Back to Schools, Vaccinations, Expanded Metro Service Highlight WHCA’s Winter 2021 Community Meeting

  WHCA Event

by Devin Chicras

Held again over Zoom and Facebook Live on February 16, West Hill Community Association’s (WHCA’s) Winter 2021 Quarterly Community Meeting was absolutely packed with interesting and useful information and resources. Hear the fire chief recount the tragic 3-alarm fire that happened the day before Christmas Eve, get the inside scoop on how to get vaccinated, and let King County Metro explain how the Community Van program works (and how you could be a driver!) by rewatching the video.

If you’d like to skip right to the highlights, follow along with the Live Tweet thread we posted alongside the meeting below.

Vice President Fin announces that WHCA is now accepting applications for new board members! If you’re 18 years or older and a resident of unincorporated 98178, learn more about how to apply at

Elections will happen in April!

VP Fin also reminds local businesses and organizations that WHCA’s annual sponsorship packages have been announced at

President Joey gets the meeting started by calling for our first community reports!

First report is @reachrenton1 Executive Director Bianca Davis-Lovelace, talking about the Center of Hope family shelter coming to #Lakeridge Lutheran Church this spring “we want to engage community, we are social justice focused.”:

Jeremy Williams shares a report from #SkywayCoalition: Thank you to those who donated to the Greentree Apartments Fire on 12/23. You raised over $150,000!

– Follow #SkywayCoalition on FB:
– New youth communications interns are hard at work!
– New Coalition Manager will be announced soon.
– Working with @KCEquityNow to advance Black-owned/led community development projects in Skyway

#SkywayCoalition: Shout out to all those helping advocate for @usbank to donate closed Skyway branch to community.

Skyway Water & Sewer GM Cynthia Lamothe: We’re continuing to provide service as normal & working on capital projects to update sewer + water mains. Automated phone systems are down due to a security breach with 3rd-party vendor.

John Taylor from KC Local Services: KC redirected marijuana revenue to help fund community-led budget process in urban unincorporated KC. @CMGirmayZahilay will be involved. Support for subarea planning, participatory budgeting, community needs list will be led by @urbanfam_.

Hugo Garcia, Economic Development Manager with King County: March 1st we’ll have conversations w/ small business owners with latest business updates, financial resources. Monthly check-ins w/ local business owners, kits for new owners – there are some NEW applicants in #Skyway!

“NO DOUBT THEY SAVED LIVES THAT NIGHT”: @SkywayFire chief Eric Hicks recounts 3-alarm fire that blazed through Greentree apartments on the day before Christmas Eve, displacing 24 adults and 6 children. Check out our FB live stream for the harrowing details. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Support from community was nothing short of amazing. Majority of our @SkywayFire FFS are volunteers, I’m incredibly proud of them & admin staff. Our phones were ringing off the hook, you overfilled the admin center w/ gifts for the families.
#WHCACommunityUpdates #GreentreeFire

Fire Chief Eric Hicks of @SkywayFire: We’re in the process of setting up a #COVID19 vaccination site for our community. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates.

Jimmy Mitchell: level of crime has not increased compared to last year. Things have been pretty steady. There has been an increase in stolen vehicles in our community, like under the powerlines across from #SkywayPark.

On Feb 6, we executed a warrant on illegal marijuana grow, 578 plants seized (generates ~$700k illicit funds). This was a 2-yr investigation, we do not typically go after marijuana grows, but illegal grows undermine legitimate businesses and diivert needed funds fm our community

Another 6.1lbs meth, plus heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, handguns, rifles, just outside West Hill borders in Tukwila. Used Skyway storefront to stage for that seizure. #WHCACommunityUpdates

This will be my last meeting, 3/5 panel to choose my replacement, thank you so much for everything. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Audience question about #GreentreeFire: it was caused by unattended cooking. Apartments may take one year to be fixed up and rented out again.

Randy Matheson, @Renton_Schools: Starting 3/3 schools will start to open for some in-person learning. 99% of 7600 families responded to survey, 47% said they’d like to return, so we started putting in place parameters to make schools safe. See all details:

Giselle Zapata-Garcia from @KCPubHealth: #COVID19 cases are high in South King County. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Go to to see if you’re eligible for the #COVID19 vaccine. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Giselle from @KCPubHealth – We’re hoping we can move to the next phase soon, sign up for notifications. #WHCACommunityUpdates

.@KCPubHealth#COVID19 prevention remains critical – avoid indoor gatherings, #MaskUp, stay 6′ apart, get tested if you have symptoms or come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. Transmission happens often in household settings, so stay vigilant. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Giselle from @KCPubHealth – Community vaccination sites are now open in Kent and Auburn. If you are age 65+ or meet other qualifications you can schedule an appointment by phone or go to

Giselle from @KCPubHealth – Vaccination site FAQs: You will not be charged, and it’s okay if you don’t have insurance or are undocumented. The Kent site is an ADA-accessible walk-up location, and Auburn is a drive-through. Interpreters at all sites.

Giselle from @KCPubHealth – For assistance for special enrollment for Apple Health (Medicaid) and assistance other resources in multiple languages, call the Community Health Access Program: 800-756-5437

Giselle from @KCPubHealth – There are additional opportunities for regular updates on COVID-19 via Zoom, including one just for Spanish speakers.

Giselle from @KCPubHealth – Community resources including a chatbot that speaks 33 languages are available at

Giselle from @KCPubHealth – Hopefully we will be moving to next phase of vaccinations by spring/summer, but that’s also dependent on how many doses we have available.

Maha Jahshan, @kcmetrobus: We want to partner and co-create with Skyway. This is our first formal meeting.

Recent King County budget allocated budget to expand @kcmetrobus programs in #Skyway#WestHill.

Nicole Aguirre, @kcmetrobus – we’ve heard you want improved access to Link Light Rail and Renton Transit Center, access to schools and shopping, mobility options, and Via to Transit. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Expanding on how Via to Transit works, including equity and accessibility options, Nicole from @kcmetrobus shares some additional slides. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Via to Transit only operates in SE Seattle and Tukwila. We’d like to get your feedback on extending Rainier Beach service area to #Skyway#WestHill. #WHCACommunityUpdates

Melissa Allan fm @kcmetrobus explains the Community Van. It connects folks to libraries, food banks, anywhere there’s need in community. Metro provides vans, fuel, maintenance. Anyone in community can apply to be a driver if they qualify and do orientation. #WHCACommunityUpdates

🚐 The @kcmetrobus Community Van is coming to @skyway soon! #WHCACommunityUpdates

Maha Jahshan shares that more community engagement from @kcmetrobus is coming to help develop expanded metro services in #Skyway#WestHill. #WHCACommunityUpdates

WHCA President Joey Dunn thanks everyone for joining. Lots of great info, we look forward to the next one on April 20. Next board meeting is March 10. More details on (where a recap of this meeting will also be posted this week). #WHCACommunityUpdates

Originally tweeted by MyWestHill (@WestHillTweets) on February 17, 2021.

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