On Monday, June 4, the Area Council held its monthly meeting. Our guest speaker was Major Troy Olmsted, the new Commander of King County Sheriff’s Office Precinct #3. Other major topics discussed were: John Henry Mine; Black Diamond Area Stewardship Plan; and 196th Ave SE Corridor Study.
Major Troy Olmsted is the new Commander of King County Sheriff’s Office Precinct #3 (South- east King County). The Precinct’s geographic area is large, ~700 sq. mi, and extends from I-90 to the north, the cities of Renton, Kent, and Auburn to the west, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to the east, and the Pierce County line to the south. The Major has minimum staff of eight officers on the road at any time to cover such a large area. Sometimes officers contracted by the Sheriff’s office to cities help with common issues and vice versa.
For close to 2 years Major Olmsted was the Operations Captain in the Precinct and now has been Commander for about 6 months. He has been in law enforcement for 30 years (with 20 years in King County) and also served in the U.S. Air Force. His philosophy includes: Being a good steward of the public’s money, doing best job that can be done, and having the public’s trust and strong community ties.
The Major showed crime statistics for the past several years and how they have trended. A critical statistic was Burglaries (home and property crimes), which have gone down from 2015 to 2017 by ~50%. The Major emphasized the three “D’s”–deter, delay, and detect that residents can employ to better protect their homes.
The Major emphasized that members of the public should call 9-1-1 when they see something happening. This gives his officers the opportunity to possibly witness the crime in progress or act more quickly on the concerns.
Precinct #3 is located at: 22300 SE 231st St in the City of Maple Valley. Office hours are 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM Monday-Friday. Phone number is 206-477-6446 (call 9-1-1 for all emergencies). The Major’s e-mail address is: email@example.com.
John Henry Mine
The Area Council has followed the Pacific Coast Coal Company’s (PCCC’s) proposed start-up of coal mining at the John Henry Mine just outside of Black Diamond for the past 12 years.
In May 2014 the Area Council provided detailed comments to the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement (OSMRE) on the “Proposed Significant Revision of Permit WA0007D for Resumption of Coal Mining at Pacific Coast Coal Company’s John Henry No. 1 Mine; and Proposed Renewal of Permit WA0007D.”
At that time the Area Council recommended permit WA00070 be denied, especially since in 2006 the permit was granted and no mining commenced. The Area Council remains concerned that this may simply further push the start of any site reclamation until the next permit to resume mining is submitted. It is not prudent to continue to delay reclamation, as continued delays may result in further loss of water quality and environment quality to members of the Public, as well as Lake Sawyer and nearby creeks and lakes.
OSMRE is the lead agency. However, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER) have substantial interests in this proposal and have each submitted detailed comments to the federal OSMRE.
PCCC has applied for a wastewater discharge permit under the Federal Clean Water Act, administered by the WA Department of Ecology (DOE). This permit sets limits for chemicals and contaminants that mine operations discharge to public waterways. DOE is accepting comments on this application until they issue a draft permit, which is expected in mid-November.
A variety of documents are available for review on the Area Council’s Environment Committee web page: http://gmvuac.org/environment/. These include the federal Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), initial OSMRE comments, and the comments on this proposal submitted by the Area Council, DPER, and DNR.
The Area Council plans to invite WA DNR, WA DOE, PCCC, and Puget Soundkeeper to future meetings to discuss these issues.
Black Diamond Area Stewardship Plan
The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP) has released a DRAFT Plan that provides a 10-yr vision for management and stewardship of King County open spaces and natural resources in the Black Diamond Area. These areas include: Henry’s Ridge Open Space, the northern portion of Black Diamond Open Space, Ravensdale Retreat Natural Area, and Cemetery Reach Natural Area. The intent is that these lands be managed to protect natural systems and provide opportunities for public recreation and environmental education.
The Area Council’s Environment Committee has reviewed the DRAFT Plan and presented comments, which were discussed. Issues of particular concern are: (1) Noxious weed control following forest thinning; (2) Protecting natural systems should be the highest priority; and (3) Conflicts between mountain bikers and hikers/equestrians should be minimized.
A final set of comments will be submitted to the King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks by its June 11 deadline and will be posted on the Area Council’s web site: www.g- mvuac.org.
196th Ave SE Corridor Study
Last month the Area Council provided a Situation-Target-Proposal (STP) to the King County Department of Transportation (KCDOT) that framed particular issues and offered potential solutions related to safety concerns along the 196th Ave SE Corridor from SR-169 to SE Wax Rd.
KCDOT responded positively to the Area Council’s request and decided to conduct a study of the corridor that is expected to take at least 6 months. This study will involve on-site observations and measurements, detailed review of past collisions, traffic speed counts, and evaluation of sight distances for curves and intersections to determine what changes are warranted to the corridor.
The Area Council will work with KCDOT during the conduct of its study and has requested to participate in site visits, as required.
Next Area Council Monthly Meeting
Monday, July 2, from 7 – 9:30 PM, at the Fire Station located at the SE corner of SE 231st St & SR-169 intersection across from the Police Precinct. All members of the Public are welcome. Each meeting begins with an open Public Comment period.
Your Area Council serves as an all-volunteer, locally elected advisory body to King County on behalf of all rural unincorporated area residents living in the Tahoma School District. For more information, please visit: www.gmvuac.org.