Recovery in south King County has not kept up with north King County and preexisting economic disparities between the two regions were exacerbated by the pandemic, a recent Economic Security Department (ESD) report said.
The August ESD report showed evidence of an ongoing economic recovery in King County, including an unemployment rate much lower than in other counties at 4.8%, suggesting that King County’s recovery has been the swiftest in the state. That said, data at the city level shows a different picture.
In January 2020, the highest unemployment rate among Auburn, Kirkland, Redmond, and Renton was 3.4% in Auburn, and the lowest was 2.1% in Redmond.
“While the relative positions of these four communities persisted throughout the pandemic, the gap over time has widened,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional labor economist for the ESD. “All four communities are worse off today than they were before the pandemic, but it is taking longer for the South End communities to recover.”
Fresh fruits and seafood. White sandy beaches and miles of coastland that rival states like Hawai‘i. Markets that are lively until midnight and youth enjoying the freedom to roam unafraid. These are all experiences that my mother talks about when she recalls life before the civil war in Somalia.
Beginning Aug. 10, more residents in South King County will be able to get rides to transportation hubs for buses, trains, and other locations after King County Metro expanded a pilot service program to provide for Rainier Beach, Skyway, Renton Highlands, and Tukwila.
Similar to the way Uber and Lyft operate, residents living in Othello, Rainier Beach, Skyway, Renton Highlands, and Tukwila will now be able to request a ride from a vehicle in King County’s pilot program, called Via to Transit, in order to commute to the light rail, bus networks, and other locations that are designated by the program.
“The expansion of this service is the result of outreach by Metro to understand what we could do to meet the mobility needs of the people in these communities,” said Christina O’Claire, Metro’s mobility division director in a statement. “Our focus is to ensure that our riders are able to access work, school, the services they depend on, and the activities they enjoy.”
Dozens of solar panels will eventually cover the roof of Highline High School’s new building in Burien under a student-led plan to build the largest solar-power system ever at a South King County public school.
Installation of the project would occur next year if the project meets its January 2022 fundraising deadline. Once complete, the 100-kilowatt solar array would not only produce clean electricity but also provide experiential, STEM-based learning opportunities for students, who could monitor the system’s flow of energy in real time.
In addition to seeking public grants and funds from private foundations, the students are also gathering individual donations through the Highline Schools Foundation. A related GoFundMe campaign launched earlier this year described the project as “living proof that solar energy is attainable in any neighborhood, even those with modest per capita incomes. And YOU will help us get there!”
The idea began with a question last summer from then-Highline senior Nha Khuc, who was in the midst of an environmental internship through King County. What would it take, Khuc asked one of the professionals she met in the program, to put solar panels on Highline’s new roof?
Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters
There’s nothing not to love about small businesses in Seattle, but this August let’s explore the rest of King County and the small businesses that are just a bus or car ride away.
King County has a population of approximately 2.2 million people — and tens of thousands of businesses — but only about a third of County residents live in Seattle. While the vibrant small businesses in Seattle bring light to lives and communities, it’s important not to forget about those beyond the city.
As in Seattle, the small businesses in wider King County are the lifelines, backbones, and safe spaces of their individual communities. This August, explore King County and these Black-owned businesses in Kent, Renton, and Federal Way.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
South King County COVID-19 Vaccine Pop-Up Schedule
If you haven’t yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, you can receive it free by contacting your doctor, or by visiting one of several south King County pop-up clinics run by Public Health – Seattle & King County:
Friday, July 9, 1:00–5:30 p.m. Lutheran Community Services NW – Refugee, 12608 SE 240th St., Kent, (in partnership with Lutheran Community Services and Masjid Al-Quba) Vaccine Offered: Pfizer
Monday, July 12, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Multi-Service Center, 1200 S 336th St., Federal Way, (in partnership with Multi-Service Center / Medical Teams International) Vaccine Offered: Moderna
Wednesday, July 14, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Multi-Service Center, UW Valley Medical Center, 515 W Harrison St. Kent. Vaccine offered: Pfizer
When talking about his run for Renton City Council, Joseph Todd’s voice breaks slightly and wavers. “I’m sorry, I get a little emotional here.”
He recalls George Floyd’s death a year ago, which sparked a worldwide racial reckoning.
“When we saw a man get murdered in daylight, it begins to bring home, for real, for real, that these systems are trying to kill you,” Todd said. “So that’s why when we created the Renton Residents for Change, it was really all about, ‘We have to get ahead of this.’”
After over a year of pushing through the pandemic, state and county health officials are hopeful about declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates. But at the same time, significant pockets of Washington State and King County residents remain unvaccinated as restrictions are set to be lifted statewide next week.
“We still have people that have not been vaccinated, we still have people who are unprotected, and we still have people that are going to be at risk for COVID-19,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the Washington Secretary of Health at a press conference on Wednesday, June 23. “We want to make sure that that message of vaccination continues to be there.”
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.
Back in May, more than 500 rideshare drivers received COVID-19 vaccinations at a pop-up clinic sponsored by the Drivers Union at the Teamsters office in Tukwila. The event was one of four pop-up vaccination events organized by the Drivers Union in partnership with the Somali Health Board. The community-organized event highlighted the concerns of rideshare drivers during the pandemic and beyond.