April 2021 Unincorporated Area Community News

Unincorporated Area Community News - King County Local Services

April 2021

King County Road Services celebrated Women’s History Month by highlighting team members

video capture of woman speaking

During March, which was Women’s History Month, the county’s Road Services Division honored staff members who are women as well as those who are transgender, non-binary, or self-identify as female.

Several of those employees were profiled on the agency’s Facebook and Instagram feeds. On the last day of the month, Road Services held an online webinar in which Director Tricia Davis hosted several of her division’s woman employees in a discussion about their experiences. The speakers also offered advice for anyone considering a future in the field.

If you missed the event, you can watch a recording on the Local Services Facebook page.

Photo: Traffic Safety Engineer Mandana Ashti, bottom, and 11 other Road Services employees spoke during the webinar.

Local Services

Do you live in an urban part of unincorporated King County?

Money for an urban community

King County needs residents of the Skyway/West Hill, North Highline/White Center, East Renton Plateau, Fairwood, and East Federal Way areas to serve on a new committee that will help the county spend money to improve their communities.

King County Local Services has a new "Participatory Budgeting" approach that will give unincorporated area residents more control over how money is spent in their neighborhoods.

The new Community Investment Committee will help the county decide how to spend...

  • $10 million on capital projects in these urban unincorporated areas. The funds can be used for anything that needs to be built or replaced, like buildings, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, signs, and play structures.
  • $1.3 million for services or programs in Skyway/West Hill and North Highline/White Center. This funding can be used for almost anything, like after-school programs, job training, building maintenance, food, art supplies, and investments in play structures or sidewalks.

The committee will design and carry out a budgeting process that will be centered on racial equity. The process will build on community strengths and address specific priorities that these communities have identified.

Learn more or apply to serve on the committee at https://kingcounty.gov/urbanchoices, which has information available in multiple languages. Applications are currently being accepted through Friday, April 16.

Lunch graphic

Join us for “Local Lunch” on Fridays 

If you live or do business in King County and outside a city or town, King County is your local government—and King County Local Services is here to help connect you with government services.

You can join us every Friday during the noon hour to talk over any questions or comments you may have, ask for help, or just to chat. These informal meetings are virtual for now (check our home page for information on how to join), but we plan to keep them going in unincorporated-area restaurants after the pandemic is over.

You can also send us your questions or comments or ask for help by email or by calling us at 206‑477‑3800.


County seeks public comment on proposed building and energy codes

Building construction graphic

King County is proposing local changes to new building codes that recently went into effect in Washington State. A draft ordinance would update energy codes for new and significantly retrofitted commercial buildings as well as multifamily buildings that are four or more stories tall.

These buildings would not be able to use natural gas to heat water or indoor spaces, and would be required to have increased energy efficiency in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The county is accepting public comments on the draft ordinance through April 30. The proposal will be submitted to the King County Council in July for consideration and possible adoption later this year. To learn more and/or review the proposals, see "Development regulations" on the county’s Legislation for public review and comment page.

Road Services

Slide repairs on 356th Drive SE are finished

Dignitaries in hard hats and safety vests cut a red ribbon across a road

Photo: King County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, Project Manager Trinh Truong, and Construction Supervisor Victor Daggs were among the dignitaries on hand to celebrate the reopening of 356th Drive SE.

King County Road Services has finished making major repairs to a long section of road east of Fall City that was damaged by storms in February 2020. 356th Drive SE provides sole access to more than 75 residences. Crews stabilized and repaired the slide area and also created a long-term solution to help manage high volumes of rainwater in the future.

While the project was underway, hundreds of residents used detours, waited patiently in line behind construction vehicles, and juggled unpredictable delivery schedules, managing this major inconvenience and the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year with endurance and grace. Road Services thanks them for their patience and the kindness they showed to workers on the project.

Visit the project website to learn more.

Patton Bridge in the Green River Valley will reopen soon

Concrete truck on bridge

Repair work to strengthen the structural supports inside the Patton Bridge on Green Valley Road is almost finished, with the bridge expected to fully reopen in early April.

During two full closures in mid- and late March, crews pumped in concrete to fully encase new rebar and other new steel supports inside the bridge. Pumping concrete from the top of a two-lane bridge into a small space inside the bridge requires careful attention, and Road Services is grateful to drivers in the area for their patience during the project.

The bridge is a lifeline for cars and trucks across the Green River Valley, connecting State Route 18 in Auburn and State Route 169 in Black Diamond. After this work, it should be in good working order for years to come.

Learn more on the project website.

Judd Creek Bridge on Vashon Island to be closed April 5-28

Work to strengthen the Judd Creek Bridge on Vashon Highway SW begins April 5. This project was scheduled to start earlier this year, but difficulty getting needed materials led to delays.

The repair work will be require a three-week, 24/7 closure of the bridge. On the bridge deck, crews will replace a deteriorating expansion joint that spans the entire width of the bridge. Underneath the deck, they'll replace worn-out bearings and a deteriorating concrete support beam. After these phases are finished, remaining work may require a single lane closure with flaggers directing traffic through the work zone.

During the full closure, signs will direct travelers along a detour route that will add a couple of minutes to their trips.

Guardrail saves lives

Road Services’ 2021 guardrail installation program is underway. Crews are installing new guardrail in several places in northeast, south, and southeast King County, and on Vashon Island. Lane closures related to this work are posted on the MyCommute page.

One satisfied resident wrote to King County in early March with an update about guardrail that was installed near the Mary's Pond area during last year's program. Someone had hit the new guardrail, the resident said. "I think they were saved from going into the deep ditch."

Learn more on the guardrail program web page.


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: 2064778100 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.

Metro Transit

Have A Say in Skyway’s transit future

Metro seeks community input through mobility survey

Welcome to Skyway sign

As part of its 2021-2022 budget, Metro has funds available to look at expanding mobility options in Skyway. The agency is asking people who live, work, or travel in skyway what mobility features might work best for them—including van services, on-demand programs, greater access to reduced fares, or infrastructure improvements that will make it safer and easier to travel to transit stops. See the Metro Matters blog post to learn more.

You can share your thoughts by taking an online survey (available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese), or email haveasay@kingcounty.gov to request paper copies of the survey. Responses are due at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 9.


West Seattle Water Taxi summer schedule starts April 19

Vessel underway with city in background

The King County Water Taxi departs from downtown Seattle.

King County Metro’s West Seattle Water Taxi will start its summer sailing schedule on Monday, April 19. That means service between downtown Seattle and Seacrest Park will expand to seven days a week, with evening sailings every Friday and Saturday. Weekday departures will leave the dock every 35 minutes during peak commute hours, and every hour mid-day.

Because of resource constraints, the summer schedule this year will be shorter than usual (starting two weeks later and ending two weeks earlier on Oct. 15), and the Water Taxi will not add late-night departures from downtown Seattle during Seattle Mariners, Sounders, and Seahawks night home games.

Learn more on the Water Taxi website or blog.

Natural Resources & Parks

Photo: girl holding water plant

Alarming aquatic weed found in a small lake in Duvall

The City of Duvall and King County are planning a rapid response to keep the aquatic weed Egeria densa from spreading out of Lake Rasmussen to Cherry Creek and the Snoqualmie River.

Egeria is a densely growing underwater plant native to Brazil and Argentina that was accidentally introduced to Washington lakes and rivers. Because of its abundant growth and lack of natural controls, it can overwhelm beneficial native plants, fill in open water areas, and impede fish passage. It is a Class B noxious weed in Washington.

The plant was spotted last fall by an observant second grader and her mother, who reported it to state and county authorities. This is the first known sighting of the plant in the Snoqualmie Watershed. Based on its impacts in the Chehalis and Sammamish rivers, it could devastate fish habitat and waterways in the watershed. 

Egeria is often spread by fragments carried on boats or in aquariums dumped into lakes. To keep it from spreading to new lakes and waterways, visitors to Lake Rasmussen and other infested lakes and rivers should clean off their boots, boats, and dogs before leaving. It just takes a small plant fragment to spread the problem. For more information, email Ben Peterson or visit the King County Noxious Weeds blog post.

Photo: Maggie Carosino discovered Egeria in her neighborhood lake. Photo provided by Reagan Carosino.

Taylor Mountain Forest trail improvement information session

Join King County Parks for a virtual informational session to learn about how the county is improving its trails at Taylor Mountain Forest.

This meeting will be hosted on Zoom on Wednesday, April 7, from 7 to 8 p.m. Please register on Eventbrite. Registrants will receive meeting access information a few days before the session.

Community meeting on Skyway-West Hill stormwater management projects set for April 28

Water going in storm drain

Help King County identify areas of concern to inform the stormwater capital investment plan for the Skyway-West Hill basin. The online meeting will be on Tuesday, May 4, from 6 to 7 p.m. (NOTE: This date has been updated since the email version of this newsletter went out.)

Learn more on the county website and/or contact Hung Huynh by email or phone (206-447-3589).



Calling all beach-goers and swimmers using King County lakes!

Help King County improve its beach-water testing program by taking this 14-question survey about how you use lake swimming beaches in the county and how beach closures due to high bacteria levels in the water might affect you or your household.

The survey closes April 7 and is available in English, Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. Take the survey

Learn how to control tough weeds at April 21 webinar

Photo: woman battling weeds

Do you struggle to control blackberry, ivy, or holly on a property you own or manage? This webinar, hosted by the King County Noxious Weed Control Program's Healthy Lands Project (HeLP), offers in-depth instruction on different techniques to successfully control these weeds to help prepare you to reach your goals for a healthier forest, field, or green space. Register for free on Eventbrite, and bring your questions for weed control experts.

Learn more on the King County Noxious Weed Control Program website.

Photo: Veronica with DIRT Corps removes weeds at a Healthy Lands Project site.

County project aims to give fish a helping hand

Chinook salmon in the Cedar River

The King County Fish Passage Restoration Program is wrapping up a two-year effort to visit some 3
,300 sites and identify stream crossings where county structures may be preventing salmon from reaching upstream habitat.

Along busy thoroughfares and residential side streets, and through agricultural lands and county parks, the field crew helped identify about 1,000 county-owned barriers. The news isn't all bad for fish, though—they also identified more than 500 county structures in streams that are not barriers to fish passage.

Next steps for this program include developing a way to identify and prioritize projects that will open up the most habitat for salmon, and moving ahead with projects that will restore fish passage to allow salmon to swim freely to high quality stream habitat.

Learn more on the Fish Passage Restoration Program website.

RSVP for Clean Water Plan technical workshops

Family at beach

King County’s Clean Water Plan will guide community investments that protect our waterways, the environment, and public health for decades to come. As a part of this planning process, King County has developed a series of three technical workshops for interested community members and local and partner agencies. The first, on wastewater treatment, will be held Tuesday April 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Participants will get a technical overview of our wastewater sources and characteristics, explore treatment approaches and potential Clean Water Plan actions, and have an opportunity to ask questions about those actions. All three workshops will have closed captioning in English and Spanish and live Spanish interpretation.

Participation is free, but registration is required. Registrants will receive email with a secure link and meeting password.

To learn more, visit the Clean Water Plan website, send email, or call Erika Peterson at 206‑477‑5525.

Cedar Hills Regional Landfill community meeting on April 21

Join an online meeting with representatives of the King County Solid Waste Division and Bio Energy Washington to ask questions and learn about the latest activities at the county’s regional landfill and the landfill gas-to-energy facility.

The online meeting is set for Wednesday, April 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Learn more on the Solid Waste Division’s website.

Executive Services

Trusted Partner Network will bring emergency alerts to non-English speakers

Trusted Partner Network graphic

Would you like to help your community be more prepared for emergencies?

Consider joining or recruiting for King County’s Trusted Partner Network. The network works to make sure every resident of King County receives critical lifesaving emergency alerts, even if they don't speak English.

By partnering with trusted bilingual community members, the network will create a link between King County’s emergency alert system, non-English speaking populations, and other communities that the alert system does not currently serve. Trained community members will convey urgent public messages about natural and human-caused disasters or other emergencies in their community’s preferred language or method of communication.

Learn more on the website. If you're interested in joining, fill out the enrollment form. Or you can help by recruiting bilingual community members into the network by pointing them to the website.

The next Trusted Partner Network member training will be on April 15. For more information, email Daniel Arauz with King County Emergency Management.


First half of property taxes are due April 30

The last day of April is the payment deadline for the first half of 2021 property taxes. Use the safe and secure online eCommerce System to review current amounts due.

If you pay your property taxes yourself, rather than through a mortgage lender, you should have received your statement in the mail by March 1. Get details on options to pay your property taxes and note the new mailing address if you plan to mail your payment.

For information about property tax exemptions and deferrals for people who are older or who have disabilities, please visit King County's property tax exemptions for senior and disabled homeowners website.

Community & Human Services

Rural King County mental health survey

Guide mental health and substance abuse services in your community

Do you live or work in rural King County?

Take this survey to help guide mental health and substance abuse services in your community. In partnership with your local providers, King County’s Department of Community and Human services is seeking input from community members who live or work in rural areas of King County.

Your feedback is critical to help identify unaddressed needs, gaps, and opportunities to expand services to people living or working in rural areas.

The survey will be open through April 11, and is available via the link above in English, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Russian, Somali, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese. 


Public Health


COVID-19 resources

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

4culture 2021 Project Grants


Grants available to help fund art, heritage, or preservation projects

4Culture project grants are available to fund your creative work in the arts, heritage, and preservation. They're offering a smaller grant program this year due to the impact of COVID-19, but unincorporated King County community members are always encouraged to apply. Deadline April 28. Learn more at the 4Culture website.


Three young artists sought to design limited-edition ORCA fare cards to celebrate new RapidRide lines

Paint brushes

4Culture, in partnership with King County Metro Transit, is seeking three artists age 16-25 who will be commissioned to create three artworks, each unique to one of Metro's new RapidRide lines. The works will be featured on a series of limited-edition ORCA cards to be released at the start of each new line over the coming few years.

This will be a great opportunity for the artists chosen to have their work featured on a massive scale with wide distribution and impact across all regional transit ridership. Each chosen artist will be paired with a mentor—a steady and seasoned educator and artist who can nurture and facilitate their creatives processes and encourage growth. Each chosen artist will be paid $2,000 for licensed use of the artwork they create.

4Culture will host two virtual information sessions* on this opportunity:
Wednesday, April 21, 5-6:30 p.m.
Friday, April 23, 12-1:30 p.m.
*Pre-registration is required

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply on the 4Culture website.

Southeast King County area news

Woman wearing mask unpacking boxes

Need a couple masks and some hand sanitizer?

King County Local Services Community Liaison Marissa Alegria will hand out free masks and hand sanitizer at a drive-through event on Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Neely Mansion (12303 SE Auburn-Black Diamond Road). 

At the parking lot entrance, tell the staff person how many persons are in your household. You can receive 2 reusable, adult-sized, white cloth masks per person for up to 6 household members — a maximum of 12 masks per vehicle, plus one bottle of hand sanitizer.

Photo: Alegria unpacks masks and sanitizer at a recent drive-through mask/hand sanitizer distribution event.

Rural Area news

Unincorporated area councils/associations & organizations

Countywide Planning Policies—Proposed Policy Matrix

The major update of the Countywide Planning Policies continues. The policies provide a countywide vision and serve as a framework for each jurisdiction to develop its own comprehensive plan.

Members of Rural Area unincorporated area councils, associations, and organizations completed their joint review of the draft Countywide Planning Policies Update Policy Matrix. On March 10, a complete markup of that matrix (see Cover Letter and CPP Policy Matrix Markup) was submitted to the King County Executive Office’s staff contact to the Growth Management Planning Council, Karen Wolf. The Executive Office and Interjurisdictional Team reviewed inputs in preparation for the March 31 meeting of the Growth Management Planning Council. A Countywide Planning Policies Update Public Review Draft will be released by the planning council in April.

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

Headworks Brewing
1110 Marshall Avenue, Enumclaw

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, April 5, 7-9:30 p.m.—Zoom meeting (virtual)

Guest speaker will be Rory O’Rourke, Health and Environmental Investigator with Public Health’s Environmental Health Services Division. Mr. O’Rourke will provide an update on solid waste facilities in the Maple Valley area. Visit the website for the latest information and to confirm meetings.

:: Green Valley/Lake Holm Association Meeting

Spring General Meeting and Annual Executive Board Elections
Wednesday, April 28, 6:30-8 p.m. 

This will be a Facebook virtual meeting. To attend, R.S.V.P. to GVLHAssn@gmail.com by April 26. 

About Us: The Green Valley/Lake Holm Association 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. We engage regularly with local government agencies to address concerns and influence policies on topics of mutual interest, such as growth and development, transportation, public safety, and flood control. Stay connected by visiting 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: 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.

An all-volunteer nonprofit that operates as a participatory, nonpartisan forum, sometimes called "town meeting." This council aims to represent the interests of the Vashon-Maury Island community, comply with the spirit of the open public meetings act in all operations, be a strong advocate for island issues at all levels of government (local, county, state, and federal) and other entities, and seek out and consider all sides of issues affecting Vashon and Maury islands while striving for equity and fairness. Community meeting minutes, including videos of the meetings, are posted on the website, or you can subscribe on the website to receive them by email.

:: West Hill Community Association

Tuesday, April 20, 7-9 p.m.—Quarterly Community Meeting (virtual)

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've been through a long and brutal winter, capping a long and brutal year. We've lost members of our community to COVID-19, and we’ve seen businesses struggle and in some cases have to close their doors permanently. All of us have faced personal and professional challenges, and no one has escaped the impact of the global pandemic.

But as spring comes to the Pacific Northwest, with cherry blossoms open and the days getting longer, there are signs of hope all around us. Vaccines are increasingly available. Most people over 65 have been vaccinated, and new groups are becoming eligible. As I write this, Governor Inslee has announced that as of April 15, everyone over age 16 will be eligible for vaccine shots—and that really marks the beginning of the end of this pandemic.

To be sure, there are still many cases of COVID-19 in our community, and all of us need to remain vigilant over the next several months to ensure the safety of the many people who will remain unvaccinated through the end of the year. But as spring stretches into summer, it seems likely that we'll see a seasonal decline in cases as well as one caused by vaccinations.

None of us who have lived through this past year will ever forget it. Here at the Department of Local Services, we've done our best to be a source of support to the community. As the department director, I send to all of you my best wishes and hope that the coming year is far better.

Stay safe out there.

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).