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To: King County

White Center Fire Still Raging: Tell King County We Need Support NOW

White Center Fire Still Raging: Tell King County We Need Support NOW

The White Center Community declares our state of emergency. After five fire events within the last four months, the entire community is devastated. The fires have affected 11 beloved businesses and their employees, all losing everything in the rash of fires over the last four months. The lack of timely and effective action from our elected officials, County staff, and the Sheriff’s Department have and will continue to impact our community negatively for many years to come.

We are alone in rebuilding our businesses and community.

Business owners and neighbors have raised over $290K for fire victims ($165K to the Lumber Yard) and continue to raise funds. Elected and County staff have not offered any additional emergency funds or additional support. The business district as a whole continues to experience crime, theft, violence, and a sharp decrease in monthly revenues.

The following businesses have been impacted and devastated: Huong Xua Deli, John’s Hair and Nails Salon, The Boxing Gym Westside, La Tipica Oaxaquena, Nuggi Boba, The Locker Room, Ben Schreck workshop, Dottie’s Doublewide, Rat City Tat2, Bizzarro Italian Café, Full Tilt, and The Lumber Yard.

This petition encompasses the needs surfaced from hundreds of hours of conversations over the past four months and over the past 25 years. We need an emergency fire response plan by our elected officials and County staff NOW.

INVEST IN WHITE CENTER SO WE CAN REBUILD, THRIVE AND GROW:

- Hire private security for 8 hours overnight, 7 days a week, to be funded by King County. Invest $175,000 per year into the community, targeting damaged areas immediately.

- $2M emergency relief funding outside of DLS grants to assist fire victims and stabilize the White Center Business District’s rebuilding efforts in collaboration with community (comprehensive business district plan, re-establishing/affirming zoning, etc.) immediately.

- Businesses who do not hold or have minimal insurance coverage should automatically be qualified for a minimum of $25,000 in emergency assistance immediately.

- Create a task force of professionals, available daily, on a drop-in basis, to help fire victims navigate systems and relationships. Provide 1:1 assistance (salvage assistance, navigating insurance, and permitting processes, assessing rebuilding options, funding, re-entry etc.) until the business is able to re-enter and resume regular business hours at full capacity immediately. Provide delivery of assistance in Vietnamese and Spanish.

- Build transparency and accountability between community members and the Sheriff’s Department. Provide basic details of all Sheriff’s deputies, duties, and assignments in White Center (names and badge numbers of officers working in White Center during the 2017 – 2021 Sheriff Department budget for White Center, and patrol routes).

- Fund a position to help retain existing businesses and recruit new businesses in White Center. The position will support existing businesses going through lease renewals or re-location, and assists property owners and developers that are rehabilitating or developing buildings with retail space design, pricing and tenanting.

Why is this important?

Small Business owners and White Center organizers ask for your support by signing below and CALLING:

Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember: 206-477-1008

Dow Constantine, King County Executive: 206-263-9600

Senator Joe Nguyen, 360-786-7667

John Taylor, Department of Local Services Director: 206-477-3800

Phone Script - “Hello my name is ______ and I am a resident/supporter of White Center. I am calling because I am concerned about the recent rash of fires in White Center and your lack of action. I support the White Center Business Petition and I urge you to take action now.”

Updates

2022-03-23 16:51:08 -0400

View updates here on what has happened in the last few months in regards to the petition: https://www.wccda.org/post/fire-response-petition-update

2021-12-14 13:23:23 -0500

Part 3:

5. A meeting is scheduled for 12/16. Merchant leaders, LEAD Program staff and WCCDA will attend this meeting and continue to ask questions to build accountability and transparency. Which officers will work overtime, who, what time and how much will it cost us?

6. KC Department of Local Services is in the process of hiring an Economic Recovery Specialist. Only a portion of this position will focus on relationships and work with property owners. The WCCDA continues to discuss the importance of this position and the anti-displacement work focus. The importance of working with property owners on development and tenancy continues to be important. WCCDA will also focus on communication with the county's Permitting Department. $100,000 in general fund dollars went to support this county position. These general fund dollars will allow the county to focus on fire-related recovery efforts for White Center businesses specifically rather than the property owner-focused work

2021-12-14 13:21:59 -0500

Part 2:

3. A portion of the $2M approved by council will move towards these grants for fire impacted businesses.

4. KC Department of Local Services, Hugo Garcia and Team are reaching out to businesses weekly. The WCCDA continues to reach out. and support, giving more time for specific business needs to surface. Based on needs will put together a support team to meet needs over time. A portion of the $2M will go to support this work along with WCCDA funds.

2021-12-14 13:21:33 -0500

Hello! Updates Part 1:

1. $175,000 additional overtime funds for KCSO to add late-night patrols in White Center. Joe McDermott's office worked independently with legal counsel to find a way for these dollars to fund a private security presence, and through Council’s Legal Counsel, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Civil Legal team and an outside law office, we received feedback that we could not spend funds in that matter without running afoul of the state’s “gift of public funds” restriction. KC Sherrif's Office is working to develop an implementation plan.

2. Joe Mcdermott created an amendment to request $2M in rebuilding funds. The amendment allowed the use of $2M for business grants and general economic recovery work targeting White Center. The flexibility of. The funds will allow strategies to be funded in coming month. Strategies will emerge from feedback from the community and the experiences we have seen in the commercial core. $2M was approved by council last week.

2021-11-29 15:24:51 -0500

Hello Everyone!

We appreciate everything you all have done to help us! We made an event to highlight more of the resilience of these businesses. You can find out more information on our event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1016291269225803/?ref=newsfeed

2021-10-28 18:49:40 -0400

Hello everyone,

We received help in getting this petition translated. Please share continue to share these out to help our local businesses.

Spanish: https://tinyurl.com/WCPetitionSpanish
Cambodian: https://tinyurl.com/WCPetitionCambodian
Vietnamese: https://tinyurl.com/WCPetitionVietnamese

Thank you all for your help and support!

2021-10-12 16:13:49 -0400

500 signatures reached

2021-10-08 22:21:14 -0400

100 signatures reached

2021-10-08 18:29:21 -0400

50 signatures reached

2021-10-08 17:27:21 -0400

25 signatures reached

2021-10-08 17:03:00 -0400

10 signatures reached