February 2024 Unincorporated Area Community News

Unincorporated Area Community News - King County Local Services

February 2024

Bridge washing

Clean bridges aren’t just nice to look at...

They're also safer and easier to maintain!

Dirt, debris, and pollution can build up on bridges over time. If the bridges aren't cleaned, they become difficult to inspect properly. Dirt and leaves can trap moisture against steel, leading to premature paint failure and corrosion while also hiding the damage. If left long enough, damage to the steel can become significant and require costly repairs and lengthy bridge closures.

Regular cleaning allows for better visual inspections of bridges, which helps King County Road Services maintain county bridges and keep them safe for drivers, bikers, and walkers.

This year, Road Services plans to clean seven bridges in unincorporated King County. This scheduled work will have minimal impacts on traffic. Learn more on the county's bridge washing website.

If you haven’t already done so, you can also sign up for King County Road Alerts to be notified when road work is happening in your community.

Photo: Crews use a hand-held power washer to clean the lower levels of the Green River Gorge Bridge, west of Black Diamond, in 2019.

Local Services

Navigating the future: subarea planners turn attention to Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River

Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River Community Service Area

King County Local Services is starting work on subarea planning for the Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River Community Service Area.

Working with community members, planners will draft policies to help guide county services in the area for the next two decades. This effort will involve extensive community engagement beginning in mid-2024. The resulting policy proposals will then be considered by the King County Council starting in 2027.

Subarea planners recently wrapped up a similar planning effort in the Snoqualmie Valley/Northeast King County Community Service Area. Over the past two years, the team collaborated with hundreds of community members to produce a recommended plan and policy changes for the area. Those documents have now been sent to the King County Council for consideration as part of the 2024 King County Comprehensive Plan update process.

If you’re interested in receiving updates about the Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River subarea planning process, send an email to subareaplanning@kingcounty.gov.


Made possible by community: Khmer Community Center

Moeun Kang

King County Local Services is checking in with some of those who received funding from the first Participatory Budgeting vote to see how that funding has helped. The program lets community members choose how government funds will be spent in their neighborhoods.

Funded project: Khmer community center in White Center area
Amount: $750,000

Moeun Kang fights back emotions when describing the horrors many in his home country endured during the Khmer Rouge regime in the mid-1970s and the Cambodian-Vietnamese War that followed.

“We lost the population. Together, about two million Cambodians died—killed, died of starvation,” he recalls.

During those years, hundreds of thousands Cambodian immigrants found asylum in the U.S., including in King County. Moeun was one of them. The now-retired Seattle Public Schools educator, who served as an instructional assistant, worked directly with the region’s newly settled community of people who are Khmer—the largest ethnic group in Cambodia. He heard directly from Khmer youths about the war zone their families had fled and the obstacles they faced as immigrants in a new country. These included social, language, and educational barriers as well as difficulty paying the bills.

Those relationships inspired Moeun, who today is an esteemed elder in the local community, to sow the seeds of a community center that would help Cambodian-American residents in King County and Washington State come together to heal. The center he envisioned would be a community hub for Khmer cultural preservation, education, and celebration.

“I want a place for people, old and young, to come together, to celebrate together and share,” said Moeun. He and his fellow Khmer elders and community members have been planning the Cambodian-focused community center for nearly two decades. Most of the funds they’ve collected so far have come via donations from local Khmer residents. The added funding provided by the community through King County’s Participatory Budgeting program will help the center they dreamed of become a reality.

Learn more on the King County Local blog

Emergency preparedness

Earthquake anniversary is a reminder to prepare

Damage from Nisqually earthquake

February 28 will be the 23rd anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake. The shaking, felt across southern Puget Sound, started just before 11 a.m. and lasted almost a full minute. Bricks showered down from historic buildings like those in Pioneer Square onto sidewalks and cars parked below. Total damage throughout the region were estimated at $2 billion, and some 400 people needed medical attention.

“I remember experiencing the earthquake, and then responding to the Emergency Operations Center, where we started to get reports in from the damages,” said Sheri Badger, who worked for Pierce County at the time and today is the Public Information Officer for King County Emergency Management. “Luckily, it was not as bad as it could have been," she said, "considering it was a magnitude 6.8 earthquake.”

Unfortunately, we still have no way to know when a major earthquake is going to happen. But we do have ways to prepare for disasters that may make a huge difference in how we and our loved ones weather them.

Here are some tips to help you survive an earthquake and recover more easily after one strikes.

► Learn how to drop, cover, and hold on during an earthquake.
► Assemble, check, and refresh emergency supply kits in your car and home.
► Keep copies of important documents on a thumb drive, in the cloud, or on your smartphone.
► Make sure family members know what to do and who to call if something happens.

Find more information on preparing for earthquakes at kingcounty.gov/earthquake. King County Emergency Management recommends everyone make a plan, build a kit, and stay informed. You can take one step now to stay informed by signing up for ALERT King County at kingcounty.gov/alert.

Natural Resources and Parks

Public comment period for King County’s draft Flood Plan opens Jan. 31


Flooding is our region’s most common natural disaster, and is seen as part of life in parts of King County. The King County Flood Management Plan outlines policies and actions King County will take to reduce flood risks.

The draft plan will be available for public comment from Jan. 31 to March 15. King County is hosting two online meetings (with the same content) on Feb. 15 and March 7. Register for one or both to submit comments and learn about the recommendations being submitted to the King County Council for adoption this summer.

The new Flood Plan will benefit families, homes, and businesses for years to come. Visit the Flood Management Plan Engagement Hub to learn more about how to comment and register for meetings.

Photo: Damage to State Route 202 caused by flooding of the Snoqualmie River in 2009.


Paid internships offered for high school and college students

Wastewater Treatment Division interns

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division offers paid teen and college internships and spring career events. Learn more about these career opportunities on the division's website.

King County Parks offers paid summer teen internships through their Youth Conservation Corps. Learn more and sign up to receive notifications when the application opens on the Youth Conservation Corps website.


Modest house

Property tax statements are coming soon

Property tax statements for 2024 will be mailed on February 15. If a mortgage lender pays your taxes, your tax statement details are forwarded to the lender. If you pay your property taxes yourself, and you have not received a statement by March 1, there are several ways to get your tax statement:

The first half of your 2024 property tax is due by April 30. You can visit the Property Tax website to learn about payment options or sign up for text and email reminders about your property taxes. You can also learn about property tax relief programs for seniors and people with disabilities.

Upcoming WSU Extension learning opportunities for King County forest and woodland owners

  1. Vashon Forest Stewardship Coached Planning course – starts February 21, 2024. Learn everything you need to know about caring for your forest, including how to write your own personalized forest stewardship plan that could help otherwise qualifying landowners save money on property taxes through King County's Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS). Participants will receive a site visit to their property by a professional forester. Cost: $175. Pre-registration required.
  2. Western WA Forest Owners Winter School – March 16, 2024 in Auburn. Designed to let you attend multiple forest stewardship workshops all in the same day, the Winter School will help you address challenges on your property, restore healthy forest conditions, and achieve your goals. Whether you are a novice to family forestry, or your family has owned land for many generations, there is something new for everyone to learn. Cost: $20 per individual or $30 per couple. Pre-registration required.



FREE medical, dental, and vision care clinic at Seattle Center Feb. 15-18 — The Seattle/King County Clinic offers free medical, dental, and vision care to anyone in the region who struggles to access or afford health care. Patients can get services each day on a first-come, first-served basis—admission tickets will be handed out each day starting at 5:30am at Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. All services and procedures are provided free of charge by licensed health care professionals. Interpretation services are available, and patients do not need to show identification or proof of immigration status. Learn more at seattlecenter.org/patients

► Apply for County Conservation Futures grants by Feb. 12 — These grants help government agencies and qualified nonprofits buy or preserve open spaces and parks for passive recreation. Learn more, sign up for workshops, and apply on the Conservation Futures website. Contact Ingrid.Lundin@kingcounty.gov with questions.

Rural Area News

Joint Rural Area Team provides oral testimony on 2024 King County Comprehensive Plan major update

On Jan. 17 and 18, before the King County Council’s Local Services and Land Use Committee, several Joint Team organizations provided oral testimony on the King County Executive’s "Recommended Plan" for the Comprehensive Plan update. Their testimony addressed several topics: the review schedule and process; the Snoqualmie Valley/Northeast King County Subarea Plan, subarea planning, map amendments; and draft environmental impact statements. The Joint Team has reviewed and researched the Executive’s recommended plan and drafted extensive comments, which will be submitted to the committee before its next comprehensive plan update briefing, to be held Feb. 5. (view the briefing schedule)

Submitted by Peter Rimbos, Coordinator, Joint Rural Area Team

Skyway News


Skyway housing contractor training program

Are you a woman or person of color and a contractor who is connected to Skyway? If so, Skyway Coalition wants to hear from you as they design a Housing Contract Training Program.

The program is intended to provide access, training, networking, and resources to contract businesses owned by women and/or people of color.

Take the survey

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 at 6 p.m.
 Muckleshoot Library (King County Library branch)
39917 Auburn Enumclaw Road SE, Auburn

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 – Hybrid meeting (virtual and in-person, 7-8:30 pm)
Fall City Fire Department meeting room
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. 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, Feb. 5, 7-9:30 pm – in person or via Zoom
Maple Valley Fire Station
22225 SE 231st St (across from the King County Sheriff’s Precinct #3)

Visit the website for the agenda and Zoom information, which will be posted 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

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.

:: Skyway Business Collective

The Skyway Business Collective aims to drive economic growth for entrepreneurs and small business owners living or working in Skyway, and to create a supportive and inclusive space for  small businesses to grow, connect, and thrive through free professional services tailored to the business's needs. Learn more at www.skywaybusinesscollective.org

:: Skyway Coalition

Community Connection meeting
Thursday, Feb. 15, 5:30-6:30 pm - Virtual meeting via Zoom

Learn about what's happening in Skyway around advocacy, affordable housing, and economic growth. Zoom link and other information are available on the coalition's website.

:: 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

:: Upper Bear Creek Community Council

For information about the council, call Nancy Stafford at 425-788-5841 or visit the Facebook page and/or website. (Note: both the Facebook page and the website are currently being updated.)

:: Vashon Chamber of Commerce

Send email or visit the website.

:: Vashon-Maury Community Council

Meetings are open to all and are held on the third Thursday of each month, both online and in-person. Topics include affordable housing, ferries, election candidates, transportation, aviation noise, and more. The council sets up committees and passes resolutions to King County and other organizations as needed. Voting membership is free and open to residents 18 and older. To learn more, visit the website.

:: West Hill Community Association

Meetings are 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, send email or visit the website.