King County executive appoints manager for unincorporated areas

April 4, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8 p.m. April 4, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed a top adviser Wednesday to lead the outreach effort from county government to residents in rural and unincorporated areas.

The executive named Alan Painter — Constantine’s former adviser on human services, health and housing policy — as the manager of the community service areas program — designated areas to coordinate on issues, such as crime prevention or potential development.

The proposal is almost certain to reshape the relationship between county leaders and the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council, a liaison for unincorporated area residents near Issaquah to the county government based in Seattle. Leaders in the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area expressed reservations about the proposal last year.

Similar groups exist in unincorporated areas across King County, from Vashon Island to urban Highline between Burien and Seattle.

Plans call for interdepartmental teams to hold public meetings at least once per year in each community service area.

“This reform will harness the work of county employees who already have good connections with residents in the unincorporated areas, so that residents can have a single staff link to specific projects in parks, roads, land use, public health and public safety,” Constantine said in a statement.

County Council members approved the community service areas program last year.

The unincorporated area councils do not represent all rural and unincorporated residents — a reason county leaders adopted another option for outreach.

Next, Constantine plans to send legislation to the council to set boundaries for the community service areas. The boundaries should encompass all of unincorporated King County, including areas without any unincorporated area council representation under the existing arrangement, such as Klahanie, Preston and the Snoqualmie Valley.

Under the community service areas program, community organizations in each area can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to promote the engagement of local residents in community or civic activities.

“I look forward to listening to residents, solving problems and help them to play an active role in shaping the future of their communities,” Painter said in a statement.

Residents can attend a public open house about the community service areas, specifically the Vashon-Maury Island Community Service Area, from 6:30-8 p.m. April 10 in the McMurray Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, 9323 Cemetery Road, Vashon Island.

Participants can offer feedback on the draft Vashon-Maury plan and the community service areas program, discuss community priorities, ask questions of program staffers, and obtain information about county programs and services.

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