King County executive releases top 17 accomplishments in 2017

Transition to battery-powered buses leads the list.

  • Wednesday, December 20, 2017 1:10pm
  • News
King County Executive Dow Constantine, right, at a press conference about zero emissions Metro buses. Courtesy Photo, King County

King County Executive Dow Constantine, right, at a press conference about zero emissions Metro buses. Courtesy Photo, King County

King County Executive Dow Constantine released his list of the county’s top 17 accomplishments in 2o17.

“As you can see by this list of top accomplishments, we made progress this year on mobility, social justice, climate change and housing – actions that improve the quality of life in our region,” Constantine said in a news release.

The list:

• 1 Leading the nation in the transition to battery-powered buses

The executive is accelerating the transition to zero-emissions transportation by making one of the largest bus fleets in the United States all-electric by as early as 2034.

• 2 Preventing youth and family homelessness, delivering on the promise of Best Starts for Kids

The first Best Starts for Kids initiative launched by the executive prevented more than 3,000 people from becoming homeless in its first year. Researchers at MIT and Notre Dame selected the initiative for an academic study on the effectiveness of homelessness prevention.

• 3 Reforming the juvenile justice system to make it more just and equitable

King County made significant progress this year to reform the juvenile justice system, including plans to apply a public health lens and creating community partnerships that will help us achieve shared goals.

• 4 Demonstrating King County’s commitment as an inclusive, welcoming community

The Executive reinforced King County proud reputation as a welcoming, inclusive community by contributing $1 million to provide critical services to immigrants and refugees whose health, safety, and human rights are at risk.

• 5 Providing regional leadership to confront climate change

King County bolstered its reputation as a national leader in the effort to confront climate change in 2017, delivering on the executive’s commitment to protect the region’s natural environment while creating more resilient communities.

• 6 Establishing King County as a global leader in in the fight against HIV/AIDS

King County is one of the first counties in the United States to achieve a major milestone set by the World Health Organization to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Public Health – Seattle & King County reached the goal three years ahead of schedule.

• 7 Simplifying Metro Transit fares: A single fare, no matter the time or destination

The County Council approved a proposal by the Executive to create a single standard fare for all Metro Transit boardings, eliminating zones and peak hours.

• 8 Providing more integrated treatment for addiction and mental health, prioritizing people who are homeless

King County helped open a new detox facility that will offer integrated treatment for mental health and substance-use disorders – including opioid addiction – that prioritizes bed space for people who are homeless.

• 9 Providing more funds for transit improvements, boosting regional economic development with Convention Place Station sale

In a move that boosts regional economic development while bringing in additional funds for improved bus service and reliability, the executive created an agreement to sell Metro’s Convention Place Station to the Washington State Convention Center for $161 million – netting $275 million in principal and interest over 32 years.

• 10 Reducing flood risk, strengthening salmon habitat and promoting a vibrant farming community with an historic accord

Snoqualmie Valley farmers, residents and fish and wildlife advocates brought together by the executive achieved a landmark agreement to reduce flood risk, strengthen salmon habitat, and promote a prosperous farming community.

• 11 Making food safety ratings more accurate, consistent and transparent

Public Health – Seattle & King County worked with top researchers, food inspectors, and community advocates to develop a new way of communicating how well local restaurants perform in terms of food safety. The new window signs and ratings system ensure that King County remains at the forefront of accurate and transparent food safety ratings.

• 12 Creating safer, healthier schools and neighborhoods

King County will make it easier for children and youth to eat healthy, exercise and avoid harmful substances with the help of 17 local nonprofits that successfully competed for Best Starts for Kids funding.

• 13 Leading emergency response to repair the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant after storm damage

Following a major storm, employees at the Wastewater Treatment Division worked day and night to repair the West Point Treatment Plant.

• 14 Connecting more young people to opportunities with the successful ORCA summer program

The number of young people who rode Metro and Sound Transit buses, trains, and streetcars surged this past summer during a reduced-fare pilot project launched by the executive.

• 15 Expanding access to same-day outpatient mental health and addiction treatment

The executive created a new partnership between King County, Ballmer Group, Third Sector Capital Partners, and local service providers to increase same-day access to behavioral health services.

• 16 Helping more people sign up for affordable insurance with a new health care enrollment center

The executive opened the Federal Way Enrollment Center, one of only two full-service offices in the state to help people find the right health insurance plan. Despite federal efforts to kill health reform, King County remains one of the nation’s top Affordable Care Act success stories.

• 17 Uniting more cats and dogs with forever families, building on the successful transformation of regional animal services

The executive delivered on his promise to transform the county’s once-struggling animal service agency, making it one of the highest-performing open shelters in the United States. This year, King County earned a grant that will help the staff and volunteers at Regional Animal Services of King County connect even more cats and dogs with forever families.

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