Soaring Overdose Deaths / App-Based Workers’ Protections / 988 Implementation / Nowruz Proclamation / Impact Fee Projects, Presentations / Sound Transit Board Action / West Marginal Way Bike Lane Update / Have Apple Health? Time to Reconfirm! / Seattle Preschool Program Applications Now Open / Volunteer for Seattle/King County Clinic

March 24th, 2023


Soaring Overdose Deaths

King County reported on a grim milestone recently: so far in the first quarter of this year, 296 King County residents died of drug or alcohol poisoning.  This exceeds the total number of overdose deaths in all of 2012, all in a single quarter.  It also puts us on track to exceed last year’s record 1,003 overdose deaths by more than 18%, if deaths continue at the current rate.

This is driven largely by a dramatic increase in fentanyl- and methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths.

I understand the Board of Health will receive a briefing on this work at our April meeting.  I plan to host a presentation from Public Health on this crisis in a May meeting of my Public Safety & Human Services committee.  We will also hear a report on the City’s plan for the anticipated $14 million we expect to receive from a state settlement against opioid medication distributors.  I appreciate Councilmember Sara Nelson’s work during the budget to request this report, which is being authored by the Human Services Department and Mayor’s Office in consultation with Public Health.  You can sign up to receive notifications of that meeting here.

While addressing this crisis is a primary responsibility of the County, not the city, I know this crisis hits City residents hard.  The City has stepped forward to provide additional funding to help folks struggling with substance use disorder.  It’s important we note this painful moment, as I know every death and overdose means precious lives lost and pain and grief for their loved ones.

App-Based Workers’ Protections

In 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, City Council enacted an emergency Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) for Gig Workers Ordinance. This labor standard established temporary PSST protections for food delivery network companies through the COVID-19 emergency to address the risks faced by app-based workers whose work often involved exposure risks for COVID-19 but were unprotected because Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance provides coverage to employees.  Though there are differing legal opinions about whether app-based workers are employees, the sad reality is that they don’t get many of the protections of labor laws and regulations reserved to protect employees.

On March 15, Seattle City Council’s Finance and Housing Committee received a presentation on  CB 120514, which would adopt a modified version of these standards on a permanent basis. These workers have been heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic and they have made the case that these protections are a necessary step in ensuring that all workers in Seattle are treated with dignity and fair compensation.  The bill passed out of the Finance and Housing committee on Monday, March 19, with three members voting in support – including myself – and two members abstaining.

I am grateful to Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda for her collaboration with Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office and the Seattle Office of Labor Standards to bring this ordinance to the Council for our consideration. I am supportive of this bill as one of the City’s many efforts to ensure protective rights for app-based workers.

The Full Council will vote on this bill on Tuesday, March 28.

You may recall that in 2022, Councilmember Lewis and I introduced, sponsored, and passed the PayUp minimum compensation ordinance. You can learn more about that successful effort here. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to champion legislation giving app-based workers minimum payment, transparency, and flexibility, and look forward to introducing additional workers’ protections soon.

My office is continuing our work alongside Councilmember Lewis and in partnership with the Office of Labor Standards to draft the City’s next step towards protections for app-based workers – an ordinance protecting these workers from unfair deactivations.  In Fall of 2022 my PSHS committee heard from workers about their experiences with unfair deactivations.  A deactivation is when an App-based platform, relying on algorithms, decides to keep a worker off the app, depriving them of their ability to earn a living.  We heard stories about workers being prevented from doing work because of a background check that was found to be based on a different person altogether. We heard about workers being deactivated without even knowing why.

This ordinance would direct the companies that operate the platforms to create and monitor appeals processes, building a more equitable, responsible, and responsive system for workers who may have had their ability to meet their economic needs unfairly pulled out from under them.

Labor protections like these are public health policies, as they ensure workers are able to stay home and not spread contagious illnesses. They are also economic development policies as they strengthen local economies and ensure workers have a secure income to spend in their neighborhoods. They are community development policies as they help workers afford to stay in their neighborhoods, fighting displacement. And they are homelessness prevention policies as they help workers keep a roof over their heads.

988 Implementation

Yesterday, I testified before the Washington State Senate’s Health & Long Term Care committee in support of House Bill 1134, which will strengthen 988 and build a stronger response for folks experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

I wrote about 988 when it launched last year as a new statewide hotline for anyone experiencing mental health distress – or concerned about a loved one – including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.

Now the State is turning its attention to building a workforce that can respond, in real time, to folks in crisis.  HB 1134 will help decrease response times and ensure a highly-trained workforce is ready to take on crisis response jobs.

Here are my remarks:

Good morning Chair Cleveland and members of the committee. My name is Lisa Herbold and I am a councilmember with the city of Seattle, representing the residents of West Seattle and South Park.  Thank you for your leadership so that Washington State was one of only 4 states to rapidly enact a 988 infrastructure bill with a fee included in 2021, to ensure funding would be available for implementation.

The city of Seattle is in strong support of HB 1134; we know that a strong mobile crisis response system and full implementation of the 988 crisis line are critical to the health of our residents.  The 988 system will be a vital piece of a reimagined behavioral health system to ensure that individuals in crisis are receiving trauma-informed and culturally competent care.

We know this approach works, from the experiences of other communities.  I have visited Denver’s STAR program; they send teams of responders to scenes of crisis; in its first 18 months, it responded to 5,500 calls, and never required a backup from law enforcement.

We must ensure that response times will be fast and responders are credentialed and trained. This bill goes a long way in making that happen. 

The City of Seattle has provided millions of dollars in funding for behavioral health crisis response.  I am grateful for the partnership and continued leadership of the State to build out the infrastructure and workforce that will make this possible.  Please pass HB 1134. Thank you.

Nowruz Proclamation

The Council and Mayor signed a proclamation to commemorate Nowrouz, the Persian New Year and proclaim March 20 to be “Day of Nowruz”. Nowruz is celebrated by nearly 300 million people of different faith and cultures across the globe, from Western, central and South Asia to the Caucuses, Black Sea Basin and the Balkans. The proclamation notes that

The Iranian community in Seattle and across the world have demonstrated to uplift the voices of courageous Iranian women and men, and support the ongoing movement of Woman, Life, Freedom

Tens of thousands of Afghans, where Nowruz is also celebrated, have had to flee persecution and over 5,000 of them are rebuilding their lives in Washington state, including in the Seattle area; and

The Iranian-American and Afghan-American communities in Seattle, like many other communities who celebrate Nowruz, consist of inspiring residents who work every day to make our city a better place for all

Thank you to the Seattle Great Wheel, Convention Center and others for commemorating Nowruz with red, green and white lights.

Impact Fee Projects, Presentations

On Tuesday the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilites Committee heard a presentation about the project list for potential transportation impact fees.

The first presentation provides the background and legislative history; the second presentation provides an overview of the rate study. It includes specific projects listed, such as the Madison BRT project, Accessible Mount Baker, and the East Marginal Way Heavy Haul Project, that includes bike lanes that will serve riders from West Seattle who use the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge to access Downtown. The pedestrian and bicycle master plans would also be eligible for funding if an impact fee program were created.

The presentation also notes that low-income housing and early learning facilities can be exempted. Some jurisdictions also exempt ADUs (accessory dwelling units).

If the SEPA appeal to the Hearing Examiner is resolved, the next step would be consideration of a Comprehensive Plan amendment to note this ist of potentially eligible projects. Only then could the Council consider development and adoption of legislation implementing a transportation impact fee program.

A presentation slide showed transportation impact fee rates for other local cities; I requested additional information about the total amount of impact fees (impact fees can also be used for parks, schools and fire). I also asked for information about other mitigation fee programs that other cities in Washington State have in order to fund building affordable housing, like Seattle’s MHA program.  That’s a consideration in total costs for housing production, that needs to be considered as part of any consideration of impact fees. Some other cities have types of fees related to zoning capacity, as well as impact fees.

Sound Transit Board Action

Yesterday the Sound Transit Board took action regarding the ST3 light rail line. A number of options continue to be studied in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), so no final decisions have been made. The Board will select a project for construction after the completion of the Final EIS.

The Board passed a motion proposed by Mayor Harrell as a Sound Transit Board Member. Mayor Harrell’s statement about this motion is linked here.

This motion designates stations to the south and north of Chinatown/International District as preferred alternatives. Those stations would replace stations in Chinatown/International District and Midtown Downtown. This would not affect the West Seattle portion of the line, but rather the line that connects to South Seattle and Sea-Tac (as shown below, there will be three separate lines in the future).

The Harrell motion also touches on finances, which could play a role in the West Seattle segment. The motion references March 23 letters from Seattle and King County that identify up to $400 million in potential funding sources “through various sources including publicly-owned property value capture from increased development, and in-kind contributions.”

This would assist with funding potential costs beyond the current financial plan; some of the refinements, including for the West Seattle segment, could result in additional costs.

West Marginal Way Bike Lane Update

SDOT will be proceeding with construction on Phase 1 of the West Marginal Way SW Safety Corridor Improvements Project, which includes a permanent 0.4 mile protected bike lane along with safety measures for the driveway crossings along the Duwamish Trail.

This project was earlier paused until the West Seattle Bridge re-opened to reduce potential travel impacts along the detour route.

In July 2021 SDOT announced the construction of a new bike lane on West Marginal when the West Seattle Bridge reopened.  Vehicle traffic dropped around 60% after the West Seattle Bridge reopened, to approximately 15,000 vehicles per day.

In January SDOT released a review of traffic data collected on West Marginal Way with a single southbound lane during the time period of October 23 through November 6, 2022, that showed negligible impacts to overall operations of West Marginal Way SW. The two key conclusions were a projection of a 2 second difference per vehicle trip, and a speed reduction from 43 mph to 37 on average.

SDOT will evaluate and monitor the project after installation, and adjust the design if necessary.  SDOT has conducted outreach with the community, business, freight, bike and other stakeholders and collected data before and after the bridge reopened.

A temporary bike lane along West Marginal Way SW has been in place since shortly after the Spokane Street (low) Bridge was closed in December for emergency repairs. 

Have Apple Health?  Time to Reconfirm!

Thousands of people who have health insurance through Medicaid (also known as Apple Health, in Washington) risk losing coverage in coming months – but there’s still time to take action!

Steps to take for Apple Health clients:

  • Check your account to make sure your contact info is up to date (at
  • Be on the lookout for a letter or electronic message about renewal
  • If you get a letter or message, take action
  • If you have any confusion or questions, get help from a Navigator

How to get help from a Navigator:

Seattle Preschool Program Applications Now Open

The City of Seattle’s award-winning preschool program is available to all three- and four-year-olds living in Seattle, with free or affordable tuition and high-quality learning environments that promote kindergarten readiness.  Learn more and apply here: Seattle Preschool Program – Education |

Need help?  Email or call (206) 386-1050.

Language assistance is available.
የቋንቋ እርዳታ አለ።
Kaalmada luqadda waa laga heli karaa.
Gargaarsi afaanii ni jira.
Hay asistencia disponible en varios idiomas.
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Có sẵn hỗ trợ bằng ngôn ngữ.

Volunteer for Seattle/King County Clinic

Volunteer needed for the Seattle/King County Clinic! As the first Clinic back since the pandemic we will be meeting years of unmet need, and our ability to serve patients depends on volunteers. Sign up in a high-need area shift, send this to your friends and loved ones, and let’s get this clinic fully staffed!

The Clinic provides free dental, vision, & medical services at Seattle Center from April 27-30. The clinic is open to all; no insurance or King County address is required.

Learn more and volunteer here: Volunteer Information – Seattle Center Foundation.


SFD Fire Safety Fair and Free Smoke Strobe Alarms / New Telehealth Clinic Finder / Join a District 1 Civic Coffee / The Pay Penalty for Human Services Workers / RapidRide H Line Service Begins Saturday, March 18 / Urban Estuary Restoration at Vigor on Harbor Island / Michigan Encampment Resolution

March 17th, 2023


SFD Fire Safety Fair and Free Smoke Strobe Alarms

Station 37 is hosting a Fire Safety Fair for Southwest and West Seattle residents. The event offers an opportunity for families to meet local firefighters, explore fire equipment like ladder trucks and fire engines, and even join Chief Scoggins for a Firefighter Story Time.

This free Fire Safety Fair will be Saturday, April 1 from 12 PM to 2 PM at Station 37 (7700 35th Ave SW). I encourage District 1 neighbors to attend – I had a wonderful time learning more about SFD’s operations myself earlier this year.

Seattle Fire Department is offering free strobe smoke alarms for d/Deaf and hard of hearing Seattle residents. These strobe alarms detect smoke and carbon monoxide, but unlike traditional smoke detectors that emit a high-pitched alarm sound, strobe smoke alarms use flashing strobe lights to alert people.

Seattle residents interested in a free strobe smoke/co alarm can contact the Seattle Fire Department by emailing or using this online form.

New Telehealth Clinic Finder

If you need sexual or reproductive healthcare services, check out the state Department of Health’s new webpage and tool to find telehealth options at Telehealth Services | Washington State Department of Health.

Telehealth services available:

  • birth control refills
  • pregnancy options counseling
  • emergency contraceptives
  • screenings for sexually transmitted infections
  • gender-affirming care*
  • PrEP for HIV prevention*

*available at some sites if a person has previously received the services from the provider.

Join a District 1 Civic Coffee

Civic Coffee is a monthly event by Seattle Human Services where older people can meet community leaders and local government officials, ask questions and provide feedback.

  • Tuesday, 3/21 at Noon: Senior Safety
  • Neighborhood House High Point Center, 6400 Sylvan Way SW

Panel discussion on proactive tips and steps you can take to enhance your personal safety in your neighborhood. Live in-person translations in Somali, Oromo, and Vietnamese are available!  Learn more here.

The Pay Penalty for Human Services Workers

At Tuesday’s meeting of my Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting, we were joined by a University of Washington-led team of national and international scholars presenting the results and recommendations of their in-depth research into the pay penalty experienced by anyone working in human services.  Their report, Wage Equity for Non-Profit Human Services Workers: A study of work and pay in Seattle and King County, found that nonprofit human services workers are paid 37% less than comparable workers in other sectors.

This research puts hard data behind the alarms our mission-critical nonprofit partners have been sounding since the pandemic began.

  • King County quicky purchased 10 hotels/apartment buildings to house people living unsheltered – but can’t open half of them due to workforce shortages.
  • The King County Regional Homelessness Authority has repeatedly told us that among its five largest contracted organizations, there are more than 300 vacant positions.
  • During public comment, nonprofit leaders testified that multiple childcare classrooms – including some for infants – are going empty because they can’t find staff to work for such low wages.

I can point to multiple instances in just the past year or two when Council has provided funding for essential, urgently needed work – such as responding to people in behavioral health crises or sheltering people living on the streets – that went unspent because providers were unable to hire staff.   The study was funded by a Council Budget Action I sponsored during the fall budget cycle in 2021, at the request of Seattle Human Services Coalition.  You can view the presentation materials and watch the presentation and discussion.

Fixing a 37% pay penalty is not easy, but the City – and all other public and private funding partners – must take immediate steps to increase wages for these essential workers.  I intend to draft a resolution endorsing the study recommendations and stating Council’s intent to increase human services worker wages by 7% over the next two years.   If you’d like to track this work, sign up to receive agendas for upcoming Public Safety & Human Services committee meetings here: Agenda Sign Up – Council |

RapidRide H Line Service Begins Saturday, March 18

The RapidRide H Line will begin service on Saturday, March 18, replacing Route 120.

The H Line will bring additional weekday and weekend service and operate trips every 7 to 15 minutes on weekdays from 4:00 AM to Midnight and trips every 15 minutes on weekends from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

I spoke at this morning’s ribbon-cutting event convened by King County to commemorate the start of service; my comments are below.

“Thank you. This is an important day for the Delridge neighborhoods. 

Bus ridership has always been strong along the H Line corridor, as many residents are transit dependent for access to jobs and services. Rapid Ride will bring more frequent and reliable service to the Delridge neighborhoods.

Route 120 carried 1.7 million riders in 2022 and is the sixth busiest route in King County. It has been one of the 10 busiest routes in the Metro system for several years. 

This project is a great example of collaboration between governments, to improve access for Delridge residents to the rest of the region. 

The vision for the H Line project began soon after the Sound Transit Board’s decision to select light rail to the Alaska Junction; Delridge had been the other option. Equity informed the decision to pursue the H Line Project. Delridge, especially the southern neighborhoods, has lower-income residents and a high BIPOC population.

State funding provided an early boost to get the project going.

The County has been adding bus service to this corridor in previous years, some funded by the Seattle Transit Measure. In previous years the City Council has adjusted the criteria for city-funded service to allow for additional service in this corridor. 

The H Line will tie into the Sound Transit light rail line. Once it is constructed, it will connect Delridge residents to the regional rail network. I appreciate the work the Sound Transit Board is doing to consider refinements for the Delridge station, to ensure quick connections between bus and rail.

I thank everyone here for their work on this multi-jurisdictional project and improving transit for residents of Delridge neighborhoods.”

The RapidRide H Line schedule is available here.

Urban Estuary Restoration at Vigor on Harbor Island

This spring Vigor will be completing 2.6 acres of new tidal estuary habitat on Harbor Island near the mouth of the Duwamish River. They are partnering with Long Live the Kings and the University of Washington Wetland Ecosystem team.

Here’s a video about how this work is proceeding.

This project is being done in partnership with scientists at Long Live the Kings and UW’s Wetland Ecosystem Team.  They are conducting pre- and post-restoration monitoring, to assess the food sources and habitat use of juvenile salmon in the new habitat.

Estuaries are critical habitats for young salmon, especially Chinook, to feed and grow as they begin their lives in the ocean. More than 97% of the Duwamish’s historic estuary has been lost to development. Vigor chose to take on this project to seek solutions for how industry and salmon can coexist.

Michigan Encampment Resolution

This week saw significant progress on resolving a longstanding encampment at SW Michigan and 1st Avenue South.  We received this update from the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCHRA):

I’m pleased to share with you that KCRHA and our partners at PDA, WSDOT, and the City have completed the work with individuals at the encampment located at SW Michigan and the 1st Avenue bridge. 

As of today, 30 individuals moved into shelter or emergency housing placements. Three individuals who have a shelter match have not been at the location for several days and their whereabouts are unknown. One individual declined services. One individual encountered issues when arriving at their referred shelter location, and that person is not at the program or the encampment. 

Postings were made at the location yesterday that camping and parking are no longer permitted on site, and intensive cleanup activity at the location will begin on Monday.

PDA above refers to “Purpose, Dignity, Action.” They design and implement new approaches to real problems that, in the past, were met with enforcement, prosecution and punishment, but respond better to the coordination and care strategies that their programs offer.  PDA is the project manager for successful, impactful programs like LEADCo-LEAD, and JustCARE.

You can read more about this effort: Homeless encampment in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood to be removed | KOMO (


Update on Sexual Assault Investigations / Helmet Use Remains High One Year Post-Repeal / Progress on Hiawatha Community Center / Human Services Department Director Nomination / Be a Film Commissioner! / Funding Opportunities / Appeal May Stall Deliberations on Possible Funding to Support Transit, Pedestrian and Bike Safety, and Bridge Projects / Sound Transit Update / Women in Public Safety Careers / Hyundai and Kia Thefts / Nurse Navigation Line

March 10th, 2023


Update on Sexual Assault Investigations

Many of you will remember reporting last year by Seattle Times, KUOW, and others on the lack of investigations and services provided to adult survivors of sexual assault.  At the time, I appreciated SPD Chief Diaz’s willingness to transparently share data that demonstrated that only 1/3 of sexual assault cases were being routed and assigned for investigation.  Because advocacy and other services were only offered to survivors whose cases were investigated, that meant that most sexual assault survivors never received these vital services.

I wrote about this in detail here, repeatedly met with advocates for sexual assault survivors, and advocated for specific process improvements within SPD and the Human Services Department to improve the experience of survivors.

Last July, Mayor Harrell issued Executive Order 2022-05 directing SPD to conduct various assessments of SPD’s handling of sexual assault cases.  At last Friday’s meeting of the regional Domestic Violence Prevention Council, which I co-chair, we heard an update from Andrew Myerberg in the Mayor’s Office on work accomplished so far under that Order regarding Sexual Assault Unit (SAU) investigations.

In addition…

  • SPD has engaged in case review of Sexual Assault Unit (SAU) investigations with a panel of community experts, who issued recommendations to improve training in December. SPD is expected to respond shortly regarding implementation.
  • SPD has retained subject matter experts to review the functioning of the Investigations Bureau, and an academic expert to conduct a review of the functioning of the SAU specifically.
  • An expert advisory panel was convened in November to inform efforts to support victims of sexual assault and hold offenders accountable through effective investigations.

In last week’s Domestic Violence Prevention Council Community meeting, I raised that community partners continue to emphasize the need for an explicitly outlined system of triage between SPD detectives and King County Prosecutor’s Office (KCPO).  Though referrals to KCPO within 60 days is part of the Sexual Assault Network Protocol, an outlined triage system is a best practice that is used for other major crimes — and should be used for sexual assault cases. A system of triage increases the likelihood of a successful case.

I will continue to follow this work carefully as the various experts and advisory panel weigh in on how SPD can improve its practice to better support survivors of sexual assault.

Helmet Use Remains High One Year Post-Repeal

Last year, I joined fellow members of the regional Board of Health to repeal a law requiring mandatory helmet usage for bicyclists. As I and my colleagues repeatedly said at the time – there is no question that helmets save lives, and everyone who cycles should wear one every time. However, there was considerable evidence that the law was being used as a pretext for law enforcement to stop people, and that those stops were disproportionately borne by people of color and people experiencing homelessness.  I previously wrote about this here.

The Board of Health weighed the harms of over-policing against the very high rate of helmet usage in our community.  Under the leadership of King County Councilmember and Board of Health Chair Joe McDermott, the board voted to repeal the law, while providing funding to distribute free helmets to community members and continue encouraging their use. This week’s Seattle Times reports on a study undertaken by Public Health that observed almost 2,000 people at more than 50 locations and demonstrates that the law’s repeal did not cause helmet usage to drop. In fact, the study found 91% of cyclists wore a helmet. This is excellent news, and I’d like to take the opportunity to remind everyone to wear their helmets when they cycle.

Progress on Hiawatha Community Center

I know how eagerly the community has been awaiting news of the timeline for completing a significant stabilization project at Hiawatha Community Center.  The work was initially delayed by the pandemic, and then by new, federal “Buy American” guidance for infrastructure projects seeking FEMA funding, which put a hold on all pending sub-grants, including Hiawatha.  I provided significantly more detail about the federal delay here and advocated with Representative Jayapal’s office at the time to get this project moving again.

Last fall, we learned the project had been granted a waiver from the federal guidance, which made it possible for FEMA to consider the $500,000 grant application.  This week, we learned from Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) that FEMA has awarded Hiawatha the $500,000 grant!  This makes it possible for SPR to move forward with bidding this spring and begin construction in May.  I know this news will be welcome to the many community members who have missed their local community center.  While the project webpage has not yet been updated, you can learn more about the planned work here.

Human Services Department Director Nomination

The Mayor has announced his nomination for a permanent director of the Human Services Department: current acting director Tanya Kim. Per the requirements of Resolution 31868, which lays out a process and timeline for Council’s consideration of such appointments, my Public Safety & Human Services committee will consider the nomination at the April 11th committee meeting. My office is currently compiling questions for Acting Director Kim’s written response, a usual step in department head nominations.    You can sign up to receive notification of Public Safety & Human Services committee meetings and agendas here: Agenda Sign Up – Council |

Be a Film Commissioner!

Apply or nominate a colleague by March 12 at Seattle Film Commission – filmandmusic |

Funding Opportunities

  • Attention performers: Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will waive fees for performance-based art in select Seattle Parks with amphitheaters, including Dragonfly Pavilion in Longfellow Creek, Solstice Park, and Cesar Chavez. Learn more here.  First come, first served.
  • 4Culture Project grants are now available in three disciplines: arts, heritage, and preservation. Learn more here.  Information is also available in Español, 中文, Русский, Soomaali and Tiếng Việt. 3/23 deadline.
  • Hospitality and lodging businesses that suffered Covid-related losses can seek grants from the State. Go to to check eligibility and sign up for the 3/13 webinar.

Appeal May Stall Deliberations on Possible Funding to Support Transit, Pedestrian and Bike Safety, and Bridge Projects

One potential funding source for transportation projects the Council has taken initial steps on is impact fees. Numerous local jurisdictions use impact fees.

In 2017 Council made a commitment that the City would consider including in the Comprehensive Plan a list of priority transit, pedestrian and bike safety, and bridge projects that we could consider funding with a transportation impact fee program if legislation implementing the program was adopted later.

In 2018 a rate study and SEPA threshold determination were issued; the SEPA determination was appealed to the City Hearing Examiner, who remanded the determination to the Council in October 2019.

Council restated that commitment to the public by passing additional resolutions in 2020, 2021, and 2022. As planned, the 2023 SEPA threshold determination was published in February.  Unfortunately, it was appealed earlier this week and will now go, once again, before the Hearing Examiner.

What has kept Council from deliberating about this revenue tool has been successive lawsuits opposing even the recognition of these 25 priority projects as ones that would be eligible if a program were enacted in the future.  The City has been trying hard to identify new revenue in anticipation of a 2024 revenue gap.  Those most benefiting from growth shouldn’t stop civic stakeholders from having this necessary policy discussion.

An updated 2023 rate study has been completed, and includes a map of eligible projects:

The Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee will hold a briefing about these eligible projects at its meeting at 9:30 am on March 21st.   If you are a community member who has worked on one or more of these transit, pedestrian safety, bike safety, bridge, or freight mobility projects, you can show your support for adding these projects to the Comp Plan as possible eligible projects for future transportation impact fees, to allow the Council to discuss later whether to enact a transportation impact fee program.  You can register to speak online as early as 7:30 a.m. and be prepared to speak on your telephone when the meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. For instructions on how to register and call in, CLICK HERE or use this website:

Support at City Hall in person: You can also come to City Hall to speak in person. If you do, try to arrive a few minutes before 9:30 to sign in as a testifier.

Sound Transit Update

The Sound Transit System Expansion Committee met yesterday.

They adopted a motion on the Ballard Link Extension, which runs from Ballard through Downtown to Chinatown/International District. The motion added concepts for further study in those areas, in the context of the preferred alternative.

The committee did not consider modifications to the West Seattle to SODO segment, though the presentation included a slide showing the potential refinements to the stations in Delridge and the Alaska Junction shown in earlier meetings.

The Sound Transit Board will consider the motion on March 23rd.

Regarding potential additional funding sources, the presentation noted potential additional costs for some refinements, and said “Through coordination with the City of Seattle Mayor’s office and King County Executive’s office, there is up to $400 million in potential funding through various sources including publicly owned property, value capture from increased development, and in-kind contributions.” It said letters of intent were anticipated before the Board meeting.

Women in Public Safety Careers

This week, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, honoring the resilience and contributions of women everywhere.

Seattle Fire Department gave a shout-out to their women in leadership, including former Assistant Chief Reba Gonzales, who now serves as the Interim Director of the Community Safety and Communications Center.

Seattle Police Department has also been highlighting SPD personnel and sharing what women empowerment means to them on Facebook through the month of March, beginning with the esteemed Detective Cookie.

Seattle’s women in public safety service can serve as examples and inspirations for young women across our city as they excel in their fields in service to the community.  This weekend, our public safety departments will engage directly in this work by hosting a Women in Public Safety Career Fair.

The event, hosted by SPD, CSCC, and Seattle Parking Enforcement and their partners will take place at Garfield Community Center this Saturday, March 11; that’s tomorrow!

Next month, King County EMS and Eastside Fire and Rescue will join 11 other King County Fire and EMS agencies for a Future Women in EMS and Fire workshop. The weekend-long series of activities, panels, and live demos is open for women in King County curious about a career in EMS and fire.

Workshop: April 22-23, 2023 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days
 Applications due March 31, 2023
Send questions to:

Hyundai and Kia Thefts

In my regular meeting with Southwest Precinct Captain Rivera, we have discussed strategies to address that, according to community members contacting my office and confirmed by SPD’s crime dashboard, Roxhill/Westwood/Arbor Heights has the highest count of motor vehicle thefts south of the downtown neighborhoods.

Many of the recent car thefts in West Seattle have been of Hyundai and Kia models. It’s been reported that a TikTok challenge has taught people how to break into these older models. Southwest Precinct’s Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner sent out a bulletin regarding this crime trend, including information about a software update to help prevent auto thefts in these older Hyundai and Kia models, and some prevention tips:

  • Car prowls are crimes of opportunity! Never leave bags/valuables in view.
  • Park your vehicle in a driveway, secure garage, or well-lit street parking space.
  • Use a mechanical anti-theft steering wheel lock device for your car or truck.
  • Consider installing a catalytic converter anti-theft device or cage. Contact your trusted auto shop or dealer for options and costs.
  • Keep an eye on your parked car and ask neighbors to do the same.

In January, Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison filed a lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai for their failure to release and install anti-theft technology. The City Attorney’s Office (CAO) shared SPD’s data showing a 620% increase in reports of stolen Hyundais and Kias in July of 2022 compared to the previous July. These stolen cars have been used in other crimes such as robberies.

That City Attorney Davison acted against these manufacturers has been made possible by the data from owners reporting these stolen vehicles, allowing Seattle to make the argument that the crime data shows evidence of a problem with these models of cars. I have heard people say many times that they don’t file reports with SPD when they are victims of crime, because “it doesn’t make any difference.”  This is a good example of how data from reporting crimes can be used to create strategies specific to the crime.

Nurse Navigation Line

Last month, SFD celebrated the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Nurse Navigation Line. This program connects 911 callers with non-emergency medical issues to a licensed nurse. The consulting nurse who takes the call assesses the caller’s symptoms and can refer them to clinics, telehealth providers, urgent care centers, and offer support for self-care. In this first year of operation, over 7,000 calls were transferred to the Nurse Navigation Line.

The Nurse Navigation Line was created using funding allocated by a City Council budget action passed in 2020, sponsored by Councilmember Lewis, with implementation intended in 2021, but not launched until 2022 under Mayor Harrell’s administration. Not only does this program offer a new service to Seattle, but the program also helps to preserve first responder resources aiding the health and safety of our city.


February 28 Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update / Public Safety and Human Services Committee Work Plan / Apply for Nutritious Food Funding from HSD – Due 4/11 / Program Outcomes from CoLEAD/JustCARE / Illegal Dumping Deterrent Camera Pilot Project / Sound Transit Board Update

March 3rd, 2023


February 28 Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, the Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC) presented technical updates they’ve made that will allow for dispatch of civilian responders. Council authorized the implementation of a new protocol software for the CSCC in late 2021. The protocol software, also used by Seattle Fire Department’s dispatching team, will help to standardize follow-up questions and aid CSCC dispatchers in deciding which responders (police, fire, and/or behavioral health specialists) to send out in response to a 911 call. Currently, the software is gathering data for quality assurance and to inform future development of the CSCC, including its capacity for dual dispatch.

During this presentation, I previewed the recent successes of the CSCC. Throughout 2022, CSCC had over 10 position vacancies in any given month.  These vacancies meant that the CSCC had to rely on workers to work more than 1,000 hours (one month even 1,600 hours) of mandatory overtime each month for the first nine months of the year to adequately staff the call center.

As a result of these staffing shortages, in much of 2022, CSCC fell short of meeting the National Emergency Number Association standard that 90% of 9-1-1 calls being answered within 15 seconds and 95% being answered within 20 seconds. In June of 2022, less than 80% of calls were answered within 15 seconds.

Thankfully, through increased staffing capacity and a robust recruitment effort led by then-Director Lombard, CSCC was able to shorten its answering time.  With fewer position vacancies in January of 2023, CSCC needed less than 500 hours of overtime to be able to staff the call center and surpass the NENA 15-second standard with 95% of calls answered within 15 seconds.

On another programmatic note of importance, that we did not discuss in committee, CSCC has also done extensive work with SPD and SFD to update policies regarding caution notes in their Computer Aided Dispatch tools. Caution notes are “pieces of information linked to addresses that assist responding employees by making them aware of potential concerns related to the location.” You may remember, SPD, SFD, and CSCC came under heavy critique earlier in 2022 for the use of these caution notes. Before even the tragic events that led to these critiques, CSCC was working to formalize and standardize the caution notes process, building in multiple approval points and expiration timelines for these cautions.

These changes and more will help the CSCC continue to grow in its partnerships with our other public safety departments by providing adequate and timely information for first responders to be able to find and respond to calls safely and quickly.

The Human Services Department (HSD) briefed the committee about investments that the department will be making, using funds provided in the Council-adopted 2023 budget.  Funding will be made available via their 2023 NOFA or Notice of Funding Opportunities.  They shared more details and this presentation at this week’s Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting.  Here are their expected areas of investment; you can learn more at Funding Opportunities – Human Services |

HSD has several open Requests for Proposals or Qualifications:

NOFAs are typically on a multi-year staggered cycle.  So, for instance, the 2023 NOFA doesn’t include many HSD investment areas.  That’s because those other investment areas are on a different NOFA cycle. HSD is already beginning to plan for the 2024 NOFA, which will likely result in investments in these investment areas:

  • Aging and Disability Services – Senior Centers
  • Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault – Prevention
  • Youth and Family Empowerment – Food and Meals

HSD may make additional dollars available during the year, outside of these specific investments.  Stay up to date on these announcements…

  • Subscribe to the Funding Opportunities listserv and Human Interests blog – click here and then click “Latest News” in the upper right

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Work Plan

The City Council passed a resolution to adopt 2023 work plans for each of the nine Council committees.

Here’s the Public Safety and Human Services Committee work plan. It covers the Seattle Police Department, Fire Department, Human Services Department, Municipal Court, City Attorney’s Office, Emergency Management, and Police Accountability, the Community Safety and Communications Center, as well as overlapping areas such as Alternatives to Current 911 Response, and First Responders.

The Council also adopted a resolution for Statements of Legislative Intent (SLI) included in the 2023 budget, for work Council has requested from city departments. Here are the SLIs for the Public Safety and Human Services committee.

Apply for Nutritious Food Funding from HSD – Due 4/11

HSD just announced new funding opportunities focused on providing nutritious food to Seattle residents.  $1,768,928 will be available through this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), due April 11, in the following service areas:

  • Nutritious food sourcing (formerly Bulk Buy);
  • Transportation of procured food; and
  • Network administrative support.

The initial awards will be made for the contract period of January 1, to December 31, 2024, with a possibility of contract renewal for an additional three years.   These awards will strengthen Seattle’s food systems currently led by the Seattle Food Committee (SFC) and Meals Partnership Coalition (MPC), two organizations that are already working tirelessly to pool resources, share strategies, collect data, and generate collective actions to improve food security and access to nutritious food for low-income families in Seattle.

Find more information and all application materials at Funding Opportunities – Human Services |  If you have any questions or require assistance, reach out to Tan Mei Teo, Funding Process Coordinator, at

Program Outcomes from CoLEAD/JustCARE

Many of you are familiar with the work of CoLEAD/JustCARE, a program rapidly developed by the Public Defenders Association (PDA) in the early days of the Covid pandemic to help folks living unsheltered, as courts and shelters shut down.  Council provided $5.5M to CoLEAD/JustCARE through 2022, and an additional $6.7M for ongoing operating costs for 2023.

Its work has been under evaluation by researchers at the University of Washington, who along with representatives of PDA (now known as Purpose Dignity Action) joined Wednesday’s Public Assets & Homelessness meeting to share program results with me and other committee members.  You can find full presentations and the UW report linked here.

Wednesday’s presentation highlighted the housing and services outcomes of JustCARE participants: in other words, of the 500+ people served, how many gained temporary or permanent housing, and what other needs were met?

I want to highlight one extraordinary outcome: before enrolling in JustCARE, only 41% of individuals had health insurance.  Afterward, 89% did.  That’s more than double the number and an especially meaningful outcome for a population that reports significant rates of mental health and substance use disorder needs.

The UW research team had previously found that “…JustCARE provided a meaningful temporary respite for participants and for community members alike, and that the well-being of many JustCARE participants improved while they were in JustCARE.”

However, early participants were less likely than later participants to find temporary or permanent housing.  After March 1, 2022, 71% of participants found permanent housing, a huge increase in success.  I dug into the reasons why, and learned that at that point, PDA formalized a partnership with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority that led to many JustCARE participants receiving emergency housing vouchers and priority placement into new permanent supportive housing buildings.

This aligns with what we know: that when safe, adequate housing is offered, folks living unsheltered are eager to move in.  The research found that, “…the vast majority of people living in the encampments in which JustCARE works accept temporary lodging with JustCARE providers (and that JustCARE is able to offer this resource to almost everyone encountered).”

Illegal Dumping Deterrent Camera Pilot Project

Seattle Public Utilities is initiating an Illegal Dumping Deterrent Camera Pilot Project.

The pilot project is for a camera on the 7100 block of Detroit Avenue SW, in the Highland Park neighborhood, just off SW Marginal Way.  This location was selected in part due to the seriousness of the illegal dumping problem there and the relatively low volume of foot traffic. Over 5,000 tires, car parts and household garbage have been removed from this area.

The camera is solar-powered and motion activated and includes audio and flash warnings to discourage any potential illegal dumper. It will store pictures that can be downloaded from the camera if a violation has been captured.

Other cities using a camera for monitoring illegal dumping include Los Angeles, Chicago, San Franciso, and Spokane.

SPU’s RSJ analysis noted the potential for unfairly targeting underserved BIPOC communities and businesses; the SPU response says the “camera will be used as a tool to protect our underserved communities from intentional illegal dumpers who are targeting these areas.”

Spending on removing illegal dumping from the public right of way has increased in recent years, and service requests have been higher during the last four years, with the highest number during 2022:

SPU worked with Seattle IT’s Privacy Team on the privacy issues around the pilot and completed a Privacy Impact Assessment late last year.

The 4th quarter surveillance technology determination report coordinated by Seattle IT stated that the project meets the definition of surveillance technology but falls under an exclusion criterion, specifically, “Technology that is used to collect data where individuals were presented with a clear and conspicuous opt-out notice.”

Sound Transit Board Update

The Sound Transit Board met last week on February 23rd.

The meeting included an update on community feedback to the Further Studies that examine potential changes to the preferred alternative. Here’s a link to the presentation, most of which covers areas outside of West Seattle.

Here are links to the slides for West Seattle Community Feeback:

Alaska Junction:

Avalon station:

Delridge station:

In addition, at the end of the presentation, Sound Transit included an End to End Scenario that includes shifting the Delridge station at Andover, the alignment to the south, and a 42nd Street entrance in the Alaska Junction:

On March 9, the System Expansion Committee will make a recommendation the Board will consider two weeks later.


Public Safety and Human Services Committee / Before the Badge Community-Police Dialogues / Seattle Parks & Recreation Needs Your Ideas! / Vision Zero Top-to-Bottom Review and Survey / Pothole Reporting / Arts & Culture Recovery Grants Available / Funds Available to Increase Safety for Immigrants and Refugees

February 24th, 2023


Public Safety and Human Services Committee: February 28

In our last Public Safety and Human Services Committee meeting, our discussion about the SPD 2022 Crime Report took most of our committee time. The Human Services Department’s (HSD) presentation on their 2023 Notice of Funding Availability, originally on the last PSHS Committee agenda, has been rescheduled to this coming Tuesday’s committee meeting. I look forward to learning more about HSD’s 2023 investments in addressing community needs.

We will also get an update at the upcoming PSHS committee on one of the elements necessary to the development of a dual dispatch 911 alternative response, last discussed in the September PSHS and funded in the 2023-2024 City of Seattle Budget. The Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC) staff will share an update on their new dispatch protocol system that will serve as a foundation that is necessary to the development of this pilot.

The Council budget added $717,000 for 2024 to support CSCC implementation of dual dispatch of officers and civilian staff to augment current response to calls with a mental/behavioral health nexus. This investment is in addition to $1.9 million already reserved for the same purpose.

As a reminder to the reader, though we are referring to this pilot as a “dual dispatch” response, SPD understands that dual dispatch does not mean that officers will be needed at the scene.  From a recent SPD report to Council: “the response ecosystem (e.g., police and fire) would be aware an alternate response was in progress and may stage nearby, able to rapidly intervene, but would not be in attendance.”

I hope to have more to report on the development of the pilot – beyond the progress made at the CSCC – soon.  Community safety and police reform advocates have been calling for this program since the summer of 2020.  A recent response to the Mayor’s State of the City from the Seattle Times added to the voices calling for this program: “On public safety, it was the same refrain: We need to recruit more cops, enforce the laws and create alternatives to traditional police [my emphasis added]. The editorial board agrees with the priorities. It’s the execution that’s lacking.”  The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce also called for more action in implementing this important element of our public safety plan, Specifically on public safety, we look forward to seeing the concrete actions laid out and implemented – officer recruitment and retention, hiring the right number of officers, and standing up alternatives [my emphasis added].”

Note:  I am working with SPD on a briefing on hiring, recruitment, and retention for PSHS Committee next month.

Before the Badge Community-Police Dialogues

SPD will be hosting a series of community dialogues with new police recruits as part of their Before Badge (BTB) Program. BTB is SPD’s first-of-its-kind training program focusing on interpersonal relationships and wellness before law enforcement tactics. SPD’s new recruits complete this program before moving on to their mandatory Basic Law enforcement Academy training.

I’m proud to have sponsored the initial funding to build this program, which immerses recruits in community-based and peer-based experiences to develop a lens through which to receive their future law enforcement training and establishes a community-centered foundation for their careers with Seattle Police Department.

The first of the Southwest Seattle conversations will take place on Monday, March 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM via Zoom. There will be host events for other parts of Seattle as well:

Winter/Spring 2023

  • Monday February 27 – SOUTH
  • Monday March 13-WEST
  • Wednesday March 22-EAST
  • Monday March 27-NORTH
  • Monday April 3-SOUTH
  • Monday April 10-SOUTHWEST
  • Monday April 24-WEST
  • Monday May 1-NORTH
  • Monday May 8-EAST

You can sign up to participate in the dialogues, meet the new SPD recruits, and share your insights as a community member by going to this website.


Seattle Parks & Recreation Needs Your Ideas!

Reimagine Recreation in Seattle: Seattle Parks and Recreation is asking for feedback to improve community experience with recreation facilities including community centers, teen centers, pools, school-based learning centers, environmental learning centers, and boating and sailing centers. Learn more about how this information will be used and take the survey.

Be Part of Shaping the 2024 Parks and Open Space Plan: Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to participate in the process of updating the Parks and Open Space Plan to maintain the City’s eligibility for state-administered grants. Get more information about the Plan and learn how you can get involved.

Vision Zero Top-to-Bottom Review and Survey

SDOT has announced the release of a “Top-to-Bottom” review of the Vision Zero program.

Here’s a link to the report, and to the overview. SDOT is seeking public comment on the report, which you can share using this online form.

Traffic fatalities in Seattle have increased in 2020, 2021 and 2022, as shown in the chart below:

The report includes the following Key Recommendations (greater detail is available in the report):

  • Incorporate Vision Zero and Safe Systems approaches into every project and program
  • Adopt clearer and stronger guidance for facility design
  • Clarify and streamline internal decision pathways
  • Be willing to reduce vehicle travel speeds and convenience to improve safety
  • Implement iterative, ongoing improvements to our infrastructure
  • Accelerate planning for broader or systemwide implementation of proven interventions
  • Secure funding to incorporate Vision Zero improvements in all projects and for asset
  • Complete racial equity analysis of automated enforcement. Address inequities and where
    appropriate, use automated enforcement as a tool
  • Shift culture and strengthen support for Vision Zero throughout SDOT
  • Strengthen and resource SDOT’s Vision Zero core and matrix teams
  • Improve SDOT’s customer service response process
  • Be champions for Vision Zero as we engage with WSDOT, the Port of Seattle, transit partners,
    the legislature, and other organizations

The chart below shows serious traffic injuries and deaths have occurred across the City:

In late January the City received an award of a $25.6 million Safe Streets and Roads for All grant for safety enhancements.  I know all too well that, as the map shows above, District 1 has some serious hotspots. An announcement by Councilmember Morales in response to the report highlights that the harm has been greatest in District 2 where, in 2021, 56% of all Seattle pedestrian and bicyclist deaths happened in District 2.

Pothole Reporting

Winter weather brings an increase in potholes on Seattle’s streets. This winter is no exception. Rain, snow and ice all damage streets as water seeps through cracks in pavement. With lower temperatures, the water freezes and as ice expands, which can force cracks apart. As vehicles travel over damaged pavement, the stress on streets can lead to potholes.

SDOT reports they filled 23,000 potholes during 2022, the highest number during the last five years, and 50% more than 2021.

As of last week, 5,500 had been filled this year, with as many as 500 in a single day.

Here is where you can report a pothole online. You can track where potholes have been reported and filled on SDOT’s Pothole Repair Status page, and see pending work requests, and a display of potholes filled in the last 90 days.

SDOT’s goal is to fill potholes within 72 hours of receiving a report, but it takes longer during winter storms with the higher number of potholes.

Arts & Culture Recovery Grants Available – Apply by 2/27

The West Seattle Junction Association has announced a one-time Request-For-Proposal for arts and culture recovery funding for the West Seattle Junction. These funds have been available through the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS).

The funding available through this RFP is for activations or events specifically in the West Seattle Junction.  Requests cannot exceed $20,000.  You may apply here, or via the WSJA website. To receive an application by e-mail or US Mail, send your contact info to

Applications will be due no later than 5:00pm, February 27, 2023.

Funds Available to Increase Safety for Immigrants and Refugees – Apply By 3/9

The City of Seattle and King County want to partner with community-based organizations and trusted community messengers to invest in targeted and coordinated responses to youth and families that are disproportionally impacted by violence and criminal legal systems. This funding will be awarded to interventions and activities that help young people and their families know their rights, navigate victim support services, understand law enforcement systems, and ensure that communications in languages other than English are available throughout criminal-legal processes.

Learn more and apply here by 3/9: Immigrant Safety & Access Network (ISAN) Request for Proposals (RFP) (

Read in other languages:



2022 Crime Report/Free Tax Prep/Expanded Library Hours/SPD Shift Schedule Change

February 20th, 2023


  • SPD 2022 Crime Report: Crime Trending Down
  • United Way Free Tax Prep
  • Expanded Library Hours Starting April 3rd

SPD 2022 Crime Report: Crime Trending Down

Last week, SPD released their 2022 Year End Crime Report. This in-depth analysis was conducted by the SPD Data-Driven team and presented to the Public Safety and Human Services Committee this week. You can read the report in full via the SPD Blotter.

Overall crime: In summary, 2022 saw an overall increase in crime compared to recent years. The good news is that we saw a decline in the last quarter of 2022, dropping below the overall crime levels of the fourth quarter in 2021.

Further, Chief Diaz reported that, so far in 2023, we are still in that downward trajectory.

Violent Crime: Although, over the entire year, the data shows violent crime higher than it’s been for years, the SPD Crime Dashboard shows that there were 363 violent crimes reported in December 2022; this is the lowest number of violent crimes reported for a month since February 2021, when 329 violent crimes were reported. The December 2022 figure is lower than the 403 violent crimes reported in December 2019 (before COVID-19, before the murder of George Floyd, and before 500 officers left SPD).

A further review of the SPD dashboard shows that moving into 2023 (the report only covers 2022), 371 reported violent crimes in January, slightly lower than January 2020, with 373 reported violent crimes.

Shots fired, while higher overall in 2022, are also dramatically declining, according to the Chief. This is at least partially due to SPD’s great work in taking their second highest number of firearms on record into custody in 2022. In 2022, SPD received 1,349 guns which include surrenders, forfeitures, and found property as well as firearms seized during criminal investigations.


As provided for context about violent crime, last week Axios reported that:

“Many other cities with populations comparable to Seattle (population 733,919 in 2021) had far more homicides in 2022.

Overall, U.S. homicide rates are still lower than they were in the 1990s, and Seattle’s number of homicides trailed similar cities in 2022.”

Property crime: 2022 reported incidents increased by 4% compared to the previous year, primarily from motor vehicle thefts. Seattle University found property crime to be the top public safety concern in their survey of Seattle residents.

Throughout the committee, Councilmembers and the Chief discussed the data being presented, the strategies and programs that may have led to decreases in different types of crime, and what it will take to address the deeper roots of these trends.

This data analysis will help guide and inform the work of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee through this year. Continuous data collection helps to ensure that we are supporting evidence-based strategies and frameworks to build a safer Seattle for everyone. You can watch the full committee session here on the Seattle Channel.

United Way Free Tax Prep

Last November, Council included in our 2023-2024 approved budget an amendment to continue supporting United Way of King County’s Free tax preparation Campaign. With tax filing season upon us, United Way’s IRS-certified volunteers will be offering tax preparation assistance virtually and in person across King County, including at specific locations in District 1.

Over the last five years, the City has supported this program in serving 30,000 Seattle residents, resulting in more than $37 million in total tax refunds, putting money into the hands of our neighbors who need it most and infusing cash into the local economy.

I am proud of our Council for our support of this work, as the Free Tax Preparation Campaign has helped low-income predominantly BIPOC households not only receive tax refunds but also access other services through United Way’s referrals.

This work will continue through Thursday, April 20th. You can access this service in person without an appointment at the following locations and times:

  • South Park Library: Mondays, 4-8PM
  • White Center Library: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-5PM
  • West Seattle Foodbank: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5-9PM and Saturdays 2-6PM

For other locations and more information, please see United Way of King County’s website.

Expanded Library Hours Coming in April

The Seattle Public Library has announced expanded open hours schedules coming this Spring, funded by the voter-approved 2019 Library Levy.  In West Seattle and South Park, the expanded hours will begin the week of April 3rd. All District 1 libraries will be open 7 days a week. Currently, the Delridge and West Seattle branches are closed on Friday; Southwest is closed on Saturday. Here are the current operating hours for library branches.

District 1 libraries will have the following open hours starting on April 3rd:
Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way S.W.
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– Noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday
High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St.
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
South Park Branch, 8604 Eighth Ave. S.
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave. S.W.
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
West Seattle Branch, 2306 42nd Ave. S.W.
– 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
– Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday

Information about the forthcoming updated operating hours for all Seattle Public Library branches citywide is available here; hours at some branches will be updated the week of March 20, including the Central Library.

With this expansion, library locations will be open a total of 223 more hours per week than current schedules and 133 more hours per week than 2019 schedules, when the Levy was overwhelmingly passed by voters.



Seattle Police Department 2022 Crime Report / Gun Bill Testimony / Seattle/King County Clinic 2023 Seeks Volunteers / Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission Seeking Two New Commissioners / Sound Transit System Expansion Committee Presentation / Duwamish River Basin Steward / Northwest Seaport Alliance Terminal 5 Quarterly Update

February 10th, 2023


Seattle Police Department 2022 Crime Report

Earlier this week the Seattle Police Department released the 2022 Year-End Crime Report. I’ve invited SPD to present this report before the Public Safety and Human Services Committee at the February 14 meeting.

The report found an overall 4% increase in both violent and property crime in 2022, compared to 2021.

A summary of the report is available at the SPD Blotter announcement. Summary images note the increase in violent crime, gun violence, and motor vehicle theft, along with a decrease in bias crimes and response times to Priority 1 911 calls.

The report also notes that crime decreased during the fourth quarter of 2022. As the chart below shows, there was an increase in early 2022, similar rates in mid-2022, and the lower rates during the final four months of 2022 were reduced as compared to not only the rest of 2022 but also when compared to the final four months of 2021.

SPD also announced yesterday that the Tweets By Beat accounts will be continuing.


Gun Bill Testimony

On Thursday morning I testified before the state Senate Law and Justice Committee in support of SB 5232, enhancing requirements for the purchase or transfer of firearms. My comments are below:

“Good morning Chair Dhingra and members of the committee my name is Lisa Herbold and I am Councilmember for the City of Seattle . I am here today to speak in support of SB 5232, an evidence-based policy that will protect our communities from preventable gun violence.

Washington already requires safety training and a waiting period for purchasers of semi-automatic assault rifles; this bill would apply these same safeguards to all gun purchases. Requiring safety training will help ensure that all Washington gun owners understand the basics of how to handle, load, shoot, and safely store a gun. This will keep the gun owner, their household members, and communities, safer. 

In 2021, 68.9% of gun deaths in Washington were suicides. The requiring of safety training and an extended waiting period as part of the purchase process is proven to make an impact on both the firearm homicide and suicide rates. We can save lives with this policy.

Waiting periods work to help make sure guns don’t fall into the hands of people intent on causing harm by allowing law enforcement enough time to complete a background check and by serving as a cooling off period, allowing people in crisis to access help.

This bill will help codify responsible gun ownership in Washington. It will help keep our communities safe. Please vote yes on SB 5232. Thank you.”


Seattle/King County Clinic 2023 Seeks Volunteers

The Seattle/King County Clinic will be taking place from April 27-30 this year. This event brings together healthcare organizations, civic agencies, private businesses, and volunteers from across the state to produce a giant free health clinic at Seattle Center, including dental, vision, and medical care.

From 2014 to 2022 the clinic has provided care for 24,000 patients, and more than $20 million in direct services, with 23,000 volunteers.

The clinic is seeking volunteers. There are 2,446 assignments that need to be filled for the 2023 event. The highest need is for volunteers on Thursday the 27th, and Sunday the 30th, dental and eye care professionals, interpreters as well as social workers, and health insurance navigators. Here’s the webpage for volunteer information: You can click the button at the bottom of the page to sign up.

This flyer has a good summary of the types of volunteers needed, including set-up on April 25-26, take-down on May 1, and eyeglasses dispensing on June 2-5.

Outreach for patients will begin next month. The clinic is not limited to residents of Seattle and King County; there are no qualifying requirements related to income, insurance, housing, or immigration status. The clinic does not ask for identification of any type.


Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission Seeking Two New Commissioners

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) is looking for two candidates to serve in City Council-appointed positions on the Commission.

The SEEC is a seven-member, volunteer body that interprets and administers Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program, as well as the Whistleblower Protection, Ethics, Elections, Lobbying, and Voters’ Pamphlet Codes. The SEEC advises the City Council and the Mayor on promoting ethics in government and appoints and oversees the work of an executive director, who is charged with implementing SEEC decisions. Commissioners act as judges when a person is charged with violating one of the Commission-administered codes and issue advisory opinions. Through staff, the SEEC publishes guides to the codes it enforces, and conducts educational programs on the Commission-administered codes.

The powers and duties of the Commission are listed in Section 3.70.100 of the Municipal Code.

The SEEC meets the first Wednesday of every month at 4:00 p.m.; occasionally Commissioners need to attend special meetings. Commission members usually spend between two and five hours per month on SEEC business, although the workload may vary. Commission agendas and minutes are available here.

Commissioners serve three-year terms and can be reappointed. The successful candidates will be appointed by the Seattle City Council. One will serve out the remainder of a term expiring on December 31, 2023. The second will serve a term starting on January 1, 2023. People of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experiences are encouraged to apply.

Residency in the City of Seattle, while not required, is an asset. Per Seattle Municipal Code 3.70.060, Commissioners cannot be active in Seattle election campaigns during their time on the Commission.

To be considered for appointment to the SEEC, please send a letter of interest and resume by email to


Sound Transit System Expansion Committee Presentation

On Thursday the Sound Transit System Expansion Committee heard a presentation going into more depth about the Further Studies recently concluded.

Here’s a link to the presentation, most of which covers segments outside West Seattle. The West Seattle section begins on slide 112, so here’s a link to the West Seattle section.

An online survey on the Further Studies is open through February 17.

The Sounds Transit released the following schedule for upcoming meetings regarding the recent Further Study results:

  • Thursday, February 23 | We will share a summary of community feedback on the Further Studies at the Sound Transit Board meeting.
  • Thursday, March 9 | The System Expansion Committee will again discuss the project and may provide a recommendation to the Sound Transit Board to identify the preferred alternative for the Ballard Link Extension.
  • Thursday, March 23 | The full 18-member Sound Transit Board may identify the preferred alternative for the Ballard Link Extension. As a reminder, the action on a preferred alternative(s) indicates a preference among alternatives but is not a final decision or obligation.

I testified at the meeting; my comments are below:

“Greetings Chair Balducci and members, thank you for the opportunity to thank you.  I am Lisa Herbold, Seattle City Councilmember representing West Seattle.

I want to thank Sound Transit, and the Board, for your work on the West Seattle segment.

First, thank you for considering an alternative alignment in Delridge that reduces the impact to a Transitional Resources building with services to vulnerable communities that cannot easily be relocated.

I also thank you for examining refinements to the Delridge station area including lower station height, better bus connections to the station, and addressing conflicts with freight movement.

As most riders will access the Delridge station via bus transfers, many from lower-income BIPOC communities to the south such as South Delridge, an excellent transfer experience, as highlighted in the Racial Equity Toolkit, is critical. 

I also want to highlight the importance of access for the lower-income High Point community should the Board not proceed with the Avalon station, as that community is adjacent to 35th Ave SW and would be served by transfers at the Avalon station.

Thank you for your time and consideration.”

Here is the final slide from the West Seattle section of the presentation:


Duwamish River Basin Steward

King County has announced the new Duwamish River Basin Steward. This position joins six other existing basin stewards who guide habitat protection and restoration work.

The position is jointly funded by King County’s Water and Land Resources Division, the Port of Seattle, City of Tukwila, and City of Seattle.

This steward will advance the community engagement necessary to get on-the-ground projects completed. As the Councilmember representing the South Park neighborhood and as a Co-Chair of the WRIA 9 Watershed Ecosystem Forum, this position has been a priority for me.   Last year, the City Council adopted legislation that I sponsored to approve an agreement to create this Duwamish Basin Steward position.

The Duwamish Basin is at the forefront of environmental justice needs and we have much work to do together.

Creating the new basin steward position for the Duwamish River recognizes the decades of disproportionate impacts that the watershed’s residents have endured and will better align the multi-agency efforts along the industrialized river corridor.

The Duwamish-Green Watershed or Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 9 is defined as the area that drains to the Duwamish-Green River. It is located in the southern Puget Sound area, and comprises most of southern King County, including south Seattle and its adjacent suburban areas of Kent, Des Moines, Auburn, and Covington, as shown below.


Northwest Seaport Alliance Terminal 5 Quarterly Update

The Northwest Seaport Alliance has released a quarterly update for work at Terminal 5.

In the section on Major milestones for Permit Conditions and Lease Obligations through Q4 2022 it notes “Quiet Zone – design complete; City to advertise in Q1 2023 (delayed by a quarter).”

You may recall that I wrote this letter in 2016 expressing the importance of implementing a quiet zone, the use of shore power, and the addition of broadband backup alarms.  The letter was my comment responding to the Port’s Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS).  I felt it was important to give voice to the impacts of the project on behalf of District 1 constituents who live in the area.

As a result, the conditions placed on the Master Use Permit included the use of broadband backup alarms, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Seattle Department of Transportation to establish a railroad quiet zone, and a MOU with Puget Sound Clear Air Agency to implement an Air Quality Management Program to be consistent with the objectives described in the SEPA analysis.

You can view the update here.


SPD 911 Follow Up Messages / Working Families Tax Credit Available Starting February 1st / Sound Transit Light Rail Study Updates + Survey / Update on West Marginal Way SW / Seattle Transportation Plan Comment Through February 21st / SPD Traffic Collision Investigation Update / HSD Seeking Victim Support Team Seeking Community Volunteers

February 3rd, 2023


SPD 911 Follow-Up Messages

Starting January 26th, Seattle callers to 911 have begun receiving follow-up messages from the Seattle Police Department. These text messages and e-mails are not spam or phishing attempts and they do not ask for any personal information. The completely automated system reaches out at two potential touch points: once after the call to 911 is made, and again after the emergency has passed.

The first message sent after calling 911 will provide general guidance and information based on the type of incident you are reporting.  A great many of SPD’s complaint calls pertain to either delayed responses or members of the public calling 911 not knowing the status of their 911 calls.  This should address most of these concerns.

Below are examples of the automated messages one might receive after calling 911:

The second message will be sent after the emergency has passed and requests a response to a survey, seeking feedback on your experience with our 911 services. In the interest of improving future 911 service and public trust in first responders, SPD and the Community Safety and Communications Center are hoping that answers to these surveys will help guide improvements to the City’s emergency response.

Working Families Tax Credit Available Starting February 1st

The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) approved by the State legislature in 2021 went into effect on February 1st.

Governor Inslee’s statement notes that “For qualified families, this credit will provide for up to a $1,200 cash refund.”

Applications opened on February 1. The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is a new annual tax credit of as much as $1,200 for low to moderate income people in Washington. Undocumented immigrants and mixed status families are eligible for the Working Families Tax Credit. Free assistance with the WFTC application is available through United Way of King County’s Free Tax Prep program, which offers assistance at 16 sites across King County, including at El Centro de la Raza.  A full list of organizations offering assistance with the application can be found here.

You can check your eligibility and apply through the Washington Department of Revenue. Applications for the 2022 tax year will be accepted through December 31, 2023.

Here’s the State Department of Revenues FAQ about the program.

I appreciate the Governor noting that “In 2021, an analysis found that low-income Washingtonians pay 17% of their income in taxes while middle-class people pay 11% and the wealthiest pay just 3%. Programs like the WFTC are righting this upside-down tax structure by making Washington’s tax system less regressive.”


Sound Transit Light Rail Study Updates + Survey

When the Sound Transit Board adopted the preferred alternative for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail extensions last year, they requested additional study of options identified for potential cost savings, or other modifications. Sound Transit released these “further study” updates in late January. Here is the link to the West Seattle further study.

Sound Transit will brief Sound Transit Board members and the public at the upcoming  System Expansion Committee meeting on February 9. An online survey is open through February 17. You can also provide in-person feedback at Union Station on February 8 from 3 to 7 p.m.

You can view the additional studies for other segments of the line on the further studies page.

Three areas are analyzed in West Seattle.

First, a potential design refinement to the Alaska Junction station—to study shifting the station entrance toward 42nd Avenue SW:

This would allow for 90 additional equitable transit-oriented development housing units; eliminate the need for pedestrian crossing of 41st Ave SW; have 39 fewer residential and 32 additional business displacements; and cost $80 million extra beyond the financial plan.

The second study examines access modifications at the Delridge Station with a ped-x bridge over Andover, and shifting the alignment south towards SW Yancy Street:

This would result in 14 fewer residential and 3 additional business displacements, including reducing the impact on Transitional Resources; eliminate potential passenger and freight conflicts; and result in permanent closure of 32nd Ave. It is estimated to cost $50 million more.

The third study is to eliminate the Avalon station.

It would result in 48 fewer residential displacements and 3 fewer business displacements; longer travel times for passengers closer to Avalon Station included in the Draft EIS; have no expected decrease in project ridership and reduce temporary and permanent roadway closures. It is estimated to reduce costs by $80 million.

Update on West Marginal Way SW

Photo: SDOT, from the West Seattle Bridge

SDOT has released a new review  of traffic data collected on West Marginal Way during the time period of October 23 through November 6, 2022.

West Marginal saw significantly increased traffic after the closure of the bridge and the limitations placed on the use of the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge.

Vehicle traffic dropped around 60% after the West Seattle Bridge reopened, to approximately 15,000 vehicles per day.

As noted in the update, in July 2021 SDOT announced the construction of a new bike lane when the West Seattle Bridge reopened.

The two-week trial tested how a single southbound lane on West Marginal would operate. The two key conclusions noted by SDOT are:

  • “Verified negligible impacts to overall operations of West Marginal Way SW. The two-week trial closure and our traffic models indicate modifications will increase travel time by 2 seconds per trip.
  • Indicated a speed reduction after the project is completed. Speeds decreased by 12% during the lane closure (from 43 to 37 mph on average). The posted speed limit is 30 mph, and with the permanent installation of this project, we anticipate speeds to move closer to the speed limit.”

The post further notes:

“Closing one lane can reduce vehicle speeds and help eliminate high-speed passing. Speeds decreased by 12% in the lane closure area, and by 2% in other locations in the project area. Our experience shows a 10% decrease in speed can reduce all crashes by 20%.”

The update also notes SDOT is planning to install signs, new median islands, and pavements markings on the Duwamish River Trail along West Marginal.

The temporary bike lane added during the closure of the Spokane Street Bridge (low) remains in place; it served as a bike detour route during that closure. SDOT notes there will be additional planned closures of the low bridge, and that “Community conversations continue on enhancing safety along West Marginal Way SW and we will continue to provide updates.”

Here’s a link to the update.


Seattle Transportation Plan Comment Through February 21st

SDOT has continued work on the Seattle Transportation Plan (STP). They have a new interactive mapping tool where you can help to develop transportation networks that will shape Seattle in the years to come.

You can leave comments on the map by placing a “pin” on the map at

Five draft networks (pedestrian, people streets and public spaces, bicycle, transit, and freight) are listed on the map by color, based on community input. The icon at the top right of the map allows you to select which maps you’d like to view.

SDOT’s current engagement opportunities will run through February 21, 2023; there will be a future opportunity for map input when the draft plan is out for comment.


SPD Traffic Collision Investigation Update

My colleagues and I spoke earlier this week, in our Council Briefings meeting, about our sorrow that Jaahnavi Kandula died as a result of being fatally hit by a Seattle police car on Monday, January 23, 2023.  The SPD officer driving the car was reportedly on the way to respond to what has been described as a nearby priority one call.  I join the call for transparency and for their report and other publicly releasable information to be made available to the public and in consultation with the family of the victim.

The SPD Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is investigating; the fatality was determined to be outside the realm of a particular kind of investigation referred to as a “use of force” investigation. Under current police policy, use of force is defined to encompass the actions an officer takes to enforce the law against a person suspected of violating the law.  See here:  8.050 – Use of Force Definitions – Seattle Police Department (WA) – PowerDMS  Consequently, the specific type of investigation referred to as a “use of force investigation” would not encompass actions that caused harm to someone who is not the subject of a law enforcement action.

But again, this tragedy is being investigated, not only by the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad as mentioned above, but I confirmed this week that the Office of Police Accountability has also received a complaint from a member of the public.  Still further, the Office of Inspector General has begun the process to work with SPD to create “a formal process for notifying OPA and OIG, and ensuring appropriate oversight of any ensuing investigation of a death where SPD actions were a factor. Since SPD determined this incident was outside the realm of force investigation, none of the ordinary notifications and opportunities to engage were afforded to oversight partners.”  I agree with OIG that “a formal process for oversight of incidents like this that generate significant community concern is an important step in building and maintaining legitimacy and confidence in our public safety system.”

I hope that the conclusions of these investigations and dialogues support the policies, procedures, and officer trainings to ensure this does not happen ever again and results in discipline as determined by the investigations to be appropriate.


HSD Seeking Victim Support Team Seeking Community Volunteers

The Human Services Department (HSD)’s Safe and Thriving Communities Division Victim Support Team (VST) is now recruiting community volunteers.

The Victim Support Team (VST) provides short term advocacy and resources to victims of violent crimes. The primary goal is to listen to survivors, help them identify what next step they want to take, address immediate safety concerns, and offer connections to resources in the community and within the Criminal Justice System.

VST volunteers offer support to survivors in a unique time of need, and their commitment and impact make this program a vital part of the City’s response to violence. The VST provides short term advocacy, safety planning, and referrals to culturally specific resources. VST volunteers provide an in-person response on the weekends and remote phone advocacy during the week.

Please visit VST Volunteer Opportunities – HumanServices |  for more information and to apply online.

Applications are open now; the deadline to apply is March 1st, 2023

You must be 21+ and pass an SPD background check.

The VST contact is Kaylee DiMaggio, Victim Support Team Supervisor,



Black History Month Proclamation / More Tragic Gun Violence in Vulnerable Communities / Memphis Police Video / Mayor Harrell Nominates Deputy Chief Rebecca Gonzales for CSCC Director / West Seattle High School Parking Lot Gate Installation / City Hall Severe Weather Shelter Open / South Park Tide Update / 4th Quarter Reconnect West Seattle Report / Resuming Late Fees for Unpaid Tickets / Committee Recap

January 27th, 2023


Black History Month Proclamation

This week the Council and Mayor jointly proclaimed February as “Black History Month.”

This proclamation was drafted by the Human Services Department in partnership with Mayor Harrell’s office and the Mayor’s Council on African American Elders (MCAAE).  I was given the opportunity to bring it forward for the City Council’s consideration.

The proclamation notes that “recorded African American heritage in Seattle dates to the mid-19th century” and affirms that “Black History Month is a reminder that Black history is Seattle history, Black culture is Seattle culture, and Black stories are an essential component of the story of our city.”

It also states, “the City of Seattle acknowledges the long history of institutional racism towards Black people and other communities of color; has committed itself to undoing racism and promoting racial equity and social justice on an ongoing basis since 2005; and continues to identify and analyze manifestations of racism and develop shared culture and leadership”.

The 2023 Black History Month theme is “Black Resistance.” The proclamation recounts how the concept of Black Resistance stems from Henry Highland Garnet’s call to action in an address to the National Negro Convention of 1843, in which he said, “No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance. What kind of resistance you had better make, you must decide by the circumstances that surround you, and according to the suggestion of expediency”.

More Tragic Gun Violence in Vulnerable Communities

This past weekend was Lunar New Year, a beautiful and culturally significant holiday for so many Asian American communities across the country, especially for Chinese American and Vietnamese American families. It was to be a weekend of deeply rooted traditions, of joyous celebrations, and of the hope that the new spring season brings. To all those that celebrate, I wish you good health and fortune in the coming year.

Unfortunately, these celebrations were marred on Sunday morning when the nation woke up to devastating news. Late Saturday night, on Lunar New Year’s Eve, the San Gabriel Valley in California saw yet another senseless act of gun violence. Unfortunately, this was only one in a series of mass shootings across California this weekend.

Mass shootings claimed the lives of at least 19 individuals across at least three shootings in California on Saturday and Sunday, including farmworkers in Half Moon Bay and another shooting in Oakland.

It is important to know that gun violence is not a Californian problem. It is an American problem. This week, Yakima too experienced the gun deaths of three people in a mass shooting.  There were several shootings here in Seattle as well.

We know that gun violence disproportionately and horrifically affects communities of color. Underregulated access to firearms and lack of access to mental health resources combine with a lack of institutional investments in our most disenfranchised communities and result in inequitable violence across the nation.

I strive to stand in solidarity with these communities by continuing to find ways to invest City resources in strengthening gun violence prevention efforts, expanding mental health resources, and ensuring that communities of color are being heard.

Memphis Police Video

This evening, Memphis Police Department will release a video of a traffic stop that ended in a senseless and brutal tragedy.  This is only one of many steps towards accountability for grieving Memphis residents.  For Mr. Nichols’s family, for Memphis, and for all those who question – in the face of such needless and horrific violence – how to have trust in the oversight of those charged with our safety, I call on Seattle, as a city, to join the call for a thorough and transparent investigation and to do so peacefully.

Mayor Harrell Nominates Deputy Chief Rebecca Gonzales for CSCC Director

Last week, Mayor Harrell nominated Seattle Fire Department Deputy Chief Rebecca “Reba” Gonzales to be the next Director of the Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC).  I appreciate that the statement making this announcement underscored that the CSCC will implement “a pilot civilian response team that will be dual dispatched with police to priority 3 and 4 calls with a mental/behavioral nexus.”

Deputy Chief Gonzales has served the City within SFD for almost three decades, most recently overseeing the Emergency Medical Services Division.

The CSCC was created in 2021 after Seattle City Council voted to move the 911 call and dispatch center out of SPD in preparation of expanding the scope of dispatch to include alternative response models. In effect, the CSCC is our city’s main 911 call center, dispatching SPD (and eventually, a civilian co-response) or routing to SFD’s Fire Alarm Center.

I have had the pleasure of working alongside Interim Director Lombard during his time leading the CSCC through uncharted territory as a new department. I thank him for his creativity and leadership in standing up the CSCC and look forward to working with the incoming Interim Director Gonzales.

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee will begin preparing for Interim Director Gonzales’s confirmation hearing. After considering her initial performance in the role as Interim Director, information gathered and shared during the Committee’s confirmation process, and weighing public testimony, the Committee will make a recommendation to the full City Council whether to confirm Mayor Harrell’s nomination and appoint her to the permanent role of CSCC Director.

West Seattle High School Parking Lot Gate Installation

Thank you to the Seattle School District for installing a gate at the entrance to the West Seattle High School parking lot.

Constituents have contacted me about racing and reckless, loud driving late at night at this lot for some time, and I advocated with the school district to add a gate. The lot at Chief Sealth High School has a gate.

The first constituent to write to me, in July 2020, noted that the late-night activity started shortly after the COVID school closures. I reached out to then-SW Precinct Captain Grossman in August 2020. He noted that officers were focused on high priority calls, and that some officers at that time were regularly being reassigned from patrol to demonstrations in Capitol Hill.

Then SW Precinct Captain Grossman made the suggestion that closing the parking areas with fencing or gates could help address the problems. I then reached out to the school district about a potential gate.

City Hall Severe Weather Shelter Open

This weekend the weather forecast calls for late-night temperatures in the 20s.

An overnight severe weather shelter will be open for persons experiencing homelessness starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 28th. The shelter is expected to operate between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m., through Thursday, February 2nd.

The shelter will be on the lower floor of City Hall, by the red doors adjacent to 4th Avenue.

South Park Tide Update

Photo: Seattle Public Utilities

Thank you to the crews from Seattle Public Utilities, SDOT, and Finance and Administrative Services for their work to prepare for the King Tides this week that started on Tuesday, with sandbags, concrete blocks, and jersey barriers to protect against potential flooding. There was no flooding during these King Tides this week.

SPU had personnel and back-up water pumping systems on site for any potential impacts, and worked with the Fire and Police Departments and the Office of Emergency Management to ensure response capability was in place. The Office of Emergency Management held a coordination call on Monday to ensure a coordinated response.

Work on long-term solutions to address high tide inundation and sea level rise will continue with the King County Flood Control District, Army Corps of Engineers, and County and Federal elected officials.

4th Quarter Reconnect West Seattle Report

SDOT has released the 4th quarter 2022 Reconnect West Seattle report.

This will be the final quarterly report for the program developed to ameliorate the closure of the West Seattle Bridge in West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley communities.

64 of 70 Reconnect West Seattle projects have been completed, and 56 of 64 Home Zone project elements in South Park, Highland Park and Georgetown.

Here are upcoming projects.

The design was completed: for intersection improvements at Dallas Avenue South and 14th Avenue South

Here are the remaining Home Zone projects:

Seattle Municipal Court Resuming Late Fees for Unpaid Tickets

Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) previously suspended late fees for unpaid parking, camera, and traffic tickets in March 2020 during the first height of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to economic hardships exacerbated or caused by the pandemic.

Beginning on January 30, SMC will resume these late fees for past due tickets at $25 for late parking and camera tickets, and an additional $52 for late traffic tickets.

You can use SMC’s online portal to find any tickets you may have and pay them online or in person. SMC also offers payment plans or community service plans if you are unable to pay your ticket in full, as well as the opportunity to sign up for a Seattle Ticket Debt Reduction Hearing for low-income residents.

For more information about the late fees and options for responding, disputing, or paying outstanding tickets, please see SMC’s blog post on their website.

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Meeting Recap

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on January 24th.

The agenda included a presentation on the work of the Public Safety Civil Service Commission (PSCSC), which plays an important, but little known, role in hiring and promotion, and some disciplinary reviews, of firefighters and police officers.

Prior to the presentation from PSCSC Director Scheele, I shared an update from the Mayor’s Office on the efforts to implement the SPD hiring plan, a detailed update on the “top-to-bottom review and reimagining of the hiring systems” that the Mayor’s Office and SPD have been facilitating, using the funding approved by the Council in the 2023-24 budget.

The testing service used by police departments across the country allows applicants to send their scores to multiple departments.  SPD reports losing candidates to other local police departments “because their testing and backgrounding processes were faster and more simplified, allowing those departments to more swiftly make job offers and hiring decisions.”

Here is the status of the implementation that I shared in the PSHS Committee this week:

  • A new digital background system, replacing a system where candidates filled out paperwork which extended wait times for requested documents like questionnaires and references.
  • Increased the number of entry and lateral exam administrations to 14 annually (from 11) – meaning more opportunities for candidates.
  • Three local physical agility testing locations and a virtual option for out-of-state candidates and establishing more accessible and timely medical screenings, reducing the number of trips out-of-state candidates are required to make to Seattle during the hiring process
  • Implementing preference points for community services, established in the 2017 Accountability Ordinance, prioritizing candidates who have significant experience serving community to put them at the top of the list for hiring consideration.
  • Hired additional staff to help with candidate throughput processing in recruitment, in the process of hiring two additional backgrounders to process applicants, a recruiting manager, and two additional recruiter positions.

PSCSC’s presentation that followed covered their mission to make and enforce rules for examination, appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, reinstatements, suspensions, layoffs, discharges, and connected matters; directs development and administration of merit-based entry-level and promotional civil service exams for the Seattle Fire and Police departments (with support of Seattle Human Resources); provides sworn police and uniformed fire employees with a quasi-judicial hearing process for appeals concerning serious disciplinary actions, and examination and testing; and investigates alleged violations of enabling legislation, the Seattle Public Safety Ordinance, SMC 4.08.

Here’s where the PSCSC fits within the hiring process, by conducting examinations:

In addition to exams for new police officers and firefighters, the PSCSC conducts promotional exams:

COVID required the PSCSC to develop new testing procedures. Prior to COVID, all tests were in-person, which wasn’t possible when the pandemic arrived.

The committee also voted to move the reappointment of Director Andrea Scheele to the Full Council.


Preparation for King Tides in South Park / Spokane Street Bridge Presentation / Fauntleroy Watershed Annual Report / Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee / Public Comment on Zoning Modifications at West Seattle High School

January 20th, 2023


Preparation for King Tides in South Park

On December 27 and 28, South Park experienced flooding resulting from the confluence of an extreme storm, very low pressure, an extreme King Tide, and heavy rain. King Tides are very high tides.

High tides are predicted from January 21-27, with King Tides early in the morning January 23-25. The City has been working with community to prepare for this.

Photo: SPU

This Seattle Public Utilities blog post describes the City efforts in collaboration with community to provide temporary flood barriers, including concrete block and sandbags, as shown in the photos above and below.

They encourage people to sign up for Alert Seattle by texting SEATTLE to 67283 or by going to to receive updates about emergencies.

Photo: SPU

On Tuesday, I and several other elected officials from City (Councilmember Morales), County (King County Executive Constantine and King County Councilmember McDermott), and Federal jurisdictions (Congresswoman Jayapal) met with community leaders and City departments and Senior Deputy Mayor Harrell. Region X EPA Administrator Casey Sixkiller was with us as well.  I sincerely appreciate how seriously they have responded.  A long-term solution is only possible with collaboration between the City, County and federal governments.

Photo: Lisa Herbold

Spokane Street Bridge Presentation

The Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee hosted a presentation on the Spokane Street (Low) Bridge on Tuesday, January 17th.

Here is the presentation, and a link to the Seattle Channel video.

Though the bridge is reopened, only one hydraulic turn cylinder is operational.  This increases the amount of time that the bridge is up and waiting time.  During the discussion, I asked about the timeline for the refurbishment of the cylinders, which had been planned for 2023, before the closure.

SDOT said they need time to determine root causes of what failed on the cylinder, and that technology upgrades are part of the cylinders’ refurbishment, to attain the longest life, so they need time to determine best methods for rehabilitation and time necessary to complete it.

I also asked about plans for public notice of duration of openings because one constituent wrote to me to say:

“If you add that to the 10-15 min current time when open, that could mean as much as a half hour, in which case it would definitely be quicker for bicyclists to take the 1st Ave bridge detour. Seems important for people to know that info, because if you’re leaving West Seattle for work, a meeting, or any other timebound event, a half hour is a pretty significant delay.  Having updated times would also benefit Harbor Island freight traffic, allowing trucks to decide whether or not to detour.”

The traffic operations division is considering how best to communicate to people about bridge opening wait times and noted they have asked the Coast Guard to notify mariners about the additional length of bridge openings by 10-15 minutes.

Thank you to Chair Pedersen for hearing this in committee, and to his attention to this work as Chair.

The image below shows the location for the structural rehabilitation, lift cylinders and control and communications lines.

Fauntleroy Watershed Annual Report

The Fauntleroy Watershed Council has published the 2022 Fauntleroy Watershed Council Annual Report. It includes a summary of salmon-related activities.

The report includes information about their work, including a chart with several years of useful data about salmon eggs, fry, smolts and spawners.

In 2022, volunteer watchers documented 254 coho spawners, an increase of 10 from 2021, and the highest total since 2012.

The Fauntleroy watershed site is, and includes additional reports on exoskeletons, smolt, benthic and other annual reports.

Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee

The Levy Oversight Committee for the Move Seattle transportation levy has two vacancies. Applications are open through February 9, 2023. Information on how to apply and commission responsibilities is available here.

Meetings take place the first Tuesday of each month from 5-7 p.m. Here’s an archive of previous meetings.

Public Comment on Zoning Modifications at West Seattle High School

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods will be hosting a public comment session to gather feedback regarding the development plans for West Seattle High School. Read the full public notice published by the Department of Neighborhoods copied below or use this link to share the information with your neighbors and friends.

The public is invited to share its feedback regarding the development plans for West Seattle High School located at 3000 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116. The Seattle School District is requesting modifications (also known as “departures”) from City zoning regulations per Seattle Municipal Code, SMC 23.51B, and the Public School Departures Process, SMC 23.79.

1) Reduced vehicular parking quantity

2) Amended bicycle parking performance standards

The Seattle School District has a detailed presentation of the modifications which you can view on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website.

Upon receiving your feedback, the comments will be shared with the Director of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. After review, the Director will provide their recommendations regarding the proposed departures to the Director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections for the final decision.

Please submit your written comments by Friday, February 17, 2023, to:

Nelson Pesigan


Mailing Address:

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA  98124-4649

For additional information, visit our website or contact Nelson Pesigan at 206-684-0209.


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