VIDEO: King County Executive asks voters to chip in to save more green spaces

(WSB/WCN photo)

$1.81 a month to raise more money to save the “last, best” green spaces from disappearing.

That’s what King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing charging property owners in a ballot measure he announced today at White Center Heights Park.

The cost, Constantine says, is what the owner of a “median-priced” home in King County would pay if voters approve the measure, which he is asking the County Council to place on the November general-election ballot.

Even at that, he says, it’s not an entirely new tax – he says it would bring back what property owners used to pay for the half-century-old Conservation Futures Program. The announcement explains:

Land conservation in King County – and 13 other counties – is largely funded by the Conservation Futures program that the state created 50 years ago. A series of actions by the state has dramatically reduced the amount of revenue that the program can generate for counties. Voters have the option to restore the local program to its original rate of 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value from its current rate of 3.12 cents. That would cost the owner of a median-value home about $21.75 more per year.

Constantine was joined at the park – setting of other media events for environmental programs – by De’Sean Quinn, the Tukwila City Councilmember who co-chairs the Land Conservation Advisory Committee, as well as Open Space Equity Cabinet co-chair Michelle Benetua, Trust for Public Land’s Northwest director David Patton, and King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. Here’s our video of what they said:

The money raised by this would, according to the announcement, “accelerate the Land Conservation Initiative, a regional partnership of communities, cities, farmers, businesses, and environmental leaders to protect 65,000 acres of the highest conservation-value open space.” Constantine launched the initiative three years ago. The land it’s saved includes a five-acre site in North Highline. That’s one of the sites intended to bring public green space closer to more people; Constantine said that 20 percent of the people in King County don’t live close to any. It’s about equitable access, climate change, wildlife protection, and more, he said while making the case. Quinn lauded him for the “political will” to push for this “to meet the urgency of now.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Dembowski, who chairs the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee, will sponsor the proposal. Councilmembers have until late July to approve sending it to the November ballot. Meantime, the Land Conservation Initiative continues working on potential sites to protect – not only via buying them; sometimes other tools are used, such as conservation easements, or the purchase of development rights, to take the pressure off property owners. Constantine said they can’t comment on what’s in negotiations or under consideration, for obvious reasons.

27 Replies to "VIDEO: King County Executive asks voters to chip in to save more green spaces"

  • WS Res May 19, 2022 (11:26 pm)

    Excellent. Yes please.

  • KM May 20, 2022 (12:13 am)

    Heck yes.

  • Plf May 20, 2022 (1:00 am)

    Unfortunate timing to ask for anything more from folks, incremental requests add up especially when I’m confident there will be other requests for other items all deemed important 

  • Thomas Wood May 20, 2022 (4:54 am)

    King County has already told us they’re going to raise are property taxes.Now Dow wants to tack on another tax.Find the money in what the county takes in!1

  • Lola May 20, 2022 (7:59 am)

    No Thank you Dow, you take enough of my money as it is.  You will take this money and not use it where it is supposed to go just like you always do.  

  • Fred May 20, 2022 (8:15 am)

    No. There is so much mismanaged money in Seattle and King County. Use that money instead of raising taxes. People are moving away in droves because they can’t afford to live here anymore. 

  • Honey May 20, 2022 (8:28 am)

    If Dow really cares about green spaces he (as the Vice chair of the Sound Transit  Board Executive Committee) can stop the destruction of green spaces, urban canopy and wildlife habitats slated for West Seattle  in ST West Seattle Light Rail Link Extension DEIS.   The above states “ Constantine said that 20 percent of the people in King County don’t live close to any. It’s about equitable access, climate change, wildlife protection, and more, he said while making the case. Quinn lauded him for the “political will” to push for this “to meet the urgency of now.”.   How can Constantine  justify these competing narratives?

    • Bus May 20, 2022 (12:43 pm)

      Car infrastructure destroys more green spaces and urban canopy than light rail.  There, done.

  • Jan May 20, 2022 (8:49 am)

    Whoa! Did I read this correctly? Dow Constantine supports protecting green spaces? That’s great news!  Now he can focus on saving West Seattle green spaces and wildlife habits that will be permanently lost with the construction of the ST West Seattle Light Rail Link.

  • TaxMeMorePlease May 20, 2022 (9:08 am)


    We’re all paying ridiculously high gas prices & the prices for just about everything else is crazy.  So it makes perfect sense to RAISE TAXES on property owners AND renters.  I guarantee your landlord will not just eat this tax increase, your rent WILL GO UP. 

    So we have inflation on everything AND your rent/mortgage will go up too … brilliant.

    • Jm May 20, 2022 (1:23 pm)

      I couldn’t agree more! It has become impossible to defend anything this city/county/state government does anymore. Every time they want to tack on yet another tax they try to sell it by “and it will only cost……” per median income home!  Maybe when other issues are truly addressed and dealt with including a working WS bridge, RV and tent encampments removed and services/housing available to the displaced , more police to actually respond to calls and an array of other issues that contribute to our daily quality of life would I be so inclined to even consider any tax hike no matter the size and no matter what it is for!  I truly find it outrageous that anyone at any level of government would have the audacity to talk tax hikes in this current climate! Simply out of touch with the day to day reality most of us are living in. 

  • WallyinSea May 20, 2022 (9:11 am)

    At a time with an abundance of tax revenue at King County and state of WA- money in the bank.  Old Dow can’t get enough of your money.  Big No from me until he/ they can show they spend it wisely and be accountable for their spend. Stop giving our politicians blank checks.

  • Michael Waldo May 20, 2022 (9:17 am)

    Please, find another funding source. No more property taxes!My taxes are already going up due to the inflation in home prices.

  • Pessoa May 20, 2022 (9:41 am)

    I’ll leave my own very unfavorable impressions of the King County Executive  for another day,  but I don’t think this is the most pressing issue for most of us, with inflation really beginning to hurt people.    It is quite encouraging that some people are finally waking up to the boondogle that is the light rail extension, however.  

  • WS Taxpayer May 20, 2022 (10:36 am)

    Hard Pass.  More $$ tied up in bloated government bureaucracy.  Tired of the constant tap on the feeder bar known as the taxpayer wallets.  For ONCE I would love to see a tax levy voted down in this town.  Its always more more more…for the schools, for the parks, for the public transportation that we should have had decades ago. Prioritize what you have, make hard decisions – that is what us taxpayers are required to do, especially in this era of inflation.  Seems shallow to ask the taxpayers to chip in on a “vacation home” when gas is $5 and a loaf of bread is getting there…

    • FedUp May 20, 2022 (12:52 pm)

      Same. I have been here for decades and I have yet to see a single tax levy in this city voted down. Not a one. Yet, all of our infra is crumbling and the roads here make me feel like I am off-roading. With all the money we give, we should have the most efficient transit system in the world and our schools should be tops as well along with gold fixtures.

  • Jeff B. May 20, 2022 (11:22 am)

    I know of 40 pristine acres in Monroe that are going up for sale (old Growth and everything), does anyone know how to contact the Land Conservation folks? Thanks.

  • Peter May 20, 2022 (11:59 am)

    No, not during a time of rampant inflation where growing numbers of people live on the margins. King County needs to look for its funding within its existing budget. 

  • WSResident May 20, 2022 (1:06 pm)

    No thanks!  King County should be sitting on a windfall of money from years of property value increases.  And what have they done with that money?  

  • Futureminded May 20, 2022 (1:11 pm)

    Yes!  This would be a great investment.

  • Mark32 May 20, 2022 (1:38 pm)

    I like the idea, but they don’t take care of the space we have now.

  • Odd son May 20, 2022 (3:14 pm)

    Tone deaf.

  • Mj May 20, 2022 (5:46 pm)

    Mark32 – Agreed

  • WS Resident May 20, 2022 (8:01 pm)

    How about if they stop permitting developers and homeowners to cut down the trees in their yards and put up backyard cottages. Rather than taxing us for Green space why not just keep what’s already here.

  • Rusty May 20, 2022 (9:50 pm)

    Well, even with runaway inflation I would consider it – if it wasn’t being proposed by the same guy who has overseen millions of gallons of raw sewage being dumped into our beautiful Puget Sound.Fix our waste treatment sites first Dow. King County Executive is where the buck would stop with that – if we ever believed in accountability, that is.

  • J May 21, 2022 (6:20 pm)

    Is this really the most important thing on his plate right now? Until he stops categorizing drug addiction as a homeless problem and blaming a lack of law enforcement on the population getting more violent, he shouldn’t be asking for more money for trees.

  • Eldorado May 22, 2022 (6:30 am)

    Hard NO. $1.81 a month. Roughly $22 a year. 2.2 million king county residents. Very close to $50 million. To buy property call ‘green spaces’ that the county will have the luxury to sell in the future without our vote likely to cover some budget oversight with light rail or some ‘other’ bridge repair. Fix the stuff that’s already broken!!!

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