14th avenues southwest
Construction is planned this summer on SW 100th Street between 10th and 14th avenues Southwest.

With community input, Metro designed and built miles of RapidRide H Line safety improvements before upgrading service in 2023. Metro pursued and received federal funding to build these additional four blocks of improvements. The project is estimated to cost $3.8 million for design and construction, of which Metro allocated $2.7 million in capital funding and received $1.1 million in Federal Transit Administration grant funding.

Metro hired OMA Construction Inc. to build the project and construction is expected to continue through the summer.

In addition to street lighting for pedestrians, crews will install special motion-sensitive Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at the White Center Pond Natural Area crossing. These crosswalk systems provide drivers a real-time warning that pedestrians are in or about to enter an approaching crosswalk.

White Center is King County’s only designated unincorporated activity center. It is an area where resources are limited and needs are high. This project will improve safety for pedestrians, people who use wheelchairs and bicyclists in this area of urban unincorporated King County.

This project also helps implement the Metro Connects long-range plan, which calls for increasing and improving safe walking and bicycling as a key strategy for access to transit. In urban areas, Metro Connects calls for 96% of people reaching transit by either walking or biking. To achieve this vision, people need to both be safe and feel safe when traveling to and from transit service.

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CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Suspect in hit-run death of Tommy Joe Garrett released, not charged

May 21st, 2024 at 1:58 am Posted in Crime, White Center news | 1 Comment »

(Also published on our partner site West Seattle Blog)

(Victim’s photo, as displayed at April 27 vigil)

Monday was the charging deadline for the 37-year-old man arrested in Puyallup last week on suspicion he was the hit-run driver who killed 81-year-old Tommy Joe Garrett at 15th/Roxbury last month. Monday night, after the online court file showed no sign of charges, we checked the King County Jail register – and it showed that the suspect had been released from jail just after 9 pm. We sought comment from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office; spokesperson Casey McNerthney explains: “Prosecutors submitted the certification of determination of probable cause by police investigators. The court did not find probable cause for the criminal charge. Probable cause for a criminal charge is different than finding probable cause at a first appearance – there is a lower standard for probable cause at a first appearance hearing.”

Could the same suspect still be charged in the future, if there was different/more evidence, for example? McNerthney says, “Prosecutors can review additional and/or clarifying information from police investigators anytime within the statute of limitations.” In the document for last week’s initial court hearing, King County Sheriff’s Office detectives had said they traced the vehicle involved in the hit-run (which belongs to the suspect’s mother) – and then its driver – through security cameras and cell-phone records. Here’s the entirety of what they wrote in the probable-cause document for the first hearing (we’ve redacted the names and part of the plate):

On 04-22-24 V/Garrett was walking across the street at the intersection of 15 AV SW and SW Roxbury ST just outside of the City of Seattle. A Jeep Compass was traveling east on Roxbury street on a green light and struck Garrett who was pronounced dead that night at the hospital as a result of the collision. The Jeep did not stop and continued east on Roxbury street. Multiple witnesses called 911 and gave statements about what happened. Detectives later obtained video showing the collision and nearby video showing a clear image of the suspect vehicle but no plate could be seen. Detective later found video at a Mcdonalds at 26 AV SW and SW Barton ST of the same model and color of Jeep Compass with a plate of BWB2— which came back to (suspect’s mother) out of Puyallup. Other police reports showed that her son, (suspect), had used her cars in the past. DOL and social media photos of (suspect) matched the subject seen in the driver’s seat of the Compass on Mcdonalds Video. A tag of some sort hanging from the rear view mirror also matched what was seen of the video of the Compass near the crash scene. The video shows the Compass leave the Mcdonalds about 3 minutes before the collision which is about how long it would take to get to the scene of the collision. A warrant was done for historical records of the phone number associated with (suspect) and showed his location at the time of the collision as being within 148 feet of the collision with a 100-300m accuracy. On 05-16-24 Detectives arrested (suspect) leaving his mothers house and post Miranda warnings took a statement from him. He told Detectives that the Compass was having mechanical issues and that he parked it at his father’s house near Bremerton. (Suspect’s) mother said she hadn’t seen the car in about 3 weeks and that (suspect) regularly drives it.

We’ll continue following up.

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SAFETY: Community conversation in White Center on May 28

May 20th, 2024 at 11:50 am Posted in Highline School District, Safety, Schools, White Center news | Comments Off on SAFETY: Community conversation in White Center on May 28

Safety concerns? Here’s a chance to talk about them with community leaders. Announced by Highline Public Schools:

Highline Public Schools Board Director Stephanie Tidholm is hosting a community event for families and students in the White Center community to talk about and address safety in the community. The event will be co-facilitated by community leaders, including Aaron Garcia, Long Phan, and others.

Families and students who live in the White Center community are invited and encouraged to bring their questions and ideas about safety in the community.

Coming Together to Address Community Safety
Date: Tuesday, May 28
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Location: Evergreen High School Library
Address: 830 SW 116th Street

Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese interpreters will be available.

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WEEKEND SCENE: White Center HUB groundbreaking celebration

May 18th, 2024 at 12:10 pm Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | Comments Off on WEEKEND SCENE: White Center HUB groundbreaking celebration

There’s still time to go watch the groundbreaking for the White Center HUB project, bringing affordable housing and community space to the former White Center Food Bank (etc.) site on the southwest corner of 8th/108th. Above are the hard hats and shovels that dignitaries will use for the ceremony on the north side of the WC Bicycle Playground at Dick Thurnau Memorial Park. But first, it’s lunch time!

And you have a chance to circulate to learn about the project – renderings are on display:

Nonprofits that are looking forward to the HUB’s community space are there:

Emcee today is White Center Community Development Association executive director Aaron Garcia:

Speeches and the ceremony are planned to start around 12:45 pm, according to the event program.

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FOLLOWUP: Suspect arrested in 15th/Roxbury hit-run death of Tommy Joe Garrett

May 17th, 2024 at 9:32 am Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 1 Comment »

(Victim’s photo, as displayed at April 27 vigil)

Three and a half weeks after a hit-run driver killed 81-year-old Tommy Joe Garrett at 15th/Roxbury, the King County Sheriff’s Office announced this morning that a suspect is in custody. Here’s the news release:

King County Sheriff’s Office Detectives have made an arrest in fatal pedestrian hit and run that occurred in White Center on April 22, 2024.

On April 22, 2024, just after 10 PM, an 81-year-old man was crossing SW Roxbury Street at 15th Ave SW when he was fatally struck by a vehicle in the hours of darkness. The vehicle did not stop and fled the scene. Detectives were able to identify the fleeing vehicle as a silver-colored Jeep Compass. Over the next few weeks KCSO Detectives continued checking the area businesses and residences to trace the vehicle’s route pre and post collision. This eventually led them to identifying a vehicle license plate with a view of the driver, a lone 37-year-old male driver. With the help of the King County Metro Transit PD Street Crimes Detectives, the driver was arrested yesterday without incident on a traffic stop as he was leaving a home in the Puyallup area. He was eventually booked for investigation of the fatal hit and run into the King County Jail. The driver subsequently admitted that he moved the Jeep to Port Orchard, where he had it parked under a tarp at a family member’s residence. King County Sheriff’s Office Detectives have recovered the vehicle, and it was brought back to King County as evidence and for processing.

This case is still an active and open investigation. We are not naming the suspect as he has not been charged yet by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. We hope to have more information to release whenthe case has concluded.

We’re working to find out more and will add details when we do.

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READER VIDEO: House fire on 24th SW

May 17th, 2024 at 12:13 am Posted in Fire, White Center news | 2 Comments »

Thanks to the reader who tipped us about this fire by texting that video (206-293-6302). Firefighters from North Highline and beyond have just finished putting out most of what was described in radio exchanges as a basement fire in a house on 24th SW (10300 block). Not much other information so far; they were dispatched just before 11:30 pm.

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Minimum wage goes up for unincorporated King County. Here’s what co-sponsoring Councilmember Mosqueda says about it

May 14th, 2024 at 9:44 pm Posted in Jobs, King County, White Center news | Comments Off on Minimum wage goes up for unincorporated King County. Here’s what co-sponsoring Councilmember Mosqueda says about it

County Councilmembers have approved a new, higher minimum wage for North Highline and other unincorporated areas of the county. Our area’s Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda co-sponsored it – here’s how she announced it in her newsletter tonight:

Today, the King County Council passed a new minimum wage for the unincorporated areas of the County. This new law, which I was proud to co-sponsor, will help bring unincorporated areas of the County, like White Center, Vashon Island, Skyway and more, in line with the many and growing jurisdictions in this county that have a higher minimum wage than the state minimum. Thanks to Councilmember Zahilay who was the prime sponsor, Committee Chair Rod Dembowski who also sponsored the legislation, and their teams for leading the effort on this bill with community.

Starting on January 1, 2025, the minimum wage for businesses with 500 or more employees will start at $20.29 and increase with inflation annually starting in 2026. There is a phase in for smaller businesses: Employers with 15 or fewer employees with an annual gross revenue of less than $2 million will have an hourly minimum wage rate of $3.00 less ($17.29). The reduction would decrease annually by $0.50 until no reduction is remaining in 2030. Employers with more than 15 employees but fewer than 500 employees would have an hourly minimum wage rate of $2.00 less ($18.29). The reduction would decrease annually by $1.00 until no reduction is remaining in 2026.

Coming from the labor movement, lifting up the voices of workers, community and small businesses to raise the wage for low wage workers in Washington State and at the local level, I know it works. When low wage workers get a raise they spend that money putting it back into their local economy. One Seattle Times article literally said: “the sky is not falling from Seattle’s minimum-wage hike”. Eight years ago, I helped lead the statewide minimum wage and sick leave initiative 1433, because reports showed the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living – especially in this region. Study after study have shown that raising the minimum wage spurs economic growth by putting more money in our local economies – and that’s actually good for business. This is why I joined with my colleagues on the council to bring in worker advocates, small businesses and other stakeholders to craft policy raising the wage for our unincorporated areas.

With outreach and engagement done by our office, we’ve heard from workers and small businesses across District 8 that they support the new minimum wage. Many small businesses in the district are already paying wages above what the new minimum will be because they believe in paying a living wage and want to recruit and retain workers. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure workers can afford to live near their places of employment. A 2 bedroom apartment in White Center on average goes for nearly $2,000 a month, which would take up to 70% of your income before taxes if you made only the state’s minimum wage. As we work on scaling up housing and affordable units, one job really should be enough to make ends meet. I am proud to have voted yes to raise the wage for workers in District 8 and will continue to support additional strategies to grow small business, invest in equitable development, increase housing stock, and build more affordable units around our region. Raising the minimum wage is just one part of the effort to create a more equitable economy.

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North Highline participation in 2024 West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day

May 10th, 2024 at 12:44 pm Posted in Fun, White Center news | Comments Off on North Highline participation in 2024 West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day

Love garage-saling? Tomorrow (Saturday, May 11) is the biggest day of the year – via our partner site West Seattle Blog, we present the annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, and this year we have several participants in North Highline – above is a screengrab from that part of our online map; click on the locations on the “live” interactive map to see the listings and locations (that page is also where you’ll find a link to a printable PDF guide to all 500+ sales, most yet)! Official sale day hours are 9 am to 3 pm Saturday.

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