FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine site still idle

May 28th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, King County, Top Hat, White Center news No Comments »

Almost three months after its abrupt announcement ignited community concern, the Top Hat site set up by King County for possible COVID-19 quarantine/isolation remains idle. On Wednesday’s weekly informational call for White Center ccommunity members, a neighborhood activist again asked about the site’s post-pandemic future, but the county insists it’s too soon to say. Meantime, the county is closing the Shoreline site it had set up for assessment and recovery, as explained by Angie Malpass:

As a result of flattening the curve, the operations at the Shoreline AC/RC site, designed to handle a surge of cases, are on hold now that our health-care system, and isolation and quarantine centers have plenty of capacity. The structures will likely remain standing through the end of June when the agreement between the City of Shoreline and King County expires, as we continue to monitor case counts and demand for isolation, quarantine and assessment/recovery centers.

That leaves four county centers in operation – Kent, North Seattle/Aurora, Issaquah, and Harborview Hall. 33 people in all are staying at those facilities, far below the total 246-person capacity. Along with those, the Top Hat site and one in Eastgate “continue to stand ready to open when needed, if demand grows or we experience a second surge,” Malpass said, but, “King County will bring current operational facilities up to full capacity before opening new sites for isolation, quarantine, or recovery.”

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PRIDE: You’re invited to virtual White Center flag-raising ceremony on June 6

May 26th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, White Center news No Comments »

Last year, the first-ever White Center Pride flag-raising was a joyful celebration. This year, COVID-19 is getting in the way – but a virtual celebration will keep the spirit going. Today’s announcement:

On Saturday June 6th at 6:00 pm, a flag symbolizing both pride and progress will soar over Seattle’s southernmost border. The raising of the Progress Pride Flag commemorates the second year of Pride in White Center, where a strong LGBTQIA+ community has recently emerged.

Although the White Center Pride Committee has rescheduled all in-person events from the traditional month of June to October 2020 (due to impact from COVID-19), this event will be an opportunity for our community to virtually and safely “gather” to celebrate Pride as we raise the flag.

The virtual event will feature a live stream, prerecorded messages from speakers, including King County Council Member Joe McDermott, and performances by local drag queens Cookie Couture and Old Witch. We hope that many will join in celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community alongside the wonderful people who live here.

This is a FREE event. Donations accepted via PayPal @WCPride. Donations are tax deductible because the White Center Pride Committee is a pending non-profit 501c3.

You’ll be able to watch via Zoom.

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RESTAURANTS: Why Biscuit Bitch won’t be reopening in White Center

May 13th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Restaurants, White Center news 4 Comments »

You might have heard by now that Biscuit Bitch has decided it won’t be reopening some of its locations – including the one that opened just last year in downtown White Center. Proprietor Kimmie Spice says it was a tough call but she had no choice but to downsize. Here’s her long letter explaining it all.

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LITTLE FREE PANTRIES: You’re invited to host one!

May 13th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, How to Help, White Center news No Comments »

That’s a Little Free Pantry. In the spirit of Little Free Libraries, it’s a new nwighborhood-based way to help address hunger – which already existed in all neighborhoods, but is now worsened by the virus-crisis economic crunch. The project started in southeast Seattle and founder Molly Harmon says they are expanding west:

A small movement has taken hold in SE Seattle and we are spreading the energy to West Seattle, White Center and Burien – the building and installing of Little Free Pantries (LFP).

This project began with a micro-grant & six Little Free Pantries, and within a month we’ve raised over $3,000 and distributed nearly 44 Little Free Pantries. Little Free Pantries help neighbors feed neighbors. They aren’t intended to replace food security agencies nor eliminate the need to support them; rather they work alongside each other to draw awareness to food insecurity issues and create community through collective action in a neighborhood. We’ve begun working alongside Northwest Harvest & will work to reach out to area food banks, finding ways to utilize each other’s efforts in addressing food security.

The intention is to inform people on food insecurity and bring an issue, which hides in our society, to the surface. Millions of housed Americans are facing food insecurity on a daily basis and with our unemployment rate soaring due to COVID-19, food banks are struggling to access enough food to support those in need. It is imperative to educate the public on this growing need for food and LFPs bring this issue front and center to our neighborhoods, but in a supportive and caring way. Micro-communities form around this pillar (Little Free Pantry) and in turn, connect neighbors who otherwise would not have met. By neighbors stocking their neighborhood Little Free Pantry with non-perishable foods, it keeps the pantry full and helps those needing a meal. Whether a need for food or a need to give, Little Free Pantries help neighbors feed neighbors, nourishing neighborhoods.

We have hit our recent goal of $1150, which will enable us to build 18 pantries. We will distribute these pantries for free throughout Southwest Seattle. This is a grassroots, crowd-sourced solution to address immediate and local needs as a viable way to build community and support those facing food insecurity.

More information can be found at www.thelittlefreepantries.org. Additionally, if you feel a Little Free Pantry would work well in your neighborhood, please apply through the website.

Food insecurity is prevalent, whether you have seen it firsthand or not. And COVID-19 is intensifying the food insecurity that many of our neighbors are vulnerable to. With schools closed and layoffs rampant, many in our community are potentially going to bed hungry A quote from an owner of anewly installed Little Free Pantry in the Seward Park neighborhood, “Since it went up a little over two weeks ago, our LFP (located on Seward Park Ave, between Willow and Brighton) has been used daily, confirming that hunger is often hiding in plain sight, even in neighborhoods you might not think it would exist in.”

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Local leaders ‘strongly urging’ you to cover your face in public

May 11th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, White Center news No Comments »

Announced today:

Joined by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor A. Jenny Durkan and supported by local leaders, Public Health – Seattle & King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin today issued a Health Officer Directive for the public to use face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 illness.

The Directive, effective on May 18, declares that all individuals at indoor or confined outdoor public settings are strongly urged to use face coverings over their nose and mouth.

Wearing a face covering can help prevent the spread of infection to others by blocking infectious droplets from spreading when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes and speaks. Individuals can be infected and contagious before or even without developing symptoms. Evidence suggests a significant number of infections may be transmitted in this way.

Because face masks such as N95 respirators continue to be reserved for health care workers, residents should use fabric coverings such as cloth masks, scarves or bandanas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides tips on how to make your own cloth face covering.

The Directive applies to both workers and patrons of groceries, pharmacies, big box stores, and other essential establishments, including pet supplies, auto repairs, and home improvement stores. Restaurants with carry-out and food delivery must comply as well. Face coverings do not need to be worn outside unless appropriate social distancing cannot be practiced, such as at farmers markets.

Exceptions to the Health Directive include children, people with disabilities, deaf individuals who use facial movements as part of communication, and others. Health Officer Directives are based on individual compliance by the public; there is no penalty for not wearing a face covering.

The Directive will be in effect until it is no longer needed and rescinded by Dr. Duchin.

Executive Constantine also announced that operators and riders on King County Metro will be required to wear face coverings. Metro operators will not prevent passengers without face coverings from boarding, but recorded reminders will play on Metro vehicle public address systems informing riders of the face covering policy. Security officers will communicate public health guidance to riders who are not wearing a face covering or not staying apart from other passengers.

King County is distributing 115,000 face coverings and masks through community-based organizations. The City of Seattle is working with community-based organizations to distribute over 45,000 cloth face coverings to vulnerable communities, including people experiencing homelessness, older adults, and staff at food banks. Community partners are identifying eligible people based off their existing client lists.

As of May 10, 7,046 King County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 498 have died due to COVID-19 illness.

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NEED FOOD? Get it Friday at Food Lifeline in South Park

May 7th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Food, South Park, White Center news 1 Comment »

Just announced by Food Lifeline in South Park:

Free Food Distribution for Everyone

Friday, May 8th
2:00 pm. – 5:00 pm

Food Lifeline
815 South 96th Street

Come by Food Lifeline to pick up an emergency food box for yourself and/or your family. Food Lifeline will be distributing 2,000 boxes of shelf-stable food items to help you and your family during this difficult time. This is for ANYONE in the community that needs help. Your zip code is the only personal information required.

Each box will include up to 25 pounds of food such as canned fruit/vegetables, canned meats, non-meat protein items, and breads/grains. Here’s a map. This will be mostly a no-contact drive-up distribution between FL’s two warehouse buildings, while supplies last, but walk-ups are welcome too.

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REOPENING: King County Parks, starting Friday

May 5th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on REOPENING: King County Parks, starting Friday

(WCN photo, Steve Cox Memorial Park)

Just announced:

King County Parks is announcing it will re-open its parks and trails on May 8 with some restrictions, and urges visitors to “Recreate Responsibly!” Active use and high touch facilities such as restrooms, play areas, sports courts, and picnic shelters will remain closed, and organized events and programs will remain suspended.

King County Parks announced today that on May 8 it will re-open its parks and trails, including regional and backcountry trails, with some restrictions. The county cautions, however, that keeping parks and trails open will depend on visitors practicing safe distancing and following public health guidelines.

Parking lots and trailheads will be open, as well as fields, docks and boat launches, and the off-leash dog area at Marymoor Park. Visitors are asked to “Keep it Moving!” and refrain from gathering or playing team sports or pick-up games on the fields. King County Parks’ decision follows the Governor’s recent announcement about the May 5 re-opening of state recreation lands.

“Here in King County, we treasure our parks, trails, and wilderness, and I know that people are eager to enjoy the outdoors during these stressful and uncertain times,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We are re-opening our parks and trails in a measured way and encourage folks to recreate responsibly, keep each other safe, and continue to curb the transmission of COVID-19 in King County.”

“Outdoor recreation is a great idea but we absolutely need to continue to take precautions to prevent bringing COVID-19 back home with us. Everyone must practice safe distancing and good hand hygiene whether indoors or out because lives depend on it,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. “Where parks and trails are experiencing overcrowding and where safe distancing is not occurring, we will need to recommend re-closing those facilities to prevent the spread of infection.”

King County Parks is planning for a phased re-opening and return to full operations. The division will monitor use and continue to follow guidance from the Governor and Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Facilities such as restrooms, play areas, sports courts, and picnic shelters, will remain closed. The campground at Tolt-MacDonald Park remains closed, as does the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, the Jim Ellis Preston Community Center, and the White Center Community Center. Organized activities and programs, such as team sports, race events, swimming lessons, volunteer work parties, and public gatherings remain suspended.

King County Parks will update the status of its parks, trails, and facilities at kingcountyparks.org/COVID.

King County Parks, in collaboration with local and state land managers and outdoor recreation stakeholders, is encouraging people to recreate responsibly by adhering to the following guidelines:

-Keep your distance. Recreate with those in your household. Give others plenty of room and communicate who will step aside on the trail (trail etiquette gives hikers coming uphill the right of way).

-Stay local. Don’t stray too far from home when recreating and keep rural communities safe by minimizing stops and bringing all that you’ll need for your outing.

-Keep it moving. Use parks and trails for walking, running, riding, rolling, and passing through.

-Plan ahead. Be prepared to go somewhere else if your destination seems crowded. Add hand sanitizer and a mask or other face covering to your 10 Essentials.

-Play it safe. Keep your activities within your comfort and skill level to reduce the risk of injury and adding to the strain on our health care and emergency services.

-Leave no trace. Take any garbage with you, including disposable face masks and gloves.

The health and safety of residents and Parks employees is paramount, and Parks will continue to monitor its parks and trails to ensure that visitors are following physical distancing and other public health guidelines. King County Parks encourages visitors to do their part and keep each other safe so that King County’s parks and trails can remain open.

Park and trail visitors can report crowding, areas that need attention, or other issues using King County Parks’ reporting tool, SeeClickFix at https://seeclickfix.com/king-county

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No North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting again this month

May 4th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on No North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting again this month

From the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

In keeping with the continued “Social Distancing” order, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council is cancelling the Thursday, May 7th meeting.

We are hopeful that we may be able to return for our next scheduled monthly meeting on June 4th. We will make sure to keep everyone updated.

Please stay safe – and we hope to see you all soon.

If you have any questions please contact: Barbara Dobkin @ Bdobkin@northhighlineuac.org

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UPDATE: Top Hat quarantine facility may never open, county official says

April 29th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Top Hat, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN file photo)

2:40 PM: During today’s weekly update call related to the Top Hat quarantine facility, Calli Knight from the King County Executive’s Office said the facility may never open. She said they’ve decided not to open any more facilities until the ones already opened by the county are at capacity, and they’re nowhere near that. She said they’re being kept in reserve just in case there’s a need from a “second wave” of infections, but otherwise it looks like occupancy at the current facilities – including former motels in Kent and Issaquah – peaked around 70 earlier this month, and is currently around 60.

3:11 PM: Angie Malpass from King County verifies that the Top Hat facility “is on hold”:

There continues to be plenty of capacity at King County’s COVID-19 isolation, quarantine and recovery centers that are currently open today in Kent, Issaquah, North Seattle/Aurora, Harborview Hall and Shoreline.

We saw peak demand about one and a half weeks ago at 74 guests and have seen a plateau now at 61 guests today.

As a result, we don’t anticipate having a need to open White Center in the near future.

Public Health is anticipating an inevitable second wave of COVID-19 and we will continue to keep White Center ready to open for when than second surge happens, should the current 5 facilities that are operational reach capacity.

This goes for the site at Eastgate, which remains ready when needed, likely for the second wave, and Interbay/Elliott Ave, which will soon be ready for when needed.

So what’s the site’s long-term plan? A neighborhood advocate asked that during the call, saying he had just obtained county emails showing discussion that the site was intended to become a shelter for homeless people. Knight said she didn’t believe that’s the current plan but would follow up.

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FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site still in holding pattern

April 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Top Hat, White Center news 1 Comment »

(King County photo)

Seven weeks after it was announced, King County’s Top Hat quarantine/isolation site hasn’t opened, and doesn’t appear close to opening – not because it’s not ready, but because the county still has plenty of room in the facilities it’s already opened. As we do most weeks, we listened in on the weekly communtty phone meeting Wednesday, led by Calli Knight from King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office. She noted that the four facilities the county has opened – Shoreline, Kent, Issaquah, North Seattle – are currently hosting 74 people. A community member told Knight that neighbors would like to be provided with PPE before this site opens because of fears about possible airborne transmission; Knight and a Public Health rep on the call said that didn’t seem as if it would be necessary. A community member told Knight that legal action to stop the site from opening was still a possibility. The call ended otherwise uneventfully with a reiteration that there’s “no clear opening date” for the facility.

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LIBRARIES: How you can use KCLS online

April 8th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Libraries, White Center news 2 Comments »

Haven’t explored your King County Library System online? Here’s what they want you to know:

Following stay-at-home orders from Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, the King County Library System (KCLS) will extend its System-wide closure until further notice, to continue to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Our libraries may be closed, but KCLS is still open online,” states KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum.” We encourage residents to take advantage of our expanded digital collection and array of online programming, events and resources while closures are in effect.”

Residents in the KCLS service area (in King County, outside the city of Seattle) can sign up instantly for a digital eCard to access KCLS’ digital collection. For those who don’t have computer or Internet access, they may connect—live—with an Ask KCLS staff member by phone at 425.462.9600 or 800.462.9600. Staff are ready to answer questions, and direct residents to helpful resources and information.

Online Programming and Events

KCLS has made some of their most popular in-person programs accessible online—and added a few new ones! Explore daily activities for all ages, from virtual story times and book clubs, to online Cat Chats, art workshops and Junk Drawer Challenges.

Two notable events will also take place online this month:

Rhyme On Poetry Contest: April 1-30
During National Poetry Month in April, KCLS is hosting Rhyme On, an online poetry contest open to all King County residents. The winning poems will be published on the KCLS website and shared on social media channels. Contestants have until April 30 to submit a poem, and three winners will be announced in each age category: Kids (ages 5 to 12); Teens (ages 13 to 18) and Adults (ages 19 and older).

Celebrate Día Online: April 26-May 2
Celebrate 10 years of Día programming at KCLS with this weeklong series from April 26 to May 2. This nationally recognized initiative promotes literacy for children of all backgrounds, and celebrates multicultural literature and stories from around the world. This year, KCLS’ Día programming moves online to help connect children and their families to multicultural books, languages and cultures. Explore the recommended diversity materials, find resources in many languages, view Día booklists, and get more information about online events on the Bibliotecas King County Facebook page.

Expanded Online Resources

KCLS has expanded online resources for students, adults, children, teens and older adults, so patrons of all ages can continue to learn, build skills and stay entertained during this unprecedented time.

Audiobooks and eBooks

KCLS is investing more funds in their digital collection during the closure—over $350,000 each month. With more eBook and audiobook titles than ever, there’s something for everyone. The Libby app makes it especially easy to download digital titles, but patrons may contact Ask KCLS for assistance if they run into technical difficulties.

Streaming Movies and TV

KCLS’ range of streaming content is helping keep families entertained and engaged while libraries are closed. Watch HBO documentaries, BBC TV, how-to films, indie flicks and thousands more on Access Video. KCLS is also offering unlimited streaming on Kanopy, and expanded streaming credits on hoopla so patrons can enjoy even more movies and TV.

Resources for Students and Parents

KCLS’ revamped K-12 web page provides links to a wide variety of educational support resources, tips and activities, from homework help through Tutor.com, to STEM learning from Tumblemath.com.

Resources for Small Business Owners

KCLS’ Small Business Resources web page links the business community to information and resources like business.wa.gov, which includes COVID-19 information and resources for Washington state businesses. KCLS is also offering virtual counseling with SCORE mentors to help navigate COVID-19 impacts to small businesses. And, as always, residents can get help filing taxes.

Online Databases and More

KCLS offers access to databases and learning resources where residents can review Consumer Reports, learn a new language or skill, read bestselling magazines, and stay up-to-date on current affairs with free, unlimited access to online newspapers, such as The Seattle Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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PHOTOS: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site, as work nears finish

April 6th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, King County, Top Hat, White Center news 3 Comments »

For the first time since the day it was announced five weeks ago, we have a close-up look at the quarantine/isolation site the county is setting up in Top Hat as part of its COVID-19 response.

These are county-provided photos taken at the site this past Saturday (April 4th).

Only one four-room modular unit was in place when the site was announcdd. The old Wilderness Technology Alliance building on the site was demolished to make room for more.

Angie Malpass from King County explains, “They are finishing setting up the rooms with supplies, and while it will be ready to open this week, the county is holding off on opening until there is demand, so the opening is TBD for now, based on numbers”

As of today, the county is housing 48 people at the three other sites it has opened so far.

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FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site opening delayed

April 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Health, Top Hat, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Top Hat quarantine/isolation site opening delayed

The opening of King County’s quarantine/isolation site in Top Hat has been delayed. The County Executive’s Office announced Thursday that it would not be opening Friday as originally planned. County spokesperson Angie Malpass provided WCN with some additional details, saying site work is likely to be complete sometime Saturday, so the site could be ready to open “maybe as soon as early next week. It just depends on the need… Currently the three sites open today — Kent, Issaquah and Aurora — still have capacity, so we may hold off.” According to the Friday update from Seattle-King County Public Health, those three sites are housing a total of 41 people. Malpass says the Top Hat site will have 24/7 security – “no walk-ups and no visitors. All patients are triaged by Seattle-King-County Public Health, and the assessment is taken to DCHS who then assigns/places and transports the patient.” The county will eventually have nine sites, including this one – quarantine/isolation in Kent, Issaquah, Aurora open, Harborview Hall and Top Hat soon, and assessment/recovery centers coming to Shoreline, Interbay, Eastgate, and SODO.

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WHITE CENTER ART: 2nd panel of new mural

April 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Arts, Businesses, Coronavirus, White Center news 3 Comments »

We’ve been checking back at 16th/98th since Sarah Robbins‘ first panel of mural art outside the Beer Star (etc.) building – and today, we finally caught the second panel. Note the small message at right – “call your mom”!

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VIRUS CRISS: 4 White Center organizations among recipients of new grants

April 1st, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, White Center news 1 Comment »

Four White Center organizations are getting a share of a new fund. Here are the details, via a county news release:

Public Health—Seattle & King County has assisted the Seattle Foundation and United Way of King County to identify areas of need for over $10 million in grants to community organizations working with vulnerable workers and families impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

More than $10.1 million in grants will support vulnerable families and workers during COVID-19 crisis, through cross-sector partnership hosted by Seattle Foundation.

A new fund is bringing needed support to vulnerable workers and families in the Puget Sound region who were affected first and hardest by the coronavirus crisis. Public Health—Seattle & King County is assisting Seattle Foundation and United Way of King County to identify where the need is greatest and where funds can have the biggest impact.

The COVID-19 Response Fund – hosted and administered by Seattle Foundation – has made over $10 million in grants to 128 community-based organizations, Seattle Foundation announced yesterday. Public Health’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group, which consists of more than 40 local leaders and experts, helped identify grantees. The Advisory Group, Seattle Foundation, United Way of King County, and a diverse set of Fund partners tapped into deep community knowledge to elevate nonprofits that aligned closely with the focus on emergency assistance within disproportionately impacted communities.

With the novel coronavirus, we know there are communities that are most negatively impacted — including people of color, immigrants and refugees, low-wage workers and older people — both in terms of the virus itself as well as the economic impact. With broad representation from many sectors, we were able to focus the funding where the needs are greatest and support our strong, resilient communities,” said Matías Valenzuela, director of Equity and Social Justice for Public Health and a member of Public Health’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group.

The Fund prioritized supporting low-income residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, low-income workers in healthcare and the service industry, gig-economy workers, communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, as well as people with disabilities, greater health risks, limited English proficiency, and others.

The initial group of grantees includes Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Byrd Barr Place, Casa Latina, Chief Seattle Club, Eastside Refugee & Immigrant Coalition, Seattle Indian Health Board, White Center CDA, and many others. The full list of grantees can be found at www.seattlefoundation.org/COVIDGrants.*

The COVID-19 Response Fund expects to make multiple rounds of grants as the pandemic unfolds. The Fund is supported by a broad coalition of 3,000+ online donors alongside more than 45 partners from philanthropy, business, and government, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the City of Seattle, Connie and Steve Ballmer, King County, Macklemore, Microsoft, Pivotal Ventures, and Seattle Seahawks. Individuals and organizations can donate and find additional information about the COVID-19 Response Fund via www.seattlefoundation.org/covid19.

*Here are the four White Center-specific recipients listed on the Seattle Foundation site:

WestSide Baby, $50,000: WestSide Baby provides essential items to local children in need by collecting and distributing diapers, clothing, and equipment.

White Center CDA, $250,000: White Center CDA promotes a vibrant White Center neighborhood for residents and stakeholders through authentic leadership opportunities and community-led neighborhood initiatives.

White Center Food Bank, $50,000: The White Center Food Bank works to minimize hunger while nourishing community, nurturing self-reliance, and embracing rich cultural diversity.

YES Foundation of White Center, $50,000: The YES Foundation of White Center exists to address the social, economic, educational, physical, and spiritual needs of youth in the White Center area.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: ‘Stay home – stay safe’

March 30th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: ‘Stay home – stay safe’

From the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

In keeping with Social Distancing, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council will not be holding the Thursday, April 2nd meeting.

If you have questions or community concerns please contact:

Liz Giba: lgiba@northhighlineuac.org

or

Barbara Dobkin: bdobkin@northhighlineuac.org

Stay Home – Stay Safe

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PARKS: More King County closures

March 25th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on PARKS: More King County closures

Just announced:

As part of its ongoing efforts to protect public health and curb transmission of COVID-19, King County Parks is closing parks beginning Wednesday, March 25, when parking lot and trailhead gates will be locked, and restrooms will be closed. King County does not have the resources at this time to actively enforce Parks closures and social-distancing guidelines and will rely upon the public to follow the guidelines.

The closure comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which included guidance to further restrict groups from gatherings.

While visitors will still be able to walk into parks and back country trails and walk and bike on the regional trail network, King County is asking all residents to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus and help save lives by abiding by these closures and all social distancing guidelines. King County also urges visitors to not park illegally on roadways near parks and trails, or block park gates.

On March 20, King County Parks closed all active spaces within parks – including play areas, ballfields, sports courts, and picnic shelters, where appropriate social distancing guidelines would be difficult to maintain.

Find the latest information about any changes to Parks facilities and programming on the King County Parks Plog at kingcountyparks.org/.

King County Parks visitors are encouraged to practice Public Health’s guidelines in preventing the spread of this virus:

Stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times.
Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid contact with people who are sick.
Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Visit kingcounty.gov/covid to learn more about the virus and how to prevent its spread. Keep updated on the latest developments on the Public Health – Seattle & King County blog at publichealthinsider.com.

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SEEN IN WHITE CENTER: Looking ahead

March 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Coronavirus, White Center news 3 Comments »

Seen on Sunday, downtown.

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PARKS: What’s off-limits at King County Parks now

March 23rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, Parks, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photo)

Signs of the times at the Steve Cox Memorial Park tennis courts on Sunday, two days after this joint King County/City of Seattle announcement:

To follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines established by Public Health—Seattle & King County and the Washington Department of Health, King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreations are closing sports courts, playground equipment, and other active recreation areas where it could be difficult to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines.

Ballfields and playfields are open for walking and other non-team activities.

The closure includes picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, ballfields, and other active recreation locations. Parks, natural lands, regional trails, backcountry trails, and beaches where social distancing can be maintained remain open.

Pick-up games, picnics, and other large gatherings will not be permitted.

Restrooms within parks will continue to be open to the public, and will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.

“With schools closed and people adapting to new work habits, our parks and open spaces can provide an important break in these stressful times. It is clear, however, that we must continue to be vigilant in these places as well, and make sure all our residents put into practice Public Health directives,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Go for a hike. Take the family for a stroll. Kick a soccer ball around with your kids. But use good sense and avoid gatherings, team sports, pick-up games, and playground equipment.”

“Parks are beloved by all, but we must be smart about our behaviors during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are in a new normal. While individuals and families can bike, walk, or run, we cannot allow gatherings at Seattle’s best locations including Alki, Golden Gardens, Seward, Volunteer Park or Magnuson. Every single resident should take social distancing guidelines to heart – it could save someone’s life,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.

“We know that parks and open space provide a critical support to our communities during this difficult time, and we want to provide these opportunities to find respite and relief in nature, but we need to be able to do so in way that does not work against our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. We encourage residents and visitors to practice social distancing and not participate in organized activities that go against Public Health guidance,” said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent. “City and County employees will be reiterating this guidance to individuals who are not practicing social distancing.”

As noted by the National Recreation and Park Association, there are a number of specific recommendations for practicing safe social distancing when in parks or on trails, including:

Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to parks and trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not visit public spaces if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.

Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.

Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers.

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QUARANTINE/ISOLATION SITE: County’s update on Top Hat location

March 18th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, King County, Top Hat, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN file photo)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Nobody’s in the Top Hat quarantine/isolation facility (206 SW 112th) yet. But the county is launching weekly community phone meetings for updates and Q&A. We participated in the first one this afternoon.

John Taylor from Local Services, Callie Knight from the Executive’s Office, Brad Binder from Public Health, County Councilmember Joe McDermott were among those on the call.

Regarding the timeline, Knight said the timeline for opening is still “at least a week and a half” away. April 3rd is the target date, to be open for 8 four-unit trailers, including one unit to be used as an on-site office, added Christina Gonzales of Facilities, who joined the call latr. They’re still working on utility hookups. So no one is occupying it yet, but work crews continue their efforts. Demolition of the existing building hasn’t yet been completed – that’s needed to facilitate more modular units.

Regarding health staff on site, Knight said they’re still working on that and whether it would be 24/7 or not. No matter how that works, everyone who occupies the site will have a cell phone and would be checked on by “public health professionals” at least twice a day. If they needed to be moved to a health-care facility, they would be.

As for requiring people to stay there – we’re not in a police state situation, Knight said, but they hope the decision to not house anyone there with behavior-health or social-service needs, they hope it will reduce the possibility. They are working on “notification measures …so that quick communication could happen” if someone does leave against advisement.

Nearby residents are going to get in-person outreach starting tomorrow, with a team of 4 county workers, and they’ve been reaching out to local businesses and apartment managers as well.

Will the food provided for quarantined people come from local providers? They’re working on that, county reps said. Will local volunteers be needed? Coordination of offers of help is in progress. Call participants mentioned that – separate from this – Camp Second Chance on Myers Way is having trouble getting sanitary items.

Want to be on the next call? email cknight@kingcounty.gov

In addition to this site, the county also has opened a former motel in Kent, where three people are now in isolation, and also has leased a motel in Issaquah as well as working on other sites in Bellevue, Interbay, and North Seattle.

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