March 2023 Unincorporated Area Community News

Unincorporated Area Community News - King County Local Services

March 2023

Bridging the season

Bridge inspection

Photo: Two crew members in the bucket of an Under Bridge Inspection Truck (UBIT) check the underside of the Foss River Bridge outside Skykomish last summer.

When temperatures start to warm up in early spring, Road Services starts doing under-bridge inspections. Crews check each of the county’s 185 bridges every one-to-two years, depending on the bridge’s condition. They use special vehicles called UBITs (Under Bridge Inspection Trucks) to get a good look at the bridges’ support structures. There are usually two people in the UBIT bucket during an inspection, with one operating the bucket controls while the other focuses on the bridge. 

Some of this work happens during the shoulder season between winter and spring, before major construction gets going in the summer. Visit the Road Services My Commute website to find out where crews will be working next.

Road Services

Major milestone for Upper Tokul Creek Bridge

Bridge construction

Road Services has passed the halfway point on its Upper Tokul Creek bridge replacement project near Snoqualmie Falls. The first half included building a temporary bridge, tearing down the old bridge, and installing five massive bridge girders. Next comes installing the bridge deck and guardrail, finishing the approaches, and moving traffic to the new bridge from the temporary span.

The bridge provides sole access to more than 75 homes and is also used by forest and mining industries. The new bridge will have no weight restrictions, so big trucks will be good to go.

Photo: Crews use two large cranes to hoist the second of five massive girders for the new bridge (taken Feb. 7).

Business news

Local Services celebrates launch of  Economic Alliance for unincorporated King County

Economic Alliance

Local Services has partnered with community organizations to co-create the Economic Alliance Program, one of several steps County Executive Dow Constantine is taking to help the region’s businesses—particularly in the unincorporated areas—emerge from the pandemic.

Photo: Local Services staff members speak at the first Economic Alliance meeting.

The $5.25 million program was developed to address concerns voiced by business leaders and residents in unincorporated areas that local small businesses need urgent help. This is especially true for businesses owned by people who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic—those who are Black, Indigenous, persons of color, women, LGBTQ+, veterans, immigrants or refugees, or who have low incomes, speak limited English, and/or have a disability.

The Economic Alliance Program will focus on three main areas:

Career Connector: Low-barrier, highly supported workforce development and entrepreneurial training, living-wage career education, subsidized internships, and job placement for workers affected by COVID-19.

Businesses Builder: Technical assistance for small businesses, including accounting, legal support, and business planning.

Community Innovator: Incubation resources for small businesses, including networking opportunities, mentoring resources, and skills-based learning in disproportionately impacted areas of White Center/North Highline and Skyway/West Hill.

Last month, Local Services contracted with United for a Community Led Economy, a partnership co-founded by representatives of three groups that are embedded in the communities of their respective areas—the White Center Community Development Association, Skyway Coalition, and Comunidad Latina de Vashon.

Learn more:
King County news release (Feb. 13)
Local Services blog post (Feb. 15)
Visit the Economic Alliance's interactive website
Watch a video from the Economic Alliance's first meeting

Local Services

Participatory Budgeting program welcomes Jacques Imperial

Jacques Imperial

Local Services recently welcomed Jacques Imperial as the Participatory Budgeting program’s new administrator. She will help Program Manager Gloria Briggs run the program, which is currently seeking applicants to serve on the program’s Steering Committee for 2023-24.

Imperial began her professional career as a congressional intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. After moving back to her home state of Washington, she worked for nearly 10 years in a congressional office, focusing primarily on outreach to community members concerning legislation, advocacy, projects, and events. Most recently, she served as a legislative aide for the King County Council.

“My passion for public service stems from helping those whose voices are often unheard and ensuring that when communities seek government assistance, they get the best customer service possible,” Imperial said.

Read more on the King County Local blog

Free webinar on March 8: The All-Electric Home

The All-Electric Home

The All-Electric Home:
What's Involved and New Funding Options
March 8, 6:30-8 p.m.

Installing heat pumps, induction Stoves, and other appliances...and how to pay for it

Switching to all-electric appliances, such as heat pumps and induction stoves, can reduce your carbon emissions, improve your comfort and indoor air quality, and often reduce bills.

Find out how to electrify your home at this 90-minute session, hosted online through the King County Library System. The workshop will review electrification options, provide information on the new federal Inflation Reduction Act incentives, and include live questions and answers with experts. Advance registration is required.

This webinar is supported by a collaboration between the Eastside Climate Partnership cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, and Redmond; King County; Rewiring America; and Electrify Now

Natural Resources and Parks

New Duwamish River basin steward will support habitat protection and restoration projects that benefit communities, salmon, and orcas

Aerial view of the Duwamish River

In partnership with the Port of Seattle, City of Tukwila, and City of Seattle, King County has created a new basin steward position dedicated to the Duwamish River. Alicia Kellogg will work to enhance habitat protection and restoration projects in the critically important watershed and to improve service delivery in unincorporated Skyway and North Highline.

Kellogg will join a team of six existing basin stewards who guide habitat protection and restoration work in King County’s major river basins and on Vashon-Maury Island. The basin stewards are familiar with the land and community needs, working with landowners and other agencies to improve ecological functions for people, fish, and wildlife.

Creating the new basin steward position for the Duwamish River recognizes the decades of disproportionate impacts that the watershed’s residents have endured and will better align the multi-agency efforts along the industrialized river corridor.

To learn more, read the Feb. 9 news release or visit the Basin Stewards website.

Free Wi-Fi is now available at Steve Cox Memorial Park park

Free Wi-Fi

Free, enhanced public Wi-Fi is now available at Steve Cox Memorial Park (both indoors and outdoors) and South County Ballfields to provide better access to technology in these important communities. Free Wi-Fi will also be coming to Skyway Park this spring.

To use the free Wi-Fi service, find and click the Wi-Fi icon on your device, find "KCPublic" on the list of available networks, and use the "Connect" button to join.

Take a survey to help King County develop strategies that reduce food waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions

Food waste

What do you do when good food goes bad? Or when those dinner scraps aren’t suitable for the stock pot?

King County's Solid Waste Division wants your feedback about proposed strategies to keep more food and yard waste out of the garbage. Survey responses will help the county understand how residents in different areas manage waste, and help inform future policies to reduce food waste going to the landfill, protect the environment, and meet community needs.

Take the anonymous online survey (open through April 30)

Community meeting on Cedar Hills Regional Landfill March 29

Cedar Hills Regional Landfill

Join 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.

Wednesday, March 29, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Maywood Middle School
14490 168th Avenue SE, Renton

Let's plan ahead for flooding, together

More than 57,000 people in King County live in areas at high risk of flooding. Thousands more work or commute every day near rivers, streams, and shorelines that are at risk of flooding.

No one should be left behind when a flood happens. King County is developing a plan that will shape flood-related programs, policies, and infrastructure for years to come. You don’t need to be a flooding expert to join the conversation.

Visit the 2024 King County Flood Management Plan engagement hub today. You can use the online survey to share what flooding problems concern you and what services would benefit your community. You can also check out an upcoming events calendar or suggest events in your community that King County staff members might come to.

Learn more at or contact Jason Wilkinson by email or at 206-477-4786.

Executive Services

Adopt a dog for just $50 at Regional Animal Services of King County in March

Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) has a full house—and that means a dog-gone good deal for you. During the month of March, you can ante up just $50 to adopt an adult dog—a savings of 50% or more off the regular adoption fee.

Everyone wins when you adopt from RASKC. Your adoption fee includes a King County pet license (if applicable), initial veterinary exam including vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, 30 days of opt-in pet insurance through Trupanion, and more.

Play your hand now and find the new “king” or “queen” of your household at The King County Pet Adoption Center is located at 21615 64th Avenue S in Kent. Business hours are noon to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Hazard(s) of the month: tsunami and seiche

Video still (seiche)

A tsunami is a sea wave caused by an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or landslide. A seiche (pronounced "saysh") is a standing wave in an enclosed body of water. Seiches are most often caused by seismic activity or atmospheric pressure.

Tsunamis and seiches are infrequent in King County, but it's important to be aware of their dangerous potential. To prepare, you can do the following...
► Learn about tsunami risk in your community and know the established tsunami evacuation routes. Try to pick an area at least 100 feet above sea level and two miles inland. When you’re away from home, take time to understand risks where you are.
►Establish an emergency plan with meeting places and phone numbers of family members.
►Build an emergency supply kit.
►Sign up for Alert King County.

When an earthquake hits...
► Get to higher ground if you are near water when an earthquake happens.
►Take your emergency supply kit with you.
►Listen to your NOAA Weather Radio and follow instructions issued by local authorities. Continue to monitor local media for emergency news.
►Stay away from flooded or damaged areas until it is safe to return.

Learn more at

Property tax details are now available

Property tax

Property owners in King County can go online now to view their 2023 property tax details. While there, they can also pay their taxes, look up their property information, and sign up for email or text reminders.

Hard copies of property tax statements were mailed on February 14 to those who pay their property taxes directly rather than through a mortgage lender. A paper statement is not required to pay property taxes.

This year, owners will have an extra day to pay the first half of their property taxes. Because the statutory due date falls on a Sunday, payments are due until Monday, May 1. Payments are accepted online, by mail, and by drop box.

Customer service representatives are available to answer questions Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact King County Treasury Operations at 206-263-2890 or by email.

For information on tax exemption and deferral programs for seniors and people with disabilities or other qualifying conditions, contact the King County Assessor's Office by email or by calling 206-296-3920.

Community and Human Services

New funding opportunity: $1.1M for rural/mobile behavioral health and outreach and engagement

The King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division is accepting proposals to provide rural behavioral health services – mobile and outreach/engagement services. Up to $1.1M is available through American Rescue Plan Act funding. DCHS anticipates funding three to six awards with a maximum of $400,000 for any one award. Applications are due by 2 p.m. (PST) on March 9.

The request for proposals seeks to increase access to, and availability of, behavioral health care in rural, unincorporated areas of King County through mobile outreach and engagement services. The emphasis is on helping individuals enroll or re-engage in Medicaid-funded outpatient behavioral health services and locally funded behavioral health services.

View the full request for proposals and apply online
Read more in in this DCHS blog post

Metro Transit

RapidRide H Line service to begin March 18

RapidRide H Line

King County Metro has been working in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation and the City of Burien to upgrade Metro Bus Route 120—one of Metro's 10 busiest routes—to the RapidRide H Line. Starting March 18, RapidRide will bring more-reliable and more-frequent service, along with new stations and amenities, to Seattle, White Center, and Burien.

Some paving and other construction work will continue along the route throughout the spring, but will not affect bus service. To learn more, see Metro's blog post.

Metro Flex

Three Metro services join to become Metro Flex on March 6

Metro Flex is a new, on-demand neighborhood transit service that lets you ride anywhere in your service area for the same cost as a bus trip. It replaces three other services: Community Ride, Ride Pingo to Transit, and Via to Transit.

If you're in one of the Metro Flex service areas, you'll be able to use an app on your phone to tell Metro Flex where you are and where you want to go. You’ll receive a nearby pickup location only a short walk away, and an approximate arrival time for your Metro Flex vehicle.

With an ORCA card, you can transfer for free to or from a bus or Sound Transit Link light rail.

Learn more on Metro's website

Vashon news

Vashon Forest Stewardship Coached Planning 2023

Tuesdays, April 18 – June 13, 5-7:30 p.m.

Natural beauty, wildlife, ecosystem health, harvest income, family ties, privacy, and peace and quiet are some of the many reasons people value their forested property. Whatever your values and objectives are, this comprehensive forestry class offered by Washington State University will help you get the most out of the land you love. Whether you have just a few wooded acres or a larger forest tract, this class is for you if you have trees on your property.

The registration fee of $175 covers up to two adults from the same household/ownership. Youths under 18 are welcome to attend at no additional cost.

Learn more on the Washington State University website

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

Third Tuesdays, 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 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, March 6, 7-9:30 p.m. – in person or via Zoom
Maple Valley Fire Station
22225 SE 231st St (across from the King County Sheriff’s Precinct #3)

Guest Speakers from the King County Water and Land Resources Division will discuss the county's current Flood Management Plan Update; the last update was done in 2013. Also, representatives from the Washington State Department of Ecology will provide an update on reclamation work at the Reserve Silica site in Ravensdale. Visit the website for the latest information and to confirm meetings. An Agenda and Zoom information will be posted there several days 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.

:: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

Thursday, March 2, 7:30 p.m. - virtual meeting via Zoom
Meeting ID: 844 1007 4134  |  passcode: NHUAC2023
Or call 253-215-8782  |  phone passcode: 598963166

Meet a potential new board member, and hear from Sandy Hunt, president of the Highline Teachers Association, and Jim Chan, King County Director of Permitting, along with his division's new Code Enforcement leader, Tom Campbell.

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.

:: 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

:: Upper Bear Creek Community Council

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

:: Vashon Chamber of Commerce


:: Vashon-Maury Community Council

Thursday, March 2, 7:30 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, March 8, 7-8:30 p.m. – in person or via Zoom
Skyway Fire District 20 Admin Building
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. For more information, visit the website.

Director’s corner

John Taylor

Despite the snow that's falling outside my window as I write this, spring is around the corner with the promise of warmer temperatures and less rain and snow.

At King County Local Services we're thinking ahead to spring and summer.  Most notably, we're looking forward to another round of Participatory Budgeting work with the county's five urban unincorporated areas (East Federal Way, White Center, Skyway, East Renton, and Fairwood). King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed, and the County Council passed, budget authority for another $10 million in participatory budgeting funding. So over the coming months you will see Local Services staff members out in those communities looking to talk with folks about how to spend that money.

We're also gearing up for another round of meetings to get ideas for the county's Community Needs Lists. The county will use these community-driven lists to prioritize community needs during its biennial (every two years) budget process. We had our first foray working on Community Needs Lists for the current (2023-2024) budget, and we're going to improve and refine that work during this next two years. We look forward to working with interested community members to get the best possible list of community priorities. Our current thinking is that engagement around Community Needs Lists will replace the Town Hall meetings we usually hold in the county's Community Service Areas each year.

While we're moving away from Town Halls, we will be spending quite a bit of time out in the communities we serve, attending community group meetings throughout unincorporated King County (see the Community Organizations information above) and holding office hours throughout the county. We remain committed to working with all of you to improve delivery of services and respond to community concerns. 

Happy (almost) spring to all of you.

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