Category Archives: Community Engagement

Keep your family safer: get rid of unwanted hazardous products


You can’t watch children all the time.  So how can you keep them safer?ChildReachingCupboard

If you have unwanted hazardous products you could get them out of your home and away from curious hands.

How can you tell which products under the sink or in the closet are hazardous?

Look on the label.  If you see the words DANGER or POISON, that means the product is very harmful.

If you see the words CAUTION or WARNING, that means the products is somewhat harmful.

And if you don’t see CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER OR POISON on the product label, that means the product is safer to use.

So if you want to get rid of hazardous products you don’t want, what do you do?

Getting rid of hazardous products you no longer use can help keep you and your family safer.

Free Natural Yard Care Classes in Renton for Adults and Kids

DrawingPlantsPotRentonFrom gardening without space to exploring red wiggler worms, have hands-on fun while learning how to garden the natural way in these free classes at Highlands Neighborhood Center on 800 Edmonds Ave NE in Renton in September and October, 2015.  Though there is no cost, please register.

Fall Gardening for Spring Beauty 

Wednesday, September 23, 7 – 8:45PM

  • Prepare your garden now and save yourself time next year.  Lean how to build healthy soils, proper weeding techniques, how to prune and more.

Secrets to Companion Planting

Wednesday, September 30, 7 – 8:45PM

  • Discover which plants grow best together to improve your garden’s health rather than competing for resources.

Worms on Wheels for Kids

Saturday, October 10, 10:30AM – 12:30PM

  • Explore composting and the importance of worms with Seattle Tilth’s Worms on Wheels!

Vertical Gardening: Up, Up & Out of the Way!

Saturday, October 10, 10:45AM – 12:30PM

  • No yard or little space? Find out how to grow vertical gardens with vegetables, fruits and flowers that thrive in our climate and take little soil.

Classes sponsored by the City of Renton and the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program.

Hidden Hazards in the Arts – Free Workshop for Artists


Find out how to identify safer chemicals, store art supplies safely and dispose of waste properly at a free

Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop.

“We are here to help artists take out some of the risks of handling these chemicals, particularly since many of them have home studios.  We want to help artists protect their health and their families,” said Donna Galstad, a workshop presenter with the LHWMP Art Hazards project.

“I attended a Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop, and there was so much information related to my personal art process and the materials I use —crucial new information to avoid exposure to toxins in the studio,” said Mark Calderon, a Seattle sculptor.

More information and register for this free workshop:

  • Tuesday, September 16
  • 6:30pm- 8:30pm
  • Shoreline City Hall – third floor classrooms
  • 17544 Midvale Ave N
  • Shoreline, WA 98133

Sponsored by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County and the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council.

Free Art Hazards Presentation at Kenmore Art Show

Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop set for June 29.

Upcoming workshop on Art Safety.

Date: Sunday, June 29

Time: 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Location: Bastyr University Auditorium.

This engaging and informative workshop will provide you with an understanding of the ways art chemicals can harm you and how you can reduce those harmful exposures. It’s also a chance for you to get answers to questions about the specific circumstances in your practice and your studio from an expert in this field.

For more information, go to

Presenter Dave Waddell is an environmental investigator and chemical hazards specialist. Dave is the creator and coordinator of King County’s Art Hazards Project.
artist studio

What will we look like in ten years?

Demographic changes – Happening soon in a neighborhood near you!

Demographic tides are rolling across the country; minority populations are growing and Caucasian population growth is slowing and aging. California is one of the states that experience these changes first. As of March, Latinos made up 39 percent of California’s population versus non-Hispanic whites at 38.8 percent. About 25 years ago, those numbers were very different; non-Hispanic whites were 57 percent of the state population and Latinos made up 26 percent (Huffington Post Jan 16, 2014).

Why cover California news? What happens in Cali, usually doesn’t stay in Cali. By 2043, the US number of non-Hispanic whites will be smaller than all other ethnic groups combined. In some areas, Latinos will be the majority minority, followed by Asians.

And we will be getting grayer. The next twenty years will see the bulge of folks 60 years and older, and the issues between younger workers and older retirees growing. Locally, many agencies are considering aging populations and their impact on services in King County.

For a fascinating, powerful summary, watch how the Pew Research Center shows the population information:

Explore America’s Demographic Transformation Our new immersive data visuals and videos show that America is in the midst of two major demographic transformations: A record share of Americans are going gray at the same time the nation is becoming majority non-white. read more > Book: The Next America Video: Generations in the Next America.

Midlife Bulge 2020, Pew Research Center

Midlife Bulge 2020, Pew Research Center

Renton hosts Spanish (Español) & English Gardening workshops

Gardening all winter long; classes in Spanish (Español) & English

Natural Yard Care in Renton

Stay green all winter long with Natural Yard Care workshops in Renton

No need to toss in the trowel – get inspiration and information at upcoming gardening workshops in Renton with talented local gardeners!


Refreshments provided and all classes are held at:

Highlands Neighborhood Center

800 Edmonds Ave NE, Renton, WA 98056

7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

To register, please visit or call 425-430-7391

 Naked Lawn Care • Monday, Oct. 21

Grow your lawn au naturel! Join Marianne Binetti, local gardening columnist, author, radio and TV host as she covers techniques to reduce your use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Marianne will teach dirt-cheap tricks to save money and grow a lush, green lawn and garden with less mowing and fertilizing. Learn correct watering and feeding practices, and which products to use to make your lawn a safe and natural habitat where children, pets, wildlife and you can live and play. Course #52663

Compost: The Wonder Mulch • Monday, Oct. 28

Healthy soil is the secret to a healthy garden! Susan Thoman of Cedar Grove Compost will teach the many applications and benefits of compost, such as erosion control, plant health, and increased food yield. Learn the fundamentals of starting a home composting system or using your curbside compost bin to recycle kitchen and garden “waste.” Susan will discuss how and when to apply compost to your lawn and garden to benefit your plants, soil, and the friendly critters who help your garden grow. Course #52664

Easy Peasy Edibles • Monday, Nov. 4

Are you hungry? Plant once and enjoy the harvest for years to come. Learn about must-have perennial edibles and sustainable design to grow a low-maintenance edible landscape. Award-winning landscape designer and horticulturist Jessi Bloom is a Timber Press author and owner of N.W. Bloom EcoLogical Landscapes. Tonight Jessi will help you discover new Easy Peasy Edibles to bring diversity to your landscape and your diet. Course #52665

Safe and Healthy Edible Gardening • Monday, Nov. 18

Interested in edible gardening? Be sure that the site, soil, and containers you use are safe for growing food. This workshop, taught by Laura Matter of the Garden Hotline, will teach you how to choose safe materials for building raised beds, determine how healthy your soil is, when to test your soil for toxins, and gauge which sites in your garden are most suited to grow food. The Garden Hotline is a program that offers free advice to gardeners and landscapers, and Laura brings over thirty years of professional horticultural and gardening experience to this evening’s presentation. We hope to see you there! Course #52666

Somali event celebrates culture and offers resources

Somali EID event Oct 26, 2013

Somali EID event Oct 26, 2013

Somali Community and friends are invited to an educational and fun event this Saturday, October 26, 2013, 3 to 6 P.M. at the Van Asselt Community Center, 2820 S. Myrtle St., Seattle.

FREE Food & Refreshments!
Hosted by: Somali Family Safety Task Force; Celebrating and Educating Families and Communities. Phone: 206-386-1921

There will be information about:
• Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare)
• FREE Programs
• Valuable Resources
• Upcoming Community Events
And more!

Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice): one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar. EID lasts for three days and commemorates Ibraham’s (Abraham) willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son. Muslims believe the son to be Ishmael rather than Isaac as told in the Old Testament. Ishmael is considered the forefather of the Arabs. According to the Koran, Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son when a voice from heaven stopped him and allowed him to sacrifice a ram instead.

For more on Somali culture and health resources, go to or

Spanish language projects featured in King County’s annual Equity and Social Justice Report

Por Una Familia Sana Y Segura and Recicla más projects support county’s efforts to provide services to all residents.

Facebook: Por Una Familia Sana y Segura

Facebook: Por Una Familia Sana y Segura

Recicla más. ¡Es facilísimo!

Recicla más. ¡Es facilísimo!

The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program and partner King County Solid Waste Division are helping Spanish speaking residents with information on toxic materials and recycling. The projects are discussed King County’s Equity and Social Justice Report:

New report reveals progress in integrating Equity and Social Justice into delivery of King County services

Consideration of disparate impacts from County programs leads to innovative actions that help ensure fairness of opportunity to all people

While disparities of place, race and income still exist, King County has made significant progress toward creating a more inclusive and prosperous place for all by considering equity and social justice in the decisions that guide delivery of County services, according to a new report released today by King County Executive Dow Constantine.

“Our core vision as a government is to make sure that every person has a fair shot at success, no matter where you come from or how long you’ve been here,” said Executive Constantine. “To have true prosperity, our economy depends on everyone being able to participate and achieve, based upon merit, drive, and determination.”

The Executive’s 2013 King County Equity and Social Justice Annual Report documents the strides that have been made to integrate equity considerations into all County decisions, policies and practices, as called for by the King County Strategic Plan and the County’s “fair and just” ordinance.

“This report is a ‘snapshot’ of the progress we have made in establishing an honest integration of equity and social justice principles into how we govern as a county,” said Metropolitan King County Council Chair Larry Gossett. “I applaud how far we have come a in a short time, but as the report shows, there’s still much work left to do.”

Demographers say that, in time, no single race or ethnic group will be the nation’s majority. King County is changing as well, having added 200,000 more people in the last decade – the vast majority of them people of color. Half are the children of current residents; half have come here from other states and nations. Bellevue and Redmond are now more racially diverse than Seattle. Tukwila, Renton, and SeaTac are majority minority cities.

“Each and everyone one of us has a moral obligation to address inequity in our communities,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, who chairs the King County Board of Health. “This report arms us with information we need to continue our efforts to ensure all King County residents have equal access to opportunity,”

Six stories in the report demonstrate how equity and social justice is now being integrated into the daily delivery of County services:

  • Educating residents about hazards in creative and culturally-appropriate ways: Working closely with community members and partner organizations, the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program developed a series of telenovela-style public service announcements that reach the county’s Spanish speakers with vital information about hazardous household materials.
  • Engaging immigrant and refugee communities: As the home to the third-largest Somali population in the United States, King County programs are now collaborating with Somali residents to improve both health and criminal justice outcomes. The Somali Health Board meets quarterly for a two-way exchange of stories and information focusing on a community-identified issue, while workshops are educating justice-involved Somali families about the juvenile court process and community resources that can provide support.
  • Working to keep youth and adults out of jail: To reduce involvement in the criminal justice system and address racial disproportionality, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) allows police officers to divert those involved in low-level drug and prostitution activities to community-based services, instead of incarceration. A series of programs aim to reduce overrepresentation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system and provide the conditions for youth to make responsible choices.
  • Opening new roads for empowering youth: in partnership with the County’s Department of Transportation, the Cascade Bicycle Club now runs the Major Taylor Project, which introduces youth in underserved communities to cycling and all the accompanying freedom, social awareness, and exploration.
  • Removing barriers to diversify the workforce: The County’s Emergency Medical Services modified its hiring and training strategies to eliminate barriers to recruiting a workforce of emergency medical technicians that better reflects the county’s population.
  • Helping smaller firms compete for county contracts: The Small Business Accelerator Program offers opportunities for certified small contractors and suppliers to compete among businesses of like size for County contracts – part of the County’s procurement reforms to create a system that is more efficient and equitable, one that propels small businesses.

The report documents the changing populations of three communities – the city of Kent, the city of Bellevue, and Northgate in Seattle – to show how local communities are addressing equity, especially in education, housing and transportation.

According to the report, three ZIP codes in King County are among the 30 most racially and ethnically diverse in the nation – 98178 in Skyway, 98188 in SeaTac-Tukwila, and 98118 in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

This diversity, however, is not evident throughout the county. While people of color make up seven of every ten in the ten ZIP codes with the greatest racial diversity, the ten ZIP codes with the lowest diversity have, on average, fewer than one of every 10 people as a person of color. These racial and ethnic differences by geography are shown to correspond with significant differences in opportunity, life expectancy and education. For example:

  • When comparing the ten ZIP codes with the highest household incomes to the ten with the lowest, there is a difference of more than $100,000 in average household income.
  • When comparing the ten ZIP codes with the highest life expectancy to the ten with the lowest, there is a difference of more than 10 years.

By applying a detailed analysis of equity and social justice to his proposed 2014 King County Budget, Executive Constantine arrived at several actions that consider disparate impacts and fairness to all people:

Funding for artificial turf desired by residents of White Center for the athletic fields at Steve Cox Park, which serves a diverse lower-income part of unincorporated King County.

  • Significantly advancing the 16-mile Lake to Sound Trail, a path that will link the shoreline of Lake Washington in Renton with the shoreline of Puget Sound in Des Moines, for walkers, runners and bicyclists in the underserved south County.
  • Funding to coordinate the many re-entry and recidivism-reduction programs already in place, to break the cycle of people from disadvantaged communities coming back to County jails and reduce racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system.
  • Support for staff and resources to help enroll the 180,000 residents of King County who will become newly eligible for affordable health insurance as part of national health reform.

The report acknowledges the work of County employees to promote equity and social justice on a daily basis; and the inspiration of Place Matters, an initiative of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies that convenes communities nationwide to address the social, economic and environmental conditions that lead to racial inequities.

The Executive’s 2013 King County Equity and Social Justice Annual Report was presented this week at a special meeting of the Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee.

In county named after Dr. King, the dream lives on fifty years later

Courthouse artwork that depicts the March on Washington is at center of County’s golden anniversary tribute to “I Have a Dream” speech


Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington, D.C. King County Executive Dow Constantine celebrated the golden anniversary this morning with a ceremony at the King County Courthouse. The building’s rotunda features artwork depicting Dr. King speaking to the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.

“Fifty years after that pivotal event, we are still striving to make Dr. King’s dream a reality,” said Executive Constantine. “On this day we rededicate ourselves to the task of creating a truly just society, where every person has the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential.”

King County Council Chair Larry Gossett was heavily involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. As a student at the University of Washington, he was one of the founders of the Black Student Union. During today’s observance, Council Chair Gossett encouraged attendees to keep working to eliminate inequities.

“Dr. King’s dream urged us to work to change the world into a ‘Beloved Community’ of equality and justice,” said Council Chair Gossett. “We have accomplished much, but as we continue doing the work of Dr. King, we should keep in mind that he urged us to fight against the evil triplets of militarism, materialism, and racism.  Until we have ridden the world of these evils, his dream – our dreams – will not become reality.”

Former King County Councilmember Bruce Laing, who was one of the leaders in the effort to rename King County for the civil rights leader, also remarked on Dr. King’s vision and legacy.

“Dr. King’s speech presents a scathing litany of injustices suffered by the black community, but he encourages his audience to conduct their struggle for equality without resorting to physical violence,” Laing said. “An emphasis on nonviolence was a hallmark of his career, and undoubtedly a significant factor in his selection for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Former King County Councilmember Dwight Pelz was among the estimated 250,000 people who heard Dr. King speak on August 28, 1963. He recalled his emotions on that day, and the impact Dr. King’s words had on his life and on the United States.

“I was a 12-year-old boy in Washington, D.C. on a hot day in 1963 when America stood up to say no to racism, a major step in one of the greatest revolutions in world history,” Pelz said. “45 years later, at the other end of the Mall, on a very cold day, America inaugurated an African-American President, as the arc of freedom bent toward justice.”

Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney also spoke at this morning’s ceremony. Now the pastor emeritus at Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. McKinney attended the March on Washington in 1963 and was a close friend of Dr. King. During his remarks, Rev. Dr. McKinney recalled attending Morehouse College in Atlanta with Dr. King when both were teenagers.

Vivian Phillips, a longtime King County resident, emceed today’s event. Phillips is the director of marketing and communications for the Seattle Theatre Group, and was a member of the team at Seattle’s Gable Design Group that developed the current King County logo. She also watched the March on Washington with her parents.

“I will never forget the impact it had on me,” said Phillips. “My parents and all of my aunts and uncles who had experienced segregation and racism started talking and living differently after that speech. They spoke to us from a new perspective of freedom, and were finally able to encourage their children to dream.”

The Courthouse artwork depicting the March on Washington, entitled “Truth Crushed to the Earth Will Rise Again,” was created by artist Linda Beaumont in 2005. Inspired by the 1986 decision to rename King County for the civil rights leader, Beaumont chose to honor Dr. King by using an image of him and the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial as the central focus of the rotunda floor. The original photo was taken by Flip Schulke, a photographer who often traveled with Dr. King to document the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Beaumont’s terrazzo and marble piece is surrounded by a quote from Dr. King. Inlaid in brass, the text reads, “Never allow it to be said that you are silent onlookers, detached spectators, but that you are involved participants in the struggle to make justice a reality.” The quote comes from a speech that Dr. King delivered at the Oberlin (Ohio) College commencement in June 1965.

Images of Dr. King are also featured elsewhere in the Courthouse. A series of charcoal and pencil murals by Douglas Cooper, entitled “From these Hills, from these Waters,” tell the history of King County. One of the panels located in the Courthouse rotunda uses Dr. King as a central figure in a depiction of the struggle for fair distribution of wealth. Finally, a photo in etched glass of Dr. King, also taken by Flip Schulke, can be found at the Courthouse exit onto Third Avenue.

MEDIA NOTE: Photos from today’s event, and the Courthouse artwork featuring Dr. King, are available on the King County Flickr stream.

King County provides regional and local services to two million residents, including 250,000 people living in unincorporated areas. Regional services include Metro transit, public health, wastewater treatment, courts, jails, prosecutors, public defenders, community and social services, and the King County International Airport. Local services include police protection, roads services, and solid waste transfer station and landfill services. King County also manages more than 26,000 acres of parks and natural lands, and 175 miles of regional trails. King County is the 14th largest county in the nation by population, and covers 2,134 square miles, 39 cities, 760 lakes and reservoirs, and six major river systems with 3,000 miles of streams.

Latino artists invited to learn about arts funding

Come to a gathering and find information, resources and contacts to help artists better access funding opportunities on Monday, July 15 at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (located at 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle) from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Learn more about funding programs and processes, share best-practices through peer learning and build connections between artists and funders throughout Seattle, King County and Washington State. Interpreters and translated materials will be available along with light refreshments. The program is a collaborative effort between Artist Trust, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and 4Culture.

The session will feature a Latino/a artist panel who will share their experiences and tips for successful projects. The panel will be facilitated by writer Felicia Gonzalez and includes artists Juan Alonso, Alma Garcia, Jovino Neto Santos, Monica Rojas Stewart, Michelle de la Vega and Rodrigo Valenzuela.

There is a suggested donation of $5. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Registration is online, but not required. All are welcome. For more information, contact Irene Gómez at 206 684.7310.

Para más información, visite

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