This Week in Budget Deliberations / Dumar Substation Transfer / Upcoming Climate Meeting / Ceasefire Resolution / Giving My Thanks to You

November 22nd, 2023


This Week in Budget Deliberations

The Council adopted the 2024 Budget this week.  My thanks go to Chair Mosqueda as this is the fourth biennial budget season that she has shepherded through the Council deliberative process as Chair of the Council’s Select Committee on the Budget.

The City Council’s priorities are summarized here.

The Council-endorsed budget rejects austerity and makes investments to help address the greatest needs of those with the least, including the human service provider wage increases necessary to not leave workers behind.

Thank you as well to Mayor Harrell for including in his proposed budget a 2% downpayment on closing the 7% Pay Penalty Gap for frontline human services providers.  This $4.3 million investment was my highest budget priority as expressed by Resolution 32094.  The “Pay Penalty Gap” refers to a Wage Equity Study finding that workers who leave the human services industry for a job in a different industry see a net pay increase of seven percent a year later.  Equal thanks go to all the Councilmembers who supported human service provider inflationary wage increases (separate from closing the pay penalty gap) to keep up with inflation to ensure they don’t fall behind and continue their live-saving mission-critical care work.

My other funded priorities in this budget include:

  • Funding to implement the App-Based Worker Deactivations Rights Ordinance to ensure our historic legislation – supporting workers not afforded the same rights as employees – is enforced.
  • Funding for mental-health resources for frontline community-based crisis responders who are doing trauma-inducing work as violence preventers and violence interrupters and finding themselves, friends, and family members to be victims of gun violence.
  • Funding to increase the reach of a gun-violence reduction program that provides wrap-around services to victims of gun violence and their families, proven to reduce the likelihood of their involvement in retributive violence.
  • Funding for domestic violence mobile community-based survivor supports to protect survivor safety and confidentiality. This funding was responsive to the 2023 recommendations of the Seattle Community Responses to Domestic Violence work group, which was funded in a prior year’s budget with an action I sponsored to support ways of responding to domestic violence outside of the criminal legal system.
  • Requesting a report on funding needed to handle increased referrals to Let Everyone Advance with Dignity (LEAD) and the funding required to support LEAD database integration. Ordinance 126896 added to the Seattle Municipal Code the new crimes of knowing possession of a controlled substance and use of a controlled substance in a public place and it explicitly established diversion to services and treatment as the City’s standard approach for most instances of these crimes.  The Seattle Police Department’s estimate is that the new ordinance would result in its making approximately 700 to 800 new diversion referrals annually.
  • Requesting that HSD provide a report on how the department will implement forthcoming legislation related to provider pay increases and integrate wage equity into competitive funding processes
  • Funding to support both the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Police Accountability in their efforts to support constitutional policing

Thank you to thousands of members of the public for engaging in this process to make sure this Council is tending to the greatest needs of those with the least first. As this is my last budget process on the Council, it will be a memory I will hold dear.

Dumar Substation Transfer

I have been in conversation with the Highland Park Action Committee (HPAC) for several years about the vacant, surplus property owned by Seattle City Light at 1605 SW Holden Street, known as the Dumar substation.

Next week, in my Public Safety and Human Service Committee we will be hearing legislation that:

  • Approves transfer of the Dumar site from SCL to the Office of Housing (OH) in exchange for $424,000
  • Authorizes OH to: Conduct a competitive process to solicit proposals for the development of resale restricted homeownership and negotiate property transfer to the selected developer

This is following up on years of conversation between my office, Seattle City Light (SCL), and the Office of Housing about the proposed community use for this property.  SCL is willing to transfer the property to the Office of Housing for affordable housing development; the Office of Housing is willing as well.

In 2015, then Councilmembers Harrell, Licata, and Rasmussen proposed a statement of legislative intent directing the consideration of zoning and land use changes.

Community advocacy led by HPAC resulted in a new zoning designation in for the Dumar Substation property in 2019.  The community’s goal was to develop it with affordable housing and a ground floor commercial use, so I worked to help the property be rezoned to Neighborhood Commercial 1-40 (M2).

One requirement for a transfer is the property must be used for a “public benefit purpose.”  Public benefit is defined as:

…affordable housing for low-income and very low-income households as defined in RCW 43.63A.510, and related facilities that support the goals of affordable housing development in providing economic and social stability for low-income persons. 

Enterprise Community Partners and the Office of Housing did a preliminary analysis of the site; both believe it’s a good opportunity for affordable homeownership, such as townhomes or live/work lofts.  Both agree the site is too small for affordable rental housing to be financially feasible.

The community has met with Homestead Community Land Trust and Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County to talk about the potential for development of this site.  Homestead and Habitat both develop affordable homes for homeownership. Because of the size and other factors, the Office of Housing and our affordable housing consultant both agree that the site is most likely to be attractive to developers for affordable homeownership.

Because of the “public benefit” requirement, to be developed as affordable housing it will be challenging to also ensure that the ground-floor space will be used by a commercial tenant such as a grocery or bar.  The ground floor could meet the public benefit definition of providing “economic and social stability for low-income persons,” with perhaps subsidized childcare or food bank.

What we’ve heard from the community:

  • Street-level activation: Neighbors are interested in adding liveliness to the neighborhood and increasing its walkability.
  • Public benefit: Many neighbors were interested in providing a public benefit on the ground floor.
  • Affordable housing: Neighbors expressed their desire for affordable housing at this site.
  • Adjacent lot: Several people noted that the lot to the south was for sale.
  • Safety: Neighbors noted it would be beneficial to have additional eyes on this corner and expressed concerns about traffic flow if parking were included.
  • Desirability: It will be helpful to understand how desirable this site is to potential non-profit or for-profit developers and lessees.

Here is some content from the bill’s fiscal note that emphasizes the value of this action:

The neighborhood surrounding the site is more racially diverse with a higher percentage of low-income households than the City as a whole. As more households are priced out of the City, securing this site for the development of permanently affordable homeownership will mitigate current and future displacement. By providing affordable homeownership in Highland Park and ensuring affirmative marketing to communities least likely to apply, including Black, Indigenous, and other households of color who historically have been systematically and disproportionately excluded from homeownership opportunities and who are at higher risk of displacement, such displacement impacts can be mitigated.

Ceasefire Resolution

The Seattle City Council approved a resolution calling for a long-term ceasefire in Gaza, an immediate return of all hostages, and restoration of humanitarian aid. It also condemns rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian/Arab bigotry.

Council President Debora Juarez, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and I worked together so we could propose our common ground amendment consistent with the statement developed by a large interfaith coalition and other community members who signed the Washington Solidarity Statement.

The letter of support stated “We firmly believe that the calls set forth in the resolution by Juarez/Herbold/Mosqueda help bring better safety and well-being for all peoples living in the region, Palestinians and Israelis alike. A ceasefire and the restoration of basic necessities along with humanitarian aid would enable the development of political solutions, including for the release and safe return of all hostages, rather than perpetuate violence through a military option. In addition, given the rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian/anti-Arab bigotry, the language in the resolution helps make clear that the City of Seattle will not condone such hatred or divisiveness, regardless of where it occurs.”

The vote on the final resolution, after our amendment, was six Councilmembers unanimously in favor and three abstaining.

As passed, the resolution underscores the Council’s support for the people of both Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security, condemns the attack on October 7 by Hamas as well as the Israeli military’s response on the 2.3 million Palestinian people living in Gaza (nearly half of whom are children) since then.

Some have argued that the resolution that passed was weak or “watered down.”  I used as my north star this brief resolution before the US House of Representatives introduced by Reps. Bush, Tlaib, Carson, Lee, Ramirez, Bowman, Coleman, Garcia, Jackson, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Velazquez.

I believe that if you want to effectively call for a ceasefire you must have a laser focus on the call for the immediate end of bloodshed.  Concepts such as the origins of the conflict, ending all US military funding, and other information that may in dispute or longer-term political objectives like ending the occupation distracts from the call for a ceasefire creating the humanitarian crisis.

This is not a watered-down resolution. It is focused. It is focused on improving immediate conditions for Gaza’s 2.3 million people, 1.7 million of whom have been displaced since the 7 October Hamas attack in Israel resulted in the killing of 1,200 Israelis and capture of 240 hostages. Since then, more than 11,000 people have been killed in besieged Gaza.

The strongest statement for peace is a statement that has more Councilmembers voting with a unified voice.

2023 Select Committee on Climate Action Meeting November 29

The 2023 Select Committee on Climate Action will hold its first meeting on November 29th, for a presentation on Council Bill 120718, Building Emissions Performance legislation.

The agenda materials include a Director’s Report, Introduction, and Guide to the Proposed Policy. A presentation will be added early next week.

The committee will meet the following week on December 7th.

Giving My Thanks to You

This is the time of year that I take stock of all for which I have to be thankful. I bet you do too.  On this Thanksgiving Day eve, there are individual people to be thankful for their contribution to making Seattle a better city.  If you are working for your community, I’m thankful for you raising your voices, to ensure City government is making decisions in the interest of the city, and our District.

On this Thanksgiving Day eve, I find that there is so much for which I have to give thanks.  There are people in District 1 and elsewhere who raise their voices and help contribute every day to making Seattle a better city.  There also are legislative victories that I couldn’t have accomplished without others. I am thankful for those as well, but I’ll wait until my annual year end wrap up post, to give recognize those accomplishments and those who helped me get it done.

What unites us this week is that we all take stock of the reasons we have to be thankful. It doesn’t matter whether you observe Thanksgiving or whether you think of the fourth Thursday of November as an idealized myth obscuring genocide and imperialism. It doesn’t matter if you are on your own for Thanksgiving or whether you are with friends and family.

I’m a person who sometimes forgets to practice mindful gratitude. For me, the fourth Thursday of November is a good reminder to practice. I have the regular reasons to be thankful: family, friends, work, my health. But I want to use this space today for my mindful gratitude for the people who work with me, each and every day, to serve the residents of District 1.


This Week in the Budget / Building Emissions Performance Standard Legislation / MOU to Expand Diversified Responses, Park Rangers, and Event Staffing / Sound Transit Survey for West Seattle Station Planning / Highland Park Way and Holden Traffic Improvements Public Art: Steller’s Jay Installation

November 17th, 2023


This Week in the Budget

This week the City Council, acting as the Select Budget Committee, approved amendments to the 2024 City of Seattle budget. A final vote is scheduled at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 22nd.

The committee also hosted a public hearing on Monday evening, which ran just under four hours.

On Tuesday, the committee considered amendments to the 2024 budget. Amendments in the Group A Consent Package were all adopted. Amendments in Group B were considered individually; some passed, and some did not.

The Council’s budget amendment tool includes information about the votes, such as whether an amendment passed or failed and how each member voted.

On Wednesday the committee heard presentations about the Revenue Stabilization Work Group, Fiscal Transparency Bills, Provider Pay legislation, and Council Bills to repeal the Water Utility Tax, and a Capital Gains Excise Tax (Councilmember Pedersen has proposed repealing the water utility tax, and replacing it with a local 2% capital gains tax).

The Select Budget Committee will meet on November 30 to consider legislation that is not critical to balancing the 2024 budget.

One budget effort that the Select Budget Committee passed this week was my legislation creating a funding source for the Office of Labor Standards to enforce the PayUp laws.  The Council passed the legislation by a 7-2 vote.

Over the past three years, to protect a vulnerable and fast-growing sector of Seattle workers, City Council has passed protections that I have sponsored for app-based workers.  During discussions of the minimum compensation bill last year, I made a commitment to bring forward potential answers to the question of funding the enforcement of this and other app-based workers protections.  During discussion this year of the App-Based Worker Deactivation Rights Ordinance we discussed a fee-based approach to support enforcement.

As the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) noted in their September 11 Annual Certification on OLS Functions and Resources memo, the Office is responsible for enforcement of a wide web of worker protections that cover 54,000 employers and almost 600,000 employees with a team of 34 FTE. In that memo, they touch on Seattle’s leadership in building protections for app-based workers.

“Much of the policy team focus has been on advancing labor standards for non-standard workforces, especially gig workers, domestic workers, and independent contractors. This work is time-consuming as few jurisdictions have tackled such initiatives. Consequently, OLS must create the roadmap, rather than relying on the experiences of others.”

OLS exists to center the needs of our most vulnerable workers. Every law enforced by the Office of Labor Standards aims to address racial and economic disparities. Thoughtful administration of app-based worker protections is work that supports disability justice, gender parity, and racial equity.

The legislation creates a ten cents per delivery fee, if the app-based platforms choose to pass the fee on to customers, it will cost someone who gets a weekly delivery of mixed grocery and non-grocery orders a total of $5.20 a year. The legislation explicitly exempts grocery orders.

Janice Fine, the director of the Workplace Justice Lab at Rutgers, recently described OLS as “One of, if not the most, effective local agencies in the United States.”  With the limited staff and budget OLS currently has, they have already recovered nearly $14 million for app-based workers whose rights have been violated, including

  • More than $3.3 million for 10,000 gig workers who were underpaid by Uber Eats.
  • More than $1.6 million for over 600 workers after DoorDash violated PSST rules.
  • More than $1.5 million for over 4,000 workers after GrubHub violated gig worker protections.

OLS must have the funding it needs to uphold the law. Their work results in dollars in the pockets of workers.  Check out the OLS enforcement dashboard here.  Almost 77,000 workers have received financial penalties resulting from OLS’s work since 2014.  Impressive stuff!

Here is one recent Slate article entitled, “There’s Only One Kind of Extra Fee That DoorDash and Instacart Don’t Like,“ about the failed amendments intending to limit OLS’s contracts with worker and employer groups that help educate about workplace laws and to reach workers.  Here is another article from Geekwire.

Building Emissions Performance Standard Legislation

Addressing our climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We need to act swiftly and take big swings. The Building Emissions Performance Standard legislation Mayor Harrell transmitted to the Council on Wednesday does just that, and the policy will significantly move the needle on reducing emissions in Seattle.

I thank the Mayor, Office of Sustainability and Environment, and advocates for working together. I appreciate the extensive outreach and stakeholder meetings that the Office of Sustainability and Environment carried out during the last two years – it serves as an example of how our community can move forward together on this critically important issue. I thank Council President Juarez for creating a special Select Committee on Climate Action committee to hear this legislation, a committee that I am honored to be chairing.

The Mayor’s press release states,

“The proposed Building Emissions Performance Standard Policy (BEPS) applies to existing nonresidential and multifamily buildings greater than 20,000 square feet. The reduction in climate emissions which will result from the passage of this legislation is the equivalent of taking 72,322 gasoline-powered cars off the road for a year. Key policy details include: 

  • BEPS sets carbon-emissions targets that buildings must meet over time to reach net-zero emissions (or alternative compliance) by 2041-2050 depending on building size and type.
  • Compliance starts with reporting requirements by 2027 that quantify building emissions and encourage owners to prepare for emissions reductions, followed by requirements to meet emissions targets in five-year intervals starting in 2031 that become progressively lower until reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • The BEPS policy has flexible compliance pathways to accommodate buildings of many uses, size, type, ownership, age, and systems, with low-income housing and human services given a longer lead time to prepare.”

According to the 2020 Seattle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, over 30% of emissions are from buildings.

Seattle’s BEPS policy is projected to reduce building emissions by 27% by 2050, making it the most impactful climate action Seattle can take now.

The Mayor’s press release includes statements of support from numerous groups, showing the care and attention taken to the development of the policies reflected in this legislation.

This builds on legislation the City Council adopted in 2021 to update the Commercial Energy Code for new commercial buildings and multifamily condominiums and apartments. That legislation prohibited the use of fossil fuels or gas for space heating and water heating in newly built hotels and multifamily residences.

Of the emissions from buildings, three-quarters come from fossil fuels.

The OSE Building Emissions Performance Standards page has helpful links, including a guide to the policy: Seattle BEPS: Guide to the Proposed Policy (November 2023). This includes the timeline for the regulations, paths to compliance, and information about support and financial assistance (there’s also a  Financial Incentives for Decarbonization Factsheet. OSE also has a Seattle Clean Buildings Accelerator webpage offering no-cost assistance to building owners.

This proposal builds on previous work: a building performance standard was listed as a key climate action in the 2013 Climate Action Plan, 2018 Climate Action Strategy, 2020 Green New Deal Executive Order, 2021 Climate Executive Order, and the 2021 Green New Deal Climate Actions Report.

The policy is also well aligned with State of Washington policies to reduce carbon emissions, including the Washington Clean Buildings Performance Standard, Climate Commitment Act, Clean Energy Transformation Act, and Washington State Energy Strategy. The Clean Buildings Performance Standard includes compliance dates in 2026, 2027, and 2028 depending on building size.

The OSE website shows the impact this Building Performance Policy could have: previous city and state actions could result in 24% total decreases in GHG emissions; this policy could exceed that total, with a 27% decrease in building emissions in Seattle. Previous changes include residential heating oil conversions (8% decrease); Seattle commercial energy code (10% decrease); commercial building tune-ups (2% decrease); and state energy performance standards (4% decrease).

The release also notes that “The City is leading by example to decarbonize our buildings with the 62-story Seattle Municipal Tower now fully fossil fuel free – a milestone for our efforts to reduce emissions.” The November 14 update from Finance and Administrative Services notes the building was built in 1990 and serves as a worksite for more than 4,000 employees. According to the update, “In 2008, annual greenhouse gas emissions from SMT’s combined natural gas and electricity usage measured 559 metric tons of CO2– equivalent to the pollutants emitted by 120-plus gasoline-powered cars over a year.”

MOU to Expand Diversified Responses, Park Rangers, and Event Staffing

Late last week Mayor Harrell and five Councilmembers, including me, announced a proposed memorandum of agreement to expand diversified police responses, increase park ranger responsibilities, and improve police availability for event staffing. The agreement is with the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG).

This agreement allows Seattle to start making commonsense improvements to our community safety network of response, specifically broadening civilian response where the SPOG contract did not previously allow it. This agreement allows the CARE dual dispatch response team more flexibility to respond to people in mental health crisis.  The language in the MOU that “officers can clear the scene as they determine to be appropriate means that they do not need to be physically present at the scene.”  This means that if the Community Crisis Responder gets there first then SPD does not need to be physically present at the scene to clear it.

The MOU also clears the way for citywide operation of the Park Rangers, which are currently limited, by the SPOG contract, it rescinds a prior contractual geographic limitation of Park Rangers only to Downtown parks. Under Mayor Harrell and the City Council’s Park District renewal, the park ranger program was significantly expanded, with the goal of hiring 26 park rangers this year, to provide safety, activation, and support for Seattle park-goers. This is something I’ve heard strong support for from District 1 constituents.

It also adds flexibility, not otherwise permitted by the SPOG contract, to use civilians for special events when a sworn officer is not required, easing the burden on sworn officers.  With a $225 flat premium per shift while allowing any unfilled positions to be staffed by employees who are not police officers such as parking enforcement officers.

While the next Council will have much more work to do to meet our community’s demand for a diversified system of policing alternatives, this agreement serves as a solid foundation for them to build on.

The agreement is limited to these items.  It’s not the overall agreement with SPOG–that remains in the collective bargaining process.  Judge Robart, who oversees the Consent Decree, has required the City to send him “an analysis of the Tentative Agreement’s effect, if any, on SPD’s accountability and review systems and the implementation of the City’s Accountability Ordinance”:

Judge Robart’s September 7 order on the Consent Decree states,

“The court understands that collective bargaining between the City and the police unions is outside of the scope of its supervision of the Consent Decree. Nevertheless, in order to evaluate whether the City has achieved sustained compliance with those areas of the Consent Decree that remain open, it is critical for the court to understand whether and how the outcome of the collective bargaining process affects SPD’s accountability and review systems. (See 5/21/19 Order (Dkt. # 562) (finding the City partially out of compliance with the Consent Decree after the Seattle City Council’s approval of the previous version of the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the City and the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (“SPOG”)).) Accordingly, within 30 days of reaching a Tentative Agreement with SPOG regarding the 2021 renewal of the SPOG CBA, the City shall file with the court an analysis of the Tentative Agreement’s effect, if any, on SPD’s accountability and review systems and the implementation of the City’s Accountability Ordinance.”

Sound Transit Survey for West Seattle Station Planning

In case you couldn’t attend the in-person planning forum on October 25th, Sound Transit has an online survey open through December 20 on station planning. Meeting materials are also available online in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and include

Here are pages for the three West Seattle stations: Delridge Station; Avalon Station; and Alaska Junction Station.

Sound Transit’s West Seattle Link Extension page says, about what station planning includes, “Each station area would be designed to make it easy to get to the station and move through the station area while walking, rolling, or biking. This can be accomplished by locating station entrances, so they are easy to see and by providing safe biking, rolling, and walking routes to connect the station to the neighborhood. Design elements include enhancements to sidewalks, crosswalks, wayfinding, and storage for bikes and scooters.”

Sound Transit will continue to study all the station locations analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement as part of the Final EIS, which is expected to be published in mid-2024. The Sound Transit Board will make the final decision on the project to be built after the Final EIS is published.

Highland Park Way and Holden Traffic Improvements Public Art: Steller’s Jay Installation

Photo credit: Tim Durkan

Late last week SDOT completed the installation of public art on Highland Park Way SW, just south of SW Holden Street. The Steller’s jay sculpture, by artist Matthew Mazzotta, is the public art portion of the Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St Safety Improvements Project. The sculpture is titled Where’s the Party: Elevating Nature and Resilience. The title comes from the fact that a group of Steller’s jays has many collective nouns, including a “band,” a “cast,” and a “party” of jays. It was chosen by a community selection panel and administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

An art piece of this magnitude wasn’t always going to be a part of this project. In fact, there were more modest proposals considered, and at one point it looked like our budget might be splintered to meet some other arts priorities. But with a little tenacity and some focused effort from community members, we were able to preserve the full 1% art funding for this iconic gateway sculpture for the Highland Park community.

The Highland Park Community tenaciously advocated for safety improvements at the Highland Park Way and SW Holden intersection for years. I’m grateful to my fellow advocates who help to ensure investments like these are made in our community. I am proud to have played my part in making this project a reality. The new traffic signal, wider sidewalks, upgraded ADA-compliant curb ramps, and new crosswalks will make it safer and easier for us all to get around.

SDOT provided the following updates about the intersection improvements:

“This fall, we finished pouring concrete and asphalt, seeded grass in the planting strips, and painted new road markings. There are now new sidewalks, curb bulbs, and ADA accessible ramps along Highland Park Way SW between SW Holden St and SW Portland St, making this intersection safer and more accessible for people living, working, and traveling through the area.

In December or January, we will install permanent metal traffic signals and poles at the Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St intersection. You may notice there are orange barrels at the four corners of the intersection. These are protecting the exposed anchor bolts for the future poles.”

After the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, SDOT installed a temporary traffic signal at the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden Street.

Before that, however, work had begun on permanent improvements to the intersection. Funding for early planning and design was first obtained in 2017; during the 2020 budget, the Council adopted funding for a permanent signal, or a roundabout, and SDOT proceeded with a temporary signal shortly thereafter, when the bridge was closed.


Overwhelming Passage of the 2023 Housing Levy / Budget Update / Hearing Examiner Denies Impact Fees SEPA Appeal   / Resolution Passes: New Welcoming Policy for Individuals in Shelter and Receiving Services / CORRECTION on Fauntleroy Terminal Article / More Staffing News / Neighborhood Matching Fund Awards / Musician and Music Venue Survey re: Parking and Loading Needs

November 9th, 2023


Fantastic News of the Overwhelming Passage of the 2023 Housing Levy

There was a lot of election news on Tuesday, not the least of being the approval, by 66% of voters in early returns, of the $970 million Seattle Housing Levy.  That percentage will likely increase as more ballots are counted.

Earlier this year, the City Council unanimously voted to put the Housing Levy on the ballot before the voters. Council did so after a year-long process of developing the measure with community, city leaders, and civic organizations.  The specific additions I worked to include in that final measure were:

  • Targeting homeownership investments toward folks at the highest risk of displacement and those impacted by the City’s previous discriminatory practices
  • Helping residents stay in their communities by bringing affordable homes to more neighborhoods
  • Co-locating affordable commercial space with affordable homes
  • Reporting on the impacts of funding resident services
  • Establishing a formal program to preserve the affordability of homes on the Office of Housing’s existing portfolio wherever possible
  • Setting a goal for the number of affordable homes to acquire from the speculative housing market.

Approximately 16,000 people are estimated to live in levy-supported homes at any given time, a number that has grown every year, thanks to the continuous renewal of the levy, dating back to the passage of the first housing levy in 1981. The 2023 levy provides more support than any other previous housing levy to address the housing crisis in Seattle.  Here is a snapshot of the 2023 Levy deliverables:

  • 3,100 New Affordable Rental and Homeownership Homes Created
  • Housing Workforce Stabilized
  • Short-term rent assistance and housing stability services for more than 9,000 low-income households

Here is the history of the housing levy:

  • 1981 Senior Housing Bond: 297 units
  • 1986 Housing Levy: 1,818 units
  • 1995 Housing Levy:  2,632 units
  • 2002 Housing Levy:   2,459 units
  • 2009 Housing Levy:  1,850 units
  • 2016 Housing Levy: 3,100 units

If you are a senior, a veteran, disabled, or otherwise low-income and you are worried about how the Housing Levy will impact your ability to pay your income taxes, don’t forget that the King County Assessor offers several programs to reduce or defer property taxes for eligible taxpayers. In 2022, the King County Assessors’ Office reported that an estimated more than 26,000 qualified seniors and disabled persons have not applied for a property tax exemption that they would be eligible to receive and only 1 in 100 of those eligible for deferrals are enrolled.  Are you one of those people?  If so, learn more here:

Senior or disabled exemption and deferrals

Learn more about exemptions and deferrals for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and disabled veterans. This exemption program for seniors, people with disabilities, or disabled veterans is open to people who meet these basic criteria:

  • Own the home you live in
  • At least age 61 by December 31 of the preceding year or disabled
  • Max annual income of $58,423 (exemption)
  • Max annual income of $67,411 (deferral)

Limited income deferral

  • Learn more about the program to provide tax relief to property owners on a limited income. Find out how it works and how to apply. Max annual income of $57,000.

Flood and storm-damaged property relief

Learn more about property tax relief available for flood and storm-damaged property. Find out how the program works and how to qualify and apply.

Current use programs

Learn more about how the programs reduce property taxes. Get information on how to apply.

Next year these income limits for qualification will increase, see here for more:

This Week in the Budget

The Select Budget Committee did not meet this week, as Council Central Staff worked to develop formal amendments to the proposed balancing package that reflect Councilmember priorities. Early versions of those amendment concepts were presented in late October.

Next week, the Select Budget Committee is scheduled to meet from Monday through Thursday. Here is the meeting agenda.

On Monday, budget amendments will be presented, but there will be no votes. Our second public hearing on the budget is at 5 p.m. on Monday. The sign-up sheet for in-person public comment in Council Chambers in City Hall will be available at least 30 minutes before the meeting starting time. For remote public comment, the sign-up sheet will be available at 3 p.m. on the Public Comment webpage. Additional information is available on the public hearing agenda.

Votes on amendments are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

The Council’s Communications team has developed a helpful interactive budget amendment tool.

You can see the amendments are grouped into two sets:

  • The amendments in Budget Chair Mosqueda’s balancing package
  • Amendments to the balancing package

For each amendment, you can see which department it pertains to, a summary of what it does, the Councilmembers who originally sponsored it, and a link to a video where that particular amendment is discussed.

For amendments to the balancing package, you can also view the financial impact of an amendment as well as how it’s balanced.

Hearing Examiner Denies Impact Fees SEPA Appeal

On Monday the Hearing Examiner issued a decision by the Seattle Office of Hearing Examiner that supports the City’s position that the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment receive a declaration of non-significance.  This ruling will allow the city to take a small step forward in its discussion on transportation impact fees.

I am relieved that the ruling means that we are finally going to be able to have this vote. In 2017, the Council made a commitment that the City would consider including in the Comp Plan a list of priority transit, pedestrian and bike safety, and bridge projects that Seattle could consider funding with a transportation impact fee program if legislation implementing the program was adopted later. Council restated that commitment to the public by passing additional resolutions in 2020, 2021, and 2022. What has kept the Council from deliberating about this revenue tool have 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.

Here’s the statement Councilmember Pedersen and I released.

A vote on the bill is scheduled for the November 21 City Council meeting.

At the November 7 public hearing, I announced I would be bringing forward an amendment at the November 21st meeting in response to concerns raised by groups such as Seattle for Everyone, Cascade Bicycle Club, Transportation Choices, The Urbanist, and Seattle Subway.

Currently, Transportation Policy T10.7 says, “Consider use of transportation-impact fees to help fund transportation system improvements needed to serve growth.”

The current form of Council Bill 120635 replaces “Consider use of” with “Use.”

The amendment returns to the current language, to “consider use of”.

The ability to enact this amendment with the “consider use” language, and still fulfill the procedural requirement, confirms what we have been explaining.  With either language, “Consider use” or “Use,” the bill does not create any obligation to create a transportation impact fees program.  The Hearing Examiner specifically said: “Adoption of generalized policies of a comprehensive plan do not require (or even guarantee) that implementing ordinances be adopted… There is no imperative or requirement that Comprehensive Plan policies be implemented through subsequent regulations – they may, but they are not required to be.”

But as a gesture of good faith, I am offering this amendment to address the specific concerns of several stakeholders.

Another issue that has been raised is about the timing of an implementation ordinance.  It’s not unusual for Comp Plan amendments to precede implementing legislation. For example, in 2016 the Council passed a major amendment to the Comprehensive Plan with new transportation Level-of-Service (LOS) standards.  In 2019, the Council passed Ordinance 125757, which incorporated those LOS changes into relevant sections of the Seattle Municipal Code. There are also examples where Comprehensive Plan amendments are adopted concurrently with regulations, such as the recent Industrial and Maritime Lands bills. In any case, it’s a matter of preference and an area where the Council has flexibility in how to proceed.

Resolution Passes: New Welcoming Policy for Individuals in Shelter and Receiving Services

This resolution was drafted in collaboration with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA).  I thank the staff from my office, Elizabeth Cavillo Dueñas and Christena Coutsoubos.  KCRHA staff members Austin Christoffersen, Em Ishiki, and Alan Guittirez were a great help in getting this over the finish line too!

Though in 2016 the Seattle LGBTQ Commission made recommendations to then-Mayor Murray to address these issues, the credit for my taking action goes to Gunner Scott, a former Seattle LGBTQIA+ Commissioner and District 1 constituent.  He contacted me in 2018, calling for me to develop policies to require all shelters to follow the same practices and protocols in creating a welcoming, respectful, and safe space for LGBTQIA+ people experiencing homelessness and a space where they can be open about their identities.

After Gunner’s advocacy, I worked with Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) to begin to develop guidelines for homeless service provision to the LGBTQIA+ community.  This led to HSD contracting with Seattle’s Ingersoll Gender Center to develop recommendations and a report that also named the fact that in Seattle, “transgender women of color are profiled as predatory and fraudulent in how they present their gender identity when accessing shelter services or when being denied housing.”

HSD created an Action Plan to implement these recommendations, but due to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and the transfer of the HSD’s homelessness investments to the KCRHA, the Action Plan was never implemented.  Happily, I am a KCRHA Governing Board member and thus had the opportunity to pick up this work in that role.

This resolution aims to ensure that all clients can be served in an equitable and dignified manner by:

  • Establishing standards of inclusivity as relates to names, titles, and pronouns
  • Use of Inclusive language
  • Signage with anti-harassment expectations and guidelines in common areas
  • Requiring professionalism and staff conduct
  • Creating an obligation of confidentiality and privacy
  • Requiring equal access to gender-affirming facilities, programs, and services.

The resolution also includes a commitment by the KCRHA to ensure accountability and compliance by providing training and support to its funded nonprofit providers to support with their implementation of this Resolution. The resolution lays the ground for further work by including descriptions of the next steps that the KCRHA will take to support the implementation of this Welcoming Resolution.

Community stakeholders who contributed to the content of the resolution included members of the Gender Justice League, POCAAN, Utopia WA, Queer the Land, Trans WOC Solidarity Network, New Horizons, and more.

A 2015 study by the National Center for Transgender Equity also found that one in four Black transgender people “avoided staying in a shelter because they feared being mistreated.”

Several other jurisdictions already have Welcoming Policies for LGBTQIA+ clients including, New York City and the state of Massachusetts.

CORRECTION on Fauntleroy Terminal Article

Last week’s article about the Fauntleroy Terminal didn’t transfer accurately from the draft to the published version. Only the first sentence of this paragraph below was included:

“On the other hand, I have some concerns.  In the meeting I asked the question of whether the “no action” alternative could include the traffic management options requested by the community, such as use of Good to Go passes and advance ticketing.  The response was that a no action alternative could not include these elements.”

An updated version with the correct text is available here:

More Staffing News

As I get closer to the end of my term, another staff member has taken a new step forward in their public service.  Sonny Nguyen has left Team Herbold as of this week, but they haven’t gone far.  Sonny will be working in the Department of Neighborhoods in community engagement. I wanted to let you, constituents of District 1 and other City of Seattle residents, know this news because many of you have received Sonny’s indispensable help during the past year.

Sonny has aided the constituents of District 1 with kindness and determination. Perhaps you have received help from Sonny with a complaint against your employer for violating a labor law, to address a public safety issue, to get help as a tenant having a problem with a landlord, or to get help addressing a code violation or zoning issue in your neighborhood.  Sonny’s constituent services portfolio was broad and the assistance they have provided District 1 residents has been appreciated by all!

On the policy side, please also join me in recognizing Sonny for the many policy accomplishments that would not have been possible without their work to learn the Seattle City Council legislative process, collaborating with community stakeholders, and building relationships within City Hall.  Here are some of their projects in my office:

Neighborhood Matching Fund Awards

The Department of Neighborhoods has awarded $950,533 to support 23 community-initiated projects through the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF). Here are District 1 projects that were granted funding:

$46,000 to Senior Center of West Seattle for Center for Aging Well to expand offerings and programming within their current building in the Alaska Junction and expand services to Delridge, Arbor Heights, Morgan Junction, and Roxbury. The funding will also help with re-branding efforts by hiring a communications consultant and graphic designer to help with a name change, new website, and creation of a mural on the exterior of their Senior Center building. (Community match: $23,055)

$44,930 to Morgan Junction All Wheels Association for Morgan Junction All Wheels Area Feasibility Study to assess the possibility of adding a free, public all-wheels terrain at the Morgan Junction Park. (Community match: $24,900)

Musician and Music Venue Survey re: Parking and Loading Needs

SDOT has announced a survey seeking feedback from musicians and music venues about potential solutions to improving parking and loading near music venues. Here are the links to the survey, which takes about 5 minutes:

In 2014 the City implemented a pilot project at five music venues.

Additional information is in this update.


Public Hearing on Transportation Impact Fee Comprehensive Plan Amendment / Little Saigon Public Safety Meeting / SPD Implements New Policy Regulating Ruses / Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Replacement Planning Update, SEPA Delayed Until 2025 / SDOT Releases Climate Change Response Framework / SDOT Completes Cylinder Installation on Spokane Street (low) Bridge / New Marion Street Waterfront Pedestrian Bridge Opens November 6

November 3rd, 2023


Public Hearing on Transportation Impact Fee Comprehensive Plan Amendment

On Tuesday, November 7th, the City Council will hold a hearing on Council Bill 120635, which would amend the transportation element of the Comprehensive Plan to allow for transportation impact fees if the Council created such a program in the future. The bill would not establish a transportation impact fee program. Any proposal to create an impact fee program would need to be a separate, future action.

The public hearing is scheduled for the November 7 City Council meeting. The remote Public Comment link (sign up here) will become active two hours before the 2 p.m. meeting on the 7th. In-person testimony will also be taken.  The hearing Notice is at this link.

Background is available at the City Council’s Impact Fees webpage, and my September 15th and September 8th newsletters.

A vote is scheduled for November 21st, depending on the resolution of an appeal before the Hearing Examiner.

To clarify the point that the Comprehensive Plan change does not establish a transportation impact fee program, Councilmember Pedersen and I plan to bring forward an amendment to CB 120635 that would re-insert the word “consider,” so that the Transportation Element reads “Consider use of transportation impact fees” instead of the current proposal that reads “Use transportation impact fees.”

Little Saigon Public Safety Meeting

This Wednesday, I attended a public safety meeting hosted by Friends of Little Saigon to discuss concerns from neighborhood businesses and residents. I was joined by West Precinct Captain Steven Strand, the Mayor’s Public Safety Advisor Cindy Wong, SPD Crime Prevention Coordinator Barb Biando, Chinatown- International District (CID) Public Safety Advisor Monica Le, and Clean City Initiative Advisor Tom Van Bronkhorst.

Last year, my Public Safety and Human Services committee hosted a Neighborhood Business Districts Public Safety Presentation, where Quynh Pham (Friends of Little Saigon) and Monisha Singh (CID BIA) were among the presenters.  This week’s meeting in the CID was another opportunity to hear from small business owners about their ongoing concerns about public safety in the area.  I was able to share with these business owners the work that the Council is doing to benefit the CID in the budget process.  Here are some examples.

  • Funds to support the revival of the CID night market and activation
  • $500k for expanded cleaning services in the CID
  • Maintaining CID historic alleys as activated spaces to support pedestrian use and more visibility and safety with Seattle Public Utilities evaluation of the Clear Alleys Program in the CID and alternative waste removal solutions.
  • King County Metro Transit Ambassadors on Metro buses that pass through downtown Seattle, to respond to people in crisis.
  • Evaluation of how to increase 911 staffing levels by 30 percent to reduce call wait and response times.
  • Additional funding for programming to address gun violence in our communities

As a result of the Council’s previous CID Public Safety Work and following the tragic death of public safety advocate Donnie Chin, Council added funding to implement the CID Public Safety Taskforce Recommendations submitted to Council in 2016.   These funds were first approved in 2017 to hire the CID Public Safety Coordinator, a model that would later be replicated in neighborhoods across the City, including South Park in District 1. Last year the Council added budget funding for behavioral health outreach in the CID, funding two outreach staff specializing in behavioral health support by way of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.

SPD officers have been doing a focused education campaign in Little Saigon related to buying and selling stolen merchandise.  Participants in Wednesday’s meeting were also encouraged to sign up for SPD’s Trespass Program.  Another great resource to sign up for is Smart 911.  Once you’ve signed up for Smart911, first responders will be aware of important information you have provided that will help Police, Fire, and EMS locate and help you in an emergency.  This can be especially helpful for people with limited English language proficiency because it ensures faster transfer to a 911 operator with translation skills.

SPD will soon implement a new online reporting system (hopefully in the next few weeks). SPD has given us a commitment that it will finally add in-language capabilities to this system next year, where their current system has been in place for years, only in English.

SPD Implements New Policy Regulating Ruses

The Seattle Police Department has adopted a policy on ruses, the first of its kind in the country. The Ruse Policy went into effect on November 1.

In early 2022, I stood with Mayor Harrell to call for the creation of a first-in-the-nation ruse policy following not only the Proud Boys ruse but also an especially egregious incident several years ago, and the OPA recommendations that resulted. When the OPA (Office of Police Accountability) makes a policy recommendation, SPD has the responsibility to consider the recommendation and implement it. This is one measure of a responsive accountability system.  I thank Converge Media as well; it is their questions that resulted in the OPA launching an investigation when OPA couldn’t identify body camera video from the officers who had claimed to be tracking the Proud Boys.”

I thank the Mayor’s Office, Seattle Police Department, and Inspector General for their work to develop this policy.  The Office of Police Accountability released the investigation that provided the impetus for this policy.

The SPD Policy begins with,

“The public expects law enforcement officers to be truthful and transparent in their interactions with the community they serve. The community also rightfully expects their law enforcement officers to fulfill law enforcement objectives in a manner that promotes the safety of all involved.

This policy recognizes that patrol ruses may serve an important role in mitigating the inherent risk in some activities and may promote a vital community safety interest, while at the same time recognizing that any act of deception, regardless of intent, when improper, may detrimentally impact the public’s trust in the department and may undermine law enforcement efforts.”

The Mayor’s press release is copied below.

Seattle – Today, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced the implementation of the nation’s first policy governing the use of police patrol ruses. This policy, developed by the Seattle Police Department (SPD), was informed by a robust stakeholder process led by Seattle’s Office of Inspector General for Public Safety (OIG). Mayor Harrell directed SPD to develop a new policy governing the use of ruses after cases in 2018 and 2020 undermined public trust and confidence.

“Effective public safety requires community buy-in, and this new policy is an important step to build understanding with the public, demonstrating that for SPD operations to be successful, they must be paired with a commitment to unbiased, constitutional policing,” said Mayor Harrell. “This innovative new policy will lead to better police work thanks to the voices of many, including the media who brought attention to this tactic, community members who called for guidelines to match our values, and Seattle accountability and police leaders who developed a plan to make that vision real.”

Under existing laws, officers are permitted to use a ruse – a statement an officer knows is not true – in limited circumstances. High profile cases in 2018 and 2020 that undermined public trust led elected and community leaders to call into question the lack of specific guidance on when ruses could be used and to what extent.

“I stood with Mayor Harrell to call for the creation of a first-in-the-nation ruse policy following not only the Proud Boys ruse but also an especially egregious incident several years ago, and the OPA recommendations that resulted,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park). “When the OPA makes a policy recommendation, SPD has the responsibility to consider the recommendation and implement it. This is one measure of a responsive accountability system.  I thank Converge Media as well; it is their questions that resulted in the OPA launching an investigation when OPA couldn’t identify body camera video from the officers who had claimed to be tracking the Proud Boys.”

The Ruse Policy recognizes that while this tactic may be necessary in specific situations to support public safety, the need and conditions for its use should be strongly and clearly defined. The new ruse policy sets substantial guardrails around the use of ruses, limiting the use by patrol officers to five scenarios.

The policy defines appropriate uses of ruses for de-escalation and investigation, while also creating clear accountability through requirements for documentation, supervisor approval, and protections for juveniles. The policy prohibits ruses broadcast via mass media or false promises regarding prosecution, as well those that plainly “shock the conscience.”

“The Seattle Police department engaged in an in-depth review on the use of ruses, facilitated by the Office of the Inspector General,” said Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. “This first-in-nation policy balances the legitimate use of deception, especially for de-escalation and the safety of all persons, with supervision, documentation, and clear prohibition of ruses that compromise public trust.”

Significant input informing the policy’s development was generated through series of roundtable discussions with accountability experts and law enforcement stakeholders led by OIG, the City office charged with independent civilian oversight of police policies and practices. Additional insight supporting policy development came from the OIG Sentinel Event Review that examined SPD’s response to protests in 2020 – a response which included the use of a ruse.

Based on research in the policy development process and discussions with the Major Cities Chiefs Association, this is the first such city policy on patrol ruses in the United States, continuing Seattle’s long tradition of public safety innovation rooted in accountability and a commitment to building public confidence.

“It is gratifying to have a first of its kind policy addressing the use of deception by patrol officers. This policy is the culmination of a collaborative effort between SPD, OIG, and a variety of stakeholders who came together to discuss complex issues around community trust and the use of ruses and deception by police,” said Inspector General for Public Safety Lisa Judge. “I am grateful to ACLU Washington, Innocence Project, the Public Defender Association, the Community Police Commission, the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, who, among other stakeholders, joined OIG and SPD to develop recommendations that informed this policy. We acknowledge that more work must be done in the arena of using deception in investigations and interrogations, but this is a big first step forward in providing guidance and guardrails around using ruses – a particular concern raised by the Seattle community.”

The policy will continue to be evaluated and refined based on the now required documentation and new data. The policy also provides an objective standard by which officers’ conduct can be evaluated, creating a framework to hold them accountable when violations occur.

Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Replacement Planning Update, SEPA Delayed Until 2025

The Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Executive Advisory Committee, of which I am a member, met on October 18th.  The Community Advisory Committee met on the 25th.

The biggest news is that it will take about a year and a half longer to begin formal environmental review. SEPA and NEPA environmental analysis required under state and federal law are now scheduled to begin in 2025. Previously, the Planning & Environmental linkages (PEL) planning study was planned to end around now, identifying different alternatives to study in SEPA and NEPA.

The additional time is for a few key reasons. First, the approach to begin SEPA and NEPA around now did not include identification of a preferred alternative. The new timeline will include one preferred alternative and one no action alternative, as required by the Federal Transit Administration. In addition, this will allow for additional study and development of alternatives, including for use of Good to Go passes used for tolls (e.g. the SR99 tunnel) and advance ticketing, as proposed by community members.

On one hand, I’m glad the additional time will allow for more serious consideration of the community options. On the other hand, I have some concerns.  In the meeting I asked the question of whether the “no action” alternative could include the traffic management options requested by the community, such as use of Good to Go passes and advance ticketing.  The response was that a no action alternative could not include these elements.

I have this concern because all the options are at least 18 feet wider, and some of the options that include the current vehicle capacity include a slightly longer dock.

The SEPA/NEPA review is scheduled for 2025 through 2027.

There are several potential options includes in Level 3 of the PEL study, based on two overarching concepts: 1) maintaining the current vehicle capacity of the terminal, and 2) expanding vehicle capacity.  It’s important to limit the impact on the community; most ferry terminals are not in residential neighborhoods. 

Another new feature of the options is that they include changes to the intersection adjacent to the terminal, though details aren’t yet available.

Option A includes a dock with four lanes, and capacity for 76 vehicles, with 110 spaces on Fauntleroy Way. The dock would be 8-feet shorter than the current dock, and 18 feet wider.

Alternatives A-1, A-2 and A-3 match the existing capacity of 84 vehicles. A-2 adds use of Good to Go; A-3 adds advance ticketing. All three include a dock that is 41 feet longer than the current dock. Options A, A-1, A-2 and A-3 are 18 feet wider than the current dock; the report states this is to provide space for a large truck to turn onto the dock.

Alternative B is a longer and larger dock, with 124 vehicles, with capacity for 62 on Fauntleroy Way, and four lanes. It is 18 feet wider, and 100 feet longer than options A-1, A-2, and A-3.

B-1 has capacity for 155 vehicles, and five lanes. It is 27 feet wider than the current dock.

B-2 has four full lanes, and two partial lanes, with the same 155 vehicle capacity, with 31 spaces on Fauntleroy Way. It is 250 feet longer than the existing dock, and 36 feet wider.

B-3 has capacity for 124 vehicles, with three lanes, and two partial lanes. It is 226 feet longer than the current dock, and 36 feet wider.

Alternative C includes capacity for 186 vehicles, with five 620’ and two 300’ feet holding lanes, and no space on Fauntleroy Way. It is 240 feet longer and 45 feet wider than the existing dock.

Here’s a link to the WSDOT Summary of Level 3 Alternatives, with additional details. Here’s a link to the slides shared at the Community Advisory Group meeting.

SDOT Releases Climate Change Response Framework

In October SDOT released its Climate Change response framework to reduce transportation emissions.

Here’s the Climate Response website. SDOT’s announcement is here. The framework includes 27 strategies across 6 categories.

60% of GHG emissions in Seattle come from transportation.

SDOT Completes Cylinder Installation on Spokane Street (low) Bridge

SDOT provided an update about the successful reinstallation of the turn cylinder on the Spokane Street (low) Bridge. They completed this work earlier in October.

Turn cylinders push and pull on the lift cylinder to rotate the bridge span, allowing it to open and close. Additional information, including about forthcoming work in 2024, and several informative photos, are available at SDOT’s update.

The new seals and wearing band on the turn cylinder’s newly machined piston are critical to keeping the pressurized system working. Photo credit: SDOT.

New Marion Street Waterfront Pedestrian Bridge Opens November 6

A new pedestrian bridge over Alaskan Way on the Downtown waterfront will open on Monday, November 6. The project is a partnership between the City and WSDOT.

The new permanent bridge, at Marion Street, offers a direct connection between First Avenue and the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal, with ferry service to Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. The former bridge carried an estimated 5 million people per year before the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in 2019. The new bridge is made of cast-in-place concrete and is post-tensioned to span over Alaskan Way without the need for any median supports.

Additional details are available on the SDOT blog update, and the Office of the Waterfront Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge project page.

Photo credit: Tim Rice



CARE Responder Team Launch / This Week in the Budget / Homestead Partnership with Admiral Church Announcement! / Family Caregiver Support Month / Pickleball in Lincoln Park

October 27th, 2023


CARE Responder Team Launch

Seattle is working to build a compassionate, evidence-based, and forward-thinking city. On Wednesday, we celebrated Seattle’s new civilian response team as they provide crisis response services that will help us redefine what public safety looks like.

For years, Seattle has asked how we build data-informed responses to behavioral health crises beyond the criminal justice system and for years, Seattle has convened work groups and community forums, conducted research and site visits, and built towards this program. As Public Safety and Human Services Committee Chair, I sponsored Ordinance 126233 in 2020, creating the Community Safety and Communications Center, which is becoming the Community Assisted Response and Engagement (CARE) Department. During the civil rights uprising of that year, it became a priority of mine to have a diversified response within our public safety continuum.

The CARE response team features behavioral health specialists with field experience in crisis response. The team completed rigorous and innovative training developed by industry experts, SPD, SFD, and the Washington Co-Responder Outreach Alliance, among others. Their training covered mental health services, Narcan administration, crisis prevention and de-escalation, and first aid.

By expanding our 911 response to include these qualified community responders, we will be freeing up police officers to respond to the emergencies that only they can address, reducing response times and increasing efficiency in our police department.

I am proud of the work our city has accomplished and am confident that the CARE team, under the direction of Chief Amy Smith, will support our residents in crisis and benefit all of Seattle.

For more information on this team and how we got here, please see earlier blog posts.

Photo credit to Deb Barker

This Week in the Budget

This week, Council submitted our proposals for amendments to the Budget Chair’s balancing package for development and inclusion in the budget. As shared last week, Budget Chair Mosqueda generously included many of my priorities in her Chair’s balancing package.

Because so many of my priorities were already included in the Chair’s balancing package, all but three of my proposals (below) at this stage, are requests for reports or studies.  Over the next two weeks, these amendments will be fleshed out further and may receive their own amendments to adapt and refine legislation before going to a vote.

As this newsletter is getting sent out, I will be in an all-day Budget Committee Meeting as my fellow Councilmembers and I begin to discuss and consider the amendments brought forward by our colleagues.

Here are some of the amendments I have proposed:

  • A request for Community Safety and Communication Center (CSCC), proposed by Mayor Harrell be renamed as CARE, to provide recommendations to meet an identified need to increase staffing by 30% to improve call times and reduce mandatory overtime to address staff morale, including any budget and legislative actions needed to accomplish a staffing increase;
  • A request for CSCC and the Human Services Department to report on their analyses of gun violence prevention and gun violence response services provided by the City and King County to identify complementary, duplicative, or missing services;
  • Funding for support programming, as recommended by the Domestic Violence Community-Based Responses working group to support organizations that work with DV survivors and families and that promote approaches other than criminalization for those who harm;
  • A request that HSD provide a report on how it will implement requirements in the proposed wage equity legislation regarding provider pay increases, and how it will incorporate wage equity considerations into its competitive funding process; and
  • Request that HSD, SPD, and LEAD determine how much incremental funding would be needed to fund diversion contracts and provide a timeline for integrating the LEAD database with the City’s systems. The Mayor’s proposed 2024 budget fully funds LEAD at the levels in the Council’s 2024 endorsed budget, but to address the additional capacity to support projected increased referral volume to LEAD created by Ord 126896, I am requesting that the City report on incremental LEAD funding needed to meet that need. Further, this SLI would direct the efforts to improve collaborative use of the LEAD database funded in a prior year as a result of former Councilmember Bagshaw’s sponsorship.
  • Adding funding to the Office of the Inspector General for external independent investigative entities to handle conflict of interest cases, such as investigations against the Chief of Police when necessary.
  • Add funding for a Deputy Director position in the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) This is a filled position and is currently funded using salary savings from other positions that are in the process of being filled.

We’ll have another Budget Public Hearing on November 13, at 5 pm.  To learn more about the budget process, see here:

Homestead Partnership with Admiral Church Announcement!

In October 2019, I attended a community meeting hosted by Admiral Church to talk about how the congregation could move forward to realize their vision to use their underutilized land to support the community members with affordable housing needs.

This week, Homestead Community Land Trust and Admiral United Congregational Church met with community to share their announcement that they are moving forward to develop permanent affordable homeownership on the church’s land.  The land trust model creates generational wealth for its owners and Homestead is committed to partnering with Admiral UCC and the surrounding community in developing these new homes.  Legislation passed by the Council in 2021 provides a density bonus to religious institutions that are developing affordable housing on their land.  This memo provides an explanation and background; you can read the legislation itself and additional materials here.

The opportunity to add density to a neighborhood without removing any existing housing is an exciting one.

Affordable housing is the foundation for building an inclusive, diverse community whereby people from all backgrounds can have access to opportunities the City has to offer. For me, affordable housing made it possible for me as a single parent to afford to meet the needs of my child. Affordable housing can make it possible for our diverse families to thrive in a city where they make work, a young person to have an opportunity to pursue a career or their education, and allows an older person to age in place.

I’m thankful the Admiral Church is so generously investing its resources in their community.

I am also grateful for the kind recognition I received for the small role I played in facilitating this partnership.  In addition to the legislation referenced above, I also reached out to several affordable housing providers when the church was looking for a way to develop its property.  One of the most gratifying parts of my job has been connecting people with a shared vision to help them realize their goals.  I’m just thrilled that in this instance, Homestead was a match!

Family Caregiver Support Month

This Tuesday, I asked my Council colleagues for their signatures on a proclamation declaring November to be Family Caregiver Support Month in Seattle. This proclamation was drafted by the Human Services Department with the mayor concurring.

In Washington, there are an estimated 850,000 unpaid caregivers at the heart of our long-term care system who dedicate themselves to the physical, emotional, and practical needs of individuals aged 18 or older.

Caregivers often face many challenges, including mental, emotional, and financial challenges. Unpaid caregivers frequently encounter financial strains due to lost wages and the complexities of finding dependable respite care and essential support services.

This proclamation commends family caregivers for their resilience and dedication. It also recognizes that the work of family caregivers allows our community members to live with dignity and compassion.

This proclamation will be received at the African American Caregivers Forum.

Pickleball in Lincoln Park

This week, I counted receiving over 1,300 emails about the installation of pickleball in Lincoln Park. On Friday, October 27, I sent the following letter to Superintendent Diaz, ensuring your concerns are being heard by Seattle Parks and Recreation. Be sure to stay tuned to subsequent newsletters for updates as this conversation progresses. 

Dear Superintendent Diaz, 

I am writing today about the installation of the pickleball court at Lincoln Court.  I have shared with hundreds of constituents the Seattle Parks and Recreation position that impacts to wildlife will not increase and may be reduced as relates to emissions.  I have told my constituents, as you have: 

The…”site has been used as a storage facility for the maintenance crews that service all West Seattle’s parks. Meaning that several times a day, vehicles and large trucks are pulling into this site to load and unload equipment and materials. When this site becomes a pickleball court, SPR will consolidate our maintenance facilities into one location in a different part of Lincoln Park.  

In our view, any disturbance to wildlife the pickleball court will bring will be equivalent, and potentially lessened as we are removing vehicle emissions from this location.” 

Similarly, the Associated Recreational Council (ARC) wrote:   

Lincoln Park was considered as a potential location for dedicated courts through work with a consultant and community engagement in SPR’s 2020-2021 Outdoor Pickleball Plan. The plan offsets an additional active use to Lincoln Park by relocating the SPR grounds storage facility to the crew headquarter location. This will remove trucks, along with their emissions and traffic, driving in and out of this actively used part of the park.  

The public response I have received has been overwhelming.  I have received about 1,300 emails strenuously objecting to this characterization of this installation as not having wildlife impacts.    

I have also received several requests for “an official SPR plan or study.” Seattle Parks and Recreation, similarly to the ARC, has referred to this document, saying:  “Through work with a consultant and community engagement, Lincoln Park was considered as a potential location for dedicated courts in SPR’s 2020-2021 Outdoor Pickleball Plan.”   Yet, my quick perusal of the documents linked within the above link suggests that Lincoln Park as a location was first discussed at the May 25, 2022 open house. It appears that this was a citywide meeting.  Lincoln Park appears to have been identified in a “break out session.  I would like to know how many people were in attendance in the Southwest breakout session. Is there a specific “Lincoln Plan” that informed the discussion in the breakout session?  Or was Lincoln Park identified in more of a “spit-balling”  exercise?  No one denies that Lincoln Park was put on a list, but no one seems to understand how it got on the list. 

I understand the analysis and position that no SEPA analysis is needed.  But meeting with community members who are pleading to be heard is the least we can do.  I have joined Bird Connect on birding tours in Lincoln Park.  I appreciate how vulnerable wildlife is there.  Birds Connect Seattle reports that: 

“More than 160 species of birds have been reported at Lincoln Park. That’s approximately 64% of all bird species that occur in Seattle from a park that represents just 0.25% of our land area.” 

A constituent also reports that “ sustained, repetitive noise will disrupt this well-established ecosystem function by marginalizing wildlife and pushing them further out to areas that don’t have as much available prey, as well as pushing prey species out.”  Why is it that we do not believe that this will occur? 

I have also read the concern the plan in in contravention to the Public Involvement Policy for Parks Planning Processes and for Proposals to Acquire Property, Initiate Funded Capital Projects, or Make Changes to a Park or Facility.  Can you comment whether you believe that to be the case?  Some may remember that this policy was updated in 2002 on the request of former City Councilmember Nick Licata in response to a public outcry related to another Praks project, the Queen Anne Bowl. 

Please consider hosting a meeting to hear the concerns.  If you do, I will join you.   I look forward to your response, as well as answers to these questions: 

  1. How many people were in attendance in the Southwest breakout session? 
  2. Is there a specific “Lincoln Plan” that informed the discussion in the breakout session?
  3. Why is it that we do not believe that sustained, repetitive work will impact wildlife (are there studies)?
  4. Is DPR proceeding in a way that is consistent with the Parks Involvement Policy linked above?
  5. Will DPD meet with the public to discuss the plan? 

Thank you for your kind consideration of my request and questions.  Thank you as well for all you do to support our precious parks system and all of us who use them. 


Lisa Herbold
District 1 Councilmember, Public Safety and Human Services Committee Chair


This Week in the Budget // Time to Vote for Participatory Budgeting Projects // Domestic Violence Awareness Proclamation for October

October 20th, 2023


This Week in the Budget

Several of my priorities were included in Budget Chair Mosqueda’s Balanced Budget package, announced today.  I appreciate working with her on our common priorities.

At the Select Budget Committee on Friday the 20th  Budget Chair Mosqueda released the Chair’s 2024 Balancing Package that will serve as the baseline for any amendments. Here’s a presentation, and the details and a summary of key investments.

My recommendations, supported by Budget Chair Mosqueda’s Balanced Budget package include:

The Chair’s 2024 Mid-Biennium Balancing Package prioritizes accountability, sustainability, and equity by maintaining the City’s focus on investing in our most vulnerable, rejecting austerity, and ensuring vital JumpStart revenue is targeted at growing the health of our economy and community through housing, economic resilience, Green New Deal and equitable development. This package maintains and builds upon the adopted 2023-2024 biennial budget that prioritizes keeping our community cared for & housed, connected & resilient, and healthy & safe.

The Council met this week as the Select Budget Committee to consider the 2024 City of Seattle budget, including a series of briefings on JumpStart Outcomes across several areas.

DESC and SEIU Report on Workforce Wages

Presentation – JumpStart Seattle (added; 10/16/23)

Presentation – Plymouth Housing and JumpStart (added; 10/16/23)

Presentation – DESC-SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW Labor-Management Partnership (added; 10/16/23)

Presentation – Four Amigos Beloved Community (added; 10/16/23)

Presentation – Green New Deal 2024 Proposed Budget (added; 10/16/23)

Presentation – Housing Development Consortium (added; 10/16/23)

On Wednesday the 18th, the Select Budget Committee also held the first public hearing on the 2024 budget; the second hearing will be on Monday, November 13th at 5 p.m.

Councilmember amendments to the balancing package are due by noon on Tuesday the 24th. The amendments will be presented in the Select Budget Committee on Friday the 27th.

Amendments must be self-balancing, so any new spending must be balanced by a corresponding reduction. Amendments with two co-sponsors will be developed by Council Central Staff and presented on the 27th. Due to the short timeline, amendments without co-sponsors will be shared at the meeting, and if two Councilmember raise their hands, Central Staff will develop the amendment.

Amendments are scheduled for votes at committee meetings from November 13th to 15th.

Time to Vote for Participatory Budgeting Projects

The community-driven investments the the Seattle CIty Council made following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent racial reckoning in 2020 are coming to you!  You can help decide which community developed proposals will secure support to qualify for the available $27.25 million investment.  After a community engagement process to bring about potential investments, voting on participatory budgeting proposals is now live through November 12, 2023, investing $27.25 million back into our neighborhoods.

Voting is both available online at and at in-person events through November 12th. You can vote on 18 proposals addressing 5 investment areas: Mental Health, Crisis & Wellness, Housing & Physical Space, Economic Development, and Youth & Children. To qualify to vote, community members must live, work, or play in Seattle and be at least 15 years old.

Use this link to vote:

Domestic Violence Awareness Proclamation for October

Last week the Council issued a proclamation that I sponsored declaring October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Seattle.

As this proclamation notes, domestic violence is truly a public health issue with long term negative effects on both physical health, mortality, and mental health that can negatively affect child and youth development.

I’d like to share for the viewing public that a call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) or local King County DV Hopeline (206-737-0242) can help put a person on a path to safety. If you are worried about someone in your life, the most important thing you can do is listen, tell them you believe them, and offer to support them in whatever way they need.

I’d also like to recognize that the City invests in strategies to prevent, intervene, and hold offenders accountable while promoting healing, services, and community support for those impacted by domestic violence by partnering with more than 35 organizations to provide services to more than 10,000 survivors and their families each year.

I appreciate that our City remains committed to supporting survivors.


This Week in the Budget // City Council Meeting Update // Earthquake Safety // Seattle Home Fair // Before the Badge Community-Police Dialogue // Sound Transit October 25 planning meeting at Alki Masonic Center

October 13th, 2023


This Week in the Budget

The Select Budget Committee met for three days this week for Issue Identification presentations on select departments. Council Central Staff presented an analysis of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, and identified policy issues for the Council to consider. The presentations and memos are below.

Wednesday, October 11

Thursday, October 12

Friday, October 13

Next week the Select Budget Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, October 16th at 10 a.m.; hold the first public hearing on the 2024 budget on Wednesday, October 18th at 5:00 p.m.; and meet on Friday, October 20th at 11 a.m. At the meeting on the 20th, it is anticipated that the Chair will present a balancing package.

For the public hearing, the sign-up sheet for in-person public comment in Council Chambers in City Hall will be available at least 30 minutes prior to the meeting starting time. For remote public comment, the sign-up sheet will be available at 3 p.m. on the Public Comment webpage. Additional information is available on the public hearing agenda.

The Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts will release the October revenue forecast on Tuesday, October 17th. The Mayor’s Proposed Budget is based on the August forecast.

The deadline for Councilmembers to propose amendments is noon on Tuesday, October 24th. Amendments must be self-balancing (any additional proposed spending must be balanced by an equal proposed reduction).

You can view meeting agendas at the City Council Committees and Agendas page.

City Council Meeting Update

On Tuesday the City Council approved a Council Bill funding two substance disorder facilities as well as voting to approve two resolutions I sponsored.  One resolution related to Seattle Police Management Association (SPM) bargaining, the other was about new Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Standards. The Council also voted to schedule a hearing to amend the Comp Plan to include Transportation impact fee related policies.

Two Substance Disorder Facilities Funded – Council Bill 120669 provided the Human Service Department (HSD) with the appropriation authority needed to expend $7 million on facilities for post-overdose and other substance abuse care.

One facility will be a post-overdose recovery center for individuals who have experienced an overdose, or any medical emergency related to substance use. This facility will provide medical stabilization for individuals in need of these services for up to 23 hours.

The second facility is an outpatient treatment center for individuals with opioid use disorder and/or other drug dependencies that will offer low-barrier access

HSD updated its 2023 Notice of Funding Availability last month to reflect the new funding and the process to select a provider is anticipated to begin later this month with a contract start date in 2024.

SPMA Bargaining – The Council adopted Resolution 32112 to affirm the City’s good faith intent to consider public recommendations and recommendations from the City’s three police oversight agencies in developing the bargaining objectives for the next Seattle Police Management Association contract negotiations. Background on the resolution is available in the September 26 Public Safety Committee summary.

Unreinforced Masonry Resolution – Council voted to adopt Resolution 32111to recognize the new URM Retrofit Technical Standard as an acceptable standard in future legislation to create a voluntary retrofit program.  This step will help to promote voluntary seismic retrofits before mandatory standards are legislated to go into effect.

Transportation Impact Fee hearing –The Council voted to amend the Introduction and Referral Calendar to schedule a public hearing on Council Bill 120635 at the City Council meeting on November 7th. A public hearing must take place before Council can vote on the bill; a vote could take place November 21st.

Council Bill 120635 would amend the transportation element of the Comprehensive Plan to allow for transportation impact fees if the Council created such a program in the future. The bill would not establish a transportation impact fee program. Any proposal to create an impact fee program would need to be a separate, future action.  As noted in a committee presentation in March, low-income housing and early learning facilities could be exempted; some jurisdictions exempt accessory dwelling units.

Earthquake Safety

This past Sunday, at 7:21 PM, many in Seattle felt a small earthquake originating just south of Port Townsend. ShakeAlert and other automated earthquake warning systems did not send notifications as this quake did not reach the minimum magnitude 4.5 threshold for their alert systems. This weekend’s earthquake registered at a magnitude of 4.3.

Though small and with no significant damage and no injuries reported, I know this earthquake has made many Seattle residents nervous. Though we cannot prevent earthquakes, we can prepare for them.

Last month, I wrote about available emergency management training resources from the Office of Emergency Management. That post includes online videos and opportunities to attend and even request in-person trainings to develop disaster management and response skills.

In preparation of disasters, Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management has worked with community members to develop 135 Community Emergency Hubs across the city. These hubs are places where people can gather to offer resources and support after a disaster emergency. You can find your nearest hub on this map, and make a note in your emergency preparedness kit.

It also just so happens that October is the WA Great ShakeOut Month. On October 19, at 10:19 AM, organizations and individuals across Washington will participate in the largest earthquake drill ever.  You can register your household, workplace, or yourself at the Great ShakeOut website. Participants will be practicing what disaster preparedness experts agree is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes – “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”

  • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees to protect yourself and reduce your chances of being knocked over or struck by falling or flying objects.
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If you’re able to crawl under a sturdy shelter like a desk or table, do so. If not, crawl over to position yourself next to a wall. In either case, stay on your knees and bend over to protect vital organs.
  • HOLD ON to the shelter you’re under with your other hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts. If no shelter is available, use both arms and hands to protect your neck and head.

Finally, once again, remember to sign up for emergency alerts via AlertSeattle.

Seattle Home Fair

On Saturday, October 21, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections will be hosting an in-person Seattle Home Fair at the Filipino Community Center (5470 Martin Luther King Jr Way S).  Homeowners, landlords, renters, and potential homeowners are all invited to attend to learn more about permitting processes, inspections, code requirements, and rental housing rules.

SDCI staff will be available to answer questions as well as hosting three presentations throughout the day:

  • Learn about ADUs and DADUs
  • An Overview of Seattle’s Tree Regulations
  • Renting in Seattle Q&A.

SDCI will also be offering virtual lectures tomorrow, October 14 via a virtual Home Fair. The schedule for those lectures is below:


  • New Tree Protection Code Information and Tree Regulations
  • Renting in Seattle


  • Building Codes, Electrical Codes, and Inspections
  • Earthquake Home Retrofits


  • Landslides
  • Tips and Tricks Regarding the Seattle Services Portal

You can sign up at Seattle Home Fair – SDCI | to participate in these virtual sessions. SDCI will also offer recordings of these lectures available at this website in following weeks.

Before the Badge Community-Police Dialogue

SPD’s next round of Before the Badge Community-Police Dialogue sessions begins next week on October 16th at 5:30 PM. The Before the Badge Program is SPD’s 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.

Community members attending the dialogue will get to meet new recruits, officers, command staff, crime prevention coordinators, community service officers, and administrative professionals.  Recruits will get an opportunity to learn more about the communities they will be serving.

I sponsored the initial funding to build this program. Before the Badge immerses recruits in community-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. These relationships are crucial to the shifts in police force culture that our city is developing.

The first of these conversations for the Southwest Precinct for this season will begin on Monday, October 16 at 5:30 PM via Zoom. The rest of the events in the series are below:

  • Monday October 30 – WEST
  • Monday November 6- EAST
  • Monday November 13 – NORTH
  • Monday November 27 – SOUTH
  • Monday December 4 – SOUTHWEST
  • Monday December 11 – WEST
  • Monday December 18 – 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.

Sound Transit October 25 planning meeting at Alki Masonic Center

Sound Transit is holding a planning forum on West Seattle Link light rail on October 25th at the Alki Masonic Center.  Sound Transit’s announcement notes the Final Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be published in late Spring or Summer of 2024. After the Final EIS is published, the Board will select the project to be built, and the Federal Transit Administration will issue a Record of Decision; the Record of Decision is the final step of the environmental review process.

Here’s the notice:

“Please join us on Wednesday, Oct. 25 to see updated designs for future light rail stations in West Seattle and SODO and share your ideas and feedback.

In the summer of 2022, the Sound Transit Board identified a preferred alternative for the West Seattle Link Extension (WSLE). The project team has worked to design the four proposed stations along the alignment, taking into account the community’s input since the start of the project in 2018. This fall, we will share our station design progress and gather community feedback on concepts for access, urban design, and transit-oriented development at the station. Your input will help us advance the design for station areas in collaboration with the City of Seattle and other agency partners.

In early 2024, we will report on our findings and share how your input influenced the design of the stations in West Seattle and SODO. Stay tuned! More information will be shared later in the fall.


  • Date: Wednesday, Oct. 25
  • Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: Alki Masonic Center, 4736 40th Avenue SW

If you can’t join us in-person, we will be hosting an online survey on our online open house. We will provide notice through another project update email when the survey is live.

Additionally, we are continuing our ongoing environmental review process. The WSLE Final EIS is expected to be published in late spring or summer of 2024. Following the WSLE Final EIS publication, the Sound Transit Board will select the final project to be built, and the Federal Transit Administration will issue a Record of Decision. For more information about the next steps in project development please read our latest Platform blog post.

Stay current with the West Seattle Link and Ballard Link Extensions projects here.

按此了解有關West Seattle LinkBallard Link擴展項目的最新資訊。

请在此处获取有关West Seattle LinkBallard Link扩展项目的最新消息。

Tìm hiểu về các Dự án Mở Rộng Tuyến West Seattle Link và Ballard Link trên trang web dự án của chúng tôi.

Manténgase informado sobre los Proyectos de extensiones de Link a West Seattle y Ballard aquí.”



Staffing News // This Week in the Budget // See If You Qualify for Food Assistance // Celebrate Banned Books Week! // City Clerk Archives Gazette, 1983 Film on Trees // District 1 Parks Updates // SW Library Closure // Indigenous People’s Day

October 6th, 2023


Staffing News

Maybe you’ve heard the bittersweet news that Christena Coutsoubos has taken a new step forward in her public service, but alas, it’s also a step out of the Team Herbold office. I wanted to let you, constituents of District 1 and other City of Seattle residents, know this news because many of you have received her assistance over the four years of her dependable public service.

Christena has aided the constituents of District 1 with compassion and persistence. She has helped you over the years, maybe to address a park’s maintenance issue, to get help for a neighbor living unsheltered, to find a COVID19 vaccine, or to get help accessing housing assistance or a small business loan. The assistance she had provided District 1 residents is abundant!

On the policy side, please also join me in recognizing Christena for the many policy accomplishments that would not have been possible without her able staffing, effective analysis, and tenacious organizing.  I know Christena will accomplish much more in her future, here are some of her projects in my office:

  • A two percent wage increase for human services workers included in Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proposed budget, in response to Resolution 32094, a call to closing the pay penalty gap.
  • COVID emergency legislation implementing a moratorium on rent increases for small businesses and nonprofits, during the civil emergency and requiring lessors to accept a rent payment plan during the emergency and for six months following.
  • Legislation awarding $10.4 million to strengthen organizations that provide community-led public safety initiatives.
  • Council Bill (CB) 120374, adding people who have received or are seeking abortions as a protected class, ensuring their civil rights protections, CB 120376, prohibiting people from encroaching on individuals seeking abortions or gender-affirming care, and CB 120399, ensuring that crisis pregnancy centers cannot make public statements that are false or misleading to persuade people from having abortions.
  • Funding for LEAD’s 2022 expansion
  • $4 million to sustain the community safety hubs in West Seattle, SE Seattle, and the Central District operated by Seattle Community Safety Initiative
  • Funding to support a workgroup of people with lived experience of domestic violence to recommend alternatives to incarceration that address misdemeanor domestic violence.
  • $1 million to expand behavioral health services in Seattle Public Schools, and in community clinics for new mothers, seniors and the uninsured
  • $1.5 million for mobile services to address increased needs of survivors of gender-based violence
  • Resolution 32026 requesting King County and the State of Washington increase services to address behavioral health conditions.
  • $5.1 million for food support through most of 2022, to help families struggling with the ongoing pandemic stay healthy and nourished.
  • Funding for services and on-site programming for residents of affordable housing as well as behavioral health supports, addressing staff retention, and client assistance
  • The City’s first investment in East African seniors, to provide wraparound services at existing meal programs
  • Funding a landlord liaison program connecting individuals to housing by establishing partnerships of landlords.
  • Funding for Rapid Re-Housing to ensure families do not fall back into homelessness
  • Restored proposed cuts to Age Friendly Seattle
  • $1.5 million in funding for services recommended by the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force for active drug users in existing low barrier programs to increase the health of people who use substances and services and harm reduction programs at social service agencies that serve people who use drugs daily, allowing them to expand hours, increase staff, expand to additional locations, provide peer and community outreach, implement good neighbor agreements for syringe pickup, provide participant incentives, explore Medicaid reimbursement for services, and make safety improvements.
  • Expand homelessness outreach and engagement services within District 1 and citywide and provide flexible financial assistance for serving people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

This Week in the Budget

My staff, Council analysts, Council colleagues and I have spent the week digging into the Mayor’s proposed changes to the 2024 budget to understand what’s new, what’s changed, and what’s missing.

Budget Hearings Start 10/11: Next week, we’ll hear three days of presentations from Council analysts on the proposal.  Watch budget hearings live by livestreaming Seattle Channel.  Watch budget hearings later here: Select Budget Committee |  Here are the expected topics each day.

Public Comment:  Your next opportunity is 10am on 10/11.  Sign up starting at 8am that day here: Public Comment – Council |

My Budget Priorities:

  • Equitable wage increases for human services workers to address the city’s staffing crisis, consistent with Resolution 32094, passed earlier this year.
  • Inflationary increases for federally funded homeless services that moved from the City to the King County Regional Homelessness Authority this year
  • Funding the Office of Labor Standards to enforce Minimum Compensation, Paid Sick and Safe Time, and Deactivation protections.
  • Mental health support for frontline community violence responders
  • Adequate staffing for the 911 call center in the Community Assisted Response and Engagement (CARE) department (formerly knows as the Community Safety and Communications Center)

Understanding Budget:  Use these award-winning tools to make sense of Council’s budget process:

Upcoming Budget Dates: Here’s a glance at the next few weeks.  Please note: Some of these dates have changed since last week.


See If You Qualify for Food Assistance

Newly-expanded eligibility requirements mean more Washington families can receive food assistance.  Now, families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible. Four hundred percent of the federal poverty level is $58,320 for a single person and $99,440 for a family of three.  Food banks also cannot require anyone to show identification or a social security number, nor can they require proof of income, household size, or immigration status.  Read more here.

Public Health’s Community Health Access Program (CHAP) at 1-800-756-5437 is a great place to start. The CHAP line provides help in multiple languages with getting connected to programs for food like Basic Food or SNAP and the WIC Program, as well as other support services. You can also find information about many food banks and meal programs across King County here.

Celebrate Banned Books Week!

This week is Banned Books Week.  Here are some suggestions to celebrate from Seattle Public Library.

Read a banned book, of course: Check out these helpful lists of Frequently challenged nonfiction books and Frequently challenged fiction books.


Spread the news about censorship and efforts to stop it: Book  Riot is doing a stand-up job of covering censorship news (see their results of a new survey about what parents think about book bans), as is the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. And our partners, the Brooklyn Public Library just launched a podcast series on the stories and stakes around our nation’s “ideological war with its bookshelves.”

Tell out-of-town friends about Books UnbannedSeattle Public Library offers a free Books Unbanned e-card for teens and young adults (ages 13 to 26) across the nation who live outside of our service area.  Anyone eligible can sign up and get access to our entire collection of e-books and e-audiobooks within 1-2 days at

City Clerk Archives Gazette, 1983 Film on Trees

The City Clerk’s Archives section publishes a quarterly gazette with featuring items from their archives. The Fall 2023 edition includes mention of a 1983 documentary on the evolution of Seattle’s street trees, called Green City: the Reforestation of Seattle. It was produced by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the City of Seattle. It includes images of parks and public spaces, streets and traffic, and residential neighborhoods. It was recently posted to the Seattle Municipal Archives YouTube Channel. Here’s the link to the Reforestation of Seattle documentary.

District 1 Parks Updates

South Park Community Center Programs Temporarily Move to Concord Elementary School: Starting 9/15, programming has moved to Concord International Elementary School, at 723 S. Concord St, Seattle, WA 98108. All programs will be held in the gym and cafeteria at Concord.

You’re Invited to Review Design for Future West Seattle Junction Park: Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to review the design and provide final community input on possible additional features for the West Seattle Junction future park site. More info here

Camp Long “Trail Or Treat!”: Celebrate the fall festivities in the best setting imaginable at Camp Long! Parks will designate a trail that loops around some of our main cabins where local organizations/ vendors/companies will offer handouts. We will also have fun, nature themed programming at various locations throughout the park! For information contact or call 206-684-7434.  10/28 Saturday 4-8 p.m. FREE

SW Library Closure November 6-19

In the 2022 budget, I joined Councilmember Pedersen in approving $1.7 million to provide air conditioning at the SW and NE Library branches.  At long last, that work is about to start!  Here’s an update on the HVAC upgrade from Seattle Public Libraries:

The Southwest Branch will be closed from November 6-19 and will reopen with normal hours on November 20. The Southwest Branch meeting room will remain open until the branch closes on Nov. 6.  Over the next few days you will begin to see signage on the buildings and online about the impacts and changes to operating hours of our Northeast and Southwest Branches due to the HVAC work.

Indigenous People’s Day 2023

Indigenous People’s Day is Monday, October 9th.

There will be three events to commemorate this city holiday. First of all, celebratory march starting at Westlake Park at 9:30 a.m.; an event with the City of Seattle Native American Affinity Group at Seattle City Hall at noon; and a Celebration at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center at 5 p.m.


9-26 PSHS Committee Summary / South Park Pump Station and Roadway/Drainage Event Saturday / Spokane Street (Low) Bridge closed October 7-14 / Order Free At-Home COVID Tests / It’s Budget Season

September 29th, 2023


9-26 PSHS Committee Summary

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on September 26th and 1) considered a resolution in support of seismic retrofitting of unreinforced masonry buildings; 2) a resolution related to future Seattle Police Management bargaining; 3) bills concerning the 2024-2028 Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development, and Community Development Block Grant funding; 4) a network company fee discussion, and 5) a new appointment to the Community Police Commission.

Before we turned to these PSHS agenda items, I spoke to my previous statements regarding the January death of Jaahnavi Kandula after being struck by a vehicle driven by an SPD Officer Kevin Dave traveling at high speed and the fact that SPD released body-worn video from an officer response, where a SPOG leader said her life “had limited value.”  I also spoke about the recent disgusting hate speech of another officer off duty.

We heard testimony from members of the public urging that Officer Kevin Dave be prosecuted.  I explained that it’s not a decision in Council’s purview, and I requested that the King County Prosecutor Attorneys’ Office provide more information about the process KCPAO uses in making that decision and a typical decision-making timeline. Here’s their response:

“Law enforcement agencies handle investigations, and those are conducted separately from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. In the Officer Kevin Dave case, Seattle Police is the investigating agency. The police reports and all available and collected evidence, including all digital evidence available, in a vehicular homicide investigation is submitted to the KCPAO and a deputy prosecuting attorney is assigned to review the material.

When a case is referred and under review, the deputy prosecutor reviewing the case determines if there is sufficient evidence to prove a charge beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the requirement to file charges. The deputy prosecutor determines what evidence may be admissible at trial, what defenses may be available, and whether a jury would have sufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case involving Officer Kevin Dave, is under review and with the Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney who is the head of King County’s Felony Traffic Unit. The KCPAO will share publicly the results of the review when it is complete.”

URM Resolution: In 2017, Seattle’s Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Policy Committee released final recommendations concerning over 1,100 Unreinforced Masonry buildings in Seattle, which posed a public safety risk. In the four years following that report, I worked with the Mayor’s Office, the state legislature, Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management, and the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to deliver the work product identified by the 2021 resolution. That resolution represented a joint commitment by the Council and the Mayor to work on developing a phased mandatory seismic retrofit program.

This year, SDCI released new technical standards that they discussed on Tuesday as we introduced Resolution 32111. This resolution continues the work by identifying the Draft URM Retrofit Technical Standard as acceptable standards in future legislation that will be proposed next year to promote voluntary seismic retrofits before mandatory standards are legislated to go into effect.

The Alliance for Safety, Affordability, and Preservation joined SDCI in chambers to discuss this resolution with the committee.

Since this is my last term on the Seattle City Council, I am grateful that SDCI allowed me this opportunity for one more legislative action to promote the URM work still ahead of us. This resolution is a strong step towards an ordinance codifying the SDCI’s technical standards that will protect these buildings, their occupants, and their neighbors.

SPMA Bargaining Resolution: The committee voted unanimously in support of Resolution 32112, affirming the City’s good faith intent to consider raising issues raised by the public and the City’s three police oversight agencies during the forthcoming collective bargaining process. The purpose of this resolution is to memorialize the public comments the Council heard from the public at the August 8 public hearing on SPMA bargaining, as well as from the three police accountability bodies.

The Council adopted a similar resolution in early 2020 before the current round of negotiations with SPOG, Resolution 31930.

The public hearing is required under SMC 4.04.120 (F) prior to bargaining with Seattle’s two police unions, in this case, the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA).

The resolution does not limit the issues the City can consider when setting parameters for bargaining.

It’s important to affirm the City’s intent to consider these comments in good faith, as required under SMC 4.04.120 (G). Once bargaining begins, it is confidential, so memorializing this input is important to accountability for the City, as it allows the public to examine any subsequent contact and compare it to what’s included in this resolution.

Seattle has two different unions that represent police officers. The Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA) represents lieutenants and captains, while the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) represents officers and sergeants.

In the letters listing priorities for the next SPMA agreement (included as attachments to the resolution) each of the City’s three police oversight agencies identify the significant improvement and gain in police accountability in the SPMA 2022 contract.  The resolution names those prior gains, here are some:

  • Clearly acknowledging “preponderance of evidence” as the standard for appeal;
  • Clearly repudiating de novo review and clearly describing what evidence may be considered in appeals, with deference to decisions of the Chief;
  • Providing that discipline review hearings will be made publicly available for viewing;
  • Acknowledgement that the City may implement the accountability ordinance while reserving rights to potentially bargain effects;
  • Allowing any OPA staff to investigate SPMA members;
  • Subpoena power consistent with the due process protections added in Ordinance 126264.

As I have explained before, this positive progress toward reform, embraced `by SPMA members, has yet to be mirrored in a SPOG contract.

I thank the members of the public and the accountability bodies for their comments and recommendations. The City Council will consider the resolution on October 10.

$7M for Post-Overdose Treatment Facilities:  Committee members passed two bills that guide federal funding for the City’s human services department, including Council Bill 120669 which appropriates $7 million to fund two new post-overdose treatment facilities.  I’m pleased that the Human Services Department is moving quickly to get these dollars out to a provider of services; they’ve already updated the 2023 Notice of Funding Opportunities with their intention to open the grant process on November 1st.

Council Bill 120668 approved a draft five-year plan for the City’s use of U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funding, after a required public hearing.  We expect to receive almost $18 million from HUD in 2024; you can learn more here.  The five-year plan includes one new category that will help us respond with urgency to our overdose crisis:

Committee members recommended both bills for passage.

Network Company Fee Discussion: Over the past three years, the PSHS Committee worked to pass protections for app-based workers to protect a vulnerable and fast-growing population of Seattle workers. Most recently, the City Council voted to pass the App-Based Worker Deactivation Rights Ordinance.  At the time, we notified stakeholders that it will be necessary to create a future funding mechanism to support enforcement of app-based worker protections.

As the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) noted in their September 11 Annual Certification on OLS Functions and Resources, the Office is responsible for enforcement of a wide array of worker protections that cover 54,000 employers and almost 600,000 employees. In that memo, they touched on Seattle’s leadership in building protections for app-based workers:

 “Much of the policy team focus has been on advancing labor standards for non-standard workforces, especially gig workers, domestic workers, and independent contractors. This work is time-consuming as few jurisdictions have tackled such initiatives. Consequently, OLS must create the roadmap, rather than relying on the experiences of others.”

On Tuesday, Council Central Staff presented a proposal for a small per-transaction fee to help OLS continue to create this roadmap for the nation.

Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that the presentation was updated since it was originally posted. Up until last week, my office had been in conversations with stakeholders and the Mayor’s Office about a per-transaction tax. After considerable conversations and hearing a preference from many stakeholders, we’ve moved towards consideration of a fee. A fee has stronger restrictions on the spending options for the collected income – primarily restricting them to enforcing the regulations on the entities they are levied upon. This conversation can be a little in-the-weeds, so I recommend watching the committee meeting to learn more about the differences between a tax and a fee.

Right now, the collective interdepartmental discussions with stakeholders have been around a 10 cents per transaction fee. For a family that orders a service through the delivery apps or marketplace apps once a week, that would be a total of $5.20 a year. This would have a small impact on users of the apps, but a strong impact on the workers who will have their rights protected via OLS’s enforcement.

I remain committed to deeper conversations with the Mayor’s Office, network companies, and workers and their advocates to collaborate toward a funding solution that guarantees all workers can benefit from the protections that Seattle has worked so hard to pioneer.

South Park Pump Station and Roadway/Drainage Event Saturday

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has completed the installation of the South Park Pump Station and Phase 1 of the South Park Roadway and Drainage Project.

To commemorate these milestones, SPU and the Duwamish Valley Program will host an event to commemorate these milestones. Here’s the event information from SPU:

Where: South Park Pump Station, 636 S Riverside Drive, Seattle, WA 98108

When: Saturday, September 30 from 11 am – 2 pm


Tabling and information sharing

  • “Why does it flood” demonstration
  • Duwamish Valley Action Team (IDT)
  • Flood preparedness information
  • Capital projects information
  • Arts celebration

Free lunch and entertainment by local artists!

This event is co-organized by SPU and the Duwamish Valley Program with support from SDOT and the Office of Arts & Culture. The Duwamish Valley Program is co-led by the Office of Sustainability & Environment and the Office of Planning & Community Development.

South Park Pump Station

This facility is now operational and will help reduce flooding in northeast South Park by enabling drainage pipes to flow into the Duwamish River during high tide. It will reduce flooding during many (but not all) high tide events in locations where we have drainage infrastructure.

South Park Roadway and Drainage Project, Phase 1

This project, a collaborative effort between SPU and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), installed ten blocks of new roadway and drainage pipes within the industrial area, connecting those areas to the pump station. Sidewalk and landscape improvements were also included on some blocks.


Spokane Street (Low) Bridge Closed October 7-14

SDOT announced the Spokane Street (low) Bridge will be closed to people driving, walking, and biking from October 7 through October 14.

The intended purpose of the closure is to:

“reinstall the turn cylinder that was removed from the low bridge’s east pier housing last winter for refurbishment. When the east pier’s cylinder was removed last December, preparations to overhaul all four of the bridge’s hydraulic turning cylinders were actually already underway as part of our comprehensive repair and maintenance effort. When the unexpected damage to the cylinder occurred, the planning work we had already completed enabled us to quickly jump into developing a response plan and likely allowed us to complete repairs sooner than if we had been starting from scratch.”

The Bridge was built in 1991 and requires ongoing maintenance. SDOT’s website on the Spokane Street Bridge Rehabilitation program has information about maintenance from 2020 to 2022.

Order Free At-Home COVID Tests

Every U.S. household may place an order to receive four free COVID rapid tests delivered directly to your home!

Before you throw out “expired” tests: Check FDA’s website to see if your COVID-19 tests’ expiration dates have been extended.

Need help placing an order for your at-⁠home tests?  Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).  Info also available in Español and 简体中文.

It’s Budget Season

On Tuesday, Mayor Harrell transmitted his proposed 2024 budget adjustments to Council.  On Wednesday, we received a briefing from our Council analysts on the Council’s budget deliberation process and from Budget Director Julie Dingley on the Mayor’s proposal.  Watch the discussion here.

Budget Tools: Here are some budget tools to help you follow along:

Here’s a preview of what’s next:

My Priorities: As I wrote in last week’s budget preview, my top priority is funding equitable wages for human services workers, consistent with Resolution 32094 passed earlier this year.   Heartening news on this front: Mayor Harrell’s proposed budget includes a 2 percent wage increase for human services workers.  I released this statement in response:

We rely on human services workers to tackle the city’s biggest crises, from homelessness to hunger, childcare and elder care. In the wake of a landmark University of Washington study that demonstrates how underpaying these workers negatively affects our entire community, I am thankful Mayor Harrell included wage increases in his proposal. This will serve as a solid foundation as we begin discussions about how to create real wage equity for our mission-critical human services workers.

I’m also concerned about the $250 million General Fund deficit projected for 2025.  We must begin taking action now to close that gap.  With 85% of the City’s budget growth coming from labor agreements to fairly pay our employees, cuts cannot be the entire answer.  I believe we should be considering new progressive revenue sources, consistent with the Revenue Stabilization Workgroup options.  I will be asking questions to understand how Mayor Harrell’s proposed budget helps us prepare for 2025.


Health 99 Event / Working Washington’s PayUp Party / Saturday Gathering with South Asian Community Leaders / SDOT West Seattle Bridge Update / Federal Tree Grant Includes Delridge Native Forest Garden / 2024 Budget Preview / Opioid Settlement Funding Resolution / Free Tutoring in South Park and High Point / Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With a Book / New Covid Vaccines Arriving / SPU Requesting Water Conservation / Prioritizing Diversion Over Prosecution for State Drug Law / Diaper Need Awareness Proclamation

September 22nd, 2023


Health 99 Event

On Tuesday, I joined Mayor Bruce Harrell and Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins in an event providing a progress update for the newly launched Health 99 overdose response unit. This unit of the fire department’s Mobile Integrated Health program is staffed by a firefighter/EMT and a Human Services Department case worker. Exemplifying the city’s interdepartmental collaboration for the vision of a strong public health and safety network, this team responds to individuals who have experienced an overdose and works directly with service providers to connect these individuals to outpatient services, primary care, homeless outreach services, and more.

Health 99 continues Seattle’s reputation as a national leader in health initiatives to address the opioid crisis, faced by cities across the nation. Follow-up care and warm handoffs to services are essential to reduce the likelihood that an overdose is repeated.  Accessible emergency care wrapped in inclusive and supportive services helps more people enter addiction recovery.

Public health and public safety are intertwined issues; the Seattle Fire Department is doing this work to build a healthier, safer Seattle.

To support the urgent funding for one element of Mayor Harrell’s April Executive Order, specifically: “access to mobile opioid medication delivery,” last month I successfully championed $1 million in funding to support Treatment in Motion, a mobile medication vehicle at three additional locations, with the capacity to serve up to 360 people each day.

Next week, I’ll be hearing legislation in my PSHS committee to appropriate $7 million in support of Mayor Harrell’s $27 million investment announced in his April Executive Order, to support an overdose recovery center so Health 99 has a location to take people after non-fatal overdoses to recover, get stabilized on medications, and access resources.

A data finding in the public use and possession bill that the Council voted this week documents that between January and July of this year there were eleven overdose responses on average each and every day in a public place.

If we hope that by adding an enforcement tool that successfully prioritizes diversion over arrest will help people, we must increase the places available for people to go.

If you have someone you care about and love, who is an addict, what you care about most, and first, is that they don’t die in the throes of their addiction. By investing in Health 99, Treatment in Motion, and a Post-Overdose recovery center, we are expanding access and breaking down barriers to proven treatment for our most vulnerable residents. We cannot end the fentanyl epidemic and drug overdose crisis without treatment – and we need more treatment, not less.

Working Washington’s PayUp Party

On Thursday evening, joined workers in celebrating our city’s recent wins in gaining protections for app-based workers. The event was hosted by Working Washington in their new office space and included testimony from staff, gig workers, and myself.

I am grateful for the privilege of standing alongside this worker-led movement over the last three years to build these necessary and common-sense protections for workers. In the years 2012-2016, we worked so hard to improve labor rights, with paid sick and safe leave, minimum wage, and secure scheduling.  That the so-called gig economy expanded exponentially soon after, systematically and intentionally designed to deny the largest growing employment sector from these hard-fought rights, exploiting the fact that they aren’t considered legal “employees;” we simply could not let that stand.

I’m proud to have had dozens, if not hundreds, of workers join me in Council chambers across dozens of committee meetings, council briefings, full council meetings, and meetings with my office to build the policies we came together to celebrate this week.

As the organizing adage goes, nothing about us without us. Thursday was not a celebration of the legislative body that voted on these policies, but a celebration of the worker-leaders that made Seattle a national leader in app-based worker protections. Hundreds of pages of policy were drafted with direct feedback by these workers, and I am humbled to have co-sponsored that legislation and to have worked with passionate people with direct lived experience to get the votes to pass each one at full council.

But we aren’t done yet. We’ve passed significant protections, but we now need to ensure that every worker gets to enjoy the benefits we’ve fought for. This Tuesday, we’ll be having a pre-introductory briefing and discussion on a potential revenue source to ensure the Office of Labor Standards is able to enforce the protections we’ve spent the last three years building.

Saturday Gathering with South Asian Community Leaders

In January, Jaahnavi Kandula died after being struck by a vehicle driven by an SPD officer traveling at high speed.  Last Monday SPD released body-worn video from an officer response, where a SPOG leader said her life “had limited value”

The video has since resulted in numerous articles worldwide, and widespread anger, in particular in India. India’s ambassador to the United States has raised the issue with the Biden administration.

On Saturday I joined Mayor Harrell, Chief of Police Diaz, and others to meet with leaders and organizations representing the South Asian Community. My statement in the press release is copied below:

“On behalf of the City of Seattle I’m so sorry for the appalling conversation, devaluing human life, between two officers whose job it is to be guardians of all members of our community. This failure, reflected now on the global stage, must not stand as representative of the Seattle we all love. To restore trust, begin to heal, and achieve justice for Jaahnavi, we must act. I heard community leaders today call for accountability for the officer whose actions resulted in tragic death and the officers who spoke so callously about her death. I heard a call for officer training in empathy, support for Jaahnavi’s family, pedestrian safety investments, and support for additional Seattle’s services to our immigrant community. I pledge to carry forward this call to action.”

Officer Auderer was one of 11 SPD officers trained as a drug recognition evaluator (DRE), a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.  Officer Auderer made these comments after performing an investigatory function related to the death of Ms. Kandula; he is also the SPOG Vice-President.  SPOG’s role, as an organization, is to assist SPOG members in defending themselves against complaints and discipline.   Last week, I expressed my strong concerns to SPD and the Mayor’s Office that there could be a potential conflict of interest when SPD dispatches to the investigation of another police officer, someone who in one role works as a leader of an organization that has a responsibility to assist SPOG members in defending themselves against complaints and discipline, and in another role, perform a function that will be considered as part of the complaint process and discipline outcome.

The Mayor has also asked SPD to “review whether or not restrictions can be placed on SPOG leadership in investigations of possible officer misconduct” and SPD confirmed they are reviewing the policy.

In addition, the Community Police Commission sent a letter to Chief Diaz recommending the officer be placed on indefinite unpaid leave.

SDOT West Seattle Bridge Update

Photo: Madison Linkenmeyer

SDOT published an update on the West Seattle Bridge, one year after the reopening, that the bridge is performing as expected. It states, “Since reopening, the bridge has been monitored by the bridge structural health monitoring (SHM) system 24/7, with physical inspections occurring on a regular basis. All monitoring shows that the bridge is functioning as it should.”

Here is the one-year monitoring report. The update includes background on the repairs that were performed.

The update says, “Based on these results, SDOT will continue to operate the bridge structural health monitoring system at all times and visual inspections will shift back to the 2-year cycle required by FHWA.”

It also says, “The bridge now includes SDOT’s most extensive, sophisticated bridge monitoring system which allows us to detect subtle movements or any growth of existing cracks. The safety system runs 24/7 and automatically alerts engineers immediately of any issues that would require further inspection. In reviewing the system data over the last year under different traffic and transportation conditions, the rehabilitation and safety measures completed are performing as anticipated.

Over the past year, the bridge has also undergone regular visual inspections of the carbon fiber wrapping and post-tension repair systems, which show no signs of distress.  To ensure that all repaired systems were performing as expected, SDOT has conducted these inspections at a higher frequency than is required by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for a bridge after being returned to service.”

Federal Tree Grant Includes Delridge Native Forest Garden

Seattle received a $12.9 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to plant and maintain trees where people live, learn, and play to combat extreme heat and climate change, improve access to nature, and support green careers for young people.

Seattle’s two funded projects, covered by the Justice40 Initiative, were made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

One of the two projects is for the Delridge Native Forest Garden:

$900,000 for the Delridge Native Forest Garden will enhance approximately four acres of City-owned parcels and unimproved rights-of-way in the Longfellow Creek basin in West Seattle. The project will remove invasive species and plant native conifers and understory plants with cultural significance to regional Tribes. The project will include a footpath, and planting will be coordinated with local communities to provide educational and volunteer opportunities.

Earlier this year, Seattle released the 2021 Canopy Cover Assessment which found that neighborhoods that experience racial and economic inequities have 27% less canopy than more advantaged neighborhoods. This award is an opportunity to address canopy inequities by focusing planting and tree care in these neighborhoods. By funding projects aimed at engaging community in areas where trees get planted, improving the tree canopy in neighborhoods that suffer most from extreme heat, poor air quality, and health disparities, and expanding access to nature near schools and housing, cities like Seattle can deliver tangible economic and ecological advantages to overburdened communities.

2024 Budget Preview

On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Harrell will transmit his proposed 2024 budget changes to Council.  This marks the start of Council’s eight weeks of budget deliberations, culminating in an expected final vote on November 21st.   If you’d like to stay informed about budget conversations, sign up for the Select Budget Committee email list here.

2024 is the second year of the 2023-2024 biennium, and we are expecting relatively minimal changes from the 2024 budget that Council endorsed last year (which you can find here).

My budget priority this year will be funding equitable wage increases for human services workers to address the city’s staffing crisis, consistent with Resolution 32094, passed earlier this year.  If the City were to provide a wage equity increase of 3.5 percent in 2024 the cost would be $7.34 million in 2024.

One big change in Council’s process, however: every amendment we propose must be “self-balancing” from the start.  That means if we propose increased spending, we must also identify a corresponding cut right away.

Important Dates

Wednesday 9/27 at 9:30am Council receives a public briefing on the Mayor’s proposed 2024 budget changes
Wednesday 10/18 at 5:00pm Public Hearing #1 – an opportunity for the public to provide comment on the budget changes they’d like to see
Thursday 10/19 Council receives an updated revenue forecast for 2024 and beyond
Monday 10/23 at Noon Councilmembers’ proposed amendments are due
Monday 11/13 at 5:00pm Public Hearing #2
Week of Monday 11/13 Councilmembers discuss and vote on amendments
Tuesday 11/21 Council votes to approve the amended 2024 budget

Opioid Settlement Funding Resolution

Last year, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office settled litigation against three opioid distributors (McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corp) for $518 million, which will be paid out over 17 years and shared among the state, counties, and cities. King County expects to receive between $1M and $1.5M annually.  Seattle expects to receive about $550K or slightly more per year for the first seven years of this settlement (HSD staff are currently working to refine annual revenue projections and that information will be available soon).  In addition, Seattle and King County will receive additional funding because Washington joined another multistate resolution with the opiate producers and sellers CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Teva, and Allergan.  This 2nd settlement will pay out $434 million over 15 years, which will provide approximately an additional $14 million to the City over the next 15 years.  While this is a significant amount and much-needed new resource, when spread over so many years, it will not be transformative.

That’s why it is so important to invest these resources in the most effective services.  Yesterday, the King County Board of Health approved a resolution I developed that urges all cities within King County to align their opioid settlement funds and invest in services recommended in the Opioid Settlement Stakeholder Feedback report, which draws on the expertise of community members with lived experience of substance use disorder.

The overdose crisis continues to devastate communities across King County; as of today, 941 residents have died from overdose, the vast majority from opioids, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. We are easily on track to eclipse last year’s 1,001 deaths for the entire year. The opioid settlements provide an unusual opportunity to address the crisis directly, although the resources are still insufficient for the size of our crisis. That’s why combining forces and funding is so important.

Free Tutoring in South Park and High Point

The Seattle Public Library’s free K-12 after-school tutoring service, Homework Help, is now available at nine branches, including South Park and High Point in District 1. The Library will continue to offer virtual one-on-one tutoring through seven days a week, as well as many other programs and services to help students of all ages succeed.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With a Book

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), Seattle Public Library has selected a list of 25 recent nonfiction titles by Latinx and Latine authors, from Isabel Allende to Javier Zamora.  Check out the recommendations here.  And if you don’t yet have a library card, what a great reason to get one!   Learn how.

New Covid Vaccines Arriving

Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the possible increases in infection this fall and winter.  Dr. Eric Chow, Chief of Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization at Public Health – Seattle & King County, said:

Here is something I’ve been really struck by: studies are showing that people who are up-to-date with vaccinations have less long-lasting symptoms (“long COVID”).  Long COVID symptoms include “brain fog” or difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, depression, and fatigue, all conditions that interfere with daily living. Long COVID can affect anyone… the new vaccine provides important protection for everyone.

COVID-19 hasn’t gone away—in fact, we’re seeing a rise in the number of people going to King County emergency departments and hospitals for COVID-19. Updated vaccines protect against more recent variants even if you have had previous vaccinations or infections.

Check with your healthcare provider or clinic to see if they have the new COVID vaccine, or check the list of pharmacies and other locations on  Read more about the new vaccine here.

SPU Requesting Water Conservation

Chester Morse Lake, September 17, 2023.  Photo by Kevin Johnson

With water levels below average after an unusually dry summer, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is requesting that residents and businesses voluntarily reduce their water use.

While Seattle may be known for its rainy weather, the last few months have been anything but wet in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, the region has experienced an unprecedented stretch of dry weather.

The unusually dry summer, coupled with a forecast of continued dry conditions including a potential delay in sustained fall rains, have the water supply managers at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) concerned about having sufficient water for people and fish.

That’s why SPU is asking Seattle residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water use until further notice.

Here are ways people can reduce their water use:

  • Stop watering lawns. (It’s OK to efficiently water newly planted lawns, young plants and trees, and vegetable gardens).
  • Take shorter or fewer showers.
  • Check for and fix leaks now, especially running toilets.

Find more water-saving tips at  and see the progress the City is making each week in reducing water use at:

Prioritizing Diversion Over Prosecution for State Drug Law

On Tuesday the City Council approved legislation proposed by Mayor Bruce Harrell, that will put treatment and diversion at the forefront of the City’s response to public drug use and possession.

As a legislator, sometimes you must have the conviction to vote ‘no,’ to get to a better version of ‘yes.’ The bill that passed is vastly improved over the bill that failed in June. While this compromise legislation is not perfect, it makes unprecedented legal commitments to noncriminal intervention of public drug use while allowing police to take action under specific circumstances.

We know a police-only response to addiction will not work. This legislation acknowledges that and, for the first time in Seattle, explicitly states that diversion and treatment should be the foundation of our response to drug use.

This measure is the result of collaboration and compromise between advocates, elected officials, and law enforcement. The legislation, which creates a new framework for police policies that will be developed following the bill’s passage, will:

  • Establish diversion, treatment, and other alternatives to jail as the City’s preferred approach to public drug use and possession;
  • Creating clear guidance for when and how Seattle police officers should use pre-arrest diversion and pre-booking diversion, the former doesn’t include any arrest at all; and
  • Limiting prosecution to be a last resort.

As the legislation gives new authority to the City Attorney’s Office, the legislation includes important comprehensive and independent reporting requirements to assess the impact of the legislation. It also establishes a behavioral health advisory committee to advise the city on any needed changes.

My statement after the vote included the following from the managers of the LEAD program:

“We manage a diversion model, LEAD, that arose directly out of years of systemic litigation challenging racial discrimination in Seattle drug enforcement. It is a concern that most diversion efforts nationally over many years tend to exacerbate racial disparities among those left to the criminal legal system when they are not offered diversion; knowing this, we explicitly designed LEAD to have safeguards to prevent that pattern from playing out here,” said Lisa Daugaard and Tara Moss, Co-Executive Directors of Purpose. Dignity. Action. 

They continued, “Those concerned about implicit bias in enforcement practices are, of course, correct. This is always something to guard against—in all criminal enforcement, not just with respect to this one ordinance. Therefore, it is essential that Seattle’s framework establishing a presumption of diversion, have a requirement of data collection and regular reporting on the race of those diverted and the race of those facing jail and prosecution, if any.” 

“We appreciate Councilmembers Herbold and Lewis for building in that safeguard, and the Mayor for welcoming it and underscoring how valid these concerns are. We know it is possible to create a diversion system that actually advances race equity—a U.S. research team has found that all of LEAD’s benefits have been distributed proportionately to BIPOC participants, and our project management team is oriented to ask this question daily with regard to all aspects of LEAD practice. It’s important that such an approach be built into Seattle’s legal framework for responding to drug activity,” they concluded.

My comments from the Council meeting are below:

“The bill before us clearly states that “diversion, treatment, and other alternatives to booking are the preferred approach to incorporating a state law that already makes possession and public use of a controlled substance a gross misdemeanor.

This state law applies everywhere in the state. So, the state law adopted in May making possession and public use gross misdemeanors already applies in Seattle, and SPD can arrest, whether we act on this bill or not.

I see the signs in the room, saying this bill grants discretion to police officers.  It does not grant discretion to police officers, this bill guides officer discretion that officers already have under state law, to create a course of action based on a threat of harm assessment, for pre-arrest diversion, resulting in no arrest, and when there is an arrest, pre-booking diversion to avoid prosecution.

This does not create new arrest authority, it seeks to limit it, in a way that does not exist under state law.

It does create new authority for prosecution, and for that reason it is so important to have ongoing review to ensure the bill goals of limiting arrest and prosecution are realized in implementation: the amendment that was passed in committee last week establishes a behavioral health advisory committee to advise the city regarding the needs for changes in police protocol, legislation or other policy and provide data as recommended by the state, and separately, review by the City’s Office of the Inspector General.

The legislation also requires reporting to this new committee, of data, including demographic and other information related to individuals who are diverted prior to arrest, and prior to jail booking when there has been arrest, and prior to referral, if the City Attorney is considering prosecution. The intent is not only to align the data requirements under state law, but to add additional data collection requirements for the cohort of people that this law strongly recommends police do not arrest.

There is an undeniably racially biased history in this country in the enforcement of drug laws. This history is a big part of the reason why so many do not trust the enforcement of drug laws.

I believe we must face this history squarely.

During a previous committee briefing, the Mayor’s office noted the approach is informed by a desire to balance public safety objectives with the Mayor’s own experience with the war on drugs.

In the Mayor’s legislation, it states, “The City of Seattle recognizes that prior federal, state, and local drug offense law enforcement and policies, including the “war on drugs,” disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and caused trauma and pain that lingers still today in these communities;”

It further states “The City of Seattle is committed to not repeating the errors of the past and will work to have the implementation of this ordinance balance public safety with the well-being of individuals using controlled substances;”

This is a commitment to not repeat the errors of the past. And we need all of you to help ensure that in implementation this commitment is realized.

This is why the policy statement emphasizing diversion in the City of Seattle is so important.

We know that even a small period of time in jail can result in people losing jobs, housing, and other important connections. We heard in early public comment that a misdemeanor can have this kind of life-changing impact.

That’s why specifically, the emphasis pre-arrest diversion is so important: unlike the Blake Fix, it does NOT tangle people who are not harming others in the criminal justice system as a default approach.

In the first seven months of the year, the Fire Department reported an average of more than 11 public overdoses each day in Seattle. Those are overdoses specifically occurring in public places.

It is important to address this; this morning I participated in an event reporting out on the efforts of the Fire Department’s Health 99 overdose response team, a pilot program part of the Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Health Program. Since its launch on July 7, Health 99 has responded to 68 overdoses and conducted 20 client outreach visits.

It’s also important to address implementation in a way that doesn’t drive people into the shadows and thereby increase the likelihood of additional overdoses. When people are forced into the shadows, there is limited ability for intervention.

We know that 40 percent of first overdose reversals given to patients on an Fire Department overdose reversal call were actually administered by bystanders.

The collaborative approach in developing this legislation, working with groups like LEAD and REACH and We Deliver Care again, are intended to guide and limit officer discretion, and to identify people who this policy says loud and clear, we don’t think should be eligible for arrest, and steers that group of people to pre-arrest diversion. This is not an option that was considered under the Blake fix legislation at the state legislature. And I think it’s an important element of this legislation. If we don’t act on this legislation, police will still be able to arrest people, and I think it’s really important for this Council to guide the policies that define how and when people are arrested.

Diaper Need Awareness Proclamation

This week, I brought forward a proclamation declaring September 18 – September 24 as Diaper Need Awareness Week. This proclamation was presented during Full Council to members of WestSide Baby. We know that about 1 in 4 families in King County experience diaper need, and we know certain communities are disproportionately impacted by diaper need and by this public health crisis. In these communities, caregivers are often having to make hard decisions between buying diapers on a limited income, or groceries for the week. I am grateful to WestSide Baby’s team and volunteers for their work in supporting Seattle babies and families.


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