Update on Bridge Repair; This Week in the Budget; Sound Transit Invitation to Apply for Community Advisory Group for West Seattle/Ballard Line; SDOT Enforcing 72 Hour Parking Law; 10/21: Join a Virtual Open House About the Future of the Junction’s Parking Lots; Vaccination Verification Required At Many Businesses Starting October 25; Vaccination Mandate Deadline for City Employees; King County Districting Town Hall; Adopt-A-Drain

October 20th, 2021

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Update on Bridge Repair

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on Thursday, October 14th and heard schedule and design updates for the mid-2022 completion of the bridge repair. The 90% design threshold has been met and we are on target to meet the all-important 100% design threshold in early November. Pre-construction work is happening right now, even if you can’t see it.  New work platforms are being designed and constructed off-site.  Utilities are being relocated within the bridge girder to make space for new post-tensioning work.

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Update on Bridge Repair

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on Thursday, October 14th and heard schedule and design updates for the mid-2022 completion of the bridge repair. The 90% design threshold has been met and we are on target to meet the all-important 100% design threshold in early November. Pre-construction work is happening right now, even if you can’t see it.  New work platforms are being designed and constructed off-site.  Utilities are being relocated within the bridge girder to make space for new post-tensioning work.

In November, construction of the repair is scheduled to begin, after conclusion of the Maximum Allowable Construction Cost (MACC) negotiations, and approval from WSDOT and FWHA. Work  platforms are scheduled for installation in December, along with crack injections:

Here’s a visual that displays (in green) the schedule for the different elements of the West Seattle Bridge repair work (utility relocation, work platform installation, post-tensioning, epoxy injections, and carbon fiber wrap).

The schedule for rehabilitation work on the lower (Spokane Street) bridge is listed below in purple:


This Week in the Budget

Last week the Council met as the Select Budget Committee. On Tuesday, the committee had the first of three public hearings. On Wednesday, we began the first of three days of morning and afternoon sessions to hear “Issue Identification” presentations on select departments. Council Central Staff identified potential issues in their presentations and staff memos as a starting point for Councilmember discussions. The presentations and memos are linked below.

Wednesday October 13th

Thursday October 14

Friday, October 15

On Monday October 18th, Councilmembers had a noon deadline to submit potential amendments to the Mayor’s Proposed 2022 budget. This week staff is working to develop amendments that will be presented in the Select Budget Committee from October 26th to 28th.

The budget meeting schedule is available at the Select Budget Committee webpage. You can download the budget calendar here.

Budget Committee meetings have public comment for 30 minutes at the beginning of the morning session.   You can sign up to speak at the link.

Sound Transit Invitation to Apply for Community Advisory Group for West Seattle/Ballard Line

Sound Transit is seeking applications for serve on a Community Advisory Group (CAG). Sound Transit’s announcement is below, including contact information.  Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 27.

“Sound Transit is looking for people along the West Seattle and Ballard corridor who bring diverse perspectives and lived experiences to serve on a community advisory group (CAG). The CAGs will provide an additional forum for community members to help inform the Sound Transit Board’s confirmation or modification of the preferred alternative for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project.

The CAGs will work collaboratively to highlight issues and tradeoffs to the community for the Sound Transit Board to consider as the agency works to deliver a project on time and within scope. Feedback from the advisory groups will be taken together with all the input gathered from the public comment period when Sound Transit releases the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project, and shared with the Sound Transit Board before it confirms or modifies the preferred alternative early next year. In addition to participating on a CAG, community members will be able to engage in a variety of ways during the public comment period including at public meetings, by phone, mail, email and online.

 The CAGs will include a balance of neighborhood and community interests and reflect the diversity throughout the corridor, including income level, race, age, physical and cognitive abilities, and lived experience. Each advisory group will be comprised of 10-15 community members, and organized by geographic area.

Sound Transit is seeking people who:

  • Live, work and/or volunteer along the project corridor.
  • Are a part of or have deep understanding of one or more of the communities along the corridor.
  • Have knowledge and/or interest in public transportation, mobility and how transportation affects the lives of people in the region.

Sound Transit asks that members be prepared to:

  • Act as a community ambassador, willing to share information with community members and bring forth community values, concerns, and ideas.
  • Consider the community as a whole and go beyond personal interests.
  • Participate collaboratively with group members whose views may be different from their own.
  • Attend approximately six-monthly meetings from fall 2021 through early 2022, participating fully in the process.

Interest forms will be accepted through 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 27. Fill out an interest form at https://wsblink.participate.online/#cag. For assistance, contact the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project team at wsblink@soundtransit.org or 206-903-7229.”

SDOT Enforcing 72 Hour Parking Law

SDOT announced that they would begin to issue warnings to enforce the 72-hour parking law starting on October 15. SDOT reports that their initial focus will be on ” unoccupied hazardous vehicles that may have been abandoned over the past 19 months.”

In September, SDOT began managing parking enforcement, when parking enforcement officers were transferred from SPD.  Enforcement of the 72-hour parking law was suspended in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SDOT’s announcement says:

“While the initial focus is on abandoned vehicles, all vehicle owners should get back in the habit of regularly moving vehicles to avoid a possible warning and citation. People should also check their block regularly for temporary parking restriction signs, which can be placed with a minimum of 24-hours notice for things like emergency utility work, cleaning, or special events.

Parking enforcement at SDOT will not impound a vehicle with someone living in it unless it poses a specific risk to public health such as inadequate sanitation causing a direct risk of illness or injury, inadequate protection leaving the occupants exposed to the weather, or other environmental, fire, health and safety hazards.”

SDOT’s announcement also notes:

“Starting soon, people will be able to report abandoned vehicles that have been parked on the street for more than 72 hours using the Find It, Fix It app. Because enforcement was paused for so long, the City expects that it will take longer than usual to respond to requests to clear abandoned vehicles currently on the streets.”

In March of this year the Mayor issued a press release about COVID 19 restrictions that noted “As more businesses are reopening, SDOT is developing a plan to reinstate the 72-hour parking ordinance that will be back in effect starting April 1, 2021.”

One challenge in resuming enforcement is the Long decision by the State Supreme Court in August, which ruled that auctioning a vehicle that served as a residence conflicted with the state Homestead Act.

I’ve asked SDOT about procedures; the Court’s decision suggests business practices will need to account for this decision because licensed tow operators are required by law to conduct forced sales of unredeemed vehicles.

10/21: Join a Virtual Open House About the Future of the Junction’s Parking Lots

What could be the vision for the future use of the West Seattle Junction’s four paid parking lots?  Find out and provide input and insight during the Virtual Open House on Thursday, 10/21 at 6:30pm on Zoom.

See initial architectural drawings from Ankrom Moisan (the same firm that designed the new Husky Deli building).  Hear from Community Roots Housing, a local leader in affordable housing.  Learn about the vision to build and sustain small businesses via the Small Business Incubator program.

Oct 21, 2021 06:30 PM, join the Virtual Open House here.  Learn more here.

Meeting ID: 824 6786 0906
Passcode: 467445

Vaccination Verification Required At Many Businesses Starting Monday

Beginning October 25, people ages 12 and older will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter certain indoor and outdoor events and establishments in King County.

This requirement will help to protect customers and workers, protect our health care system (read a statement of support from the healthcare community), and prevent business closures as the Delta variant continues to spread in King County. You can read this Public Health Insider blog post for more information, and view the Local Health Order.

What can I use as proof of vaccination?

  • CDC COVID-19 vaccine record card or photo of vaccine card
  • Printed certificate or QR code (available at the end of September) from com
  • Other official immunization record from within or outside the U.S., including from your health care provider. A photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.

NOTE: Documentation of medical or religious exemptions not accepted.

What if I don’t have my vaccination card?  If you lost your CDC vaccination card, try these options to find your vaccination record:

  • Sign up for MyIR at MyIR.net. Look up your vaccination record, then print or take a screenshot. If your records don’t show up, call 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357).
  • Ask your provider. If you received your vaccine at your health care provider, the provider’s office should be able to give you a copy of your record.
  • Ask at the vaccination site. Go back to the site where you were vaccinated and ask a clinic supervisor if they can look up your record and create a new card.

For questions about your immunization record, email: waiisrecords@doh.wa.gov.

What if I’m not Covid vaccinated yet?  Luckily, COVID-19 vaccine is always free, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Everyone ages 12 and older can get a vaccine. Ages 12-17 can get Pfizer ONLY, while ages 18+ can get Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. Learn more about vaccination for youth at kingcounty.gov/vaccine/youth

No appointment is needed; most pharmacies, clinics, and Public Health centers now offer drop-in COVID-19 vaccination. Enter your zip code in Washington’s Vaccine Locator tool or check Public Health’s Getting Vaccinated page to find a vaccination site near you.  Or use this map to find vaccine locations in District 1:


Vaccination Mandate Deadline for City Employees

On August 9 Mayor Durkan announced that City of Seattle employees must be fully vaccinated by October 18, consistent with the Governor’s order regarding state employees. In late September, the City announced an agreement with city unions  (except for the Police Officer’s Guild) regarding vaccination requirements for City employees.

I have been in regular contact with the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Fire Department regarding potential impacts. A very large majority of employees of both departments are fully vaccinated.  Unfortunately, 176 first responders are ineligible to to work.  Some of the 520 employees citywide have been told that they are eligible for alternative assignments for work that does not put them in touch with other employees or the public.  That arrangement is unlikely to be available for most first responders.

Both SPD and SFD have engaged in contingency planning in the event of staffing problems.

SPD is prepared to move to “Stage 3” operations, where every sworn member of the department shall be in their class A/B uniform for the duration of their shift. Those members who are in non-patrol units shall be prepared to immediately report to one of the five precincts for 911 call response.

Fire was prepared to move into an operational level below standard staffing levels beginning the morning of the 19th, while, for example, moving uniformed members in administrative positions back into Operations to respond to emergencies; mandatory overtime will be used in some cases.   No fire stations will be closed; all 33 fire stations will be staffed with at least one response unit.

10/21 King County Districting Town Hall

The King County Districting Committee is responsible for redrawing King County Council Districts using 2020 Census data. By law, district boundaries must be realigned every 10 years to reflect changes in population distribution.

The Committee has scheduled four town hall meetings via Zoom for the following dates. Each town hall will include interpreters in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language. The meetings will livestream on Facebook via King County TV. Community members may request additional languages by emailing districting@kingcounty.gov. This information is posted on the Committee’s website.

  • Sunday, October 17th at 2pm
  • Tuesday, October 19th at 2pm
  • Wednesday, October 20th at 2pm
  • Thursday, October 21st at 7pm

To join any of the October town hall meetings you can join online here, or by telephone: 253-215-8782

  • Meeting ID: 817 8751 3404
  • Passcode: 760489

Adopt-A-Drain

Seattle, through, Seattle Public Utilities, and along with six other cities around the Puget Sound are launching “Adopt-A-Drain.” Adopt-a-Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution and help prevent localized flooding.

This Adopt-A-Drain model was launched five years ago by the Watershed Partners of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area. That program currently has more than 8800 participants who have adopted 16,000 drains and collected 350,000 pounds of debris.

If you’re interested in adopting your neighborhood stormwater drain you can learn more here.rbold.seattle.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/image001.png” alt=”” width=”896″ height=”438″ />

In November, construction of the repair is scheduled to begin, after conclusion of the Maximum Allowable Construction Cost (MACC) negotiations, and approval from WSDOT and FWHA. Work  platforms are scheduled for installation in December, along with crack injections:

Here’s a visual that displays (in green) the schedule for the different elements of the West Seattle Bridge repair work (utility relocation, work platform installation, post-tensioning, epoxy injections, and carbon fiber wrap).

The schedule for rehabilitation work on the lower (Spokane Street) bridge is listed below in purple:

This Week in the Budget

Last week the Council met as the Select Budget Committee. On Tuesday, the committee had the first of three public hearings. On Wednesday, we began the first of three days of morning and afternoon sessions to hear “Issue Identification” presentations on select departments. Council Central Staff identified potential issues in their presentations and staff memos as a starting point for Councilmember discussions. The presentations and memos are linked below.

Wednesday October 13th

Thursday October 14

Friday, October 15

On Monday October 18th, Councilmembers had a noon deadline to submit potential amendments to the Mayor’s Proposed 2022 budget. This week staff is working to develop amendments that will be presented in the Select Budget Committee from October 26th to 28th.

The budget meeting schedule is available at the Select Budget Committee webpage. You can download the budget calendar here.

Budget Committee meetings have public comment for 30 minutes at the beginning of the morning session.   You can sign up to speak at the link.

Sound Transit Invitation to Apply for Community Advisory Group for West Seattle/Ballard Line

Sound Transit is seeking applications for serve on a Community Advisory Group (CAG). Sound Transit’s announcement is below, including contact information.  Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 27.

“Sound Transit is looking for people along the West Seattle and Ballard corridor who bring diverse perspectives and lived experiences to serve on a community advisory group (CAG). The CAGs will provide an additional forum for community members to help inform the Sound Transit Board’s confirmation or modification of the preferred alternative for the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project.

The CAGs will work collaboratively to highlight issues and tradeoffs to the community for the Sound Transit Board to consider as the agency works to deliver a project on time and within scope. Feedback from the advisory groups will be taken together with all the input gathered from the public comment period when Sound Transit releases the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project, and shared with the Sound Transit Board before it confirms or modifies the preferred alternative early next year. In addition to participating on a CAG, community members will be able to engage in a variety of ways during the public comment period including at public meetings, by phone, mail, email and online.

 The CAGs will include a balance of neighborhood and community interests and reflect the diversity throughout the corridor, including income level, race, age, physical and cognitive abilities, and lived experience. Each advisory group will be comprised of 10-15 community members, and organized by geographic area.

Sound Transit is seeking people who:

  • Live, work and/or volunteer along the project corridor.
  • Are a part of or have deep understanding of one or more of the communities along the corridor.
  • Have knowledge and/or interest in public transportation, mobility and how transportation affects the lives of people in the region.

Sound Transit asks that members be prepared to:

  • Act as a community ambassador, willing to share information with community members and bring forth community values, concerns, and ideas.
  • Consider the community as a whole and go beyond personal interests.
  • Participate collaboratively with group members whose views may be different from their own.
  • Attend approximately six-monthly meetings from fall 2021 through early 2022, participating fully in the process.

Interest forms will be accepted through 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 27. Fill out an interest form at https://wsblink.participate.online/#cag. For assistance, contact the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project team at wsblink@soundtransit.org or 206-903-7229.”

SDOT Enforcing 72 Hour Parking Law

SDOT announced that they would begin to issue warnings to enforce the 72-hour parking law starting on October 15. SDOT reports that their initial focus will be on ” unoccupied hazardous vehicles that may have been abandoned over the past 19 months.”

In September, SDOT began managing parking enforcement, when parking enforcement officers were transferred from SPD.  Enforcement of the 72-hour parking law was suspended in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SDOT’s announcement says:

“While the initial focus is on abandoned vehicles, all vehicle owners should get back in the habit of regularly moving vehicles to avoid a possible warning and citation. People should also check their block regularly for temporary parking restriction signs, which can be placed with a minimum of 24-hours notice for things like emergency utility work, cleaning, or special events.

Parking enforcement at SDOT will not impound a vehicle with someone living in it unless it poses a specific risk to public health such as inadequate sanitation causing a direct risk of illness or injury, inadequate protection leaving the occupants exposed to the weather, or other environmental, fire, health and safety hazards.”

SDOT’s announcement also notes:

“Starting soon, people will be able to report abandoned vehicles that have been parked on the street for more than 72 hours using the Find It, Fix It app. Because enforcement was paused for so long, the City expects that it will take longer than usual to respond to requests to clear abandoned vehicles currently on the streets.”

In March of this year the Mayor issued a press release about COVID 19 restrictions that noted “As more businesses are reopening, SDOT is developing a plan to reinstate the 72-hour parking ordinance that will be back in effect starting April 1, 2021.”

One challenge in resuming enforcement is the Long decision by the State Supreme Court in August, which ruled that auctioning a vehicle that served as a residence conflicted with the state Homestead Act.

I’ve asked SDOT about procedures; the Court’s decision suggests business practices will need to account for this decision because licensed tow operators are required by law to conduct forced sales of unredeemed vehicles.

10/21: Join a Virtual Open House About the Future of the Junction’s Parking Lots

What could be the vision for the future use of the West Seattle Junction’s four paid parking lots?  Find out and provide input and insight during the Virtual Open House on Thursday, 10/21 at 6:30pm on Zoom.

See initial architectural drawings from Ankrom Moisan (the same firm that designed the new Husky Deli building).  Hear from Community Roots Housing, a local leader in affordable housing.  Learn about the vision to build and sustain small businesses via the Small Business Incubator program.

Oct 21, 2021 06:30 PM, join the Virtual Open House here.  Learn more here.

Meeting ID: 824 6786 0906
Passcode: 467445

Vaccination Verification Required At Many Businesses Starting Monday

Beginning October 25, people ages 12 and older will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter certain indoor and outdoor events and establishments in King County.

This requirement will help to protect customers and workers, protect our health care system (read a statement of support from the healthcare community), and prevent business closures as the Delta variant continues to spread in King County. You can read this Public Health Insider blog post for more information, and view the Local Health Order.

What can I use as proof of vaccination?

  • CDC COVID-19 vaccine record card or photo of vaccine card
  • Printed certificate or QR code (available at the end of September) from com
  • Other official immunization record from within or outside the U.S., including from your health care provider. A photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.

NOTE: Documentation of medical or religious exemptions not accepted.

What if I don’t have my vaccination card?  If you lost your CDC vaccination card, try these options to find your vaccination record:

  • Sign up for MyIR at MyIR.net. Look up your vaccination record, then print or take a screenshot. If your records don’t show up, call 833-VAX-HELP (833-829-4357).
  • Ask your provider. If you received your vaccine at your health care provider, the provider’s office should be able to give you a copy of your record.
  • Ask at the vaccination site. Go back to the site where you were vaccinated and ask a clinic supervisor if they can look up your record and create a new card.

For questions about your immunization record, email: waiisrecords@doh.wa.gov.

What if I’m not Covid vaccinated yet?  Luckily, COVID-19 vaccine is always free, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Everyone ages 12 and older can get a vaccine. Ages 12-17 can get Pfizer ONLY, while ages 18+ can get Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. Learn more about vaccination for youth at kingcounty.gov/vaccine/youth

No appointment is needed; most pharmacies, clinics, and Public Health centers now offer drop-in COVID-19 vaccination. Enter your zip code in Washington’s Vaccine Locator tool or check Public Health’s Getting Vaccinated page to find a vaccination site near you.  Or use this map to find vaccine locations in District 1:

Vaccination Mandate Deadline for City Employees

On August 9 Mayor Durkan announced that City of Seattle employees must be fully vaccinated by October 18, consistent with the Governor’s order regarding state employees. In late September, the City announced an agreement with city unions  (except for the Police Officer’s Guild) regarding vaccination requirements for City employees.

I have been in regular contact with the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Fire Department regarding potential impacts. A very large majority of employees of both departments are fully vaccinated.  Unfortunately, 176 first responders are ineligible to to work.  Some of the 520 employees citywide have been told that they are eligible for alternative assignments for work that does not put them in touch with other employees or the public.  That arrangement is unlikely to be available for most first responders.

Both SPD and SFD have engaged in contingency planning in the event of staffing problems.

SPD is prepared to move to “Stage 3” operations, where every sworn member of the department shall be in their class A/B uniform for the duration of their shift. Those members who are in non-patrol units shall be prepared to immediately report to one of the five precincts for 911 call response.

Fire was prepared to move into an operational level below standard staffing levels beginning the morning of the 19th, while, for example, moving uniformed members in administrative positions back into Operations to respond to emergencies; mandatory overtime will be used in some cases.   No fire stations will be closed; all 33 fire stations will be staffed with at least one response unit.

10/21 King County Districting Town Hall

The King County Districting Committee is responsible for redrawing King County Council Districts using 2020 Census data. By law, district boundaries must be realigned every 10 years to reflect changes in population distribution.

The Committee has scheduled four town hall meetings via Zoom for the following dates. Each town hall will include interpreters in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language. The meetings will livestream on Facebook via King County TV. Community members may request additional languages by emailing districting@kingcounty.gov. This information is posted on the Committee’s website.

  • Sunday, October 17th at 2pm
  • Tuesday, October 19th at 2pm
  • Wednesday, October 20th at 2pm
  • Thursday, October 21st at 7pm

To join any of the October town hall meetings you can join online here, or by telephone: 253-215-8782

  • Meeting ID: 817 8751 3404
  • Passcode: 760489

Adopt-A-Drain

Seattle, through, Seattle Public Utilities, and along with six other cities around the Puget Sound are launching “Adopt-A-Drain.” Adopt-a-Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution and help prevent localized flooding.

This Adopt-A-Drain model was launched five years ago by the Watershed Partners of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area. That program currently has more than 8800 participants who have adopted 16,000 drains and collected 350,000 pounds of debris.

If you’re interested in adopting your neighborhood stormwater drain you can learn more here.

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This Week in the Budget; Share Your Vision for Seattle Parks by 10/13; Seattle Leading the Way in Spurring Economic Recovery; Behavioral Health Leaders’ Summit; West Seattle Bridge Tour; 5 Year Anniversary of the Mobile Integrated Health Program; East Precinct OPA Report; Resolution Supporting the Decriminalization of Entheogens; Habitat for Humanity South Park Home Dedication; The 4th Annual Seattle/Pacific Northwest Black College Expo™; Virtual Office Hours

October 8th, 2021

This Week in the Budget

This week there are no meetings of the Select Budget Committee, as Councilmembers and staff comb through and consider the Proposed 2022 Budget. 

The first public hearing is Tuesday, October 12th at 5:30 p.m. Sign up begins at 3:30 p.m. at bit.ly/council-comment

 

This is the first of three public hearings. The other two are on November 10th and 18th. Public comment is also taken during the morning session of each Budget Committee meeting.  

On October 13th, 14th and 15th, the Budget Committee is scheduled to meet for “Issue Identification.”  Issue Identification is the stage in the budget process when Council Central Staff identify potential issues with the Mayor’s proposed budget that are likely to be of significant interest to the Council and the public, as well as possible options to change the proposed budget.  Councilmembers can verbally share potential amendment ideas at this stage too. 

Meetings will include morning and afternoon sessions beginning at 9:30 a.m. and  2 p.m. Here’s the schedule:

October 13: morning session: overview of 2022 budget; afternoon: Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), Office of Economic Development (OED)

October 14: morning session: Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), Human Services and Community-Led Investments; afternoon: homelessness

October 15: morning session: Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), alternatives to police response & the criminal legal system; afternoon: Police Department (SPD)

Share Your Vision for Seattle Parks by 10/13

It’s your last call to participate in Seattle Parks & Recreation’s online open house.  Parks is collecting community feedback on their plans for pandemic and economic recovery, and what you want to see at our parks, open spaces, and community centers in the coming years.  Share your ideas by 10/13. 

 

Seattle Leading the Way in Spurring Economic Recovery

A new Brookings Institute report finds that Seattle is leading the way in quickly distributing federal relief to boost household and economic recovery.  Leaders of the 20 largest American cities have committed only 18% of the flexible funds they received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Compare that to Seattle, where Council approved the Seattle Rescue Plan this summer, which committed half of our available fundingThis fall, Council will consider plans to commit the rest of our ARPA funding.   

Investing in our economic recovery is essential – a lesson learned during the Great Recession of 2008.  An analysis by the Center for American Progress found that economic recovery was swifter and unemployment lower in the 30 states that increased government spending, compared to the 20 states that embraced austerity and cut spending. The Brookings reports concludes, “Cities that got out of the gate with comprehensive plans bridging high-level goals with project-level details—such as Boston, Buffalo, St. Louis, and Seattle—offer models for how other cities can approach this historic opportunity.”   

 

 

Behavioral Health Leaders’ Summit

On Tuesday, I participated in a summit convened by Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC) to discuss the urgent need for a stronger system of support for people experiencing behavioral health crisis, including:  

  1. Discussion of HB 1310 and what legislative changes at state and local levels would resolve concerns about the circumstances in which law enforcement can assist in behavioral health crisis events.   
  2. Clarification about what instructions have been provided to law enforcement officers about HB 1310.  SPD Chief Diaz has put this public statement out, but we know that there are still inconsistency in statements from officers about what they can and cannot do. 
  3. Identification and immediate implementation of options and resources for creation of additional non-law enforcement interventions to send to behavioral health crisis events.   

Leaders of approximately fifteen local behavioral health providers shared their stories of clients struggling with the effects of the pandemic, and a behavioral health system that is straining to serve them with inadequate resources.   King County Executive Dow Constantine, Mayor Jenny Durkan, City Council President Lorena González, King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, King County Sherriff Mitzi Johanknecht, and others were in attendance to hear the concerns and discuss solutions. 

I will be pursuing funding and policy changes to support their recommendations, which include: 

  • Expand places for people in crisis to receive immediate support, post-crisis follow-up services, and community-based behavioral health services 
  • Stabilize the behavioral health sector workforce 
  • Clarify when law enforcement involvement in behavioral health crises is necessary and possible. 

 

West Seattle Bridge Tour

In anticipation of construction of the bridge repair starting in full swing next month, I joined SDOT and others for a tour of the West Seattle Bridge earlier on Thursday the 7th.   

Here I am in the interior of the bridge, with the post-tensioning cables used in the stabilization of the bridge at the bottom, and cameras that monitor the interior condition of the bridge at the top.  

 (photos: SDOT) 

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will hold a public meeting next week, with updates.  

 

5 Year Anniversary of the Mobile Integrated Health Program

This week marked the five year anniversary of the launch of the Mobile Integrated Health Program. I first wrote about the expansion of the Mobile Integrated Health Program here, when former Councilmember Bagshaw, and the Seattle Firefighters, proposed an expansion of Mobile Integrated Health to include Health One, so more 911 calls could be directed towards providers that are better able to assist individuals in need.  You can read what I wrote about the latest Health One expansion here.  We expect another Health One expansion this fall with funds the Council provided in last year’s budget. 

The Mobile Integrated Health Program has led to saving the City time and resources, freeing up the time of fire fighters and police officers so they can respond to the calls that only they can respond to, and ensuring that residents are connected most efficiently with the services they need.  

 

East Precinct OPA Report

The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) published a report last week on the June 8, 2020 decision to close the East Precinct. Following a late-June 2020 discussion in my Public Safety and Human Services Committee, I asked OPA to determine whether the decision for all SPD staff to leave the East Precinct building was in accordance with SPD policy and procedures.  I later sent the following questions, with the OPA considered a complaint for investigation: 

  • What are the SPD policies and procedures to authorize vacating a precinct? 
  • What are the conditions, according to SPD policies and procedures, under which SPD can authorize vacating a precinct? 
  • Who, according to policies and procedures, authorizes SPD staff to vacate a precinct? 
  • In this instance, who directed SPD staff to vacate the East precinct?   
  • In this instance, did the person or persons who directed SPD staff to vacate the East precinct have the authority to do so? 
  • In this instance, did the conditions exist, according to SPD policies and procedures, for an authorized SPD personnel to order vacating the East Precinct? 
  • The Chief of Police and Mayor Jenny Durkan have stated that they did not direct staff to vacate the East Precinct, if not were either of them aware that staff had been directed to vacate the East Precinct? 
  • If there is a determination that no personnel directed or authorized SPD personnel to vacate the East Precinct, what is the violation of policies and procedures of individual officers if they did so without direction or authorization? 

A few Seattle residents made similar requests to the OPA.  

The investigation resulted in findings of “not sustained” for four separate lines of inquiry, meaning OPA found no misconduct. These findings, I believe, came up short in addressing the questions I asked OPA to review.   

First of all, the OPA is reinforcing the narrative that the East Precinct was abandoned because of the specific threat to the East Precinct.  But there is nothing in the official Incident Action Plan, linked document here, that suggests that FBI threats led to the decision to abandon the precinct.   Further, NE#2 (“Named Employee” in OPA terminology) also “stated that SPD had received information from the FBI that protest groups were going to target government buildings, and that SPD believed that the East Precinct was vulnerable to the type of destruction inflicted on Minneapolis’s Third Precinct.”  This suggests that the FBI intelligence was generalized, not specific to the East Precinct. 

In July 2020, I wrote about that here:  “The decision to barricade the East Precinct was attributed to what was described as a “credible threat” from the FBI to the East Precinct. My conversations with Chief Best have revealed that the FBI threat was not specific to the East Precinct; rather, it appears to have been a generalized assessment of threat to “police and government structures” in Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. 

If the OPA is, in a large way, relying on a generalized FBI threat in its findings that no policy was violated with the decision to evacuate the building, how does this – for instance – address my 6/23 question asking whether the “conditions exist, according to SPD policies and procedures, for an authorized SPD personnel to order vacating the East Precinct?” There are apparently no policies, for a decision of this magnitude, to base the evacuation on an assessment of specific threat to a particular facility.  Shouldn’t OPA recommend, though a Management Action Recommendation (MAR), that SPD create a policy describing the conditions under which SPD can authorize vacating a precinct?  See more about OPA MAR’s here:  Policy Recommendations – OPA | seattle.gov 

Secondly,  I am concerned about the “Remaining Factual Issue” on pages 19-20 about whether the decision was made independently of Chief Best and that Chief Best reports that she was notified after the fact.    

Chief Best has said that the decision was made by others and that she directed them to not abandon the East Precinct.   Further in the OPA interview she reported that “she empowered her command staff to make decisions without always consulting her.”  On the other hand the Incident Commander, in his first interview with the OPA said that her, “never discussed the evacuation of personnel” with Chief Best.  In his second interview he said he told Chief Best during a phone call “exactly what we were going to do” and that he would never make as significant a decision as evacuating all personnel from the East Precinct “without running by the chief exactly what it was that we were going to do,”  and his recollection of the response was, “Not specific words, but she concurred with the response, and I think she understood it.”   

This unresolved “remaining factual issue” seems to be at the crux of some of the questions I asked on June 23, some of which remain unanswered.  Again, if there are no policies that define who can make this decision and under what authority, and there remains lingering question of how this particular decision was made on June 8th, shouldn’t OPA recommend, though a Management Action Recommendation (MAR), that SPD create a policy?  

 

Resolution Supporting the Decriminalization of Entheogens

On Monday, the Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution “declaring that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities and stating the Council’s support for full decriminalization of these activities.”  Entheogens – also known as psychedelics – have recently been shown to benefit individuals suffering depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, grief, and intergenerational trauma, and underlying issues associated with problematic substance use. These and other physical and mental conditions are plaguing many communities, which has been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19. 

The Council passed this resolution after recommendations from the Overdose Emergency Innovative Recovery (OEIR) task force, which has been convened and led by VOCAL-WA. In early June the Council sent a letter to the task force requesting the: 

“examination of public policy governing psychedelic medicines, commonly referred to as ‘entheogens’. The OEIR Task Force work will expand efforts for solving the local overdose crisis, drug user health inequities, and region-wide safety and health by proposing and evaluating recommendations in order to build evidence and enhance practices on innovations in recovery and person-centered interventions. Given the potential of entheogens as treatments for substance addiction and behavioral mental health conditions, we believe this topic is a suitable addition to the Task Force workplan.” 

The task force released recommendations that in part state: “Municipalities, in the State of Washington and elsewhere, that have independent ordinance criminalizing psychedelics should repeal them, and those that don’t should direct their law enforcement agencies, local prosecutors and municipal courts to deprioritize enforcement and should public communicate this as municipal policy.” 

It is the current enforcement practice of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to neither detain nor arrest individuals, nor to confiscate drugs from individuals, solely for suspected violations or violations of Section 69.50.4013 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which is applicable to the possession of entheogens as controlled substances in the meaning of RCW 69.50.101(g). 

Many other jurisdictions have decriminalized some of all entheogens, including: Oakland, California; Santa Cruz, California; Denver, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Washington, D.C.; the State of Oregon; and Portugal, Brazil, Jamaica, and the Netherlands have also decriminalized some or all entheogens. 

 

Habitat for Humanity South Park Home Dedication

Last Saturday I attended a home dedication for Habitat for Humanity in South Park. The housing project was, in part, funded through the Seattle Office of Housing and consisted of 13 new homes built on two lots that previously had only one house.  The two lots were zoned what’s called Residential Small Lot; a zoning classification that replaced “single family zoning” located within Urban Villages in 2019 after the Council’s passage of the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA)program.   

Home ownership is key to building intergenerational wealth and a key driver of the racial wealth gap. During the Council’s passage of the JumpStart revenue, I sponsored an amendment that sets aside approximately $6 million annually for permanently affordable homeownership opportunities available to households earning up to 80% of Area Median Income. The funds are reserved for this type of housing development, households at risk of displacement from their communities, or who have faced barriers to homeownership due to past discriminatory policies and practices such as redlining and restrictive racial covenants.   Between funds newly available in Jump Start, funds available through the Housing Levy, and funds that are collected through MHA, the city funding available for homeownership has tripled in recent years. 

At the event I met some new homeowners and learned about what Habitat for Humanity is doing in the Seattle area to build more affordable housing. I want to thank Habitat for Humanity for inviting me out and for all their work.  Thanks as well to the Office of Housing!  Congratulations to Blue Print Capital for the award that they received for innovative housing development. 

 

 

The 4th Annual Seattle/Pacific Northwest Black College Expo™

It’s free and hosted virtually on Friday, October 15, 2021 from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm as an online experience for students to gain access to colleges, highlighting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and other educational institutions.  

In an effort to support and connect with students in the Seattle/Pacific Northwest area, National College Resources Foundation has partnered with Seattle Public School District and Renton School District.  

The Seattle/Pacific Northwest Black College Expo is an opportunity for students to get accepted on the spot, get their college application Fees waived and receive scholarships. This event will help high school seniors and college transfer students looking to transfer to a four-year college.  

In addition to getting connected to college recruiters, students will have access to informative seminars and workshops which include but are not limited to How to Find Money for CollegeWhy Attend an HBCU411 for the Student Athlete, and How to Start a Business 

To register, please visit: www.ncrfoundation.org or call 877-427-4100.  

Black College Expo™ (BCE) a trademark program of National College Resources Foundation (NCRF), a 501c3 non-profit organization that functions daily as a full-service student outreach program in various schools.  BCE was founded in 1999 by Dr. Theresa Price as a vital link between minorities and college admissions.  NCRF’s mission is to curtail high school dropout rate and increase degree and/or certificate enrollment among underserved, underrepresented, at risk, low resource, and homeless and foster students.  NCRF’s vision is to close the gap in educational achievement, workforce and economic disparities with the goal to end racism and racial inequalities.  

 

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday October 29, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.  

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.  

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.  

  • Friday, December 17, 2021 
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This Week in the 2022 Budget; Diaper Need Awareness Week Proclamation; Boosters, Vaccines, and Avoiding Overflowing Hospitals; Seattle Municipal Court Audit

October 1st, 2021

This Week in the 2022 Budget

On Monday the Mayor, as required by state law, sent a Proposed 2022 budget to the City Council, as well as a Proposed 2022-2027 Capital Improvement Program. Both links allow you to download the entire proposal, or to select a specific department.

The Council’s review of the proposed budget began this week, with an overview from the City Budget Office, and a round of Department Presentations.

Below are links to the presentations heard in the Select Budget Committee this week:

September 29: 

September 30: 

October 1:  

No meetings are scheduled for next week, as Council offices and Central Staff will be reviewing the proposal. The next scheduled meeting of the Select Budget Committee will a Public Hearing on October 12 at 5:30 p.m.

The budget meeting schedule is available at the Select Budget Committee webpage. You can download the budget calendar here.

Budget Committee meetings have public comment for 30 minutes at the beginning of the morning session.   You can sign up to speak at the link.

Diaper Need Awareness Week Proclamation

On Monday, Council President González and I presented a Diaper Need Awareness Week proclamation to District 1 treasure Westside Baby as part of the national effort to recognize the growing number of families who struggle to secure enough diapers to keep their babies healthy.  Our community is lucky to have Westside Baby step up to address this need during the pandemic, distributing 860,000 more diapers last year than the year previous.

Diaper need is a growing health issue that affects 1 in 3 families in the United States.  Low-income families pay up to 14% of their entire income just for disposable diapers.  Here in Seattle, diaper need impacts BIPOC families particularly hard, with 42 percent of Seattle’s BIPOC families struggling to afford diapers.

National research shows that diaper need is linked to higher rates of depressive symptoms in new moms than hunger is. It is also linked to more frequent visits to the pediatrician for diaper rash and urinary tract infections.

A diaper drive is a great way to show support during Diaper Need Awareness Week, and I encourage everyone to consider hosting or contributing to a diaper drive.  You can learn more about meeting diaper need at westsidebaby.org.

Boosters, Vaccines, and Avoiding Overflowing Hospitals

Are you eligible for a booster?  The CDC recommends booster doses of Pfizer vaccine for people who have completed two doses of Pfizer at least 6 months ago and are:

The following people may also receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after receiving two doses of Pfizer vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks:

Only booster doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have authorized by the FDA at this time. Booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not yet been authorized.

Note: Third doses of Moderna have been authorized only for people who have significantly compromised immune systems, such as those receiving cancer treatments or organ transplants.

I’m working with the Mayor’s Office and community partners in District 1 to find a host for a temporary, City-run booster clinic, expected to open in October.  This effort likely won’t be as large as the former vaccination clinic at the SW Athletic Complex, but I’m glad that District 1 residents will benefit from easy availability of booster shots.

Hospital capacity is becoming a problem statewide.  Getting vaxed and boosted has never been more important, as our hospitals across the state are inundated with Covid cases, the overwhelming majority of which are among folks who aren’t yet vaccinated.  As reported by the Seattle Times, spikes of Covid in rural communities with low vaccination levels are overwhelming their local medical facilities, “forcing the transfer of hundreds of patients to King County hospitals to manage the load.”

The surge is so acute that Governor Inslee has requested healthcare help from the other Washington, asking for federal staff, including both clinical and non-clinical staff, to support the Washington health care system in response to rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

What if I’m not Covid vaccinated yet?  Now’s the right time, since many activities in King County will start requiring proof of vaccination at the end of October.  Luckily, COVID-19 vaccine is always free. Everyone ages 12 and older can get a vaccine. Ages 12-17 can get Pfizer ONLY, while ages 18+ can get Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. Learn more about vaccination for youth at kingcounty.gov/vaccine/youth

No appointment needed: most pharmacies, clinics, and Public Health centers now offer drop-in COVID-19 vaccination. Enter your zip code in Washington’s Vaccine Locator tool or check Public Health’s Getting Vaccinated page to find a vaccination site near you.


Seattle Municipal Court Audit

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) hears prosecution of all misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes, civil infractions, and other offenses authorized under the Seattle Municipal Code and certain Revised Code of Washington Statutes. The Court is made up of seven elected judges and five appointed magistrates.

The Auditor’s office conducted an audit, at the Council’s request, on the SMC’s probation program on the impacts of probation on people of color and the racial proportionality of imposing probation, conditions of compliance, and rates of successful completion and early release.

On September 23, the Auditor released their report which includes 14 recommendations (see appendix B for the full list). The executive summary of the report notes:

“While we found racial and ethnic disproportionality in the composition of SMC’s 2017-2019 probation population and other aspects of SMC’s probation program, we also saw SMC make progress towards addressing recommendations in the Court initiated Vera Institute of Justice June 2020 probation study and issues our office identified during this audit. However, we also found more work can be done to address racial and ethnic disproportionality in probation. Our review of probation data revealed that Blacks/African Americans are particularly overrepresented in the most intrusive forms of probation supervision monitoring, are underrepresented in successful probation outcomes, and tend to have cases that remain open rather than being closed after obligations are met. In reviewing the impacts of probation on people of color, we found that SMC’s efforts to promote equity within its probation system were hampered by data gaps, and a lack of performance outcomes, accurate accounting of fines and fees, and internal controls. We found SMC did not adhere to some internal and external policies, procedures, and requirements that can affect successful probation outcomes, particularly for people of color.”

The SMC responded to the report which is included as appendix A. Of note, the SMC is in the process of updating their 30-year-old technology for case management, the new system is scheduled to be fully implemented in the summer of 2022.

This work continues to build on the Vera Institute of Justice’s report which was issued in June 2020.  I last wrote about this here. In 2020, SMC redesigned its Programs and Services division, including Probation Services, in response to stakeholder feedback, a desire to decrease disproportionate impacts to court clients, and the Vera Report recommendations.  Seattle Municipal Court reports the following changes:

  • Discontinued records checks, except in cases where records monitoring is required by statute. As of early 2021, SMC had reduced records checks by 78% resulting in 1,640 less clients on SMC probation.
  • Focused Probation Services on high-risk case types, which has reduced clients on active supervision by 16%.
  • Eliminated discretionary supervision fees imposed in criminal cases including all probation-related fees.
  • Incentivized early release from probation by utilizing a goal-based approach to supervision. Newly published key performance indicators suggest a decrease in the average length of supervision to 18.7 months.
  • Implemented a new case closure policy where counselors administratively close cases when clients have completed their goals.
  • Implemented a probation client bill of rights and grievance process and began collecting client feedback as they exit probation. Initial results show 78% of clients completing the survey feel supported, encouraged, and motivated by their probation counselor.
  • Began collecting self-reported race and ethnicity data through a new probation intake process.

I’ll be working during this budget session to ensure that we continue to make progress on the Vera report recommendations as well as the recommendations from the City Auditor.

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Next Week in the Budget // Public Safety & Human Services Committee Work // Welcome Back to Seattle Public Libraries // Eviction Moratorium Extension // PayUp Update // Pre-Filing Diversion Racial Equity Toolkit Report for Adults 25 Years Old and Older

September 24th, 2021

Next Week in the Budget 

Next week, the City Council will begin the 2022 budget process.  The Council’s process begins after the Mayor presents her proposed 2022 budget on Monday, September 27th 

Beginning on September 29, the Council will begin to meet as the Select Budget Committee to hear presentations from the City Budget Office and some departments.   This stage of the budget process allows Councilmember and the public to hear from the departments a description of the notable changes proposed in the Mayor’s proposed budget for that particular department.  

All Councilmembers are members of the Select Budget Committee.  Each day’s meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. and, after a break, reconvene at 2 p.m. All meetings are broadcast live on the Seattle Channel 

Here’s the meeting schedule: 

Wednesday September 29th 

  • Morning: City Budget Office overview 
  • Afternoon: Office of Economic Development, Office of Sustainability & Environment, and Department Of Education and Early Learning 

Thursday September 30 

  • Morning: Office of Housing, Human Services Department, Homelessness response 
  • Afternoon: Community Safety & Community Led Investments, Seattle Police Department 

Friday, October 1 

  • Morning: Department of Transportation, Department of Parks and Recreation 
  • Afternoon: COVID Response and Recovery 

 

The budget meeting schedule is available at the Select Budget Committee webpage. You can download the budget calendar here. 

Budget Committee meetings have public comment for 30 minutes at the beginning of the morning session.   

Public Safety & Human Services Committee Work 

I held a special meeting of the Public Safety & Human Services committee today, my last committee meeting before budget season launches and committee work is put on hold.   

Taking Pre-Arrest Diversion to Scale:  Seattle City Council passed RES 31916 in November 2019, in which we acknowledged the City’s responsibility to reduce unnecessary justice system involvement and declared our commitment to ensuring that law enforcement pre-arrest diversion programs, such as LEAD, receive public funding sufficient to accept all priority referrals citywide by 2023.   

Today, representatives from LEAD and the Human Services Department presented on the number of referrals that might be expected, and the funding that would be required to expand pre-arrest diversion to accept those referrals.  The analysis was requested by a Statement of Legislative Intent that I sponsored and was adopted unanimously by Council last fall.  You can view the presentation here.   

LEAD provides community -based care for people who commit law violations related to behavioral health issues or extreme poverty, as an alternative to punitive enforcement -based responses. Ensuring that LEAD has sufficient resources to expand its critical work will be a budget priority for me.   

Task Force Recommendations for Realigning the Criminal Legal System (CLS):  For the past year, individuals impacted by the criminal legal system have been meeting as a Task Force, convened by the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, to develop recommendations for policy changes to the criminal legal system that will 1) reduce as much harm as possible; and 2) prevent people from ending up in the system to begin with.  They presented their recommendations this morning; you can view the presentation, and read the full report, “Centering Impacted Voices.”  Here are their key recommendations: 

In July, my committee heard a presentation on criminal legal system realignment resulting from the 2019 budget, when Council funded a term-limited position in the Legislative Department to write a strategic plan, and a position at the Office of Civil Rights to coordinate stakeholder engagement around realigning the criminal legal system.  That strategic plan, Realigning Seattle’s Criminal Legal System through a Public Health Approach: The intersection between Community wisdom and evidence-based practices, relied on previous rounds of stakeholder engagement to identify “Community Guiding Principles” which served as a foundation for research into theories on the causes of crime as well as best practices and expert recommendations on creating effective alternatives to the traditional criminal legal system.  You can view that July presentation here. 

 

Welcome Back to Seattle Public Libraries 

The Seattle Public Library has reopened all District 1 libraries and expanded hours.  If you’ve been missing your local library during the pandemic, now’s the time to visit in person!  Find library hours and locations.   

 

Eviction Moratorium Extension 

On Tuesday Mayor Durkan announced an extension of the residential and commercial eviction moratorium and other COVID 19 related protections. The extension is through January 15, 2022. 

While Seattle has a high vaccination rate the City and County are in the process of allocating tens of millions in rental assistance – and as reported by the Seattle Times there are roughly 60,000 Seattle-area renters that are behind on rent.  

Residential tenants who receive an eviction notice during the moratorium should contact the Renting in Seattle hotline at 206‐684‐5700 or go online to submit a complaint. 

PayUp Update 

You may recall from my blog update in July that we’ve been conducting stakeholder meetings to discuss Working Washington’s PayUp policy proposal (which you can read more about here). This policy proposal covers workers in the “gig economy” that are working on-demand or pre-scheduled jobs that are facilitated by a network company (think: food delivery or someone you might hire via a website to assemble your IKEA furniture). Our stakeholder meetings continued through mid August, and during my September 14 committee meeting we heard another update from Council Central Staff.  

The presentation from Central Staff goes over the first, unintroduced bill, and describes the policy decisions we’ve made to-date. The draft covers the first three policy areas: minimum compensation, transparency, and flexibility. I would encourage you to look through the previously linked presentation from Central staff which includes details about the structure of pay, transparency and flexibility.  

We have continued the stakeholder process for this unintroduced draft legislation with two additional meetings in September to gather additional feedback. While in budget, beginning September 27, we will pause consideration of this legislation, but will be working with stakeholders and the Office of Labor Standards to ensure policy decisions can be made post-budget.  

Other cities are working on similar labor standards for gig workers too.  Yesterday, New York City passed legislation requiring their Office of Labor Standards to study and implement rules to establish a minimum pay standard, including transparency for how trips are calculated. Additionally, they passed legislation requiring access to restrooms and allowing gig workers to limit the distance they want to travel as an independent contractor.  Bill sponsor Councilperson Carlina Rivera is quoted in this article saying: This package of bills is historic…We’re hoping other cities will look to us for inspirations.”  Alex Clardy from my office, whose been staffing this policy development was quoted too, “There’s been a slow federal response to how technology changes work,” Clardy said, adding that local governments “need to trailblaze here.” 

Pre-Filing Diversion Racial Equity Toolkit Report for Adults 25 years Old and Older 

In the Public Safety and Human Services Committee last week we heard a briefing from the City Attorney’s Office regarding the Pre-Filing Diversion Racial Equity Toolkit Report for Adults 25 years Old and Older 

Since 2017 the City Attorney’s Office has operated a prefiling diversion program for adults aged 18 to 24. Council requested this is a Statement of Legislative Intent adopted with the 2020 budget (sponsored by Council President Gonzalez). Like many things in the City, this has taken additional time due to the impact of the COVID pandemic.  

Work on these issues dates back to the establishment in 2015 by the City Council of a Prisoner and Community Corrections Re-Entry Workgroup, which issued its final report in October 2018.  

The RET report notes that pre-trail diversion is a type of disposition offered by the City Attorney’s Office. If the person completes community service and has no new criminal law violations, the case is dismissed after a set period of time. For 2019, for the existing program 73% of cases were dismissed through completion; 15% were still open, and 11% were sentenced, after not completing the program. Completion rates for the program in 2017 were 84%, with 9% sentenced.  

From 2016 to 2020, 41% of defendants age 25 or older are in the 25-34 age range, while those 55 and over represent 13%. 

The report notes significant disparities in defendants:  

When comparing the census data to the data collected by Seattle Municipal Court to those identified as Black, represented 7.3% of the population, but accounted for 25% of the defendants and 30% of the cases filed. Additionally, according to the most recent census data, American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals account for 0.5% of the population but are 2% of the defendants. 

One of the report recommendations includes better data gathering to include identifying Latinx persons: 

Mechanisms to gather racial and demographic data need to include identifying Latinx/Hispanic individuals. Currently, this information is not asked. We have no data on the impact of Seattle’s criminal legal system on the Latinx population. 

Recommendations of participants include capturing data when the program is implemented; piloting can be effective; adequate funding from the beginning is important; public awareness of benefits, and informing the community about the program. 

We’ll find out what’s included regarding this program in the Mayor’s proposed 2022 budget on Monday.  

 

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West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Updates // Lower Bridge Access Update // West Seattle Transit Service // Terminal 5 Quiet Zone // Proof of Vaccination in Public Places

September 22nd, 2021


West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Updates

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on September 15, and includes two key updates.

First of all, the bridge repair remains on schedule for mid-2022.

Secondly, the West Seattle Water taxi will maintain daytime operating hours during the winter, instead of going to the regular winter schedule on October 15th.  Thanks to King County and SDOT for working together to make this happen, and to City voters for approving the Seattle Transit Measure last year to provide funding.

West Seattle Bridge Repair

Construction on the repair is scheduled to begin in November, with some construction activities beginning next month.

Permit approvals have been attained on schedule, which is critical, as permitting delay in by external governments is a key risk for schedules for large capital projects.

Next month, early work on construction will include building work platforms off-site (work platforms were visible during the stabilization done last year), coring through parts of the bridge to allow installation of the work platforms, and relocating utilities inside the box girders in order to make room for post-tensioning.

There is one scope change to the bridge repair project. Additional geotechnical review has determined that seismic stabilization of Pier 18 will not be needed at this time. If the work is needed in the future, it would not require a traffic closure. The cost estimate for this work was $12 million.

Instead, the project will shift these funds to $12 million of major maintenance work, including work on expansion joints, concrete overlay and carbon fiber wraps. This work would be needed in the future, and disrupt traffic in future years. So doing it now makes good sense. Also, doing this work now allows the City to keep federal grant funds, rather than having to return them.

 


Lower Bridge Access Update

When the West Seattle Bridge was closed, SDOT limited use of the Spokane Street (lower) bridge between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. to emergency vehicles, transit, freight and urgent government uses.

In June, SDOT granted conditional access to restaurants and retail businesses, maritime and industrial businesses, vanpools, employer shuttles, on-call medical workers, people traveling for lifesaving medical treatments, longshoreman, and urgent/unplanned trips for government vehicles (limited to urgent/unplanned trips and includes City of Seattle, King County, State of Washington, local law enforcement). Over 1,300 users have been granted access.

The bridge has been open for general use from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.; in June SDOT added 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. for general use on Saturday and Sunday.

With Terminal 5 opening in January 2022, SDOT had announced that conditional uses granted to June would need to be revoked, or sharply restricted at that time, and use limited to emergency vehicles, transit and freight.

There is good news on this front. SDOT has announced they have no changes in the current access planned for January 2022, expect for additional limits on government vehicle use. This is possible, in large part, because users granted access have been judicious in their use of the bridge. The West Seattle Junction Business Association and the West Seattle Chamber, and representatives of other user groups have played a very helpful role in this, so I want to thank them for their efforts.

Based on current trip levels, and expected increase in freight traffic, SDOT is encouraging users to voluntarily reduce trips levels between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Their area of concern is especially regarding eastbound trips at that time; they are working with the Port and Northwest Seaport Alliance to shift trips when possible.

Here’s the current policy scheduled to take effect on January 1:

Below is a timeline for current access, and “Phase 1” access beginning on January 1. If there is a need to reduce access levels, a “Phase 2” plan would involve reducing West Seattle and maritime business trips caps (I.e. allowing fewer trips per month), and restricting access between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.


West Seattle Transit Service

The Water Taxi’s summer sailing schedule was set to end on October 15, which would normally mean an end to mid-day and weekend sailings until next spring. However, this year SDOT will provide the funding needed to maintain full daytime service from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. all winter long as repairs continue to the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.  This funding comes from the Seattle Transit Measure approved by voters last year, which allowed for use by the water taxi, a subject we discussed at the Council before voting to place the measure on the ballot.

The West Seattle Bridge closure has been incredibly hard on all of us.  I’ve heard from constituents, who rely on the Water Taxi, how important regular and frequent service is.  Maintaining summer-level daytime Water Taxi service through the winter will maintain an important option to get on and off the peninsula.

Here’s the schedule for the fall and winter:

  • Seven day a week service between Seacrest Park in West Seattle and Pier 50 downtown from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Ships will leave the dock every 35 minutes during weekday peak commute hours and every hour mid-day, evenings, and weekends.
  • The expanded service will not include late night Friday and Saturday sailings after 7:00 p.m.

Other improvements for bus service are scheduled to take effect October 2, and will provide more frequent service on  Routes 50, 60, 120 and RapidRide C Line during the bridge closure, and for some of the time afterwards (it is scheduled to be phased out in fall 2022 and spring 2023).

The transit ballot measure Included a spending category to address “emerging mobility needs” such as the long-term closure of the West Seattle Bridge. I proposed an increase in the amount of funds allowed for this category, which the Council adopted.

Here’s updated service for District 1 bus routes starting October 2:

Below are the details for increased service  while the bridge is closed:

C Line and 120:

 

Route 50 (though it now goes on Lander St overpass), so the map for the SODO portion is out of date; it also continues on to Othello station:

Route 60, starts by Westwood Village,  and goes to Broadway on Capitol Hill and medical and employment centers on First Hill:

 


Terminal 5 Quiet Zone

On Monday the Council unanimously approved Council Bill 120138, authorizing the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to acquire property needed to construct the necessary improvements for a quiet zone.

Inn 2016, prior to T-5 shutting down, I received many emails about noise from trains leaving T-5 at the Chelan Café intersection and suggesting designation of the area as a “quiet zone.”  See here for more about quiet zones.  This led to the development of a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) in 2016, during my first year in office. SLI 66-1-A-1, in 2016, requested SDOT work with the Port of Seattle, the Federal Railway Administration, and the railway companies doing business at T-5, to extend the quiet zone along W Marginal Way between Delridge Way SW and 17th Ave SW.

T-5 has been undergoing an modernization project which is nearly complete and the Port expects full rail operations beginning in 2022. The timeline originally slated the quiet zone to be completed in December 2020, but the project has been plagued with delays. Fortunately SDOT is now able to move forward with property acquisition and we’re hopeful that construction will begin in 2022 and a quiet zone will be established by 2023.


Proof of Vaccination in Public Places

Seattle residents have led the nation in fighting the pandemic.  We’ve stayed socially distant, moved our socializing outside, masked up, and gotten vaccinated to keep our neighbors and loved ones safe and healthy.

Yesterday, I joined King County Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, along with King COunty Executive Constantine and Mayor Durkan and industry leaders, as he announced an additional layer of protection from COVID-19.  The new Verification of Vaccination Health Order will require people attending recreational activities in most public places to show proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, starting October 25th.

An analysis by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found that the vaccine verification policy at restaurants, bars, and gyms/fitness centers alone could have a significant positive impact, preventing between 17,900 and 75,900 infections, 421 and 1,760 hospitalizations, and 63 and 257 deaths locally over six months with the order in place.

This Order will make it possible for our small business owners, cultural workers, and hourly workers to get back to work while keeping our community safe.  I’m more than ready to return safely to live music and meals out with friends and family. As Chair of the committee with oversight of Public Health, I deeply appreciate the industry leaders who have worked so tirelessly with Public Health to craft this policy.

What can be used as proof of vaccination? 

  • CDC vaccination card or photo of vaccine card.
  • Documented proof of vaccination from medical record or vaccine provider.
  • Printed certificate or QR code (available at the end of September) from com.

You do not need to show identification with proof of vaccination.

Not yet vaxed?  It’s much easier to get vaccinated now than it was earlier this year – and it’s free!

Have more questions?  Public Health’s webpage has a detailed Frequently Asked Questions section.  You can also read this Public Health Insider blog post and view the Local Health Order.

 


SDOT Survey on the Alki Point

The Seattle Department of Transportation has released a survey to gather input on the future of the Alki Point Keep It Moving Street. The majority of people contacting me about the Alki Point Keep Moving Street have reported that it provides many benefits including improved safety, accessibility, sustainability, mobility and livability.

On Page 5 of the SDOT survey presents three design options:

  • Option 1: Stay Healthy Street + Neighborhood Greenway
  • Option 2: Neighborhood Greenway + additional pedestrian space
  • Option 3: One-way street with shared walking and biking path
  • Option 1 is the option to make permanent a Stay Healthy Street.

Options 2 and 3 allow cars back onto the street. For that reason, supporters of keeping cars off the street recommend option 1,

To take the survey please click here.

The comments section will allow you to describe any additional changes or improvements you would like to see.


SPD Supplemental Budget Vote

The Council voted on Monday to adopt a mid-year supplemental budget ordinance. It includes spending authorization regarding the SPD budget.  Approximately $15 million of SPD’s adopted budget is estimated to not be needed to fund officer salaries as approved by the Council last Fall in the fully-funded 2021 hiring plan, due to continued larger than projected by SPD number of officers leaving.  So the question for the Council was how to spend these funds for 2021 priorities.

The legislation includes amendments adopted by the Finance and Housing Committee that Councilmember Mosqueda and I co-sponsored, and additional amendments I sponsored, to address the shortage of police officers. Again, as mentioned above, the 2021 officer hiring budget has always been fully funded.

SPD thanked the Council for the vote, which included funding for community service officers, crime prevention coordinators, mental health/wellness, hiring process accelerators, continued 911 call analysis to support re-imagining policing, and technology for updating and modernizing SPD’s management of overtime, and funding for overtime, with more public events taking place than anticipated in the 2021 budget.

It also includes funding for the Triage One program, Regional Peacekeepers Collective, items with strong joint support from the Council, Mayor and SPD.

The funding package also includes $3 million for Community Safety Investments. HSD recently approved $10.4 million for 33 proposals, out of 73 submitted. HSD approved $10.4 million of the $17.8 million requested, so there are ready-to-go community safety proposals that could be funded with additional funds..

The legislation also releases spending restrictions on $7.5 million in funds that were retained within SPD’s budget, but listed for possible use in a 2021 participatory budgeting program; that program isn’t proceeding during 2021.

In July, I requested SPD present the Council with spending options to ameliorate the staffing shortage, and I appreciate their sending recommendations, most of which the Council funded.

After several meetings in the Finance and Housing Committee, and additional discussion in the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, there was an amendment at Full Council regarding recruitment and retention of police officers.

Hiring and retention is an important issue, that’s why the amendments I co sponsored included investments to support these efforts, such as adding $320,000  for technology upgrades for officer wellness and supervision that support retention, and $110,000 in funding for a third-party backgrounding service, to accelerate the hiring process for both sworn and civilian positions and support recruitment. Some potential hires pursue new employment opportunities due to the length of the hiring process and necessary background checks, so this change is needed.

I believe the topic merits additional attention through the annual budget process, which begins on September 27th.  Central Staff has determined that the Executive has documented staffing shortages and accompanying service delivery issues in several departments.

The impacts of COVID on employment has been unprecedented, both for the private sector as well as the public sector with people leaving their jobs and with sustained vacancies across most employment sectors.  I value the delivery of city services of all city departments and if we need to discuss recruitment bonuses, I think we need to consider vacancies across all city departments and whether we need to consider hiring bonuses to fulfill hiring goals and service delivery obligations for other departments as well.

For example, the Fire Department also has staffing challenges that merit close attention.

I want to analyze this issue across city departments in a comprehensive way; the proposal from Councilmember Pederson would have authorized SPD to pay up to $15,000 per hire; if we are considering hiring bonuses for hires to other departments, we need to consider the possible citywide cost. Consequently I voted against the proposal. There are practical issues with the two versions of the amendment as well, which would provide funding for the remainder of 2021 only.

Of the two versions of the amendment, one included  $230,000 for hiring bonuses, but despite the description of the amendment, the rest of the $3 million for officer retention didn’t have a clearly specified use, and would likely need to be re-authorized during the 2022 budget process. The other version of the amendment proposed using as a funding source $1 million in discretionary funding for SPD. With more public events taking place than anticipated in the 2021 budget, as well as staffing shortages, I prefer this funding remain available to SPD as discretionary use as needed.

I also strongly support what the 2019 Hiring and Retention report from August 2019 called “Wellness-First Schedules” of 4 10 hour shifts to provide 3 consecutive days of rest for officers,  rather than only 2 days of rest.  This has long been a priority of SPD officers and would help greatly to address both recruitment and retention.

Many front line city workers have receive “appreciation pay” for their service during the pandemic.  Appreciation pay is one officer retention strategy and I am supportive of continued discussions for how to best authorize appreciation pay for police officers.  I am very grateful for the officers who have not left SPD and remain committed to community safety and committed, specifically, to Seattle.

Proclamation honoring those who responded to domestic violence

On Monday the Council and Mayor signed a proclamation honoring those who responded to a domestic violence homicide.

The Domestic Violence Unit of the King County Prosecutor’s Office wrote a letter to the Council and Mayor in requesting recognition from the City of Seattle.  I welcomed the opportunity to offer this recognition to Seattle residents, police and fire department personnel, and Seattle Center employees – who responded with heroism, professionalism, and empathy to try and save a life, address the trauma of a child, and hold the offender accountable for what is described as “among the most public and graphic domestic violence homicides in Seattle and Washington state history.”


Duwamish Superfund Site

Monday marked the 20th anniversary since the Duwamish River was declared a superfund site. Unfortunately the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a proposal that could lower the amount and effectiveness of the clean-up efforts. There is disagreement about the methodology of the EPA’s recent study. Unfortunately, instead of moving forward with the original requirements or verifying their study results with additional academic input, they are forging ahead.

During a public comment period earlier this year I implored the EPA to conduct additional testing as requested by the Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition; however that has not happened. The EPA continues to move forward; though they are collecting additional public comment, which you can submit via email here. Comments must be sent in by September 27.

I would encourage you to read the Seattle Times Op-Ed by Paulina López, James Rasmussen, and BJ Cummings.


Virtual Office Hours

On Friday September 24, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, October 29, 2021
  • Friday, December 17, 2021
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2022 Budget Meeting Schedule/Process // Standing with the Duwamish to Restore Federal Acknowledgement // West Seattle Bridge Priority Hire // Apply for Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund Grants of up to $100,000 // Seattle Parks Survey // Virtual Office Hours

September 13th, 2021


2022 Budget Meeting Schedule/Process 

Consideration of the 2022 budget will begin in a few weeks. The City Council will meet as the Select Budget Committee from September 27 through November 22 to consider and adopt a 2022 budget for the City of Seattle.  Other Council committee meetings will be suspended during this time. 

“Select” signifies that it is not a regular committee, and that all nine Councilmembers are members. 

Here’s the schedule for meetings, and a quick description of what occurs during each of the different stages of budget deliberations: 

September 27: Mayor delivers proposed 2022 budget to the Council 

September 29-October 1; Department Presentations: the City Budget Office and Executive departments present  the Mayor’s proposals to the Select Budget Committee, in particular any significant program or staffing additions, changes or reductions compared to the 2021 budget 

October 12:  public hearing at 5:30 p.m. 

October 13-15; Issue Identification: Council Central Staff will identify potential budget issues and policy options about the proposed budget; Councilmembers can share potential amendment ideas as well 

October 26-28; Proposed Budget Amendments: Councilmembers will discuss their proposed amendments to the Proposed Budget; Councilmembers may indicate support for proposed amendments.  

Amendments require three sponsors (the member proposing the amendment, and two additional Councilmembers). The deadline for Councilmembers to propose amendments is October 18 at noon.  

November 10: public hearing at 5:30 p.m. 

November 12: Balancing package: Chair Mosqueda will present her proposed balancing package to the committee 

November 18-19 Balancing Package & Amendments: Councilmember amendments to the proposed balancing package will be considered.  They must be self-balancing.   Self-balancing means that a budget add will likely require a cut of another appropriation. 

The deadline for amendments is November 12 at noon.  

The meeting on November 18 will also include a public hearing from 9:30 to 11 a.m.  I appreciate that Chair Mosqueda has scheduled a public hearing to occur after she proposes a balancing package. 

November 22; Budget Committee and Full Council adoption of 2022 budget 

The Council Committee and Agendas webpage lists agendas for upcoming and recent meetings, with links to relevant materials. Select Budget Committee agendas will be available at the Select Budget Committee agenda page.You can click on the “year” field to access agendas from  previous years. 

Meetings are also shown on the Council meeting calendar 

You can sign up to receive meeting agendas by e-mail. 


Standing with the Duwamish to Restore Federal Acknowledgement 

The Duwamish Tribe is seeking  to restore federal acknowledgement.  You may recall that they received acknowledgement in 2001 by the Clinton administration, but that decision was reversed in 2002 by the Bush administration. 

I have endorsed the campaign, along with other elected officials, organizations, religious groups, labor unions and companies, and tens of thousands of individuals. You can sign the petition in support of federal recognition for the Duwamish Tribe here.  

As the website notes 

Chief Si’ahl (Seattle) of the Duwamish and Suquamish Tribes was the first signer of the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855. The largest city in Washington state is named for him. Chief Si’ahl honored the treaty. The United States has not. The Duwamish Tribe no longer has federally recognized status.  

Despite this, the Duwamish Tribe has for many decades been an important political and cultural influence in the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, the Duwamish have contributed to the environmental health and welfare of the citizens of Seattle, Puget Sound and the Salish Sea with an emphasis on underserved, marginalized populations, to the benefit of all people. 

In 2001, the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Clinton Administration found evidence sufficient to recognize the Duwamish Tribe, only to have it revoked by the Bush Administration for ministerial reasons. With your support and advocacy, federal recognition of the Duwamish Tribe can be reinstated legislatively, administratively, or judicially in 2021, ending over 165 years of injustice. 

You can promote justice and help restore the Treaty rights for the Duwamish Tribe by signing this petition. The Duwamish deserve the dignity of being recognized and access to the Treaty rights that go with that recognition. 

More information is available at the Stand With the Duwamish website. 

 


West Seattle Bridge Priority Hire 

The US Department of Transportation has approved SDOT’s request to use requiring the contractor repairing the West Seattle Bridge hire from local economically distressed communities. The USDOT  reinstated and expanded a pilot program to allow local hiring provisions for federally-funded projects. As the project has attained $37 million in federal funds, federal approval is needed.  

Priority Hire began in late 2013, resulting in an estimated $45 million in construction wages going back into low-income communities through 2020, $20 million more than would have been earned without the program. Nine of the 31 economically distressed areas prioritized by the West Seattle Bridge program are in locations impacted by the closure.  An estimated 5,800 construction workers live in the impacted areas and could be among those prioritized for employment on the project.  

 


Apply for Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund Grants of up to $100,000 

Do you have a great idea to support the local economy and promote racial equity in your neighborhood?  Apply to the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund!  Projects can be community-based solutions to address the negative impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our neighborhoods and local economy. 

Information Session 3 – September 21, 10:00-11:00 am – register here. 

 The Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund can support a variety of activities and projects that directly help businesses, communities and local economies recover from those impacts. Examples include but are not limited to: 

  • Public and commercial space activations, such as, outdoor seating, retail/vendor markets, public art and music, community events and commercial space popups   
  • Digital equity projects, such as neighborhood digital marketplaces 
  • Communications infrastructure, such as websites, social media, and contact databases to promote community news and resources, and share stories of local businesses and events 
  • Physical Improvements, such as lighting, sidewalk cleaning, murals, façade    
  • Community safety projects, such as business block watches, community organizing 
  • Outreach to support businesses and residents build partnerships and shared vision, and 
  • Other economic recovery projects specific to neighborhood needs 

Find more about the grants, timeline, eligibility requirements, answers to frequently asked questions, and application materials at Neighborhood Economic Recovery Fund – Office of Economic Development | seattle.gov.   

 


Share your Vision for Seattle’s Parks 

Help shape the future of Seattle’s outdoor and community spaces in the coming years!  Seattle Parks & Recreation is holding an online open house and survey to seek community input about their plans for pandemic and economic recovery, responding to climate change, and supporting racial equity.   

Share what you want to see at our parks, open spaces, and community centers in the coming years by visiting SPR Strategic Plan Implementation – Online Open House (infocommunity.org).   

 

  


Virtual Office Hours 

 On Friday September 24, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm. 

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time. 

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change. 

  • Friday, October 29, 2021 
  • Friday, December 17, 2021 

 

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West Seattle Bridge Funding Update // Mask Up Indoors Starting Monday // Delridge Pedestrian Bridge/Survey Open through August 30 // Finance Committee Action on Mid-year Budget Including SPD // Less Lethal Weapons’ Regulation // Revenue Forecast

August 23rd, 2021

West Seattle Bridge Funding Update

On Wednesday, the Transportation and Utilities Committee approved legislation accepting grants to SDOT for transportation projects. The legislation now moves to the Full Council for a final vote.

Included are four grants related to the West Seattle Bridge. Two of these grants have been announced before:

  • $11.26 million INFRA grant
  • $12 million from WSDOT for federal grant bridge funds

This brings total federal grant funding to $37 million, approximately 70% of the full repair cost.

Two grants included in the legislation are new. The legislation gives authority to accept grants of up to:

  • $10 million from the Port of Seattle, and
  • $5 million from King County

Negotiations are still active with the Port and King County; consequently, agreements are not yet completed. The Council granted approval in advance in order to maintain the schedule. The legislation also accepts grants for 15th Avenue South and Aurora Avenue North:

Last week’s newsletter mentioned the South Park Drainage and Roadway Partnership Project; here’s an updated map showing where street and drainage improvements are taking place:

 

Mask Up Indoors Starting Monday

I know this isn’t news any of us want to hear. But masks are back.  They are a necessary tool in stopping the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.  Please wear your mask when indoors in a public setting to protect the health of everyone.

Esto es algo que nadie quiere escuchar, pero debemos usar máscaras de nuevo. Son una herramienta importante para detener la propagación de la variante delta de COVID-19 y las necesitamos ahora mismo. Usa tu máscara cuando estés en un lugar público cerrado para proteger a todos.

The statewide indoor mask mandate starts on Monday, August 23rd.  The order requires face masks for everyone over five years of age in most public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. These include places like grocery stores, malls, gyms, and community centers. Masks are strongly recommended in crowded outdoor settings like sporting events, fairs, and concerts where physical distancing is not possible.  You can learn more here.

Vaccination Is Our Most Important Tool

Healthcare system strained:  Ultimately,  increasing vaccinations is our best bet to reduce the spread of COVID-19 locally.  The health care system is under immense strain right now, due in part to increased COVID-19 transmission, mostly among unvaccinated people. Between February and August in our state, 94.5% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, Washington State Hospital Association reported that hospitalizations from COVID-19 are the highest they’ve ever been.  1,100 people were hospitalized with COVID statewide during the peak last December. On Thursday morning, there were 1,240.  Hospitalizations are also increasing in younger ages, notably 20-29 and 30-39.  Here are King County COVID hospitalizations:

Protections for workers:  My office has been hearing from restaurant and bar owners and workers who are concerned about worker safety, as employees are constantly in contact with unmasked customers who may or may not be vaccinated.  Currently, individual business owners can choose to require vaccination for customers, and many are doing so.  Workers are on the front lines of enforcement without the re-enforcement that a government mandate can provide when engaging with customers about vaccine status.  Facing a significant staffing shortage to begin with, they are calling for action to require vaccination for employees and customers, so they can assure a safe working environment – similar to vaccine requirements in San Francisco and New York City.

I have been in contact with Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Mayor’s Office regarding this request, and I continue to be interested in hearing from workers about the best way to secure their safety.  I am also hearing clearly that everyone is eager to do whatever it takes to keep people employed by avoiding more capacity restrictions or another shutdown for the industry.

Get vaxed and help others get vaxed:  Meanwhile, please get vaxed if you’re not already, and encourage your loved ones to do the same.  A higher level of vaccination is truly the only way we can emerge from pandemic restrictions.

Free rides to and from your vaccination are offered by Lyft and Hopelink Mobility (phone: 425-943-6706).

Free childcare is available for vaccination appointments and recuperation from KinderCare (phone: 1-866-337-3105), the Learning Care Group (phone: 1-833-459-3557), and the YMCA (contact your local YMCA to learn more).

Delridge Pedestrian Bridge/Survey Open through August 30

As part of the Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line project, SDOT is installing a new, accessible crossing on Delridge Way SW at the intersection with SW Oregon Street.

They are evaluating whether to remove or repair (seismic retrofit) the nearby pedestrian bridge connecting the Youngstown Cultural Center and the Delridge Playfield.

SDOT’s website has a description of the options.

SDOT will be at the Delridge Community Center to discuss the proposal on:

  • Friday, August 27 from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

You can also e-mail delridgetransit@seattle.gov and call 206-775-8739.

Here are links to the survey:

Finance Committee Action on Mid-Year Budget Including SPD

In September, the Council will be considering the mid-year supplemental adjustment to the 2021 adopted budget, as recommended by the Finance and Housing Committee on Tuesday.  This legislation includes changes to the SPD budget that I proposed, made possible by an estimated $15 million not needed for officer salaries this year.   I first proposed these investments in May, which unfortunately did not pass.  The supplemental budget proposal in the Finance and Housing committee represented another opportunity.

I proposed – and committee members approved – significant changes to the budget legislation to ameliorate the community safety impacts associated with the current shortage of police officers. The shortage of sworn officers is resulting in significantly reduced 911 “priority one” responses – responses that have a standard goal of 7 minutes.  It’s important that we make investments to address the real workload challenges for those sworn officers who remain on as public servants in Seattle.

My amendments also added funding for civilian positions, technology investments, a new training program, and alternatives to an armed response to build community safety.  Together, these amendments reflected the priorities of SPD, community safety advocates, the Mayor’s Office, and Council’s work to reimagine public safety and provide alternatives to an armed response, while ensuring officers have the ability to respond to calls that only they are qualified to do.

The successful new amendment, proposed with Finance & Housing Chair CM Mosqueda, includes funding for:

  • Community Service Officers and Crime Prevention coordinators;
  • Hiring process accelerators for both sworn officers and civilian hires;
  • National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform 911 call data analysis to support re-imaging policing;
  • Work, Scheduling and Timekeeping project updating and modernizing SPD’s management of overtime and addressing the recommendations made by the City Auditor in 2016, and recommendations made recently the Office of Police Accountability;
  • $1.5 million for overtime. SPD requested $3 million.  Both the Mayor and Council proposed reductions in the overtime budget last fall for 2021, assuming fewer large events would occur due to COVID.  With additional events now taking place, more overtime funding may be needed, as well as for patrol 911 response.
  • Evidence storage space, as recommended by the Inspector General;
  • Funding for additional Public Disclosure work, as recommended by the City Auditor.

The amendment also incorporates priorities I announced in my Public Safety and Human Services committee in late July.  The Mayor and SPD also stated support for these investments to re-direct a total of $1.5 million from the SPD budget to other departments.

  • Community Safety and Communications Center funding for a protocol system for 911 dispatchers; this is critical for ensuring 911 call takers have the training to ensure the best response, as we embrace alternatives. Similar to what Seattle Fire uses in its dispatch center, the protocol system will implement a more consistent process for obtaining key information from 911 callers and support better data analysis to plan for resource deployment, including alternatives to police response.  I didn’t want to wait until the Mayor made a 2022 budget recommendation to begin providing funding for this effort.
  • Regional Peacekeepers’ Collective funding to prevent gun violence. This is critically important right now.  Community violence intervention programs such as the Regional Peacekeepers Collective have been shown to reduce violence by as much as 60%.   I didn’t want to wait until the Mayor made a 2022 budget recommendation to begin providing funding for this effort.
  • Funding for Triage One; to redirect 911 calls as a result of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform call analysis commissioned by SPD; they are calls that do not require a first response from sworn officers, and reduce the need for them to respond to these calls. I didn’t want to wait until the Mayor made a 2022 budget recommendation to begin providing funding for this effort.

Our amendment also includes an investment of $3 million in the Seattle Community Safety Initiative,  to fund additional alternatives to policing. HSD recently awarded contracts to 33 of the 70 applicants; additional funds could fund additional projects, or extend the funding from 18 to 24 months.

I also proposed a separate amendment to fund $2.25 million for necessary SPD technology investments, which passed. It includes funding for Data Analytics Platform; for Capacity Planning Tool; Innovation Blueprint; and Officer Wellness and Supervision (which is a new version of this). Some of these are required by the Consent Decree.

The Data Analytics Platform will be used to monitor staffing and overtime, analytical processes necessary for reimagining policing such as 911 alternatives, next generation early intervention, and to monitor disparate impacts. The Capacity Planning Tool will evaluate staffing demand, and calculate staffing requirements based on scenarios such as 911 alternate response, and expands resource planning beyond core functions such as patrol and investigations to include support for functions such as force review and public disclosure. Innovation Blueprint includes identifying strategies and online tools to increase transparency and improve police practices. Officer Wellness and Supervision include more accurate statistical models for predicting and guiding interventions for employees exhibiting signs they need support, as part of the department employee wellness and retention strategy.

I strongly support Chief Diaz’s efforts to innovate in developing a training curriculum to ensure SPD recruits understand community expectations for a public service career in law enforcement in Seattle.  That’s why I successfully proposed funding for a program Chief Diaz is initiating to support Seattle-specific training for new officer recruits before they go to the state training academy.  The program is being developed under the guidance of a long-time educator, and consists of a 45-day program that “pulls recruits out of traditional classroom training and immerses them in community-based, peer-based, and introspective experiences that will provide them both a lens through which to receive their BLEA (I.e. academy) training and a foundation upon which to build their careers as Seattle Police Officers.” Most of this work will take place in the community. The curriculum strives to implement the principles of relational policing, as recommended by the Inspector General Sentinel Event Review.

 

Less Lethal Weapons’ Regulation

On Monday, the Council voted 7-0 to adopt legislation that I sponsored to restrict the use of less lethal weapons, principally during demonstrations.

There are currently no restrictions on the use of less lethal weapons in Seattle law.

After the Public Safety and Human Services Committee voted 4-1 to pass the legislation in July, I moved to delay the Full Council vote until after a Status Conference for the Consent Decree was held in early August.  It was important to wait in case the court wanted to comment on the legislation before the Council passed it.  Court approval of the SPD policies that will derive from the new law is necessary, per the scope of the Consent Decree, which includes all laws, policies, and practices that relate to use of force. The legislation was not discussed at the Status Conference.

The legislation includes a full ban on acoustic weapons, directed energy weapons, blast balls, ultrasonic cannons and water cannons. Use of Noise-Flash Devices (Flash Bangs) are banned in demonstrations.

The bill permits the use of pepper spray and pepper ball launchers only in those cases when the “risk of serious bodily injury from violent actions outweighs risk of harm to bystanders.” If used to control crowds another condition must be in place, that there is a “violent public disturbance. The legislation defines when a “violent public disturbance” is taking place.   Tear gas use is restrained by 5 separate conditions.

In developing the legislation, Council President Gonzalez and I met with the Consent Decree Monitor and the Department of Justice, to get their informal feedback in advance, with the understanding formal feedback will follow after SPD policies based upon the ordinance are developed and filed with the Court.

You may recall that my PSHS  committee first acted in February to recommend a draft bill that was used for those discussions

During conversations about the draft bill, DOJ expressed concern about the potential that restricting the use of certain less-lethal tools in crowd management circumstances could actually lead to officers using higher levels of force, putting both assaultive protestors and the surrounding non-violent protestors at higher risk of harm. Judge Robart expressed similar concerns. DOJ likewise inquired as to whether the draft bill will provide time for relevant SPD officers to be trained to changes in policy, again, to avoid the unwanted impact of having untrained officers resort to higher levels of force than necessary. Judge Robart also raised this issue.

To address these concerns, we added a definition of “crowd control,” and added a 60 day training period.  To address concern that officers should have some less lethal option to intervene when property damage is occurring but there is no risk of serious bodily injury, the legislation is silent on and does not regulate the use of non-chemical launchers, e.g. of bean bags or rubber bullets.

Another update allows for use of pepper ball launchers in, a demonstration or rally, but not for crowd control purposes, and only when the “risk of serious bodily injury from violent actions outweighs the risk of harm to bystanders.”

This change is in response to prior judicial decisions; Judge Robart specifically approved policies authorizing use of pepper ball launchers in late February, as part of SPD’s court-mandated annual update to use of force policies

Development of this legislation began after Council’s passage of legislation sponsored by CM Sawant in June 2020 to fully ban the use of most less lethal weapons for crowd control, after demonstrations in Seattle after the murder of George Floyd. Judge Robart issued a restraining order on that bill in July of last year. It never went into effect.  In August pf 2020, the Community Police Commission, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Police Accountability made recommendations for how to change the law.  These recommendations were sent to Council and Judge Robart, as he requested them as well.

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee has met seven times about this legislation, and heard extensive public comment.

While some criticize the bill as too weak and others say the Council shouldn’t legislate less lethal weapons regulations at all, my goal has been to adopt the strongest regulations possible, building on the August 2020 consensus recommendations of the three accountability bodies, while adhering to the obligations under the Consent Decree.

The CPC stated support for this legislation, while noting their perspective that they believe more needs to be done:

“The Seattle Community Police Commission writes today to offer its support for Council Bill 120105. The Commission believes that the bill’s inclusion of clear delineations of when less-lethal weapons can and cannot be used—and limitations on who can use them—is a significant first step in ensuring the safety of community members when they engage in First Amendment protected protests.

 The Commission wishes to note that while we appreciate the improvements the bill would make to Seattle Police Department’s use of crowd control weapons, the Commission wants to ensure that the City Council does not forget that there is more work to be done. This legislation does work toward implementation of some recommendations made by the CPC last fall. However, those CPC’s recommendations identified additional changes necessary to best protect our community’s safety and civil liberties during protests for which we ask the City Council to not stop striving towards.

Now that the Council has voted to adopt the legislation, this is what happens next:

  • First, SPD will draft policy revisions within 60 days (provided by Section 4 of the bill)
  • Second, DOJ and the Monitor will review the policy revisions (this is when their formal review under the Consent Decree takes place)
  • Third, the Court will review the policy revisions (also required by the Consent Decree)
  • Fourth, if the Court approves the policy revisions, then the revised policies and the substantive provisions of the bill will take effect (provided by Section 5 of the bill)

 

Revenue Forecast

On Tuesday the City Budget Office shared an updated August revenue forecast for 2021 and 2022. Here’s a link to the presentation.

The forecast projects an additional $53 million increase in general fund revenues during 2021, and an additional $29 million in 2022, compared to the April forecast.

Sales tax and B&O revenue has come in at rates above the April forecast.

The forecast notes potential risks, including the rising number of cases due to the Delta variant; whether consumers delay returning to pre-pandemic spending patterns; inflation, supply-chain disruptions, shortage of available workers, and potential global drop in demand due to virus surges.

 

Welcoming Refugees from Afghanistan

It’s been heartbreaking to watch the news from Afghanistan this week, amid reports and images of allies left behind and families here in Seattle concerned for their loved ones.  It’s at moments like these that Seattle must live up to being a Welcoming City and find ways to support the refugees who will be resettled here.  The Council President’s office has been in touch with state and federal partners about actions Council can take to help.

Since August 1st, 160 refugees from Afghanistan have arrived in the US, primarily landing here in King County.  More are expected.  The local International Rescue Committee is one of five organizations locally that are helping refugees settle here as they arrive, and they offer this list of ways to help.  ReWA is also offering mental health counseling sessions for refugees as they arrive, and shares this information and ways to help their efforts.

River City Skate Park Opening

This Sunday the community will be celebrating the opening of the new River City Skate Park. Tours of the new plaza will happen between 12pm and 2pm and Skate Like a Girl will also have a table there with some giveaways, raffles, music and art.

 

Youth Member Seats to Join the WRIA 9 Watershed Ecosystem Forum for Salmon Recovery

The Watershed Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 9 is looking for a youth member to join the forum.

The youth member will serve as an equal member of the Watershed Ecosystem Forum working on projects and policies related to salmon recovery in the Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed. The work is focused on improving habitat, water quality, reducing flood hazards, and increasing the function and health of the watershed and its communities.

Membership criteria:

  • Applicants must live or attend school within the WRIA 9 watershed (Enumclaw, Tahoma, Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Renton, Highline, Vashon, and Seattle).
  • Applicants must be between the grades of 9 and 12
  • One year terms
  • All applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, or ability.
  • Applicants under 18 must have parent permission to serve.

If this sounds like an opportunity you’re interested in, please apply here. Applications are due September 13th.

 

No Newsletter Next Two Weeks

The City Council is on its summer recess for the next two weeks, and there won’t be any Council meetings during that time. My next update will be in September.

 

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West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Update; Stay Cool In the Heat; SPD Staffing, Overtime and Budget Update; Building Safety In Our Communities; Covid Update; Assess Your Masks; PEO Unit Transfer; SDOT Outdoor Café Survey; Fire Science Associate Degree Program; Duwamish Steward Position; Office Hours Update

August 13th, 2021

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Update

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on August 12.

Bridge Updates

First of all, SDOT confirmed the project remains on schedule for completion in mid-2022, and provided an update about how future schedule and cost estimates will be determined.

As I’ve explained in past blog posts, SDOT is using the General Contractor/Construction Manager (GCCM), which varies from standard contacting methods. Normally, a project is designed, and then put out to bid. The GCCM approach saves time by involving the construction contractor in design at 60% and 90% design, to identify potential challenges, and avoid change orders that can delay projects.

SDOT has provided the construction contractor, Kraemer, with a 60% completed design.  This will enable them to develop a first estimated cost/schedule estimate later this month. After 90% design is reached next month, a second estimate will be due in October. At that point, the Maximum Allowable Construction Cost (MACC) negotiations will begin, and construction will begin in November. The schedule below notes this, along with funding agreements with other funders, such as the federal government, in September:

Some work has been taking place on the bridge, such as asbestos work. Being inside the box girder, the work isn’t visible from outside.

What Went Wrong?

Graphics below are in response to public questions about what went wrong with the bridge. The original bridge was designed to the standards of that time, which did not include adequate post-tensioning of steel cables. This led to the cracking of concrete.

There are three spans to the bridge: the center span, and the two approaches. Cracking took place in all three spans. The center span across the Duwamish has been stabilized, which sharply limited crack growth. The two tail spans have not yet been stabilized; the repair will add post tensioning to the two tail spans:

Another question from community members is why a lane of traffic can’t be opened in the meantime.

SDOT indicates traffic would cause more cracking and harm the condition of the bridge, with the tail spans needing additional work to strengthen. The repair will add post tensioning to the entire bridge. In addition, there are holes in the deck used to access the box girders.

 

Reconnect West Seattle Update

Through August 1, over 1,500 applications for use of the lower bridge have been received, with the following access granted:

Traffic travel times on detour routes such as West Marginal Way are up significantly from last year; bus ridership and water taxi ridership are increasing slowly:

The West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way intersection improvements, designed to improve intersection throughput and concurrent turning movements, are on track to be completed by the end of September.

South Park Drainage and Roadway Partnership Project Update

SDOT also presented the South Park Drainage and Roadway Partnership Project.  This is a joint project between SDOT and Seattle Public Utilities to construct street improvements and drainage systems to address flooding that regularly occurs in some parts of South Park. The project includes a new pump station. I last wrote about the pump station here when construction began last Fall.

The project will take place in the South Park Industrial Area between 2nd Ave S and 8th Ave S, and S Holden St and S Monroe St.

For the map below, the blue lines are where street AND drainage improvements will take place, and the one yellow block is where only drainage improvements are planned:

The project will begin in September, and take 12-16 months. Project elements are noted below:

Work will begin first on South Monroe and South Chicago Streets, which are currently gravel roads.

Construction details are below:

Stay Cool In the Heat

Looking for tips on keeping cool during the heat surge?  Try this list of hot weather tips, and check out these City-operated cooling locations, including day centers, libraries, wading pools, and more.

Know the signs of dangerous heat exposure, and help your family and friends stay safe.


SPD Staffing, Overtime and Budget Update

On Tuesday, the Public Safety and Human Services Committee heard two items related to the SPD budget. First, we heard the second 2021 SPD update from Council Central Staff on finances, staffing, and use of overtime in SPD. The Council requested these updates and Central Staff is presenting them on a quarterly basis.

The second item was a briefing and discussion from SPD on their 2021 funding proposal that I requested they provide to the Council.

Since early this year, I’ve been advocating for resources so SPD can address the officer shortage, from increasing civilian staffing and funding new alternative responses, so sworn officers have more capacity to respond to the calls only they can address, such as violent crime.

I have proposed spending in the second quarter supplemental budget for programs such as Community Service Officers, Crime Prevention Coordinators, technology needs, SPD evidence storage capacity as identified by the Inspector General, funding Public Disclosure Request (PDR) positions in OPA and Seattle IT to address PDR backlogs as identified by the City Auditor, and the city’s investment in the Regional Peacekeepers’ Collaborative.

I have also proposed funding now, rather than waiting for the 2022 budget, to support the creation of the new Triage One program and a new dispatch system, which will allow us to deploy the right resources and allow for better analysis so we can build more alternatives to sending an armed police officers to every 911 call. The recent 911 call analysis commissioned by SPD indicates 12% of calls can be responded to without SPD involvement in the short term, and in the longer term, as many as 49%.

I said in my Public Safety and Human Services committee this week what I wrote in my blog post last week, that “despite that the Council fully funded SPD’s 2021 staffing plan, police officers are still leaving the SPD in unprecedented numbers. I thank those remaining and I appreciate those committed to their public service in Seattle. I want to ensure that the city prioritizes their time to addressing the calls to which only they can respond.”

The current budget discussions are regarding an estimated $15 million from what are called “salary savings.”  This is the budget term for the difference between the amount of funding actually needed to pay current officers as well as hire new ones, and the total funding included in the budget for this purpose.  Due to more officers leaving than we are hiring, there is a projected $15 million in salary savings in SPD’s budget.

In September 2020, the Mayor proposed cutting $15.7 million from the SPD base budget from salary savings. In addition, she proposed reducing civilian spending in SPD by $4.1 million, for a $19.8 million salary savings cut from SPD, and directed those funds to other departments and Mayoral priorities.

The Mayor’s proposed cut garnered little media coverage. The Council does its business in public—not behind closed doors—so Council discussions generate media attention, even for smaller amounts of budget reductions.

With additional data available during the budget process, in November the Council included $5 million for “salary savings” in what is called a budget “proviso.” This keeps the funds within SPD but held in reserve; they require Council action to spend, release the funds to SPD, or re-direct them to other uses. An additional $2.5 million was held in proviso for potential layoffs for “Brady List” officers only, that is, officers with a finding of for example dishonesty or bias; their testimony can be impeached, so they can’t fulfill all their duties as officers. These kind of lay offs aren’t permitted under current state law; so no officers have been laid off.

Unlike the Mayor’s $19.8 million SPD budget cut proposal, this $7.5 million was not re-directed to other departments, so the Council could opt to keep that funding within SPD, or move it elsewhere.

I proposed releasing these $7.5 million in provisos to SPD in legislation earlier this year that did not pass, and the Mayor did not support. I continue to support releasing those provisos, and I welcome the Mayor’s current support for this.

Council Central Staff’s Presentation includes the information requested from SPD on budget, staffing, overtime and 911 response. SPD did a lot of work to assist with the presentation, and I thank them for this.

The overall budget has been spent at 48% through mid-year.  With officer departures, additional funding for separation pay is clearly needed.

Through June, the annual overtime budget has been spent at 44%. Central Staff (and SPD) estimate this will not be sufficient for the year, as more events happen during the warm weather months. The 2021 budget was reduced by both the Mayor and the Council, as fewer events were anticipated due to the COVID pandemic. Consequently, some increase in overtime is needed. Chief Diaz has mentioned to me that he tracks overtime daily; I appreciate that level of attention.

I continue to be interested in transferring as much of this event overtime work to Parking Enforcement Officers as possible, especially considering the shortage of sworn officers.

Overall staffing is down, with 100 separations and 38 hires during 2021. SPD is proposing changes to how background checks for new recruits take place, by hiring a third-party backgrounding service through the end of 2022. This is to accelerate background checks; currently, there is a significant time gap between when candidates apply, and the completion of this process, and improving this can assist with fewer recruits dropping out. Transitioning to e-testing is also designed to expedite the hiring process.

911 response times are in several cases higher than 7 minutes for Priority 1 calls. The median (e.g. midpoint) response time during the 2nd quarter was below 7 minutes in two of the five precincts, and the average (total times divided by number of calls) was above 7 minutes in all precincts. This highlights the need for funding alternative responses that reduce the workload of sworn officers, including Triage One, Health One, Community Service Officers, and violence-prevention programs operating in West Seattle, South Seattle, and the Central District, and for our continuing work on 911 call analysis, and the programs funded through the Department of Human Services Department Safe and Thriving Communities Division as described in the next section.

Building Safety In Our Communities

Thirty-three community safety projects will be building safety in our neighborhoods from the ground up for the next 18 months, thanks to $10.4 million in funding I proposed, and approved by Council starting last summer.  At Tuesday’s meeting of the Public Safety & Human Services committee, representatives from the Human Services Department (HSD) presented on their recent award decisions.

This work builds upon the $4 million awarded last year to the Seattle Community Safety Initiative (SCSI), led by Community Passageways, which built community safety hubs and wraparound services in three Seattle neighborhoods, including West Seattle.  I sponsored that investment, which Council funded through a $4M appropriation during last summer’s 2020 budget rebalancing process.   You can learn more about SCSI here.

In addition to operating community safety programs that respond to violent and non-violent crimes, these organizations will meet together regularly with an evaluation team to assess their impact and learn from each other.  Seattle’s City Auditor has previously done a significant amount of work to understand the impact of street outreach programs, so I asked them to produce a brief report based on recommendations from the 2015 report on Street Outreach to help support these programs.

Some of the funded programs have indicated they are an alternative to an armed police response, or are able to co-respond to incidents with police.  I have asked Rex Brown, the Director of HSD’s new Safe and Thriving Division, to provide more information about these programs in particular.  I look forward to sharing what I learn.

Time and again, I’ve heard from constituents that the response to poverty, behavioral health crisis, and homelessness shouldn’t be an armed police officer, but instead better resources and community-led programs that address these core needs. The fourteen members of the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice, including interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz, recommend exactly this kind of investment in anti-violence strategies to combat increased violence and property offenses in cities across the country, including in Seattle.

Covid Update: Vaccines Are Best Defense Against Delta; D1 Popup Vax Clinics; Mask Uh3 Indoors; Assess Your Masks

Seattle is already leading the country on our vaccination rates: over 82.5% of residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

There is no doubt that vaccines work, and vaccination is our best defense against the highly contagious Delta variant. There has not been a reported death of a Seattle resident since July 11, and Seattle has averaged some of its lowest hospitalizations of the entire pandemic. Of the 1.45 million residents fully vaccinated in King County, 0.1% have had a positive test result following vaccination, 0.004% have been hospitalized for COVID-19 and 0.001% have died due to COVID-19.

Get Vaxed:  Lots of popup vax clinics coming to District 1 this weekend…

Saturday, August 14

  • 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Ave S 98108
  • 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM, South Delridge Farmer’s Market, 9421 18th Ave SW, 98106
  • 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Blaxinate Lounge, Alki Beach Bathhouse, 2701 Alki Ave SW, 98116

Sunday, August 15,

  • 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Statue of Liberty Plaza, Alki Beach Park, 2665 Alki Ave SW, 98116

And you can always find vaccination near you:

Mask Up Indoors:  Health officers from all 35 local health jurisdictions across Washington state have joined together to send a message: Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask in indoor, public spaces. This unified recommendation comes as case counts in our region are rising again, driven largely by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.

Assess Your Masks:  The highly contagious Delta variant requires renewed vigilance – and better “mask hygiene.” We will most likely be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic longer than we hoped. We must continue to protect our neighbors who can’t be vaccinated, including kids under 12 and immune-compromised folks.

So, it’s a good time to assess your mask quality and supply – to have the best filtering and best fitting mask or respirator you can. To resist the Delta variant, you’ll want both a good fit and a high-quality mask.   Learn more here.


PEO Unit Transfer

During this week’s committee meeting we discussed and moved forward CB 120148 which will transfer the Parking Enforcement Unit (PEOs) out of the Seattle Police Department and into the Seattle Department of Transportation.

You may remember when I last wrote about the transfer of functions out of SPD, the Council had voted on the transfer of 911 dispatchers out of SPD.  Due to a divided workforce and uncertainty from other Councilmembers, we held off on transferring the PEOs out of SPD in May. Unfortunately, the workforce remains divided in the question of to which department they would like to be transferred, but the Council needed to act in transferring the unit prior to September 1 or the workers in the unit would not be paid.

CB 120148 passed out of committee unanimously and will be heard at Full Council on Monday, August 16 prior to the Council’s recess.

SDOT Outdoor Café Survey Open Through August 15

Last year, the Council adopted legislation to facilitate street cafes during the COVID pandemic, when there were sharp restrictions on restaurant and café capacity due to the pandemic. Allowing for outdoor service on sidewalks and streets helped small businesses survive.

In May, the Council adopted legislation which included a section requiring SDOT to present the Council a draft permitting proposal for the continuation of business uses, by March 31, 2022.

SDOT is conducting a survey to gather public input. The survey is open through August 15th, and available here.

Here’s SDOT’s blog post with additional information.

Fire Science Associate Degree Program

On Monday the Seattle Fire Department announced a new Fire Sciences Associate degree program in partnership with North Seattle College. This is an important step for addressing our aging workforce. I’ve continued to support additional funding for more firefighter recruit classes as well. In last year’s budget process I secured $1.6 million to restore recruitment class size and reverse proposed funding cuts for testing. Last year the SFD saw an increase in firefighter separations, and, if the same attrition averages over the last five years (38 separations) continue in 2021, the SFD could have 75 vacancies with an additional 412 firefighters eligible for retirement.

I’m excited that the Fire Sciences Associate degree program will launch this Fall, and targets two different demographics for potential applicants:

“The first is high school graduates looking to pursue a career in the fire service and the second is existing firefighters planning to wanting to strengthen profession-specific skills and further their baccalaureate education. An overarching goal of the program is to help bring a diverse array of applicants to local fire departments’ hiring processes by providing youth with an opportunity to learn about the fire service in advance of applying for a firefighting position.”

If you’re considering applying, the application deadline is September 20, 2021.

Duwamish Steward Position

On Thursday the Watershed Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 9, of which I am a member and represent the City of Seattle, discussed adding a new steward position for the Duwamish River. A stewardship position can assist with conservation efforts and the community in a number of ways including:

“planning and prioritizing open space acquisitions and habitat restoration projects, coordinating with local jurisdictions and non-profit partners, pursuing grants and other restoration funding sources, coordinating community science and monitoring efforts, and engaging the public both to convey and receive input on priority work. These roles are critical for advancing salmon recovery in the watershed. Without a Duwamish Basin Steward, opportunities for land acquisition and habitat restoration have been left untended and have been lost to development of incompatible uses.”

I have been advocating for this position since 2019 and I am excited that we’re finally moving forward with funding for this position. Stakeholders including the City, Port of Seattle, King County and other cities effected by the Duwamish River are still considering different funding models, but the position should be hired in 2022. I want to thank the Green River Coalition and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition and the Duwamish Alive Coalition for their advocacy in making this happen.

Office Hours Update

Office hours tentatively scheduled for August 20, have been cancelled. My next virtual office hours will be on Friday, September 24.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, October 29, 2021
  • Friday, December 17, 2021
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Sound Transit Board Action on ST3 Realignment; Duwamish Waterway Park Expansion; Construction begins at Lowman Beach Park; Comprehensive Plan Update

August 6th, 2021

Sound Transit Board Action on ST3 Realignment

Yesterday the Sound Transit Board took action to adopt a realignment plan framework for the 2016 ST3 ballot measure, which includes West Seattle light rail. Sound Transit currently faces a $6.5 billion affordability gap, so some projects are being delayed. The framework allows for consideration of adjustment if, for example, additional federal funds are attained.

The Board’s action establishes four tiers, with Tier 1 being the highest priority projects. West Seattle light rail is included in Tier 1, and listed for completion in 2032 for all three stations (Delridge, Avalon, Alaska Junction).

Some scenarios presented to the Board in previous months listed West Seattle outside of Tier 1, and proposed completion in 2035, or building only to the Delridge station in 2035, and to the Alaska Junction in 2038. 2032 was the earliest date for West Seattle presented in any of the scenarios the Board reviewed.

Here’s a link to the Realigned Capital Program for ST3 projects as it stands after the Board’s action. It notes that there have been non-financial delays of one to three years for some projects, principally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are three potential schedules listed (Earliest Potential, Affordable, and Initial Target—all three list 2032 for West Seattle).

 

Duwamish Waterway Park Expansion

On Tuesday, I joined members of the Public Assets and Native Communities committee in approving Seattle Parks & Recreation’s purchase of the Unity Electric site in South Park, which will eventually expand the Duwamish Waterway Park.  The Duwamish Waterway Park is used for important local and regional festivals that bring together Indigenous people, and South Park’s Latinx, Somali, Vietnamese, and Cambodian community members.

The current tenants hold a six-year lease, but Superintendent Aguirre indicated willingness to move forward more quickly if possible.  You can learn more about the acquisition and the park project here.

Approximately 5,000 feet of Duwamish River shoreline are accessible within a 5-minute walk for South Park residents – but less than 400 feet of that shoreline are public, and only 100 feet of shoreline provide access to the water.  Improved access to open space and particularly to the Duwamish River is one of the highest community priorities for South Park residents, which has been documented in numerous plans including the South Park Green Space Vision Plan, Equity & Environment Agenda, South Park Outside and the Duwamish Valley Action Plan.

I’m grateful to Superintendent Aguirre for bringing this acquisition to Council, and to the countless South Park community members who have shared their vision for shoreline access and public space large enough for community gatherings consistently over the years.  I look forward to this acquisition contributing to that vision.

 

Construction begins at Lowman Beach Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) awarded the construction contract for the Lowman Beach Park Seawall and Beach Restoration project to Mike McClung Construction. The contractor is anticipated to mobilize on site in early September and this project will require partial closure of the park, including closure of beach access, tennis court, and trail access. Public access to a portion of the lawn and playground area will be maintained.  You can learn more about the Lowman Beach Park Seawall project here, and the racket court design project here.

Lowman Beach Park is a neighborhood park on the water located north of Lincoln Park at 7017 Beach Dr. SW. The Lowman Beach Park seawall is failing and will be removed as part of this project. As visitors to the park have seen, the existing seawall is slowly falling over and sliding towards the water. The goal of this project is to remove the remaining seawall and continue the shoreline restoration work that began when the south half of the seawall failed in the mid-1990s.  If you have questions about the project please contact the project manager, Janice Liang, at Janice.Liang@seattle.gov.

Comprehensive Plan Update

Once a year the Council passes a resolution to update the Comprehensive Plan, those plan updates derive from what we call the docketing process. Proposals are submitted by the public and the Seattle Planning Commission and Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) make recommendations to include proposals – or not – in the docketing resolution. If you’re interested in additional background information, the Central Staff Memo here explains the process of updating the Comprehensive Plan, and describes the proposals received by the City and the recommendations of both OPCD, the Planning Commission, and Central Staff.

On Monday the Council unanimously passed the resolution updating the Comprehensive Plan.

One District 1 proposal was to rezone three parcels of single-family zoning to Low-rise 3 or 4 to allow for an affordable housing development for seniors in South Park on 3rd Ave S. This proposal was not recommended to move forward by the Planning Commission, OPCD, nor Central Staff.  The reason is that the Comprehensive Plan update does not typically consider areas smaller than one block in size.  There is strong interest in the vision for this property and recognition that it “aligns with many other City goals related to neighborhood access, building community wealth, and combating displacement.”  There are other approaches that can be pursued to support this vision.

The D1 item moving forward in the Comprehensive Plan update process is an assessment whether the South Park Urban Village meets the criteria for the urban village designation.

Finally, I want to note that the Council took another step forward with Impact Fees with this resolution. The resolution requests that the draft project list for transportation impact fees be updated which is a necessary step in implementing a transportation impact fee program. You can read more about impact fees here.

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Sound Transit Board Action on ST3 Realignment; Duwamish Waterway Park Expansion; Construction Begins at Lowman Beach Park; Comprehensive Plan Update

August 6th, 2021

Sound Transit Board Action on ST3 Realignment

Yesterday the Sound Transit Board took action to adopt a realignment plan framework for the 2016 ST3 ballot measure, which includes West Seattle light rail. Sound Transit currently faces a $6.5 billion affordability gap, so some projects are being delayed. The framework allows for consideration of adjustment if, for example, additional federal funds are attained.

The Board’s action establishes four tiers, with Tier 1 being the highest priority projects. West Seattle light rail is included in Tier 1, and listed for completion in 2032 for all three stations (Delridge, Avalon, Alaska Junction).

Some scenarios presented to the Board in previous months listed West Seattle outside of Tier 1, and proposed completion in 2035, or building only to the Delridge station in 2035, and to the Alaska Junction in 2038. 2032 was the earliest date for West Seattle presented in any of the scenarios the Board reviewed.

Here’s a link to the Realigned Capital Program for ST3 projects as it stands after the Board’s action. It notes that there have been non-financial delays of one to three years for some projects, principally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are three potential schedules listed (Earliest Potential, Affordable, and Initial Target—all three list 2032 for West Seattle).

Duwamish Waterway Park Expansion

On Tuesday, I joined members of the Public Assets and Native Communities committee in approving Seattle Parks & Recreation’s purchase of the Unity Electric site in South Park, which will eventually expand the Duwamish Waterway Park.  The Duwamish Waterway Park is used for important local and regional festivals that bring together Indigenous people, and South Park’s Latinx, Somali, Vietnamese, and Cambodian community members.

The current tenants hold a six-year lease, but Superintendent Aguirre indicated willingness to move forward more quickly if possible.  You can learn more about the acquisition and the park project here.

Approximately 5,000 feet of Duwamish River shoreline are accessible within a 5-minute walk for South Park residents – but less than 400 feet of that shoreline are public, and only 100 feet of shoreline provide access to the water.  Improved access to open space and particularly to the Duwamish River is one of the highest community priorities for South Park residents, which has been documented in numerous plans including the South Park Green Space Vision Plan, Equity & Environment Agenda, South Park Outside and the Duwamish Valley Action Plan.

I’m grateful to Superintendent Aguirre for bringing this acquisition to Council, and to the countless South Park community members who have shared their vision for shoreline access and public space large enough for community gatherings consistently over the years.  I look forward to this acquisition contributing to that vision.


Construction Begins at Lowman Beach Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) awarded the construction contract for the Lowman Beach Park Seawall and Beach Restoration project to Mike McClung Construction. The contractor is anticipated to mobilize on site in early September and this project will require partial closure of the park, including closure of beach access, tennis court, and trail access. Public access to a portion of the lawn and playground area will be maintained.  You can learn more about the Lowman Beach Park Seawall project here, and the racket court design project here.

Lowman Beach Park is a neighborhood park on the water located north of Lincoln Park at 7017 Beach Dr. SW. The Lowman Beach Park seawall is failing and will be removed as part of this project. As visitors to the park have seen, the existing seawall is slowly falling over and sliding towards the water. The goal of this project is to remove the remaining seawall and continue the shoreline restoration work that began when the south half of the seawall failed in the mid-1990s.  If you have questions about the project please contact the project manager, Janice Liang, at Janice.Liang@seattle.gov.

Comprehensive Plan Update

Once a year the Council passes a resolution to update the Comprehensive Plan, those plan updates derive from what we call the docketing process. Proposals are submitted by the public and the Seattle Planning Commission and Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) make recommendations to include proposals – or not – in the docketing resolution. If you’re interested in additional background information, the Central Staff Memo here explains the process of updating the Comprehensive Plan, and describes the proposals received by the City and the recommendations of both OPCD, the Planning Commission, and Central Staff.

On Monday the Council unanimously passed the resolution updating the Comprehensive Plan.

One District 1 proposal was to rezone three parcels of single-family zoning to Low-rise 3 or 4 to allow for an affordable housing development for seniors in South Park on 3rd Ave S. This proposal was not recommended to move forward by the Planning Commission, OPCD, nor Central Staff.  The reason is that the Comprehensive Plan update does not typically consider areas smaller than one block in size.  There is strong interest in the vision for this property and recognition that it “aligns with many other City goals related to neighborhood access, building community wealth, and combating displacement.”  There are other approaches that can be pursued to support this vision.

The D1 item moving forward in the Comprehensive Plan update process is an assessment whether the South Park Urban Village meets the criteria for the urban village designation.

Finally, I want to note that the Council took another step forward with Impact Fees with this resolution. The resolution requests that the draft project list for transportation impact fees be updated which is a necessary step in implementing a transportation impact fee program. You can read more about impact fees here.

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