by Ben Adlin
White Center community leaders and small-business owners say they’re disappointed with King County officials’ response to a string of fires, break-ins, and vandalism that in recent months has devastated the area’s commercial hub.
They describe the situation as yet another example of how unincorporated parts of the county lack sufficient services and government support. But County officials say they’re responding to White Center fires and have made progress addressing the community’s concerns.
Continue reading White Center Community Frustrated by Delayed Response to Fires
by Ben Adlin
After a string of suspected arson fires, break-ins, and vandalism in White Center over the past several months, small-business owners and community advocates are demanding action from county officials, who they say have chronically neglected the unincorporated part of King County.
At an online community action meeting on Friday, Oct. 8, merchants and organizers presented a petition to county officials, seeking more investment in victim relief, heightened security, and a more transparent relationship with the King County Sheriff’s Department, which patrols the area.
“We are being forgotten,” said Ana Castro, co-owner of the Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant, which has been in White Center for more than 25 years. Castro said she’s spent more than $4,000 to replace the bakery’s large plate-glass windows after they were broken, and some staff are now afraid to come into work after dark.
“Something has to be done,” she said at the meeting. “We need more accountability from our representatives. We need them to come around here. We live it every single day.”
Continue reading Facing Arson and Vandalism, White Center Businesses Say King County Has ‘Forgotten’ Them
by Andrew Engelson
A two-alarm fire that quickly spread through businesses near the intersection of 16th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Roxbury Street in the heart of White Center early Monday morning has had a devastating impact on six local businesses. But the rapid creation and success of fundraising sites by customers and members of the community are giving hope to the businesses that were just emerging from a difficult pandemic year.
According to Shauna Sheppard, a spokesperson for King County Fire Protection District #2, the fire was first reported slightly before 2 a.m. Monday, July 5. The cause of the fire is still under active investigation, but Sheppard said it has been deemed accidental, and despite it happening in the late hours after Fourth of July, fireworks were ruled out as a cause. “The fire started in the basement of The Lumber Yard,” Sheppard said, referring to the local gay bar which has been a fixture in the neighborhood’s burgeoning LGBTQIA+ scene since 2017.
Continue reading Community Rallies to Support Six White Center Businesses Destroyed by Fire