The Skyway Community Demands Action Now

  Community Interest

A message from WHCA

As is widely known by those who have called Skyway home for many years, this community has long been asking for and fighting for basic needs such as social services and healthcare, transportation access, early childhood education opportunities, services and resources for children and young people, a multi-service community center, and much more. Yet King County has relentlessly and deliberately denied, rejected, and overlooked the community’s requests and needs.

Last week at the King County Council meeting (July 7, 2020), Councilmember Dembowski said this: “…When I came on to the council, the council had an adopted policy to disinvest in Skyway as an incentive to urge annexation to the City of Renton….” (around the 2-hour, 43-minute mark.) He went on to say that he opposed that policy and that he supports investment in Skyway. But that is not the point. 

The point is (and most people who have lived here for many years already know this, but it’s worth repeating): King County, the only local government responsible for serving and the more than 18,000 people who live in Skyway–and the only local government this community has to “rely on” for basic needs and services–has chosen to actively, deliberately, and formally not invest in or pay attention to Skyway, effectively ignoring the needs of multiple generations of residents–children, young people, families, senior citizens. ON PURPOSE. Even if this formal policy is no longer in place, the damage has been–and continues to be–done to the people of this community, which includes Washington’s largest population of Black residents and a majority people of color.

This is basically the definition of systemic racism.

The people of Skyway deserve more. NOW. And we are coming together–again (and again), and in new ways–to demand it now. 

Two weeks ago, a small group of community leaders mobilized the Skyway community to lead the Heal the Hood Community Rally/March. Hundreds of local residents came out to raise their voices–to declare that Black lives matter, to call for an end to police brutality and systemic racism in our community, and to demand investment in young people, Black-owned businesses, jobs, education, and more for the people of Skyway. 

The march and rally celebrated Skyway’s Black community and shined a light on the glaring disparities that the Skyway community experiences and has experienced for decades. The message was, and is, clear: It’s way past time to invest in Skyway. 

Skyway residents call for change at the Heal the Hood rally.

At the event, the Skyway Coalition–a newly emerging group of local organizations who work in Skyway–laid out their demands and asked residents to sign on to their petition in support of those demands. To date, 553 community members have signed the petition, and 48 community members have directly emailed King County council reiterating these demands and other priorities. Here are the Skyway Coalition’s demands:


  • Broaden the subarea plan to include more than land use and zoning changes by voting in favor of the Striking Amendment S2 [now Striking Amendment S3–in particular the sections related to Skyway], in order to: 1) put aggressive anti-displacement strategies in place; and 2) build and execute a community-driven development plan by and for Black and POC who live here, not just for the land.
  • Allocate funding to high priority community needs in the upcoming biennial budget, with significant input from the community to prioritize the list.


  • Allocate marijuana tax dollars to invest in affordable housing and economic development in Skyway.
  • $10 million – invest in purchase of one Skyway property for affordable housing.
  • $55 million – invest in the development of a multi-service community/cultural center for programming and social services. Plus $5 million additional support for operating costs for Black and POC-led community-based organizations in Skyway to manage the center. Community has been advocating for this since 2008.”

If you want to get involved and raise your voice, here are some ways to take action today. 

  • Sign and share Skyway Coalition’s petition:
  • Sign up for Skyway Coalition’s email list to learn more about how to get involved in advocating for Skyway:
  • Email or call your King County councilmembers (emails and phone numbers here:
  • Sign up to speak on July 21 (sign up before noon on July 21) at the upcoming King County council public hearing – you can sign up here: 
    • New to all this? (You’re not alone!) Here are some tips for preparing to speak at a council meeting: 
      • Prepare 90-120-second talking points – writing them out might be helpful.
      • Reach out to [email protected] if you would like support.
      • Say and spell your name at the beginning.
      • Say where you live.
      • Share with the council what action you want them to take.
      • Share with them your story as to why this is critical for you, your family, and your community.
      • Practice if it helps you feel more comfortable.
      • Relax and let your passion for this community come through! 

Take action, then share with your friends and neighbors. Let’s mobilize!