North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Updates, tributes

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting highlighted three relatively new public-safety-agency representatives reporting on their respective departments and appointments serving the North Highline community.

North Highline Fire District Chief Marstrom comes to North Highline from a former Fire Chief position in the Pierce County city of Lakewood. His initial assessment of the budgeting decisions to be made in the next quarter was that the “status quo will no longer apply.”

Chief Marstrom will be reporting at the next North Highline Fire District Board meeting, rescheduled for Friday, September 17 at 10 AM in the Training Room of the Fire Station. (The regular meeting time is the second to last Tuesday of the month.) NHUAC councilmember Pat Price encouraged attendees to write directly to the Board to request that board meetings, currently held in the daytime, be rescheduled to evening hours to improve public access to “open” meetings. * Such requests can also be made by asking that the change be put on the Board’s agenda via the board’s secretary, or suggested during an open public-comment period at meetings; you can reach the secretary by phone at 243-0330 or e-mail at “Evening meetings are easier for most people to get to,” Price said.

The council also heard from King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. JJ Hodgson, who has recently taken Sgt. Buschley’s place at the West Precinct, so recently that he had not yet had business cards printed, but his e-mail contact is He also had not yet received an analysis of the Crime Stats to identify any trends, but he did mention a few of the more basic numbers available to him on such short notice. In brief, incidents for July and August, respectively: Auto Theft – 17, 15; Commercial Burglary – 2, 7; and, Residential Burglary – 14, 13.

There are currently two deputies assigned for coverage between Seattle and North Burien. Unless there is a special issue, Burien cars do not work in unincorporated areas. Concerns were voiced about ongoing traffic enforcement in the area around the school at 112th Ave SW and 10th Ave SW; Sgt. Hodgson didn’t have any easy answers.

Another KCSO position change noted was Sgt. Mattson is now the contact at the Precinct for drug houses and other drug-related matters, through the Special Emphasis Unit, replacing Sgt. Hancock, according to Hodgson.

Sgt. Chinnick, working the Gang Unit for the area since May, agreed with Councilmember Barbara Dobkin’s comment that “…with all the resources going to Club Evo … the community is being held hostage.” Club Evo was recently shut down by the Department of Revenue for unpaid taxes, but reopened last Friday, reportedly after the out-of-town owner leased the property to an employee who legally reopened the facility for the weekend. Club Evo still does not have a business or dance hall license as required by King County and Chinnick said he was told by the Department Director of DDS that they will put the matter on the front burner as they continue to investigate. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is working on the case too.

While the investigation continues, KCSO Emphasis Patrols are being deployed consistently against the ongoing “attractive nuisance” at the club. Funded by grants, the unit is limited yet resourceful in extracting KCSO personnel to apply to Club Evo on Friday and or Saturday nights. The owners and manager will either come into compliance, or they will close, according to Chinnick. KCSO’s purview is to systematically address the criminal problems associated with the facility. Deputies have recently used pepper spray and sirens to irritate and flat-out annoy the criminals to deter them from crime, as well as preventing people from getting hurt, he said, adding that the club manager was observed using pepper spray on his own clientele last weekend to control the crowd.

Also at the meeting: Burien City Manager Mike Martin announced that a “visioning” project for Burien will begin in earnest in January, to define its future community character and to determine the comprehensive plan for parks, streets and overall land use schemes. Budgeting for the process has been allocated for the master development plans for the next five to 15 years. Citing a recent survey conducted by the city of Burien for the North and older Burien areas, Martin said he was “trying to build a government based on the values of the people who live here.”

Dick Thurnau, Friends of Hicks Lake, was recognized by King County Councilmember Jan Drago‘s representative Linda Robson for countless volunteer hours given in service of his community, and was given a certificate of acknowledgment for his service.

Before closing, the Council voted to organize a Candidates’ Forum for sometime in the fall and will immediately begin contacting venues and coordinating candidates.

It was also noted that the Elections Committee will be convening to address how and whether to advertise for the open positions on the Council for District 3 and District 1. District 3 is the area between 4th Ave. SW and 16th Ave. SW and District 1 covers all of the area east of Highway #509.


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