County government’s annual check-in, plus Hub project preview: What happened @ 2020 North Highline Town Hall

October 18th, 2020 Tracy Posted in King County, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Usually, the county’s annual Town Hall for unincorporated North Highline fills the community room at Seola Gardens with people.

This pandemic year, that’s still out of the question, so instead, county department heads, managers, and other reps – plus one “partner” agency rep with new info about a future major project – filled a screen Thursday night. Otherwise – the format was much the same, minus pre- and post-presentations mingling.

Department of Local Services director John Taylor emceed. County Councilmember Joe McDermott joined “from my basement office in West Seattle.”

First up: Councilmember McDermott noted that after seven months (original WCN report here), the controversial county-owned quarantine/isolation site in Top Hat had yet to host anyone, but the county’s continuing to keep it ready and available. What about the site’s future? He thinks it can serve “an important role” in the area but insists “the county doesn’t have a plan” – he cited ideas he says he’s heard, from housing to open space. He promises that the county will work with the community in deciding the site’s future.

McDermott also spoke about the budget, on which the County Council is working right now. A highlight: $1.8 million in marijuana-tax revenue is planned to be diverted to Local Services, $450,000 of it for participatory budgeting, the rest for “an urban unincorporated King County investment pool.” And he noted the county has had “four supplemental budgets” to deal with COVID response.

He fielded a question about the scooter-sharing program launched two months ago, noting it’s a 1-year pilot project. The program, with scooters from two companies, started in mid-August. Any extension would be up to the County Council. “I’m optimistic about the experiment and hearing from White Center about their experiences.”

McDermott also was asked about the status of the proposed fireworks ban. “The legislation I introduced to ban them in unincorporated King County would mirror most cities … a year ago on 4th of July, we had a tragic death of a North Highline resident because of fireworks,” and that’s why he worked on a ban. It’s been delayed by everyone working remotely – he hopes to get the ban enacted before year’s end, he said, but since it can’t go into effect until a year after passage (that’s a state mandate), even if he does, the ban wouldn’t cover next 4th of July.

Another question: What about a space for the LGBTQ+ community in White Center? McDermott said that’s a great addition to the community needs list and also something that could be discussed in the context of the Sub-Area Plan. (Explained later in the meeting, here’s what the needs list is about:)

The North Highline Subarea Plan is expected to go to the council late next year and be adopted in 2022, McDermott said.

Elections director Julie Wise made the next presentation, saying they’re challenging voters to break 90 percent turnout – you should get your ballot no later than Monday. She said they’re confident the ballots will get to everyone within the 5-day post-mailing window. Ballot drop boxes are open – 73 of them around the coumty, each weighing half a ton – the local drop box is outside White Center Library. “We will have staff emptying those drop boxes every single day.” Before your ballot arrives, get ready by reading the voter pamphlet (all the candidate and measure info is online too). If you’re going to return your ballot via a drop box, please do it BEFORE Election Day, Wise implored. Any questions? You can call 206-296-VOTE. “Vote early, vote early, vote early,” she implored.

Next: Assessor John Wilson explained ways people can reach his office:

He said they’ve received 9,000 applications for tax exemptions this year and they have a backlog – if you are waiting and need a deferral for the second-half property tax payment, to January 31st, apply by next Monday (October 19th).

Regarding property values, COVID has not had a significant effect on residential values; they’re still watching to see how the West Seattle Bridge closure will affect area values. Values have gone down a bit in “near-in” areas like downtown, West Seattle, White Center, 1 to 5 percent, as a “market correction” more than anything.

Eligibility for the senior tax reduction has been expanded:

Now – a very different picture from residential – the Assessor’s Office wants to hear about impacts on commercial property:

Then, on to law enforcement. From the King County Sheriff’s Office Southwest Precinct, Major Jeffrey Flohr presented. He went through several topics, some of which he discussed at the previous week’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting (WCN coverage here), plus some general crime prevention/reduction notes:

he gave some light on what happened at 17th and 107th earlier in the day – see our separate report here. He had high praise for White Center Deputy Bill Kennamer, calling him a “rock star” and saying he’s safe from budget cuts. He said two deputies are usually working in the WC area, but they also back up the Skyway area, and vice versa, so a big problem in either area can have up to four deputies on it. Peter Truong continues working as a community deputy.

Maj. Flohr also mentioned that online reporting is back (for non-emergencies) and is available in more than 10 languages.

The camera test program will be “out of this precinct” and it’ll likely start in November/December, as he detailed at the NHUAC meeting.

A question answered by Major Flohr: Noise from modified vehicles – said the attendee, “it’s not a victimless crime … my family and others pay the price for the decision not to address this crime.” The attendee wonders what’s being done about it. Maj. Flohr said deputies are encouraged to go after that kind of violation when they see, or hear about it.

Another question: What funding will replace the marijuana-tax money that’s being moved? Nothing – but, he said, it won’t affect the patroling availability in WC. Councilmember McDermott said the pandemic recession is causing cuts in various county departments but this isn’t an additional cut – service levels will be maintained.

Also: What do you do when you think you hear gunshots? Call 911. That will help them triangulate where it might have happened. DON’T call the non-emergency line – that won’t.

Aaron Garcia of the White Center Community Development Association provided an update too, mostly focused on “The Hub,” the project long in the works at 8th/108th, where the White Center Food Bank and Mary’s Place shelter are now. (Here’s his full slide deck.) Of the agency overall, Garcia explained, “We wear many hats .. I like to explain the CDA as four buckets of support … family development …economic development … community building … youth leadership development (like) White Center to White House …” Since the pandemic began, they’ve distributed more than half a million dollars to community members. He showed a rendering of the project at 8th/108th:

He said a Native architect is leading the project. Garcia also showed the principles guiding the project, dubbed the White Center Hub, and its environmental context:

“We have to be sure we’re being good environmental stewards of the land,” he said, ensuring that they preserve trees on the site, for example, and ‘actually centering everything around that Madrone tree in the middle,” with a recognition of the “seven generations” Indigenous concept. “We’re trying to … ensure this will be one of the first Net Zero affordable-housing projects.” Another preview:

WCCDA, Southwest Youth and Family Services, the YES Foundation, Be:Seattle will all be partnering at “The Hub.”

Back to county staff:

Susie Levy provided a COVID-19 response update. Nearest testing sites: Tukwila and West Seattle (Southwest Athletic Complex). Rates are rising across the county, 92 of 100,000 recently, almost four times the rate they’re hoping for, and the North Highline rate is about 200 per 100.000. She discussed the racial inequities of how COVID-19 affects areas. “We’re committed to implementing a racially equitable response to this crisis.” Levy also touted the King County health services available in the area.

Next, Dwight Dively provided a budget primer, since the County Council is in the thick of budget review right now.

One key point – outside assistance for COVID relief currently ends at year’s end, and if more doesn’t come through, that’s going to put an end to many things. While the pandemic has meant a decline in demand for some things like transit, there’s been increased demand for other things, like health services. He also spotlighted the anti-racism focus of the budget. If you have budget input, get it to Councilmember McDermott!

First question after Dively’s presentation: What’s up with the West Seattle Bridge and its impacts on White Center? McDermott fielded that. He mentioned that the City of Seattle’s been focusing its mitigation efforts on its own area but he’d be glad to surface concerns – get him details.

Second: White Center needs more sidewalks.How can walking be made safer? Dively said that’s the kind of thing that the money earmarked for “capital investment in the unincorporated area” could be used for. McDermott mentioned various transportation-funding challenges.

So “why is the county intent on increasing density in North Highline” if it can’t cover the needs? Taylor said the county’s Growth Management Act didn’t contemplate urban unincorporated areas and ways to equitably share tax revenue to cover their needs. Taylor also noted that a new roads director has just been hired and one of her attributes is a “deep knowledge” of funding, as they work on ways to get needs covered.

Roads Division: Lydia Reynolds-Jones mentioned the 8th/102nd roundabout, road signs helping people understand how to use it:

She also had some stats – WC has 3 percent of the unincorporated area’s total road mileage.

They’re also working on an ADA plan for the entire county. There’ll be a public comment period for the draft plan starting in December. And she showed a list of projects under way now, plus some miscellaneous stats:

Attendee question: Are sandbags available? Yes, Renton’s the closest site – more info here.

From the permitting division, Jim Chen explained everything can be done online.

Department of Community and Human ServicesMark Ellerbrook – the county’s second largest department “by budget” – had more to say about the quarantine/isolation facilities – if you need to isolate or quarantine and can’t safely do it at home, call!

If you need rent assistance, here’s the program for you:

And he noted the two Anti-Displacement Workshops coming up for North Highline and Skyway-West Hill, October 17th (this Saturday) and November 7th – find out about them here.

Question for him – besides a workshop, what strategies are they pursuing to fight displacement? Discussing strategies like Community Land Trusts and inclusionary zoning – where a project has to include a certain amount of affordable housing 0 are strategies that’ll be discussed at the workshop, he replied.

He also was asked during the meeting: What about the fair-housing assessment? It’s not ready yet, he said.

Then came an emergency preparedness presentation by Michelle Chatterton. She recommended, signing up for Alert King County as well as flood alerts. To sign up for Alert KC, text ALERTKC to 99411:

DNRP deputy director Mo McBroom reviewed environmental efforts.

She also talked about Parks projects – the 5-acre site we featured earlier this year; improvements for the White Center Natural Area (a pathway) and at Steve Cox Memorial Park, basketball-court improvements plus isntallation of two Portland Loos, Plus, she said there’ll be a “Spooky Town Hall” event at Steve Cox on October 24th. And she had some resource links:

Taylor concluded with a fervent wish that the Town Hall will be back to an in-person event next year.

P.S. See all the county slides from the meeting here.

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WHITE CENTER SUMMIT: You’re invited on Saturday

December 4th, 2019 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on WHITE CENTER SUMMIT: You’re invited on Saturday

The White Center Community Development Association invites you to the annual White Center Summit this Saturday:

The White Center Summit is on December 7th, 2019, 9:00 am-1:30 pm at Evergreen High School.

The Summit will center issues of displacement and housing in our White Center community. Community members are invited to gather to receive updates about efforts around housing issues, share their experience around housing issues and/or successes, connect with different resources in the community, and define system changing solutions together as a community. This is also an opportunity to discard of your hazardous waste such as any sort of batteries, oils, and glues as there will be a WasteMobile truck present. There will also be breakfast, lunch, interpreters, child care, and raffle prizes provided at this event!

Evergreen HS is at 830 SW 116th.

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$200,000 grant for White Center Community Development Association

November 12th, 2019 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on $200,000 grant for White Center Community Development Association

From the WCN inbox: Though Bank of America closed its White Center branch earlier this year, it hasn’t completely disengaged from the community. Today B of A sent this announcement that it’s given the WCCDA a $200,000 grant:

White Center Community Development Association (CDA) and OneAmerica have been named as the 2019 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for Seattle. The nonprofits were selected for their work in the Seattle area to address issues fundamental to economic mobility, specifically the CDA’s efforts to promote a vibrant neighborhood and high quality of life for residents in White Center and OneAmerica’s work advancing the fundamental principles of democracy by building power within immigrant communities.

As an awardee, each organization receives a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader at the organization, a network of peer organizations across the U.S., and the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. Over the past 15 years, Bank of America has invested $240 million in 49 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and helping more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills.

“The tremendous growth our region has enjoyed has not benefitted communities equally. Rising real estate and staffing costs are impacting many small business owners in the region, and many of our immigrant neighbors and communities of color continue to face barriers to stable employment and economic mobility that is the American dream,” said Kerri Schroeder, Seattle market president, Bank of America. “Non-profits like OneAmerica and White Center CDA are on the front lines addressing issues of equity, economics and education that are critical to removing those barriers. We’re proud that the Neighborhood Builders program not only provides funding, but also helps develop emerging nonprofit executives who are taking transformative and successful approaches in advancing equity and inclusion in our community.”

This year, Bank of America recognizes White Center CDA for its efforts to promote a vibrant neighborhood and high quality of life for residents in White Center through the development of authentic leadership opportunities, small business support and preservation, and community-led neighborhood initiatives that help address basic needs across this diverse community.

“Bank of America’s investment helps us build our support for small businesses owned by immigrants, women and people of color and to eliminate the achievement and opportunity gap for children of color,” said Sili Savusa, White Center CDA executive director. “Bank of America shares our vision of a community in which people of all incomes and backgrounds can share in the opportunity and prosperity of our region. Through this support, we are excited to continue building and expanding a vibrant, economically diverse community.

Our other recipient, OneAmerica, advances the fundamental principles of democracy by building power within immigrant communities in collaboration with key allies, bringing forward the voices of those most marginalized in society due to immigration status, language ability, race, ethnicity, income, gender and religious identity.

“Displacement due to rising land values and rent is one of the most pressing issues facing immigrant and refugee business owners in our region,” said Rich Stolz, OneAmerica executive director. “At the same time, under-represented communities are working to shape a workforce development system that better meets the needs of individuals facing barriers to employment and opportunity, like language access, transferring foreign credentials, and building marketable skills in a rapidly changing economy. OneAmerica will use these funds to invest in our staff and expand our capacity to develop a series of policy briefs on strategies to strengthen state and regional workforce development systems and to ensure that those most impacted by these issues are shaping solutions grounded in their aspirations and experience.”

Since 2004, through its Neighborhood Builders program, Bank of America has partnered with 30 nonprofits in Seattle, investing $6 million to provide financial education and economic mobility opportunities within the Seattle area. The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. Examples of the leadership training topics include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.

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White Center Community Development Association plans first Community Pop-Up Market

November 10th, 2019 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 1 Comment »

Announced by WCCDA:

The White Center Community Development Association would like to invite you to our first Community Pop-Up Market on Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 1 PM-5 PM at 9630 16th Ave SW.

The theme of the market is “Resisting Displacement.” Local artists, makers, and chefs will be showcasing and selling the products that they create with community. All proceeds will go to the local vendors.

White Center has always been an innovative, creative, and culturally rich community and this pop-up market intends to celebrate that richness in our community in order to resist the displacement that is happening.

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5 DAYS AWAY: White Center Community Development Association gala

September 15th, 2019 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on 5 DAYS AWAY: White Center Community Development Association gala

Spend next Friday night at the White Center Community Development Association‘s annual gala! From the WCCDA website:


Keynote Speaker:

This year, we are honored to have Senator Joe Nguyen speaking at our Gala. He was born in White Center, raised in Burien and currently lives in West Seattle. His experiences growing up in an immigrant community as the son of Vietnamese refugees and being raised by a single mother informs much of his service today. Sen. Nguyen is not afraid to have the difficult conversations needed in our community. It will be a treat to listen to him on this night. Make sure you get your tickets!

There will be plenty of food, beer and wine, a photo booth and great raffles packages.

We have 3 Raffles Packages

“WHAT’S GOOD WHITE CENTER” White Center Experience
“WHAT’S UP SEATTLE?” Seattle Events
“GET OUT” Travel Tickets for 2 (two)


2931 1st Ave S

6 pm September 20th – get your ticket(s) here.

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FRIDAY: Back-to-school celebration presented by White Center Community Development Association

August 9th, 2019 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on FRIDAY: Back-to-school celebration presented by White Center Community Development Association

2-6 pm today, Greenbridge Plaza is the place to be if there’s a student in your household. The White Center Community Development Association‘s annual back-to-school celebration will offer free food, entertainment, activities, and raffles.

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Community design workshop next Saturday for new ‘hub’ at 8th/108th

December 1st, 2018 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on Community design workshop next Saturday for new ‘hub’ at 8th/108th

From the White Center Community Development Association:

The White Center CDA Invites You!
White Center Community HUB
Community Design Workshop

Saturday December 8, 2018, 9 am-12 pm
Evergreen High School Cafeteria

The Public is Invited!
Food and interpretation services will be provided

White Center Community Development Association, Southwest Youth & Family Services, Capitol Hill Housing, and King County are coming together to build a community-driven and designed campus with community services and affordable housing at the former Public Health Center at 8th Avenue SW & SW 108th Street. The HUB will provide welcoming and much-needed spaces for community to connect, celebrating the value of White Center’s diversity through cultural art, music, traditions, ceremonies, events, and community-wide activities.

family resource center
alternative education classrooms
workforce training
small business incubation
youth development
early learning opportunities
integrated behavioral and physical health services
community garden
affordable housing

Come learn about this project and share your ideas to ensure the HUB reflects the diverse community in White Center!

Questions? or 206-694-1028

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SATURDAY: White Center Summit 2018

November 7th, 2018 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on SATURDAY: White Center Summit 2018

Thanks to Aaron Garcia from the White Center Community Development Association for the heads-up. If you’re not already planning on going to Saturday’s annual White Center Summit – you’re invited!

White Center Summit is happening this Saturday, November 10th:

9 am – Check-in/Breakfast
10 am – start time

Evergreen High School
830 SW 116th

Come learn about issues affecting White Center – like housing, health, economic development – and learn about community building and how our communities of opportunity partners are coming together to support White Center families- and discuss your priorities with local officials and neighbors. What do you love about White Center? What would you like to see improve? This event is FREE, and interpretation, child care, and breakfast & lunch is provided.

Due to the generosity of a private donor, two participants will be randomly selected to receive $100.

Here’s where to go to RSVP.

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Signed up yet for White Center Refresh 2018?

June 4th, 2018 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on Signed up yet for White Center Refresh 2018?

Signed up yet for the White Center Community Development Association‘s big event? Less than three weeks to go!

Formerly the Spring Clean, The Refresh is now a two-day neighborhood cleaning and restoration event on Friday, June 22nd, and Saturday, June 23rd. For 14 years, this has been one of the CDA’s signature events. Previous projects have included garbage pickup in the business core of White Center, painting new and touching up existing murals, building garden boxes, and sprucing up the parks through partnership with King County Parks.

The CDA has decided to extend this community event to two days for more intensive projects such as the White Center Food Bank’s remodel to a grocery store layout, and partnering with Habitat for Humanity to do landscaping work. We will be capping at 100 participants for this event. This is a great opportunity for lovers of the White Center Community to come together and refresh out neighborhood! For more information and to register for this hands=on community event, go to the CDA’s website, or contact Registration is open now!

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VIDEO: 250 superheroes run and walk in White Center 5K 2018

March 24th, 2018 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center Food Bank, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: 250 superheroes run and walk in White Center 5K 2018

10:42 AM: Those are some of the ~250 people (and a few dogs!) who hit the road for this morning’s White Center 5K. The run/walk, which started and finished at White Center Heights Park, again carried a “superhero” theme – and everyone who participated was a superhero by raising money for the White Center Community Development Association, White Center Food Bank, and YES Foundation of White Center. We’ll be adding photos shortly!

ADDED 12:22 PM: As promised:

(WCN photos by Patrick Sand)

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SATURDAY: White Center Community Summit 2017

November 1st, 2017 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on SATURDAY: White Center Community Summit 2017

Signed up yet? The White Center Community Development Association presents this year’s WC Community Summit on Saturday, 9 am-3 pm at Evergreen High School. Free child care, food, raffle. Just sign up – which you can do by going here. This year’s topics include displacement, the 2017 WC Community Survey, affordable housing, knowing your rights, and immigration.

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WHITE CENTER SUMMIT 2017: ‘Now we can help’

January 30th, 2017 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 1 Comment »

Story and photos by Cliff Cawthon
Reporting for White Center Now

On Saturday, more than 200 people gathered at this year’s White Center Summit, organized by the White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA) at the Evergreen Campus.

In contrast to the tumult resulting from actions taken in “the other Washington” just before the weekend, the summit gathered a diverse cross-section of the community to create networks between neighbors and organizations and to discuss solutions.

The summit kicked off with exhibitions from a variety of service organizations, community foundations, and nonprofit organizations. “The challenge of White Center being unincorporated Seattle and not having a local government structure [can be] to support some of the services and local activities,” said Sili Savusa, WCCDA executive director. The community summit was organized in order to harness the power of the community, as Savusa expressed that [White Center residents] “feel that there’s still strength here by the people who live here.”

Residents highlighted concerns around education, health, economic development, neighborhood safety, and affordable housing. There was a thoroughfare of organizations offering different services and promoting advocacy for components of the community.

Two of the organizations tabling at the event were the YES Foundation of White Center and H.E.L.P., represented by Pat Thompson and Rayonna Tobin, respectively. The YES Foundation is focused on serving children and youth and connecting them with programs on leadership and post-secondary education. The latter organization supports families of incarcerated people, whether it comes to counseling and emotional support or making up for the loss of income and stability in the home.

After some mingling, breakout groups were formed to seek innovative solutions for community concerns identified by participants, including: Youth; Affordable Housing; Neighborhood Safety; Economic Development; Education and Health Strategies.

Participants in the breakout sessions took away either contacts or information to help develop the neighborhood. During the economic development session, Hugo Garcia, a risk-management officer with Craft3, a Community Development Financial Institution, discussed how his organization helps “fill the gap” where other banks fail to support small businesses, nonprofit programs and projects, etc.

The gap that the lifelong White Center resident referred to was the aversion that banks and other traditional financial institutions have toward supporting some of White Center’s small entrepreneurs of color, immigrants, and women.

During the affordable-housing breakout session, facilitated by Marie Pino, a neighborhood-outreach coordinator with the WCCDA, residents addressed the increasingly stark challenge of finding affordable housing in White Center due to development.

“The things that we have [found] on our map today are new commercial developments … that people don’t recognize, and we’ve seen some changes in ethnic communities,” said Giulia Pasciuto, a policy researcher with Puget Sound Sage.

The research conducted by Puget Sound Sage and Futurewise shows that these new developments have raised rents and introduced new market-rate apartments. Traditionally low-cost housing has become more inaccessible as “housing prices are increasing just north of the White Center border in Seattle. The home-ownership price in White Center has increased substantially in the last few years.” In Pasciuto’s opinion, a mixture of strategies – similar to comprehensive efforts within Seattle city limits – is necessary.

For Savusa, the housing and economic-development data that community partners have gathered is essential. “Our role is to find those resources and bring them into the community and find commitments to [work on] what [is] important here to the families,” as Savusa described the CDA’s role in building the community’s assets. For Savusa and the CDA, “what gets in the way are a lot of policies [that] get put into place” that don’t reflect the nuances of White Center’s diversity.

After the workshops, I found the opportunity to speak with Joyce Yee of the League of Education Voters. She was tabling at the event and is currently hoping to not just advocate for more funding for schools, but for how it is used in K-12 education: “Our main message is that it should be an equity question about how do we drive more funding to schools and students who need more, [such as] English as a second language and special-needs students, and those in special assistance programs.”

Educators and education advocates who had ties with the community made up a significant percentage of the attendees. Tonya Powers, director of Baccalaureate Programs and Workforce at Highline College, explained that Highline offers services to residents of White Center and that its student population is expanding due to rising housing costs in Seattle leading more people relocating to South King County, including locations like White Center.

As the event came to a close, Hodan Bulale, the CDA’s Family Success Partner of the event, spoke a bit with me about the post-summit work. She spearheaded outreach to many community partners and stakeholders, as well as personal connections – since many CDA employees were born and/ or raised in White Center: “We got to have a conversation about things that really matter … really important things that impact [us] on a daily basis. I like how they were a part of this conversation. We understand, we can relate and now we can help.”

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TODAY: 2017 White Center Summit

January 28th, 2017 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 2 Comments »

Just a reminder – 8 am to 3 pm today at the Evergreen campus, you’re invited to this year’s White Center Summit. Full details are in this preview published earlier this month.

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White Center Community Summit planned for January 28th

January 17th, 2017 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Community Summit planned for January 28th

Just announced – this year’s White Center Community Summit, coming up on January 28th. From the WC Community Development Association:

White Center Community Summit 2017 at Evergreen High School
830 SW 116th
Saturday, January 28th 8:00 AM-3:00 PM

Each year the White Center CDA hosts a community summit to bring neighbors together to talk about the state of their community and plan for White Center’s future – on January 28, the CDA will host the annual summit at Evergreen High School.

This year’s summit theme is “Call to Action.” What current initiatives are being undertaken and how can we, as community members, come up with our own solutions to growing our community strengths or addressing community issues? The Summit is also a time to celebrate ourselves as a neighborhood, so please bring a friend and join us!

The summit is always free and open to every resident of White Center, including youth. Free child care, interpretation services, and breakfast and lunch are provided.

We start early with free breakfast and local community organizations tabling so that residents can meet and learn about groups working in their neighborhood. There will also be offerings from local businesses like food and product samples, so attendees can celebrate businesses, parks, & upcoming events in White Center.

All summit attendees will hear a brief overview of the “State of White Center”, exploring trends in major issue areas, and then will have the opportunity to break out into small groups to discuss and mobilize around an in-depth issue of their choice – housing, health, economic development, safety, or education.

Youth, don’t be shy – you’ll be given special time to learn about each topic and present your findings to the larger groups.

Last year, residents came together to meet with county, city, and CDA staff to learn about as well as voice concerns and ask questions about annexation. The results of last year’s summit will be available for attendees to view.

You can register via

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4th annual White Center Promise back-to-school celebration set for August 5th

July 6th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Greenbridge, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on 4th annual White Center Promise back-to-school celebration set for August 5th

Just in from Tony Vo at White Center Community Development Association:

Our 6th annual White Center Promise Celebration will be held on Friday, August 5th from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM at Greenbridge Plaza, located in White Center at 9800 8th Ave SW.

The White Center Promise aims to eliminate barriers to equity and provide a foundation for family and student success from the time a child is born until they transition from post-secondary to gainful employment.

The celebration kicks off the school year early and connects over 800 students and their families to 30+ community resources, free backpacks and school supplies, local performances and entertainment, and educational activities for parents to take-away. In addition, there will be free food and raffle items.

You can sign up for the event via this link, If you would like to volunteer for this event, please email

Sponsors of this event includes King County Housing Authority, Equity Matters, Highline Schools Foundation for Excellence, Washington State Charter Schools Association, Habitat for Humanity, and Amerigroup.

First day of classes for Highline Public Schools is September 1st.

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Myers Way Parcels: Meeting Thursday; White Center Community Development Association voices ‘serious concerns’

June 26th, 2016 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 1 Comment »

A 33-acre stretch of undeveloped City of Seattle-owned land known as the Myers Way Parcels is the subject of a community meeting next Thursday, June 30th. The land is adjacent to unincorporated North Highline, and a growing list of community advocates want the city to hold off on a potential sale – outlined in the “preliminary recommendations” released earlier this month – until it can reach out to more of the general area. Joining the list, the White Center Community Development Association, a signatory to this letter sent to Seattle officials:

Finance & Administrative Services Department
Re: Response to June 15, 2016, FAS Preliminary Recommendation Report on Myers Parcels

Dear Mr. Bretzke;

Your report raises serious concerns for our organizations. We ask that you stop the Myers Parcels sale process, and engage the South Park and White Center communities in envisioning the best use of this public land for their public benefit. This civic outreach aligns with Mayor Murray’s Equity and Environmental Action Agenda. The communities of color, immigrants, the elderly, low income and others in these areas live uphill from the Duwamish River, one of America’s worst Superfund sites. They also suffer elevated levels of illness, as they breathe the worst quality air in Seattle.

More than half the residents here do not speak or read English; for some, it’s a second language. Yet the City’s Finance & Administrative Services (FAS) Department issued its formal Notice of Excess Property (Jan. 15, 2016), and its Preliminary Recommendations for Myers Parcels (June 15, 2016) only in English, and to a limited area in the extensive communities that will be affected by the proposed Myers sale. To do effective community outreach, FAS must inform the non-English speaking majority of residents, by offering notices in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Somali. So far, FAS has effectively disenfranchised huge swaths of the local population.

The 33 acres of Myers Parcels is the largest tract of undeveloped land that the City of Seattle owns. It holds origins of Hamm Creek, and a second creek – parts of the most fragile link in Chinook Salmon Recovery, and within the Duwamish River Superfund area. Its forested and wetland areas provide habitat, green buffer, and ecosystem service benefits for the White Center, Highland Park, South Park, Roxbury, Delridge and Georgetown communities, and for the City of Seattle. The Myers Parcels forest helps clean the area’s air and reduce atmospheric carbon. It is also historically significant to the Duwamish Tribe.

FAS recommends using the area south of the Joint Training Facility for an expanded parking lot and a commercial warehouse operation, and retaining the wetlands and critical slope above SR 509 that can’t be developed. This FAS top-down recommendation runs contrary to Mayor Murray’s Equity and Environmental Action Agenda, which calls for grassroots, community-driven planning. Rather than rush into a sale, the city should fully engage the local communities in a visioning process that considers their best interests.

Page 3 of the FAS Preliminary Recommendation Report portrays the West Duwamish Greenbelt as usable park space. This is misleading. The Greenbelt is filled with large trees and thick undergrowth, lacks trails, and is unusable for public recreation. The entrance for Westcrest Park is not within walking distance for community residents near Myers.

Residents of South Park, eastern White Center, and Arrowhead Gardens need accessible green space, improved air and water quality, access to product and service providers and/or existing retail cores, and green jobs. Instead, the city plans to reduce green space and walkability, and degrade air and water quality with parking lots, warehouses, and truck operations. It will not improve accessibility to what residents need, and offers no assurances that proposed commercial operations will produce green jobs for underemployed local residents.

In a recent survey by the White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA), White Center residents expressed concern about access to employment, despite living nearby the South Park, Georgetown, SoDo industrial areas. There are ways to combine economic opportunity and environmental sustainability, and support a green economy for Seattle’s future. Adding warehousing and trucking operations neither provides this, nor addresses residents’ concerns.

There is a wide range of “greener” options for Myers Parcels – an organic farming cooperative with a mission to support small local produce stands and ethnic grocery stores; a manufacturing facility for clean tech products or compostable goods; an environmental education center an ADA-accessible park for Arrowhead Gardens; and more possibilities.

This FAS plan also does not keep the Myers watershed healthy, or help to restore the Duwamish River and promote salmon habitat. It makes no sense to degrade a watershed that feeds the Duwamish River, when we’re spending millions of taxpayer dollars to clean that river up. The FAS Dept. has also ignored our “Save Myers Parcels” petition, which has garnered more than 1100 signatures and nearly 500 comments, and support from a growing number of individuals and community associations.

We call on the City to stop this sale, withdraw the FAS recommendation, and fully engage local communities in determining the future of this site. A new assessment of current and future Myers ecosystem value and benefits must also be done, as the current study has expired. We urge the city to retain and develop Myers Parcels as usable public space to benefit all of our communities.


Tony Vo,
Director, White Center Promise, White Center Community Development Association

Elaine Ike
Co-Chair, Seattle Green Spaces Coalition

Here’s the notice about Thursday’s meeting, which is at 6:30 pm at the Joint Training Facility immediately north of the site, 9401 Myers Way S.

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Will White Center become part of Seattle? Annexation is Topic A at this year’s WC Summit

December 5th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Annexation, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 2 Comments »

Will White Center become part of Seattle? The potential process is only in the earliest of stages, but it’s the main topic of this year’s White Center Summit, convened by the WC Community Development Association and continuing until 3 pm at Cascade Middle School.

One year ago, the Seattle City Council put itself on record as taking the initial steps toward potential annexation, mostly as a procedural move that had to be made to keep the city’s options open, especially for a tax credit that would be vital to funding annexation. The city had reps at today’s event, including AJ Cari from the Office of Economic Development:

He was talking about the kind of services that would potentially be available for White Center businesses if the area became part of Seattle. But there are many steps before that would come close to even potential reality. The discussion continues at the White Center Summit for another hour and a half.

SIDE NOTE: In the first-ever election for a West Seattle/South Park-specific City Council member, which is just now finalizing a recount, annexation was one of the points of difference between the candidates. Lisa Herbold, expected to be officially announced as the winner on Monday, is not the unabashed supporter that opponent Shannon Braddock had been. Herbold will be one of four new members on the nine-member council as of the first of the year. One of the other three, Lorena González, is a West Seattle resident who won one of the council’s two at-large seats.

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Talk annexation and more at this year’s White Center Summit on December 5

November 24th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Annexation, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on Talk annexation and more at this year’s White Center Summit on December 5

Saturday, December 5th, from 8:30 am-2 pm, you’re invited to the White Center Summit, presented by the WC Community Development Association at Cascade Middle School (11212 10th SW). This year, a special focus will be on possible annexation of the area; no full-fledged proposal is pending right now, but that could change at any time, since the city of Seattle took initial steps a year ago. Here’s the summit announcement:

Each year the White Center CDA hosts a community summit to bring neighbors together to talk about the state of their community and plan for White Center’s future – on Dec. 5, the annual summit will highlight the topic of annexation, and the impact of becoming part of the City of Seattle. If White Center residents vote “yes” to annexation, how will public services, education, housing, health, taxes, economic development, and the built environment be impacted? The event will feature speakers from both the City of Seattle and King County weighing in on their perspectives. Currently, White Center is a part of unincorporated King County, meaning it is without city governance and relies solely on the support of the county. In the 2015 White Center Community Survey, 78% of respondents said they either don’t know about annexation, or have heard of the issue but do not understand it.

Residents will have opportunities to ask questions about annexation and then break-out into smaller groups for more in-depth discussion. Youth are highly encouraged to attend as there will also be two youth breakout sessions.

The event will include the following:

*Presentation of the results of the White Center CDA’s community survey and a “data snapshot” including the state of housing, health, and education, and information about White Center’s demographics

*Keynote speakers from the City and County, and opportunity for live-polling feedback and Q&A

*Break-out groups for neighbors to discuss the issues facing White Center in more depth

*For youth, the choice to attend one of two breakouts: “Visual Storytelling – Stories of Immigrants & Refugees” facilitated by Erika Berg or “Anti-junk Food Campaign & White Center’s Food Landscape” facilitated by youth from FEEST

Throughout the event there will be a resource fair with organizations that residents can connect to. These organizations include the local White Center Food Bank, Seattle Art Museum, Airport Jobs, Highline Public Schools, and more. Breakfast and lunch, child care, and interpretation for Vietnamese, Somali, Spanish, and Khmer will all be provided. There will also be local entertainment throughout the day, such as a DJ and photo booth.

Please register for this event via this link:

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White Center Spring Clean 2014: Register now!

March 26th, 2014 Tracy Posted in How to Help, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on White Center Spring Clean 2014: Register now!

Almost Spring Clean time – three dates this year, according to this announcement from Vy Nguyen at the White Center Community Development Association:

The White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA) is gearing up for 2014 Spring Clean events to take place April 12, May 10, and June 7. White Center Spring Clean is an opportunity for volunteers and residents to take part in an annual spruce up of White Center through projects aimed at cleaning up and beautifying the neighborhood.

“Spring Clean is a hands-on way to get involved in making your community, literally, a better place. Whether it’s gardening, graffiti removal, bringing in more art or whatever is identified as a community need: everyone in White Center benefits from having a neighborhood with cleaner and improved spaces to show that people in this community care about where they live and/or run a business,” says White Center CDA’s business district manager, Vy Nguyen. “Spring Cleans are fun and a great way to connect with others that care about community, plus a way to score a free I ‘heart’ White Center t-shirt!”

Spring Clean projects come from the community, as WCCDA supports resident-led action in White Center’s development. Each day will start at the White Center CDA office (605 SW 108th St. Seattle 98146) with a light breakfast before volunteers go to their project assignments. Past projects have included: gardening at various sites around White Center, trash pick-up in White Center’s business district, graffiti removal, as well as painting murals throughout the neighborhood. WCCDA’s Spring Cleans brings in close to 300 volunteers for 20-25 projects each year.

If you have an idea or see a need in the White Center community for a Spring Clean project or if you’d like to volunteer and get involved in the community, register online at: or contact Vy Nguyen ( or Marquise Roberson (

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Scenes from White Center Community Summit 2014

March 2nd, 2014 Tracy Posted in White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on Scenes from White Center Community Summit 2014

Saturday, they were making art; soon enough, they’ll be making decisions. Youth of all ages were part of this year’s White Center Community Summit, spanning four hours at Mount View Elementary School, presented by the White Center Community Development Association. We stopped in for a while during the second hour, peeking in on the first of two runs each for workshops that focused on topics including transportation…

… connecting with community agencies/partners …

… and the perennial hot topic, annexation:

As noted in our earlier report, this was a lively discussion; those in the room included community leaders with varying views, and the hotly fought campaign over Burien’s annexation proposal two years ago was brought up repeatedly. A King County representative (Karen Freeman from the County Executive’s Office) led the discussion, not espousing a particular annexer – the area remains potentially annexable by Burien or Seattle – but saying “it’s time to make a decision” because the county just can’t keep supporting an urban area; the state experts urban areas will become part of cities, either creating their own (which isn’t considered financially feasible for White Center) or becoming part of another. Freeman invited those interested in the topic, seeking accurate information, to contact her – here’s her listing in the county directory.

Other workshop topics, according to the handout made available at the door: Housing help for those “underwater” or facing foreclosure; bilingual/biliterate education in Highline Public Schools; drug prevention/intervention; White Center “asset-mapping.”

A much-anticipated part of each White Center Community Summit is the “I (heart) White Center” T-shirt, this time in Seahawks colors:

Everyone who registered for the summit got a T-shirt. The event also included a resource fair, featuring informational tables from a wide range of regional agencies and organizations – including some recruiting for jobs – and lunch.

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