King County Council Passes 2021-2022 Budget with Benefits for District 5

dave upthegrove - king county council district 5

King County Council Passes 2021-2022 Budget with Benefits for District 5

Dear Neighbor, 

On November 17th, the King County Council passed the 2021-2022 budget funding County services for the next two years. Although the impact of the pandemic, the stalled federal response and the resulting economic uncertainty led to a constrained financial situation, I believe we have made thoughtful and responsible decisions that will not only help us through the current uncertainty, but equally important, set the stage for a better future. 

Here are a few District 5-specific snapshots:

We ensured Public Health has the funding it needs to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, a crisis that is hitting South King County especially hard. We also funded alternatives to our traditional criminal justice approach - alternatives such as Burien’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and Kent’s Pretrial Assessment and Linkage Services (PALS) which center justice for all and provide the support people need to turn their lives around.  We will also invest $6.2 million in Restorative Community Pathways, a program to help youth avoid involvement in the criminal justice system by providing them with comprehensive support and services from community-based organizations, some of which are anticipated to be based in South King County.

We continued our support of our County’s most vulnerable residents, many of whom live in District 5. We are providing additional funds to many senior centers so that they can continue to support and engage our older residents during these challenging times. Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila and Renton senior centers will all receive significant new funding. Working closely with the Budget Chair, I secured funding for those with disabilities including a $50,000 planning grant for Open Doors for Multicultural Families to support the development of a community center for individuals with disabilities.

King County Metro has been deeply impacted by the pandemic, but ridership remained strongest in South King County largely due to our high volume of essential workers who depend on transit. As a result, Metro is re-examining how it deploys service and what the regional network will look like as the County recovers. We successfully protected funding for the Renton-Kent-Auburn Area Mobility Plan and the RapidRide I Line – which is still scheduled to open in 2023. We will continue to lead with racial justice and equity and will advocate for further funding for South King County – where needs are high and service remains limited.

Finally, with an eye to a better future and working with our community and labor partners, I advocated for $500,000 for pre-apprenticeship programs in South King County. The Highline and Federal Way School District will each receive $250,000 for programs that will train youth in the construction trades and provide them with opportunities in high-paying jobs. At a time of economic uncertainty, I am excited about ensuring that South King County youth will have a pathway to a more secure future.

Flood Control District- Protecting People and Preserving our Environment

This year I became Chair of the King County Flood Control District, an independent special purpose district created to provide flood protection throughout King County. My goal was to not only ensure people and property were protected from rising rivers, but also to approach flood risk reduction in a more environmentally friendly way.  In the District’s November meeting, we passed a motion that directed a new approach for our work. Rather than just building a traditional concrete wall next to a river, our new approach will be to use more “nature-based” flood control such as wetlands and open space, that will not only reduce the risk of flooding but will also provide opportunities for recreation and salmon habitat restoration. This change will be transformational for our environment and for the future of the iconic Chinook salmon in the Green River.  I am pleased that the motion had the support of major environmental groups and was passed unanimously by the Board of the Flood Control District.

Town Hall on COVID-19 in South King County

Join me and the Director of Seattle-King County Public Health, Patty Hayes, for a Facebook Live Town Hall on Wednesday, December 9th from 6:00-7:00 pm. During this Town Hall we will be discussing the impact of COVID-19 in South King County and steps we can take now to protect ourselves and our neighbors. We'll be taking questions during the live streamed event, but please feel free to forward any questions you may have in advance to


What: Town Hall w/ Patty Hayes (Director of Seattle-King County Public Health)

Topic: COVID-19 in South King County

When: December 9th, 6:00-7:00 PM



I hope you all enjoy a safe Thanksgiving holiday. Please remember to follow all public health guidelines so that we do not spread the virus. 

While my staff and I are all working remotely, we are still available to serve you during the pandemic. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.



King County Councilmember
District 5