Being the change we want to see
These are times of remarkably rapid change.
Over the past few years King County’s population has grown at twice the historical pace, and shows no signs of slowing. In 2012, $2 billion of new construction took place in King County. By last year that had skyrocketed to nearly $10 billion – an all-time record.
This place is changing. We are changing.
Where those winds of change take us – how our community will evolve – depends in part on the course we chart and our skill as a crew. In this time of uncertainty and impermanence, we have to harness the raw energy of change to serve the people, to repair the damage of the past, to create the future we want.
By welcoming new neighbors, we open up new opportunities.
By working in partnership with all who love this place, we protect our forests, farms, rivers and Sound.
By relentlessly improving how regional government provides services – from transit to homelessness and public health and safety – we ensure every person has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
Reading through this list accomplishments, I am inspired by the work of so many County employees and our partners throughout the region. As the new year approaches, I am eager for the challenges that lie ahead.
Leading the best large transit system in North America
King County Metro was named the best large transit system in North America by the nation’s leading public transit advocacy organization, citing achievements in ridership, safety, access, customer service, financial management, commitment to equity, and sustainability.
Uniting the region to confront the homelessness emergency
King County continued to work with partners to respond to the region’s homelessness crises, increasing access to emergency shelter with on-site services, offering more housing, and lowering the barrier to effective treatment. Executive Constantine also united the efforts of cities, business leaders, service providers, and philanthropies to address the root causes of homelessness.
Creating the Roadmap to Zero Youth Detention
Executive Constantine announced the completed report, Road Map to Zero Youth Detention – a strategic plan to guide future investments and policies to support families and further reduce the number of young people involved in the legal system. In the 2019-2020 budget, he included funding to help expand solutions to improve community safety and help young people thrive.
Protecting King County’s most vulnerable forests, farmlands and shorelines
The King County Council approved a plan by Executive Constantine to protect thousands of acres of forests, farmlands and shorelines. The action is part of the Executive’s effort to save King County’s most at-risk open space before development reshapes what makes this region great.
Winning lawsuit against Trump administration to restore funding to study sexual health education
In a major victory to King County, a federal judge ruled that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services illegally terminated an education grant that studies the effectiveness of a promising sexual health education grant created by Public Health — Seattle & King County.
Expanding a successful law enforcement diversion program to South King County
Executive Constantine included funding in King County’s budget to expand a successful law enforcement diversion program in Burien and two other cities in South King County, connecting more people to community-based care instead of incarceration.
Taking emergency and long-range action to prevent the possible extinction of native salmon species
Under the direction of Executive Constantine, King County is partnering with tribes, cities, and state agencies on both emergency and long-range actions to ensure the survival of the native kokanee salmon after a sudden, alarming decline in returning spawners.
Organizing a community-led effort to ensure a complete, accurate 2020 Census
Executive Constantine convened a community-led effort by local governments, nonprofits, and philanthropies to ensure a complete, accurate 2020 Census. King County is convening the effort sooner than it has in the past after the Trump administration announced it will add a citizenship question to the next Census, which could cause a substantial undercount that would result in a loss of federal and state funding and other impacts.
Leading the state by providing prepaid ballots to all King County voters
The King County Council approved a plan by Executive Constantine and Elections Director Julie Wise to provide prepaid ballots to all voters starting this year. The state later approved funding to provide prepaid ballots to all voters in the 38 other counties.
Upholding King County’s promise as a welcoming community with a permanent Immigrant and Refugee Commission
Executive Constantine signed legislation to create an Immigrant and Refugee Commission, a permanent body committed to upholding King County’s commitment to being a welcoming county and to integrate, strengthen, and value immigrant and refugee communities.
Offering innovative first- and last-mile service to and from transit hubs
Executive Constantine launched two app-based services that offer first- and last-mile connections to transit, making it easier for commuters to get to work and back home each day without having to drive or park.
Investing in 38 senior centers that keep older adults connected throughout King County
Executive Constantine announced nearly $3.5 million in funding for 38 organizations serving older adults throughout King County. The one-time investments will help senior centers, community centers, and organizations serving older adults expand programs to reach more local seniors, make their facilities safer and more accessible, and purchase equipment and appliances.
Executive Constantine established a new Department of Local Services to improve the coordination and delivery of services to the nearly 250,000 people who live in unincorporated communities.
Increasing home-visiting services so parents and caregivers have the support they need
A wide range of support services for expectant mothers, parents, and caregivers – funded by Executive Constantine’s Best Starts for Kids initiative – are increasing parents’ knowledge and confidence, strengthening parent-child bonding, and improving school readiness throughout King County.
Honoring the King County employees who are helping build the nation’s Best Run Government
Executive Constantine honored the winners of the first King County Performance Excellence Awards, thanking them for helping achieve our ambitious goal of building the nation’s Best Run Government.
Overhauling the review process for police shootings for greater transparency and accountability
Following last year’s convening of a six-person King County Inquest Process and Review Committee to examine the public forum that investigates the circumstances surrounding law enforcement-involved deaths, Executive Constantine announced a series of reforms to make the process more transparent and meaningful.
Making it easier to hike mountain forests without having to drive or park
Hikers boarded Trailhead Direct for more than 10,000 round trips during the first full season of the transit-to-trails service, increasing the number of people who explored King County’s mountain forests without having to drive or park.
Increasing the pet adoption rate by a record 20 percent
Regional Animal Services of King County – which has dramatically increased the pet-save rate in recent years – increased pet adoptions by a record-setting 20 percent last year, delivering on Executive Constantine’s commitment to transform humane animal care.