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New careers for “retiring” County employees

Summary

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

Story

Three dozen recently “retired” King County employees 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 retired Metro Vanpool vans to local governments and community programs to provide transportation assistance.

“Lack of transportation can be a major barrier for many non-profit organizations in carrying out their mission,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott. “The van donation program continues to be a great success, as we provide County resources that would otherwise be retired to organizations in need.”

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“Repurposing retired Metro vans is a win-win,” said Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn. “This program both maximizes County resources and allows community organizations to better serve residents.”

“Thanks to the innovative leadership of Councilmember von Reichbauer, for over twenty years the Council has been able to support wonderful organizations that provide vital services for our region,” said Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski. “From helping adults with developmental disabilities to providing new opportunities to youth, these ‘retired’ vans are going to provide essential transportation needs in our community for years to come.”

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.

“These vehicles have served a vital purpose for the County, and will now perform a critical service for people throughout the region,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “Providing a ride for a senior looking to get to a medical appointment or taking a group of children on a field trip, these vans continue to be a valuable transportation asset even after they leave county service.”

“I’m always glad to facilitate van donations to organizations across District 3 that do such a great job of serving the public and providing needed rides to young people and seniors,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “What a great way to reuse these retired King County vans.”

“The van donations program is an example of government at its best,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, who initiated the first program over 20 years ago. “In their retirement, these vans provide our most vulnerable citizens with a lifeline to their neighbors and communities.”

In 1996, the Council made its first donation of surplus vans. Over the last two decades, more than 550 vans have been transferred to local nonprofit organizations to provide transportation for the disabled, low-income, young adults, and senior citizens.

“I am thrilled to be able to provide our community partners with retired vanpool vans,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “These vans still have a lot of life left in them and I’m glad to see them put to good use serving our County residents.”

“The county’s van donation program allows ‘retired’ vanpool vans to have a second career serving the people in need in our community,” said Councilmember Claudia Balducci. “This year, fledgling and grassroots organizations in District 6 will be able to help people without homes, survivors of domestic violence and young athlete-scholars using these vans.”

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:

ANEW;
Black Diamond Community Center;
Boys & Girls Clubs of King County - Federal Way Branch;
Communities In Schools of Federal Way;
CryOut!;
Dignity For Divas;
Eastridge Church;
El Centro de la Raza;
Enumclaw Senior Center;
Environmental Science Center;
Ethiopian Community in Seattle;
Global to Local;
Iraqi Community Center of Washington;
Journeymen Institute;
KentHOPE - Seattle's Union Gospel Mission;
Mary's Place;
Multi-Service Center;
Na'ah Illahee Fund;
New Bethlehem Day Center;
Nexus Youth and Families;
Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children;
Nsanga Corporation;
Parkview Services;
Rainier Athletes;
Rite of Passage Journeys;
Seattle's Union Gospel Mission;
Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services;
Sno-Valley Senior Center;
Somali Youth & Family Club;
Tahoma School District, Student Transition Program;
The Arc of King County;
The Sophia Way;
Town of Skykomish;
Urban Native Education Alliance;
Vashon Wilderness Program; and
Young Women Empowered (Y-WE).


 

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