Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Editorial: Way to go, "leadership"

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Update: Corrected Weyerhaeuser which was misspelled repeatedly throughout this article.

I don't generally use this blog as my own place to editorialize, though admittedly, it was the graffiti problem years ago that led me to start it in the first place. And granted, I haven't posted on here much anymore because I haven't had the time.

But I want to take a quick moment to just say how dismayed I am at Weyerhaeuser's news today that they're leaving Federal Way for Seattle. Visit the buildings surrounding its campus and just marvel at all the unused office buildings that have been unable to secure tenants.  It's a shame really - freeway close, beautiful wooded settings, attractive buildings.

But once again, Federal Way's complete lack of vision and leadership is quite apparent. I want to believe in this town. I've started a business in this town. My wife and I have several other business ventures we hope to eventually start here in Federal Way. We live here. Our children are in a great school here. But I've said it before and I'll say it again - this town lacks any sort of vision and any sort of pride or identity.

Anyone else will tell you that Federal Way sucks. Unprompted, that's what the trolls are writing on the news articles about Weyerhaeuser's defection. And we have done nothing to contradict that. We have done nothing to say "No we don't."

We are, roughly, Bellevue, circa 1960. If we don't get our act together soon, in 40 years we'll be indistinguishable from Fife or Milton. (No offense, guys, but I don't know what you have to offer.)

We need some strong leadership now that says "This is what Federal Way is."

If I were mayor, I would immediately do the following:

(1) Move City Hall downtown. (Don't know where downtown is? This would help clarify.)

(2) Take a long, hard look at our zoning.
(a) First off, no one's in those really nice office buildings east of the 5 because there is NOTHING ELSE THERE.  It doesn't help that the Washington State Department of Transit eliminated the quick hop onto the 18 to Crossings when they upgraded the connection. Some essential basic services (i.e. restaurants, banks, gas stations, dry cleaners) are needed east of the freeway.
(b) Create more places where businesses can flourish in Federal Way. If the Twin Lakes Golf Course is going to go under, that, too, could be a nice place for some smaller office buildings and incubators.
(c) Stop allowing new housing construction. It just clogs up the roads leading to the freeway because it just invites more people to live here with nowhere here in town to work.
(d) Zone the rest of downtown for 6+ story buildings, pronto. And then give the land away if you have to.
(e) Ring the edges of the city with low density retail where it makes sense.

(3) Finish the street grid in downtown.

(4) Recruit some companies from Tacoma. That's where we got Weyerhaeuser.

Otherwise, we're left the large-but-shrinking non-profit World Vision (wonder if they'll ask the city to rename Weyerhaeuser Way) and the hospital. Oh, and two Wal*Marts. (And that's not something to brag about.)

We need strong leadership who can chart a course for our city - define a vision, a voice, a plan. No more throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Barring that, we might as well widen 348th and 320th and add onramps to the 5 north at Military, 336th and 288th so that everyone can get to their jobs in Seattle a little quicker.



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Another survey for Federal Way residents

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In addition to the previously mentioned Comprehensive Plan survey, Sound Transit is also looking for input on with its 2014 Long Range Plan update survey.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Red, White and Blues Festival offers free Fourth of July fun

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Federal Way’s free Red, White & Blues Festival offers Fourth of July fireworks and fun for all at Celebration Park. The always popular festival features great live music, cultural performing groups, good food and family friendly activities for all ages. The event begins at 4 p.m., July 4 at Celebration Park and concludes with a fireworks spectacular beginning at 10:15 p.m.

This year, the City is introducing a (more...)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New City Survey Available

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The City of Federal Way is updating its Comprehensive Plan. This update of our city’s vision for how Federal Way should grow over the next 20 years (2015-2035) is a requirement of state law and must be completed by June 30, 2015.

Residents are vital participants in this conversation about the city’s future. We want your input on important topics including... more... (click here to take the survey)

Monday, November 25, 2013

United Way seeking volunteer tax preparers

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United Way seeking volunteers to help operate free tax sites throughout King County from January 15 – April 15, 2014.  

There are two primary roles at tax sites available for volunteers, Volunteer Tax Preparers and Intake and Benefit Specialists
Complete descriptions are available at www.uwkc.org/taxvolunteer. The suggested time commitment is three to four hours a week for the duration of the campaign.

At the sites, tax customers will also be able to sign up for certain public benefits, receive assistance completing FAFSA applications, and learn about opportunities they have to make the most of their tax refund such as opening a savings account or investing in a savings bond.


In 2013, 700 volunteers prepared 14,900 tax returns and helped return $22 million in federal returns.

The tax campaign also saved King County residents more than $1.5 million in tax preparation fees.



Volunteers will be certified and trained by the IRS and will help families and individuals complete their tax returns to ensure they secure all refunds and credits they are eligible for. On average, each tax volunteer helps secure more than $30,000 in returns for low income families in our community during the campaign.  Your time as a volunteer will help stabilize people’s lives and make real difference for families in need.

While volunteers are needed at all locations throughout the county, the need is especially great for help in south King County locations such as Auburn, SeaTac, Kent and Renton. Additionally, those who speak Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Somali, Korean, Amharic, Cambodian and Russian languages are especially needed.

For more information and to volunteer, please visit www.uwkc.org/taxvolunteer or email EITC@uwkc.org.
  
Jared Erlandson
Public Relations Manager
United Way of King County
206.461.3742 office

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