by Alison Jean Smith
On Feb. 27, dozens gathered outside the King County Jail in Seattle, wielding signs with slogans like “Care Not Cages” and “Dow, Keep Your Promise.” In the summer of 2020, King County Executive Dow Constantine did indeed pledge to close the jail, calling it “decrepit.” Since then, conditions have worsened. In 2022 alone, six people died in the jail, or after being moved from the jail to a hospital, more than in years prior. Four of those deaths were suicides, putting King County well above the national average.
Continue reading ACLU-WA, Director of Public Defense Call Out Conditions in King County Jail →
by Agueda Pacheco Flores
Several projects around the South End aimed at preserving and activating green spaces just got a major boost in funding. In January, King County awarded a combined $52 million to 32 projects across King County. It’s part of Executive Dow Constantine’s goal to save, preserve, and enhance the last 65,000 acres of urban canopy, forest, farmland, and green space around the county.
Continue reading King County Will Help Preserve and Activate 32 Green Space Projects in the South End →
by Lauryn Bray
In December 2022, King County and Chief Seattle Club announced that the Salmonberry Lofts in Pioneer Square became the fifth Health Through Housing building to begin moving tenants in. The Health Through Housing initiative is a “regional approach to address chronic homelessness at a countywide scale.” Introduced by King County Executive Dow Constantine in his 2020 budget speech, the Health Through Housing initiative dedicates one-tenth of a cent of sales tax revenue to the purchase and renovation of motels, hotels, and other buildings to be converted to emergency and permanent housing.
Continue reading Health Through Housing Initiative and Chief Seattle Club to Provide Housing With Culturally Competent Social Services →
by Agueda Pacheco Flores
Dozens of people from around unincorporated King County communities showed up to the Skyway’s fire station last week to celebrate a first for Washington: the conclusion and results of a participatory budget. Millions of dollars went to 45 community projects, organizations, and groups.
Continue reading King County Communities Make History With Participatory Budget Process →
by Mike Davis
This week, Stephan Thomas, a former King County prosecutor, announced he will run for King County prosecuting attorney. Thomas, who served as the office’s director of community justice initiatives until 2019, joins an expansive pool of candidates that includes current King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg’s chief of staff, Leesa Manion; King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski; and Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell.
Satterberg, who served for 14 years, recently announced he will not seek reelection. The growing field of high-profile candidates likely indicates a competitive race.
Continue reading A New Public Safety Narrative Fuels Stephan Thomas’s Run for King County Prosecutor →
by Phil Manzano
For the most part, the detailed inner workings of the King County Elections facility aren’t big news. But continuing challenges to the outcome of the Nov. 2020 presidential election begs the question: Is King County’s election ballot counting process accurate and secure?
I headed to King County Elections, a nondescript building off Southwest Grady Way near the I-405 and SR67 interchange to get a close look. I met with Jerelyn Hampton, ballot processing manager, essentially the point person for King County’s ballot integrity, and Halei Watkins, communications officer for King County elections.
“Interest in the security of our elections has definitely grown over the last year and a half,” Watkins said. “It has sustained itself well since the 2020 presidential election, and we continue to hear from folks who have questions about how our system works. But that also feels natural, it’s not a bad thing for people to ask questions about how it all works.”
Continue reading Is the Vote Accurate and Secure? A Walk Through the King County Elections →
by Ben Adlin
Weeks after gunshots broke out during a youth football game at Judkins Park on Sept. 25, sending families fleeing for cover, a coalition of organizers and trained intervention professionals met amid football practice at Garfield Playfield on Tuesday, Oct. 12, to call on government officials to invest $10 million annually in community-led efforts to prevent gun violence.
“Violence is the result of failed systems our politicians and local officials created,” said Dyneeca Adams, a community and safety specialist with YMCA’s Alive and Free program, who helps youth and young adults access essential services. “In fact, they nurtured violence by exacerbating the very thing that drives it, including poverty, underfunded schools, gentrification, and failing to provide adequate funding to community-based organizations.”
Continue reading As Shootings Increase, Local Coalition Calls for $10M to Curb Gun Violence →
by Ben Adlin
In an effort to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions, King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing rules that would sharply limit the use of natural gas in new multifamily homes and commercial developments as well as encourage wider adoption of solar power.
“These updates will save money, they’ll create jobs, and they’ll have an impact on climate change,” Constantine said at a media event Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Yesler Terrace Park.
Constantine declined to provide a timeline for the proposal other than to call it “wildly urgent.” The changes would need approval from the King County Council to take effect.
Continue reading King County Proposal Would Ban Natural Gas in New Multifamily and Commercial Buildings →
by Ashley Archibald
The first six months of 2021 saw an increase in reports of gun violence in King County compared to recent years — violence that was highly concentrated in BIPOC communities and has prompted calls for additional investments to alleviate the conditions that contribute to the shootings.
Continue reading Community Groups Urge Focus on Disease, Not Just Symptoms of Gun Violence →