Throughout his first term, Dow has made regional cooperation a priority. In his first six months in office, Dow visited all 39 King County cities and towns to meet with their elected and community leaders. Dow believes that by working together the County, its 39 cities, and other governments can better and more efficiently deliver services across this, the nation’s 13th most populous county. In the past four years the region has celebrated major cooperative efforts and created long-term partnerships.
Among the highlights:
Partnership for regional animal services – By reforming animal care and control, and putting new leadership in place, Dow made it possible for 25 cities to join in partnership with the new Regional Animal Services of King County. The animal shelter, which once had a shameful euthanasia rate of over 40 percent, now has among the lowest euthanasia rates among major jurisdictions nationwide, and that new approach is reflected in a new name: The King County Pet Adoption Center.
Eastside Rail Corridor acquired for rails and trails – The longtime dream of a world-class regional trail system that also preserves Eastside rail options moved closer to reality when Dow completed the acquisition of nearly 20 miles of the former Burlington Northern (BNSF) rail line. The purchase preserves a public corridor through the most urbanized areas of King County’s booming Eastside.
County and cities united for our transportation future – Dow worked on behalf of Sound Transit with City of Bellevue leaders to advance the planning and approval of East Link, the eastward expansion of regional light rail that will eventually reach Overlake and Redmond. And, working with an ad hoc group of mayors of several cities, Dow helped create a countywide transportation agenda for the Legislature – with clear agreement on the mobility needs of the people of this largest of Pacific Northwest counties - something that had not been done before.
Regional Transit Task Force – For more than a decade the various regions of the county had been in a political tug-of-war over the allocation of new bus service - or of service cuts. Dow appointed a countywide task force of county and city representatives, transportation advocates, business, labor and other community leaders, and asked them to consider an alternative to the old political power struggles and deal-making. After a year of hard work, the task force unanimously proposed a new system based on productivity, geographic value, and fairness to those for whom the bus is their only option. These principles were converted to measurable criteria and incorporated into Metro’s new strategic plan. This and other reforms have led to the leveling out of Metro’s transit operating costs.
Regional task force on school siting – After the issue simmered, unresolved, for more than a decade, Dow joined with our suburban cities and school districts and formed a regional task force that unanimously called for future schools in districts that straddle the Urban Growth Boundary to be sited in cities and towns, rather than in rural, farm and forest lands. Dow worked with regional leaders to adopt the task force’s recommended policies, and is now working to bring cities and school districts together so that children in King County elementary and secondary schools can attend a neighborhood school within walking distance, and rural and resource lands can be maintained. Dow is also advocating for changes at the State level to support neighborhood schools in urban areas.