McDermott seeks $2 million for White Center fire recovery from supplemental budget
information from King County Council
Responding to the unprecedented crisis caused by fires, break-ins and vandalism in White Center this year, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott will on Tuesday introduce legislation to help fund the area’s recovery. The legislation would add $2 million in economic recovery funds targeting White Center as an amendment to the supplemental budget that goes before full council on Tuesday.
“An unprecedented series of fires and property destruction in a tight-knit business community already struggling to wade through the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic make this a critical investment,” McDermott said. “We are White Center’s local government, and they need sustained support – I appreciate that the community brought this proposal forward to county leaders and I’m honored to put this before the Council.”
Multiple property fires this year have damaged beloved businesses in White Center like the Locker Room Bar and Grill, Huong Xua Deli and others while subsequent window smashings and burglaries have put the community on edge.
Local business owners submitted a petition to county officials, seeking direct aid to fire victims, funding for additional security in the community, a more transparent relationship with the King County Sheriff’s Office and local fire departments, and staffing for one-on-one support for local businesses not only for recovery but going forward to help avoid displacement in the area.
The $2 million in funding would be directed by the Department of Local Services to fund additional business grants and other economic recovery strategies to be developed in conversation and collaboration with the community.
If successfully passed by the Council, this amendment would join an investment of $175,000 sponsored by McDermott and passed by the Council’s Budget Committee last Tuesday to support up to 2,000 hours of KCSO overtime for emphasis patrols in the White Center community in the coming months – another community petition request that will be addressed.