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Open Space Equity Cabinet

Open Space Equity Cabinet

Report and Recommendations to King County Executive and Council

The Open Space Equity Cabinet’s Report shares the Cabinet’s recommendations related to parks and open space funding policies and programs.

The Cabinet is committed to authentically embed an equity-based approach into how the region invests in its open space infrastructure to redress the disparities in access to parks and open spaces, and thus allow our communities to share in the health and wellbeing benefits these open spaces provide.

One quarter of King County’s residents, roughly 500,000 people, do not live within ready access to a publicly owned park, green space, or trail. Most of these residents live in communities with the greatest and most acute needs. The Cabinet refers to these communities as “Opportunity Areas” for increased investments in open space infrastructure.

The report puts forward intentional actions King County can take, and is already taking, to affect change such that public open space funds are deployed in a targeted manner to ensure open space resources are enjoyed by those lacking it and who need it the most.

Specific strategies and actions include:

  • Recommended code changes to King County’s Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) levy in Chapter 26.12 of the King County Code
  • Implementation of a step-wise Action Plan for community engagement around the opportunities and access to funding sources for open spaces, parks, trails, community gardens, etc.
  • Metrics and criteria to help guide where CFT funds are deployed in genuine Opportunity Areas

This report and the efforts of the Open Space Equity Cabinet aligns with, and seeks to manifest, the outcomes envisioned in the 2010 King County Council Equity and Social Justice Ordinance 16948, and the 2016 King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan.

Members of the Open Space Equity Cabinet know that to affect change we must work collectively across sectors of community organizations and government to make upstream investments in our communities. The Cabinet collaborated closely with County staff and the Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) Advisory Committee to produce this report and recommendations included therein.

For more information about the Land Conservation Initiative and Equity, contact Heather Ramsay Ahndan, Project/Program Manager.