by Devin Chicras
WHEW, it’s been a YEAR. We’ve been super busy, and we’re glad to have been able to enjoy all the fun events and fight all the hard battles right alongside you, neighbor. We put together this roundup for you to chronologically lay out just what 2019 looked like for your all-volunteer nonprofit West Hill Community Association (WHCA).
Our first Quarterly Meeting of the year introduced the new King County Department of Local Services and our first new health clinic in decades.
“How is King County working to improve services for unincorporated area residents, and what does Skyway’s new health clinic have to offer? About forty neighbors (and many more online) joined us at Skyway VFW Post #9430 to find out answers to those questions and many more on Tuesday, January 15th at West Hill Community Association’s Winter Quarterly Community Meeting.”
We were shocked and a little disappointed to find out that we offered the most comprehensive coverage of the February 2019 Special Election.
“Over half a million voters in King County were just sent ballots for the February 12th, 2019 Special Election. For West Hill voters, Renton School District has asked us to weigh in on a pair of funding measures. Here’s what you need to know about your ballot and how to make sure your vote is counted.”
Spoiler: it went so well that we’ll just have to do it again for 2020!
“On March 2nd, 2019 we held a four-hour tabletop gaming session complete with the most awesome snack spread we could dream up (lumpia, quail egg chicken noodle soup, pub mix, cookies…).”
Count down with us from “880 Yard Stretch of Renton Ave S Covered” to “1 Rotten Lobster Head Found” (really).
“We celebrated Earth Day weekend in Skyway on Saturday, April 20th with some of the coolest neighbors toting litter grabbers, contractor bags and a croissant or two to pair with free double-shot espressos.”
This was the meeting we met Hugo Garcia, King County’s secret weapon to help revitalize struggling unincorporated area business districts, and learned about the possibility for the county to buy more land and expand Skyway Park (greater access!).
“What services will the first-ever King County Economic Development Manager offer our Skyway Business District? Could the County buy more land to create better access points to Skyway Park? Who are the newest WHCA board members? About forty neighbors (and hundreds more online) joined us at Skyway VFW Post #9430 to find out answers to those questions and many more on Tuesday, April 16th at West Hill Community Association’s Spring Quarterly Community Meeting.”
Now a familiar face at meetings and in the community, Deputy Eshom had just arrived in Skyway in April 2019.
“While King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Community Crime Prevention Officer Deputy James (“Jimmy”) Mitchell is on military leave for the year, we’re lucky to have a new Deputy step in and maintain the Alajawan Brown Memorial West Hill Storefront in his absence.”
Recognizing that not all our neighbors can or prefer to connect online, we made an investment in a physical mailer sent to about 6,300 mailboxes in unincorporated West Hill that turned out to be very popular.
“An annual film festival, a community-wide yard sale and a high-profile political candidate debate are but a few things coming up this July and August in West Hill – and you can read all about ’em in our latest newsletter, set to hit mailboxes across Unincorporated West Hill from Bryn Mawr and Lakeridge down to Skyway and Campbell Hill this week.”
Despite some technical difficulties with our new camera tech, we managed to capture most of this important meeting on the Facebook live stream.
“Our July 16th, 2019 Quarterly Meeting focused on a hot topic for the community: traffic safety. With so many tragic pedestrian and vehicle collisions on Rainier Avenue South and other local throughways, what can be done to increase safety and avoid future incidents?”
Amazing turnout for our King County Council District 2 debate between incumbent Larry Gossett and his challenger, Girmay Zahilay.
“Nearly one hundred residents packed into the auditorium at Dimmitt Middle School on Thursday, July 18th to witness something not often seen in unincorporated West Hill: political candidates. Debating. On topics directly related to our neighborhoods, including Skyway.”
Check out the post to see a full pan of the event and all the vendors, plus the wild creations of one of our favorite face painters!
“When Bryn Mawr United Methodist Church (UMC) invited us to co-host their annual yard sale on Saturday, July 20th, we had no idea just how much fun we’d have! Neighbors had about seven hours to browse about fifteen vendors whose goods spanned from rare antique glass to a vintage camper.”
You’ve gotta click through to see the incredible photo albums from all four nights of our premiere event – this is what community looks like!
“Spiders, princesses, and epic adventures helped make Skyway Outdoor Cinema’s seventeenth summer unforgettable, but the folks who showed up made it truly magical.”
Some satisfying before and afters on the other side of that link!
“About 20 55-gallon bags full of litter and weeds were removed from Renton Avenue South in the Skyway Business District on Saturday, September 21st, thanks to 11 hard-working neighbors (Mary, Cindy, Tina, Miki, Rodney, Mark, Pat, Jadeyn, Curn, Devin, and Jim).”
Another mega-post jam-packed with helpful information, including a deep drive into our subarea plan complete with useful links and resources.
“Whether in person or via our live stream, folks paying attention at our Fall 2019 Quarterly Meeting on October 15th, 2019 at Skyway VFW Post #9430 learned all sorts of valuable information from deciphering what’s on their General Election ballot to what proposed land-use policies are set to shape their neighborhoods for the next twenty years, and much more.”
We can believe how rapidly our annual Halloween party is growing! Be sure to click through the link to see all of the photos from that night, including the photo booth! You all have some creative costumes.
“On Monday, October 28th, 2019, we took over the Lucky Dragonz event space at Skyway Park Bowl and turned it into the wildest Halloween Party around for over FOUR HUNDRED AWESOME NEIGHBORS.”
Did we expect this many student volunteers? More importantly, did we expect this many new voter registrations?? Not initially, but after meeting these phenomenal young folks we’re pretty sure there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.
“In an effort to get as many youth registered and informed ahead of the 2019 General Election in King County on November 5th, 2019, we partnered with Renton High School students over one week in October to train, inspire, and engage.”
We’re committed to knocking down barriers to democracy in unincorporated West Hill, and we’re so glad y’all are right there with us – and ready to celebrate at the end too.
“Nearly 1,600 residents stopped by the King County Elections drop box at Skyway Library on election day, and we were there to offer support, high fives, and invite them across the street to celebrate democracy at our first-ever Election Results Watch Party at the newly renovated Beach Comber Bar and Grill.”
THANK YOU, neighbors, for making 2019 our biggest, funnest, most effective one yet.
Like having a more engaged, informed and vibrant community? You can make a huge impact by joining your neighbors in giving $5 or more a month to the leanest, hardest working all-volunteer nonprofit in the neighborhood. Thank you for helping us get ready to do even more in 2020!