The 14-year old boy who was accidentally shot and killed Tuesday night (Aug. 14) in Burien has been identified by the Tukwila School District as Onjeray ‘OJ’ Devereaux.

‘OJ’ attended Thorndyke Elementary School.

“Though not a Showalter student, he’s well-known in our tight-knit community,” the district said. “Student/staff grief help may be offered.”

On Friday, Aug. 10, the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce held its first-ever ‘State of Our Schools’ luncheon, featuring Tukwila School District Interim Superintendent Dr. Judith K. Berry, along with Highline Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield.

Both Supers spoke about their district’s accomplishments, as well as challenges and goals for the 2018-2019 school year.

Below is a video – edited for time (48:53) – as broadcast live on our Facebook page (to get alerts to future live videos, be sure to “Like” us here):

Please welcome new sponsor Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority:

Des Moines Beach Park

Seattle Southside: A Tourist Destination

Many locals take the natural and urban wonder of Southwest King County for granted, but the fact is, there’s a lot to do around here! There’s certainly no shortage of restaurants, hotels, and attractions for tourists to enjoy and it is the responsibility of the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority to promote the region to potential business and leisure travelers. The Seattle Southside RTA works diligently to attract visitors to stay and play in the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines, thereby supporting the local economy.

In Seattle Southside, you’ll find high-end and boutique shopping, a variety of world-class restaurants and plenty of family-friendly, value-priced hotels. So, in addition to being connected to downtown Seattle via the Link light rail, Seattle Southside is an affordable and fun place to visit in its own right. What are some of the most popular tourist spots in the area, you ask? Some of the most frequently visited and talked about attractions and restaunts include The Museum of FlightBai Tong, Des Moines Beach ParkSalty’s at Redondo, Highline SeaTac Botanical GardenDin Tai Fung, Seattle Chocolate, Copperleaf Restaurant, and iFLY Indoor Skydiving, just to name a few.

The three cities work to complement one another to make a great visitor experience. SeaTac is the bustling epicenter of hospitality, home to dozens of hotels, restaurants, and some underrated parks (Angle Lake comes to mind). Des Moines is the quaint beach town, with a laid-back vibe and miles of coastline to explore. Tukwila has everything you need for family fun, from the largest shopping center in the Pacific Northwest, to a 10-story indoor skydiving tunnel and so much more. The variety of activities and dining options in each city work to create an enticing, complete vacation destination for thousands of day-trippers, sports eventers, and thrill-seekers each year.

Seattle Southside Visitor Center – SeaTac, WA

The Seattle Southside RTA has a physical location in the form of a visitor center, located at 3100 S. 176th Street, in SeaTac. The visitor center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the summer, days are extended to seven days a week.

Even if you’re not a visitor, the visitor center is a valuable community resource. Swing by and pick up some brochures, coupons, maps, and other informative materials on tourist attractions you might be interested in learning about in Seattle Southside and Western Washington. This is especially helpful if you’ve got friends or family visiting, and you’re looking to show them some of the best sights of the Greater Seattle Area.

The friendly concierge staff at the visitor center will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. They’re regional experts, and they’ll help you discover some hidden gems of the area in your own backyard. Just to pique your interest…did you know Seattle Southside is home to a free aquarium, a Taiwanese bakery, the largest extreme air sports park in the world, an Ethiopian coffee house, and the biggest annual horror convention in the Northwest? Stop by the visitor center to learn more!

For more information:

Seattle Southside RTA
3100 S. 176th Street
SeaTac, WA 98188

Phone: 206-575-2489

Website: https://www.seattlesouthside.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeattleSouthside/

A 40-year old Tukwila man was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 20 years in prison and 25 years of supervised release for production and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.

Here’s more from the District Attorney’s office:

JESSE LEE ALLEN was arrested in November 2016, after a witness reported that she had seen videos of the molestation of a young child on ALLEN’s cell phone. The witness made a report to Tukwila Police in October 2016 and ALLEN was located and arrested a few weeks later. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly called child pornography a “plague on our community,” saying,” this was an incredibly terrible crime that was committed against a little girl.”

According to records filed in the case, the witness was involved in a romantic relationship with ALLEN and at one point checked his phone to see if there were images of other women ALLEN might be dating. The witness instead discovered three videos that showed the sexual molestation of a 6-year-old child. The witness immediately went to police.

ALLEN pleaded guilty to the charges March 8, 2018.

The case was investigated by the Tukwila Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI).

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson. Ms. Gregson is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute child exploitation cases in federal court.

On Wednesday morning (Aug. 1), Tukwila Police responded to reports of a shooting in the 3400 block of S. 146th Street, where a 22-year old man was shot and killed.

Upon arrival, officers located a 22-year old male victim who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds.

Officers and firefighters with the Tukwila Fire Department immediately began attempting lifesaving efforts which were unsuccessful due to the nature of the victim’s injuries. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.

A female associated with the male victim was also struck by gunfire in the leg. She was transported by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. Her condition is unknown at this time.

The shooting is not believed to be random. Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) are investigating the shooting. No arrests have been made at this time.

This is an active and ongoing investigation. More details will be released as they become available.

On Thursday, July 26, 2018, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the sleek new Hotel Interurban, located at 223 Andover Park E. in Tukwila.

The brand new, 185-room, 19-story structure is now the tallest building located between Seattle and Tacoma, with gorgeous views of the valley and Mt. Rainier. It’s located on the property that formally hosted Circuit City.

This new hotel is very modern, with pet-friendly offerings and amenities such as electric car charging stations and a Savioke Relay robot named ‘Hazel.’ Yes, a robot – and ‘she’ is quite impressive. “Hazel” is named for the Native American translation of Tukwila, and delivers items to guestrooms, assists with room service, and is a regular presence around the hotel.

Omar and Christine Lee, real estate developers, are majority owners of the new hotel.

Hotel Interurban includes over 15,000 square feet of meeting/banquet rooms, with the largest space being the nearly 5,000-square-foot Rainier Room on the hotel’s 19th floor, accommodating up to 500 guests in a theater-style setting with impressive views of Mt. Rainier.

South King Media was there broadcasting live on Facebook – here’s raw footage of the opening; be sure to watch for the hotel’s robot Hazel at around the 8:00 mark (we mistakenly called her ‘Alice,’ but she gave us some free chocolate anyway):

Here’s more info about this sleek new biz from the Hotel Interurban’s Facebook Page:

Hotel Interurban is a property of distinction. Our physical presence towers above Seattle’s Southside, offering unmatched views of Mount Rainier. While we are the only Seattle airport hotel that can boast this vista, the essence of why we’re unique is the idea of modern convenience – which we define as unbound access and valuable innovation. Whether for business or leisure, any whim, need, or experience is truly steps away. We’re surrounded by more than 200 entertainment, shopping and dining options, with easy access to major transportation. And, the technology at our guests’ disposal makes every stay, and every event, at Hotel Interurban seamless, simple, and comfortable. It’s about what you want, exactly when you want it.

Here, your room is your haven. Whether you’ve had a challenging business day or a non-stop adventure, this is where you this Seattle airport hotel is where you settle down and settle in It’s ultimate comfort in a setting that’s crafted for convenience. Step in via keyless mobile entry. Open the windows for a breeze to your liking. And if there’s something you desire, no need to get up, just call Hazel — our house robot — for swift delivery.

Waterleaf Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Interurban provides a comfortable setting that accommodates any type of gathering. Whether you desire a family get together or a meal with business colleagues, this Tukwila restaurant serves up the ideal atmosphere. There’s a buzz of friendliness and a sense of energy, borne out of superior customer service and a well-appointed space. Enjoy casual fare, and a premium bar with seasonal craft cocktails and local and international wines and brews. Waterleaf is open 7 days a week, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The versatile meeting and event spaces at Hotel Interurban merge functionality with distinction. Ideas and conversation are sparked by the breathtaking view of Mount Rainier – and we’re the only property in the area that grants you that scenery. Situated near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, we offer 185 guest rooms and over 15,000 square feet of Seattle meeting space. Each meeting room provides the technology to foster efficient, fruitful summits – large or small.

And when you take a break from business, the proximity to transportation options like the Sounder Train and Amtrak makes it easy to venture out. There’s an abundance of shopping and entertainment options just steps away, including Westfield’s Southcenter Mall, the largest shopping destination in the greater Seattle region.

With our expert sales and services team, there is always someone to cater to every detail and ensure a seamless and highly successful event.

To book our contemporary Seattle meeting space for your next event, contact [email protected] or 206.479.0995.

A retired B-52 rolled (carefully) down I-5 & SR 405 en route to its new home in Tukwila Tuesday, but first the mammoth aircraft had to squeeze around a corner near Raisbeck Aviation High School.

The giant, historic jet will end up on display at a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park located next to the school.

The retired Boeing B-52G ‘Stratofortress’ once served in Vietnam during ‘Operation Linebacker II’ in December 1972, and contributed to the release of 591 U.S. POWs.

The exhibit will open on Veteran’s Day – Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.

Raisbeck Aviation High School is located near the Museum of Flight at 9229 E Marginal Way South:

Why Business and Government Relationships Matter

By Andrea H. Reay
CEO/President
Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce

Our Chamber of Commerce is proud of the relationships we’ve built with local government; both our elected officials and city staff. Why are these relationships and the open dialogue created beneficial to our members and our community? How are these relationships vital for our elected officials when they are exploring solutions to the issues that matter most to our community? Simply put, because economic cooperation and our ability to collaborate will always achieve better results.
Businesses are obviously impacted by public policy decisions. But so are consumers. The most obvious being taxing and regulations. The recent head tax debates in Seattle underscore that reality quite clearly. Although the head tax directly impacts over 500 businesses within the City of Seattle, many more businesses and consumers in and outside of the city will be impacted indirectly as their increased costs are ultimately passed on to their customers. This balance between public and private interests often, unfortunately, turns into an “us vs them” debate which is discouraging and self-defeating for all. The truth is that business interests are often also public interests and are not mutually exclusive ideals. Here are just a few examples of areas where public and private interests align and where we as a Chamber are proud to support and advocate for:

Research and Development: Whether we’re talking about researching cures for Cancer or eliminating climate change with alternative energy or new technology, investments from the public and private sector, working together, is mutually beneficial for all.

Economic Development: A robust and dynamic economy is good for business and the public. When businesses are successful more taxes are collected, and more public programs and investments are funded. Those investments include many necessary public services such as police and fire. Washington State businesses pay 57.6% of the total taxes collected in our state. That ranks us 7th in the nation.

Education: the most valuable resource in the Southside region is the people who live and work here. Our businesses and communities can only prosper with the right investments that improve the ability for people to thrive and find jobs.

We are grateful for the relationships that we have built with our public partners and are committed to creating opportunities to bring city and regional business leaders together to interact, strengthen ties, and forge new relationships. One of these opportunities is just around the corner, our State of Our Cities Luncheon.

The luncheon will be held on Friday, June 8, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Radisson Hotel in SeaTac. Parking is limited, and attendees are encouraged to carpool. Thank you to our host, the Radisson and our Annual Luncheon Sponsor-Alaska Airlines and our Event Sponsors Baker Commodities, Crain Photography, Waste Management and South King Media. Please visit http://www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com/events/details/state-of-our-cities-luncheon-1037 for more information and to register or call our office during normal business hours (206) 575-1633 and we’ll be happy to get you registered over the phone.

Thank you to all our public partners and business and community members that are committed to working together in collaboration and partnership. We truly are stronger together. Thank you for your commitment to and for our community.

Andrea H. Reay is the President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce – “A voice for business, a leader in the community.” Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and Tukwila since 1988.

For more information on the Chamber, including member benefits and resources, please visit www.SeattleSouthsideChamber.com.

By Scott Schaefer

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Wednesday (May 23) announced a proposal that would change the intended allocation of lodging tax dollars away from the local tourism industry, beginning in 2021.

Constantine is proposing to shift money previously promised to support tourism promotion – first passed in 2011 as ESSB 5834 – and re-direct funds to non-marketing activities, and this has some local leaders concerned.

Constantine’s proposal would reallocate tax revenues away from the tourism biz and towards arts programs, museums, workforce housing, transit-oriented housing development and services for homeless youth.

Lodging taxes would also be allocated to two regional public facilities districts – Safeco Field and the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent – for upkeep of basic stadium infrastructure.

“To direct dedicated tourism promotion dollars to Safeco Field maintenance and the already well funded 4Culture without a conversation with Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority – a public development authority created for regional tourism marketing – is simply wrong,” Katherine Kertzman, President & CEO of the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority told The B-Town Blog.

Seattle Southside RTA is the official destination marketing organization for SeaTac, Des Moines and Tukwila, and markets the region to leisure and business travelers as well as meeting and event planners. It is funded by a self-assessed hotel fund and supported by a lodging tax from the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines.

First, some background on Constantine’s new proposal from the county:

“Beginning in 2021, by state statute, King County will transfer 37.5 percent of lodging tax revenue – roughly $13.5 million annually and expected to rise over time – to 4Culture to support art, cultural and heritage facilities, as well as the performing arts.

“Also under state law, another 37.5 percent will be directed to the county Department of Community and Human Services to support transit-oriented housing development or services for homeless youth.

“King County Executive Dow Constantine proposes allocating the remaining funds beginning in 2021 to programs and facilities that attract visitors to the region, as directed by state statute. This would include a new fund, in coordination with the visitor industry, to bring tourists and business travelers to the region, an allocation to the public facilities districts that own Safeco Field and the ShoWare Center, and other investments as determined by the King County Council.

“In 2021, the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, which owns Safeco Field, is expected to receive approximately $4 million of the $36 million total.

“The dollars would be part of a Capital Expenditure Fund to maintain the 20 year-old ballpark, such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems, and retractable roof upkeep. The Mariners also contribute to the Capital Expenditure Fund, as does the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District via parking and ticket taxes.

“Under the proposed motion, the City of Kent Special Events Center Public Facilities District will receive about $203,000 of lodging tax in 2021 to support capital maintenance of the ShoWare Center sports and events facility in Kent.”

Katherine Kertzman

SEATTLE SOUTHSIDE RTA CEO REACTS
“We’re looking for a conversation with Dow to modify the motion and hope to carve out a portion of the King County 2% state shared lodging tax for Seattle Southside RTA, given we represent a significant number of hotel rooms in the county,” Kertzman said. “And tourism and travel is an important industry in our communities. It is critically important we invest in destination marketing to replenish the funds as was promised in the original legislation negotiations.”

Kertzman added that Constantine’s proposal “will have a very negative ripple effect on the economic vitality of our region,” in a letter she sent to him on Thursday, May 24:

“As you well know, travel and tourism are a major economic driver for all of King County and Washington State. In the Seattle Southside cities of Des Moines, SeaTac and Tukwila, tourism generates a return on investment of more than $40 for every dollar spent marketing the region to visitors. That impact makes us the rival of many regions around the country and the world.

“Seattle Southside employs 5,000 people in the tourism industry with visitors spending a record $726 million with $75.4 million generated in local and state tax receipts.

“Our ongoing commitment to promoting tourism translates to increased job opportunities, tax receipts, and revenue for our hotels, restaurants, attractions and amenities. The next effect is that tourism saves the average homeowner in our region $916 in taxes each year.

“We fully support the original plan to invest lodging tax dollars that are earmarked for ongoing tourism promotion, 4Culture and affordable housing initiatives. But we all must realize that tourism promotion has proven to be an incredibly valuable investment in our community, providing economic benefit not just for citizens and businesses, but also for making possible many other community services.

“Please be aware that directing lodging tax dollars away from tourism promotion and marketing will have a very negative ripple effect on the economic vitality of our region and it will do nothing to generate new business that will replenish the fund.”

“Tourism Marketing is a very good investment,” Kertzman added. “We urge county leadership and budget negotiators to make certain the County honors the original intent of the 2011 legislation and invest a portion of King County lodging tax in tourism promotion and marketing that generate overnight stays in paid accommodations in our region. The lodging tax investment in tourism marketing by the County will provide almost immediate returns on the investment to State, County and local coffers.”

Here are more concerns that both the Seattle Southside RTA and the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce have:

  • “We fully support the original plan to invest King County lodging tax dollars that are earmarked for ongoing tourism promotion, 4Culture and affordable housing initiatives. The opportunities for a return on the County’s investment through a tourism marketing program will continue to help grow our local economies.
  • “The lodging tax investment in tourism marketing by the County will provide almost immediate returns on the investment to state, county and local coffers. The important tax and spending revenue generated by travel and tourism will make a difference for years to come.
  • “The total estimated visitor spending in 2017 for just the combined cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines was $719.6M. Day travel represents less than 4% of all visitor spending while overnight travel in paid accommodations generates 93% of the total visitor spend.
  • “Southwest King County represents over 8,000 hotel rooms, the second largest grouping of hotels in the state. To grow local tourism revenues, King County must invest more in promoting overnight stays in paid accommodations.
  • “The creation of the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority – a public development authority created for regional tourism marketing – was necessary to ensure accountability and a return on the communities’ investment.
  • “It is important for government follow through on their public promises in an open and transparent way.
  • “Four out of five tourism-related companies are small businesses.
  • “Highest employer of women and minorities.
  • “Tourism consumer marketing returns $42.86 in new visitor spending to the communities of Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority for every $1 spent.”

UPTHEGROVE NOT UP FOR IT EITHER
King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who represents the south end’s District 5, isn’t a fan of Constantine’s proposal:

“South King County will benefit most if we spend regional tourism promotion dollars on attracting overnight guests. The hotel industry and broader service industry in SeaTac in particular is an economic engine that provides good jobs. Using $180 million to offset costs for one business (the Mariners) doesn’t do squat for our community in South King County. The Mariners are here to stay; it’s just a question of whether they pay their own cost or whether we give them $180 million in public county tourism money to offset their expenses.”

Constantine’s proposal will be forwarded to the council by December 31, 2019, “in order to inform the budget process for the 2021 – 2022 budget.”

Tukwila Police are reporting that a drive-by shooting on I-405 – just south of I-5 in Tukwila – injured a victim in the arm and blocked two lanes of the freeway Thursday afternoon, May 24.

Police say that the shooting is believed to be a result of road rage.

The victim, an adult male in his 40s, was conscious and alert when he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

The suspect vehicle was a gold Toyota sedan.

All lanes of I-405 were reopened.