King County unincorporated area councils vary by geography, population

July 24, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The county and the unincorporated area councils formalized a relationship after then-County Executive Gary Locke enacted the Citizen Participation Initiative in December 1994.

Then, about one-third of the county population — 500,000 people — resided in unincorporated areas. The number has since declined to fewer than 300,000 due to annexations and incorporations.

Locke signed the measure to grant unincorporated area residents a larger say in issues related to growth and police protection.

In the years since, the King County Council has recognized a half-dozen unincorporated area councils throughout the region. The groups vary in geography and population.

  • Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council — The rural group serves about 16,5000 people in rural neighborhoods from Issaquah to Renton.
  • Greater Maple Valley Area Council — The council represents the largest geographic area, including Hobart, and about 15,000 residents.
  • North Highline Unincorporated Area Council — The urban unincorporated area includes about 30,000 people in White Center and other neighborhoods between Burien and Seattle. The area is up for annexation into Burien on the Nov. 6 ballot.
  • Upper Bear Creek Community Council — The group serves about 22,000 residents from Woodinville city limits to the Snohomish County line.
  • Vashon-Maury Island Community Council — The council has served the island community since 1933 and gained recognition from the county in 1996. The group represents about 10,000 islanders.
  • West Hill Community Council — The urban unincorporated area council serves about 13,000 residents along Lake Washington between Renton and Seattle. The community is poised to vote on annexation into Renton on Nov. 6.
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