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King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer
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News from and about King County… from health updates to community news affecting our daily lives.

Dear Friends:

Today’s update includes information about a recent meeting with South King County leaders, state and local announcements regarding the public vaccination verification policy and mask mandates, technical assistance for businesses in King County to improve indoor air quality, property tax statements for 2022, the new exterior library lockers at six King County libraries, the Strategic Communications Campaign Grant, our upcoming South King County Public Health Town Hall, and more.

Washington Trivia

This mountaineer from King County became the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Who is he?

(Answer is at the bottom).

Meeting with South King County leaders

Recently, I met with Federal Way Councilmember Hoang Tran at the local Panera Bread to discuss how he is actively working as a member of the Federal Way City Council to encourage more job producing businesses to relocate in South King County.

With Federal Way Councilmember Hoang Tran

Last week, I also had an opportunity to have lunch with Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus across from the Auburn City Hall. We caught up on criminal justice issues and reviewed proposals that are before the Sound Transit board, where we both serve as board members and where Nancy serves as the chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.

With Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus

State and local announcements regarding the mask mandate and public vaccination verification policy

Outdoor mask requirement will lift February 18

The outdoor mask requirement in Washington will be lifted tomorrow, February 18th. People will no longer be required to wear masks at outdoor events with 500 or more people. The state will also stop requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry to large events beginning March 1st.

Masks no longer required in most public spaces beginning March 21

Today, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the indoor mask mandate will expire beginning March 21st for most public settings in Washington such as schools, childcare facilities, bars and restaurants, churches, gyms, grocery stores, and retail and business establishments. COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools will also be updated in early March by the Department of Health (DOH).

Masks will still be required in some settings such as hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, long-term care settings and correctional facilities. Federal law also requires masks be worn on public transportation and school buses.

Local governments still have the authority to implement their own face mask or vaccination requirements for workers or customers, and school districts can still choose to mandate that students and teachers wear masks, according to state guidelines. Read more in the KING 5 News article here.

Public Health – Seattle & King County ends vaccination verification policy on March 1

With new COVID-19 cases and hospitalization decreasing, and over 87% of King County residents over age 12 fully vaccinated, Public Health – Seattle & King County is lifting the local health order requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry into indoor recreational settings, or outdoor events. The vaccination verification policy will no longer be in effect as of March 1st. Businesses and organizations may continue to implement their own vaccination verification rules for their establishments. Additionally, King County and the City of Seattle announced their remote employees would begin returning to offices in March. Read more here.

Technical assistance for businesses in King County to improve indoor air quality

Public Health – Seattle & King County provides technical assistance to businesses and organizations in King County to improve indoor air quality at no cost. Learn more and complete the online request form for assistance.

Property tax details available online now, statements in the mail soon

Property owners in King County can go online today to view their 2022 property tax details. When visiting kingcounty.gov/PropertyTax, property owners can also pay their taxes, look up their property information, and sign up for email or text reminders. Hard copies of property tax statements, which are typically mailed in mid-February, will be a little later than normal this year. A routine quality control check revealed a validation error before the statements were printed and mailed. While it was quickly corrected, the error delayed production of approximately 350,000 paper property tax statements. King County expects to have all statements mailed out well before the March 15th deadline required by state law.

For more information, contact King County Treasury Operations at 206-263-2890 or email propertytax.customerservice@kingcounty.gov. For information on tax exemption and deferral programs for seniors, people with disabilities, or other qualifying conditions visit TaxRelief.kingcounty.gov, or contact 206-296-3920 or email exemptions.assessments@kingcounty.gov.

KCLS unveils new exterior library lockers at King County libraries

King County Library System (KCLS) is one of the first large library systems in the nation to offer locker pick-up service, allowing patrons to pick up library holds from a 24-hour locker at six libraries across King County. The new exterior lockers are located at the Federal Way 320th, Kirkland, Tukwila and Woodinville libraries, while the other two existing lockers are located at the Bothell and Covington libraries. Read more here.

Strategic Communications Campaign Grant

King County has set aside $1,750,000 to equitably increase awareness of, and access to, the broad spectrum of King County CLFR-related programs, grants, and contracts of available funds. This program intends to contract with eligible and qualified organizations to assist King County in the conceptualization, planning, organization, and implementation of a mixed media, multi-tiered campaign. Applications are due by March 7th at 5:00 p.m. For more information on upcoming informational sessions and how to apply, click here.

Non-Profit Corner

Below are a couple places where your donations go a long way:

Auburn Food Bank
930 18th Pl NE, Auburn, WA 98002
Donations accepted in person Monday-Friday (8:00 am to 3:00 pm)

Auburn Valley Humane Society
4910 A St. SE, Auburn, WA 98092
1123 E Main St., Auburn, WA 98002 (Thrift Store)
To donate supplies, call 253-545-0314 Monday-Saturday (10:00 am – 6:00 pm), Sunday (11:00 am – 5:00 pm).

Bloodworks Northwest
1414 S 324th St., Suite B101, Federal Way, WA 98003
Whole blood and apheresis donations are accepted Monday-Tuesday (10:00 am to 6:00 pm), Wednesday, Friday-Saturday (8:00 am to 4:00 pm), and Sunday (9:00 am to 5:00 pm). To schedule a donation appointment, call 253-945-8660 or 800-398-7888 or visit https://schedule.bloodworksnw.org/DonorPortal/.

Bridging a Gap (BAG)
33313 1st Way S, Federal Way, WA 98003
Food donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
St. Luke’s Church - 515 S 312th St., Federal Way, WA 98003
Communities in Schools - 1825 S 316th St., Federal Way, WA 98003
Red Canoe Credit Union - 33616 Pacific Hwy S, Federal Way, WA 98003

Federal Way Senior Center
4016 S 352nd St., Auburn, WA 98001
To volunteer, please call 253-838-3604 or email director_fwsc@hotmail.com.

FUSION Décor Boutique
1108 S 322nd Pl, Federal Way, WA 98003
Donations are accepted Tuesday-Saturday (10:00 am to 6:00 pm)
Please call beforehand at 253-839-4045 with a description of the items.

Multi-Service Center Food Bank
1200 S 336th St., Federal Way, WA 98003
Donations may be dropped off at the warehouse Monday-Friday (8:30 am to 4:00 pm)

The Salvation Army
26419 16th Ave S, Des Moines, WA 98198
Open Monday-Thursday (9:00 am to 4:30 pm) and Friday (9:00 am to 12:00 pm)

Save the Date: March 2nd South King County Public Health Town Hall

Please save the date for our upcoming South King County Public Health Town Hall on March 2nd, 5:30 – 6:30 PM, with Public Health – Seattle and King County Interim Director Dennis Worsham. During this event, Director Worsham will provide an update on COVID-19, explore what the transition out of the pandemic might look like, and discuss the challenges we face before normal life resumes.

Martin v. Boise, 920 F.3d 584 (9th Cir. 2019)

I have received a lot of inquiries from concerned citizens about homeless encampments on public property. While King County is working to clean up these camps, at the same time, the County is constrained as to what it can do as many of the decisions to regulate homelessness are being taken out of the hands of the legislative bodies by the courts.

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision out of Utah that prevented cities and counties from banning the homeless from sleeping in public places if there are not enough shelter beds for homeless people sleeping outside. Unless these jurisdictions can prove there is a place for them to go, they can neither ticket nor remove individuals from public encampments. Not only does this enact a heavy financial burden on government and the taxpayers, but it also makes it more difficult to prevent the disease, garbage and chaos that often arise out of these encampments. Read more about it here.

King County COVID-19 Case Update

Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 234 new positive cases, bringing the total in King County to 362,254. In addition, Public Health reported 17 new deaths, bringing the total in the county to 2,515.

Recent data may be incomplete. For more information, visit the King County COVID Daily Summary Dashboard here.

Vaccine Locator: To find COVID-19 vaccine appointments, visit Vaccine Locator.

For King County residents: Register here to schedule your appointment at one of the high-volume vaccination sites in King County.

For in-home vaccination: Call King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977.

Register by phone: Call King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 or Washington COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #.

For veterans: Call 206-716-5716 or visit www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine.

For more information, visit Getting vaccinated in King County.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or Text TALK to 741-741

Find your King County Council district here.

With best wishes,

Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember

Washington trivia answer:

James “Jim” Whittaker, a West Seattle High School and Seattle University alum, was the first American and 10th person to reach the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest on May 1, 1963 and was awarded the Hubbard Medal by President John F. Kennedy.

Prior to joining the American Mount Everest Expedition, Jim was the first full-time employee of REI and was the company’s CEO in the ‘60s. Jim’s summit of Mount Everest provided REI with so much free advertising that the following year, REI reached a gross income of $1 million for the first time.

Jim also led the first successful American team to K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. In 1990, as leader of the famous International Peace Climb, he helped put an American, a Chinese and a Russian together atop Mount Everest. The Big Jim Mountain in Chelan County was also named after him. Jim and his wife, Dianne Roberts, now live in Port Townsend, WA.

(Photo Source: Forbes.com, courtesy of Jim Whittaker)

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Contact me: pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov
206-477-1007, 800-325-6165, TTY/TDD 206-296-1024
Website: www.kingcounty.gov/vonReichbauer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pete.vonreichbauer

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