July 2021 Unincorporated Area Community News

Unincorporated Area Community News - King County Local Services

July 2021

Extremely dry conditions prompt King County Fire Marshal to strongly urge residents not to discharge fireworks this year

Given the record heat our region experienced in the past week, and the fact that a Stage 1 burn ban is already in effect for unincorporated King County, Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts is urging residents and visitors in the unincorporated areas to not use any fireworks as they celebrate Independence Day. And if they do use them, Ricketts says, they must use extreme caution.

African American boy with flag and USA shirt at family barbecue

“While we want everyone to enjoy their Fourth of July holiday, the safest bet this year is to avoid lighting them altogether,” Ricketts says. “Conditions are extremely dry given this week’s heat.”

At a Fourth without fireworks we can still enjoy friends and family, backyard barbecues, games, water fights, and much more. 

Those who do discharge fireworks, Ricketts said, must be aware of their surroundings and potential dangers. You can find fireworks safety information on the Fire Marshal's website and in this King County news release.

Road Services

Five-month road preservation project begins in July

Patched road with cracking visible

In July, Road Services kicks off a five-month roadway preservation project in the northeast part of King County, rebuilding nearly 1.6 miles of NE Stillwater Road/Kelly Road NE.

The road, popular with cyclists as well as motorists, is cracked, crumbling, and difficult to drive on. Spot repairs no longer work because there are too many large cracks. Learn more

Photo: The temporary repairs shown here are like putting a tarp on a roof to cover holes—eventually, it's time for a new roof.

Culvert replacement on Lake Joy Road

This month, Road Service will replace a four-foot wide, eight-foot long rusting metal pipe that runs under NE Lake Joy Road southeast of Duvall. The county will replace the pipe with a large (14 feet wide) concrete culvert that will be much better equipped to handle flooding.

NE Lake Joy Road provides sole access for hundreds of homes. A temporary one-lane bypass road will carry traffic in and out of the neighborhood for the entire 10-week project. Construction may require short-term closures of the bypass road to set cranes and equipment.

New Redmond Ridge crosswalk finished in June

New raised crosswalk with clear markings

A new raised crosswalk finished last month on Eastridge Drive NE is delivering safer access for pedestrians near Redmond Ridge. Clear markings, flashing lights, and a built-in speed bump will encourage drivers to look out for people crossing the road at NE 113th Way.

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

Local Services welcomes its first Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Manager

john miller

As King County Local Services’ first Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Manager, john miller is honest about the process of helping the department create a more equitable, racially diverse, and inclusive work environment.

It won’t always be easy or smooth—and that’s OK.

“As we embark upon this journey to achieve equity and belonging in Local Services,” he said, “we must commit to leaning into our discomfort, as it is where our learning begins.”

The part about “our learning” is especially important to john, who is so adamant about working together that he spells his name with all lowercase letters to remind himself and others that our focus and successes are about the collective group over the individual.

john will guide and support Local Services as it works to deliver services that are consistent with King County’s True North aspiration to be “a welcoming community where every person can thrive.”

His career spans 23 years, and he has extensive experience leading programs and community engagements and an established record as an Equity and Social Justice change leader, trainer, and advocate.

Read more about john in the department's June 24 blog post.

Local Lunch

Questions? Comments?

Join King County Local Services for “Local Lunch” on Fridays

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 July Fourth holiday weekend, the July 2 Local Lunch has been canceled.

Natural Resources & Parks

Man working around plants

Volunteer at a park near you

The King County Parks Volunteer Program leads community members in high quality service experiences with the goal of building connections and engaging people in the stewardship of their parks.

Parks and its partners lead hundreds of events year-round—doing restoration, improving parks, building and maintaining trails, and enjoying being outside with fellow community members.

Environmental education is woven into into every event to make for a rewarding and productive day in the park. Learn more or sign up.

Lake Geneva Park Nature Walks (Auburn/East Federal Way)

Join King County Parks for a one-hour nature walk at Lake Geneva Park every First Thursday through September. Part nature walk, part exploration, these events explore topics ranging from local history to plant identification. Each walk focuses on a way to connect to your local park.
Learn more and sign up

Maury Island Natural Area soil remediation

Gravel at Maury Island Natural Area

To minimize public exposure to contaminated soil at the Maury Island Natural Area, King County Parks capped nearly all of the trails and access roads there with gravel in May 2020. The next phase, which started in May 2021, will cap contamination at the former skeet range to create a parking area along SW 260th Street.

The parking area is expected to open in October 2021 with spaces for 20 regular vehicles and four horse trailers. Parks is also removing three acres of invasive vegetation on the south side of SW 260th Street and preparing the area for native plants to be put in next winter. Learn more

Parking areas at three forks Natural Area to be closed this summer

The parking areas that access Three Forks Natural Area will be closed this summer along Reinig Road due to a road project to repair damage, redirect flood waters from the Snoqualmie River, and stabilize the riverbank.

Reinig Road will be closed until mid-October. The closure area will span from Southeast 81st Street to 428th Avenue S, and a detour route will be posted. Learn more

Temporary reopening of Dockton Play Area

Old play area surface being removed

This past spring, King County Parks closed the play area at Dockton Park because the rubber surface under the main piece of play equipment was failing. They began planning a comprehensive renovation of the entire play area, which involves working in a sensitive shoreline area. The comprehensive renovation project won't be finished until mid-2022.

In the meantime, Parks replaced the failing rubber with a wood fiber surface and re-opened the play area in June.

For updates on this project as well as other upcoming construction at Dockton Park, subscribe to the e-newsletter. Sign up to receive updates on this project and other upcoming construction work at Dockton Park.

Weed wrenches and other weed control tools available at local tool libraries

New weed wrenches at South King Tool Library

To help people tackle tough weeds without spending a lot on expensive tools, the King County Noxious Weeds Healthy Lands Project is partnering with the South King and Vashon tool libraries (as well as tool libraries in Seattle) to make weed control tools more available.

Each tool library got several new weed wrenches (great for Scotch broom and young holly), an electric hedge trimmer (goodbye, blackberry thicket!), and a variety of useful and sturdy tools for digging and cutting to add to their already amazing inventories of yard and garden tools.

Tool libraries are community-based organizations that help reduce waste and save people money. Each organization has slightly different processes for joining and borrowing tools, but they share the goal of making tools available to everyone with low barriers to participation. And they all love to help people find the right tools to match their jobs.

Learn more and find links to tool libraries or contact Sasha Shaw by email or phone (206‑477‑4824).

New Surface Water Management Fee discount for families with low incomes

If you qualify as a low-income household and live on your own property in unincorporated King County, you may be eligible for a 50 percent discount on the annual surface water management fee on your land parcel(s). Learn more on the county website, call 206-477-4800, or send email.

Executive Services

Airport seeks Roundtable representative from unincorporated King County

Small aircraft on tarmac

Would you be interested in serving on King County International Airport/Boeing Field's advisory board? The Airport Roundtable makes recommendations to the airport's administrators, the King County Executive, and the King County Council. 

Roundtable members include representatives of aviation-related businesses and communities interested in airport issues. The board currently has one open position for a representative from unincorporated King County.

The Roundtable meets—virtually, for now—on the second Monday of each month. The position will remain open until filled.

• Visit the airport website to learn more about the Roundtable
• Call 206-477-4993
Email the airport to request an application

Are you interested in capital projects at King County International Airport?

Airport runways with Mt. Rainier in background

King County International Airport/Boeing Field is interested in increasing the opportunity for community members and airport tenants to participate in its infrastructure projects.

Interested parties can serve on community working groups (positions are available until filled), sign up for email updates, and arrange for airport staffers to attend their community meetings.

The airport is now recruiting members for community working groups for three projects, with recruitment closing dates of July 6, 7, and 20.

Learn more on the airport website

Smoky sky with Space Needle

Be prepared for wildfire smoke

It's hard to predict whether we'll experience wildfire smoke in any given year. But for three of the past four years, wildfires in our region have exposed people to unhealthy levels of particulate air pollution for long periods of time. So Public Health is encouraging all residents to get “smoke ready” now.

If the air quality is poor, stay indoors as much as you can. Create a clean air space inside your home so you can get relief from wildfire smoke if it comes. Learn more on this blog post.

Metro Transit

Ride Trailhead Direct to your next hike

Trailhead Direct - Park. Ride. Hike.

Trailhead Direct is back in business. The weekend/holiday transit-to-trails service, co-led by King County Metro and King County Parks, offers rides to and from the Issaquah Alps and Mount Si.

Developed to reduce overcrowding at popular trailhead parking lots, Trailhead Direct has become a popular, eco-friendly way to get out of the city and explore King County’s mountain forests. Today, both routes are easily accessible from Sound Transit's Link light rail.

The Issaquah Alps route starts at the Mount Baker Transit Center, with service every 30 minutes serving Margaret’s Way, Squak Mountain, Chirico Trail-Poo Poo Point, High School Trail, and East Sunset Way. The Mount Si route starts at the Capitol Hill Link light rail station and offers service every 15 minutes to Mount Si, Mount Teneriffe, and Little Si.

The service will operate each weekend through Sept. 26, including Independence Day and Labor Day. Learn more on the Trailhead Direct website or read Metro’s May 25 blog post.

Youths can get their first ORCA cards for free

$5 fee waived

Puget Sound area youths aged 6–18 years can now get their first ORCA cards at no charge. After the cards are loaded with a transit pass or E-purse balance, they can be a young person’s ticket to destinations across the region on participating agencies’ buses, trains, and ferries.

Youth cards provide reduced fares on services operated by ORCA agencies, including Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, and Sound Transit.

Youth ORCA users can load value on the cards for one trip at a time or add a pass for unlimited rides for a whole month. For more information, visit www.orcacard.com or www.kingcounty.gov/reducedfare.

Animal Services

Hot pets are not cool!

Dog in car

Toasty temperatures arrived early and with a vengeance in the Pacific Northwest. Every summer, Regional Animal Services of King County responds to hundreds of calls about pets—mostly dogs—left in hot cars. (That's in addition to many more reports about animals left outside without adequate water or shelter from the heat.)

During severe heat waves, animal control and law enforcement officers respond to a dozen or more of these calls a day. While most incidents end with no harm done, pets can suffer injuries or even die from heat stress.

Whenever you see an animal in distress from the heat, call 9-1-1 or 206-296-7387 (PETS). Find tips on pet summer safety on the Regional Animal Services of King County website.

Pets and fireworks aren't a good mix

Dog hiding under bed

While we're on the subject of summertime animal health and safety, please keep in mind that while many humans enjoy the noise and lights of fireworks around Independence Day, our pets do not. In fact, more stray pets are picked up in the days after the Fourth of July than at any other time of the year.

To reduce their stress on this noisy holiday, keep your pets inside, in the quietest room of your home. You can use music or the sound of a TV to help cover the bangs, booms, and pops outside. Outdoor pets should be moved inside or into a well-ventilated, secure garage or shed during fireworks displays. Also, make sure your pet has a license, ID tag, or microchip in case they run away.

If your pet does manage to escape, Regional animal Services of King County is ready to help. Owners of missing pets can visit their lost pets page for tips and information. If you find a stray pet, you can go to the found pets page to help reunite them with their family.

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

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

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, July 12,* 7-9:30 p.m.—Zoom meeting (virtual)
*Second Monday this month due to the July Fourth holiday

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

The council is taking the summer off, and will be back via Zoom on Sept. 2 (7-9 p.m.).

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

Monday, July 19, 7-9 p.m.
Visit the website for info on how to attend, or see the Facebook page.

Monthly board meetings are open to the public via Webex, and often feature guest speakers in addition to community reports and information from a variety of local organizations. For more information send email to David Vogel.

:: West Hill Community Association

Monthly board meeting: Wednesday, July 14, 7-9 p.m.
Quarterly meeting: Tuesday, July 20.

Meetings are open to the public via Zoom, and often feature guest speakers in addition to community reports and information from a variety of local organizations. For more information send email. You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or sign up for their email newsletter, or access local stories and an events calendar on their website.

Director’s corner

John Taylor, King County Local Services director

Every day, more than a million people use the nearly 1,500 miles of roads and 182 bridges in unincorporated King County. If you stretched these roads out and lined them up end to end, they could touch the Canadian and Mexican borders at the same time. And King County Road Services works tirelessly to keep this system safe and open for all to use.

The county has three main sources of funds to pay for this work: a dedicated tax on properties in unincorporated areas, gas taxes, and some federal and state grants. Because of the limited funding tools granted to counties by the legislature, and a statewide one-percent cap on annual property tax increases, King County has an ongoing roads funding challenge. The lack of revenue significantly affects our capacity to maintain and improve roads.

That’s why the King County Council is considering an increase in the county’s Roads Tax—a tax on all unincorporated King County property owners that is dedicated to maintaining the county’s roads. The proposal being considered would increase the Roads Tax from $1.83 per $1,000 in assessed value in 2021 to $2.25 per $1,000 in assessed value in 2022.

This increase would bring in about $335 million over the next eight years, and would cost the average homeowner in King County about $223 per year.

The new funds would be dedicated to improving county road safety, expanding our paving program and maintenance crews, repairing bridges and culverts across the county, replacing guardrails, and matching more state and federal grants so we can bring more outside funding into the county.

The King County Council will consider this proposal on Tuesday, July 6. If they approve it, the measure will appear on the November general election ballot for voters in unincorporated King County.

I’d like everyone who lives in our unincorporated areas and pays for the county road system to be aware of this proposal. If you’re interested, you can follow the council’s deliberations by watching the July 6 council meeting live online (the meeting starts at 1 p.m.).

You can also learn more about Road Services projects on their website.

Have a happy—and safe—Independence Day!

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).