The Seattle Southside RTA Visitor’s Center was first opened in Feb., 2014.

The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA), the official destination marketing organization for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines, on Friday (July 21) announced the closing of its Visitor Center kiosk at Westfield Southcenter Mall.

On July 13, the Seattle Southside Board of Directors determined that – due to a reduction in funding – it was necessary to close the Westfield Southcenter branch of the RTA’s Visitor Center.

The closure of the Westfield Southcenter location – which has been operating since Feb., 2014 – is effective immediately. The SeaTac Visitor Center, located at 3100 S. 176th Street, will remain open and continue to service visitors, sell tickets, and promote area shopping, dining, attractions and hotels.

“This decision was not made lightly, as it has affected not only the region, but has led to the position eliminations of three valued visitor center concierges,” said Maureen Huffman, Seattle Southside RTA board chair. “We are working closely with Westfield Southcenter management to determine potential partnerships that could provide visitor information services at a reduced cost.”

Seattle Southside RTA continues to support tourism through advocacy and innovative services such as a newly revamped website with advanced trip planning functionality, marketing excellence and developing the economic strength of the region.

About Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority
Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is the official destination marketing organization for South Seattle. The organization is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for leisure and business travelers who wish to explore Western Washington, and as an idyllic place for meeting and event planners to hold their events. The Seattle Southside RTA is funded by a self-assessed hotel fund and supported by a lodging tax from the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. For more information, please visit www.seattlesouthside.com or call 877-885-9452.

Congressman Adam Smith is hosting a Town Hall event where constituents can meet and interact with the Congressman and voice concerns on the issues before Congress.

WHEN: Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 10:00-11:00 am

WHERE: Foster High School Performing Arts Center, 4242 S 144th St., Tukwila, WA 98168

RSVP: Please RSVP using Eventbrite or by calling (425)793-5180 or Toll Free at (888) SMITH09.

PARKING: Free parking is available at Foster High School.

TRANSIT: 5 minute bus ride via King County Metro #128 from Tukwila International Blvd Link Station. For more information, contact Metro at (206) 553-3000 or on the web at http://metro.kingcounty.gov.

***Translation services: If you need translation services at this town hall, please indicate this on your RSVP or contact Congressman Smith’s District Office at (425)793-5180. Please give the office as much advanced notice as possible, and we will do all we can to provide the service

By Devin Otto
Intern, Big Picture High School

Doug King, president and CEO of the Museum of Flight in Tukwila, announced this week that he will be stepping down from his position.

King became president and CEO of the museum in 2010, after previously working at the St. Louis Science Center in Missouri.

During his seven years here he advocated further work in the education field & various connections across the country.

Matt Hayes, the current VP, is scheduled to take King’s place as both President and CEO.

The replacement will go into place on Aug. 15.

Eighth-grader Jordyn Famimiko of Showalter Middle School was recently awarded first place in the middle-school essay category of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s 2017 Writing, Art, & Film Contest.

Jordyn’s piece, entitled “My Reflection,” is a stirring call to protest injustice. She will be honored in a community reception on July 16, taking place at the Henry and Sandra Friedman Holocaust Center for Humanity, and will receive a monetary prize. Her work will be displayed at the Holocaust Center, at events, and in publications throughout the year.

This year 913 students entered the Center’s Writing, Art, and Film Contest, including 386 entries in the Middle-School Writing category alone.

“When the entries pour in from students around the state, from rural and urban public schools, parochial schools, students who are home schooled — really all over — we see that students strive and genuinely intend to improve our world. It’s very inspiring, and tells us that our work at the Center is as important today as it’s ever been.” – Ilana Cone Kennedy, Director of Education

Here’s Jordyn’s winning entry:

My Reflection

I will admit that I am small
Only one, of the billions of creatures that inhabit this world
And I fear that my smallness can only achieve so much
And I fear that my smallness will not ignite the flames resting in anyone

You see, my lips are small
Thy lug me through my day, but still they are nothing short of minuscule
And my eyes are quite tiny too
They search for the slightest bit of wholesomeness
Yet, all they see are wounds of spite

My hands,
Bigger than my eyes but smaller than my feet
They clinch at the sight of these wounds
Aware of the atrocities behind them
Aware, of how the skin beneath those jabs and bruises may never mend
My stubby hands alone could never cure a wretched heart

I would say my legs are actually quite lengthy of my age, but they are still so scrawny and weak
They urge me to run from injustice
But, no matter the distance I could manage to escape
Injustice would still sit atop its mighty throne

I know that my body is small
I can see this through any mirror I choose to gaze upon
However, reflections cannot reveal to me the magnitude of my words

My smallness will not pain injustice
But, my keen thought and combating phrases may
My mind is hefty and not weak
Sharp in wisdom and rich in truth
I will believe this, and I will speak it to be true
I will believe that the expressions journeying from my brain and releasing through my mouth are bigger than me
Greater than me
And I will dethrone injustice, not with a mighty sword, but with wounding declarations

I utter to you, who is reading this, through my pint-sized mouth
View yourself through a cleaner lens
See the power of your voice
Feed your mind with exceeding amounts of knowledge,
And use this in your combats with injustice
For, injustice cowers at the profoundness of your echo

And that is how injustice will be dethroned
And that is how history will not repeat itself
And that is how holocausts will be events of the distant past and not normalities of daily life
And that is how peace will happen
And that is how conflicts will cease
And that is how ignorance will not blossom
And that is how the world will change

I may as well be small, and you may as well be small too
Or someone entirely different altogether
But, I know injustice fears words
Yours and mine alike

Injustice will fall to your feet in shame
For, it’s only defense was hate,
And your voices silences that hate

ABOUT THE CENTER
Connecting lessons of the Holocaust to a broad range of relevant themes for our time, from bullying to social justice, the Holocaust Center for Humanity teaches students to become engaged citizens, awakens empathy, and challenges them to recognize and speak out against bigotry and prejudice. Founded in 1989, The Center works with teachers, students, and community groups across the Northwest to provide educational materials, curriculum, and interaction with local Holocaust survivors who tell their stories to 20,000 students of all ages each year. In 2015, the Center opened its museum to the public. 15,000 students of all ages have toured the Center’s exhibits during the 2015-2016 school year. The Center’s mission is to inspire teaching and learning for humanity in the schools and communities of this region through study of the Holocaust. Find out more at HolocaustCenterSeattle.org.

The Tukwila Police Department is reporting that at at least one gunshot was fired in the Westfield Southcenter Mall Saturday night, July 1, around 8:45 p.m.

The shooting stemmed from a dispute between individuals, police said.

Police added that there are no confirmed injuries at this time, but the mall was put into lockdown as they searched for the shooting suspect.

The Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce held its annual Mayors’ Luncheon at Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac on Friday, June 9, and below are videos and photos from the event.

On hand at this annual event were representatives from five local cities:

  • Tukwila Mayor Allan Ekberg
  • Burien Deputy Mayor Nancy Tosta
  • Des Moines City Manager Michael Matthias
  • Normandy Park Mayor Jonathan Chicquette
  • SeaTac Mayor Michael Siefkes

This luncheon also included a panel discussion and Q&A, moderated by Scott Schaefer of South King Media, where viewers and attendees texted in questions to Chamber President/CEO Andrea Reay.

Here’s an edited (for time) video of the event (total running time 47:57):

SHORTER VERSIONS FOR EACH CITY REP
Below are the speeches from each city representative:

TUKWILA MAYOR ALLAN EKBERG:

CITY OF BURIEN DEPUTY MAYOR NANCY TOSTA:

DES MOINES CITY MANAGER MICHAEL MATTHIAS:

NORMANDY PARK MAYOR JONATHAN CHICQUETTE:

SEATAC MAYOR MICHAEL SIEFKES:

PHOTOS
Click images to see larger versions/slideshow, courtesy Andrew Crain Photography:

More info at http://www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com

After an extensive national search, Megan McGroarty has been selected as Foster High’s next principal, beginning July 1, 2017.

Here’s more from the Tukwila School District:

“Ms. McGroarty was a standout for all stakeholders throughout the search process,” said Superintendent Nancy Coogan. “She is the right balance of passion and vision for 21st-century personalized learning, keeping scholars at the center of every decision.”

Ms. McGroarty is excited and ready to get to work, first by conducting listening sessions with students, staff, parents, and community members. She wants to understand and continue the great work happening at the school and expand into future opportunities to meet the needs of every scholar.

Ms. McGroarty has completed the coursework for a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Social Justice at the University of Redlands. She has six years’ experience as a high-school leader, most recently as an assistant principal in North Thurston Public Schools. Prior to that, she served as an assistant principal in Riverside, Calif.

Ms. McGroarty’s expertise and skills directly align with many of Foster High’s priorities. She is highly skilled as an AVID (college/career preparation program) Staff Developer and has supported a strong PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) schoolwide system with a restorative-justice approach to discipline. Ms. McGroarty has extensive knowledgeable about learning-management systems, and she has used these digital tools to develop curriculum in her capacity as an online school instructor. Furthermore, Ms. McGroarty understands how to wrap resources around students facing adversity on and off the school campus. For example, she was a participating member of the Eastside Think Tank Task Force, which brought together teens, community members, government officials, police, and district leaders to proactively address gang challenges in the Riverside community.

“I am so incredibly excited and honored to be named the next principal of Foster High School,” McGroarty said. “Getting to meet the students, staff, and community members throughout the interview process solidified for me what an amazing school community exists at Foster. I look forward to working together to ensure that our students are supported, celebrated, and prepared for the very bright futures ahead of each one of them.”

As a former English teacher, Ms. McGroarty understands the importance of literacy across all content areas and has experience working with diverse English Language Learners. One of her priorities is forging a strong connection between the school, staff, students, and community members. She is excited to join a school community rich with tradition yet ready to push forward with industry partnerships and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) innovation.

Ms. McGroarty was selected out of a pool of 39 outstanding local and national applicants. The search process included listening sessions, feedback through surveys in multiple languages with staff, students, parents, and community members, a screening team of the top candidates, an interview team which included students as well as industry partners and staff, a cabinet interview of the top three candidates, and a superintendent interview.

“As superintendent, I am confident that Ms. McGroarty will take Foster to the next level of excellence!” said Coogan. “Please welcome Ms. McGroarty into Foster High School and the Tukwila Community.”

The former owner and operator of an industrial site along the Duwamish Waterway in Tukwila has signed an agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology to test soil and groundwater for contamination, a step toward planning a future cleanup, the state said Friday (June 16).

Ecology invites the public to review and comment on the agreement, called an agreed order, through July 11, 2017.

The order covers the 21-acre Jorgensen Forge Corp. site at 78531 East Marginal Way S. It outlines a process to investigate contamination, study cleanup options, and develop a cleanup plan.

Earlier studies and a partial cleanup
The manufacturer of large-scale specialty metal products partially investigated the site in the 1990s and 2000s. These studies identified contaminants – including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), petroleum compounds and metals – in soil and groundwater.

Jorgensen Forge conducted partial cleanup work in 2014 under a 2007 agreed order with Ecology. In 2015, Ecology issued an enforcement order to the company directing it to take further steps in the cleanup process. The company declared bankruptcy in 2016. 

The new agreed order – with the site’s former owner, Earle M. Jorgensen Co. – is expected to lead to a final cleanup, starting with a full investigation of contamination at the site.  

Part of the Lower Duwamish Waterway cleanup
The cleanup will contribute to a larger effort to control sources of contamination in Lower Duwamish Waterway sediments. Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency jointly oversee the Lower Duwamish Waterway cleanup, a stretch of approximately 5 miles of waterway upstream from Harbor Island. 

Ecology oversees a variety of efforts to control sources of pollution that could re-contaminate waterway sediments after cleanup – including cleanups at contaminated sites along or near the Duwamish. Ecology’s efforts include agreed orders for cleanup studies or other actions at 18 sites along or near the Duwamish Waterway. 

Cleanup information
Information about the site’s contamination and cleanup process is available at:

  • Ecology’s website.
  • Seattle Public Library South Park Branch, 8604 8th Ave. S.
  • Ecology’s Northwest Regional Office, 3190 160th Ave. S.E., Bellevue. By appointment: 425-649-7190

Comments or technical questions may be submitted to Maureen Sánchez, site manager, 425-649-7254, or Department of Ecology, 3190 160th Ave. S.E., Bellevue WA, 98004-5452.

An Ecology fact sheet provides additional information about the site and the order.

By Ralph Nichols

After years of visioning and planning, Tukwila Village at 14400 Tukwila International Boulevard – a community within the community – is taking shape.

Construction of this mixed-use neighborhood center is well underway, with completion and occupancy of all six of its five- and six-story buildings expected by late 2019.

Located on six acres owned by the City of Tukwila, the village will include 400 apartments with about 200 units dedicated for senior living, retail and office space, and four live-work units.

In addition, a neighborhood police resource center, a community meeting room with a commercial kitchen, a café – the Kona Kai, and a public plaza will be located there. The plaza and the café are scheduled to open this summer and fall, respectively. ,

Tukwila Village, which will also be home to the headquarters of the Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG), is within easy walking distance to the Tukwila light-rail station, neighborhood schools and parks, and a grocery store.

One corner of the Tukwila Village site is already welcoming the public – the location of the new 10,000 square foot Tukwila Library (pictured above), a branch of the King County Library System, which opened at the end of April. It replaced the now-closed Foster Library.

Two of the mixed-use apartment buildings with retail and office space are scheduled to open next year, with the other four expected to open in 2019.

“We’re very excited that the library has opened,” Tukwila Economic Development Administrator Derek Speck said this week. “We’re now looking forward to getting the rest of this project opened.”

Tukwila Village represents the fruition of a major initiative by city officials and local business leaders, which took shape over more than a decade, to upgrade the quality of life and reduce crime along this thoroughfare.

Known for decades as Pacific Highway South, from Seattle to Federal Way it was a magnet for drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal activity.

In the 1990s, as an initial step toward rehabilitating the image and character of this strip in the wake of the notorious Green River murders, Tukwila renamed it Tukwila International Boulevard and SeaTac renamed it International Boulevard within their respective city limits.

Since then, improvements ranging from the removal of nuisance motels to the opening of light-rail stations have changed the face of the highway and quality of adjacent neighborhoods. Tukwila Village is the largest public investment in the renewal of this part of the city.

Tukwila Village Development Associates, LLC – affiliated with the Senior Housing Assistance Group – is the master developer for this project. It was selected by the city in 2011.

SHAG includes ownership and operations for over 30 multi-family housing developments in the Puget Sound. Their properties mainly provide affordable senior housing.

(Persons interested in living at Tukwila Village should contact SHAG’s Discovery Center at 888-450-7424 and ask to be added to the interest list. They will be contacted when SHAG starts pre-leasing.)

The developer submitted the first building permit applications to the city in 2014, and site and foundation work began later that year.

For more information, download a PDF here.

Apply your skills, build your resume, get internship credit and give back to your community, as part of the Volunteer Impact Partnership Manager Corps

Work with staff at either the Tukwila Food Pantry or Reach Center of Hope in Renton to help them develop and sustain effective volunteer practices, in this joint program form 501 Commons and the United Way of King County.

By volunteering up to 150 hours before December, you gain valuable experience, can earn a United Way service award of $400 and qualify for internship credit.

Visit https://www.501commons.org/engage/VMC to learn more and apply or contact [email protected]. Interviews and acceptances are on a rolling basis so don’t wait!