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“Retiring” county employees prepare for new adventures

Summary

Council approves transfer of surplus vanpool van to organizations throughout King County

Story

After years of being faithful county employees, three dozen recently “retired” King County Metro Vanpool vans are preparing for a future of helping meet the transportation needs of county residents. The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted a motion transferring the vehicles to local governments and community programs to provide transportation assistance.

“This program has been a huge success during my time on the Council,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott. “I am pleased to award the vans to deserving recipients again this year, as access to a reliable vehicle can increase access to vital services and programs.”

“Donating our decommissioned Metro Vans to nonprofits gives these vehicles ‘second lives’ serving senior centers, homeless shelters, and countless other organizations throughout the County,” said Council Vice Chair Kathy Lambert. “It is such a joy each year to deliver these vans to their new home! It’s fun to see all the opportunities it brings to various communities.”

“The van donation program allows the King County Council to provide direct support to nonprofits in our communities,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci. “’Retired,’ but still useable, vanpool vans give people better access to critical services and enriching programs.”

The retired vans have been part of Metro Transit’s vanpool fleet for at least six years and have reached the end of their service life. When the vans reach this age, they are considered surplus. The vehicles that are not donated are sold by the County.

“The retired Metro vans are a tangible way we can help our community-based organizations,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “I look forward to seeing the amazing work the South King County recipients will do with their new vans”

“These vans have a lot of miles left in them and it is heartening to know that they will be put to good use by organizations that help those in need and make our community a better place to live,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “Many in our community are hurting and sometimes finding a way to assist those organizations that help them can seem daunting and overwhelming. The van donation program reminds us that even little actions can make a big difference.”

“Repurposing retired Metro vans both maximizes County resources and allows community organizations to better serve residents,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn.

In 1996, the Council made its first donation of surplus vans. Over the last two decades, vans have been transferred to local nonprofit organizations to provide transportation for the disabled, low-income, young adults, and senior citizens.

“Since I first introduced the legislation to create the van donation program 22 years ago, King County has successfully recycled almost 600 vans in the service of helping some of our most vulnerable population,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “These ‘retired’ vans provide a critical lifeline for low-income, elderly, disabled and young people, by facilitating their ability to be productive and engaged members of their communities.”

“Every year I look forward to the opportunity to aid nonprofit organizations doing amazing work across King County,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “It is a privilege to donate retired Metro vans to these tremendous organizations, who will put them to great use serving the community. From transporting kids to recreational activities to delivering seniors to medical appointments, I can't wait to see these vans back out on the road.”

“These vans will help get seniors to appointments, take young people to events, and provides a transportation option to those with special needs,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “I wish these new county ‘retirees’ an active future of service to communities throughout King County!”

Governments, agencies and organizations that receive the vans must meet specific requirements:

• Capacity to support ongoing van operation, including assured funding for licensing, insuring, fueling and maintaining the van;
• Ability to provide qualified and trained drivers;
• Specific plans for use of the van to transport low-income, elderly or young people or people with disabilities, and assurance that the use shall be available to those persons without regard to affiliation with any particular organization;
• Ability to support county's public transportation function by reducing single occupancy vehicle trips, pollution and traffic congestion; supplementing services provided by the county's paratransit system and increasing the mobility for the transit-dependent for whom regular transit might not always be a convenient option.

The vanpool program provides mobility for a diverse array of King County residents, supports the positive work of various local organizations, and relieves traffic congestion by reducing the need for single-occupancy vehicles.

Interested organizations can contact the Councilmember representing their district for more information on applying for a vehicle.

 The organizations, agencies and governments receiving vans:

Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue
BSA Troop 008/Rainier Lions Insight Center
Camp Fire Central Puget Sound
Carnation Farms
Cascade Women's Program (Compass Housing Alliance)
Centro Rendu of St. Vincent de Paul Seattle/King County
City of Algona, Community Center
Cleveland STEM High School
DAWN – Domestic Abuse Women's Network
Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association
Eastridge Church
Enumclaw School District Special Needs Transition Program
Filipino Youth and Family Services
Friends of Youth
Kona Kai Coffee
KWA (Korean Women's Association)
Mt. Si Senior Center/Snoqualmie Valley Transportation
NEXUS
Northaven Senior Housing
North Shore Senior Center
Partner in Employment
Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre
Ryther
Salaam Cultural Museum
Sammamish Police Department/King County Sheriff's Explorer Program
Small Faces Child Development Center
Soccer Without Borders
Tahoma School District No. 409
Temple DeHirsch Sinai
The City of Covington
Tennis Outreach Programs of Puget Sound (TOPS)
United Indians of All Tribes Foundation
Valley Cities
Vine Maple Place


Contact the Council
Main phone:
206-477-1000
TTY/TDD:
206-296-1024
Email:
council@kingcounty.gov