January 2023 Unincorporated Area Community News

Unincorporated Area Community News - King County Local Services

January 2023

Where is my snow route and when will it be plowed?

Plowing snow in Covington

King County Road Services reminds you that you can find all 583 miles of the county's snow and ice routes on their snow and ice website.

Keep in mind that the county has to plow and treat all of these designated routes first. Once that is done, they can get to other roads as time and resources allow.

If you need to report a road issue like downed trees or signs, call the 24/7 Road helpline at 206477‑8100 (sorry, they don't accept texts).

Photo: Did you ever wonder about the view from inside a snowplow? Here's what one Road Services crewmember saw on an overnight shift north of Covington during the first storm of the 2022-2023 season (Dec. 3, 2022).

Local Services

Conservation Corps cleans popular fishing spot in Fall City

Cleanup crew

Photo: Workers pose for a group shot in the newly-cleaned area.

In Early December, the King County Conservation Corps removed 2,800 pounds of illegally-dumped trash—including wood, broken glass, furniture, and appliances—from beneath a State Route 202 bridge near the Snoqualmie River.

King County Local Services partners with Uplift Northwest (formerly known as the Millionair Club) to offer dignified employment to people experiencing homelessness and poverty while at the same time helping to clean up unincorporated communitiesThe Conservation Corps provides garbage removal and other cleanup services five days a week in White Center, Skyway, and Fall City. For more about this cleanup, see the King County Local blog.

Local Services lists top ten accomplishments of 2022

Top 10 for 2022

As King County Local Services and the communities we serve in Unincorporated King County get ready to start a new year, let's take a moment to celebrate some of the things we accomplished together in 2022. Most were in this newsletter during the year, but if you'd like a refresher or more details, you can view our blog post or follow the links in the list below.

10. Community Needs Lists—Together with the communities we serve, Local Services developed community needs lists for each community we serve. These lists provide input for King County agencies as they develop their budgets. This is the first time residents of unincorporated areas have had a way to submit their priorities directly to the county. (See the public outreach site)

9. Fireworks ban—Local Services campaigned to get the word out about King County's new ban on consumer fireworks in time for the July 4 holiday weekend. (See blog post)

8. Community Service Area Town Halls—Local Services held 11 virtual Community Service Area Town Halls in March, allowing community members to hear from their elected leaders and county government staff members about services and programs in their communities. (Learn more about King County's Community Service Areas program)

7. Awarded more than $100,000 in grants to 45 volunteer-led community events and projects in unincorporated areas through the 2022 Alan M. Painter Grant Program.

6. Helped businesses emerge from the pandemic—In 2022, Local Services supported businesses of all sizes in the unincorporated areas. This included distribution of more than $1.2 million in grants to 41 businesses in the White Center Fire Impact Zone, establishment of the Unincorporated King County Economic Alliance Program, and a business survey that will inform services and programs that support businesses in unincorporated King County. (To learn more, email AskLocalServices@kingcounty.gov or call Economic Development Manager Hugo Garcia at 206‑263‑2821)

5. King County Permits reduced building permit wait times for initial review (from 5 months to 8 weeks for new homes, and from 9 weeks to 1 week for simple remodels). They also moved to a new office in Renton and began satellite services on Vashon Island and in Fall City, and digitized all of their paper public records. (See the King County permits website)

4. King County Road Services delivered—They installed new sidewalk, bike lane, paving, and guardrails; fixed or preserved drainage; repaired and/or maintained 15 bridges; and worked to improve pedestrian safety around schools. Crews worked through two major winter storms early in 2022, plowing and/or sanding more than 7,500 lane miles and answering more than 1,700 customer service calls. They removed trash from roads, patched potholes, and repaired or replaced more than 15,000 signs. (See the Road Services website to learn more)

3.Finished subarea plans for Skyway/West Hill and White Center/North Highline—Planners spent a year working closely with community members to craft plans that express each community's vision for the future and establish policies to help achieve those visions. The King County Council voted in December to adopt both plans. (See the Skyway/West Hill and White Center/North Highline plan websites)

2. Bolt Creek fire response—After the wildfire burned more than 14,000 acres in Snohomish and King counties, Local Services partnered with other agencies to get the word out about a new risk of flash floods and debris flows in burned areas. Local Services Director John Taylor and other staffers went door to door in threatened communities to hand out information. (See article below and King County's Bolt Creek Burn Scar web page)

1. Participatory Budgeting Program holds historic community vote on future projects for King County Guiding a historic community vote was our biggest story of 2022. After more than a year of creating the framework for the Participatory Budgeting process, King County held its first community driven vote in August. More than 2,600 ballots were cast, online and on paper, by community members to choose 45 projects for King County to fund. (See "Participatory Budgeting update" below; also this blog post and others on the King County Local Blog)

Participatory Budgeting update

In its first cycle, the Participatory Budgeting program identified 47 projects for King County to address in five urban unincorporated areas (East Federal Way, East Renton, Fairwood, Skyway/West Hill, and White Center/North Highline). All of these projects were nominated and chosen by members of the communities they will serve.

As we reported in our last issue, the first funded project—acquiring new land at Cemetery Pond in the East Renton Plateau area—has been completed. In November, the program held it first set of technical information sessions for awardees who are receiving funding for projects. The sessions provided information on contracting with Local Services and King County, and introduced awardees and communities to their dedicated project leads.

The next Participatory Budgeting cycle, for 2023-2024, will kick off in January with open applications for new steering committee members.

Learn more

New signs warn of flood and slide risks in burned areas

Hazard warning signs

The Bolt Creek Fire may be in the rear-view mirror, but it left new dangers in and around the places it burned. As winter weather brings added water—sometimes a lot of water in a short time—there's an increased risk of flash floods and debris flows along U.S. Route 2 in northeast King County and in the communities of Grotto, Baring, and Skykomish.

On December 13, the county installed new signs to alert residents and drivers about the increased risk.

To learn more, visit King County's Bolt Creek Fire Burn Scar web page.




Road Services

County wraps up 3-phase Skyway pedestrian safety project

Renton Avenue S sidewalk

In December, King County Road Services completed the final phase of a project to improve pedestrian safety on Renton Avenue S in Skyway.

The work improves safety for pedestrians and bicycles on Renton Avenue S between 68th Avenue S and S 112th Street. It added a new section of sidewalk and a wider bike lane along the west side of the road and created a new eight-foot-wide shared pedestrian and bike path on the east side. The project also improved street lighting in the area and makes it easier to see and be seen by oncoming traffic.

Photo: The new finished sidewalk on Renton Avenue S (Nov. 22, 2022).

Coal Creek Bridge replacement caps off 2022 capital improvement projects

Coal Creek Bridge replacement

Road Services finished nine months of construction on its Coal Creek Bridge Replacement Project outside of Enumclaw in December.

The old bridge had steel floor beams that were 109 years old, requiring the county to limit the weight of vehicles crossing the span to get in and out of the Lake Walker community.

Those weight restrictions are now a thing of the past and large trucks can use the new bridge, which is expected to last many decades.

Learn more about the project on the Road Services website


Photo: A large crane hoists a girder for the new bridge (Oct. 14, 2022).

Natural Resources and Parks

Funds available to acquire open space—apply by March 6

Trail, park, and community garden

King County is seeking applications for 2024 King County Conservation Futures grants. Applications are due on Monday, March 6, 2023.

Conservation Futures grants can help purchase land to be used for passive recreation such as urban green spaces, natural areas, forests, community gardens, farms, and trails. There may be opportunities to partner on purchasing land for green stormwater facilities, or to help create open space or community gardens near affordable housing developments.

Grants can be awarded to cities, King County, park districts, and eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit nature conservancies and historic preservation associations. Community groups or individuals may partner on projects with local agencies and eligible nonprofits. Land purchased in historically underserved areas may qualify for a match waiver to cover its full purchase price.

Learn more on the King County Conservation Futures website or send email to Ingrid Lundin.

King County Parks announces 2023 levy grant programs

The voter-approved Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space Levy has $33.6 million available for grants to support parks, recreation, and open space in 2023. Visit the Parks Grants website for details—including eligibility, how to apply, and the application process for the following grant programs:

• Aquatic Facilities
• Parks Capital and Open Space
• Open Space – River Corridors
• Healthy Communities and Parks Fund

Applications for 2023 grants will be accepted from January 17 through March 15.

Stay updated: sign up for the Parks Grants e-mail list or register for upcoming webinars about these grant programs—or send email to ParksGrants@kingcounty.gov.

In-person public scoping meeting for Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station rescheduled to Jan. 11

Due to concerns about icy roads and potentially hazardous driving conditions, King County’s Solid Waste Division postponed a public meeting on the Northeast Recycling and Transfer Station project that was originally set for Dec. 1.

The rescheduled meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lake Washington High School (12033 NE 80th Street, Kirkland).

This is the last opportunity to attend a public scoping meeting to learn more about the process and submit your comments in person. If you can't attend, visit the online open house to learn more and submit written comments before the scoping period ends on Jan. 17.

King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks offers internship programs

  • The county’s Waste Treatment Division offers paid teen and college internships, operator-in-training programs, and career events. Learn more on their Internships and Career Exploration web page. Applications start in February.
  • King County Parks offers paid summer teen internships through its Youth Conservation Corps. The 2023 application period will open in late winter. Learn more on the program website.

King County Metro

Skyway youths learn about transportation opportunities through Metro Equity Internships

Skyway youth interns

Photo: interns pose with the bus shelter mural they designed.

King County Metro is expanding its youth programs, creating new opportunities for young leaders to learn about public transportation and how mobility access affects local communities.

In August, Metro hosted its first community-specific high school youth internship program in the Skyway/Renton area. Out of 150 applications, 12 young leaders were chosen for this paid educational opportunity.

The interns collaborated on digital social media projects and a community mural, and went on field trips to get up-close perspectives on the diversity of transit careers available. They also participated in workshops related to sustainability, urban planning, and local government processes, and had conversations with industry leaders and local and state elected officials.

Read more on the Metro Matters Blog

Did you catch Vashon’s new Van Coordinator at Winterfest?

Vashon Van Coordinator Lilie Corroon

Lilie Corroon staffed a table at the Vashon Theatre during the Vashon Winterfest on December 3. She was there to spread the word about the community van and all the ways it can help islanders. And she also handed out flashlight keychains, which many youths made into necklaces and wore during the parade.

The Vashon Community Van can help connect community members to both on- and off-Island locations, including grocery stores, medical appointments, and sports practices.

For more information, visit the Vashon Community Van website, call 206‑773‑7003, or send email to VashonVan@kingcounty.gov.

King County Sheriff

County to form new community advisory board for Sheriff’s Office

In December, King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall announced the formation of a new Community Advisory Board for the King County Sheriff’s Office. The board will bring together public safety experts, community members, and advocates to support and advise in the creation of a just, dynamic, and responsive public safety system.

The board will have 10-15 members, who will be chosen to represent different backgrounds and geographies that reflect the communities where the Sheriff's Office provides policing. Members will include residents of both urban and rural areas and individuals affiliated with BIPOC groups, civic organizations, and business groups. The board will also strive to include youths and individuals with prior justice system involvement.

Those interested in serving on the board should submit a letter of interest that explains their desire and qualifications. For more information and details on the application process, visit King County's website. Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2023.

See the county's news release (Dec. 12, 2022)

Resolve to be ready

Executive Services

Resolve to be ready

To start the new year, why not write resolutions to improve your personal and family preparedness planning? “Resolve to be Ready” is a national campaign every January that helps individuals and families in setting and achieving preparedness goals. Some of these goals include:

> Make an emergency plan
> Get to know your neighbors
> Sign up for emergency alerts
> Save copies of important documents in a secure location
> Improve financial preparedness
> Take a safety skills training such as CPR or First Aid and
> Build an emergency supply kit.

A new year is a great time to make preparedness resolutions for yourself and your loved ones. Learn more about the “Resolve to be Ready” campaign and emergency preparedness.

Greater Maple Valley Area News

Local Services directors answer questions at Dec. 5 area council meeting

On Monday, December 5, at the Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council monthly meeting, King County Local Services Director John Taylor, Permitting Division Director Jim Chan, and Road Services Director Tricia Davis participated in an in-person question-and-answer session. Attendees included members from three other unincorporated area councils and associations as well as members of the public. All questions, answers, and additional discussion can be found on the Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council website.

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

Community organizations

:: 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

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m. – in person or via Zoom
Enumclaw Library
1700 First Street, Enumclaw

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

:: Fall City Community Association

First Tuesdays – Virtual meeting (7-8:30 p.m.)

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. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month, and are open to the public. For more information, visit fallcity.org or email send email

:: Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council

Second Tuesdays – Virtual meeting via Zoom 

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

:: Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council

Monday, Jan. 9, 7-9:30 p.m. – in person or via Zoom
King County Sheriff's Precinct #3
22300 SE 231st Street, Maple Valley (across from the fire station)

Guest Speakers will be planners from the King County Permitting Division. They will discuss Subarea Planning to begin in 2023 for the Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River Community Service Area. Visit the website for the latest information and to confirm meetings. An Agenda and Zoom information will be posted one week before the meeting.. Visit the website for the latest information and to confirm meetings. An agenda and Zoom information will be posted about a week before the meeting.

:: Green Valley/Lake Holm Association

The Green Valley/Lake Holm Association advocates for those 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. They 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 Facebook page.

:: Skywest Tool Library

Working 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. To learn more, email HNA71@msn.com

:: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

No meeting in January.

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

For information, call Nancy Stafford at 425-788-5841 or visit the Facebook page.

:: Vashon Chamber of Commerce

Contact: discover@vashonchamber.com.

:: Vashon-Maury Community Council

Thursday, Jan. 19, 7-9 p.m. – in person or via Zoom
Vashon Land Trust
10014 SW Bank Road, Vashon

Monthly board meetings are open to the public, and often feature guest speakers in addition to community reports and information from a variety of local organizations. For more information visit the website or email Diane Emerson.

:: West Hill Community Association

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 7-9 p.m. – in person or via Zoom
Skyway Fire District 20 Training Center
12424 76th Avenue S, Seattle

Monthly board meetings are open to the public, and often feature guest speakers in addition to community reports and information from a variety of local organizations. Send email for more information.

Director’s corner

John Taylor

While we reflect on our accomplishments of 2022, I also want to look forward to the things we're planning to focus on in 2023.

We've already begun a review of our community engagement efforts in 2021 and 2022 around the development of King County's Community Needs List. Our goal is to revise future outreach efforts based on what we learned from that process. We believe the Community Needs List offers the best opportunity for unincorporated King County residents to influence the county's investments in their communities, and we focus on improving that process in 2023.

King County Local Services has received another round of participatory budgeting funding for 2023-2024. We'll begin the process of determining where those dollars will be allocated in the coming year. This funding is limited to urban unincorporated areas, and can only be spent on capital projects (parks, sidewalks, street improvements, etc.). In addition, White Center and Skyway get a small amount of more flexible funding from marijuana sales tax revenue. This funding can pay for things beyond capital projects, and we'll work with these community on how to allocate these funds.

We'll also finish our work on the Snoqualmie Valley Subarea Plan, a 20-year plan for the Snoqualmie Valley Community Service Area. County planners have been working for two years in the Snoqualmie Valley, getting input from community members on the things they want to see in the coming years. You'll find updates about the subarea plan process in upcoming issues of this newsletter and on the project web page and public engagement site.

We're reviewing the applications we received for our Alan Painter Grant program, and will announce those awards in January or February. We plan to hold our annual Town Hall meeting series later this year, and are working on a revised format for those meetings. We'll also restart our community office hours program, which makes staff members available at scheduled times and places throughout unincorporated King County.

We're looking forward to a busy year, and to seeing and talking with many of you as we work to help King County serve your communities. For now, I wish you a safe and happy new year celebration and all the best in the coming year.

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).