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King County selects Participatory Budgeting steering committee members to guide $11 million investments in urban unincorporated areas

April 18, 2023


King County is bringing back Participatory Budgeting for another round. This month, it announced the 29 steering committee members from its five urban, unincorporated areas who will help guide $11 million in community driven funding.


Following a successful first round to community driven funding, King County has launched another round of Participatory Budgeting. Today it announced the more than two-dozen residents from its urban, unincorporated areas who will help guide Participatory Budgeting this time around.

Participatory Budgeting is a community centered budget process in which the community decides what improvements and services should receive public funding in King County’s five urban, unincorporated areas:

  • Skyway
  • White Center/North Highline
  • East Federal Way
  • Fairwood
  • East Renton

The newly announced steering committee members will design and carry out the process, which will be centered on racial equality. It builds on community strengths and addresses specific priorities that these communities have identified.

King County Local Services accepted applications from dozens of residents who hoped to serve on the committee, which met for the first time as group Thursday at the Skyway Fire Department. It will now meet regularly.

Below are the Community Investment Committee members and the areas they represent:

North Highline/White Center

  • Robert Baker
  • Ruth Contrearas Rodriguez
  • Justin Cox
  • Heather Patrick
  • Sarey Savy
  • Pat Thompson
  • Vannra Yan

Skyway/West Hill

  • LaCretiah Claytor
  • John Dickerson
  • Cynthia Edwards
  • Brandon Houston
  • Diane McClain
  • Ann Okwuwolu
  • Terrence Williams

East Federal Way

  • Jerry Jennings
  • Marcy Lang
  • Yamiletc Rodriguez
  • Deborah Salem
  • Tajiawnna Sterling
  • Barbara Tisi
  • Jean-Paul Yafali

East Renton

  • Anthony Curtis
  • Jeremy Gitchel
  • Marilyn Schafer
  • Lorraine Swalley


  • Mario Bolden
  • Beau Ervin
  • Suzy Gillett
  • Eric Tadeja

Participatory Budgeting

In 2021, the King County Council approved Executive Dow Constantine’s new approach to community investment—one that’s centered on racial equity. It gives people who live, work, play, or worship in the county’s five urban unincorporated areas the chance to directly choose how more than $11 million is spent in their communities.

Participatory budgeting allows communities to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending. Residents help decide how to spend money on capital projects (physical things that are bought, built, installed, or fixed up) or programs and services.

The funds for the capital projects are backed by bonds. The funds for programs and services in North Highline/White Center and Skyway-West Hill come from King County’s general fund and are supported by marijuana retail sales tax revenue.

The Community Investment Budget Committee, a.k.a., the steering committee, a group of residents from King County’s urban unincorporated areas, met virtually to create the framework for the new participatory budgeting process.

The Committee then asked the public to submit ideas for projects that voters would choose to receive funding. The program then identified 40 community volunteers committed to serving as “Proposal Advocates” to help build selected ideas into detailed proposals that listed on the ballot for community vote.

The work, planning and community building culminated last August with a public vote that was open to anyone 12 years or older who lived, worked, went to school or worshipped in any of the five areas. Residents voted online and on paper. Local Services staff, CIBC members and Proposal Advocates canvassed all five areas, from National Night Out celebrations to community festivals to grocery stores.

By the end of that week, residents cast more than 2,600 ballots and selected 46 projects across the five unincorporated areas that King County will fund as part of its first participatory budgeting process. Residents voted – online and on paper – earlier this month, and the winning projects were announced during a ceremony in Skyway.


  • Local Services Director John Taylor: This latest version of the Participatory Budgeting steering committee represents the continued commitment by Executive Constantine, the County Council and the community to give residents a voice in how public dollars are spent. Participatory Budgeting has shown that people truly care about their communities and want to help shape them for the better.
  • Community Investment Committee Program Manager Gloria Briggs: “I am thrilled at the opportunity to again help give power to community. The first round of Participatory Budgeting was an amazing opportunity that centered on the voice of community members throughout the whole process. It empowered residents, who turned out by the thousands to help shape how public money would be invested in their communities. And while the first round was successful and provided a template for how PB can work, I have no doubt that the second round – with this new group of passionate community members – can be as successful, if not more.”


Brent Champaco, Local Services, 206-477-9094,