Today’s update includes information on my recent visit to the new Thomas Jefferson High School construction site, the King County Assessor’s reminder on tax relief for damaged or destroyed properties, King County Metro’s new innovations and upcoming service changes, health updates, and more
When was the incorporation of Maple Valley?
(Answer is at the bottom).
Thomas Jefferson High School Construction Update
I recently had the opportunity to tour the ongoing construction work at the new Thomas Jefferson High School. The team is working hard to ensure the project stays on track despite the numerous challenges 2020 has had to offer. Thank you to Dr. Tammy Campbell for her leadership and the opportunity to check on the status of the future home of the Raiders.
With Mark Bargenda, Senior Construction Project Manager, CBRE and Michael Swartz, Executive Director of Capital Projects, Federal Way Public Schools.
Assessor Reminds Taxpayers to Apply for Tax Relief if Property is Damaged or Destroyed
As parts of Washington recently suffered from wildfires and windstorms, King County Assessor John Wilson reminds taxpayers that properties damaged or destroyed by something beyond the property owner’s control are eligible for a reduction of assessed value, and may result in lower property taxes. Information on filing a claim can be found here or you can download a King County Destroyed Property Form.
King County Metro is "Ready When You Are" with New Safety Innovations and Route Changes
King County Metro is rolling out more than 1,400 first-of-their-kind automated safety partitions between passengers and the driver, to be installed on Metro buses, including Sound Transit Express buses operated by Metro. Metro will also equip over 100 buses with on-board dispensers to provide masks on the busiest routes. Read more about it here.
This Saturday, September 19th, Metro is changing routes in South King County and will debut Route 160, which connects Renton, Kent, and Auburn and will convert into the RapidRide I line in a few years as transit improvements are made along the new route’s corridor. Learn more about routes changes at www.kingcounty.gov/GetReady.
Pacific Northwest continues to experience some of the world's worst air quality
West Coast cities and towns continue to experience some of the world’s worst air quality, with Seattle having an air quality index (AQI) of 269, which is considered to be very unhealthy and is the second worst in the world falling behind Portland. Check the air quality index and forecast for your city on AirNow, a site that collects air quality information from several agencies.
Department of Health advises residents to stay indoors and recommends the following tips to ensure the safety of everyone:
• Stay indoors and keep indoor air as clean as possible. Due to COVID-19, it may not be safe to seek clean air in a public place.
• Keep your home’s windows and doors closed when the outside air is smoky. Only open windows once the air quality has improved. Keep curtains drawn and blinds down to prevent it from getting too hot.
• If you run an air conditioner, set it to re-circulate and close the fresh air intake.
• Don’t add to air pollution by avoiding using candles, fireplaces or gas stoves, and don’t smoke indoors.
• Don’t vacuum unless your vacuum has a HEPA air filter, because it stirs up particles already inside the house.
• Create a DIY air filter using a box fan and a filter with a MERV 13 rating to improve air quality inside your home.
• Avoid physical exertion outside.
• Avoid driving, but if you must drive, keep the windows rolled up and turn on the air conditioner.
Read more about this King 5 article here.
Weekly King County Health Update: COVID-19, Cold and Flu Season
As we head into the fall season, investigators report that our efforts to reduce COVID-19 transmission have also decreased the spread of other respiratory viruses. Data from the Seattle Flu Study (SFS) along with their work with the Public Health – Seattle & King County reveals a couple of key points:
Good news - COVID-19 mitigation efforts are protecting us from COVID-19 and a host of other respiratory illnesses (colds, flu). The following diagram illustrates the marked difference in respiratory disease incidence before and after the institution of COVID-19 focused public health efforts such as wearing face coverings, social distancing, phased re-openings, and testing. In addition to the decreased incidence of COVID-19, note the dramatic decrease in a wide variety of other respiratory illnesses.
Cautionary news - Following public health recommendations is crucial because the COVID-19 virus as well as the cold and flu viruses will still be circulating throughout our communities during the coming fall and winter. Healthcare professionals strongly urge flu vaccinations as soon as possible this year to avoid serious illness.
While we may be growing weary of these recommendations, we can be encouraged by the fact that our efforts will directly and strongly impact our return to the things we wish for such as the re-opening of in-person schools, businesses, spending time with our family and friends, and recreation. Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, reminds us of what we can do and continue to do to mitigate the spread of viruses:
• Get vaccinated for the flu
• Wear a face covering in public
• Limit activities outside of your home
• Limit the number of and time spent in close contact with others
• Seek well ventilated indoor spaces (avoid poorly ventilated areas)
• Wash your hands
Suicide rates among children in the U.S. increased by 57% in the past decade
According to data released from the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide rates among youth ages 10 to 24 increased by 57% between 2007 and 2018, and the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic threatens to continue the trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a survey this summer, and the daunting results show that more than a quarter of young adults have seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days prior to completing the June 24-30 survey. Read more about this article here.
Are you in a crisis? Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
King County Case Update
Today, Seattle – King County Public Health reported 82 new cases, bringing the total in King County to 21,013. In addition, Public Health reported 4 new deaths, bringing the total in the county to 747.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.
Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
Washington trivia answer:
Known as one of the fastest growing market areas in Washington state, Maple Valley was incorporated on August 31, 1997. According to HistoryLink, the first settlers who took up claims in this area in 1879 were George Ames, Henry Sidebotham and C.O. Russell. Wanting to name the future community, Ames proposed Vine Maple Valley, while Russell suggested Maple Ridge. They all wrote their choices on paper and placed them in a hat. Two of the three voted to name it Vine Maple Valley, making it the winning choice. According to Wikipedia, the name of the town was later shortened to “Maple Valley” after the post office determined the name was too long.
In 1882, Ames and Russell built a sawmill in order to process the lumber needed to build homes. However, the mill burned down twice, pushing Ames to give up and move to Pacific. Russell stayed and laid out the town, which was eventually platted in 1890. The influx of residents proved the importance of farming, with berries, dairy and poultry being the staples in the area. The abundance of salmon in the Cedar River also gained popularity, but the creation of the watershed significantly affected salmon runs.