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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine applauds King County Council for approving innovative funding for new open space

Summary

King County Councilmembers approved legislation proposed by Executive Constantine to protect the region’s most vulnerable forests, farmlands and shorelines. The ordinance supports Land Conservation Initiative goals of preserving vital and at-risk open space lands in King County within a generation, and improving green space access in underserved communities.

Story

In May, Executive Constantine proposed financial changes to allow King County to sell more bonds secured by the Conservation Futures Tax (CFT), a property tax enacted in 1982 that is currently assessed at 3.8 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value. In 36 years, it has protected 100,000 acres of forests, shorelines, greenways and trails.

Approved by the King County Council today by a vote of 8-1, the measure will bring in as much as $148 million over the next four years to protect the most vulnerable open and green space. This is part of the Executive’s goal of saving 65,000 acres in 30 years, outlined in his Land Conservation Initiative launched earlier this year.

"I am determined to save the last, best places in King County, and I commend the Council for their action to help make this goal a reality," said Executive Constantine. "This legislation enables us to ramp up the pace of open space preservation while ensuring communities throughout King County have access to green space."

The ordinance also adopts standards allowing the local match requirement to be waived in equity areas. Providing local match funding has been difficult for communities which traditionally missed out on the health, quality of life, economic, and environmental benefits associated with forests and green spaces.

"Many communities have experienced – and still experience – a history of unequal and limited investment in parks, open space and trail access, which limits the ability of people to lead healthy lives," said De’Sean Quinn, Tukwila City Councilmember and co-chair of King County’s Open Space Equity Cabinet. 

"The local match requirement has been a barrier for cash-strapped communities to access CFT funds to make open space investments," said Councilmember Quinn. "Removing the match means these communities can now seek CFT funds for greenspace investments in neighborhoods with the greatest needs." 


Relevant links

Quotes

I am determined to save the last, best places in King County, and I commend the Council for their action to help make this goal a reality. This legislation enables us to ramp up the pace of open space preservation while ensuring communities throughout King County have access to green space.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

It is of utmost importance to preserve as much open space as we can so the natural resources and beauty of our region can be experienced and cherished for generations to come. I am confident that this initiative will help the County be better stewards of our undeveloped and natural lands while at the same time provide opportunities for our neighbors living in denser urban neighborhoods to have greater access to green space.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Council 

This major conservation initiative will protect the last great farmlands, forests, and open spaces in King County, in perpetuity, making sure that they will be here for future generations, for everyone. I am honored to partner with Executive Constantine on what will be remembered as one of the most significant conservation measures in King County history.

Rod Dembowski, King County Council

Many communities have experienced – and still experience – a history of unequal and limited investment in parks, open space and trail access, which limits the ability of people to lead healthy lives. The local match requirement has been a barrier for cash-strapped communities to access CFT funds to make open space investments. Removing the match means these communities can now seek CFT funds for greenspace investments in neighborhoods with the greatest needs.

De'Sean Quinn, Tukwila councilmember

For more information, contact:

Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography