Photo by Ty Swenson
Greenbridge Storefront Deputy Eric White (left) and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott spoke at the May 3 North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting in White Center.

Joe McDermott and anteaters on the loose at SeaTac covered by NHUAC

At the May 3 North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting a plethora of speakers hit on a range of topics. Here are some highlights:

Regional Animal Services of King County – from cats and dogs to anteaters
Glynis Frederiksen, operations manager for Animal Services of King County, spoke briefly about animal control including quick facts that four to five years ago the department euthanized 40 percent of their animals. Today, she said, the number has dropped to 14 percent. She said the Kent shelter (now called the Pet Adoption Center of King County) has about 5,000 animals that come through yearly, 500 volunteers and a “very large” foster program for dogs and cats.

At street level, Animal Control Officer Tim Anderson chimed in with a description of the daily lives for animal enforcement. Anderson said they receive around 12,000 calls a year from 26 cities … and have only seven officers to cover the entire area. In South King County (including North Highline), they received 1267 calls last year. The calls they respond to include animal cruelty, strays, exotics, barking/noise complaints, aggressive animals and road kill.

Returning briefly to the “exotic” calls, Anderson said, “We were recently called to SeaTac because some anteaters got loose on a plane. Dispatch said, ‘We have anteaters at SeaTac.’ and I said, ‘OK.’”

He said wild animals like cougars and bears are handled by Fish and Wildlife personnel, but any and everything else (even anteaters) are part of their beat.

Anderson said the best way to contact animal services is at (206) 296-PETS, although always call 911 if there is imminent danger.

An audience member encouraged RASKC to do follow-up calls with citizens after they have responded to a complaint, so people are aware their concerns were heard and investigated. Dick Thurnau, founder of Friends of Hicklin Lake, asked them to occasionally patrol Lakewood Park on the weekends to discourage people from letting their dogs roam free without a leash.

Joe McDermott reflects on history with NHUAC
King County Councilmember Joe McDermott addressed the council and crowd for the first time since unincorporated area councils and the county severed official ties at the end of 2011.

“I think NHUAC has been and continues to be a strong asset for the community,” McDermott said, continuing on with a retrospective of the work NHUAC and King County worked together on over the years, including putting a stop to the reemergence of Club Evolucion in White Center (a dance club and known trouble magnet that brought documented violence and crime to the neighborhood), working to keep both the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries separate and open, reinstituting a White Center Storefront Deputy in BJ Myers and, most recently, starting up the voluntary alcohol initiative that asks North Highline stores to refrain from selling fortified malt liquor and wine for off-premise use from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.

Asked by Gil Loring if Club Evo ownership can reapply for a business license when a moratorium on new dance clubs in White Center ends in October, McDermott said, “he can reapply, but he would have the same set of circumstances (that DDS) found to deny his permit and application.”

“NHUAC continues to be an important voice for White Center and North Highline,” he said.

Additional notes

Deputy Eric White at Greenbridge
Greenbridge storefront Deputy Eric White introduced himself to NHUAC and explained his job is to work with King County Housing Authority to police housing complexes in North Highline and Burien. In addition, due to low staffing he finds himself helping out with regular patrols often. He donates his time every Friday night to help out at the Boys and Girls Club at Greenbridge and is very active in bringing sports to children in North Highline.

White said he is working with a nursing student from Seattle University on a program that looks at traffic, pedestrian and bicycle safety in the Greenbridge area, with hopes of identifying “any ways we can increase safety like putting up red flags at certain crosswalks."

DubSea Bikes
Ellie Wiess with DubSea Bikes swung by to introduce the council to the two-wheeled good they do for the community. “There are a lot of people in White Center and North Highline who already ride their bikes out of economic necessity, or out of a desire to not participate in the petroleum economy, or just a desire to burn carbohydrates instead of hydrocarbons or it feels good or it’s fun to do with our kids … and at DubSea bikes we want to make it easier for more people in White Center to ride bikes.”

To that end, Wiess said the “loosely-formed” group holds free bike tune-up clinics at the White Center Food Bank on the second Sunday of most months. They also talk to families about safety and provide maps with safe, fun bike routes in the area. Wiess said the next free clinic is on May 6th from 2-4 p.m. at the food bank.

Wiess said May 18 is National Bike to Work Day, and in celebration Caffé Delia (shares space with Proletariat Pizza at 9622A 16th Ave S.W.) is offering anyone riding their bike to work free coffee, waffles and ice cream from 6 to 9 a.m. on that day.

TRIO at South Seattle Community College
Aaron David Garcia with South Seattle Community College presented information on the TRIO Talent Search and Upward Bound programs that provide opportunities for low income youth, high school dropouts and returning veterans to attend college (Garcia was part of TRIO Upward Bound out of Evergreen High School and the first in his family to get a college degree). Specific to North Highline, Garcia said the talent search program works with Chief Sealth and Evergreen students. For more information, visit SSCC’s TRIO website at http://trio.southseattle.edu/.

Annexation update
Burien City Manger Mike Martin provided a brief annexation update, and said, “We are internally preparing for outreach,” including fact sheets and website information on tax changes and service changes to inform North Highline residents on what a vote for annexation to Burien will mean.

More information on public outreach meetings for North Highline residents should be released soon as well, he said.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets on the first Thursday of each month, 7 p.m. at the North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112 St. White Center). They are holding a Public Safety Forum on May 10, same time and location (more details here).

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