North Highline UAC report #1: Puget Sound Park sale fight

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First of two reports from tonight’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting — this one, focusing on the intensifying controversy over the county proposal to sell Puget Sound Park (as reported here yesterday, it’s already accepted “submittals” from firms interested in buying up to five county park sites to build “affordable housing”).

Toward the start of tonight’s meeting, council member Barb Peters read a letter the NHUAC sent to outgoing County Executive Ron Sims expressing opposition to any sale of Puget Sound Park.

James Bush, from the office of County Council Chair Dow Constantine, stood up and said the sale proposal’s not going anywhere. Constantine himself reiterated that in an e-mail to us after the meeting, saying in part:

… as far as I am concerned, we’re not selling Puget Sound Park. The Council would have to approve such an action, and my position has been clear:

1) Park land is precious and is not to be parted with except under extraordinary circumstances; and

2) Puget Sound Park is within Burien’s intended annexation area and any decision about changing the park can and should wait until after that annexation happens.

Burien city manager Mike Martin was at tonight’s meeting too and warned NHUAC members not to leave anything to chance, saying they have to get the county executive to remove the park from the list. From what he’s seen, he says he’s clear that “the project is alive.”

Each council member agreed to contact a King County Councilmember tomorrow to get the message out; Constantine also tells us that we should know within a few days whether he has a majority of councilmembers on the no-sale side.

NHUAC is also considering further public outreach about the controversy, possibly leafletting neighborhoods, even organizing a picnic. We’ll follow up with Constantine and his staff to keep you up to date on what happens next.

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