KC Rod Dembowski at Lake City Neighborhood Alliance Meeting

Rod Dembowski, our representative on the King County (KC) Council, was the guest speaker at the July 9, 2020 Lake City Neighborhood Alliance meeting (via zoom). Here is a synopsis of his talk:

Operating remotely has had some challenges, but it is also nice to be able to work from home. Rep. Dembowski has been on the council since 2013. This is his 7th year.

Discussing public health and the Covid-19 response. KC has a terrific public health department. It is run under a partnership with the city of Seattle. KC folks jumped right in when we were one of the first hot spots. The King County Public Health Covid-19 dashboard has a lot of good information with statistics available through a number of different lenses. About 8% of the population here has been tested with about a 5.8% or 5.6% positive rate. (see the website: )

KC did a lot of work to flatten our curve. The county stood up a number of testing sites, the closest to us was in Shoreline. The county also bought a hotel in Kent.

The economic shutdown has created a challenging impact on the KC budget. Metro did get some federal help, which is allowing it to continue operating. Metro stopped collecting fares so riders could use the rear doors to protect the drivers. This could also change how it operationally provides service. In the past, there is peak morning and evening service across much of the county. In the future, those peaks might soften due to continued work from home, and Metro could expand more on the all-day frequent network, especially with the expansion of light rail.

Debrowski helped the county distribute an entire pallet of re-usable masks to many groups, Hunger Intervention Program, God’s Lil Acre Day Center, the Senior Center, the Food Bank, etc.

In many ways, because the county is funded largely through property tax, it is in better shape than the city of Seattle, as most cities are largely funded through sales tax.

Q: Have there been property tax delinquencies due to covid-19?
A: All of the mortgage companies and most escrow companies paid in April. We were close to 97%-98% for the July payment. We think that the fall payment might be lower.

Q: And discussion of funding of Parks, and money sources that help fund Parks, and human services.
The county brought some money to help purchase the red house on 125th Ave NE. Helped with funding to help clean up Thornton Creek. KC has the Parks Levy, Land Conservation Fund, and other funding sources.

Q: What is the plan to get jury trials re-instated? They have been halted for 4 months.
A: The judges are planning to re-commence jury trials in the next month. To socially-distance, they are opening courtrooms at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, and they are using technology like Zoom for as many things as they can.

Q: Could the Councilmember speak about King County declaring racism being a public health crisis?
A: KC did declare it a public health crisis. It puts a public health lens on it, that lets KC use tools, databases, analysis, and research on the problem; in a similar way to how it has looked at gun violence. Law enforcement has two components: the laws side, and the enforcement side. Rod has worked with the Radar Navigator program (you call 911 and it is effective; the police show up) to partner a social worker with the officer when they respond. There is also another program which is trying to see if they can avoid sending an officer, for example if 911 is called in response to a family living in a car, and instead send a social worker.

Q: King County invited community organizations to order masks through the county. Do you have any information on the delay?
A: Some have been sent to the cities. If you don’t get any soon, contact Rod.
Comment: The Emergency Communication Hub got masks, but they had run out of hand sanitizer.

Q: Programs to get people housed?
A: KC is trying to provide vouchers to help get people out of tents. In the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program, they have started giving people vouchers for housing and that has also helped reduce other problems.

Q: With respect to homelessness, is there an effort to reduce the patchwork of different laws in jurisdictions within the county?
A: Not that Rod knows of. Each city council wants to have their own laws and then there are different levels of enforcement. That would probably require State-level action. There is an effort to create a regional authority to add more capacity (shelter space, affordable housing), and help reduce in-flow (vouchers to help bridge temporary gaps). Reference to the 3rd Door Coalition. The county could propose a “model code” that they ask the cities to consider.

Q: Students (K-12, and adults) with the Digital Divide – Device access and Internet Access have both been struggles.
A: The county has $1.5 M for grants to help with access.
Comment: It would be great if the Internet were declared a public utility and the government provided it. Tacoma did it, and it is high speed and works well.

King County Charter reform – Every 10 years there is a charter review commission. There is a civilian oversight agency, but due to collective bargaining, KC only gets the oversight that the sheriff’s department agrees to have. The Council is looking at going to the voters to get subpoena power. There is a recommendation to return the sheriff to be an appointed position instead of an elected position. There is discussion of other potential charter amendments as well. These would be November ballot issues.
If you need help on human services, contact Rod’s office to help figure out what grant programs might be applicable.

#quarantineairyneighbors – 4th of July

This pandemic has been so hard on all of us in so many ways; the deprivation of goods, money, and physical and emotional social interaction. But it’s heartening to see our neighbors continuing on with their spirit (in Phase 2) by having a Fourth of July fireworks display in their own yard! That’s the ticket, just make sure you have your hose ready for any stray embers!

The Puppyhurst Doggo News – June 23, 2020

Kids’ Art in Pinehurst Pocket Park

July’s art in the park is by an adult who was looking for something to do at home early-on during the pandemic Stay-At-Home. It’s a cardboard wall mask. If others (kids or adults) would like to make some, they could be put in the kiosk another month. Just cut up a cardboard box for the face and cut separate pieces for eyes, nose, etc. Make it colorful with paint, markers, patterned paper glued on, etc. Check it out in the kiosk in the pocket park on the corner of NE 117th St & 19th Ave NE.  P.S. Artist says apologies to anyone afraid of clowns if it resembles a clown; it wasn’t intended to be one.

If you would like to submit your child’s artwork (or yours!) for the Pocket Park, please email

2020 Stay Healthy Streets

Throughout April and May, over 20 miles of Neighborhood Greenways were upgraded to Stay Healthy Streets and opened to people walking, rolling, and biking. Neighborhood Greenways are residential streets identified through past public engagement with enhanced safety features like speed humps, stop signs, and crossing improvements at major streets. Like any residential street, cut-thru traffic is discouraged, but local access, deliveries, waste pickup and emergency vehicles are allowed. With the designation of Stay Healthy Streets, it becomes okay to walk in the street to keep 6 feet apart.

Here is a map of Stay Healthy Streets near Pinehurst. To enlarge it, click once on the map for a new map screen, then click on the map on that page:

Guidelines for sharing the street:

  • Drive on arterials if you don’t have a destination along the Stay Healthy Streets

  • Drive slowly and calmly

  • If you are walking, rolling, and biking, be courteous to your neighbors who are driving

  • Be kind to your neighbors as you move along the street.

Observations indicate people of all ages are using the Stay Healthy Streets and travelers are following #KeepItMoving guidelines. About 10 to 40 people per mile are walking and biking in the streets depending on the location.

The Keep Moving Streets near destination waterfront parks have seen the most use compared to locations along neighborhood greenways. People walking have room to spread out on both sidewalks and the street, while most people running or biking are using the street. There’s an increase in parents using the streets with their kids on bikes, scooters, and big wheels along with lots of chalk drawings! The streets tend to be busier in afternoons and on the weekends and are usually quiet in bad weather and in the morning.

Neighbors in all locations have been observed resetting Street Closed signs and traffic cones as they get moved or knocked down. People driving are generally respectful and slow when using the Stay Healthy Streets, and the city will be monitoring vehicle speed and volume over the next few weeks. Utility and construction workers, emergency services, and deliveries are still able to reach their destination when they have a job to do on the Stay Healthy Street.  To make sure the temporary signs and cones remain in place and the streets function correctly, city crews inspect each route daily.

Initial feedback has been positive.

Pinehurst BLM March June 12, 2020

Annie Bilotta invited Pinehurst neighbors to join her on a silent march, with masks and physical distancing, for Black Lives Matter on Friday, June 12. It was a rainy day, but about 100 adults and children – and one dog – marched with Annie from Pinehurst Pocket Park to 15th Ave NE, north to NE 125th St and then back to the pocket park. Here are some photos taken by Jen Ralston:


Someone has a sense of humor in spite of our covid-19 quarantine. Almost every week these underfed neighbors entertain themselves in their front yard. Their good nature in these trying times inspires us!




NE 103rd & 20th Ave NE

Seattle Public Library Closure Update – Covid-19

Seattle Public Libraries are still closed due to the pandemic. But now that we are in Phase 2 of opening businesses back up, they are getting ready to take book returns for the thousands of books that were checked out before they closed.  And they are making plans for curbside pickup at some libraries, though we haven’t heard yet if Northgate or Lake City branches will offer this service.

It won’t be until Phase 3 that libraries open up on a limited basis – no meetings, for instance – and with safe distancing protocols.

Find out more here:

The Puppyhurst Doggo News

There’s a new ace reporter roving  Pinehurst these days. Ceiba Bunny Anderson sniffs out all the news fit to paw-print. To see these almost-daily reports on our four-legged residents, join the Facebook group Pinehurst Seattle, where they are featured.

Here’s the latest offering:

Pinehurst Picks – Say what?

Wild rabbits have moved into Pinehurst, but what is this, now? Have fairies arrived, too???