by Allison Fine
The term “Gay Pride,” coined by gay rights activist Thom Higgins in Minnesota, has become the most common way to articulate the many celebrations held during this month every year. In the U.S., Prides and festivals are usually held in the month of June to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations by the New York City Queer community protesting a violent raid of the Stonewall Inn and the ongoing brutality they were experiencing at the hands of the New York Police Department. Today, Pride Month is a time to celebrate the increased visibility of and continued desire for equality and self-affirmation for the LGBTQ+ community.
Continue reading Growing South King County Pride Events Show Queer Communities We’re Welcome
by Stephen Fesler
(This article was previously published at The Urbanist and has been reprinted with permission.)
A new Metro RapidRide line is coming to Auburn, Kent, and Renton in 2023 to provide more than just more frequent and faster bus service. King County Metro also is planning new station standards at stops and making lasting improvements to streets. In the latest project update, Metro unveiled four types of station standards depending upon expected ridership and station access needs, which will dictate which improvements will be rolled out.
Continue reading Metro Reveals Plans for RapidRide I-Line Stations in South King County
by Ashley Archibald
King County’s newest community court opened in Auburn on May 27, offering an alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for people charged with low-level misdemeanors.
People convicted of nonviolent crimes, such as graffiti or criminal trespass, have the option to go through Auburn Community Court. Judge Matthew York will hear cases for two hours on Thursday between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. People who have had violent felony convictions in the past five years are not eligible.
Continue reading Newest Community Court to Focus on Accountability and Solutions
by Ashley Archibald
(This article originally appeared at KNKX and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The Auburn City Council voted Monday, April 19, to criminalize camping on public property, a change with consequences that will largely fall on people experiencing homelessness.
Those cited under the new law face a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The measure departs from an ordinance passed in September 2020 that made the offense a civil infraction that could come with a fine of $250. In a report, city staff wrote that six months of experience and the impending launch of the Auburn Community Court made this the right time to revisit the city’s approach.
Continue reading Auburn Votes to Criminalize Camping on Public Property
by Carolyn Bick
South King County residents aged 65 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated at Public Health — Seattle & King County’s two South King County mass vaccination sites starting today, March 1.
Continue reading South King County Residents 65 and Older Eligible for Vaccination at Mass Vaccination Sites
by Ari Robin McKenna
A report launched Tuesday, Dec. 8, outlines how to scale up multilingual education to meet the dire need for it in South King County. Called Our Rising Voices: A Call to Action to Support Our Multilingual Students, the study was the result of a year-long collaboration between the Road Map Project, the Community Center for Education Results, and One America.
Looking at data from public schools within the so-called “Road Map Project region” of South Seattle, Tukwila, Renton, Highline, Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, the report concludes that 42% of students are English learners at some point during their K-12 education. Yet, only 8% of teachers in that region are endorsed in English Language Learning (ELL), and a mere 0.4% of teachers are endorsed in Bilingual Education. This systemic failure to adequately serve almost half the students in this region is especially troubling given how many English learners there are in this state. At the Zoom launch of this report, Veronica Gallardo, the state’s assistant superintendent of Schools and Systems Improvements — and a long time member of Road Map Project’s English Language Learners Work Group — cited the fact that Washington has the nation’s seventh largest English learner (EL) population and the second largest migrant population in the nation. Gallardo said, “The data makes the need for this work undeniable.”
Continue reading Study Indicates Stark Need for a South King County Paradigm Shift on Multilingual Education
by Jack Russillo
For the third time in as many months, the case involving the police officer who shot and killed Jesse Sarey was delayed.
On Nov. 13, the third Order for Continuance in The State of Washington vs Jeffrey Nelson case was filed from the defense, pushing back the next hearing until Jan. 20, 2021.
After the case’s arraignment on Aug. 24 — in which Nelson was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault — Nelson made bail the same day and has been on electronic home monitoring since. In September, Nelson’s defense filed a motion to change judges from one other than King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Galván. That motion was tabled and Galván will remain the judge on the case until the case moves to trial.
Continue reading As Murder Trial Delayed a Third Time, Auburn Police Officer Who Shot Jesse Sarey Still Employed and Receiving $100K Salary
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)
Several cities in South King County, including Renton, Tukwila, Auburn, and Kent, are poised to adopt a local 0.1-cent sales tax for affordable housing, using authority the state legislature granted to city and county councils earlier this year. If the taxes pass, they would effectively supplant those cities’ contribution to a countywide sales tax proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, which would pay for permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people in all parts of the county. Renton and Tukwila will consider their local taxes on Monday; the other cities are reportedly deciding whether and when to propose local taxes of their own.
Continue reading Suburban Cities Craft Local Plans that Would Supplant County Executive’s Homeless Housing Tax
by Carolyn Bick
Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) will be opening two new, free, drive-up novel coronavirus testing sites in Auburn and Renton, Public Health Director Patty Hayes announced at a briefing on Aug. 31. The new sites will bring the county’s overall testing capacity up by about 1,500 tests per day, Hayes said.
Continue reading Two New, Free COVID-19 Testing Sites to Open in Auburn and Renton
by Carolyn Bick
It’s sunny, and beginning to get warm on an afternoon in early May, when people start to line up outside the White Center Food Bank. Clad in masks, they patiently wait an adequate distance from each other to choose food the National Guard is helping food bank workers distribute.
This outdoor model is the latest iteration of food service the food bank has tried, Associate Executive Director Carmen Smith said. So far, it’s also the most successful, she said. Usually, the food bank operates in a grocery store model, which allows patrons the freedom to choose their own items, and mitigate the stigma associated with needing to use a food bank. But once the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the state, Smith and her fellow food bank employees found that the inside of the food bank was just too small to allow for safe social distancing practices. Having volunteers shop for the patrons’ food was also a no-go, because it’s just too hard to shop for someone else, Smith said.
Continue reading South King County Food Banks Face Severe Shortages — And There’s No End in Sight