Myriad hot topics, from homelessness to fireworks enforcement, at North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s June meeting

June 4th, 2023 at 10:37 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | No Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Summer break has begun for the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s meeting schedule – but not before an info-packed June meeting, held online last Thursday. Here’s how it unfolded:

NEW BOARD MEMBER: Brigitte Vaughn was voted in at the start of the meeting.

COUNTY COUNCILMEMBER JOE McDERMOTT: It’s his 13th and final year on the council, as he’s decided not to run for re-election. He first recognized Pride month, pointing out that its roots are in the Stonewall uprising in 1969, with significant leadership from drag queens (who are under attack in some parts of the U.S. these days) – “While in our local jurisdictions we may feel supported, well over 200 laws have been introduced in recent years” seeking to delegitimize LGBTQIA+ people, and vigilance is vital – “Pride isn’t a weekend a year or a month, it’s something we have to be engaged in throughout the year … recognize that we cannot ‘other’ marginalized communities and we must champion (them all).”

That said, McDermott offered some reflections on his 22+ years in elected office and says he’s excited to find his “next career.” From there, NHUAC’s Liz Giba started with questions – homelessness first, and this week’s murder at the unsanctioned encampment on Myers Way. McDermott pointed to the situation in Burien, where a controversy is raging after an encampment sweep that has led to a new camp on city-owned land and an order to vacate that site. He said living unsheltered isn’t “ideal” but “you don’t sweep an encampment without a place for people to go,” noting that federal judges have made that clear. The people along Myers Way haven’t been offered places to go. The Regional Homelessness Authority has been working on outreach at the site for more than a month, he said. “What’s essential to understand is that those links (to services and shelter) don’t happen in one visit” – in some cases it might take seven visits/contact to build a relationship to the point where they’re ready to accept it. NHUAC’s Barbara Dobkin noted that the greenspace at the site is being destroyed. Who’s responsible for preventing that? The conversation digressed from there and McDermott noted that the contention that many homeless people come here from out of town is erroneous – most list “last fixed address” as in King County. An attendee jumped in with questions such as whether the county has a fund to help people avoid becoming homeless. McDermott said, “We’re not at the point where we should be to prevent homelessness in the first place,” even eight years after he and other leaders declared that homelessness is an emergency.

Next question was about the hotels bought to help chronically homeless people; McDermott noted that a small sales-tax increase was instituted to fund that, and that more than 1,000 units have been procured, with 1,600 the goal. Some are empty, McDermott said, because they don’t have enough staff to run them. But still, he said, up to 1,000 of the purchased-so-far 1,200 units are occupied. The labor shortage is indeed at least in part because human-service work pays poorly – 37 percent less than private-sector workers doing similar jobs, with similar skillsets, McDermott said.

PERFORMING ARTS CENTER: The discussion of homelessness likely could have lasted the entire meeting, but some guests had to interrupt because they could only stay for a short time – they’re from the Burien Actors Theatre, working toward creation of a Burien Performing and Visual Arts Center. Arts brings money into the local economy, declared Maggie Larrick. She tag-teamed with Eric Dickman, who said that they want to build a 300-seat center. Their many arguments in favor of the center included a study that communities with arts centers have less crime. They want to build it on a county-owned site near the parking structure in downtown Burien. Affordable housing could be built over the center, they explained. They’ve talked to Metro, which they say plans community meetings to talk about the site’s possibilities. Dickman and Larrick say they need “control” of the site – some kind of commitment – before they could start major fundraising. “We find this is a way to make art more accessible,” especially for South King County residents who don’t want to, or can’t, go all the way to Seattle, said Larrick. McDermott says he’s met with them before about the idea.

BACK TO CM McDERMOTT: The problem of graffiti vandalism was surfaced. If it’s not public property, it’s up to private-property owners to take care of it – but county workers can help if it’s OK with the property owners. John Taylor with the Department of Local Services said they do try to get to gang graffiti as fast as possible. Same goes with hate graffiti, McDermott added. Giba wondered what the Conservation Corps‘ responsibilities are. It’s a transitional work/housing program, currently with two 5-member crews, who are mostly deployed in the North Highline and Skyway areas. So how would private property vandalism be addressed/ It would be brought to the county’s attention, Taylor said, and then they’d try to get the property owner’s permission so they could handle it.

Shortly thereafter, McDermott noted that Deputy Glen Brannon will become the WC Storefront Deputy on July 1st, coming from patrol work in Burien. He described the deputy as “fantastic.” The deputy joined the meeting at that point in a brief prelude to his official appearance later. One attendee had asked if there was an increase in hate graffiti and he said if it’s seen, “we need to stamp that out yesterday.”

Giba then brought up the recurring issue of loud music from the recently opened Tim’s Tavern. She read email she’d received from one of the owners, acknowledging the concerns and explaining how they’re addressing them. That included use of decibel readers, closing at midnight and ending music at 11 pm, some Sunday and all Monday events being held in the building, installing noise-reduction curtains around the outdoor area. Giba said they told her they try to keep decibels to 80 at their parking lot, 93 closer in, but she said residential areas should be maxing out at 55. Dobkin said she’d never in all her years called in a noise complaint but the current situation is “unbearable”; but the KCSO resources weren’t able to respond. “It’s really interfered with our life – we can’t have our windows open,” she said. “It’s a problem.” Deputy Brannon said it’s important to keep calling 911 when you need to. He added, “I would take some consolation in that we have open communication now with the owners of the bar,’ and they can keep communicating.

Regarding criminal justice, Deputy Brannon said they basically can’t currently jail people for non-violent crimes but “we need to be able to.” McDermott said they’re still trying to balance the fact that jail “is not a therapeutic place” and they need “carrot and stick … not just the stick.” But if someone says they’re ready for treatment “we don’t have treatment on demand” available. He said the recently approved crisis-center levy is a “step in the right direction” but “there’s more work to be done.”

Giba next asked about the fireworks ban – last year was an “educational year” so this year, will there be enforcement? There’s no enforcement limitation this year, McDermott said, but it’s “not law enforcement, it’s code enforcement – citations mailed to people.” He noted that if there aren’t enough deputies to enforce things like noise ordinances, there aren’t enough to go around ticketing people for fireworks. He also noted that the fireworks ban’s big achievement so far is the end to sales in the local area. Giba said she understood but wondered how they’re getting the word out about fines, and if they are verifying complaints. Here’s the information Local Services reps provided:

Starting June 14, residents will be able to report violators to the King County Permitting Division:

Online by visiting www.kingcounty.gov/reportfireworks (Users will have to sign up for our system)

Phone: 206-848-0800

No, code enforcement officers won’t be out on the streets, Taylor said – those means of reporting – online and phone – are what will lead to citations. (Video and photos can help.) Taylor added that a “significant amount of public education” is planned, and that people get one warning, so if somebody got a warning last year, this year they get a citation. Last year about 600 complaints came in – more than half in non-KC jurisdictions – and they ended up issuing “between 100 and 200 warning letters to people” after the 4th of July, just a few dozen after New Year’s. He thinks that ultimately this method will be more impactful, with $150 citations. “I’m optimistic,” he declared.

Dobkin then asked if the county can help NHUAC find meeting space so they can get back to in-person again. McDermott and Taylor promised to help brainstorm.

McDermott then warned that since the Legislature hasn’t taken a key tax-reform step, the county is looking at a big budget gap. But they’re fighting to keep even the unfilled funded positions and have not cut any storefront deputies. That led to …

DEPUTY BRANNON’S REPORT: He’s been with KCSO for eight years and says White Center “is a great place to be a police officer.” He said they’re seeing some worrisome trends – including a resurgence in gang activity, and there is a “bit of a gang war going on.” WC has ‘historically been everybody’s property in the gang world” but some gangs ‘coming up from out of the valley” are competing for it, an you might see their two-letter gangs. Five years ago, they managed to push them back down to South King County and get some people in jail, and they’re getting out. The Roxbury Lanes shooting was NOT random and was “kind of gang-related.” There’s been an arrest. “Two gentlemen got caught in a beef and two other people got caught in the crossfire.” That was brand-new news so we missed the last few minutes of the meeting while writing that up as a breaking story – KCSO had not disclosed the arrest earlier in the day, though the jail roster showed the suspect was taken into custody early in the morning, and we had even seen Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall in person earlier in the evening (at the White Center Pride flag-raising).

NEXT MEETING: As noted above, it’s summer break – but we’re sure to get the announcement when NHUAC’s getting ready for the first meeting of fall.

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White Center Pride Street Festival 2023 draws all-ages crowd to downtown WC

June 3rd, 2023 at 2:34 pm Posted in Fun, White Center news | No Comments »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(WCN/WSB photos)

With a nonstop slate of entertainment, 100 vendors, sidewalk food and beverage cafés, a kids’ area, and more, we’d call this the biggest White Center Pride Street Festival yet. 16th SW is closed to vehicle traffic on the blocks both south and north of SW 98th. At the north end, while we were there, DJ Baby Van Beezly was spinning:

At the south end, Aleksa Manila was leading story time by the King County Library System van:

Steps away, there’s wrestling outside Lariat Bar:

At 16th/98th, you’ll find the White Center Pride organizers – we photographed Kyle, Eliot, and Terry:

Stop by their booth to find out more about WC Pride, including the online silent auction to fund future outreach work, and the optional bracelets you can buy for local specials during the festival.

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Barbecues, yes. Yard-debris fires, no. First-stage burn ban time

June 2nd, 2023 at 11:05 pm Posted in Safety, White Center news | No Comments »

From the King County Fire Marshal’s Office:

With the dry season already upon us, King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts has issued a Stage 1 burn ban for the unincorporated areas, which prohibits yard debris fires.

The ban, issued in conjunction with the King County Fire Chiefs Association and King County Fire Marshals Association, does not apply to recreational fires and gas/propane appliances – including grills, pellet smokers and charcoal grills.

Extended periods of unusually high temperatures recently have increased the fuel load, or vegetation, in our communities. That increases the risk of potential fire when burning yard debris.

Ricketts says if residents must smoke, they should exercise extreme caution with their ashes or when they’re extinguishing cigarettes. King County asks residents to be diligent and respectful of their neighbors, and to remember that this is a demanding time for first responders.

“We are coming into the busy summer season,” he says. “While it’s a time to celebrate and have fun with family and friends, it’s also a time when the risk of fire increases. Our first responders are working as fast as they can, but the community can do its part by being extra careful when burning or lighting fires.”

Below are approved recreational (campfires) burn requirements, per the King County Fire Chiefs Association:

-Firewood shall be seasoned and dry
-Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds; and not be used as debris disposal
-Grow no larger than three (3) feet in diameter
-Be in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet away from any structure and allow 20-foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches
-Recreational fires shall be always attended by an alert individual and equipment capable of extinguishing the fire with a shovel and a 5-gallon bucket of water or with a connected and charged water hose
-Completely extinguish campfires by pouring water or moist soil in them and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch. The use of self-contained camp stoves is encouraged as an alternative
-No burning when winds exceed 15 mph

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VIDEO, PHOTOS: White Center Pride starts with flag-raising, youth parade, gift

June 1st, 2023 at 11:09 pm Posted in White Center news, White Center Pride | No Comments »

(WCN/WSB photos and video)

The Pride flag is up at Triangle Park on the north edge of White Center, after a ceremony and celebration tonight kicking off the multi-day White Center Pride festivities. The crowd filled the little plaza in front of Mac’s Triangle Pub:

Those there for the White Center Pride kickoff included King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall:

A highlight was the youth mini-parade that headed out from the plaza after the flag-raising:

One of the schools organizing the parade, Community School of West Seattle, got a gift – a new flag, courtesy of WC Pride, to replace the one stolen from them earlier this week (as reported on our partner site West Seattle Blog):

Many smaller flags were flown, too:

And some important reminders:

White Center Pride continues with a Queer Beer release party Friday night and the street party all day and night Saturday – more on both at whitecenterpride.org. And while you’re at the street festival – or before – you can see the items up for bid in this silent auction announced by WC Pride:

For this year’s White Center Pride Street Festival we have a silent auction that will raise funds to support our community LGBTQ+ projects and goals such as our outreach programs, food drives, and more. We are still in the process of gathering donations, but as of now the items are quite special and include 2 significant David Johansson Art pieces, an Erika Barcott Hanging Quilt and many certificates to local shops and restaurants.

Attendees can view the items at the street fair and online. The auction itself will all take place online here: givebutter.com/c/wcpsilentauction

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Free gun lockboxes on Friday in White Center

May 31st, 2023 at 8:23 pm Posted in Greenbridge, White Center news | No Comments »

On Friday (June 2), National Gun Violence Awareness Day, free gun lockboxes will be available at locations around King County including one in Greenbridge. Here’s the announcement:

Everyone in King County deserves to live in communities that are hopeful, safe, healthy, and thriving. In honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Day this June 2, 2023, Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Regional Gun Violence program is partnering with community organizations to host gun lockbox giveaway events throughout the county. Our shared goal is to promote gun safety and raise awareness of community organizations working to address gun violence in our region.

Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the US. Over the past three years, we have seen an uptick in the number of firearm-related injuries and deaths in King County, in places where we all live, play and learn.

Gun violence is not inevitable, it is preventable, and in our region, we recognize that gun violence is a public health emergency. We each have a role in ending it.

Local lockbox giveaways on National Gun Violence Awareness Day

This Friday, June 2, is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, kicking off “Wear Orange” Weekend through June 4. During Wear Orange Weekend, communities across King County and the nation come together to remember those injured or lost due to gun violence and take action toward a future free of gun violence.

To commemorate this movement, on Friday, June 2, the Public Health’s Regional Gun Violence program’s Regional Peacekeepers Collective, in partnership with community-based organizations, will host events throughout King County. Each event will feature remarks from community safety experts and local government leaders, gun safety education, and free handgun lockbox giveaways. These events are free and open to all, and lockboxes will be distributed while supplies last.

Free community lockbox giveaway events include:

White Center Lockbox Giveaway, hosted with YMCA Alive and Free

Friday, June 2, 2023 | 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm | Greenbridge Plaza – 9800 8th Avenue SW

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LOST CAT: Seen Breezy? – FOUND

May 31st, 2023 at 1:20 pm Posted in Pets, White Center news | No Comments »

(Update: Breezy is back home; info removed!)

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UPDATE: Roxy’s Casino/Roxbury Lanes remains closed after triple shooting

May 29th, 2023 at 6:07 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | No Comments »

As covered on our partner site West Seattle Blog starting late Saturday night, three people were shot at Roxy’s Casino. The casino and adjacent Roxbury Lanes plan to remain closed until Thursday as they continue dealing with the aftermath. WSB commenters say two of the victims are Roxy’s employees. While KCSO is saying very little about the shooting or the investigation, Harborview Medical Center says all three victims are still there, two men in critical condition, one woman in serious condition. No description or image of the shooter has been made public yet.

ADDED TUESDAY: One of the men has improved to serious condition, according to Harborview.

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

May 29th, 2023 at 11:57 am Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | No Comments »

It’s an easy way to connect to what’s happening in your community – set aside an hour and a half to join the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting online this Thursday! The announcement explains how:

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved, and Be Heard!

Where? North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting

When? Thursday, June 1, 2023, at 7 pm

Join Zoom Meeting:
us02web.zoom.us/j/87391666828?pwd=WXU0bzFRQ1pqREx3eDAxQ2hqb1ZiQT09

Meeting ID: 873 9166 6828
Passcode: NHUAC2023 (Case Sensitive)

Unable to join via Zoom? Please call: 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 873 9166 6828
Passcode: 419924913

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

Happy Pride Month! Before joining NHUAC’s last meeting before our summer break (June 1 @ 7 pm), King County Councilperson Joe McDermott will help kickoff the festivities at the White Center Pride Flag Raising Ceremony outside Mac’s Triangle Pub.

Please join our discussion with him, which is sure to cover his decades of experience in public office. Although history is important, it will not be our focus. We’ll discuss issues that face our North Highline community today, including:

– The lack of deputies;

– Homelessness and housing;

– The abundance of graffiti and

– Our lack of community greenspaces, which in addition to their beauty and positive effects on physical and mental health, help protect communities like North Highline from the damaging effects of climate change.

We’re also looking forward to voting on adding Brigett Vaughn to NHUAC’s board and hoping to meet White Center’s new Storefront Deputy – Glen Brannon!

Knowledge Is Power
Learn, share, and help make North Highline a healthier community.
June 1, 2023 at 7 pm – Invite Your Neighbors!

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WHITE CENTER PRIDE 2023: Celebration starts Wednesday

May 27th, 2023 at 5:20 pm Posted in Fun, White Center news | No Comments »

White Center Pride isn’t just the street festival – it’s a big lineup of festivities starting Wednesday night (May 31st)! Here’s what organizers have shared:

Here’s more on the art show:

And then – one week from today – the festival lineup!

More details:

Downtown White Center
Saturday, June 3rd
12 pm to 12 am
Open at 11 am for families/individuals with sensitivities

To start the day off our Main Stage opens with DJ Ed Martin, DJ Baby Van Breezy, our Pride Dog Parade, The Pazific, and DJ Redline. Defy Wrestling matches will be ongoing in our Lariat Ring. And our Kids Area will have a DJ, Face Painter, Moon Bounce House, and our White Center Library’s Book Mobile with book reading by none other than Aleksa Manila!

In the afternoon our Pop-Up Stage gets going with Mia Moore, Nemesis, Lavina Richards, and Rylee Raw. Tim’s Tavern opens with hosts D’Monica Leon & Londyn Bradshaw and bands Xolie + Strange Kid, Batbox, and Mikey Moo. Defy Wrestling continues in our Lariat Ring

Things heat up in the evening. Our Main Stage has #BlackHotSunday curated by Adra Boo. She’ll be joined by Taylar Elizza Beth, Jayza, and Divine Augustine. We have Tinashea Monet Presents, DJ Dark Wiley and Queen Andrew hosting a spectacular Drag Queen line up. And Tymira closes out the night. On our Pop Up Stage we have Go-Go Boy performances and Themecandesence’ LED show. Tim’s Tavern continues the evening with The Aqua Nets, Creature Hole, and Tom Bentley. The Lumberyard Bar hosts Dolly and the DJ. And don’t forget to stop by the Art Show at the Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery as we celebrate Brown Pride!

Main Stage
11:00am – DJ Ed Martin
12:00pm – DJ Baby Van Breezy
12:30pm – Pride Dog Parade
2:00pm – The Pazific
3:00pm – DJ Redline
6:00pm – #BlackHotSunday curated by Adra Boo with Taylar Elizza Beth, Jayza, Divine Augustine
7:00pm – Tinashea Monet Presents
8:00pm Drag show with DJ Dark Wiley, hosted by Queen Andrew with Holli B. Sinclair, Kristie Champagne, Dion Dior Black, Kylie Mooncakes, and Whispur Watershadow
10:00pm – Tymira

Kids Area:
11:00am to 5:00pm Moon Bounce House
11:00am to 3:00pm White Center Library Book Mobile
12:00pm Kids DJ
1:00pm Book Reading with Aleksa Manila
1:00pm Face Painting

Lariat Bar
1:00pm – Match 1
3:00pm – Match 2
5:00pm – Match 3

Pop-up stage
3:00pm – Mia Moore
3:30 – Nemesis
4:00 – Lavina Richards
5:00 – Rylee Raw
6:00 – Tiny Cherub – Gogo
7:00 – Willow – Gogo
8:00 – Caesar Lyon – Gogo
9:00 – Tom Bentley – Gogo
10:00-11:00 – Themecandesence – LED show

Tim’s Tavern
Hosted by: D’Monica Leon & Londyn Bradshaw
3:00pm – Xolie + Strange Kid
4:00pm – Batbox
5:00pm – Mikey Moo
6:00pm – The Aqua Nets
7:00pm – Creature Hole
8:00pm – Pre-booked music, do we know who?

Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery
5:00pm Brown Pride Art Show with:
Alena Prendez, Carlos Martinez, Dia Knight, Eileen Jimenez, Jo Cosme, Maribel Galvan, and Vaquero Azul

Lumberyard Bar
10:00-12:00am – Dolly and the DJ

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Red Nose Day brings smiles and support to Educare in Greenbridge

May 26th, 2023 at 3:42 pm Posted in How to Help, White Center news | No Comments »

(This story also appeared on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(Above, from left: Bahini Buvaneswaran, Liliana Gaxiola-Cuerpo, Elsa Benavides, Nancy Woodland, Shariffa Sabrie, Christina Monteith, Mai-Chi Kelly, Heidi Walker, Barbara Harris-Bojang)

A lot of clowning around Thursday at the Educare Early Learning Center in Greenbridge. They were participating in Red Nose Day, which raises awareness and money to help little kids. “A few years ago, my brother walked into a restaurant to meet me with a big red nose on his face. I burst out laughing and then went in for a hug,” recounts one of the participants, West Seattleite Nancy Woodland, executive director of Learning Communities Foundation. On behalf of Educare Seattle, she picks up the story from there:

The Red Noses are eye-catching, goofy and fun. For Educare Seattle, they are a connection point to joy and a meaningful way to illuminate the importance of early learning, especially for families facing poverty.

More than 110 children enter Educare Seattle each day to engage in learning through child-care and preschool programs designed to ensure the littlest among us have access to high quality learning with a “whole family” approach. Children are greeted by teachers who look like them, honor their stories and celebrate their traditions. Parents and caregivers are recognized as their children’s first and most important teachers and have access to family support services and leadership opportunities in equal proportion.

“Partnering with a parent for resume’ support, basic needs assistance like diapers or gas funds or to gather their input for a staff hire is an integral part of our program design. It’s not an add-on or an extra because nothing is more important than centering the child and recognizing that the grown-ups surrounding them, each of them, is a part of that child’s story,” says Mai-Chi Kelly, Family Advocate. “Here, parents have power and voice and always have.”

Programs like these benefit from Comic Relief’s annual Red Nose Day campaign, now in its ninth year, raising life-changing funds to help end the cycle of poverty and ensure children are safe, healthy, educated and empowered across the U.S. and around the world. The campaign’s iconic Red Noses, symbolizing hope and positive change, are on sale nationwide at longstanding Red Nose Day partner Walgreens.

Please consider stopping by Walgreens to pick up a Red Nose. Please donate directly to Comic Relief here, where funds will be collected nationally and distributed through partners or, as Educare Seattle’s story is being gathered to be shared over the coming year, invest in local early learners at Educare Seattle here.

(A grant from a previous Comic Relief Red Nose Day funded playground improvement at Educare Seattle so more STEM-based lessons can occur outside, rain or shine. The project was completed Thursday.)

Educare Seattle is an innovative early learning center in White Center. Families meeting “income and circumstance” criteria receive childcare and attend preschool in a setting built on four pillars that combine to lead to a racially just and humanizing learning system.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Educare building at 625 SW 100th holds Educare, Heritage Head Start and Seattle Preschool Programs. The White Center Community Development Association holds its Kaleidoscope Play and Learn programs there weekly.

Relaunching now that doors can be open again, staffing levels are starting to even out and new faces with big ideas are reconnecting to plan for the future.

Woodland adds, “Even with 13 years working at WestSide Baby, I didn’t realize there was a magical place several blocks away.” The WestSide Baby model focuses on provides basic needs for children without connecting 1:1 to the families and children. “Connecting with WestSide Baby’s new Executive Director, Michelle Hankinson, this week just drove home that White Center is home to incredible nonprofits and the pandemic sent many into crisis management mode. It’s time for us all to reconnect in service to children and families.”

Email her at nwoodland@learningcommunitiesfoundation.com if you’d like to learn more about board leadership opportunities, event support, sponsorship opportunities, or even just to see the program for yourself. She adds, “As I checked in with my brother about the Red Nose memory, he said ‘I noticed it because it was goofy but I bought it because I saw it was connected to something good. The fact that it made folks laugh was an added bonus.’”

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CRIME WATCH: Helicopter over White Center after mini-mart holdup; car-wash assault

May 25th, 2023 at 3:45 pm Posted in Crime, Helicopter, White Center news | 2 Comments »

Two Crime Watch notes today:

HELICOPTER OVER WHITE CENTER: The King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One has been circling for a while. We’re trying to find out why and will update when we know.

UPDATE: The mini-mart on the northwest corner of 16th/107th was robbed, we’ve confirmed at the scene. We’re told the robber(s) got away with about $150. The store remains open, as does the teriyaki restaurant next door. The helicopter has since moved on.

Meantime, a reader report of a recent incident:

CAR-WASH ASSAULT: This is from the victim’s mom:

I just wanted to make readers aware that there is risk of assault at the Car Palace car wash [10450 16th SW]. Two weeks ago, my 19-year old daughter was getting coins from the bill changer at the car wash. It was about 10 am.

She was groped from behind by a man who was about 5’5″ with dark hair. He was filming himself groping her with his camera. When she yelled, he took off running. She was so upset that she unwisely leapt into her car to follow him.

She followed him in her car to a nearby street where he hid under a bush. She then called her dad, who called the police. They saw the man enter a house nearby. They waited for 3 hours for the police, or in this case the sheriff, but no one came. There is currently just one car assigned to White Center.

Last night, the sheriff’s deputy came to interview my daughter. They cannot interview the suspect until the single deputy gets a partner for safety reasons.

At the very least, we’d like to warn other women that Car Palace may not be safe when you are alone, even in broad daylight on a busy street.

Incident # C23017252. We’re checking on the KCSO staffing situation, as they recently assigned a new “storefront deputy,” according to briefings at the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

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Peace ‘N The Hood job fair set for June 7 in White Center

May 24th, 2023 at 2:42 pm Posted in Jobs, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news | No Comments »

Just announced!

Teens and young adults are invited to come meet prospective employers 3-5 pm June 7th at Steve Cox Memorial Park (1321 SW 102nd SW).

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ROAD-WORK ALERT: Myers Way closure this weekend

May 19th, 2023 at 11:00 pm Posted in Traffic, White Center news | No Comments »

The Seattle Department of Transportation will be repaving Myers Way S. all weekend, between Olson and 2nd SW, and it’ll be closed to everything but transit starting at 7 am Saturday.

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SPORTS: DubSea Fish Sticks sell out Opening Night!

May 18th, 2023 at 6:51 pm Posted in Sports, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news | No Comments »

(2022 FishSticks photo by Robby Mullikin, actionpnw.com)

Big announcement from the DubSea Fish Sticks – it’s team history!

The DubSea Fish Sticks summer collegiate baseball team’s Opening Night on Saturday, June 3rd, sold out today.

“We had a goal this year of selling out multiple games and Opening Night was first on our list,” explained President Justin Moser.

This is the first sellout in franchise history, since they started as the Highline Bears in 2015.

The team hosts their events at Mel Olson Stadium which is located inside of King County’s Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center, nicknamed “The Fryer.”

The team is known for their crazy antics including throwing out a ceremonial first fish. Where the honoree flings a fish toward home plate instead of a baseball. During non-league games the team also runs an open raffle for a random fan to sign a one day contract and lead off in the game for the Fish Sticks as the “Fan Batter of the Night”.

The Fish Sticks recruit players from colleges across the country to come and play for the months of June and July. The 2023 summer roster is made up of players from thirty different colleges. The players report in late May and play with the team to hone their skills and hope to one day play professionally.

The Fish Sticks are still looking for host families for this season for players who are coming from as far away as California, Texas, Florida and Georgia. They are also actively looking for more sponsors and performers to sing the National Anthem.

Single-game tickets for DubSea Fish Sticks games are only $12. If you were unable to get tickets to Opening Night, don’t worry. The team will host 26 home games this summer, including every Saturday night from June 3th – July 29th. On Sunday, June 11th the team will play “Banana Ball,” which was created by the world-famous Savannah Bananas.

The Fish Sticks also partner with youth organizations and nonprofits to run ticket fundraisers at every game and sell discounted group packages. Opening Night’s ticket sales helped West Seattle Baseball raise over $1,000 so far.

You can find more information and secure your tickets for a game at The Fryer online at GoFishSticks.com.

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Your property taxes explained @ May’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

May 15th, 2023 at 11:20 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | Comments Off on Your property taxes explained @ May’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

How exactly does the property tax process work? That’s part of what you would have learned if you’d attended this month’s North Highline Uncorporated Area Council meeting. In case you didn’t, we have toplines:

COUNTY ASSESSOR: John Wilson was first guest of the night. He noted that his office sets value for 720,000 parcels around the county. Last year, they had 9,000 valuation appeals. He explained the process of what goes into tax bills, and what goes into valuation.

Market sales are a strong factor in calculating residential values, for example.

They have to calculate 600 different levy codes including 150 different taxing districts. The taxes property owners pay go to a wide variety. Values calculated this year, for 2024 property taxes, are up 21 percent … while for this year’s taxes, values were up 6 percent. Here’s what taxes fund:

King County provides just under 50 percent of all state property tax revenue, he noted – followed by Snohomish, around 22 percent. More numbers: White Center valuations are up about 30 percent. That doesn’t mean your taxes are going up that much, though. 43 percent of your property-tax bill is voter-approved levies. 80 percent of property-tax revenue comes from homeowners – only 20 percent from commercial-property owners. (That’s inequitable, Wilson said, and would like to see it changed. “Homeowners and renters pay a disproportionate share of property taxes, and that ought to change.”)

Wilson also offered some education about the senior property-tax exemptions, and he talked about the changes in state law that will allow more to become – or remain – eligible for them.

That’ll mean even people with $72,000 household income will be eligible – up to 30,000 more households, he said. There’s also a deferral program, but someone eventually has to pay the taxes you deferred, either when you die or sell the house, for example. He noted a couple more relief bills that were proposed but didn’t make it through the Legislature. Later, he noted that the senior exemption program brings his office 1,200 calls a week. They have a backlog they hope to have remedied within three months or so.

In Q&A, he was asked, among other things, what happens with properties whose owners had tax exemption and then died. How does the Assessor’s Office find out? Tips are good, Wilson said, as they don’t have the staff to proactively keep verifying. What about when an exempt property becomes a rental? That too would be great to get a tip about, he said. Another attendee voiced the suspicion that renters vote for tax increases because they don’t think it’ll affect you. Property owners invariably pass the cost along in the rent they charge, Wilson assured her, and he thinks renters are aware of that. Another attendee who identified herself as a renter verified that.

Since zoning now allows multiple accessory dwelling units on properties, will that increase valuation even for those without them? Maybe over time, Wilson said, since valuations do have some relation to zoning. It mostly depends on how widespread that kind of construction becomes.

If one spouse qualifies by age but the other doesn’t, can they still apply? Wilson said yes.

NORTH SEA-TAC PARK: Sandy Hunt and Noemie Maxwell visited to talk about what they’re working on. They showed why they’re fighting for up to 100 forested acres that could be lost to airport expansion – they say trees are a vital factor in health outcomes.

They recapped their successful fight against losing some of the forest to an employee parking lot, then learning they weren’t out of the woods yet, so to speak. They talked about its environmental attributes, including a “true bog” and a creek. The area also is used for bicycling, disc golf, even rugby – it’s not “just” trees. They said that when homes were removed from the area decades ago, people were told the land would remain in “open public use.” There’s already been a lot of development – warehouses, for example.

Here’s what they’re fighting for:

How they’re going to get there, isn’t clear yet. There are “legal protections” they need to fight for, for example. But awareness is also big. Like the trees:

They’re collecting signatures here. They’re also open to speaking to other groups and helping with related advocacy. They also hope supporters will speak at Port Commission meetings. They might have to hold demonstrations, and that requires people-power. They’re not giving up and going away, is their message, even if and when attempts are made to assuage them by saying “no current plans.”

TIM’S TAVERN: NHUAC’s Barb Dobkin says she lives more than half a mile away but can hear the new venue’s nightly outdoor music in her home even with doors/windows closed. The state Liquor and Cannabis Board rep who usually attends NHUAC meetings said he had invited the operators to attend, though they didn’t show. He spoke with them about the sound levels and reported that they are working with their bands. But as another attendee from King County government, Michael Morales, noted, it’s a code issue, not an LCB issue. “What they’re doing is completely allowable in the business district.” Nonetheless, he said, they’ll look into it.

NEW BOARD MEMBER: The NHUAC board has another prospective new member – Brigitte introduced herself. “I want to be able to have a voice,” she declared. The vote on adding her to board will likely be taken next month.

SPEAKING OF WHICH … NHUAC meets first Thursdays most months, 7 pm, online, so June 1st is likely the next meeting.

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SATURDAY: West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2023, with four North Highline sales

May 12th, 2023 at 10:08 pm Posted in West Seattle, White Center news | Comments Off on SATURDAY: West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day 2023, with four North Highline sales

If you enjoy garage/yard sales, tomorrow’s a big day – via our partner site West Seattle Blog, we coordinate the annual West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, and this year more sales are registered than ever – even with a few last-minute cancellations, we have ~400 this year. They’re all on this map (as well as this printable list with addresses and descriptions). And four of them are in North Highline:

Sale #5: 10913 26th SW
Sale #18: 822 SW 104th
Sale #20: 10009 20th SW
Sale #390: 9858 26th SW

Official hours for the Saturday sales are 9 am-3 pm, but check the map/list for possible changes. Whatever you vhoose to do, have a great Saturday!

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Meetup Thursday for LGBTQ business owners in White Center and West Seattle

May 8th, 2023 at 1:07 am Posted in Businesses, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Here’s the announcement for a first-ever event, happening Thursday:

West Seattle/White Center LGBTQ Business Owner Meetup
Thursday, May 11th | 7 pm to 9 pm
Launchpad Co-Working Space,
6030 California Ave SW, West Seattle

It’s about time LGBTQ West Seattle and White Center business owners gathered together for support, networking, and fun! Join us for our first-ever meetup Thursday, May 11th at 7 pm at Launchpad Co-Working space in Morgan Junction. Let’s get to know each other and see what ways we can support each other. This meetup is specifically for those who identify as LGBTQ and are local business owners (all-size businesses, contractors, entertainers/artists). Drinks and appetizers will be provided.

Hosted by Monica Colgan and Autumn Lovewell, owners of Youngstown Coffee, HeartBeet Cafe, and Launchpad.

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GRATITUDE: Highline Public Schools’ CHOICE Academy parents’ group expresses donation appreciation

May 4th, 2023 at 5:15 pm Posted in Highline School District, How to Help, Schools, White Center news | Comments Off on GRATITUDE: Highline Public Schools’ CHOICE Academy parents’ group expresses donation appreciation

The parent-support organization for CHOICE Academy, which is open to students from around the Highline district, is expressing appreciation for a donation from an area business, as well as continuing fundraising for an end-of-school-year initiative, and asked us to publish this:

CHOICE Academy Parent Support Organization, an organization of parents fiscally sponsored by the Highline Schools Foundation, is partnering with Azteca Mexican Restaurants to donate T-shirts to students for Field Day, the last day of the school year.

Azteca Mexican Restaurants, with locations in Tukwila and Burien, has made a donation in support of the purchase, with both locations’ separate ownerships showing support for the school’s initiative.

CHOICE Academy is a small school with around 180 students for grades 6-12, which offers a smaller educational environment with more flexibility. It has won several awards for academic excellence and has stand-out test scores for the district. The CHOICE Academy Parent Support Organization aims to provide some extras for the students and support the teachers and staff.

“The PSO fell into dormancy over the pandemic, but we’ve managed to get back up and running and the parents have come through on a number of occasions to help with events. It was quite a struggle to revive the organization, which is one reason why it’s so heartening to see community support like this,” said Beth Quittman, the President of CHOICE Academy Parent Support Organization.

The PSO is selling Butter Braids, a frozen filled pastry, to raise the remaining funds needed for the project. Supporters who wish to take part in the fundraiser can do so online (here) and pick up their purchases on May 26 or donate their purchases to local homeless shelter Mary’s Place.

Azteca Mexican Restaurants, a locally owned business with its Burien headquarters building located right next to the school district headquarters, is happy to show their support for the school’s initiative. Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, and Azteca Mexican Restaurants is the perfect place to celebrate while showing appreciation for their community spirit.

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Pho White Center temporarily closed for public-health violations

May 3rd, 2023 at 6:44 pm Posted in Food, Health, Restaurants, Safety, White Center news | 3 Comments »

The sign on Pho White Center‘s door at 9642 16th SW simply says “temporarily closed,” hours after Public Health – Seattle & King County announced it had shut down the restaurant for violations:

Pho White Center at 9642 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106
Closed: May 1, 2023 at 5:30 pm

Reasons:
-Permit suspended due to repeat critical violations including:
-No designated Person-in-Charge of food safety
-Inaccessible handwash station
-Improper cooling of foods
-Holding foods at room temperature
-Inadequate procedures for holding foods at room temperature

Status: Closed

A check of the Public Health inspection database showed Pho White Center most recently had an “okay” rating.

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White Center’s deputy change, and what else is on the agenda for North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s May meeting Thursday

May 1st, 2023 at 12:38 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | Comments Off on White Center’s deputy change, and what else is on the agenda for North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s May meeting Thursday

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s monthly meeting is this Thursday (May 4th), 7 pm online. Here’s the agenda announcement:

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard!

Where? North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting

When? Thursday, May 4, 2023, at 7 pm

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89434530620?pwd=c1VtejJlSTc0TlZlaHpJYTBQcmtPUT09

Meeting ID: 894 3453 0620
Passcode: NHUAC2023 (Case Sensitive)

Unable to join via Zoom? Please call: 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 894 3453 0620
Passcode: 060150115

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

NHUAC’s May 4th meeting will start with a changing of the guard. Last month we learned that Deputy Bill, White Center’s Storefront Deputy, would be retiring after 25 years with the King County Sheriff’s Office. It is now official; Deputy Bill has retired. However, his sense of community carries on. Bill will begin the meeting by introducing his successor, Deputy Glen. Join us in wishing Bill the best and welcoming Deputy Glen Brannon!

Property taxes, many of us pay them, whether we own or rent our homes. The amount of our taxes is directly related to the property’s assessed value. We’ll be joined by King County Assessor John Wilson to bring us up to date on the assessment process, possible exemptions, and other things pertinent to this substantial expenditure.

In addition to their beauty and positive effects on physical and mental health, greenspaces also help make communities like North Highline more livable by protecting them from the damaging effects of climate change. Last month, we learned from King County’s Dave Kimmett of an opportunity to purchase some property near Seola Pond. NHUAC, with the help of community member Sabina Beg, recently wrote a letter supporting the acquisition of those parcels. (Thanks, Sabina!) A few months ago, we submitted a letter in an effort to protect North SeaTac Park. This month Sandy Hunt and Noamie Maxwell will join us discuss that very worthwhile effort.

Deputy Glenn has been asked to make his first report to our community. We’re looking forward to that as well as hearing from Brigitte Vaughn, who has stepped forward to join NHUAC’s board.

Join us as we look to a future with the addition of new members and Deputy Glen!

Knowledge is power.

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

May 4, 2023 at 7 pm – Invite Your Neighbors!

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