Summer 2023 Community Quarterly Meeting Highlights

  Community Interest

by Devin Chicras

Folks who tuned into West Hill Community Association’s Summer 2023 Community Quarterly Meeting on July 18 found out which criminal activity is skyrocketing in the area, how to let King County know what programs and services to prioritize, what exciting new event WHCA is rolling out this summer, the latest on the Taylor Creek Restoration Project, and more. Watch the full video below, or read on for highlights.

West Hill Community Association’s Summer 2023 Community Quarterly Meeting (YouTube)

Updates from West Hill Community Association

Fin Hardy, WHCA Community Leader

  • Fin has transitioned off of the WHCA board and into a contractor role as a Community Leader to help us grow and better serve the community!
  • We’re moving forward with some exciting new mural projects as voted on by the community!
  • Although Skyway Outdoor Cinema is on hiatus for 2023, we’re still bringing the fun this summer! Join us for our newest community event: Skyway Park Takeover on Saturday, August 12 from noon to 4 p.m.

Community Reports

King County Local Services

David Daw, External Relations Manager ([email protected])

  • Community Needs List: Share your thoughts to help make King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive! The community needs assessment informs King County departments about the needs of your community as they plan the programs and services they will offer. Fill out the survey by August 25, 2023!
  • Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It gives people real power to make real decisions over real money. Follow the Steering Committee’s progress and get your ideas ready for September’s idea collection phase!

King County Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget

Chris Jensen, Comprehensive Planning Manager, Regional Planning Unit ([email protected])

  • Currently in the process of developing 2024 update to King County’s Comprehensive Plan which helps guide long-range growth in unincorporated communities like Skyway-West Hill.
  • There is a proposal in the planned updates that would impact Skyway-West Hill if it moves forward.
  • They are looking for input on Unincorporated Activity Centers, a land use designation applied to our downtown Skyway business core that prioritizes the area as a primary location for future commercial and high-density residential development.
  • They are not proposing a change in zoning from what was adopted last year with the 2022 Comprehensive Plan (which includes our Skyway-West Hill subarea plan), but want to know if the community would be on board with also formally designating parts of our downtown core as “countywide centers”.
  • The benefit of making this change would be that the designated area would then become eligible for infrastructure funding and investments such as road improvements and bus service.
  • While the community has voiced that these kinds of investments would be welcome, there has also been a concern among some that encouraging more development could cause displacement.
  • Last year, the county did adopt anti-displacement measures that include an inclusionary housing program that is mandatory within the designated area and voluntary outside of it. The program also includes a community preference requirement so developments must prioritize housing access for existing community members.
  • While the official comment period is closed, they still would like to hear any feedback from the community. Send your thoughts to [email protected].
  • This update would be adopted into the 2023 update to the Comp Plan in December 2024, and allow the count to go forward with working with another regional planning body to formalize the designation over at least a few months. At that point they could use the designation to apply for funding and investments, so any actual changes won’t likely be felt for at least a couple of years.

Skyway Water and Sewer District

Cynthia Lamothe, General Manager ([email protected])

  • Help conserve water! A statewide drought was declared on July 5, 2023.
  • There is a new customer web portal, create your account today! Get past due and consumption alerts and select communication preference.
  • Find copies of Skylines Newsletter online.
  • Awarded a $1 million grant from Public Health Seattle-King County’s Equitable Wastewater Futures program for a project to extend the sewer main on the northeast side of Renton Avenue South to get a few people off of septic and on to the district’s sewer system. It will also open up opportunities for people north of Renton Ave S (northeast of the Skyway post office) to convert if they choose. Currently in design phase, expected to complete by December 2024.
  • Working to find out how to best accommodate a new requirement by the state that prevents turning off water service during hot weather.
  • Recently submitted six applications totaling $15.4 million for additional Public Works Trust Fund loans, which have very low interest rates. This would cover four water projects and two sewer projects planned over the next six or so years.

King County Fire District 20

Eric Hicks, Fire Chief ([email protected])

  • 1,500 calls for service so far this year. Last year saw 2,972 total calls, which means we’re on track to meet or exceed that number for 2023.
  • One of the largest fires of the year so far was the Valley View Condominiums fire on June 5. Units were on site within three and a half minutes of being dispatched, but the fire was well involved by the time units arrived. Two residents had moderate to minor injuries and were transported to the hospital. Red Cross was on scene to assist displaced residents. King County Sheriff’s Office Fire Investigation Unit determined that the fire was accidental. The entire building will likely need to be torn down.
  • One thing learned from this fire is that if you have a fire in your home and you are evacuating, close the doors on your way out. It can help stop the fire from spreading, and in an apartment complex that could help save the building. Fires can double every 15 seconds depending on how much stuff is in the room, so closing doors can save valuable time.
  • July 4-5 stats: one car fire, one dumpster fire, eight aid calls, four rehab calls (going outside our area to support other agencies), three vehicle accidents resulting in four transports. No major house fires in Skyway-West Hill (second year in a row no house fire on July 4) but calls increased throughout South King County, including a 600% increase in house fires and a 123% increase in brush fires.
  • Over the last 2-3 years, a lot of volunteer firefighters have been hired by other departments leaving holes in our staff. When Chief Hicks started in 2017, there were eight career firefighters and about 32 volunteer firefighters. Today we’re up to 20 career firefighters but down to 12 volunteers.
  • The annual Health and Safety Fair is coming up on Saturday, August 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alajawan’s Hands will hand out backpacks and school supplies.
  • KCFD20 was established in 1943 and is celebrating its 80th year in service. There will be cake, punch, and station tours with photos and videos at the Health and Safety Fair to commemorate the milestone.

King County Sheriff’s Office

Vickie Cariello, Community Service Officer ([email protected])

  • 287 calls so far in July. Majority is auto theft and recovery, but fraud is also on the rise.
  • A recent security incident impacted KCSO’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems which has made it difficult to get accurate stats.
  • Vickie has wheel locks for owners of Kia and Hyundai cars. Contact her to learn more.
  • Working on education efforts to combat fraud.
  • Working with state program Target Zero to find grant money to purchase moveable signs by September 2023 as a temporary stop-gap measure until King County Roads can study and find more permanent solutions for pedestrian and bike safety.
  • National Night Out is Tuesday, August 1! Reach out to Vickie if you are hosting a party so KCSO and KCFD20 can stop by.
  • Shout out to King County Parks for hosting summer fun at Skyway Park every Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Shout out to Uplift NW for enthusiastically working to clear weeds from the retaining wall on Renton Ave S at 68th Ave S where WHCA’s “Welcome to Skyway” mural will be going.
Sparky the Fire Dog at KCFD20 Stuffing Backpacks for the Alajawan's Hands Giveway

Alajawan’s Hands

Written update from Ayanna Brown ([email protected])

  • Donate backpacks and school supplies or a cash donation for the August 19 giveaway at the Health and Safety Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.! First come, first served while supplies last. Child must be present. Volunteers needed to stuff backpacks, work parties are coming up.
Skyway Library.

Skyway Library

Melissa Mather, Teen and Adult Services Librarian ([email protected])

  • Have a programming idea? Let Melissa know!
  • Hours have now expanded, open Monday-Saturday! Closed Sunday.
  • Friends of Skyway Library are having a pop-up book sale on Saturday, July 22. There will be a bigger one in October. Proceeds fund library programs.
  • Many summer events and programs upcoming! Be sure to watch the events calendar for updates.
Proposed roundabout on SR 900.


April Delchamps, Planning Manager ([email protected])

  • WSDOT is applying to the PSRC Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for active transportation and safety improvements on SR 900 in the Skyway-West Hill communities of unincorporated King County. SR 900 is a vital corridor that connects the Skyway-West Hill communities to the City of Renton, Skyway Candidate Countywide Center, Grady TOD Candidate County Center, and other regional destinations. Despite its regional significance, the SR 900 corridor currently lacks safe and comfortable active transportation accommodations. WSDOT recently published the SR 900 – Martin Luther King Jr. Way South Corridor Study following more than two years of planning and community engagement. The Study website with the final report and executive summary can be found here. The TAP application is for design and right-of-way acquisition components of Phase A of the study recommendations which includes:
  • Shared use path on the north side of SR 900 from 57th Avenue South to South 135th St. Note there is a recently built segment near 68th Ave South.
  • New traffic signal, crosswalk, curb ramps, and pedestrian push buttons at South 133rd St.
  • New Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) between 68th Ave South and South 135th St (vicinity of Creston Point Apartments and Cambridge Park Villa) to facilitate pedestrian access across SR 900
  • Pedestrian crossing improvements at South 129th St.

King County Metro Community Van

Kahdijah Jackson, Community Van Coordinator ([email protected])

  • Program is continuing to grow, up to 25 volunteer drivers and 6-7 trips per week for summer programs and some day trips to state parks. The van comes with a Discover Pass. One of the vans will be kept at Creston Point Apartments.
  • Contact Kahdijah if you’d like to become a volunteer driver!

Featured Presentations

Taylor Creek Restoration Project

Cody Nelson, Project Manager ([email protected])


  • Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is planning improvements to Taylor Creek, located near the south end of Lake Washington in southeast Seattle. This project stretches from the shoreline of Lake Washington, south across Rainier Avenue S, and into Lakeridge Park (also known as Dead Horse Canyon) at the south end.
  • This project seeks to address localized flooding and sediment deposition by improving drainage infrastructure, removing fish passage barriers and improving natural habitat, restoring the natural drainage system of Taylor Creek and its watershed, and increasing equitable community access to open space in Southeast Seattle.
  • SPU purchased properties at the lower reaches of Taylor Creek, which will allow SPU to increase the quality and size of habitat along Taylor Creek and Lake Washington shoreline, particularly for threatened juvenile Chinook salmon. SPU proposes to replace the undersized, deteriorating Rainier Ave S culvert with a new fish passable culvert. Upon completion, this project would restore and improve approximately 3,300 feet of Taylor Creek and will increase publicly accessible open park space in southeast Seattle. 
  • The project is currently pausing the design and permitting phase to evaluate various sediment management and creek restoration strategies in Dead Horse Canyon (Lakeridge park), including the use of large woody materials to capture sediment, rebuild the creek channel, and reduce erosion along the creek. A Value Study was conducted in mid-June as a part of this evaluation, which brought in outside experts to independently review the project and make recommendations about potential alternative design strategies. The draft value study report is now available here. SPU wants to hear the community’s feedback on the Value Study results before moving forward with the design process, so we will be presenting the study concepts at two upcoming community public meetings. You’re invited to attend and provide your input! See the following meeting details:
  • Value Study Public Meeting (in-person)
    • August 15, 2023, 7-8pm
    • Rainier Beach Community Center
    • Register here
  • Value Study Public Meeting (virtual)
    • August 17, 2023, 7 to 8pm
    • Microsoft Teams virtual meeting
    • Register here
  • SPU has shared with the community three potential options for placement of large wood in Taylor Creek. Two of the options include a temporary access road along the trail in the canyon. In response to community feedback about the proposed design and the tree removal impacts of a temporary access road, the project team is working with community organizations to identify alternative sediment management options that accomplish the project goals while requiring less or no tree removal. Furthermore, Option 1, the proposed option with the highest tree removal impacts, is no longer being considered. To learn more about the proposed options and the project as a whole, visit our online open house.
  • No further decisions about the canyon project design or alternative options have been made yet, and there will be more opportunities for the community to provide input on the design and potential alternatives soon. Check back for more information about upcoming opportunities to get engaged and subscribe to the project mailing list to receive email updates.
  • The Taylor Creek Restoration project would:
    • Increase the quantity and quality of refuge habitat for juvenile salmon in the lower channel and delta
    • Replace the culvert under Rainier Ave S with a larger bridge to accommodate more flows
    • Reduce erosion in Dead Horse Canyon and reduce sediment input to the lower reaches of Taylor Creek coming from the canyon
    • Improve fish passage by removing barriers
    • Provide public access to the new natural area north of Rainier Ave S once construction is complete
    • Construct road and pedestrian safety improvements along Rainier Ave S in coordination with the Seattle Department of Transportation
  • SPU is committed to providing timely information and updates on project activities. Updates may be available in multiple formats: the website, emails, drop-in sessions, briefings, and/or public meetings. There will be several opportunities for the public to engage and provide feedback throughout the project, so check back for more information and sign up for the project mailing list to hear about the latest events and updates.

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