What do you think of the draft North Highline Subarea Plan? Comment meeting next week

October 14th, 2021 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news No Comments »

Just in from King County Local Services:

Share your thoughts about the North Highline Subarea Plan Public Review Draft at a public meeting:

Open comment meeting
Thurs. Oct. 21, 6-7:30 p.m.
Spanish interpretation available

Does the draft plan represent your vision for the future of your community? Your voice will be heard…and used.

Learn more about the plan at: kingcounty.gov/north-highline

Join the meeting via Zoom:
kingcounty.zoom.us/j/83881432281 / Passcode: OPENperiod
Dial-in: 253-215-8782 / Meeting ID: 838 8143 2281 / Passcode: 7290039119

Comments will be accepted through Thursday, Oct. 28.

Questions or comments? email SubareaPlanning@kingcounty.gov

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FOLLOWUP: Ex-Highline Bears choose two potential new names. Now – you vote!

October 13th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Highline Bears, Sports, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news 1 Comment »

Back in June, we reported on the White Center-based (former) Highline Bears‘s plan to pursue a new name. Now it’s down to the final two, and they’re inviting you to help choose. From today’s announcement:

Today the Highline Bears summer collegiate baseball team announced the final two possible new team names. The final names are the DubSea Seal Slingers and the DubSea Fish Sticks. The team will now let the community vote online for which name they want to see on the field next summer. Fans can vote online at RenameOurTeam.com, and they can also vote by pre-ordering merchandise of the logo and team name they like best. Voting will remain open for four weeks and the final team name will be announced on November 15th.

Back in June the team announced they would be renaming the team and ran a “Name the Team” contest for 2 weeks. After receiving more than 200 entries, they flew in the baseball-branding company Brandiose. The branding company has helped name dozens of teams in minor league baseball over the past fifteen years, including the Rocket City Trash Pandas and Armadillo Sod Poodles. While in town in July they canvassed the area, ran community focus groups, and brainstormed with the team about what direction they should go. Over the course of the past three months the team has been working on narrowing down all the fan entries, checking trademark statuses on potential names and developing the final two brands,

The team plays more than two dozen games during regular summers (not the past two years, though) with a 40-player roster of college players from around the country, who stay with host families during the season. Their home field is Mel Olson Stadium at Steve Cox Memorial Park.

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PUBLIC SAFETY: Meeting next Tuesday for White Center businesses

October 13th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County, Safety, White Center news No Comments »

Just received from King County Local Services, word of an online public-safety meeting for White Center businesses next Tuesday (October 19th):

Here’s the participation info in clickable format:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://kingcounty.zoom.us/j/85676401136
Meeting ID: 856 7640 1136 / Passcode: SAFEpublic

Dial-in: 253-215-8782 / Passcode: 5584815021

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WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: Deputies searching for bank robber

October 12th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 2 Comments »

Deputies are searching for a man who just held up the KeyBank in White Center. He is reported to be armed. No description or other details yet.

4:05 PM: Photo added. The bank is closed while deputies gather witness statements. No clear description yet but a getaway vehicle is believed to have been involved. Also, deputies told dispatch the robber gave bank employees a note threatening to shoot if they didn’t hand over cash.

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VIDEO: King County Executive candidates answer questions @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

October 9th, 2021 Tracy Posted in King County, Politics, White Center news No Comments »

iframe width=”504″ height=”284″ src=”https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/s8b_yuMs92M” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen>

(Added: Video of the full NHUAC meeting, including the forum)

With the start of general-election voting just days away, most of this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting was devoted to a “town hall”-style forum featuring the two candidates for King County Executive. We’ll report the rest of the meeting separately, but want to note first that incumbent County Executive Dow Constantine and challenger State Senator Joe Nguyen have another online forum tonight (7 pm Saturday, presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, viewable (updated link) here).

On Thursday night, NHUAC’s Liz Giba moderated the forum, opening it by explaining that the organization does not endorse candidates and is focused on White Center and the surrounding unincorporated areas. She also noted that both candidates live in north West Seattle. Below is our recap – the questions and answers are reported as our summarizing/paraphrasing rather than exact quotes, except what’s within quotation marks.

****QUESTION: Both were invited to introduce themselves including where they were born and educational/employment background.

CONSTANTINE: Born at Swedish Hospital, lives in the same West Seattle neighborhood where he’s lived his whole life. He graduated from West Seattle High School and is a UW graduate , law school too. Qualifications: Lawyer, state legislator, county councilmember “and I think I’ve proved my ability to get difficult things done.” He touted the COVID response, responses to the climate crisis and entrenched racism, and more. “We’re moving forward with an agenda we’ve been pushing for years.” He also said the county’s been recognized for fiscal prudence.

NGUYEN: He was born at Virginia Mason Hospital, raised in White Center, graduated from Kennedy Catholic High School, went to Seattle University and has degrees in economics, finance, and humanities. He’s in analytics and strategy at Microsoft. He’s the first legislator of color in the 34th District. He talked about caring for his father after a disabling car crash, and the community giving back – “ever since then I felt compelled to serve the community at whatever level possible.” He says he’s part of “the most diverse Legislature in the history of Washington state.” But many issues “are at the local level.” He said he believes “talent is universal but opportunity is not.”

****QUESTION: King County just released the draft North Highline Sub-Area Plan, which appears to complete NH transition to a high-density neighborhood. In light of the analysis of Seattle’s urban-village strategy, which does not reduce BIPOC displacement, this is troubling: “Housing and equity are very connected.” Do you agree that King County should use findings of Seattle’s racial equity analysis to make decisions for NH? If not, what should be done?

NGUYEN: Hasn’t reviewed the analysis but believes more affordable housing is needed, more housing in general. But you also meed resources to mitigate growth – transit, utilities, etc. And how do you mitigate for possible displacement effects?

CONSTANTINE: This is a conversation we’ve been having for many years. You can’t be against displacement and against affordable housing. The development will keep coming … the plan was co-created with the community. What happened in West Seattle overwhelmed the intention – demand overran the supply. “We need not allow that to happen in White Center,” but aggressive action will be needed.

****QUESTION: In 2011, White Center CDA commissioned an opportunity analysis that found WC is a low-opportunity neighborhood. In 2015 King County named it a neighborhood of opportunity. But programs are not enough … Data shows North Highline with health challenges, poverty, child mortality, and other problems at a higher rate than West Seattle. (Stats were displayed.) Also some NH schools are majority poverty-level students, compared to schools in West Seattle. As executive, how can you assure NH students have the opportunity to achieve their potential?

CONSTANTINE: You have to focus on lifting up people in the community. That’s why we worked on a community-needs list, participatory budgeting, focusing on helping the White Center HUB project by transferring county-owned property … that’s also why North Highline (and Skyway) should be part of a city. Burien or Seattle. Tax base would provide urban services. Proud that through Best Starts for Kids we’ve been able to invest heavily, keep families from becoming homeless … “It’s my determination that we’re going to continue these kinds of investments. … We have to break loose of these historic racist realities.”

NGUYEN: Experienced the disparities firsthand, attending school in White Center. “Right now King County doesn’t have a dedicated office of economic development,” and that would help. “There are resources like Best Starts for Kids, nonprofits serving this area” … He repeats, “opportunity is lacking but talent is not,” as he has observed in his work with a nonprofit. “These are things that I experienced back in” (the ’80s).

****QUESTION: North Highline suffers from people experiencing “mental distress.” She brings up high-profile crimes, shooting, arson. “Gunshots are common. the sheriff’s office is underfunded, deputies are spread thin.” How as executive would you reduce crime, trauma, and related problems?

NGUYEN: Some of this is an effect of economic distress. Many calls are for non-criminal activity. Have community-safety officers to assist with noncriminal offenses … “so we can break that cycle and won’t see the same person over and over again.”

CONSTANTINE: “Many of these questions are why I created a Department of Local Services.” He said he came to the area the day after the shootings outside Taradise Café. Yes, having more community service officers is important, but also other kinds of responses, like community interveners. “It’s gotta be a multipronged approach.” He has two mental-health street teams and proposed funding for two more – at least one would circulate to areas such as White Center and Burien. He said he also came to the neighborhood after the Lumber Yard fire and that $108.000 has been provided to help, and additional resources are being identified to help the WC business district in this time of crisis.

****QUESTION: People in need are being segregated economically. I would like to hear both of you say you’ll correct that, to allow poor people to live in more affluent neighborhoods.

NGUYEN: Redlining is a reality. More density is a solution. Innovative anti-displacement strategies like community land trusts can help. More resources such as transit, job opportunities, would help too.

CONSTANTINE: Economic diversity is important to everyone. That’s a two-way street, it means protecting people from displacement even as outside economic pressures cause pressure. And in more affluent neighborhoods, cities need to make more room for more types of housing. Affluence, the way we’ve seen our region transform, are powerful forces.

At this point in the forum, Giba invited others to ask questions.

****Question from NHUAC’s Barbara Dobkin: Development in her neighborhood has been haphazard. Lots have been clear-cut. What about the neighborhoods? Developers are calling every week seeking to buy property. How do we protect what we have?

CONSTANTINE: The Sub-Area Plan includes development standards. Some cities like Seattle have “much more refined standards for neighborhoods.” Touts his Land Conservation initiative. Mentions the new greenspace in Boulevard Park.

NGUYEN: Talks about a document to protect urban canopy. Development needs to be “mindful of how we protect our greenspaces.”

Following up, Giba mentions the White Center HUB plan proposes development in a forested area. “Is there some way to put it elsewhere?”

NGUYEN: He’s seen renderings and thinks it’s incorporating some of the landscape, but it’s not a bad spot (for the project) overall.

CONSTANTINE: He agrees that every razed lot is a lost opportunity. Plans need to address that.

****Question from NHUAC’s Pat Price: The new greenspace (that Constantine mentioned) is on the edge of South Park, practically in Seattle. A study conducted over a decade ago suggested that White Center could improve access to and availability of parks. We haven’t heard more about what’s possible. What about all that land off Myers Way? Any plans to do something there?

CONSTANTINE: Park acquisition id “kind of my jam.” Department of Natural Resoures and Parks is “very focused on our service to NH” – he mentioned the recently spotlighted program to hire more people experiencing homelessness to do park cleanup. No new info on parkland negotiations. But see the Sub-Area Plan – “White Center needs more greenspace,” and that will be done “in lockstep with the community.”

****Question from WC resident Sabina regarding the Land Use Plan and zoning amendment: Doesn’t adequately address some issues, such as the west side of White Center (28th/30th/Roxbury) – street infrastructure is subpar – if the density there is going to double, it’s poor urban planning. Nothing in Sub-Area Plan will addresses how those blocks are going to get needed infrastructure. This will exacerbate inequality.

NGUYEN: Agrees that lack of sidewalks is a problem, says state has a package that would fund them in unincorporated areas. “Not only is it a safety issue but also an efficiency issue.”

CONSTANTINE: That infrastructure is part of draft Community Needs List, awaiting more community discussion and input. Good to hear the state might fund unincorporated-area sidewalks, which are badly needed. In addition, “we are focused on some pretty significant investments.” Mentions RapidRide H Line is starting service next year.

****Question from Carmel: She’s a local business owner who works with many others. “We’ve really been hurting with the fires … best way to increase opportunity for business owners would be to join u at our table instead of telling us to come to yours.” Mentions a meeting the next day. Will you attend?

NGUYEN: Yes. My family had a business in that area (years ago).

CONSTANTINE: Will try to cancel a conflict and be there. Top county staffers including Local Services director John Taylor will be there.

****Question from community member Loretta: She feels like NH is more part of Burien than Seattle. Urges the candidates to keep their distance from the Seattle City Council. Meantime, “there’s so much crime out there,” she sees a need for consequences.

CONSTANTINE: He does try to keep his distance from the Seattle City Council, he said with laughter, saying that it includes “fine people” but he disagrees with some of their direction. Regarding crime, “what we’re seeking to do is” earlier intervention, with young people

NGUYEN: Lot of programs are available now that didn’t used to be – need to address ohn a systemic basis.

Both agree more behavioral-health investment is needed.

****Question from Mark from Skyway: Concerned about corruption, vaccine hesitancy, and more in Sheriff’s Office. Sees a lack of concern among deputies for urban unincorporated areas. Since the next Exec will be in charge of the sheriff, please address.

CONSTANTINE: Looking forward to dealing with some of the challenges. Sheriff’s Office has funding challenges, a lot of vacancies. “We need to focus in making sure we have a smooth transition to a new sheriff,” and one who leads the transformation of policing. Need better response times but don’t confuse that with response types – there are calls that don’t require uniformed police fficer.

NGUYEN: Need true accountability. Next Sheriff should be able to hold folks accountable and transform the way things are done.

****Question from Marissa: Speaking as a coalition coordinator, regarding youths’ behavioral health – school practitioners say there’s a big need for behavioral health services for youth, increased by the pandemic. There’s money being spent on it but how is it really supporting the need for services in schools? There’s a big difference between saying there’s a community partner, and having someone being able to get into services. Students are getting referred but can’t always access services. How can we plan for the short-term imminent need for these services in schools, and what are you doing right now?

NGUYEN: State allocated about $300 million. But how we fund schools is inequitable. Meeting with Seattle and Highline school board members to talk about how this looks going forward.

CONSTANTINE: “A lot of these issues come back to the dire lack of behavioral health services” – this all started back in the ’80s, then in the Great Recession the state disinvested … the county’s been scrambling “to prop up this house of cards.” Best Starts for Kids helping. “I’m excited about (its) renewal.” But “we’ve inherited a terrible tax system … this economy could pay for everything we need to live healthy successful lives” but tax system is “grossly unfair.”

They wrapped up after about an hour and a holf. We’ll publish other notes from the meeting separately later today, and also plan to cover tonight’s County Executive forum. The NHUAC event was recorded but we haven’t found a link – if and when we do, we’ll add it.

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PETITION: ‘The White Center community declares our state of emergency’ with urgent call for more King County support in fires’ aftermath

October 8th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, King County, White Center news 2 Comments »

(WCN photo from September 13th fire)

Announced by the White Center Community Development Association: An online petition drive has been launched to demand more support from King County in the aftermath of the recent fires. From the petition page:

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.

The petition page also suggests contacting local officials, and includes their phone numbers.

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White Center Food Bank chooses Carmen Smith as new executive director

October 7th, 2021 Tracy Posted in White Center Food Bank, White Center news 2 Comments »

The White Center Food Bank has a new executive director, though she’s not new to the WCFB. Here’s the announcement we received this morning:

The White Center Food Bank Board of Directors has announced Carmen Smith as the new Executive Director of the organization.

Carmen joined us in February 2017 as Community Outreach Manager where she worked her way up through organization development and community engagement division before moving into an Associate Executive Director and then Interim Executive Director for the last several months. Carmen comes to us with a robust background in food equity. From her experience working with international hunger relief organizations to grassroots nonprofits in food justice, she knows that relationships are the most vital part of any organization. Carmen has her Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School. As the Executive Director, she brings this understanding to nurture invaluable partnerships for the White Center Food Bank. The WCFB is amidst several projects, including finding a new location, Carmen’s leadership in this important work has already proven invaluable.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, please join us in welcoming Carmen to her new role as the Executive Director. Her passion and dedication to the work at hand is obvious and inspiring.” said Gabbi Gonzales, White Center Food Bank Board President.

(Photo from whitecenterfoodbank.org)

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TONIGHT: Concerned about displacement in North Highline? Don’t miss tonight’s briefing

October 6th, 2021 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news No Comments »

Online tonight at 6 pm, a briefing on anti-displacement strategies in two of unincorporated King County’s urban areas – including ours:

The King County Executive (transmitted) the final Skyway-West Hill and North Highline Anti-Displacement Strategies Report to the King County Council on Thursday, September 30th.

The Department of Community and Human Services and Department of Local Services are co-hosting a community briefing on Wednesday, October 6 from 6:00-8:00 pm to present the report’s final recommendations, next steps, and future opportunities for community involvement.

The event will be recorded for anyone who is unable to attend.

All Skyway-West Hill and North Highline community members are invited to join this briefing, even if you have not attended previous sessions. Because we have limited time in this meeting, it will be important that participants familiarize themselves with the anti-displacement strategies that have been under consideration.

Here are few ways to do that:

-Visit www.publicinput.com/anti-displacement to learn about this project and the strategies under consideration.
-Check out our Anti-Displacement Strategy Toolkit – this toolkit contains the slides from the earlier workshop sessions and helpful written explanations of each strategy.

If you have the time, you can also watch the recorded Anti-Displacement Workshop Sessions.

This report’s recommendations provide a concrete path forward in King County’s efforts to address historic disinvestment and structural racism in two diverse and culturally rich neighborhoods. We look forward to sharing the content of the report and discussing the implementation work ahead of us!

We hope you will join us for this important meeting, and please share this opportunity with other folks who live and work in Skyway-West Hill and North Highline!

For questions or more information about the Anti-displacement Strategies Report Community Briefing on October 6th, please contact Isaac Horwith at isaac.horwith@kingcounty.gov.

If you are not already registered to attend, that’s who to email to get the link for attendance – though earlier announcements listed Monday as the deadline for signing up, the event page says that it’s not too late to sign up by email.

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SATURDAY SCENE: White Center Library Guild’s fundraising sale

October 2nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Library, White Center news 1 Comment »

If the end of summer has you feeling rummage/yard/garage-sale withdrawal, here’s one more chance – the White Center Library Guild‘s books-and-more sale is happening today!

Find the sale just outside the library (1409 SW 107th) until 3 pm. Besides books, we found toys, clothing, housewares, even classic music cassettes.

The all-volunteer Library Guild raises money to help fund programs at the library.

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THURSDAY: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hosts town hall with King County Executive candidates

October 2nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline UAC, White Center news 5 Comments »

Voting in the general election is now less than two weeks away – ballots will be sent on October 13th. For this area, the King County Executive race tops the ballot, and the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council will host both candidates online Thursday night:

UPDATED: Since that image isn’t clickable, here’s the viewing info:

us02web.zoom.us/j/81026514238?pwd=QVp2NURRcGJCMlYxRE5JUUFyNzBqQT09

Meeting ID: 810 2651 4238
Passcode: 980226

For direct link to Zoom meeting go to: nhuac.org
Join by Phone:
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 810 2651 4238
Passcode: 980226

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Southbound 15th SW to close at Roxbury next week

September 30th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Traffic, White Center news No Comments »

The work to get ready for converting Metro Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line continues. Some work next week will close southbound 15th SW south of Roxbury. Here’s the flyer; here are the key points:

Starting as soon as October 4, crews will be working to install new underground utilities at the southeast corner of the 15th Avenue SW and SW Roxbury Street intersection. This work is expected to last through October 8.

During this work:
-15th Avenue SW will be closed to southbound traffic at SW Roxbury Street 24 hours per day during this work.
-Detours will be in place for people driving, walking, and rolling. This includes a detour of Metro Route 120 from this section of 15th Avenue SW.
-Sidewalk and crosswalk closures will be in place.
-Access to driveways and businesses will be maintained.

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TODAY: Job Launch online event for teens and young adults interested in entrepreneurship

September 30th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Online, White Center news 1 Comment »

Happening this afternoon:

The Fall Job Launch Program features Pathways to Starting Your Own Business. Ages 16 – 24 are encouraged to join virtually through Zoom on Thursday, September 30, 2021 from 3 pm-5 pm. Participating Programs include Ventures, Business Impact Northwest, StartZone at Highline College, and Sprout. Partner Agencies include King County Parks White Center Teen Program, YouthSource, the YWCA, Job Source, and Communities of Opportunity.

Hear about many different paths to starting your own business and working for yourself. Connect with young local entrepreneurs, and learn about programs and resources available to young adults to help on your path to starting your own business. Featuring local, young entrepreneurs sharing about their small businesses and how they got started as well as low/no-cost programs offering resources, coaching, and trainings to help young entrepreneurs.

More details are available at joblaunch.eventbrite.com

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New county jobs program shown off at White Center Heights Park

September 29th, 2021 Tracy Posted in King County, Parks, White Center news No Comments »

(Photo via @kcexec on Twitter)

From left above, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and King County Executive Dow Constantine were at White Center Heights Park today to shine the spotlight on a new pandemic-relief program offering work to people experiencing homelessness. Here’s the news release explaining it:

King County Executive Dow Constantine today met with one of the new crews restoring and enhancing regional parks and trails, an early success of the Jobs and Housing Program he included in the pandemic recovery package announced earlier this year.

King County’s Jobs and Housing Program hosted focused recruitment events at emergency shelters to offer people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to join King County Parks Beautification Crews, earning salaries that can help them transition to permanent housing. The new program applies the Rapid Rehousing model developed by the King County Department of Community and Human Services to connect participants with housing.

King County is working to expand the Jobs and Housing Program to other county services, including logistical support for emergency management, sanitizing fleet vehicles, and providing customer support for animal services.

“Our new Jobs and Housing Program is one example of how we are sparking an equitable recovery throughout King County,” said Executive Constantine. “By connecting our unhoused neighbors with good-paying jobs and case managers who can help them transition to permanent housing, we are helping more people and families thrive.”

Successful candidates for the program can earn between $20 and $25 per hour for temporary positions and can receive housing supports. Program participants will also receive career support aimed at helping them transition to permanent jobs and permanent housing. The program helps people who have gaps in their employment history and potentially offers them professional references for future job searches.

The beautification crews are starting at five King County parks where they will perform a variety of tasks, such as landscaping, athletic field maintenance, trail building and maintenance, construction and demolition, invasive weed removal, restoration, and planting. The first regional parks where the crews operate are:

Five Mile Lake Park in South King County
White Center Heights Park
Marymoor Park in Redmond
Tolt-MacDonald Park and Campground in Carnation
Three Forks Natural Area along the Snoqualmie River in East King County
Ravensdale Park near Maple Valley

The program will increase King County Parks’ seasonal crews by 36 people who are currently experiencing homelessness. The additional workforce is particularly helpful now that more people than ever are enjoying the regional parks and trails during the pandemic.

King County Parks has so far conducted five recruitment events at emergency shelters in Seattle, South King County, and East King County. Once background checks and physicals are complete, King County Parks provides crew members with on-the-job training while other partner organizations assist with securing housing and career counseling.

King County Metro is helping crew members arrive at worksites with its ORCA Business Passport program, which connects workers through its regional transit network, including Vanpool.

Executive Constantine included funding for the Jobs and Housing Program in the combined $600 million COVID-19 supplemental budget he proposed in March. It has multiple funding sources, including the American Rescue Plan, FEMA, and the county’s General Fund. The County Council approved $38 million for the program in May.

Other potential positions created by the Jobs and Housing Program could include:

Cleaning and sanitizing vehicles and heavy-duty equipment for King County’s Fleet Services Division
Caring for animals and engaging with customers at Regional Animal Services of King County
Performing litter removal in the road right-of-way at King County Roads Division
Performing litter removal in unincorporated King County organized by the Department of Local Services

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SALE! White Center Library Guild hopes to see you Saturday

September 28th, 2021 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Library, White Center news 1 Comment »

From the White Center Library Guild:

The White Center Library Guild is having a Book & Sidewalk Sale this coming Saturday, October 2nd, from 10 AM to 3 PM at the White Center Library at 1409 SW 107th St. in White Center just east of 16th Ave. SW. Stop by the Library for a fast look at books and other items to restart needed funding for our White Center Library programs for children and adults over the next year. Guild members will be on hand to sell various items collected during the COVID shutdown. Be masked and come by for some good bargains. Join our Guild, too! If you have yet to visit, the Library it is a beautiful welcoming place with books, computers, a children’s play area, and a friendly staff. Great place for children of all ages to go after school. COVID protocols are in place.

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YOU CAN HELP: Crowdfunding to help White Center’s Huong Xua Deli recover from fire damage

September 25th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, How to Help, White Center news Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP: Crowdfunding to help White Center’s Huong Xua Deli recover from fire damage

(WCN photo, September 13th)

Less than two weeks after the 3-alarm fire that destroyed the closed Locker Room in downtown White Center, its neighbor to the north, Huong Xua Deli, is still struggling to recover from damage. (Our photo above shows what it looked like inside hours after the fire.) So their neighbors to the north, Full Tilt Ice Cream proprietors Justin Cline and Ann Magyar, have launched a crowdfunding page for community donations to help Huong Xua reopen. The page features this message from the deli’s owners:

My name is Kevin Bui and my wife is Phuong Nguyen. I came to the US when I was young. Growing up, I didn’t have that many opportunities and wealth. I had to work to support me and my family. Even through the struggle, our culture brings happiness and everybody together. That is why I wanted to open a small business to share some cultural foods such as Bánh Mì, Bún Bò Huế, thịt Heo Quay (Roasted Pork) and many more foods. When we inherited the business from the previous owners, everything was still the same but got slower from the pandemic. Not too long ago, our Roasted Pork Sandwich got rated #1 as the best Bánh Mì in the Puget Sound from The Seattle Times. I could say this was a blessing. Our business got more customers coming from all over the state. Everything was going well until a fire that was spread to our Deli. There were 3 fires that happened in a span of 5 months, but this time, Hương Xưa Deli was affected and damaged by the water and fire retardant. Our friendly neighbor from Full Tilt, started this fundraiser to help us rebuild our deli. Our family’s income depends on this business. Anything will help, thank you all for your support, I hope we can rebuild a new Deli as soon as possible located in the spot where we are right now to serve to our lovely community in White Center.

You can donate by going here.

P.S. Bizzarro Italian Café, south of the Locker Room, remains closed too. King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer told WCN that investigators believe “smoking material” started the fire, as was the case with the April fire that closed the Locker Room.

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King County proposes banning natural gas in most new unincorporated-area construction

September 22nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in Development, Environment, King County, White Center news Comments Off on King County proposes banning natural gas in most new unincorporated-area construction

Announced today by King County Executive Dow Constantine – a proposal to change building codes, including a ban on natural-gas use in most new construction. At the heart of that part of the proposal:

The proposed Ordinance:

• Prohibits fossil fuel combustion for space heating in all commercial buildings and in multifamily buildings four stories tall and taller;
• Prohibits fossil fuel combustion for water heating in multifamily buildings four stories tall and taller, as well as hotel/motel and group residential buildings; and
• Increases efficiency requirements, including for lighting and window insulation levels.

As building codes apply to new construction, building additions, and some mechanical and building feature replacements, the effect of the proposed Ordinance would primarily be to reduce natural gas expansion in all commercial buildings, and multifamily buildings over three stories tall, thus helping to curb future GHG emissions.

The city of Seattle already has passed similar legislation. Read the full announcement, including what else would change, here. The proposal goes to the County Council for consideration (documents are here).

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CORONAVIRUS: Two White Center vaccine pop-ups this week

September 21st, 2021 Tracy Posted in Coronavirus, White Center news Comments Off on CORONAVIRUS: Two White Center vaccine pop-ups this week

Two chances to get vaccinated in White Center this week, if you’re not already:

WEDNESDAY (September 22): 1-6 pm, get vaccinated at the library (1409 SW 107th).

FRIDAY (September 24): The White Center Community Association hosts a pop-up at 605 SW 108th, 10 am-1:30 pm.

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CONTINUING SUNDAY: Punk Rock Flea Market in White Center

September 18th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fun, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photos)

Happening now in the 9800 block of 17th SW in White Center – the Punk Rock Flea Market! It’s a browser’s dream.

As befits the name, you’ll find music too – both for sale:

And for entertainment – DJ Porta-Party was on duty:

$1 admission, and wear your mask:

The Punk Rock Flea Market is on until 7 tonight, and again noon-5 pm Sunday. (Rain or shine, they vow.)

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CRIME WATCH: Armed robbery at marijuana shop

September 17th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on CRIME WATCH: Armed robbery at marijuana shop

King County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating a robbery that was just reported at Nimbin Pot Shop on 1st Avenue South in Top Hat. Deputies were told that three robbers – at least two with guns – held up the store. According to emergency-radio exchanges, they are still working on description information and whether they got away on foot or via vehicle.

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North Highline’s future: New way to have a say in how it should look

September 17th, 2021 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline’s future: New way to have a say in how it should look

From King County:

King County Local Services is working with the North Highline community to create urban design standards for new commercial, multi-family, and mixed-use developments.

To align these new design standards with the community’s values, we’re forming a community advisory group to help develop these standards in a way that reflects the values and assets of the community. If you’re interested in applying to be a member of that group, please use our online application form.

The project team is also gathering input directly from community members through an online survey and upcoming events. Do you have ideas to share? Your voice matters — please take the survey!

Check out this information sheet to learn more about the project, or contact Jesse Reynolds by email (jesreynolds@kingcounty.gov) or at 206-477-4237.

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