Winter 2024 Community Quarterly Meeting Highlights

  Community Interest

by Devin Chicras

Did you miss our first “State of the Hill” quarterly catch-up for 2024? Our January 16, 2024 community meeting was held at Lakeridge Elementary School (go Orcas!) and featured experts who revealed the history and impact of redlining in the Skyway-West Hill neighborhoods and current opportunities to help repair those injustices.

West Hill Community Association’s Winter 2024 Community Quarterly Meeting at Lakeridge Elementary (YouTube)
David Lee, Community Outreach Coordinator with King County Parks speaks at WHCA's Winter Community Quarterly Meeting on January 16, 2024 at Lakeridge Elementary School.

King County Parks

David Lee, Community Outreach Coordinator ([email protected])

  • Open Space Program: Our local King County Parks Open Space Program team has grown! Rusty Milholland ([email protected]) has joined Sarah Brandt ([email protected]) in supporting land conservation work in our area. If you have questions or ideas for green space acquisitions, reach out to them!
  • Skyway Park Rec Aides: The Skyway Park Rec Aides from King County Parks White Center Teen Program distributed winter-themed arts and crafts goodie bags at the Skyway Resource Center pop-up on January 19, and will be back on February 16! Learn more about our Rec Aides and see where else they’ll be next.
  • Volunteer Opportunities: The King County Parks Volunteer Program in partnership with WHCA will hold a planting event in Skyway Park on January 20. Register for this and other volunteer events online.
KCSO Community Service Officer Vickie Cariello and Detective Michael Norris present at WHCA's Winter Community Quarterly Meeting on January 16, 2024 at Lakeridge Elementary School.

King County Sheriff’s Office

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

Michael Norris, Community Crime Prevention Detective ([email protected])

  • Coffee with a Cop: Join King County Sheriff’s Office, including our Skyway-West Hill Community Service Officer Vickie Cariello and Community Crime Prevention Detective Mike Norris, at Winnie’s Cafe on Thursday, February 15 from 10 a.m. to noon for good coffee, conversation, and community-building.
  • Crime Maps: Did you know you can explore recent crime data on KCSO’s Crime Maps? We’re in the Southwest Precinct. Note that this data is what has been approved for release, and may not include serious crimes under investigation. Non-criminal traffic infractions are not included. But wow, that’s a lot of vehicle theft!
  • Proactive Services: Did you know you can reach out to Vickie and Michael or pop into our West Hill Alajawan Brown Memorial Storefront for all kinds of services? Those include requesting house checks if you’ll be out of town, crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) recommendations, car seat and bike helmet fittings for kids, and wheel locks for those with at-risk keyless-start Kias and Hyundais.
Randy Matheson, Executive Director of Community Relations for Renton School District, speaks at WHCA's Winter Community Quarterly Meeting on January 16, 2024 at Lakeridge Elementary School.

Renton School District

Randy Matheson, Executive Director of Community Relations ([email protected])

  • New programs: Two new elementary school programs coming up next school year include a Spanish language immersion class for kindergarteners at Talbot Hill Elementary School (application open to all kindergarten students in district, program will expand to one new grade each year until 5th grade, as which point they’ll see if it should expand to other schools) and at all elementary schools a new Ready-K program for four-year-olds will help bridge the gap between preschool and kindergarten.
  • Rebuilding Renton High School: Voters approved expanding and rebuilding Renton High School in 2022. The district is working with homeowners and business owners nearby to purchase property and expand the school’s footprint from Second Street to Airport Way, Logan Ave, and Shattuck Ave. Building will take place in the next couple of years following the property acquisitions. The IKEA Performing Arts Center and original century-old historic building will be left intact, and new building will take place in the property beyond. The current open field play area under the path of Renton Municipal Airport will remain undeveloped, as there is a high potential for disrupting Native American artifacts, and proper excavation would be cost-prohibitive.
Jeff Brown, Friends of Dead Horse Canyon volunteer, speaks at WHCA's Winter Community Quarterly Meeting on January 16, 2024 at Lakeridge Elementary School.

Friends of Dead Horse Canyon

Jeff Brown, Volunteer (website)

  • Taylor Creek Restoration Project: Following community mobilization and advocacy led by Friends of Dead Horse Canyon around the tree removal impacts of a temporary access road, Seattle Public Utilities paused the design phase of the creek restoration while they find an alternative option. They’re currently evaluating those options for cost feasibility and effectiveness, and that process may last another month or so. Once work starts (likely 2025 or 2026), the trail may be closed for two to three months.
  • Work Parties: Join the Friends for monthly work parties at Dead Horse Canyon on the third Saturdays of every month at 9 a.m.
Marge Putman from Skyway VFW Post #9430 speaks at WHCA's Winter Community Quarterly Meeting on January 16, 2024 at Lakeridge Elementary School.

Skyway VFW Post #9430

Marge Putman, Auxiliary Member (Facebook)

  • Many events coming up at the Skyway VFW Post! Be sure to check their Facebook Page for the latest information.
Melissa Mather, Teen & Adult Services Librarian at Skyway Library, speaks at WHCA's Winter Community Quarterly Meeting on January 16, 2024 at Lakeridge Elementary School.

Skyway Library

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

Sophie Belz, a UW Research Associate on the Racially Restrictive Covenants Project, presents at WHCA's Winter Community Quarterly Meeting on January 16, 2024 at Lakeridge Elementary School.

Presentation: Racially Restrictive Covenants Project

Sophie Belz, UW Research Associate, University of Washington Racially Restrictive Covenants Project (https://depts.washington.edu/covenants)

  • The presentation explained that racial restrictive covenants are “agreements entered into by a group of property owners in a given neighborhood which legally binded them not to sell, lease, or rent their property to specified racial/religious groups.”
  • Explore restriction maps and data, volunteer to help identify and transcribe racial covenants, and go deeper into the topic online.
Map showing historical racial exclusion and redlining in Skyway-West Hill

Presentation: Covenant Homeownership Study Experiences & Eligibility

Adria Buchanan, Executive Director, Fair Housing Center of Washington (fhcwashington.org)

Passed in spring 2023, House Bill 1474 acknowledges the state’s responsibility for its support of racist property restrictions in creating generations of harm.

The bill establishes a “Covenant Homeownership Account” to provide down payment loans to first-time low-income homebuyers who were victims of property exclusion before 1968 and their descendants.

Watch the presentation below to learn more about the first step in the development of these programs – the Covenant Homeownership Study – and what eligibility might look like.

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission has more detail on its website.

Clifford Cawthon from Habitat for Humanity South King County, current Covenant Homeownership Account Oversight Committee member (and former WHCA board member) added additional information about the program and next steps.

Thank you to Lakeridge Elementary School Principal Holly Megan Thompson for being such a welcoming host! Our next meeting will be Tuesday, April 16, 2024 (location TBD).


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