The White Center Community declares our state of emergency. After five fire events within the last four months, the entire community is devastated. The fires have affected 11 beloved businesses and their employees, all losing everything in the rash of fires over the last four months. The lack of timely and effective action from our elected officials, County staff, and the Sheriff’s Department have and will continue to impact our community negatively for many years to come.
We are alone in rebuilding our businesses and community.
Business owners and neighbors have raised over $290K for fire victims ($165K to the Lumber Yard) and continue to raise funds. Elected and County staff have not offered any additional emergency funds or additional support. The business district as a whole continues to experience crime, theft, violence, and a sharp decrease in monthly revenues.
The following businesses have been impacted and devastated: Huong Xua Deli, John’s Hair and Nails Salon, The Boxing Gym Westside, La Tipica Oaxaquena, Nuggi Boba, The Locker Room, Ben Schreck workshop, Dottie’s Doublewide, Rat City Tat2, Bizzarro Italian Café, Full Tilt, and The Lumber Yard.
This petition encompasses the needs surfaced from hundreds of hours of conversations over the past four months and over the past 25 years. We need an emergency fire response plan by our elected officials and County staff NOW.
INVEST IN WHITE CENTER SO WE CAN REBUILD, THRIVE AND GROW:
– Hire private security for 8 hours overnight, 7 days a week, to be funded by King County. Invest $175,000 per year into the community, targeting damaged areas immediately.
– $2M emergency relief funding outside of DLS grants to assist fire victims and stabilize the White Center Business District’s rebuilding efforts in collaboration with community (comprehensive business district plan, re-establishing/affirming zoning, etc.) immediately.
– Businesses who do not hold or have minimal insurance coverage should automatically be qualified for a minimum of $25,000 in emergency assistance immediately.
– Create a task force of professionals, available daily, on a drop-in basis, to help fire victims navigate systems and relationships. Provide 1:1 assistance (salvage assistance, navigating insurance, and permitting processes, assessing rebuilding options, funding, re-entry etc.) until the business is able to re-enter and resume regular business hours at full capacity immediately. Provide delivery of assistance in Vietnamese and Spanish.
– Build transparency and accountability between community members and the Sheriff’s Department. Provide basic details of all Sheriff’s deputies, duties, and assignments in White Center (names and badge numbers of officers working in White Center during the 2017 – 2021 Sheriff Department budget for White Center, and patrol routes).
– Fund a position to help retain existing businesses and recruit new businesses in White Center. The position will support existing businesses going through lease renewals or re-location, and assists property owners and developers that are rehabilitating or developing buildings with retail space design, pricing and tenanting.