June 2021 Unincorporated Area Community News

Unincorporated Area Community News - King County Local Services

June 2021

Screenshot from 2020 Zoom meeting

Town Hall meetings

Each year, King County Local Services and county councilmembers host a series of Town Hall meetings in the county's seven unincorporated Community Service Areas.

These gatherings moved online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year's events are starting out online as well. But they still offer a chance for participants to hear directly from King County leaders and officials, ask questions, and provide feedback.

The 2021 series begins Tuesday, June 1, with the West King County–Fairwood meeting with Councilmember Reagan Dunn from 6 to 8 p.m. Learn more from Local Services Director John Taylor in his Director's Corner column (at the bottom of this issue), and find links to join the meetings under the "Town Halls" tab on the Local Services Community Service Areas website.

Photo: (clockwise from top left) Councilmember Reagan Dunn, Elections Director Julie Wise, Joe Espinosa with King County Road Services, and Criminal Investigations Chief Troy Olmstead participating in a virtual Town Hall in 2020.

Consumer use of fireworks will be banned in unincorporated King County starting next year

Fireworks on shelf

The King County Council voted in early May to prohibit consumer fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county. The ban will take effect in time for next year’s (2022) Fourth of July fireworks season—and after it takes effect, residents will still be able to enjoy approved public fireworks displays.

County leaders have discussed a consumer fireworks ban in unincorporated areas for years. There have been several large wildfires in rural parts of the county during recent dry summers, and several fireworks-related injuries and other incidents in urban areas—including a 2019 house fire in White Center in which one person died.

State law requires a one-year waiting period before the ban takes effect, so sales and discharge of consumer fireworks will still be allowed this year. After the ban takes effect next year, Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts said, violations will be a misdemeanor—but in 2022, the county will emphasize community education about the new rules instead of citations. “Our priority is safety,” Ricketts said.

For this year’s celebrations, Ricketts urges people who choose to use consumer fireworks to exercise caution and follow all local rules and regulations.

Learn more about using fireworks safely on the King County Permits website.

Road Services

King County wins state and national construction honors

The Road Services Division's project to make emergency slide repairs to 356th Drive SE  received two major awards in May:

APWA Project of the Year—The state chapter of  the American Public Works Association honored King County with the Emergency/Disaster 2021 Project of the Year award.

National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Award—This competition honors government-led communications efforts nationwide. Road Services won second place in the Grassroots Marketing Campaign category for a limited funding, “shoestring budget” marketing campaign that demonstrates a creative use of resources and includes evaluation methods for reaching target audiences and achieving goals.

You can learn more about the project by watching a short video on YouTube.

Coal Creek Bridge replacement work to begin in July

Coal Creek Bridge

After decades of service to local communities and Lake Walker in southeast King County, the Coal Creek Bridge is slated for replacement.

Join an online community meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on June 22 to learn details about the bridge closure and ways for visitors to access the lake during the closure. Information on how to join the meeting will be posted in mid-June on the project website.

Project area

Improving pedestrian safety near Redmond Ridge

Redmond Ridge residents asked the county for pedestrian safety improvements, and Road Services responded in May by beginning work to install a raised crosswalk with pedestrian-activated flashing lights on Eastridge Drive at NE 113th Way.

The raised crosswalk will provide an easier, safer, and faster alternative for crossing Eastridge Drive. The work is scheduled to be finished in June.

Project map

Rebuilding an entire road—from top to bottom—in Stillwater

In June, King County Road Services will begin a major road project near Duvall, in which contractor crews will rebuild 1-1/2 miles of NE Stillwater Hill Road/Kelly Road NE.

Learn more on the project website.

Summer paving work begins in late June

Road Services begins its annual paving work in late June. This year, their crews will pave individual lanes in the worst condition rather than the entire roadway. This will allow them to target more spots that need the most attention. Visit the Road Resurfacing web page to find out where they'll be working.

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.

Local Services

Join us for “Local Lunch” on Fridays

Zoom meeting

King County Local Services is here to help connect people in unincorporated communities with government services.

Join us every Friday* during the noon hour to share questions or comments, ask for help, or just to chat. These informal meetings are virtual for now (see our home page for information on how to join), but we plan to keep them going in person after the pandemic is over.

You can also send us questions, comments, or requests by email or call us at 206‑477‑3800.

*NOTE: In observance of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the May 28 Local Lunch has been canceled.

Natural Resources & Parks

As warm weather arrives, stay safe on the water

People wearing life vests in an outdoor setting

It’s natural to be drawn to rivers and lakes when warm, sunny weather arrives. But as you’re gearing up for the outdoors, please remember to be safe—and pay attention to cold water temperatures.

Cold water shock is an involuntary physical response. It can overwhelm the strongest of swimmers in a short time, causing a gasp reflex, hyperventilation, heart problems, disorientation, or worse. This time of year, our local rivers are running with cold, fast flows due to snowmelt. Our lakes and Puget Sound are also quite cold. And with snowpack in the Cascades well above average this year, water temperatures are expected to stay cold longer into the season.

Please also keep in mind that river systems are constantly changing, with rocks and trees creating new hazards, particularly after flood events. And always, always wear a lifejacket on the river!

Learn more about river safety at kingcounty.gov/riversafety.

Sign up for free beach alerts!

Algae in water

As the weather gets warmer, people and pets love to play in the lake! Whether you’re swimming, boating, fishing, or dog-walking, make sure you look for and avoid toxic algae.

Visit the Northwest Toxic Algae website to see which lakes have toxic algae warnings and learn how to recognize which algae can be toxic.

To receive notifications about toxic algae and other lake water quality concerns in King County, sign up for either our Lake Beach Alerts list (all closures and reopenings) or our weekly Lake Beach Summaries list (one email on Fridays) at kingcounty.gov/SwimBeach.

Large flowering plant with homes nearby

There's still time to learn how to get rid of invasive knotweed at a free webinar

Knotweed is one of the most challenging noxious weeds to control. Join the county's knotweed control experts for a free webinar that will give you the knowledge and skills to manage this tough plant.

Participants will qualify to borrow knotweed injectors to treat knotweed on their own property.

Invasive Knotweed Biology and Control Webinar
June 2, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Free tickets on Eventbrite

June 10, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Free tickets on Eventbrite

Emergency Management

Emergency Management dishes up masks for restaurants

Unloading masks for distribution

The King County Office of Emergency Management has been coordinating mask distribution for restaurant workers throughout King County since the end of April. During the first four days of distribution, workers from 163 restaurants picked up more than 29,000 disposable masks, 24,330 cloth masks, and 2,810 packages of sanitizing wipes. The effort has been so successful that more dates were added during the last two weeks of May.

Learn more about the Office of Emergency Management's preparedness work on the King County website.

Wildfire season started early, but you can still prepare

Wildfire illustration

Thanks to a long stretch of warm, dry days in April, we've already seen a handful of wildfires in King County this year. If you live in an area that's vulnerable to wildfires, there are still steps you can take to prepare.

Visit kingcounty.gov/wildfire to learn more about this growing threat, and follow the hashtag #KingCountyReady on Twitter for more preparedness tips and information.

Animal Services

Pet licensing late fees suspended through June 30

A couple enjoys their cat

Regional Animal Services of King County works hard every day to protect pets and people in the county's unincorporated areas. One of the best ways you can support this vital work is to license your dog or cat.

Your pet license fees help fund the care of shelter animals until they find their forever homes. Also, licensed pets are more likely to be reunited with their owners if they become lost.

Now through June 30, you can buy a new pet license or renew an expired license and your late fees will be waived.

You can license online at kingcounty.gov/licensemypet or call 206‑296‑2712 for information. Interpreter services are available.

Community & Human Services

County Veterans Program launches Facebook page

King County Veterans Program

The King County Veterans Program has launched a new Facebook page to support their continued mission to empower and deliver equitable opportunities to King County’s veterans, active servicemembers, and their families. This new platform will help the program engage with veterans directly, share information about services provided by King County and its partners in the region, and highlight the stories of veterans in our communities. 

Check out their new page and share it with others to help veterans in your community access services!

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

Rural Area news

Countywide Planning Policies Update—comments on Public Review Draft

On May 4, a joint group of seven Rural Area Unincorporated Area councils, associations, and organizations submitted detailed comments and supporting rationales on the Public Review Draft of the 2021 Countywide Planning Policies Update. Both Rural Area and regional perspectives were provided, particularly on the key topics of the environment and transportation, as well as on the setting of growth targets.

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

Visit the website for the latest information and to confirm meetings.

:: Green Valley/Lake Holm Association Meeting

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

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

On the heels of the Memorial Day holiday comes the start of this year's series of Community Service Area Town Halls.

These annual meetings are a great way for community members to learn what local elected officials are working on and what county departments are doing in their areas. This year, in addition to our usual roundup of county news, activities, and initiatives, participants will also receive briefings on COVID-19 vaccination. And, as always, we’ll be looking for input on the Community Needs Lists we’re developing for unincorporated communities, which will inform the county’s next biennial budget (learn more at https://publicinput.com/ukccommunityneedslist).

The first four of these meetings at least will again be virtual this year, but will still give participants a chance to ask questions and receive answers from senior county leaders.

Our first Town Hall will take place on June 1 (next Tuesday) for the Fairwood community. The next four are scheduled for the following dates:

• Greater Maple Valley – June 3
• SE King County – June 8
• Four Creeks – June 10
• Skyway – June 17

You can find details, including ways to join, on our website. I look forward to seeing all of you—either virtually, at one of these meetings, or possibly at an in-person meeting or event in the near future.

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).