Rotary members sit down with county executive

Renton Rotary members recently had the chance to ask King County Executive Dow Constantine about Sound Transit 3, the landfill, composting plant, asphalt plant and homelessness last week.

As part of a listening tour, Constantine came to Renton Rotary to discuss the state of the county and take public questions. About 45 club members were in attendance.

Sound Transit is looking at creating a bus rapid transit system to downtown Renton that would help keep the city better connected. At the meeting, a resident asked what the plans for Sound Transit 3 were, based of the extreme growth seen in the area.

Constantine said the project has an environmental and social benefits, and that transit was important to help people in the region thrive.

“Us being stuck in traffic makes it harder to get ahead,” he said.

Another topic addressed was the proposed plans for the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.

Many locals addressed this, a proposed asphalt plant on Maple Valley Highway, and the Cedar Groves Composting Plant, at a special meeting of King County Council March 20.

A club member who attended that meeting asked Constantine for his comments on those issues.

The asphalt plant was permitted but the council can continue to debate the issue, he said. King 5 previously reported that Constantine’s former chief of staff is now lobbying for the asphalt plant.

In 2008, as a King County councilmember, Constantine pointed out he voted “no” on a large ordinance that included rezoning the land from rural residential to industrial.

At the Rotary meeting, he explained the options county council has for the landfill, and that the waste-to-energy plant is much more advanced than those of the past and it’s a possibility for the area.

The composting plant referred to was Maple Valley Cedar Groves Composting plant. Cedar Groves has been the subject of numerous odor lawsuits, so much so the company went to state legislators twice to ask to protect them from being sued. Cedar Groves has six locations, four others in King County.

At the Rotary meeting, Constantine said he has inquired about possible technological solutions to the smells, and understands that odors exist but that the function of the compost was necessary.

Another person asked about what was being done to address homelessness, and specifically the impact of substance abuse that they watched in KOMO 4’s segment “Seattle Is Dying.”

Constantine said folks who are deeply debilitated and chronically homeless need intervention, but that it’s only a quarter of people who are considered homeless. He said challenges for those who face homelessness range.

He also said nurses and physicians are going out to identify people who need this help, with $1.5 million from the county to assist in opioid treatment.

Constantine also gave about 20 minutes of remarks on his work as executive for King County, including the Best Starts for Kids program, health care, a renewed Parks levy scheduled for the August ballot and Metro and Sound Transit.

He ended his remarks by stating that the region has the capacity to do things that can’t be done elsewhere, but requires the work of businesses, organizations and individuals to achieve it.

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