February 2010

Unincorporated Area Community News

Welcome to Community News, King County government's monthly newsletter for unincorporated area residents. You can find the newsletter online with links to program details, at www.kingcounty.gov/UnincorporatedAreaNews. To see previous versions of the Unincorporated Area Community Newsletter visit the archives.


‘FARMS’ report notes value, future challenges of farming in populous county

To ensure agriculture remains a vibrant part of the King County’s economy and cultural fabric, County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Agriculture Commission are recommending a series of actions to ensure the health of farming for generations to come. The FARMS report offers recommendations on how to help resolve challenges related to water, including flooding, drainage and irrigation; economic development; keeping farmers farming; farmer succession; developing a farm-city connection and financial support for the county’s agriculture program.

Flood response booklet now available

Before, During and After a Flood,” – a new King County booklet with information on how to stay safe and recover from floods and other disasters – is now available. The booklet has been mailed to 40,000 floodplain residents; to get a free copy, or request a supply for your organization, contact the King County Water and Land Resources Division’s River and Floodplain Management Unit at 206-296-8001.

Return your ballot by Election Day, Feb. 9

Know before you vote! Create your personalized voter pamphlet and check your ballot return options on the Elections Web site.

H1N1 free clinics

H1N1 vaccine is widely available in King County and Public Health recommends that anyone who doesn’t want to get the flu get a vaccine as soon as possible. Public Health offers free clinics for anyone who can’t afford the vaccine. Visit the Web site to find the clinic nearest you.

Flu prevention

Did you know that people who smoke are more likely to get the flu and more likely to become sicker when they get ill? Quitting smoking is among the best preventive measures against H1N1 flu and seasonal influenza; not only for smokers, but also for the children, family members or roommates who live with a smoker. Ready to quit smoking? Free help is available through the Washington Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Secure disposal for unwanted medicines

Are you looking for a safe way to dispose of unwanted medicines or veterinary drugs? Secure disposal of these chemicals keeps our families and the environment safer. Visit the Web site for a statewide network of pharmacies and law enforcement offices that participate in the unwanted medicine return program.

Satellite locations improve access to veterans services

Did you serve in the U.S. military or are you a family member of someone serving right now? If you are low to moderate income and need help with housing, employment, financial aid, trauma counseling or other assistance, the King County Veterans program may be able to help. Staff is available weekdays in our Seattle and Renton offices, and once a week at locations in Federal Way, Auburn, Maple Valley, Lake City, Enumclaw and Redmond. For more information, call 206-296-7656 or visit the Web site.

Stand up and be counted in 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau will conduct the 2010 Census in March. Make sure you are counted so that King County communities receive their share of federal and state grants, and are properly represented in Congress.

North end of Mink Road Northeast to be closed Feb. 13-19

As part of a safety improvement project, King County Road Services Division will close a 500-foot-long segment of Mink Road Northeast immediately south of Northeast Woodinville-Duvall Road beginning Saturday, Feb. 13, and continuing through Feb.19. Drivers will not have access to Mink Road at the Woodinville-Duvall Road/Mink Road intersection, and must use a detour route. For more information about the project visit the Web site and enter "Mink Road" in the search box, or call Mary Coltrane at 206-296-3724.

Free fair housing workshop and seminar

The King County Office of Civil Rights and other civil rights agencies are hosting two free fair housing trainings at the Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The Fair Housing Basics workshop is from 9 a.m. to noon, and the Advanced Fair Housing Seminar is from 1-3 p.m. Participants can receive extensive free fair housing materials in print or CD format. Advanced registration is required. Please call 206-296-7592 for details and directions, or visit the Web site.

Big Backyard 5K - Run Your Backyard Off

Calling all runners, walkers and thinkers about running and walking: King County Parks is hosting our first annual 5K run/walk at Marymoor Park on Sunday, May 23. All proceeds will support King County Parks’ 180 parks, 175 miles of trails and 25,000 acres of open space. Open to all levels.

Foster pet parents needed

Open your heart and your home to dogs or puppies, and cats or kittens that need to get well or get bigger before they can be adopted. Sick animals heal faster in a stress-free environment and your home could be the perfect place for dogs and cats to get the one-on-one attention and the love they need. For more information, visit the Web site.

Free technical assistance

DDES offers free technical assistance on a variety of permitting and land use topics each morning in the Permit Center from 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. A “Person of the Day” from each DDES operating section is on call to the Permit Center to offer assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. This successful program has offered guidance to property owners, builders, real estate professionals and developers who are new to the permit process and/or to King County. For driving directions, visit the Web site.

DDES permit customers can check permit status on line

DDES customers now have a fast, easy way to check the progress of their permit application with a new feature on the DDES Web site. Permit customers can see the individual review stations for any permit application, as well as the assigned DDES review staff and related staff comments. The new Web service, “Permit at a Glance,” presents data in real time so DDES customers can easily see where their permit is in the review process. For more information, visit the Web site.

24/7 emergency inspection line

DDES staff are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to the most serious environmental hazards. For violations that may pose a threat to public safety or could cause irreparable environmental damage if not responded to immediately, call 1-888-437-4771. If the reported violation is serious enough, an on-call DDES staff person will inspect the site immediately.

GIS in urban forestry focused climate preparedness and response project

The U.S. Forest Service has awarded a grant to the King County GIS Center to develop improved online GIS-based tools and guidance for best management practices related to climate change-related urban and community forestry management practices. The GIS Center will work with DNRP scientific and forestry staff, and partner with the National Wildlife Federation in developing this new analytical tool for use across the country. For more information, contact Greg Babinski at greg.babinski@kingcounty.gov or (206) 263-3753.

Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention

The King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention provides multiple ways of providing funds for an adult inmate’s account, including an internet option. See the Web site for details.

Community news

Greater Maple Valley

Maple Valley Park improvements

Through King County Parks’ Community Partnerships and Grants Program, Maple Valley Park will undergo an improvement project with the help of the community of Maple Valley Heights. The project includes installing a new playground and sports court, improving landscaping, and removing dilapidated tennis courts and fencing. The project is expected to be completed this summer.

News from Greater Maple Valley Area Council (GMVAC)

(This item submitted by the GMVAC)
The GMVAC sent formal letters of concern to state and county officials detailing the adverse impacts on all transportation corridors through the greater Maple Valley area of two proposed Master Planned Developments (MPDs) in Black Diamond. The MPDs total 6,050 dwelling units and 1,165,000 square feet of commercial and office space on 691 acres. The MPDs' final environmental impact statements will be heard before a Hearing Examiner starting on Saturday, March 6, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information and locations, visit the City of Black Diamond Web site.


"We're talkin' trash" – A recycling and environmental community forum

Bring your questions, your comments and your "can I recycle this?" samples to a community forum hosted by Vashon Maury Island Community Council, Feb. 24, 7:15 – 9 p.m., at McMurray Middle School. Guest speakers include Jeff Gaisford and Sharon Aller of the King County Solid Waste Division’s Recycling and Environmental Services; Clinton Christine, who supervises the Vashon Transfer Station; and a representative from the private garbage hauler.

Carbon sequestration at Island Center Forest on Vashon Island

Forty volunteers planted 1,200 tree seedlings at Island Center Forest in one of the most interesting King County habitat restoration projects. Part of a collaboration with King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, the University of Washington and Friends of Island Center Forest, a barren “borrow pit” site has become a cutting-edge demonstration project where researchers will study the use of compost and its ability to capture and store carbon while rebuilding the fertility of degraded soils. For more information, visit the Web site.

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If you have comments or suggestions about future content, please contact Lauren Smith at 206-263-7146 or lauren.smith@kingcounty.gov.