King County

Gordon Werner via Creative Commons / Flickr

King County has signed into law a climate action plan that many local environmentalists are applauding as one of the boldest in the United States. How communities will meet their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a big question, as representatives get ready for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris next month.

Bridget Coila via Creative Commons / Flickr

Bonding with a new baby could soon become less financially stressful for King County's more than 14,000 employees.

The county is considering an expansion of its paid parental leave program – allowing its employees up to 12 weeks away from the office after the birth or adoption of a child. 

Right now, new parents who work for King County can cobble together paid leave from accrued sick pay and vacation time to be with their babies.

Paula WIssel

Sex trafficking of minors and others coerced into prostitution is only possible when there is a market. According to the advocacy group Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking, one way to stem that demand is to get workplaces involved.

Alan Berner / Associate Press


A King County jury on Friday found Christopher Monfort guilty of aggravated first-degree murder for the 2009 shooting death of Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton.

The jury of six men and six women now will move to the penalty phase of the case. After additional testimony set to begin on June 16, they will decide if Monfort should face the death penalty or life in prison.


The state currently has a moratorium on the death penalty.  Governor Jay Inslee has said no executions will happen in Washington State while he is in office.

Eric Peacock / Flickr

King County officials are asking local voters to support a property tax hike so local law enforcement officers, firefighters and other emergency first-responders can get an upgrade for their aging radio system. 

“It’s about 18 years old. And the problem is twofold," said Marlin Blizinsky, with the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network. "One is that the system is wearing out.”

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Small communities can be laboratories for societal change. That was one of the messages as a coalition of cities in King County celebrated commitments they’ve made to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Leaders representing more than 60 percent of the county’s population have now signed on to goals outlined by the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration.

King County WA / Flickr

The economy in King County is booming, but county government is planning to cut more than 500 jobs to balance its budget. King County Executive Dow Constantine says the problem is that state laws restrict the ability of local government to raise taxes to keep up with growth. 

Courtesy of King County Wastewater Division.

Gov. Jay Inslee took a walk through King County’s wastewater facility in Discovery Park on Tuesday as part of his tour of sites affected by climate change. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

King County is poised to join the city of Seattle and several other municipalities in passing a resolution banning the burning and the transportation of coal in Washington state. 

King County Council member Larry Philips is leading the charge to bring the county on board with what towns and cities all over the region have already done: saying loud and clear that coal is not the answer to the future of energy. The opponents are calling for a comprehensive environmental review of the effects of a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. 

Paula Wissel / KPLU

Children who live in homes with an unlocked gun are nine times more likely to commit suicide, according to data compiled by Public Health – Seattle & King County between 1999 and 2012. The same data, released Monday, shows more than 5,000 of the county’s children live in homes with an unlocked firearm.

In response to the new findings, King County has launched the Safe Storage Saves Lives campaign through which ten local and national retailers will offer discounts on secure lockboxes, the county announced Monday.

Rogelio V. Soli / AP Photo

At least 82 King County workers have received advance layoff notices as a result of the partial federal government shutdown. The workers administer food assistance to women, infants, and children through the program known as WIC. That food aid is in jeopardy as the shutdown continues.

Associated Press

As the state continues to hone its licensing rules for recreational marijuana businesses, local governments are working on land-use regulations that will determine where they can go. King County has drafted a new zoning law for unincorporated areas and is seeking public comment before it’s finalized. 

Wonderlane photo / Flickr

The city of Seattle and King County will spend $1.46 billion on upgrades to public sewer systems aimed at reducing the amount of polluted water entering the Puget Sound and other waterways, according to a federal settlement filed under the Clean Water Act. 

Under the agreement, the city and county will also pay $750,000 in fines for dumping raw sewage into the Sound and several lakes. 

Gabriel Spitzer

If you're faced with a serious emergency, chances are you'll pick up the phone and call 9-1-1. But how about sending a text message instead?  It’s not something 9-1-1 operators can handle now. But, that could soon change.

Paula Wissel

In King County, the first marriage license to a same-sex couple was issued at exactly 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

People cheered as King County Executive Dow Constantine counted down and  declared, "Happy Marriage Equality Day."

Paula Wissel

Same sex marriage becomes legal in Washington at midnight tonight.  King County is pulling out all the stops to accommodate the hundreds of couples expected to show up at twelve to get marriage licenses.

Same-sex couples can start applying for marriage licenses in Washington at midnight on Thursday, and county officials say they’ll be ready.

The King County auditor’s office will open bright and early: Couples will be able to start queuing up at 10:00 the night before. County Executive Dow Constantine will preside over a special licensing ceremony for a handful of couples right after the stroke of midnight, and the office will keep operating right through 6:30 that night.

Courtesy Port of Kingston

Their loss is our gain. That’s one way some folks are looking at the
failure of the Port of Kingston’s passenger-only ferry service.

The last sailing of the shuttle between downtown Seattle and Kingston was
September 28th.

Less than two weeks to go until Election Day, and some people are still scrambling to register for the Oct. 29 in-person deadline.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

A cultural shift is taking place in Seattle. It’s the elimination of a free-ride zone downtown, for bus riders.

It’s been in place for four decades. And on Friday (Sept. 28) it will go away. 

King County

Celebrating taxes is a pretty uncommon event, but the King County Council did just that yesterday to mark the 30th anniversary of a property tax and the more than 100,000 acres of public lands it has paid to preserve.

The council also made its praise of the Conservation Futures Tax official with a resolution honoring those who created the program to spend the money.


The dream of a bike trail stretching from Renton to Woodinville has moved one step closer to a reality. The Port of Seattle commission today voted to approve a $15 million sale of former rail land to King County.

courtesy King County

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine have proposed new development incentives for Seattle's bustling South Lake Union neighborhood.

The program would allow dramatically taller buildings in exchange for extra funds from developers to preserve farmland and forests in rural King County.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

About 1,160 children in King County spent last month in the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services. Most were separated from their parents because of unsafe conditions at home, such as drugs, violence or neglect.

But it may come as a surprise to learn that most eventually will be safely returned to their parents.

flickr photo by shaggyshoo

The Metropolitan King County Council approved a two-year incentive program providing eight free bus tickets to drivers renewing car tabs.

Cris Pierry

Finding a place to rent can be a hassle.  If you don’t have much money,  it’s even more difficult.

Now, a new website,,  provides help in locating reasonably priced housing  in King County. The website is a free service for tenants and landlords. It's been in operation a little over a month and is averaging about 12,000 searches a week.


By Collin Tong at Crosscut

A coalition of local and global health groups have banded together to bring the lessons they’ve learned in developing countries to south King County, where the health index is as bad as Nairobi.

Read more on Humanosphere.

If you’re confused about what to do with the plastic bags you get at grocery stores, you’re not alone. 

Many people know that they’re bad for the environment and that they can be recycled, but how to recycle them is another question.

Photo courtesy Children's Hospital

It’s been eight months since Nissan made its first delivery of its all-electric Leaf car to a customer in the pacific Northwest.

Now, driving an all-electric vehicle is well on its way to becoming mainstream reality. A pilot program is installing thousands of electric car charging stations in the Puget Sound region and making them more available to regular folks.

King County prosecutors have spent nearly $700,000 on two active death penalty cases, but the defense cost is even higher — $4.3 million and climbing.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told The Seattle Times death penalty opponents are trying to hold off executions by running up the bills for investigators, forensics and expert witnesses.