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West Hill Voted Against Annexation, Must Now Accept Its Future As Unincorporated King County

Patch welcomes letters to the editor. Please submit letters via email to jenny.manning@patch.com and include your full name and city of residence.

Skyway has been a derelict, forgotten, sinking ship for decades.  Renton threw us a lifeline, spent a lot of time, effort and money preparing to annex us, but it wasn't good enough for some, and others wanted to see if Tukwila or Seattle could throw us a better lifeline, even though we were in Renton's PAA, so we decided not to be rescued. 

King County warned us long ago that services to unincorporated urban areas would diminish, and they kept their promise, when they tried to close Skyway Park, threatened to close our storefront, and removed our storefront deputy.  We fought hard to get everything back, but it wasn't easy, and there are no guarantees we will keep what we have regained.
Having now been given a chance to vote, we can no longer say we are a disadvantaged area that didn't have the opportunity to vote for city-level services to replace the rural-level services the county is obligated to provide.  So having voted for diminished service levels the county warned us they would provide, we can no longer whine about: 

  • lack of business development
  • casinos
  • our fire department's ongoing financial challenges
  • a park that needs renovation
  • lack of a community center
  • lack of neighborhood associations
  • fireworks
  • lack of traffic speed control (motor unit was dissolved)
  • unmaintained roads, especially in the wintertime
  • lack of response to power outages when roads are icy
  • an escalating crime rate that hurts property values
  • the $20 car license fee for rural roads
  • lax code enforcement (Mt. Anderson)
  • lack of infrastructure improvements (City of Renton helped us get 75-76th Ave. S. sidewalk project)
  • defunding and removal of recognition for our West Hill Community Association...(instead we have one county CSA rep)
  • lax animal control
  • rising garbage rates
  • lack of influence in state and county government
  • lack of sufficient law enforcement resources


Many of us on the hill are very depressed since the election, and disappointed that the NO group has nothing to offer us as a viable alternative to annexation.  The City of Renton has lost interest, will likely remove us from their PAA, no other city is going to hand us a lifeline, and we are in the worst position ever.  This was a very bad choice for the Skyway community both long and short-term, unless we like it just the way it is now.

—Sonja Bowden, West Hill

Question Mark November 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I have been an advocate during the run up to the annexation election for residents of West Hill to educate themselves and to consider the best interests of the community in their decision. I was surprised by the significant "trust gap" that emerged during the election for annexation. In both ballot measures, the North Highline annexation to Burien and the West Hill annexation to Renton, a good part of the rhetoric was about supposed ulterior motives of certain people and groups (they must exist, right?) that cannot be trusted. The point being to cast doubt on the question in the first place. Unfortunately, the debate never elevated beyond that level; those who chose a path of blind alienation were too many to allow the question at the ballot box to win. Now, some say, we need to come together as a community to overcome our election differences and move forward as a community. I don't disagree, but I would ask this: when community members were coming together as a community in cooperation with King County and the City of Renton to craft the best available option to moving forward with municipal governance on West Hill, where were you then? Folks who are experienced in municipal government can see pretty clearly, I think, that the best governance alignment for West Hill is with Renton even if it is not entirely palatable at first sniff to the city or the residents here in West Hill. Let's first stop trying to make the question more complicated than that.

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