Cleaning up: King County Conservation Corps update

The King County Conservation Corps is a partnership between King County’s Solid Waste Division, Department of Local Services, and Millionair Club Charity. Under the agreement, five-person crews provide services on weekdays in the urban unincorporated areas.

Watch Conservation Corps crews clean up graffiti and trash in White Center.

In the Department of Local Services’ first year, residents and businesses told us that removing graffiti and improving public spaces in neighborhood commercial areas is important for economic development.

Since the Conservation Corps began work last autumn, work crews have done more than 84 work events in White Center and Skyway. They picked up well over a thousand pieces of garbage, including needles and biohazards, and removed graffiti—providing some much-needed love to neglected areas.

Work completed to date by the King County Conservation Corp.

“I’ve lived in this area for over 20 years and bring my family up all the time to get ice cream. It’s such a vast difference in how clean, safe, and more inviting the street feels since the crews have been working there,” said Chad Hiner, Burien-White Center resident.

Under the pilot program, Local Services manages the project’s operations and Solid Waste serves as the primary resourcing agency. $125,000 in funding will cover the project through spring 2020, including the contract workers’ pay of $18-$20/hour.

For more information, visit at our website: http://www.kingcounty.gov/localservices or email asklocalservices@kingcounty.gov

FarmKingCounty.org offers resources for farming businesses

Running a farm business is complex. Thorough business planning may help you access financing to start your farm or diversify your farm as you grow your business. Many types of financing for farms (from grants to traditional bank loans) will have different requirements such as what they will cover, amount available, deadlines, or interest rates. Your business may need employees. Labor laws dictate what is allowable — from hiring family members who are children, to paying employees by the amount harvested — and what recordkeeping is required. And like any business, farms are required to pay taxes. However, farms are also eligible for tax benefits and exemptions.

Continue reading FarmKingCounty.org offers resources for farming businesses

Local Services’ 19: Top Accomplishments of 2019

What a first year!

Our goals were clear: create a department and begin delivering improved government services to the diverse residents and businesses of unincorporated King County.

We took that and ran with it, retooling how the county listens to residents, works collaboratively with them, and acts in their communities.

Here are 19 accomplishments we racked up in 2019: Continue reading Local Services’ 19: Top Accomplishments of 2019

Director Taniguchi honored for his advocacy of the leadership of women in transportation

0318WTSawardHaroldTaniguchi085From the time he joined King County in 1983, Harold Taniguchi has always made it a point to surround himself with leaders dedicated to excellence — and in particular with professional women who, in his words, felt “free to speak their minds and were not intimidated by anyone else’s position.”

Over his expansive 35-year career, Taniguchi has built a reputation as a leader who supports the professional development of his employees and advances people based on merit and talent. As director of the King County Department of Transportation, he has created a work culture that fosters inclusion, one where women now hold nearly one-third of the leadership positions at KCDOT. Continue reading Director Taniguchi honored for his advocacy of the leadership of women in transportation

King County Metro Honors the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Crossposted excerpt from the Seattle Medium newspaper. 

By Rob Gannon, King County Metro General Manager


photo of Rob GannonWhen you board a Metro bus, you’re doing more than getting a ride—you’re exercising a right.That’s what we believe at Metro: Transportation is a human right—your right to go where you want to go and have access to the opportunities we all need to thrive. Metro works hard to make that right a reality for everyone in King County. Continue reading King County Metro Honors the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2017 in review: Metro Transit fares made simpler for all and more accessible

The year 2017 saw adjustments to Metro Transit fares aimed at making public transit easier for all to use and understand and more affordable for those in need.

0617OrcaYouthCardEvent084Youth ridership on buses, trains and streetcars increased dramatically last summer when King County Executive Dow Constantine launched a pilot program offering reduced 50-cent fares for youth paying with ORCA cards for Metro buses, to make it easier for young residents – particularly those who have limited transportation options – to take transit to jobs, internships, camps, and other activities during the summer, when youth ridership has historically declined. Sound Transit offered a reduced fare of $1 and Seattle offered $0.50 fares for the Streetcar. Metro distributed more than 11,000 free ORCA Youth cards during the promotion – twice more than originally planned. Excluding ORCA cards offered through other programs, Metro’s youth ridership increased to 376,000 boardings, up 35 percent from the previous summer. Youth ridership on Link light rail increased 42 percent while Streetcar boardings increased 25 percent. Continue reading 2017 in review: Metro Transit fares made simpler for all and more accessible

Recruiting new employees from King County’s “Communities of Opportunity”

As part of the ongoing work to dismantle racial injustice that can persist in our policies and systems, KCDOT recently partnered with staff from the County’s Communities of Opportunity initiative and the Department of Community and Human Services to recruit new employees for entry-level and journey-level job openings.

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(Photo: Dan Bernard)

More than 170 jobseekers received valuable information about jobs and tips for applying online, at the event held Nov. 16 at the YWCA Learning Center at Greenbridge in White Center. Staff worked with community-based partners and WorkSource providers to get the word out and increase access to jobs to more candidates from traditionally underserved and under-represented communities. Nearly three-fourths of the attendees were people of color, nearly a third were women, and 40 percent came from targeted Communities of Opportunity of Rainier Valley, White Center, SeaTac, and Tukwila. Continue reading Recruiting new employees from King County’s “Communities of Opportunity”

New Metro placards remind us that “All Are Welcome Here”

Crossposted from Metro Matters

As King County Metro grows and changes in our role as the regional mobility provider, there’s something we’ll never leave behind: our commitment to keeping Metro safe and welcoming for everyone who uses our services or works here. Recent events across the nation are grim reminders of how important that commitment is.

All Are Welcome Here bus placard

Continue reading New Metro placards remind us that “All Are Welcome Here”

KCDOT works with local consulates to reach Spanish-speaking customers

As part of our commitment to delivering accessible service to all residents of King County, regardless of their place of origin, KCDOT leadership recently met with the local consuls of five Latin American nations to help us improve our communications with Spanish-speaking customers.

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Top row, from left: Leonardo Galvez, Consulate of Peru Director of Communications and KCDOT staff Penny Lara, Victor Obeso, Harold Taniguchi, and Rob Gannon. Bottom row: Paige Shevlin with the King County Executive’s office; Consul of Peru Miguel Angel Velásquez; Consul of Guatemala Ms. Claudia Gatica; Consul of El Salvador Ms. Clary Monzon; and Enrique Payan with the Consulate of Mexico. (photo: Ned Ahrens)

Nearly one of every 10 King County residents is of Hispanic/Latinx origin, according to the last census, and of those who speak Spanish at home, nearly half say they speak English less than “very well.” Language can become a barrier to using public transit, and elements of Metro’s printed bus schedules are now bilingual in Spanish. Continue reading KCDOT works with local consulates to reach Spanish-speaking customers

Empowering employees as innovators and change agents for equity and social justice

The principle of being fair and just is incorporated into all of our work at King County, under a six-year Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan that guides how we improve practices for better outcomes. At King County DOT, we are working collectively so that each member of our agency can be an agent of advancing equity and social justice (ESJ). And we actively involved employees in designing the actions and strategies around specific goals.

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Continue reading Empowering employees as innovators and change agents for equity and social justice