January 2021 Unincorporated Area Community News

Unincorporated Area Community News - King County Local Services

January 2021

Community rallies to help Skyway residents displaced by apartment building fire

Two men with bags and boxes of donated goods

The Skyway community provided overwhelming support to 24 people who were displaced by a devastating apartment building fire the day before Christmas.

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay (shown on the left with an unidentified resident) pitched in to help along with many community volunteers, Skyway Fire District 20, and Local Services staff members.

(For more on this, see Director's Corner below.)

Photo by Jeremy Ferguson

King County offers help to get ready for the unexpected 

Disaster Preparedness Training

New virtual disaster skills training from Emergency Management

Emergencies like flooding, severe winter weather, and earthquakes don’t take a break just because there’s a pandemic. King County Emergency Management now offers virtual disaster skills training to help you prepare.

For short, quick sessions on what to consider when preparing for the unexpected, check out their “Disaster Danny” series:

• Part 1: https://youtu.be/aw0jS-4DwMY
• Part 2: https://youtu.be/mVCz7Tfae2A
• Part 3: https://youtu.be/HJxwsODXP10
• Part 4: https://youtu.be/eksJBbKd-y0
• Part 5: https://youtu.be/7u59kLtWkWw

More details on the information presented by Disaster Danny is available in the Disaster Skills Training – Virtual Edition video series, which provides an overview of local hazards and the skills needed after a disaster. Topics include safely managing your water heater and natural gas, water storage/purification, emergency sanitation, creating family emergency plans, and ways to make it through events that might disrupt your normal daily routine.

• Full program: https://youtu.be/9J2f2mGcWhg
• Module 01: https://youtu.be/3bZZ1-4TtFY
• Module 02: https://youtu.be/PB9XtCk7q5Q
• Module 03: https://youtu.be/b2QW5RSVBLA
• Module 04: https://youtu.be/kq72q45d5mw
• Module 05: https://youtu.be/MLFsd2v2EmU

To request a virtual LIVE skills training for your community, email the Office of Emergency Management.

Stay safe by staying informed

Alert King County logo

Alert King County sends notices to subscribers about hazards or threats in their area.

King County Flood Alert logo

King County flood alerts sends alerts about the most common hazard in King County.



Other helpful preparedness links

• King County Emergency Management Preparedness
• King County Office of Emergency Management on Instagram
• King County Twitter
• Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Road Services

New videos offer winter road safety information

Screenshot from sandbag video

Less than two weeks into winter, our region has already seen heavy rain, high winds, and some snow and ice.

Road Services is making safety information available in a series of short videos. The first is on flood safety—what to do when it really starts to rain and you find yourself on the road. The second shares where to get free sandbags in King County and how to fill them. You can watch both on the Road Services website.

If you have a topic to suggest for a short video about the work Road Services does, email it to AskLocalServices@kingcounty.gov.

24/7 Road Helpline

Call Road Services for help with road maintenance and traffic safety issues in unincorporated King County (like downed stop signs, traffic signals that aren't working, or trees over the roadway) — 24 hours a day: 206-477-8100 or toll-free at 1-800-KC-ROADS, or send email.

You can also visit the King County Road Services website or follow Road Services on Twitter @kcroads.


Weigh in on plans for Skyway-West Hill and North Highline

Your opinion matters!

King County's subarea planning program is happy to report strong participation on its two online surveys for the Skyway-West Hill and North Highline/White Center subarea plans and community needs lists. The surveys have now been updated to include summaries of what we’ve heard so far. Use the links below to see what others have suggested and to share your opinions with King County.

Skyway-West Hill: www.publicinput.com/skyway
North Highline/White Center: www.publicinput.com/northhighline

If you have any questions or feedback, email Kevin LeClair (Skyway-West Hill) or David Goodman (North Highline).

Public Health

COVID-19 update

Two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug administration and the first shipments have arrived in King County. These first doses are going to frontline healthcare workers in hospitals, clinics, and other settings who are at high risk of being exposed to COVID-19, and to healthcare workers and residents in long-term care facilities.

While the rest of us wait for a vaccine to become available to us, it's important to keep doing everything we can to stop the spread of the disease. Continued vigilance, including limiting trips outside the home, social distancing, regular hand washing, and wearing face coverings in public, is crucial to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The graphic below helps explain why doing multiple things at once is a good strategy for stopping the virus. Each method on its own may be imperfect, but together they can stop the virus from reaching a new target—which could be you or a loved one.

The Swiss Cheese Respiratory Virus Pandemic Defence - Recognising that no single intervention is perfect at preventing spread

You can find this graphic in larger versions and several languages on this website. And you can read a blog post where Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health-Seattle & King County, answers questions about the vaccines, side effects, and more on Public Health Insider.

Where to learn more

Public Health-Seattle & King County
Website | News and BlogFacebook | Twitter

Washington State Department of Health
Website | FacebookTwitter

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Website | Twitter

----- COVID-19 Call Centers -----

Medical questions related to COVID-19
206-477-3977 (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Non-medical questions about COVID-19, including compliance and business issues
King County COVID-19 Business and Community Information Line
206-296-1608 (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

General questions about COVID-19 in Washington State
Washington State Novel Coronavirus Call Center

Natural Resources and Parks

Flood control brochure (thumbnail)

Annual ‘Be Flood Ready’ brochure helps residents prepare for flooding in King County

Last flood season, King County experienced some of the most severe floods in recent years, with seven significant flood events and record rainfall.

To help residents prepare for the current flood season, which began Oct. 1 and stretches on for several more months, the King County Flood Control District has put out its 2020-2021 “Be Flood Ready” brochure, which is available in 24 translated languages on King County’s website.

This guide to flood preparedness includes information on:

• How to sign up for flood alerts
• Recommended emergency kit supplies
• What to do before, during, and after a flood
• Expected flood impacts for seven King County rivers and creeks

During river flooding events, King County serves as a clearinghouse for information on flood conditions, operating a recorded message center with continuous updates. You can reach the Flood Warning Center at 206-296-8200 or 1-800-945-9263. Interpreter assistance is available in multiple languages.

Conservation funding available—apply by March 2

hikers on a trail

King County is seeking applications for funding from the King County Conservation Futures tax levy. Applications are due on Tuesday, March 2.

  • These grants can be used to buy parks and open spaces used for low-impact passive recreation, such as urban green spaces, natural areas, forests, community gardens, farms, and trails.
  • The grants can be awarded to cities, the county, park districts, and eligible nonprofit nature conservancies and historic preservation associations.
  • Typically a dollar-for-dollar match is required, but acquisitions in historically underserved opportunity areas may qualify for a match waiver (meaning the grant can pay 100% of the acquisition cost).

Visit the application webpage for application, schedule, policy guidance, and contact information.

Vashon Island growers adapt to COVID-19

Map with markers

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vashon Island Growers Association made the difficult decision not to open the Vashon Island Farmers Market in 2020. Instead, the association worked to support farm businesses and help them adapt to COVID-19 safety protocols and standards.

“We encouraged and promoted collaboration between farm stands and farmers, and our island farmers rose to the occasion,” said Catherine Johnson, the association's co-treasurer. “Larger farm stands hosted smaller ones and actively cross-promoted each other through social media.”

To support these efforts, the association published a weekly updated farm stand map for the community to use when shopping. Informal surveys indicated that 2020 was one of the most successful farm stand years ever.

The association also expanded its online farmers market operation, Vashon Fresh, which provided healthy locally grown food for sale and home delivery two days a week from April through October.

Learn more on the Keeping King County Green blog.

Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station Project

Trucks at a transfer station

King County's Solid Waste Division has started a process to site a new recycling and transfer station in northeast King County. This new facility will replace the aging Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland (pictured above), which has been in service nearly 60 years and lacks space for comprehensive recycling services and other modern amenities.

The new station will serve the growing communities of Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, and Sammamish, as well as the unincorporated Northeast King County community service area. Learn more, request a presentation, or sign up for project updates at kingcounty.gov/northeast.


Cultural buildings grant

Grants can help cultural organizations buy or improve buildings

The world may change, but King County’s cultural facilities always need love and attention. 4Culture’s Cultural Facilities grants help organizations acquire, build, or renovate the bricks and mortar buildings that make cultural experiences possible. The deadline to apply is January 29, 2021.

Learn more

Rural Area news

Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council December monthly meeting

On Dec. 7, the council's guest speakers were from King County Local Services: Director John Taylor, Road Services Director Tricia Davis, and Permitting Product Line Manager Ty Peterson. Also in attendance were King County Road Engineer Joann Kosai-Eng, Local Services External Communications Manager David Daw, King County Comprehensive Plan Manager Ivan Miller; Road Services Business Support Kim Williams, and Community Liaison Marissa Alegria. Members from the following other Rural Area organizations also participated: the Four Creeks and Upper Bear Creek unincorporated area councils and Soos Creek Area Response. 

Major topics discussed were permitting and code enforcement, services indirectly provided by King County Local Services, and transportation. An article summarizing the meeting can be viewed on the Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council's Correspondence/Articles web page.

Submitted by Peter Rimbos, Corresponding Secretary, Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council

Community organizations

NOTE: Although public meetings have been canceled, here's a list of community councils and associations that serve King County's unincorporated Community Service Areas, including their usual (or most recent) meeting sites and contact information where applicable.

:: Community Alliance to Reach Out and Engage

Lord of Life Lutheran Church
12819 160th Avenue SE, Renton

See blog for the latest information and to confirm meetings.

:: Enumclaw Plateau Community Association

Headsworks Brewing
1110 Marshall Avenue, Enumclaw

Newly formed community association. Monthly meetings are open to the public, and may feature guest speakers in addition to community reports and information from a variety of local organizations. For more information contact Nancy Merrill.

:: Fall City Community Association

Fall City Fire Station
4301 334th Place SE, Fall City

The Fall City Community Association promotes building of community, proactively communicates on local issues, and takes action on selected issues that affect the Fall City community. Open to the public. For more information, visit fallcity.org or email Angela Donaldson

:: Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council

Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 78
20720 SE May Valley Road, Issaquah

Visit the website for the latest information and to confirm meeting dates and locations.

:: Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council

Monday, Jan. 4, 7-9:30 p.m.—Zoom virtual meeting
Visit the website for the latest information and to confirm meetings.

:: Green Valley/Lake Holm Association Meeting

Advocates for citizens who live in unincorporated southeast King County. Primary goals are to maintain the community’s unique historic, agricultural, and rural character; protect the environment, and sustain quality of life in the area. Engages regularly with local governments to address concerns and influence policies on topics of mutual interest, such as growth and development, transportation, public safety, and flood control. For updates and information, visit their website and/or Facebook page.

:: Skywest Tool Library

Skyway Water and Sewer office
6723 S 124th Street, Seattle

Join the SkyWest Tool Library Monthly Meeting to learn more about helping to start a new tool library in Skyway. The purpose of the library will be to share ideas, teach, learn, and borrow tools and more. Contact the library on Facebook.

:: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

North Highline Fire District
1243 SW 112th Street, White Center
(Parking and entrance are in the back of the station)

Monthly board meetings are open to the public and often feature guest speakers in addition to community reports and information from local organizations. For more information, email Liz Giba.

:: Upper Bear Creek Community Council

Woodinville Library
17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville

Visit the website or Facebook page for the latest information and to confirm meetings.

:: Vashon Chamber of Commerce First Tuesday Networking

Vashon Chamber of Commerce
17141 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon

Contact: Jim Marsh at 206-463-6217 or discover@vashonchamber.com.

:: Vashon-Maury Island Community Council

Regular virtual meetings on third Mondays, 7-9 p.m.
Visit the website for info on how to attend, or see the Facebook page.

:: West Hill Community Association

PO Box 78583
Seattle, WA  98178

An all-volunteer nonprofit committed to creating a more equitable, engaged, informed, and vibrant Skyway-West Hill community through frequent information sharing, effective advocacy, placemaking and beautification projects, and popular local events.

Reach out to them via email for more information about their public monthly board meetings (currently on Zoom) or for any other questions. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or sign up for their email newsletter. Access local stories and an events calendar on their website.

Director’s corner

John Taylor, King County Local Services director

We enter the new year with many challenges in front of us, but I know we are equal to those challenges. Our unincorporated area communities have been tested like never before in 2020, and they’re still standing strong.

Here’s one example. On the day before Christmas, a devastating apartment building fire in Skyway destroyed the homes of 18 adults and six children. The Skyway community rallied and set up a donation drop-off site as well as an online donation portal. Within 48 hours, they raised a substantial sum for those who had lost their homes in the fire, and a second drop-off site had to be set up for donated goods. 

Over the course of 2020, this column has focused frequently on what King County Local services and all of our partners do for the residents of unincorporated King County, and we will continue to work with these communities in 2021. But the response to the Skyway fire shows clearly that the real resilience of the communities we serve is in the people who make up those communities, and the bonds they share as neighbors. 

I look forward to working with all of you in the coming year, and wish you a safe, healthy, and hopefully better 2021.

Director’s Corner is a column from John Taylor, the director of King County Local Services.To contact John, email AskLocalServices@kingcounty.gov or call 206-477-3800 (Relay 711; language interpreters available).