King County uses report release to reiterate that White Center (and other areas) must be annexed

King County’s out with a new report today about growth, and is using the occasion to reiterate that it needs unincorporated areas such as White Center need to be annexed to cities. Here’s the official news release:

The 2008 Annual Growth Report (AGR) indicates that the Growth Management
Act continues to successfully funnel residential growth to cities,
helping preserve rural lands and lifestyle. The report shows that the
rate of annexations of unincorporated areas in King County has increased
and residential growth has focused increasingly in King County’s urban
areas. Rural areas saw barely 3% of countywide residential growth in

As highlighted in the AGR, residential construction increased 24% in
2007 over the 2006 level [2008 AGR, p.69]. Construction of apartments
and condominiums grew significantly, especially in the cities of
Seattle, Bellevue and Renton. Single family home construction in both
the urban and rural areas remained relatively stable in 2007.

Within the urban area, three large annexations to Auburn and Renton
early in 2008 contributed to the growth of King County cities, and
continued the transfer of unincorporated residents into cities with city
services. With these annexations, the population of the urban
unincorporated area decreased almost 13%, falling below 200,000

“This report shows the Growth Management Act is succeeding at preserving
our rural areas and focusing growth into the urban area,” said King
County Executive Ron Sims. “Unfortunately, King County cannot continue
to provide the costly urban services, so we need to have urban areas of
unincorporated King County annex to cities,” he said. “Although over
31,000 residents annexed to cities in 2008, since 2005 the results of
annexation elections have been mixed. We are continuing to work with
cities and residents to promote annexation or incorporation in the
remaining unincorporated area. We are also exploring a variety of
strategies to address the diverse needs and geography of these areas.”

The 2008 Economic Benchmark Report shows mixed signs of growth in the
local economy. Following exceptional growth during the late 1990’s and a
subsequent recession in the early years of this decade, income measures
are again on the rise. However, these gains have struggled to keep pace
with inflation. When adjusted for inflation, 2006 average wages, per
capita personal income and median household income show little to no
increase over the last six years.

Other indicators show uncertainty in the local economy. Despite
business closings between 2002 and 2006, King County experienced small
gains in employment, with a 4% increase during this time period. Strong
growth in employment and wages were experienced in both construction and
administrative/ waste services. Conversely, the information sector
experienced decreases in both firms and wages. Despite these losses,
the information sector continues to pay higher wages than any other
sector in King County, with employees averaging $108,000 annually.

Prepared by the Office of Management and Budget, the Annual Growth
Report and the Benchmark reports are companion documents that provide
detailed information about the region’s demographics and development
patterns. The Benchmark reports further track the success of the
Countywide Planning Policies adopted to comply with the state Growth
Management Act, as well as measure and analyze trends in economic
development, transportation, the environment, and the supply and demand
of affordable housing in King County.

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