King County Elections office relocates to Renton

June 21, 2011

King County Elections moved from Tukwila to 919 Southwest Grady Way, Renton, on June 20.

The location is the election office’s mailing address and physical address, as well as the location for the public to visit for assistance or to observe elections in progress.

The building features a viewing loop around the ballot-processing area. The public can take a self-guided tour during elections to observe the process in action.

Weekdays Aug. 1-19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., should be the best time to observe. On Election Day, Aug. 16, the office is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

King County Elections is returning to the same facility used until 2009, after the risk of flooding from the Howard Hanson Dam resulted in a temporary move to Tukwila.

King County Elections office relocates June 20

June 14, 2011

NEW —  2 p.m. June 14, 2011

King County Elections is moving.

The office moves from Tukwila to 919 Southwest Grady Way, Renton, on June 20. The location is the election office’s mailing address and physical address, as well as the location for the public to visit for assistance or to observe elections in progress.

“As we prepare for the August primary, it’s great to be back in our home facility with space that fully accommodates our state-of-the-art equipment and technology,” Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a news release. “It also offers convenience for the public to visit and observe the election process. We hope to have lots of visitors stop in for a tour during our upcoming elections!”

The building features a viewing loop around the ballot-processing area. The public can take a self-guided tour during elections to observe the process in action.

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King County executive reflects on 2010 milestones

December 27, 2010

NEW — 5 p.m. Dec. 27, 2010

King County Executive Dow Constantine touted a series of initiatives to reform county government after a year in the top spot.

The executive highlighted efforts to reduce labor costs, implement a “green” energy policy, reform the permitting process and upgrade infrastructure. Key accomplishments included the creation of a regional partnership to offer animal-control services in Issaquah and more than 30 other cities, and recommendations to change Metro Transit in order to put the agency on more solid financial footing.

“In one year we’ve made dramatic strides toward putting the county on sound financial footing, while handling emergent issues in a methodical and responsible way,” Constantine said in a statement released Monday. “Thanks to our strong leadership team, and dedicated King County employees, we have accomplished much to protect what matters most to the people of King County.”

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Planning for worst-case scenario is business as usual for emergency director

November 2, 2010

King County faces risks from earthquakes, floods, terrorism, volcanic eruptions and more than a dozen other threats.

For Hillman Mitchell, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, planning for a worst-case scenario is business as usual. The longtime emergency planner and Sammamish resident settled into the role Aug. 3 after a stint as the emergency management coordinator in Tukwila.

Mitchell served in the South King County city as the region braced for a destructive Green River flood exacerbated by the storm-damaged Howard Hanson Dam. Though the flood did not occur, the effort — and a candid assessment of potential damage across the region — earned Mitchell respect from leaders in other cities.

“Obviously, the Green River planning activity really brought together a lot of those collaborative and cooperative opportunities to look at how we respond, not just from a city’s perspective, but as we respond to disasters that don’t respect political boundaries,” he said.

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Go wet and wild — and stay safe — on the water this weekend

May 14, 2010

NEW — 11:50 a.m. May 14, 2010

Springtime sunshine will lure residents in Issaquah and across King County to lakes, streams and rivers in the days ahead.

King County Sheriff’s Office leaders reminded people to practice water safety. Most King County drownings — 56 percent — occur in April, May and July.

“While the weather will be great, the rivers and lakes of King County are still very cold,” Sheriff Sue Rahr said in a news release. “And the rivers are fast-moving, and extremely dangerous.”

Furthermore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started releasing water from the Howard Hanson Dam on Wednesday. The added water means flows on the Green River will be high through at least Saturday night.

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City reviews last flood, prepares for future crises

November 3, 2009

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

Floodwaters caused about $1 million worth of damage and left behind piles of debris and muck when Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks overflowed in January, but the disaster also readied emergency planners for the next flood.

The next time flood waters rise, volunteers will fan out across flood-prone neighborhoods and city officials will unleash a deluge of information about water levels, road closures and recovery efforts. Many of the procedures were tested during what officials characterized as a successful response to the major flood in mid-January.

But the next flood could occur as early as the next several weeks, and officials said work remains to be done to prepare Issaquah for another natural disaster. On Oct. 27, City Council members received a briefing about the response to the January flood and preparation efforts for the upcoming flood season.

City Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Campbell said readings from a pair of flood gauges did not correlate with the damage caused by floodwaters. A U.S. Geological Survey gauge downstream on Issaquah Creek appeared inaccurate, Campbell said. The gauge indicated about 2,500 cubic feet per second, Campbell said, but flood damage was similar to the 3,500 cubic feet per second estimate from the last major flood to hit Issaquah, in 1996. Read more

Official: Green River flooding would impact Issaquah, region

October 29, 2009

NEW — 3:27 p.m. Oct. 29, 2009

If the Green River swells from fall and winter rains, flooding could snarl traffic for Issaquah commuters, disrupt deliveries of food and fuel, and — a more remote possibility — cause local sewers to back up as floodwaters overwhelm the regional system.

Though the river winds through Auburn, Kent and Tukwila, the human and economic toll from flooding could reach Issaquah, emergency planners told City Council members Tuesday night. A Tukwila emergency planner offered a frank assessment of the potential impact of Green River floods.

Authorities expect the Green will flood because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allow water to flow through the Howard Hanson Dam. The earthen abutment adjacent to the dam was weakened by severe weather last winter, and engineers worry the structure could fail if rain swelled the reservoir behind the dam. Read more