West Seattle Bridge Update, June 11; Covid Updates; $30M Available to Fight Displacement; Non-Armed Response to Crisis Calls; Criminal Legal System Strategic Plan; Federal Funding Relief Update; Rental Assistance for Small Landlords; All-Hazards Mitigation Plan

June 11th, 2021

West Seattle Bridge Update, June 11

Construction schedule update

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on June 10th.

The first key update is that work to complete rehabilitation of the West Seattle Bridge is on track for mid-June, 2022. After that, the bridge will need to be tested before it can be open to traffic.

SDOT has selected Kraemer North America to carry out the rehabilitation of the bridge, and will issue a  Notice to Proceed on pre-construction services will be issued on June 28. The next schedule and design update (60% design) will be in July, working toward beginning construction in November.

Community Workforce Agreement/Priority, Local Hire

The USDOT announced May 19 that it would reinstate and expand a pilot program to allow local hiring provisions in federally-funded projects, which the City of Seattle supports through its Priority Hire and Community Workforce Agreement programs implemented in project contracts. The federal local hire rule is currently in a 30-day public comment period.

This federal program, if established, could allow SDOT to require its bridge contractor to hire construction workers from local, economically distressed ZIP codes in the Seattle region such as those covering the Delridge, Highland Park, South Park, and Georgetown communities, which have also borne the highest impacts of diverted traffic from the bridge closure. The program also prioritizes women, people of color, and registered apprentices. SDOT and the Department of Finance and Administrative Services will be submitting an application to be included in this pilot program.  This application to USDOT to allow local hire does not, in any manner, delay construction of the rehabilitation project.

Low bridge access updates

SDOT has received over 900 applications for authorized uses by restaurant and retail businesses; maritime/industrial businesses; longshoremen, life-saving medical access, and on-call medical providers. Since June 1, they have granted access to

  • 105 lifesaving medical treatment applicants
  • 201 on-call medical workers
  • 116 West Seattle-based restaurant and retail businesses

Applicants must meet criteria, apply, provide a license plate, and receive approval from SDOT before using the low bridge. Applications for July access are due on June 15. You can apply for access at the Spokane Street Swing Bridge (Low Bridge) Access website.

Around 900 daily round trips are being authorized for these users. SDOT estimates that access may need to be restricted or removed beginning in January 2022, when Terminal 5 reopens, and additional freight traffic will resume:

Here’s the approach SDOT will be taking to guide the decision, using data analysis and input from users including number of trips, and specific times of day that are most helpful:

Here’s the schedule for this decision:

Traffic Levels and COVID reopening

Last month Governor Inslee announced that the state is working toward a statewide June 30 reopening. On Wednesday Mayor Durkan announced Seattle became the first major US city to fully vaccinate 70% of residents 12 and older. We’ve been able to accomplish this, working together. It’s an achievement we can be proud of.

With this move toward reopening, however, traffic congestion is increasing. During April and May, traffic volumes were well above last year, during the early months of the pandemic.

In May, citywide traffic volumes were 27% below pre-COVID levels. By comparison, in May 2020, traffic volumes were 57% below pre-COVID levels.

This has clear implications for West Seattle and nearby communities. With the closure of the West Seattle Bridge on March 23, and restrictions on the low bridge, we went from having 21 lanes to cross the Duwamish to having only 12 lanes during daytime hours. The impact of this was lessened by sharply reduced travel levels due to the COVID pandemic that arrived to the Seattle area just a few weeks before the closure of the bridge.

The chart below compares travel times now and a year ago on West Marginal and access to the 1st Avenue South Bridge, and to East Marginal via the lower bridge. The May 2020 numbers in the top chart show some increases compared to the pre-COVID baseline, but generally below 25%.

The May 24-28 2021 chart on the bottom shows a lot more increases over 50% travel time (the red dots) during rush hour, with some well above that:

The return of a third boat on the Fauntleroy ferry routes will likely add to this; I raised this during the meeting, and SDOT staff indicated they are planning additional data collection, and adding  traffic calming measures in areas to the south of the terminal.

Below is the mode share goals SDOT developed last September for rush hour traffic between 6-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. and what they see as needed to manage the bridge closure:

In practice, telecommuting has been higher than predicted. While public transit ridership is increasing, the increase is lagging behind increases in car traffic. Those of us who use public transit at least part of the time will each have to assess our comfort level about returning to the use of public transit for commuting as re-opening proceeds, and for many it won’t be an easy choice. I also want to note that many people don’t have alternatives to using their car to commute (child care is but one example).   Paulina Lopez, one of the Chairs of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, reminded us yesterday that the impacts of the bridge closure do not only include frustration with travel times, but impacts to people living in detour route neighborhoods, like South Park, Highland Park, and Georgetown, where access to fast transit options are limited.   People living in these neighborhoods have fewer transit options and many are low wage workers who cannot telework or alter their work schedules.  Folks who live in transit-rich neighborhoods can help detour route neighborhoods by taking transit when they can, or commute at different times when possible, or continue to telework if permitted to do so.

Through the West Seattle Bridge Employer Resource Group, SDOT is encouraging large employers to allow their West Seattle employees to continue to work from home until the High Bridge reopens or take other modes than a personal vehicle; they have hired a Travel Options Program consultant to assist with these efforts and will partner with King County Metro to launch a mobility and travel options app in August.

Commute Seattle Puget Sound Area Return to Work Survey

At the Community Task Force Meeting, Commute Seattle shared a survey of employers on anticipated return to work, and travel patterns. They note it is skewed toward white-collar companies.

The survey shows for most companies at least some jobs can be performed remotely (for 20%, all jobs can be performed remotely; for 71%, some jobs can be;  for 9% all jobs must be performed on site).

The survey shows increasing on-site work is expected between June and December, though a majority say they don’t expect to have 100% of workers back on site until 2022:

A PSRC survey of workers, at least 80% want to work remotely at least part of the time.

Employers anticipate lower transit use; more biking and driving alone, and more remote work:

Reconnect West Seattle

SDOT crews have completed repaving SW Alaska Street.  Next steps are curb ramps upgrades and added red bus lanes in the westbound direction.

SDOT crews replaced concrete panels at 32nd and Barton that were in need of repair because they were failing structurally. They are looking into a King County Metro partnership to repair additional concrete panels in the bus layover zones along SW Barton St.

Covid Updates: Get Vaxed Saturday at the South Delridge Farmers Market, In-Language Assistance, D1 Vaccine Providers

First City to Reach 70% Vaccination: Seattle continues to lead the nation in vaccinations. As of June 10, we are the most vaccinated major American city, with nearly 80 percent of Seattle residents having begun the vaccination process, and more than 70 percent fully vaccinated.  But we aren’t done yet!

That’s why the Seattle Fire Department is partnering with African Community Housing & Development to host a pop-up vaccination clinic this Saturday at the South Delridge Farmers Market. Seattle Fire will offer the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines, and the first 50 people vaccinated will get a $10 coupon to the market!

Find Your Shot:  If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, here are some other places to find vaccination.

  • Enter your zip code to find convenient vaccine shots at Vaccinate WA.
  • Get a shot from one of the City’s vaccination sites – start at Seattle.Gov/Vaccine.
  • Try this map to discover District 1 vaccine providers.

In-Language Assistance:  If you need assistance in a language other than English to find a vaccine, www.Seattle.Gov/Vaccine has information in seven languages.  Or, try calling one of the in-language Vaccine Community Helplines.

Benefits of Vaccination:  There are so many benefits to getting vaccinated.  And getting vaccinated protects our most vulnerable family members, like our elders & those who are pregnant. COVID vaccines are FREE & you don’t need an appointment.


$30M Available to Fight Displacement

The City’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) is now accepting proposals for $30 million for land and property acquisition to respond to the disproportionate displacement of BIPOC communities. SIF awards will help groups buy land and buildings for affordable housing, affordable space for business, community centers, cultural spaces, childcare, and open space. More info about SIF and eligibility requirements here: http://bit.ly/OPCD-SIF


Non-Armed Response to Crisis Calls

At Tuesday’s meeting of Council’s Public Safety & Human Services committee, I facilitated a roundtable discussion of the City’s crisis response continuum – with a focus on non-armed responses to low-level crimes and behavioral health crisis.  The roundtable included representatives from LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion), Crisis Connections, REACH, Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC), Health One, and the Crisis Response Unit.  The fascinating discussion illuminated the many responses already at work in Seattle every day, as well as the gaps in scale and coordination that must be bridged.  You can watch the roundtable here, starting at 32 minutes in.

The police in cities all over the US have become responsible for more than law enforcement.  Over the years, local government has turned the job of police officer into one that is expected to fix a wide variety of problems, from resolving community disputes, addressing substance abuse disorders, working in schools, de-escalating behavioral health crises, to responding to complaints about outdoor encampments and vehicles where people without homes live.

As covered in the October 2020 article in the Center for American Progress blog on the Community Responder Model:

“These calls to the police can result in unnecessary uses of force, justice system involvement, and other adverse outcomes for civilians, as well as put a strain on public safety resources. The harmful effects from these interactions have not been felt equally by all: Communities of color have disproportionately experienced heavy police presence, high rates of arrest, and harsh enforcement. The growth of policing has also negatively affected people with behavioral health disorders and disabilities, whose medical conditions are too often treated like a crime. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, “the mere presence of a law enforcement vehicle, an officer in uniform, and/or a weapon … has the potential to escalate a situation” when a person is in crisis.

The ever-expanding role of the police has had a negative impact on officers themselves, many of whom have attested to having too much on their plate. “Every time 911 receives a call, it’s currently the job of police to respond,” explains retired Maj. Neill Franklin, who served as head of training for the Baltimore Police Department. ‘But many calls don’t involve a crime. And when they do, many of those crimes are minor and related to quality-of-life issues such as homelessness, mental health disorders, or substance misuse. We need to stop expecting police to do social work and start sending the right trained professionals to address low-level crimes and noncriminal calls for service.’

Relying on police to handle low-level calls for service has other long-term consequences. Aggressive enforcement of low-level offenses and unnecessary negative police interactions not only affect residents’ health and well-being but also erode public trust in police. Loss of trust can have serious ramifications for public safety, including a significant reduction in the likelihood that residents will report crime to law enforcement, making it harder for officers to prevent and solve serious crimes.  To build true community safety, we must prioritize police response for life-threatening emergencies, and invest in alternatives for the almost half of 911 calls that don’t require an armed response.”

The Vera Institute of Justice conducted an in-depth analysis of 911 data from five cites—including Seattle – and found that nonemergency incidents were the most frequent type of call for service. The share of low-priority, nonurgent calls was 45% in Seattle. Top-priority, life-threatening emergencies made up the smallest portion of 911 calls, only 18% in Seattle.  The chart below shows the percentage of calls estimated that could be diverted away from 911 to Community Responders and administrative alternatives to 911 response.


Criminal Legal System Strategic Plan

My Public Safety & Human Services committee on Tuesday also heard a presentation on criminal legal system realignment.  As part of the 2019 budget, Council funded a term-limited position in the Legislative Department to write a strategic plan; and a position at the Office of Civil Rights to coordinate stakeholder engagement around realigning the criminal legal system.

The strategic plan, Realigning Seattle’s Criminal Legal System through a Public Health Approach: The intersection between Community wisdom and evidence-based practices, was presented by Council Central Staff member and author Carlos Lugo.  The plan relied on previous rounds of stakeholder engagement to identify “Community Guiding Principles” which served as a foundation for research into theories on the causes of crime as well as best practices and expert recommendations on creating effective alternatives to the traditional CLS that were in line with the Guiding Principles.  You can view the presentation here.

Next, we expect a report containing recommendations from the Community Task Force for Criminal Legal System Realignment, a workgroup comprised of 9 community members who have been impacted by the City’s criminal legal system.  Over the past year, they have met regularly, convened by Central Staff and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, to provide recommendations for criminal legal system realignment.  I understand the Task Force is in the process of finalizing their report and hope to finish it over the next month or so before presenting it to Council.

Federal Funding Relief Update

Council continued its consideration of two bills (Council Bill 120094 and Council Bill 120093) to appropriate $128 million in federal Covid relief from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  Last week, Councilmembers received a briefing on the legislation; you can see the presentation and watch the discussion here, starting at the 1:09’ mark.

The current legislation includes critical investments for trauma-informed well-being services that will help Seattle residents struggling to survive the “shadow pandemic,” with restricted movement, social isolation, and economic insecurity increasing our vulnerability to violence and self-harm.

On Tuesday, June 15th, I’ll join fellow members of the Finance & Housing Committee to consider amendments to strengthen the legislation.  You can sign up to receive the agenda here, and sign up for public comment here starting at 7:30am on June 15th.

Rental Assistance for Small Landlords

When Council approved funding for expansion of the rent assistance program I included in the legislation an expectation that landlords should be able to apply too.  Since that time, I have been actively working to ensure that landlords with four or fewer tenants in arrears could initiate an application through King County on behalf of their tenants.  I recently learned that there were technical reasons for why it was still challenging to apply as a landlord. On my request, in order to ensure access for small landlords, the City’s Office of Housing worked with the United Way of King County (UWKC) to set up an alternative access point to specifically support small landlords in Seattle.

As of Monday of this week, small landlords can request assistance here.  UWKC will act as an intermediary to help encourage tenants to complete the application process.

This program is a partnership between the City of Seattle and King County to provide rent and utility relief to households most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds for this program were received through the Federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). Eligible families can receive up to 12 months of help (9 months in back rent and 3 months forward).

All-Hazards Mitigation Plan

On Tuesday, in my Public Safety and Human Services Committee, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) presented the 2021 Seattle All-Hazards Mitigation Plan update, you can see the draft plan here and their presentation here.

The All-Hazards Mitigation Plan is the City’s guiding document for hazard mitigation and a comprehensive strategy for minimizing potential loses and maximizing community resiliency.

Last November OEM released a community survey to gauge community perceptions of hazards and priorities  for the All-Hazards Mitigation Plan:

The All-Hazards Mitigation Plan is updated every five years and includes evolving information on community led investments, adjustments to reflect values, cooperation with other major citywide plans, and additional departmental engagement.

Once the draft plan is approved by the Mayor the Council will take action which will allow for final review by the Washington State Emergency Management Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). I expect the Council will consider this plan later this year.

Share


Gun Violence Awareness Day; New South Delridge Farmers’ Market Starts June 12; Critical Support for Residents in Proposed Seattle Rescue Plan; West Seattle Bridge Detour Route Traffic Volumes/Travel Times; SPD Budget Vote; COVID Update: Last Chance to Get Vaccinated at 2801 SW Thistle; Renters’ Rights Forum – June 8, 5:30pm

June 4th, 2021

Gun Violence Awareness Day Proclamation

June 4 is the observance of the 7th National Gun Violence Awareness Day.  The Wear Orange campaign begins the weekend of June 4th – 6th, 2021.  The Greater Seattle Moms Demand Action joined the City Council meeting this week to receive a proclamation in recognition.

Orange is the color chosen because it is a bright, bold color that demands to be seen, it is what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves from harm, and it is considered a universal color of caution.  Here’s more of the tragic background on the origins of Wear Orange campaign:

Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 – just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013. After her death, her friends started to Wear Orange to raise awareness about gun violence. And what started with a group of friends on the South Side of Chicago has turned into a nationwide movement to honor the 100 lives cut short and the hundreds more injured by gun violence every day – and to demand action.  Orange expresses our collective hope as a nation– hope for a future free from gun violence, where our movie theaters, our concerts, our places of worship, and our schools are free from gun violence.

In Seattle we ended 2020 with 421 reported incidents of shots fired (up from 332 in 2019, an increase of 89 incidents, a 27% increase).

  • We had 301 incidents of shots fired (evidence/eye witness) in 2020 compared to 235 in 2019 (an increase of 66 incidents, a 28% increase)
  • We had 97 non-fatal injury shooting incidents in 2020 compared to 79 in 2019 (an increase of 18 incidents, a 23% increase)
  • We had 23 fatal shooting incidents in 2020 compared to 18 in 2019 (an increase of 5 incidents, a 28% increase)

“Subduing the pandemic, increasing confidence in the police and justice system, and implementing proven anti-violence strategies will be necessary to achieve a durable peace.” — The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice

On Feb. 1, the commission reported increased violent and property offense rates for 39 cities, including Seattle. The report notes rising crime is cause for alarm but not panic.  The commission reports the pandemic may have placed “individuals under physical, mental, emotional and financial stress” and strained “institutions that respond to violent offenses,” including “community-based groups that productively engage and depend heavily on proactive outreach to at-risk people and places.”

I look forward to an update from the Human Services Department on the Community Safety Capacity Building Request for Proposals soon – representing $12 million in investments to build capacity for community-based groups that do this work to make our communities safer.

Many thanks and much appreciation to Moms Demand Action and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility for their tireless work promoting common sense gun safety laws, like those passed in this year’s State Legislative Session, such as SB 5038, to prohibit the open carry of firearms at public demonstrations local City of Seattle laws adopted to limit gun violence, including requirements to report theft and loss of firearms, taxes on retail sales of firearms and ammunition and regulations for the safe storage of firearms.

New South Delridge Farmers’ Market Starts June 12

I am excited to announce the new monthly farmers’ market in South Delridge opening beginning June 12th.

The farmers’ market will be at Hope Academy, at 9421 18th Avenue SW, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every second Saturday from June through November.

You can find information about participating vendors, becoming a vendor, volunteering and the schedule at the South Delridge Farmers’ Market website.

A goal of the market is small-business development; the majority of vendors are people of color.

 

Critical Support for Residents in Proposed Seattle Rescue Plan

Today, I joined my fellow Councilmembers in considering legislation appropriating $128 million in federal funding to support Seattle residents in building back better from the Covid pandemic.  I am especially heartened by the investments dedicated to trauma-informed, community well-being services in the Seattle Rescue Plan.

Families are struggling to meet the basic needs of their children and  keep food on the table.  Survivors of violence have been cut off from their network of support and crisis services.  A year of isolation and insecurity has taken its toll on the mental health of us all.  This is the “Shadow Pandemic,” with restricted movement, social isolation, and economic insecurity increasing our vulnerability to violence and self-harm.

The proposed “Seattle Rescue Plan” (Council Bills 120093 and 120094) supports investment in distinct categories, including:

  • $1.5 million to address senior isolation and other impacts of the pandemic on older residents, as part of a $7.4 million investment in seniors expected from the state later this summer. Loneliness and social isolation bring increased risk for chronic health problems including dementia (64% increase), stroke (32% increase), and coronary artery disease (29% increase). Social isolation has also been linked to increases in emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and nursing home placements.  A survey of 897 older people sheltering at home during the pandemic found that the prevalence of elder abuse was approximately one of five—an 83.6% increase compared with prevalence estimates before the pandemic.
  • $600,000 for investments in mental health and behavioral health services for individuals, youth, and families. It has been said that “COVID has been like gasoline poured on an already raging fire.” Depression rates have tripled. At the end of 2020, Public Health recorded 42 overdose deaths in a two-week period, the highest number ever documented in King County.  Research indicates a record 1 in 4 people under 30 seriously contemplated taking their own lives during COVID.
  • $600,000 for programs and services for gender-based violence response An April 2020 survey of local organizations addressing gender-based violence showed 56% experienced an increase in the numbers of survivors seeking help, with the severity and complexity of survivors’ needs increasing.  The number of sexual assault survivors requesting help in Seattle has jumped 25% in the past year, and requests for legal advocacy have jumped 33%.  Meanwhile, federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding that supports these services has been cut.
  • $225,000 for diaper distribution to address soaring diaper need. Diaper need is even more closely linked to depression in new moms than hunger.  Diapers cost $80 to $100 per month, and 16% of Seattle families struggle to afford them overall, including 42% of BIPOC families.  Federal assistance programs like SNAP and WIC don’t cover them.    The National Diaper Bank Network reports an 86% increase in the number of diapers distributed to children and families during the pandemic, and they projected that nearly 40% more children are being served by their diaper banks.
  • $690,000 to support restaurants preparing free meals to those in need, while supporting local farms and producers and building long-term local supply chain relationships. Food insecurity has more than doubled during the pandemic; 30% of King County households experienced hunger in the past year, and the impact is even larger among communities of color.

The Rescue Plan also includes $25 million in direct cash assistance prioritized for those disproportionately impacted by the COVID public health crisis.  Families and individuals struggling to survive know best how to put cash assistance to use to get through the end of the pandemic.

We must make these critical investments in services that will directly help the families and individuals hit hardest by COVID, so that not just the City but also its residents can build back better.  Over the next two weeks, Councilmembers will consider amendments to the legislation, which will be discussed at the next Finance & Housing committee meeting on June 15th.  You can sign up to receive the agenda here.

West Seattle Bridge Detour Route Traffic Volumes/Travel Times

Here are the most recent traffic volumes and travel times for District 1 and adjacent areas. Traffic volumes continue to be very high at the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and West Marginal Way, and higher than pre-COVID levels on the South Park and Bridge and WSDOT’s First Avenue South Bridge.

 

SPD Budget Vote

On Monday the Council voted on legislation regarding the SPD budget noted in earlier newsletters. The legislation did not pass; below is my statement about the vote on Council Bill 119981:

“The origins of CB 119981 are in response to a late addition to the 2020 budget. This late 2020 budget increase came after, in August 2020, the Council adopted Resolution 31962, which stated in part that ‘The City Council will not support any budget amendments to increase the SPD’s budget to offset overtime expenditures above the funds budgeted in 2020 or 2021.’

“This bill was about accountability, not about a number. I am disappointed that this Council today didn’t vote to support the objective of this bill which was to exercise fiscal oversight of the Seattle Police Department while simultaneously funding important public safety investments in areas where there was broad agreement and heeding the authority of the Consent Decree in these matters where the court is suggesting our actions overlap with Consent Decree obligations.

“We are also missing a chance to fund staffing for public disclosure response positions, as recommended by the City Auditor in his 2015 report on Police or funding for evidence storage in the Department of Finance and Administrative Services as recommended by the Office of the Inspector General.

“Above all, today’s vote is significant in that there will be no accountability over the SPD budget for overtime spending to police protests in 2020. Over the summer and fall budget cycles, the Council listened to people calling for a 50% cut to the SPD budget as well as people who opposed it, and we demonstrated that we can listen to multiple voices in our City and compromise to meet our objective to redefine public safety in our city.  This ability to listen to multiple voices is critical to change moving forward.

“With today’s vote we are allowing both those who don’t want us to exercise oversight of SPD’s budget as well as those who advocate for an all or nothing approach to revert us back to the status quo.”

 

COVID Update:  Last Chance to Get Vaccinated at 2801 SW Thistle

If you’re still looking for your first or second Covid vaccine shot, head to the City-run vaccination site at 2801 SW Thistle by June 9th.  You can make an appointment in advance, or just show up anytime Monday through Saturday between 9am and 4pm.  The last shot will be given at this site at 4pm on June 9th!

After June 9th, you’ll still have plenty of options to get vaccinated – so don’t fear if you miss out at the SW Thistle site!

  • The City will continue to operate its drive-through vaccination site in SoDo throughout the summer. Just head to 3820 6th Ave S, Seattle 98108, open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Saturday.
  • This map has links to authorized vaccine providers in District 1 – click through to discover if they have vaccination available.
  • Or try texting:

All students who need either their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are welcome at Seattle Public Schools’ vaccine clinics this June!  Parental consent for minors is required. Learn more at bit.ly/tcsvax.

Governor Jay Inslee just announced a lottery of incentive prizes for vaccinated Washingtonians.  No action needed to be eligible – just get your shots!

 

Renters’ Rights Forum – June 8, 5:30pm

Without additional action to extend the eviction moratorium, at the end of this month, June 30, the eviction moratorium is slated to come to an end. It is crucial to know your rights as a renter and the resources available to assist you.

Five commissions – Immigrant and Refugee Commission, Human Rights Commission, Disability Commission, Women’s Commission, and LGBTQ+ Commission are hosting a forum to help ensure renters understand their rights and options.

ASL interpreters will be available in-person and virtually. In-person attendance is limited, so register here as soon as possible.

Share


Reflections on the 1 Year Commemoration of the Murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officers; Covid Updates – West Seattle Covid Site Changes, Free Rides to Vaccinations, A Shot & A Beer; Office of Police Accountability 2020 Annual report; Stronger Protections for Small Business and Nonprofit Tenants; Proclamation Celebrating Landmark Civil Rights Legislation; 911 Dispatch Transferred from SPD; King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program

May 28th, 2021

Reflections on the 1 Year Commemoration of the Murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officers

May 25th marked the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. I made the following comments at the beginning of the Public Safety and Human Services committee the morning of the 25th:

The Seattle Times ran a column by K. Ward Cummings this week about the risk of the pendulum of support for the Black Lives Matter movement swinging towards the status quo based on the history of that occurring when past generations have called for justice for Black Americans.   He wrote:  “Like freedom, selfishness is a foundation stone of the American experience. Our history is one long pattern of certain people satisfying their selfish needs at the expense of a selected few — beginning with a dispossession of the Indigenous peoples and then the exploitation of enslaved Africans. The observant learn quickly that racial justice in America arrives and recedes like the sweep of a pendulum: out toward justice for a time and then back again toward selfishness.”

The risk of that is seen in our efforts in Seattle this year too.  My SPD budget bill may be one such example.  I’m trying to forge a compromise that sticks to our commitment to hold SPD accountable for 2020 excessive overtime spending to police protests. My bill includes a nearly $3 million dollar reduction in SPD spending and it’s opposed by some on the Council because it’s not the full $5.4 million and opposed by others because it’s any cut at all.  Despite the fact that SPD will have $13 million in salary savings available in its 2021 budget, and additional funds from a proviso release.  To me this is an example of a loss of urgency in City Hall to find ways to reallocate funds from the SPD budget towards other public safety investments and it signals that the pendulum is swinging back to the status quo, away from the unity the Council has had over the last year on our efforts.  Another example is the unraveling of the Council’s unified position from the fall on moving SPD’s Parking Enforcement Officers into the new Community Safety and Communications Center in support of the PEO 100 worker, majority BIPOC, workforce vision of community safety and mostly in response to the Durkan administration’s lobbying.

Last summer we asked the court to maintain the consent decree in the face of outsized police response to mostly peaceful protests, and now we are faced with a consent decree that is a barrier to passage of policy regulating the use of weapons like blast balls and tear gas.  And a consent decree that is a barrier as well to the Council fulfilling our commitment to reduce SPD’s budget to hold them accountable for unauthorized overtime spending beyond the budget authority granted by the Council and using those funds for other pressing public safety needs.

We were asked last summer for the City to withdraw the City’s lawsuit opposing King County’s new inquest process.  We did so and today families still waiting for inquests still don’t have answers.

But we must also recognize our accomplishments.

Here are steps the City Council has taken in the past year:

Policing Alternatives:

  • Expanding Health One to create three response teams to allow firefighters & social workers to respond to more 911 calls and lessen police responses. Adding crisis counseling to support our first responders’ mental health. Health 2 came online in April, and Health 3 will launch in August.
  • The Council created the Community Safety and Communication Center, where just yesterday we transferred our 911 dispatchers out of SPD. This is a big step forward in recalibrating our dispatch efforts to things that are not sworn officers. The Council is still considering the transfer of PEOs from SPD to the CSCC where we’ve seen over 100 PEOs, many of whom have called in to Council meetings to share their workforce-drive vision for taking on work that’s currently done by sworn officers, but should not be. Responding to non-injury collisions for example.
  • Reducing our reliance on incarceration by redirecting $18 million from this year and next in the King County Jail contract to community-based health and housing programs that promote upstream safety and health.
  • Investing $4 million to launch the Seattle Community Safety Initiative: three community safety hubs and wraparound services in the Central District, Southeast and West Seattle
  • Investing $12 million to build the capacity of community-based organizations working to build safety from the ground up in our neighborhoods, including ending violence and reducing crime
  • Moving SPD’s Victim Advocacy Team, for crisis response, to the Human Services Department
  • Restoring $1 million to the Office of Civil Rights for grants to organizations pursuing alternatives to or addressing harms caused by the criminal legal system
  • Transferring Mental Health Professionals on SPD’s Crisis Response Unit to the Human Services Department, to respond to behavioral health crises
  • Investing $1 million to expand neighborhood-based teams of mental health, medical, substance use disorder professionals to respond to individuals experiencing chronic or acute behavioral health issues, particularly people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
  • Funding a restorative justice pilot program in Seattle Public Schools
  • Adding a crisis counselor to Seattle Fire Department to increase positive interactions with persons in crisis or suffering with mental illness.
  • Allocating $30 million for a Participatory Budget process to increase civic engagement and inform future policy-making, and make investments to address build community safety, based on research and recommendations from the Black Brilliance Project

Policing Accountability

Seattle City Council took these votes to pass these laws and enact this funding, but it was all made possible by the voices and sustained action of thousands of people who made it clear – day after day, in the middle of a pandemic no less – that community safety can not be achieved without a fundamental restructuring of our City’s response to crisis calls, and non-police alternatives to people in crisis.

It is appropriate that, on this day, we hear from our Office of Police Accountability about their work over the past year.  Director Myerberg himself has said that OPA isn’t perfect. In fact, he says changes are needed to keep improving accountability systems both locally and statewide.  Hearing his report, together with the recommendation of the Office of the Inspector General and the Community Police Commission is part of improving an imperfect system of accountability.

I want to honor the life of George Floyd this morning but also recognize the deaths of Shaun Fuhr, Terry Caver, Derek Hayden, and Gregory Taylor at the hands of Seattle police officers over the last year.

Covid Updates – West Seattle Covid Site Changes, Free Rides to Vaccinations, A Shot & A Beer

June 9th is Final Day for Vaccinations at West Seattle Site:  This week, the City announced the West Seattle Community Vaccination Hub at 2801 SW Thistle St. will stop offering vaccinations after Wednesday, June 9th.  If you still need your first or second shot, make an appointment online now or call (206) 684-2489.

District 1 residents have been vaccination all-stars!  This map from Public Health – Seattle & King County shows that across District 1, nearly 80 percent of residents have started the vaccination process.  Nearly 60 percent are fully vaccinated. This trend leads the national average, and West Seattle and South Park have some of the highest vaccination rates in King County.  Thank you to everyone who has sought out vaccination so far!

Meanwhile, demand for vaccination has dropped off significantly at the West Seattle site, after a temporary surge when 12-15 year-olds became newly eligible.

“The West Seattle site has been important to the City’s overall strategy for providing testing and vaccine access in the fight against the pandemic; but now, vaccines are more readily available through pharmacies and medical clinics,” said Seattle Fire Department Acting Captain Brian Wallace. “We have already seen a lot of success at reaching people through pop-ups at sporting events and through business partnerships. This shift allows us to invest more in these outreach efforts.”

SFD Mobile Vaccination Teams (MVT) will focus their efforts in West Seattle on in-school clinics and pop-ups, and vaccinating students and families at eight schools in the West Seattle area as part of the in-school vaccination effort.

Free Rides to Vaccination:  From now until July 4th, you can get a free ride to and from your vaccine appointment from Uber or Lyft.  Just open up your Uber or Lyft app and follow the simple instructions to claim your free ride.

For those who are low-income, a senior, have a disability, or are a veteran, there are several free and low-cost transportation options to vaccine clinics. Just call Hopelink’s Vaccine Helpline at 425-943-6706 (press 5 for language assistance) or visit the Find a Ride website.

A Shot & A Beer:  On Friday, May 28, Seattle Fire Department is bringing the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines directly to District 1’s Good Society Brewery and Future Primitive Brewing.  Along with your vaccination, and Good Society and Future Primitive are offering beer and non-alcoholic drinks on the house to all those vaccinated at the clinic!

Second doses are available with proof of first vaccination, so bring your vaccination card.

Covid Testing Returns to the West Seattle Vaccination Site:  Starting immediately, you can get a free Covid test again at the 2801 SW Thistle Covid site.  Tests are now administered by UW Medicine, with appointments available immediately.  These are self-swab tests where the patient conducts their own test under observation from a health care professional.  Results are provided by UW Medicine within 24-48 hours.

Testing is available regardless of citizenship/immigration status.  COVID-19 tests are free and insurance is not required.  Testing will be available Monday-Saturday from 9am-5:30pm.  Two ways to make an appointment:

  • Click here, then scroll down and click on the West Seattle link, or
  • Call 206-477-3977; in-language services are available over the phone.

Check out KingCounty.gov/Covid/Sites for information about Covid testing, and an updated list of locations offering free Covid tests.

Office of Police Accountability 2020 Annual report

The Office of Police Accountabilty (OPA) has released its 2020 Annual Report. OPA is charged with investigating officer misconduct. The OPA presented the report before the Public Safety and Human Services Committee earlier this week.

At my request OPA Director Myerberg also provided an update about the presence of six police officers in Washington D.C. on January 6:

Myerberg noted the investigation includes in-depth interviews with the involved officers, identification and interview of independent witnesses, collection and review of evidence (e.g., Body Worn Video, In-Car Video, 3rd party video, hotel and meal receipts), and obtaining and reviewing copies of police department reports related to the incident. He noted two supervisors traveled to DC.

In the committee meeting, Myerberg noted the officers involved will be interviewed a second time.

Once the investigation is complete, the investigative file is given to the Director for review and issuance of the case findings. The 180-day deadline for the completion of the investigation is July 5. Myerberg confirmed the investigation is on schedule to meet that deadline.

Below are a few high-level points from the 2020 report.

The report notes a significant number of complaints received between May 29 and June 12 relating to demonstrations. OPA estimates it received at least 19,000 contacts related to protest response during 2020 (13,181 complaints were about a single incident).

OPA opened 773 cases in 2020, classifying 56% of complaints as meriting investigation. Of those, 64% were received from the public. Instead, in past years more than half of investigations were initiated within SPD:

The most common allegations were about professionalism and use of force, with bias-free policing third highest:

Most employees with a complaint had one complaint, though several had more than one:

18% of OPA investigations included one or more sustained finding (some investigations include more than one allegation):

OPA issued sustained findings in 64 cases during 2020, with 114 sustained allegations against 68 employees, with disciplinary action as noted below:

63% of complaints were from the East and West Precincts:

Out of 99 completed investigations arising out of the 2020 protests, OPA has recommended sustaining allegations in 22 of these cases (22%) against a total of 37 SPD employees. Six of the cases involved sustained use-of-force findings; one involved a sustained force reporting violation. Thus far, in 2021, the Chief has overturned 2 of OPA’s findings, notably in the “pink umbrella” case where the OPA sustained finding against the officer for dispersing a crowd and using less lethal force against SPD policy. Between January 1 and March 31, 2021, as a result of OPA’s investigations, the Chief imposed discipline on 34 officers.   A law authored and sponsored by former City Councilmember Nick Licata in 2007, in SMC 3.28.812, requires in those instances when the Chief of Police disagrees with the OPA finding: “If the Chief of Police decides not to follow the OPA’s written recommendation on the disposition of an OPA complaint, the Chief shall make a written statement of the material reasons for the decision.”

The OPA also makes policy recommendations for management actions in the annual report, which are linked here.

Stronger Protections for Small Business and Nonprofit Tenants

On Monday, the City Council approved my legislation, cosponsored by Councilmembers Morales and Lewis, that strengthens tenant protections for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.  With the current commercial eviction moratorium expected to be lifted June 30, it’s essential that small businesses and nonprofits know about these protections, and come to the table to negotiate plans that will protect Seattle’s beloved small businesses and the essential nonprofits who serve their communities.

The legislation ensures that rent installments paid according to a payment plan negotiated between a tenant and landlord cannot be considered “late,” and used against the tenant to break their lease.  This legislation strengthens already-existing protections in Ordinance 126006, which I sponsored and was passed by Council in April 2020 during the early days of the pandemic.  Together, small businesses and nonprofits should expect:

  • Commercial rent control, by way of a moratorium on all rent increases for small businesses and nonprofits, as long as the civil emergency persists
  • Requires lessors to accept late rent paid in installments according to a payment plan during the civil emergency, and for six months following.
    • The parameters of an acceptable payment plan are:
      • Can’t require the small business or nonprofit to pay more than 1/3 of late rent within any month or period
      • All late rent must be repaid within a year of the end of the civil emergency; and
      • No late fees, interest or other charges can be added.

Small business and nonprofit tenants interested in receiving assistance to exercise these protections can contact the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) to learn more, receive technical assistance, and find a lease amendment toolkit.  Call OED at (206) 684-8090 from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email OED at oed@seattle.gov anytime. Translation is available.  OED also maintains lists of resources for businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.

I hope this legislation encourages small businesses, nonprofits, and their landlords to have productive conversations about what it will take to keep the businesses and nonprofits in place, while making their lessors financially whole.

Proclamation Celebrating Landmark Civil Rights Legislation

On Monday, I was honored to present a proclamation, signed by Councilmembers and the Mayor, declaring Tuesday, May 25th to be Education for All Day in Seattle, to Gene Boes, President and CEO of the Northwest Center.

This proclamation acknowledges the 50th anniversary of landmark legislation passed in Washington in 1971: House Bill 90, commonly referred to as the “Education for All Act.”  Education for All was the first law in the nation to grant kids with disabilities access to public education, and it directly inspired what became the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which Congress passed four years later.

I want to thank Northwest Center for their work on this proclamation, and their work every day to promote the independence of people with disabilities.   In particular, thanks to Mary Sheely, and to NW Center founder Janet Taggert, one of the original authors of Washington’s Education for All law.  To learn more about Education For All, check out this video discussion with its authors, reflecting on 50 years of impact.

911 Dispatch Transferred from SPD

During budget deliberation last Fall the Council unanimously passed Ordinance 126233 which established the new Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC) and included the plan to move both 911 dispatch and Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs). On Monday the Council passed CB 120065 which transferred 911 dispatch to the CSCC.

Moving these functions to the CSCC was intended to help reframe how the City provides for community safety and respond to the Council’s interest in exploring expanded duties for the PEOs. The Council’s previous budget actions provided that the CSCC would begin performing the 9-1-1 call center functions by June 1. The legislation also intended PEOs to be moved simultaneously. However, during Full Council on Monday we took action which delayed the PEO move to a future date.

911 dispatch has been called the gatekeeper for the whole criminal justice. 911 training within police departments typically emphasizes a police response.  In 2015, 83 of the 153 unarmed people who were killed by police nationally came into contact with police because of a 911 call. The actions we took on Monday are part of Seattle’s work to develop a crisis response that doesn’t rely on an armed police response.

Next steps will include training and support of 911 dispatch to identify more calls that would benefit from a non-police response, from Seattle Fire Department’s Health 1 and the new (expanded this year) Health 2 unit, or the Mobile Crisis Team program also funded this year to pilot with a law enforcement referral.

King County Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program

King County has announced $145 million in eviction prevention and rental assistance. Applicants will be able to get back rent and has many as three months of future rent for a total of 12 months of assistance. Landlords must agree not to terminate or refuse to renew tenancy until after December 31, 2021, except for special circumstances such as sale of the property or health and safety issues.

If you are a tenant, please go to this link to apply for these funds. If you’re a landlord who’s previously applied for these funds you can check the status here.

Share


COVID Updates: Mask Up Indoors, Vaccines to Students // SW Delridge Encampment Update // Small Biz & Nonprofit Relief // Earthquake Webinar Series

May 24th, 2021

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Update 

Bridge Repair Remains on Schedule for mid-2022 completion 

Last week the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met for the 19th time since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.  

The most important update is that the repair of the West Seattle Bridge remains on schedule for mid-2022 completion (June 30th). SDOT staff indicated that currently they could be a few days, or up to a week, ahead of schedule. 

The latest key schedule milestone is the hiring of a contractor to carry out the repairs of the West Seattle Bridge. On Wednesday, SDOT announced the selection o Kraemer North America. They had the best-scoring proposal based on technical merit, total price, and interview. They were selected from three finalists that were interviewed. Their contract will also include work to rehabilitate the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge.  

Hiring the contractor now is an important step in keeping the schedule on track. SDOT is using the GCCM (General Contractor/Construction Manager Manager) construction method. In GCCM, the contractor is involved in the design, to ensure constructability, and prevent unnecessary schedule delays and expensive contract change orders.  

Hiring now allows the construction contractor to participate in design work moving toward the milestone of 60% design in July. The traditional approach is to complete design first, then bid for a contractor. That takes more time.  

The stabilization of the bridge was completed in late 2020, and stopped the growth of cracks on the bridge; it is performing as expected. Design work for a repair has been proceeding since thenthe Technical Advisory Panel expressed confidence a repair could last 30-40 years. 

The next steps for keeping the project on schedule are listed below 

An issue constituents have asked me about is the visibility of repairs to the bridge.  

Most repairs will be done inside the girders, to strengthen the bridge with high-tension steel cables. This prevents cracking of the bridge. 10 miles of taut steel cable went installed inside the bridge during stabilization. 

During stabilization work, a platform was built below the bridge that allowed work crews to safety access the exterior of the bridge to add carbon fiber wrapping and epoxy. The platform was removed after stabilization was completed.  

Another question that comes up is whether the bridge can be opened for use by emergency vehicles, or other traffic.  

SDOT notes each end of the bridge is locked for safety, and while stabilized, the bridge is not at a level where it can accommodate traffic without risking additional cracking:  

Low bridge access update 

SDOT has now approved 60 users to access the lower bridge who are  receiving lifesaving medical treatments. They are also processing over 600 applications for bridge use. You can apply here if you are an eligible user:  

  • On-call medical workers (traveling to and from an on-call work shift only) 
  • All West Seattle restaurants and retail businesses (limited to urgent trips to pick-up equipment or supplies) 
  • Rideshare vehicles (vans, shuttles or official carpools with a state-issued rideshare license plate; This does NOT include Uber/Lyft) 
  • People traveling to and from lifesaving medical treatments (authorization from your medical provider required) via West Seattle; includes driving to treatments via the Fauntleroy Ferry. 

If you need assistance in completing the application or have questions, you can call (206) 400-7511 and leave a voicemail or email WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov. Provide your name, contact info and language need and someone will return your call. 

Up to 10 roundtrips per month are available to qualifying businesses:  

Additional information about low bridge access is below:  

 

SDOT is monitoring relevant data, including bridge volumes, number of violations, and issues such as how long it takes traffic flow to recover from bridge openings. Daily and monthly permitted trips could be adjusted upwards or downwards based on use of the low bridge.  

Below is a comparison of monthly traffic volumes citywide compared to pre-COVID levels. At the beginning of  the pandemic in Seattle, the left of the chart shows March and April 2020 with a significant drop compared to 2019. 

At the right of the chart, monthly volumes are compared to 2019, since 2020 volumes are within the COVID period. April 2021 volumes were 28% lower than 2019, compared to April 2020 volumes, which were 60% below 2019 levels.  

It’s likely this trend will continue as vaccinations proceed and more re-opening takes place. KC Metro ridership reports lag compared to traffic data, but ridership is increasing as well.  

Work to implement traffic and pedestrian safety Home Zone projects continues in Highland Park, South Park and Georgetown: 

 

 

Here’s a link to the most recent traffic and travel time data, through the week ending May 14. Traffic volumes remain very high at the Highland Park Way and West Marginal Way intersection compared to pre-COVID levels.  

(Note: the Spokane St bridge was out of service on Wednesday, 5/12 from approximately 3:30-5:30 AM. This likely accounts for the dip in total daily bridge volumes for that day). 

 

Covid UpdatesMask Up IndoorsHow to Get Vaccinated; In-Language Vaccine Helplines; Vaccinations for Schoolkids 

Mask Up Indoors in King County  On Thursday, King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin issued a new Directive concerning masks.  Everyone age 5 and over – regardless of vaccination status –  must wear masks while inside places that are open to the public, such as grocery stores and restaurants:   

Everyone 5-years of age and older in King County should continue to wear a face covering within indoor public spaces (including retail, grocery stores, government buildings, and other businesses and places where members of the public can enter freely), unless a state-approved method is used to assure that all people allowed inside have been fully vaccinated. Everyone in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, schools, public transportation, and certain health care settings, including doctor’s offices, long-term care, and hospitals must also wear a well-fitted mask. 

You can read Dr. Duchin’s answers to frequent questions about the Directive here.   

The Directive will remain in effect until 70% or more of King County residents 16 years of age and older are fully vaccinated – expected in late June.   

Last week, Governor Inslee announced we are working toward a statewide reopening date of June 30th.  It could be even earlier If 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination before then.  Let’s mask up and vaccinate – the end is in sight! 

How to Get Vaccinated:  Vaccination is now available for everyone 12 years old and over!  If you’re still looking for your first or second dose, try this: 

You can also visit the City’s mass vaccination sites – including the West Seattle site at 2801 SW Thistle – with or without an appointment.  Learn more at www.Seattle.gov/Vaccine, or call the Customer Service Bureau at (206) 684-2489. 

In-Language Vaccine Helplines:  Community-based organizations are operating COVID-19 Vaccine Community Helplines for immigrant and refugee residents who are limited English proficient and/or have limited access to the Internet.  Available languages:  

Amharic  |  አምሃሪ  Arabic  |  عربى  Cantonese Chinese  |  廣東話 
Korean  |  한국어  Mandarin Chinese  |  普通话  Somali  |  Soomaali 
Spanish  |  Español  Tigrinya  |  ትግርኛ  Vietnamese  |  Tiếng Việt 

 

Vaccines for Schoolkids:  Seattle Fire Department is offering vaccination clinics for schoolkids, with a goal of vaccinating all students 12 and older before the school year ends:  

  • If your student attends an SPS middle or high school, or a charter school, SFD will offer in-school vaccinations during the school week. More information here. 
  • If your student attends a private school, they can attend pop-up vaccination clinics SFD is hosting at private schools across Seattle. More information here   
  • Next Wednesday, May 26th, they’ll be in District 1 at Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School (9615 20th Ave SW, WA 98106) from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Learn more here. 
  • If neither of the above opportunities work for your family, you can walk into our family-focused clinics at the Lumen Field Event Center tomorrow, May 19, and Saturday, May 22, or the family-focused pop-up clinic at Franklin High School on May 22. More information here. 


SW Delridge Encampment Update 

Over the past several months, I have been in communication with a number of concerned residents, business owners, and workers about an encampment obstructing the sidewalks on SW Delridge near 16th.  As of this week, most residents have accepted referrals into safe shelters from CoLEAD, or agreed to move their tents.   SPU has worked to clear away debris and arrange for the sidewalk to be cleaned.   

This positive outcome is the result of many people and teams working together, including homeless outreach workers with REACH, who provided survival items, referrals to services, and built relationships with encampment residents and local business owners; Seattle Public Utilities, who provided weekly trash collection services at my request starting in early March; NeighborCare, who sent nurses to the site; local business owners, who provided meals, purchased sharps disposal containers and contracted for augmented garbage pick up at their own expense, were willing to work towards a positive outcome for encampment residents as well as address their own concerns; and HOPE team-contracted outreach workers, who provided several shelter referrals early on.  I deeply appreciate all their efforts. 

Though the City had posted the encampment for removal, as reported by PublicCola last week, a “new outbreak of an unspecified gastrointestinal illness temporarily halted a planned sweep at a homeless encampment near White Center this week, after King County Public Health recommended strongly against uprooting people with severe symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. 

In my own inquiries about the outcomes of city contracted outreach providers working with the City’s HOPE team, I also received concerning reports that there is a lack of clear communication from the City’s HOPE Team about shelter referrals, and it is difficult to get encampment residents prioritized for safe shelter.  The key to successful outreach is the ability to provide safe shelter referrals and build relationships and trust over time.   

In light of these problems placing people prioritized for help by outreach workers into indoor alternatives that the City gatekeeps, and in the hope of avoiding an encampment removal when people had nowhere to go, I began to work with CoLEAD, bringing a new level of resources to the encampment residents reportedly not previously available with HOPE team engagement.  CoLEAD provides intensive outreach, services, and housing to people living unsheltered who have historically been contacted by police and often arrested and taken to jail for crimes of poverty and criminalization of substance use and homelessness.   

 The key to successful outreach is the ability to build relationships and trust and provide safe shelter referrals.  The HOPE team is a new approach to encampment management that I negotiated last year along with Councilmembers Lewis and Morales; the Mayor’s Office; and homelessness outreach providers, which focuses on problem-solving in order to achieve:  

  • fewer encampment removals;  
  • more voluntary compliance and good neighbor activities to address hazards and concerns;  
  • improved health and safety for people living in encampments, their housed neighbors, and people who work nearby.  

This example of the HOPE team South Delridge encampment demonstrates that we need to ensure that City-contracted outreach workers who are paired with the City’s HOPE team have access to precious housing resources controlled by the City.  I will continue my work with City departments to ensure that shelter referral priorities can be better executed.    

Council Adopts Bridge/Transportation Infrastructure Amendments 

Last week the City Council approved legislation that directs SDOT to provide the Council with a list of transportation projects by September 30 that could be funded by $100 million in bond financing in 2022, with a minimum of 75% devoted to bridge maintenance or repair. Funding would be provided by the existing $20 vehicle license fee.  

This follows from the City Auditor’s report on the condition of Seattle’s bridges released in September, which noted the inadequacy of maintenance funding for the long-term health of the bridges we depend on in Seattle.  

On April 23, I joined Councilmembers Pedersen, Lewis and Mosqueda in co-sponsoring a proposal for $100 million in bonds for multimodal bridges and other transportation infrastructure needs by leveraging the new $20 vehicle license fee, with at least 75% dedicated to bridges. The amendment was adopted in the Transportation and Utilities Committee, with Councilmember Juarez joining as a co-sponsor.  

This schedule allows for consideration during the 2022 budget process, working toward a 2022 bond sale. The Council generally approves a bond sale in November for the following year. Last year the Council approved $212 million in bonds for 2021 that included $100 million for the West Seattle Bridge.   

At the May 5 committee meeting an amendment from Councilmember Strauss was adopted. The above language remains (i.e. at least 75% toward bridges), with an additional sentence  noting the project list should include schedule and when bonds would be necessary.   

The Strauss amendment removed a non-enforceable recital expressing intent to dedicate 75% to bridge funding. While that isn’t ideal, recitals are statements of intent only. By contrast, the direction to SDOT to provide a project list at least  75% for bridge funding is not optional—it is clear direction, and needed for a bond sale.  

That amendment resulted in a unanimous Council vote in support of the amendment.  An earlier proposal I co-sponsored to dedicate vehicle license funds to bridge maintenance was voted down by a 5-4 vote, so passage wasn’t 100% assured. Getting the list for consideration during the budget process that begins in September is what’s most critical.  

A bond sale requires three things: 1) a funding source; 2) a project list and 3) a Council vote in support. . 

Last year’s bond sale legislation, includes a project list. The fiscal note includes the projects and funding sources; both are needed for bond sales. Projects identified in the bond sale legislation would need to be incorporated into the 2022 city budget—which requires six votes to pass.  

The Council will be receiving a project list, and has identified funding, so everything needed for a bond sale that was in place from the previous amendment remains in place heading in to the budget process.  My commitment to a bond sale remains. 

In 2021, recommendations of the stakeholder committee would be funded, with resources going to  Sidewalk Safety Repair, Vision Zero, ADA spot improvements, and Major Maintenance of Capital Structures. 

SPD Budget Bill 

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee voted on the Seattle Police Department budget bill described in earlier newsletters on March 26 and February 26 

After the committee passed amendments on March 23rd, further action was delayed, as the Monitor overseeing the Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice had asked SPD a series of questions. After SPD replied, the Monitor expressed interest in ensuring funding would be available for training and patrol, and in funding levels for SPD.  

Consequently, I proposed an additional amendment that was adopted by a 3-2 vote at the May 11 committee meeting. It recognizes salary savings and funds from released provisos can be used for patrol and training, items the Monitor identified as important. The amendment releases an additional $2.5 million in funding to SPD, for a total of $7.5 million from funds that are held in provisos that SPD otherwise would not be authorized to spend. Provisos are budget actions the Council takes that prohibit spending by a department (but don’t technically remove the funds from the department budget). Council Central Staff estimates potential salary savings from vacant positions, could be as high as $13 million. 

From amendments adopted on March 23rd, the bill would reduce the SPD budget by $2.8 million, directing $800,000 toward police-related spending such as evidence storage (as recommended by the Inspector General), public disclosure (as recommended by City Auditor), and crisis responders in the Human Services Department.  It also directs $2 million to the participatory budgeting process to fund recommended priorities including crisis response alternatives, violence interruption, harm reduction proposals, and community-based emergency services. 

Additional amendments on March 23rd  funded $5.4 million in priorities SPD identified to ameliorate in the staffing shortage in a March 9 presentation I invited them to give to the committee. Funds would go for civilian positions, such as Community Service Officers and Crime Prevention Coordinators, and technology investments.  

The main bill was voted out of committee, though with two “yes” votes and three “no” votes. As such it goes to the Full Council with a “do not pass” recommendation.  

If this bill is not approved by the Council, the result will be that $7.5 million in 2021 funds will be  unavailable to SPD; the additional spending to ameliorate the officer staffing shortage will not be approved, funding to address the City Auditor’s recommendations relating to SPD public disclosure requests, and funding to address the Office of the Inspector General’s recommendations for additional evidence storage capacity will not be authorized, and no new additional funds will be authorized for participatory budgeting.  

I have shared the details of the legislation with the Monitor. 

May is Older Americans Month and Better Hearing Month 

Last Friday, I was honored to present two proclamations to members of the King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, declaring May to be Older Americans Month and Better Hearing Month.   

I’ve been particularly concerned about the unique impact of the coronavirus on older residents over the past year.  I’ve heard from those who are struggling with the isolation required to combat the pandemic, and the mental health impacts of that isolation and fear.  Overnight, so much of our world moved online – from finding a vaccine appointment to checking out library items to Zoom visits with family and friends.  That’s not easy to access for many older residents, for a whole host of reasons.   It takes special care to make sure that older residents are not left out and left behind during the pandemic.   

Thanks to the King County Advisory Council, and to everyone who works to call attention to hearing loss, and to make our community a better place for older residents.  You can learn more about hearing loss here.   

Small Business & Nonprofit Relief:  Culturally Relevant Technical Assistance; May 31st Deadline for PPP; $10M for Arts and Nonprofits 

Culturally Relevant Technical Assistance:  Is your small business or nonprofit looking for help 

  • Finding and applying for resources, whether you are open or closed? 
  • Accessing translation assistance? 
  • Navigating local, state and federal resources? 
  • Planning for recovery and safe re-opening? 

If “yes”, please click here to find a Commerce Small Business Resiliency Network member organization for free assistance.  They are trusted community messengers who provide culturally relevant assistance for business owners and organizations affected by COVID-19. 

 

PPP Application Deadline May 31:  The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers forgivable loans to small businesses impacted by COVID. The application deadline is May 31. Need help applying? Contact the Office of Economic Development at 206-684-8090 or OED@seattle.gov. Bilingual assistance is available! 

Learn about the PPP and other state and federal relief programs for small businesses and nonprofits here.   

$10M for Arts & Nonprofits:  Apply now for $10 million in grants to help community organizations across the state that have been impacted by the pandemic. The Nonprofit Community Relief grant program focuses on arts, culture, science and heritage nonprofits, as well as organizations whose primary mission is to serve veterans, neighborhood organizations and sports and recreation programs for adults and/or children.  Learn more and apply here  

Earthquake Response Webinar Series 

The Seattle Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is hosting a series of webinars focused on the City’s earthquake response plans and has asked that this information be shared.  

The first webinar will be held on May 27and will be a high level overview of how the City prioritizes and coordinates during response to a major earthquake. The four subsequent webinars will occur from June through September and will dive deeper into individual areas of the response including firefighting, mass care, and utility and transportation restoration. Each webinar will also highlight how individual and neighborhood preparedness efforts tie into the overall response.  

All webinars are open to the public and will include captioning in Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. All sessions will include a Q&A session at the end, and will be recorded and posted to the Seattle OEM YouTube channelRegistration is not required, but participants can register to receive a confirmation email, calendar appointment, and event reminders. View the full schedule on OEM’s events calendar or see session information below. 

 

Share


COVID –19 Updates: No Vaccine Appointment Needed; South Park Plaza Redesign Survey; Immigrant Relief Fund Applications Open Until May 15; Apply for a Federal Restaurant Revitalization Award; Rental Assistance for Landlords; Public Hearing on Federal ARPA Funds; SPU Strategic Business Plan; Alki Point Stay Healthy Street; Reconnect West Seattle Quarterly Report

May 7th, 2021

COVID –19 Updates: No Vaccine Appointment Needed; Vaccination Progress; Free Transportation for Vaccines

No Appointment Needed:  It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  Now you can just walk up – no appointment needed – at the West Seattle, Rainier Beach, or Lumen Field vaccination sites runs by the City.  The address and hours of operation at these three City vaccination sites are as follows:

  • West Seattle Vaccination Hub: 2801 SW Thistle St., Seattle, WA 98126; Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Lumen Field Event Center: 330 S Royal Brougham Way, Seattle, WA 98134; Wednesdays and Saturdays, 11:15 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.
  • Rainier Beach Vaccination Hub: 8702 Seward Park Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118; Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

If you prefer to schedule ahead of time, just click here to book an appointment at the City’s four vaccination sites, including in West Seattle.  Both first and second doses are available – even if you got your first shot somewhere else.

Safeway, CVS, and Albertsons pharmacies announced this week that they will provide vaccination without appointments as well.  If you’d like to be vaccinated at another District 1 location, it might be worth asking if they will provide walk-in vaccination.  Find locations and links to more information at the map below.

Vaccine Progress:  As of April 30, an estimated 68 percent of Seattle residents had begun the vaccination process, and 41 percent are fully vaccinated.  Citywide, 97% of people who get their initial vaccine dose return for their second dose!  District 1 residents are keeping pace, with between 96-97% of residents completing their vaccinations.  Thanks, everyone!

Free Transportation to Vaccine Clinics: For those who are low-income, a senior, have a disability, or are a veteran, there are several free and low-cost transportation options to vaccine clinics. Just call Hopelink’s Vaccine Helpline at 425-943-6706 (press 5 for language assistance) or visit the Find a Ride website.

South Park Plaza Redesign Survey

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to participate in the future of South Park Plaza site by reviewing the schematic design and taking this short survey.

To participate in planning and incorporating cultural elements in the design, take the survey and sign up for a focus group. For more information about the project please visit here.   For additional questions or if you need an interpreter or accommodations please contact Jay Rood at Jay.rood@seattle.gov.

Immigrant Relief Fund Applications Open Until May 15

If you’re an immigrant experiencing hard times because of COVID-19, and you aren’t eligible for federal financial relief or unemployment insurance, this fund is for you.  Apply for the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund and receive a $1,000 one-time direct payment.  Apply by May 15!

Si usted es inmigrante y está atravesando un momento difícil causado por el Coronavirus, y no puede recibir los fondos federales de asistencia financiera o seguro por desempleo por su estado migratorio, este fondo es para usted.  Presente una solicitud al Fondo de Asistencia debido al Coronavirus para Inmigrantes de Washington, y podría recibir un pago único y directo de $1,000 por persona que califique.  ¡Presenta tu aplicación antes del 15 de mayo!

  • Applications are available in Spanish, English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean here.
  • Interpreters are available in many languages to help you over the phone at 1-844-724-3737 (open every day, 6AM-9PM).
  • You can get help applying from these organizations in many languages.
  • Learn more at immigrantreliefwa.org


Apply for a Federal Restaurant Revitalization Award

The United States Small Business Administration is opening up applications to eligible businesses for up to $5 million in funding per location, not to exceed $10 million total, from the Restaurant Revitilization Fund (RRF).  The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) encourages all eligible applicants to submit applications as soon as the portal opens.

RRF applications must be submitted in English or Spanish. For more information, visit sba.gov/restaurants or this SBA announcement.  Para obtener información en español, visite sba.gov/restaurantes.

OED will also provide technical assistance including accounting consultation for microbusinesses. Email OED at oed@seattle.gov or call 206-684-8090 for more information. Bilingual assistance is available in Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Thai, Tigrinya and Vietnamese.

Rental Assistance for Landlords

Landlords with at least five tenants behind on rent can now enroll in King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program.  With $145 million in funding from the Federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), this program will help landlords and tenants in King County who are struggling with overdue rent.  Landlords can learn more and enroll here.

If you are a tenant who needs help paying rent, sign up to receive notifications from the County.  The tenant program is scheduled to open for applications on May 17th.

Public Hearing on Federal ARPA Funds

On May 4th, I joined my colleagues on the Finance & Housing Committee for a public hearing on the best use of $119 million City expects to relieve in the first round of funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  I appreciate the many individuals who took the time to sign up and advocate for the best way to provide relief and support with these funds.

Sarah Cody Roth of District 1’s own Westside Baby, and Ella McRae of Seattle Housing Authority, provided powerful testimony about the increasing need for diapers that is forcing new parents into agonizing choices between their child staying in wet diapers or paying for food – and pointed out that federal income supports for low income families can’t be used to purchase diapers.  Ella said a Housing Authority resident told her: “We need diapers more than we need food.”

Members of the public also advocated for resources for survivors of gender-based violence, for people struggling to survive unsheltered, for small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, and to invest in Black communities.  Thank you to everyone who participated.

Council will discuss specific spending proposals for ARPA dollars at the May 18th Finance & Housing committee meeting.  You can sign up to receive the agenda here.

SPU Strategic Business Plan

At Wednesday’s Transportation and Utility Committee meeting we voted to support the new Seattle Public Utility (SPU) Strategic Business Plan (SBP). The SBP is a six-year outlook and guiding document for the utility.  It is adjusted every three years to reflect the most accurate information about projects and costs and the utility rates needed to support those project costs. The process begins with a nine member, all volunteer Customer Review Panel (CRP). They are appointed to act as the voice of the utility rate paying customers during the planning and development stages of the SBP.

This update to the SBP was discussed twice in committee last month, and is now headed to Full Council on Monday, May 10.

The proposed rate path in this SBP is a full precent lower than the previously adopted plan. The increase of 4.2% includes inflation which is anticipated at 2.6%; however, there are increasing operational and capital expenses such as labor and healthcare costs for SPU workers, and increasing prices for concrete and lumber respectively. Additionally, there are contractual obligations with King County for sewage treatment. These costs are rising quickly as well and contribute to the overall 4.2% projected increase over the next six years.

I would encourage you, if you are interested in more detail, to see the presentations from SPU, the CRP, and our own Central Staff.

Alki Point Stay Healthy Street

Many constituents have reached out to me regarding the Alki Point Keep it Moving Street.  I want to share more broadly the work that has been done.

“Keep it Moving Streets” are streets selected to increase outdoor exercise opportunities for people to bike and walk in the road for areas with limited open space options, low car ownership, and routes connecting people to essential services and food take out. Local traffic is still allowed on the streets.

The vast majority of people contacting me are very interested in making the Alki Keep it Moving Street a permanent “Stay Healthy Street” which would result in roads being closed to through traffic. Neighbors have surveyed users of the Keep it Moving Street over the last few months. You can see some of their results in the graph below.

Additionally, released as part of the SDOT Stay Healthy Streets Online Survey most people used the Alki Point Keep it Moving Street than any other.

The Seattle Department of Transportation is considering five possible outcomes for Alki Point:

  1. Return to previous street operation
  2. Convert to a neighborhood greenway, changes would include:
    1. Stop signs at intersecting streets will be added where they currently operate as neighborhood yield intersections (64th Ave SW, Point Pl SW, 64th Pl SW, 64th Ave SW)
    2. Additional traffic calming so that spacing of speed humps and raised crosswalks is approximately every 300 feet. Approximately 3-4 speed humps or speed cushions would be added.
    3. Connectivity to the citywide bicycle network would be enhanced through the addition of sharrow pavement markings and wayfinding signs.
  3. Upgrade to a permanent Stay Healthy Street, changes would include:
    1. All of the neighborhood greenway enhancements listed above
    2. Street Closed and Stay Healthy Street signs at every intersection with durable materials
  4. Upgrade neighborhood greenway with additional space for walking adjacent to beachside curb.
    1. All of the neighborhood greenway enhancements listed above
    2. Removal of parking and delineation (tuff curb and post) of additional space for walking adjacent to the existing sidewalk adjacent to the beach
    3. Increased space for walking would be adjacent to park beach only, not continuous where buildings are between roadway and beach.
  5. Convert street to operate as one-way northbound for vehicles, providing shared walking and biking space adjacent to beachside sidewalk
    1. Delineation of a continuous shared walking and biking space adjacent to the existing beachside curb (8’ to 15’ wide)
    2. Continuous shared walking and biking space would connect from the existing Alki Trail to the end of the Alki Point Keep Moving Street.
    3. Adjustment of the roadway to operate as one way northbound for vehicles, preserving parking primarily adjacent to east/south curbs.

SDOT Director Zimbabwe has agreed to maintain the Keep it Moving Street designation for Alki Point until the community engagement process concludes and there is a final determination regarding a permanent configuration. This commitment was further renewed by Director Zimbabwe in a recent email where he confirmed that “Alki Point Keep Moving Street will be maintained over the summer.”

Reconnect West Seattle Quarterly Report

SDOT recently released the a Reconnect WS quarterly update report for the first quarter of 2021. Reconnect West Seattle projects are designed to ameliorate the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. The report includes updates on recent work completed, upcoming work, how SDOT is tracking goals, and a status report on each of the 64 identified projects (the “Home Zones” in Highland Park, South Park and Georgetown are listed as one project each, though they all include  numerous implementation projects).

Here’s SDOT’s blog post update; here’s a link to the report.

Share


Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates; Lower Bridge: Applications Open for Approved New Users; Federal American Rescue Plan Act Funding is Coming – Public Hearing May 4th; Help Is Available for Sexual Assault Survivors; COVID-19 Updates; Vehicle Travel Times Update; Community Police Commission Dashboard; Riba-Free Financing Survey;

May 1st, 2021

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee heard a number of updates earlier this week at the April 27 meeting.

First of all, I invited the Executive to brief the committee about the progress of work to reimagine community safety, and the work of the Interdepartmental Team to implement the Mayor’s “Policing and Community Safety Executive Order to evaluate SPD functions and services and identify areas of SPD response that can be transitioned to civilian or community-based responses.”

The presentation provided updates about investments, transfers of functions such as the Office of Emergency Management, Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs), and the 911 call center, the Seattle University Public Safety Survey, outreach, exploring new models of community safety, and as part of that, the “What Works Cities Sprint.”

Here’s the timetable that the executive noted:

The presentation focused on Community Investments; Functional Transformation, and Fiscal Transparency, with various subcategories.

A final report is targeted for late May, though the timing depends on when reports from outside partners arrive regarding analysis of SPD functions, which includes potential alternative responses to some calls:

We also heard about the implementation of the new Community Safety and Communication Center also required by the 2021 budget.  The new Interim Director, Deputy Chief Chris Lombard, presented. On Monday, the new department accomplished an important milestone when they secured a new Originating Agency Identifier (ORI) number which is required for 911 dispatch to operate.  In May, the Council will consider additional legislation in order to transfer the positions and funds from both 911 Dispatch and the Parking Enforcement Officers.

Several city departments, Council offices, and outside agencies are collaborating in the “What Works Cities” Sprint program to explore alternative emergency response models and gun violence prevention.  SPD, the Human Services Department, the Fire Department, Mayor’s Office and Council (including myself, my staff, and Councilmember Lewis’ office) are participating:

Other cities are participating in this as well. Here’s the workplan:

The committee also received a quarterly update on SPD finance and staffing. During the 2021 budget process, the Council requested monthly updates on finance, staffing, and the use of overtime, and quarterly updates on 911 response.  Council Central Staff is reporting to the committee quarterly to summarize this information.

During the first quarter, SPD has spent under budget:

Overtime use has been lower than during the first quarter of 2020 as compared to last year; when I’ve spoken to Chief Diaz, he has noted he receives daily updates about overtime use.

Use of overtime for events was lower compared to 2019 and 2020; this includes demonstrations. With the COVID pandemic, there have been fewer events this year. The figures for the 2nd quarter in 2020 are higher, after the murder of George Floyd, and resulting demonstrations.

The report notes that SPD staffing is down; the chart shows fully trained officers, and officers in service. More officers than usual have been “out of service” or on leave for a variety of reasons.  You can see below that the gap between “fully trained officers (the blue line) and Officers in Service (the green line) narrows as we advance through 2021 because SPD can project that officers out of service are scheduled to return.

This highlights the importance of the work to re-envision public safety; it’s also important to reduce the workload of officers. Dallas Police Chief Brown noted in 2016, “Every societal failure, we put it on the cops to solve. Not enough mental-health funding, let the cop handle it. Not enough drug-addiction funding, let’s give it to the cops,” he said. “Schools fail, give it to the cops. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems. I just ask other parts of our democracy along with the free press to help us.”

As described in my March 26 blog post, Council legislation currently before the Public Safety and Human Services Committee would provide funding for SPD proposals to hire Community Service Officers, crime prevention coordinators, and technology investments to ameliorate the officer shortage.

Median response times in the first quarter by precinct are up from 2020 (except for the North Precinct).

SPD’s standard for Priority 1 calls is 7 minutes, and 15 for Priority 2. SPD noted in a recent presentation that some priority 2 calls have anomalously long times, and may not have been closed out, but they do not eliminate outliers in their data analysis:

The committee also received an update from the new Safe & Thriving Communities Division within the Human Services Department. HSD Community Safety investments are up 87%. The new division was required by the 2021 budget, to elevate and consolidate the department’s investments in safety and violence prevention. This new division has a budget of $32.2 million, including $10 million in new funds allocated by the City Council.  This division functions as a funder, a direct service provider, and a convener.  Here are some key investments of this new division:

  • Critical Incident Community Responders – operated by the nonprofit Community Passageways and developed jointly between HSD and the Seattle Police Department in response to several shootings in early 2020 as a community-based solution to mitigate and prevent shootings.
  • The Community Safety Program – supporting violence prevention, intervention, and re-entry supports to foster successful transitions to adulthood and safe communities.
  • Gender-Based Violence Services – assisting survivors and those at risk of gender-based violence with community-based services to support and maintain their safety.
  • Prevention & Intervention – assisting survivors and those at risk of domestic violence and sexual assault with education and therapeutic services to maintain their safety.
  • Support Services – providing services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault including shelter, housing, support groups, and legal services.
  • Victim Advocacy – providing direct support to survivors through coordination with the Seattle Police Department, legal system navigation, and social services support to maintain their safety.

Because legislation passed in August 2020 transferred the Seattle Police Department’s Victim Advocacy Team to the Human Services Department, the committee discussion included an update on the efforts to transfer these 11 employees and budget to the new Safe and Thriving Communities Division in HSD.  This team serves crime survivors of 11 different crime types with expertise in the complex trauma needs of each crime type.  Crime Victim Advocates are co-located within SPD Investigative Unit.

There is also a Victim Support Team of more than 60 volunteers to respond on weekends to DV and sexual assault crime scenes at SPD’s request to help provide resources and emergency trauma support.

Lower Bridge: Applications Open for Approved New Users

SDOT has made available applications for use of the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge for new approved user groups. The following user groups can now apply for access to drive on the low bridge:

  1. On-call medical workers (only for traveling to and from an on-call work shift; employer verification required)
  2. West Seattle-based restaurants and retail businesses (limited to urgent trips to pick-up equipment or supplies)
  3. Rideshare vehicles (vans, shuttles or official carpools with a state-issued rideshare license plate; This does not include Uber and Lyft)
  4. People traveling to and from lifesaving medical treatments (authorization from your medical provider required) via West Seattle; includes driving to treatments via the Fauntleroy Ferry.

The low bridge access request application is available at www.seattle.gov/transportation/lowbridge and in the following languages English, Spanish, Korean, Somali, Chinese (Traditional), Vietnamese, Oromo, and Khmer:  English, Español, 繁體中文, 한국어, Tiếng Việt, ភាសាខ្មែរ, Oromiffa, af Soomaali..

If you need language assistance in completing the application or have questions, you can call (206) 400-7511 and leave a voicemail or email WestSeattleBridge@seattle.gov. Provide your name, contact info and language need and someone will return your call.

SDOT notes:  This expanded access is on a temporary and limited basis. People must apply, provide their license plate, meet eligibility requirements, and be approved by SDOT before using the low bridge. Beginning April 10, we’ve extending weekend all access hours. Saturdays and Sundays, low bridge is closed to non-authorized vehicles from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Weekday restrictions will remain 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Applications are processed once per month. Applications must be received by the 15th of the month for access to be granted and begin on the 1st of the following month. Access does not begin immediately after receiving confirmation because license plate information must be processed into the photo enforcement system.

Additional details and background are available the Spokane Street Swing Bridge (Low Bridge) website. Here’s SDOT’s documents re: Frequently Asked Questions, and their Factsheet

Livesaving medical treatment authorization form: English, Español, 繁體中文, af Soomaali, 한국어, Tiếng Việt, Oromiffa, ភាសាខ្មែរ

On-call medical worker form: English, Español, 繁體中文, af Soomaali, 한국어, Tiếng Việt, Oromiffa, ភាសាខ្មែរ

Federal American Rescue Plan Act Funding is Coming; Public Hearing May 4th

You may have heard that the federal government recently passed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  You can read more about ARPA here.  Seattle expects to receive around $239 million from ARPA in direct, flexible dollars that can address the impacts of the pandemic on Seattle residents and workers.  Council will appropriate half the funds now for immediate relief; and the other half this fall for relief in 2022.

In March, Council passed Resolution 31999 in order to outline Council’s spending priorities for federal relief funding expected from ARPA.  It calls for investments in homelessness, housing, economic recovery, and community wellness.  I advocated to include these priorities:

  • Support for seniors experiencing isolation and mental health impacts, and to address barriers for seniors to get vaccinated
  • Help for artists and the arts and entertainment sector, who have been hard hit economically
  • Small businesses financial assistance, including non-profits
  • Addressing diaper need
  • Gender-based violence and hate crime prevention, both of which have spiked due to the pandemic
  • Assistance to small landlords at risk of losing their affordable rental properties

The next step is to consider specific funding proposals for immediate relief aligned with Resolution 31999.  We’ll be doing this work in the Finance & Housing Committee.  Councilmember Mosqueda chairs this committee, and I serve as Vice Chair.  You can sign up to receive committee agendas – it’s a good way to keep informed about Council’s progress appropriating these funds.

If you have ideas for how Council should invest these funds, mark your calendar for the public hearing on May 4th at 5:30pm.  Anyone can sign up to share their ideas and thoughts on ARPA funds.  Learn more about participating in the public hearing.


Help Is Available for Sexual Assault Survivors

On Monday, I presented a proclamation signed by Councilmembers and the Mayor declaring April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  The proclamation recognized the more than 7,100 King County residents of all ages who received help from organizations in 2020 that serve survivors of sexual assault.

Because many survivors don’t feel they will be believed or supported if they speak out, only about one in four actually do report.  Sophia Lee, who accepted the proclamation on behalf of Seattle Women’s Commission, said:

Sexual assault is not only physical abuse, but mental and emotional abuse as well.  We need to believe in survivors and support them.  It is our actions and culture that allow sexual assault to be so pervasive.  We can all do better. 

We can change this — and ensure survivors get the support they need — by ending the silence about sexual assault. We can also take steps to change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors about sexual violence to stop it before it occurs. When parents/caregivers start conversations with the young people in their lives about healthy communications, bodily autonomy, respect, and how to practice consent in everyday interactions, they are taking big steps that protect their child.  As Lesbia Orellana from Consejo Counseling & Referral Service said:

Healing and recovery are possible.  Ending sexual violence is possible.  And everyone has their role to play. 

Help is available for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or needs information. The nonprofit King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) operates a 24-hour Resource Line, at 1-888-99-VOICE, and offers a wealth of resources to help prevent and end sexual violence on its website in both English and Spanish, www.kcsarc.org.

Para ayuda en español, llama al 1.425.282.0324 – atención al cliente en el programa Dando Voz – lunes a viernes de 8am a 5pm.

Special thanks to Tana Yasu and Sophia Lee of Seattle Women’s Commission, Laurel Redden of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, and Lesbia Orellana of Consejo Counseling & Referral Service for their work on the proclamation, and their support for survivors of sexual assault.

COVID-19 Updates:  14,000 Vaccine Doses Available; What You Can Do Once Vaccinated; Fourth Wave

If you are vaccine-eligible but haven’t yet received your first dose, now’s your moment!  This week the City of Seattle received 52,000 doses – three times the amount it had previously received.  That means you can now book your vaccination appointment at the West Seattle site directly.  More than 14,000 appointments are available right now at the West Seattle, Rainier Beach, and Lumen Field sites.

Make an Appointment Now

Anyone 60+ looking for their first dose can just show up at the West Seattle site (2801 SW Thistle Street) without an appointment, Monday through Saturday, 9am to 4pm.  You can even bring a younger friend or neighbor (over age 16) to receive their first dose without an appointment, too.

If you got your first dose out of town, you can now get your second dose at the West Seattle or Rainier Beach sites.  Click here to schedule your 2nd dose.

While there is much good news on the vaccination front, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise steeply.  Public Health – Seattle & King County reports: “The fourth wave of COVID-19 is here and we’re seeing more and more young people suffer from severe disease. Check out this Seattle Times article for more information.”

This week, the federal Centers for Disease Control announced new guidelines on activities once you’re fully vaccinated – that’s two weeks after your final shot.


Vehicle Travel Times Update

Traffic on the South Park Bridge, Roxbury at 15th Ave SW is well above the February 2020 baseline before the arrival of the COVID pandemic in Seattle, and the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.  Traffic on Highland Park Way at West Marginal is 169% of the pre-closure. Travel times on West Marginal during the morning and evening rush hours are taking around twice as long as the February 2020 baseline:


Community Police Commission Recommendations Dashboard Now Online

The Community Police Commission (CPC) announced the release of its Police Accountability Recommendation Tracker (PART).

This new dashboard will track not only the recommendations made by the CPC, the Office of Police Accountability, and the Office of the Inspector General, but also whether SPD has implemented those recommendations.

Here’s information from the CPC in their news release:

  1. The CPC, OIG, and OPA have made a total of 183 recommendations to SPD
    1. SPD concurred with 120 of those recommendation (66%)
    2. Only 61 of those of those combined recommendations have been fully implemented or reported as implemented (33%)
  2. The CPC specifically has made 44 recommendations to SPD
    1. SPD has concurred with just 15 of the CPC’s recommendations (34%)
    2. Only 5 of those have been fully implemented or reported as implemented (11%)

Riba-Free Financing Survey

The Muslim Community Finance Coalition (MCFC) wants to improve access to riba-free (interest free) financing options. If you are a Muslim business owner or know someone who is, MCFC wants to hear from you!  Learn more and fill out three-minute survey.

Share


COVID-19 Updates; Southwest Library Reopening for Indoor Service; Utility EAP Expansion; West Seattle Bridge Rehabilitation: Post-Tensioning; Bridge/Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance Funding Proposal; City & County Repurpose $16 Million from Jail; Sound Transit Realignment Update; City Council Homepage Redesign

April 23rd, 2021

COVID-19 Updates:  New Vaccine Access Programs for 60+; What You Can Do Once You’re Vaccinated; Hospitalizations Rising At a Dangerous Rate

The City has announced two new programs to ensure seniors can get vaccinated quickly at the West Seattle Vaccination Site at 2801 SW Thistle, and the Rainier Beach site.

60+ Just Show Up:  No appointment is needed for anyone aged 60+ at the West Seattle and Rainier Beach vaccination sites.  Just show up anytime Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 2801 SW Thistle St, and you can receive your vaccine shot.

Be a “Good Neighbor”:  Help someone aged 60+ get vaccinated at the West Seattle site, and you can get vaccinated there, too.  Many older adults face technology and/or mobility barriers that make accessing a vaccination appointment difficult.  Think about whether any of your neighbors could use some help getting to a vaccine appointment, and ask if you can help.  Here are the parameters:

  • One patient must be at least 60 years-old, and the other must be at least 16 years-old.
  • Neither patient has received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Neither patient has an appointment.
  • Only one additional person gets vaccinated with the 60 year-old patient.
  • Read the full guidelines here.

City notification list:  You can join the waiting list for the City’s vaccination sites – including in West Seattle at 2801 SW Thistle Street:  click here or call (206) 684-2489.

District 1 vaccine sites:  You can always find state-approved vaccine providers in District 1 – and check if they have appointments available – here.

What can you do when you’re fully vaccinated?  With more residents becoming fully vaccinated – 57% in King County have at least one shot – and the weather beginning to improve, here is updated guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control on safe activities once you’re fully vaccinated:

The CDC also notes: We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.

That’s important advice, because hospitalizations continue to rise at an alarming rate in King County:

Infections doubled:  The estimated percentage of the population with active COVID-19 infections almost doubled between March 1 and April 2, and some unusual trends are emerging, according to the State Department of Health:

  • Case rates are increasing across all ages, except people 70 and older.
  • Data as of April 8 show particularly sharp increases and the highest case counts in people ages 10-49
  • Increases were also recorded in children ages 0-9 and adults ages 50-69.
  • Children ages 0-9 consistently had the lowest case rates until mid-March, but now have higher rates than people 70 and older.

If we don’t take immediate action to stop coronavirus spread, our healthcare workers and hospitals will once again find themselves overtaxed and unable to properly care for all of us – regardless of the reason you seek care.

Our individual actions matter right now.  Please choose to:

  • Wear a mask in public and around unvaccinated people
  • Stay 6 feet apart from people outside your household
  • Avoid groups and crowds
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.


Southwest Library Reopening for Indoor Service

Great news for anyone who has missed their library this past year: starting Tuesday April 27th, the Southwest Branch will be open for indoor service!  The branch will operate at 25% capacity for 90 minute time blocks on Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m.  Precautions such as masks and distancing are required.  The Beacon Hill and Lake City branches will also open for indoor service on the same schedule.  Learn more about how in-building services will operate safely here.

Also on April 27th, the West Seattle branch joins the South Park and High Point branches to offer Curbside Services such as book pickup and return, printing pickup, Grab & Go books, and Peak Picks.  Learn more about Curbside Services here.  Find the hours and services offered at every  library branch here.


Utility EAP Expansion

On Monday the Council voted on CB 120035 and CB 120036 to temporarily expand Seattle City Light’s and Seattle Public Utility’s Emergency Assistance Programs. Typically a customer who meets the income threshold can only access this program once per year, with the passage of this legislation all customers who meet the income threshold will be able to access the program twice per year. This is true even if you’ve utilized the EAP this year, and I confirmed with both utilities that they will be proactively reaching out to customers who’ve accessed the program this year to let them know additional assistance is available.

If you’re in need of assistance, please take advantage of these funds as the expansion is only through the end of 2021.

Additionally, if you are not yet enrolled in the Utility Discount Program, please check this website to see if you qualify.

 

West Seattle Bridge Rehabilitation: Post-Tensioning

One of the key elements for stabilization work done to date, and forthcoming rehabilitation of the West Seattle Bridge, is the installation of new post-tensioning steel cables, which reinforce the bridge structure and help prevent it from cracking. Some cables were included in the original bridge.

In case you haven’t seen the update to SDOT’s West Seattle Bridge Repair website, here’s a visual that shows how it works:

Here’s a visual showing a cross section of the bridge showing where post-tensioning and carbon-fiber wrapping will be located:

Phase 1 in the visual above refers to the stabilization work done to date; Phase 2 is the rehabilitation work currently being designed; the next design threshold is 60%, anticipated for July.

Here’s a side view of where the Phase 1 stabilization work took place:

Here’s where on the bridge span Phase 2 rehabilitation work is planned:

The next design threshold is 60%, expected in July. At that time SDOT will have updated cost estimates and schedule.

 

Bridge/Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance Funding Proposal

On Monday I joined Councilmembers Pedersen, Lewis and Mosqueda in co-sponsoring a proposal for $100 million in bonds for multimodal bridges and other transportation infrastructure needs by leveraging the new $20 vehicle license fee, with at least 75% dedicated to bridges.

The proposal would amend SDOT’s bill (Council Bill 120042) for 2021 spending funded by a $20 annual increase in Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) Vehicle License Fees (VLF) due to the passage of Ordinance 126234 in November 2020.  The amendment would seek to generate $100 million in 2022 through bonding, with at least 75% of the bonds going to fix multimodal bridges. The rest of the funds can be used to leverage other federal or state dollars for other transportation infrastructure such as those proposed in SDOT’s spending plan.

The amendment states:

“The Seattle Department of Transportation Director is directed to provide to Council a list of transportation projects that could be funded by $100 million of bond financing in 2022. At a minimum, the list shall include a title, short description, and cost estimate for each project. The project list shall identify a minimum of $75 million of bridge maintenance, bridge repair, and bridge replacement projects. The project list shall be delivered to Council in writing by September 30, 2021.”

In 2021, recommendations of the stakeholder committee would be funded resources going to: Sidewalk Safety Repair Vision Zero, ADA spot improvements, and Major Maintenance of Capital Structures.

Here’s a link to our statement announcing the proposal; at the committee meeting Councilmember Juarez joined as a co-sponsor.

The proposal was presented in the Transportation and Utilities Committee on Wednesday. The City Auditor’s report on the condition of Seattle’s bridges released in September noted the inadequacy of maintenance funding for the long-term health of the bridges we depend on in Seattle, with our waterways and hills.

The Auditor recommended development of a strategic asset management plan for bridges, and the City should develop and implement strategies to fill the bridge maintenance funding gap.

This proposal begins work on the funding side; here’s a link to SDOT’s presentation in response to the Auditor’s recommendations detailing how they will be implementing the Auditor’s recommendations, to be completed in 2023.

The timeline is important, as I noted during the committee discussion. The most likely City long-term funding source is potential renewal of the Move Seattle Levy in 2024. Elected officials will need accurate cost estimates for bridge maintenance, and when the funds will be needed, to plan for that levy.

SDOT’s November memo demonstrates the need for planning; it lists significant increases in costs to seismically retrofit bridges planned for inclusion in Move Levy work. It includes bridges important to District 1 access on 1st Avenue South and 4th Avenue South over railroad tracks in SODO. I asked about the cost increases compared to the amount programmed in the 2016 levy, and SDOT noted that seismic standards have increased in recent years, and where seismic work is needed below ground, it is more expensive compared to above-ground retrofits.

 

City & County Repurpose $16 Million from Jail

Last year, due to COVID-19, the City and County worked to reduce the number of beds used being used at the jail in order to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus. The city has an $18 million contract with the County that pays for an average daily population of 180 people.  Average Daily Population of the King County jail has been on the decline for years and in 2020 the Average Daily Population of the jail was 85 people.  With continued efforts to divert individuals out of incarceration, 75 ADP is the estimate of what the City Budget Office realistically thinks we’ll be using in 2021.  So why pay for an ADP of 180 people?

Beginning last Fall, in response to SLI CBO-4-A-2, sponsored by Council President Gonzalez, the City and County began negotiations to redirect funds from jail operations. These conversations were also informed by the City and County’s efforts to reimagine public safety and those most who are disproportionately affected by the legal system and incarceration.

The City and County, with representatives from both Councils, the Mayor, and County Executive met several times, and have come to an agreement.

The joint letter, which my staff sent out on Friday, states in part:

“King County and Seattle share a goal to recognize and address the centuries-old cycle—both national and local—in which systemic racism disproportionately impoverishes communities of color and then criminalizes the poverty and poor health of those same communities through racially disproportionate use of incarceration and the criminal legal system. Understanding how systemic racism has impacted communities of color—most clearly in Black/African American and Indigenous communities—through a cycle of underinvestment and disproportionate policing and incarceration, the King County Executive, the Mayor of Seattle, the undersigned members of the King County Council whose districts include the City of Seattle, and the undersigned members of Seattle’s City Council seek to stop and reverse that cycle.

Those three commitments are:

  1. Divestment of $16 million over 2021 and 2022 from jail operations.
  2. Investment of that $16 million for community-based health and housing programs for communities that are disproportionately affected by the legal system and incarceration.
  3. And a commitment to collaboration and transparency – with a Jail Advisory Group to address areas of interest and concern, to consider all recommendations for improvements in jail operations and the services provided to and fees paid by incarcerated individuals, and  to pursue strategies to decrease the average daily jail population

Sound Transit Realignment Update

The Sound Transit Board met on April 22nd, and included additional discussion about potential realignment of ST3 approved projects, including light rail to West Seattle.

A program realignment update presentation lists decision points, but doesn’t include specifics about individual projects, working toward potential action in July.

A letter from Board members King County Councilmember Balducci, Chair of the Expansion Committee,  Mayor Durkan and Executive Constantine advocates for extending the realignment process until July 2022, while taking some near-term actions in 2021.

Sound Transit has posted a public realignment survey.

Share


Health One Expansion; Covid Updates: All Adults Are Vaccine Eligible; Home Vaccination Available; Help With Funeral Expenses; Free Covid Testing; District 1 Transit Updates; Sound Transit Light Rail to Northgate, University District, and Roosevelt to begins October 2nd; SPD Budget Bill delay; EDI Applications Open; Local Parks Facilities Re-Opening

April 16th, 2021

Health One Expansion

The Seattle Fire Department’s Health One program is an integral part of our crisis response and is needed now more than ever. The expansion of this program to include Health Two this week, and Health Three later this year, means that more behavioral health calls can be redirected away from an armed police response towards providers that are better capable of assisting individuals in need.

The Seattle Fire Department previously responded to this type of 911 call with a fully staffed engine, ladder, or aid car. Yet, only half of the time do 911 calls to SFD need that response.  Last week, when I joined Health 1, I was able to experience first-hand how an immediate response by a team of case managers and firefighters was able to better connect an individual with necessary care and services. This was a low-acuity call that just a couple of years ago, without Health One, might have resulted in use of scarce resources that are better focused elsewhere.

Now that we’ve added capacity through Health Two, we need to update our dispatch protocols to expand its use. Currently, most calls for wellness checks and behavioral health crises are still held by the Seattle Police Department. SPD has Crisis Intervention Teams and Crises Response Teams available, Health One provides a needed resource that does not involve sworn officers.

This work is part of the City’s overall strategy that also includes our partnership with King County to fund the Downtown Emergency Service Centers’  Mobile Crisis Team, Council’s support for re-establishing the SPD’s Community Service Officers, and investments in the Seattle Community Safety Initiative and the Critical Incident Responders program operated by Community Passageways as well as $10.4 Million for Community Safety Capacity Building, that I wrote about here, to monitor safety in high-risk areas and respond to incidents of violence in partnership with local law enforcement.

These are all programs to right-size crisis response, so police and fire can refocus their resources to their core functions and reduce the likelihood of the combination of an armed police response and individuals in the throes of Behavioral Health crisis leading to tragic outcomes.

For those of you who’ve asked me whether Health 1 gets to District 1, check out this helpful map.


Covid Updates: All Adults Are Vaccine Eligible; Home Vaccination Available; Help With Funeral Expenses; Free Covid Testing

All adults statewide are now eligible to receive Covid vaccination:

Starting today, everyone 16 and older in Washington is eligible for the Covid vaccine. Vaccine supply is slowly increasing…

… but with an estimated 650,000 people newly eligible in King County, vaccine will still be difficult to find – especially if you’re looking for your first shot.

How to find a vaccine appointment:  Bring your patience, and try these resources:

Discover where you can get the vaccine near you at VaccineLocator.doh.wa.gov.

Join the waiting list for the City’s vaccination sites – including in West Seattle at 2801 SW Thistle Street:  click here or call (206) 684-2489.

You can always find state-approved vaccine providers in District 1 – and check if they have appointments available – here.

Home vaccination now available:  COVID vaccine home visits are available to adults 16 and above in King County who meet these criteria:

  • have not yet been vaccinated
  • have an injury, developmental disability or medical condition that makes it difficult to leave the home
  • for whom it would require considerable and taxing effort to access vaccine outside the home.

Call Seattle’s Customer Service Bureau at (206) 684-2489 Monday through Saturday to request home vaccination and be screened for eligibility.  Interpretation is available.

Help with funeral expenses:  If you lost a loved one to Covid, the federal government can help to pay for funeral expenses.   The pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families.  FEMA is providing financial assistance for Covid-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.  Learn more here, or find Funeral Assistance information in your language:

中文 | Español | Kreyòl Ayisyen | 한국어 | Tiếng Việt |Français | عربي | हिन्दी | Português | Pусский | Tagalog | Bengali

To apply:

Testing is important!  King County and Washington state are on the cusp of a fourth wave of infections:

Whether you call it a surge or a wave, cases and hospitalizations have been climbing at a steady pace since mid-March in King County… We are likely seeing the effects of our increasing activities at the same time that more infectious strains of the virus are spreading.

While so many are still waiting for their vaccination, remember to keep up precautions such as wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds – even if you already have vaccination.

And if you feel sick – get a Covid test!  It’s free at many testing locations around the City and County.

District 1 testing locations:  Public Health just announced that testing will end at the 2801 SW Thistle site, with Saturday 4/17 being the final day.  I have repeatedly advocated with the Mayor’s Office to keep Covid testing available at this location, especially given increasing Covid cases and hospitalizations, and the difficulty of leaving the peninsula for healthcare.  The Mayor’s Office had previously assured me that if the SW Thistle site were to stop testing, they would place a Curative testing kiosk in the near vicinity, similar to the kiosk at Don Armeni.  My office and I just sent this message to the Mayor’s Office:

I was just made aware of a Public Health tweet that confirms closure, without mentioning a new Curative kiosk on/near location.  Is this wise given the warning of a 4th wave?  Can you confirm that a Curative kiosk will go in near that location?  Is there a timeline?

I will continue to advocate for the addition of a testing kiosk near the SW Thistle location.  In the meantime, there are three free, public testing sites on the West Seattle peninsula.  Public Health – Seattle & King County hosts a webpage with lists of public testing locations.

Don Armeni Boat Ramp Curative KioskMake reservations online
 1222 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Neighborcare Health at High Point – Call for appointment: (206) 461-6950
6020 35th Ave SE, Seattle, WA 98126

Sea Mar Community Health Centers at South Park – Call for appointment: (206) 762-3730
8720 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108


District 1 Transit Updates

There are a couple of updates regarding King County Metro transit service.

First of all, Metro will begin gradually increasing passenger limits on buses.

On Saturday, April 17, Metro will allow 40% of pre-COVID capacity (50% seated capacity). This means the passenger limit will move from 12 to 20 riders on 40-foot buses, and from 18 to 30 customers on 60-foot buses.

This increase in load limits is in step with other transit agencies and in line with Governor Inslee’s guidance for public transit agencies. King County entered Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” plan on March 22.

Metro notes that “If conditions allow, our intent is to increase our capacity limits to 70% of pre-COVID levels in early July, or earlier if our county enters Phase 4 sooner. We would then aim to retire reduced capacity levels prior to the service change on October 2.”

Secondly, the West Seattle Water Taxi will begin operating on the Summer sailing schedule beginning on Monday, April 19. The Water Taxi will:

  • Be in service seven days a week from Pier 50 downtown to Seacrest Park in West Seattle
  • Include late evening sailings every Friday and Saturday
  • On weekdays, there will be sailings leaving the dock every 35 minutes during peak commute hours and every hour mid-day

The Water Taxi is accessible by transit; riders can take free Metro shuttles to and from the Water Taxi landing at Seacrest Park. Route 773 serves the West Seattle Junction. Route 775 serves the Admiral District and Alki.

Sound Transit Light Rail to Northgate, University District, and Roosevelt to begins October 2nd

Last week Sound Transit announced the Northgate light rail extension will open to passenger service on October 2nd.

The 4.3 mile extension will include stations in the University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. Sound Transit notes that “Of the 4.3-mile extension, all but 0.8 miles of elevated track at Northgate are located underground.”

Riders from West Seattle and South Park will be able to transfer to light rail in SODO, Chinatown/ID or Downtown to reach these stations. The existing University of Washington station is adjacent to Husky Stadium;  the new U District station will be on Brooklyn Avenue NE between NE 43rd and 45th.

A pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5 from the Northgate station will connect the station to North Seattle College. Installation of the bridge span over I-5 will take place in May.

Extension to the Eastside (including access to Chinatown/ID and Judkins Park) will open in 2023, and Lynnwood and Federal Way in 2024. A Tacoma Hilltop extension will open next year.

SPD Budget Bill Delay

I had tentatively scheduled a discussion and  potential vote on Council Bill 119981  for the April 13 meeting of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee. The committee voted to amend the bill at the March 23rd meeting.

However, the Monitor sent questions to the Seattle Police Department, with direction that the “questions be answered as expeditiously as possible.”

SPD had not answered those questions and the Monitoring Team’s direction was that SPD should respond “prior to further actions by the City on the budget of the Seattle Police Department.”   Because SPD hadn’t answered the Monitor’s questions and we have been directed to not vote before the Monitor’s questions have been answered by SPD, voting at that time would be in conflict with the Monitor’s direction to the Council.

Background on this legislation was included in the  March 26 and February 26 newsletters.

EDI Applications Open

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) – which manages the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) – is now accepting applications for the program. EDI “is an opportunity for Community-based organizations working in Seattle on anti-displacement strategies, responding to creating new economic opportunities, improving educational outcomes, and other forms of community development including responding to the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

There is about $6.8 million that will be dispersed to community-based organizations and applications are due on June 6. For questions, please contact michael.blumson@seattle.gov.

There is one additional webinar on May 24th at 11am for potential applicants to learn more about the process and ask questions of staff.

To learn more about the five District 1 EDI projects, see here:

Hope Academy

Description: Hope Academy is the only East African community-based K-8 school accredited by the WA State Board of Education. HAS serves 120 students and more than 400 East African refugee and immigrant families through their programs. EDI funding is for capacity building and will help secure ownership of the property.  Grant Amount: $338,000

Cultivate South Park

Description: Capacity building and planning to design creative financial models for collective ownership of land in South Park with a focus on wealth creation and preventing displacement for neighbors who have been historically marginalized.  Grant Amount: $50,000

Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition

The DVAHC is making substantial progress with capacity building and their 3-prong approach to combatting displacement.  Grant Amount: $225,000 (3 years capacity building)

  1. Development of New, Affordable Housing
  2. Multi-Purpose Building
  3. Preservation of Low-Cost Market Rate Housing

Duwamish Tribal Services

Goal: Acquire site to the south of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center to develop addition parking and improve safe site ingress and egress.  Grant Amount: $650,000

Refugee and Immigrant Family Center

Description:  The Refugee and Immigrant Family Center (RIFC) is an organization that provides culturally relevant daycare for immigrant and refugee families.  Grant Amount: $815,000

Local Parks Facilities Re-Opening

Many of you have written to me over the past year asking about our beloved parks, and when parks facilities may re-open safely.  This week Seattle Parks & Recreation announced summer re-opening plans for many facilities.  Of particular interest for District 1, these facilities are slated to re-open for the summer:

  • Colman Pool
  • Highland Park spray park
  • Lincoln Park and Delridge wading pools

Find the full announcement here, and the current status of specific facilities here.

Parks & Recreation have not yet announced re-opening dates or timelines – I will pass those along as soon as I hear.  I know how much West Seattle and South Park neighbors have missed your parks facilities!

Share


COVID Updates; West Seattle Bridge Updates, April 12; Grants for Shuttered Venues; Food Resources; Apply to Serve on the Green New Deal Oversight Board

April 12th, 2021

Covid Updates: Hospitalizations Increasing, 16+ Can Pre-Register for City Vaccination, Covid Vaccine Is Free, Expanded Medical Care for Undocumented Residents

Hospitalizations Are Steeply Increasing: We are very close to putting the worst of this pandemic behind us, but we’re not in the clear yet. At the moment, the virus is spreading more quickly than we can vaccinate.

Most COVID-19 infections are happening in 18-24-year-olds, followed by 25-49-year-olds. With so many older adults protected through vaccination, the majority of recent hospitalizations have been among 40-69 year-olds, followed by 20-39 year-olds.  See data dashboards for King County here.

The threat is real and remains serious.  Although most people recover, COVID-19 infections can be severe in younger and middle-aged people. It’s important to prevent COVID-19 in all ages, not just among seniors.
We know how to battle coronavirus spread.  We’ve done it before:

  • Limit activities with unvaccinated people from outside your home
  • Avoid crowded indoor spaces
  • Pay attention to improving ventilation in workplaces, businesses and homes, including by opening doors and windows
  • Stay home from work and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed to someone who has tested positive  (free testing locations here)
  • Wear masks when we are in public or at work or school

Neighborhood House Vaccine Clinic:  Last weekend, I was glad to join staff and volunteers at Neighborhood House’s High Point vaccination clinic, and play a small part in vaccinating 800 neighbors.  Huge thanks to the Neighborhood House team for their hard work!

Photo courtesy of Neighborhood House

Pre-Register for City Vaccination:  If you are at least 16, live or work in King County, and would like to receive vaccine from one of the City’s four vaccination sites, you can join the City notification list now, even if you won’t be eligible for vaccine until April 15th.  Sign up here or call (206) 684-2489.
The City-run vaccination sites are:

  • West Seattle, 2801 S.W. Thistle Street, 98126
  • Lumen Field Event Center, 330 South Royal Brougham Way, 98134
  • North Seattle College, 9600 College Way North, 98103
  • Rainier Beach, 8702 Seward Park Avenue South, 98118

Everyone age 16 and older in Washington state will become vaccine-eligible starting on April 15th.  Learn more about current eligibility at Seattle.gov/Vaccine.
You can always find state-approved vaccine providers in District 1 here.



Vaccine Supply:  Last week, the City of Seattle and its partners received over 30,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is the largest allocation the City has received in a single week thus far.  At the West Seattle and Rainier Beach sites, Seattle Fire Department expected to administer 14,000 vaccine doses last week.  Public Health – Seattle & King County announced 1 million doses administered last week!

Vaccine supply continues to trail demand, but states are receiving increased vaccine shipments compared to a month ago.

Covid Vaccine Is Always Free:  Dr. Christopher Chen of the Health Care Authority explains in this interview with the Washington State Department of Health:
Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine 100 percent free?
A: Yes, the vaccine is completely free. No one should have to pay for the vaccine, or any costs associated with it.
Q: Who pays for the vaccine then? Are there any hidden costs?
A: The federal government purchased the vaccine and is covering the costs. Because insurance companies don’t have to pay for the vaccine, there is no charge for patients.  You should not be charged out-of-pocket costs or receive a bill from your provider or from a vaccination clinic. There are very strict laws and expectations about no cost-sharing and no co-pays for COVID-19 vaccine administration.

Expanded Medical Coverage for Undocumented Residents:  Expanded COVID-19 medical coverage is available for WA state residents who are undocumented. Services covered include testing and treatment, medications and supplies, and follow up visits!




West Seattle Bridge Update April 12

Spokane Street (lower) Bridge Access Update

Late last week SDOT announced changes for the use of the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge.

First of all, on weekends the low bridge will remain open to everyone until 8 a.m.  This opens general access from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., three additional hours, on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Many of you have been asking for added hours on weekend mornings and your advocacy has helped to make this change.  Thank you!

Secondly, the number of additional daily trips permitted on the bridge beyond the currently allowed users will double from 450 to 900 trips. This will allow for additional use by retail businesses and restaurant, on-call medical providers and patients receiving life saving medical treatments.

SDOT notes in a blog post  that application forms will be available at the Spokane Street (low bridge) website  by the end of April  for on-call medical workers, retail businesses and restaurants, and rideshare to request access to the low bridge.

Application forms for people traveling to lifesaving medical treatments are available on the website now in several languages. Applications will be processed on a rolling basis.

SDOT lists a couple of key caveats for this additional access. First of all, the additional allowed use may be adjusted based on usage levels. Secondly, the access is for 2021; additional users will be allowed fewer or no trips in 2022, when Terminal 5 opens (the Northwest Seaport Alliance had previously planned to open it during Spring 2021). SDOT will be monitoring the data on usage to guide future adjustments.

These are the new groups eligible for pre-authorized low bridge access:

  • West Seattle residents traveling to and from lifesaving medical treatments (authorization from your medical provider is required; the form will be available soon on low bridge access web page)
  • On-call medical workers (traveling to and from an on-call work shift only)
  • All West Seattle restaurants and retail businesses (limited to urgent trips to pick-up equipment or supplies)
  • Rideshare vehicles (vans, shuttles or official carpools with a state-issued rideshare license plate; this does not include Uber/Lyft)

New users will need to apply, provide a license plate, meet eligibility requirements, and receive approval from SDOT before becoming eligible.

SDOT provided an update about this during the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting on Thursday; below are additional details about the lower bridge and other items.

SDOT notes that since the start of camera enforcement in January, traffic on the lower bridge is down 38%.

Here are the changes SDOT has announced, with a note that maritime/industrial business and Longshoreman access remains the same:

Before changing access, SDOT conducted community outreach, as noted in the slide below:

Here are the goals and objective SDOT has used for access to the lower bridge:

The first new user group includes on-call medical providers and patients receiving life saving medical treatment. For medical providers, applications will be available by the end of April. For patients, applications are now available at SDOT’s Spokane Street Swing Bridge (Low Bridge)  website. On-call medical providers can currently use the declaration of non-responsibility process noted here.

For business users, current access will remain unchanged through May 31.

Starting in June, up to 10 trips per month will be allowed for all West Seattle restaurant and retail businesses, with up to 3 registered license plates per business. The updated application will be available on the project website later in April; users must receive approval from SDOT before use begins in June.
Government use is limited to urgent/unplanned trips for 20+ government agencies. An example is for a downed power line or broken sewer, rather than a planned meeting regarding a permit:

Transit, school buses and freight will not need pre-authorization; employer shuttles and vanpools will need to apply for approval:

The total number of daily trips allowed by additional users will double from 450 to 900. West Seattle businesses, defined as restaurant and retail sectors, will have 225 allowed round trips, up from 35. Maritime businesses and Longshoreman will have the same number as now; medical providers and patients will have 225.

The slide below notes current lower bridge conditions on the left, with the purple section representing space available for additional users. The chart on the right shows potential 2022 conditions when Terminal 5 opens, with very little space available. That’s why SDOT is granting additional access on a temporary basis during 2021.

SDOT notes they will monitor and analyze data to inform the number of trips allowed:

West Seattle Bridge Update

Here’s a brief update about the West Seattle Bridge repair. The next update on schedule and cost estimates will be when SDOT completes 60% design this summer. The stabilization work done on the bridge is performing as expected.

SDOT amended the Request for Proposals to include a Community Workforce Agreement, which requires USDOT approval. A community workforce agreement consists of a project labor agreement that includes a targeted hire provision designed to get low-income workers, including BIPOC workers and women, into construction careers.

Below is information about the federal grant the City is pursuing for funding for the bridge repair. Here’s the link where you can write to US Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to support the funding grant. The deadline is April 15:

Reconnect West Seattle Update

SDOT is planning improvements to the Intersection of West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW to assist with traffic flow. The improvements will remain in place after West Seattle Bridge is repaired. Adding a CCTV camera and fiber option communications will allow for real-time monitoring and adjustments.

SDOT is working on paving projects on detour routes, identified in a December 2020 assessment; work on SW Alaska Street between 26th Ave SW and 38th Ave SW will take place during phases beginning later in April:

Here’s an update on Reconnect West Seattle Home Zone projects in Highland Park, South Park, and Georgetown:


Apply Now: First Come-First Served Grants for Shuttered Venues

Live music venues, museums, movie houses, talent agencies! The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) will open April 8, and applications are first come-first served.  Questions about the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant? Learn more and apply here, and contact OED’s Nightlife Business Advocate Scott Plusquellec at (206) 256-5152 or Scott.Plusquellec@seattle.gov.

Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Replacement Project Community Advisory Board

Washington State Ferries (WSF) is seeking members to serve on the Community Advisory Group for the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Replacement Project.

Applications are open through 5 p.m. on April 23rd. You can apply here. For questions about the application process, please email FauntleroyTermProj@wsdot.wa.gov or call 206-818-3813.

Here’s the WSF announcement:

Today through April 23, we are accepting applications from community members interested in joining a Community Advisory Group (CAG) for the project. The CAG, along with an Executive Leadership Group and Technical Advisory Group, will play a critical role in helping WSF shape plans that address transportation needs while balancing the needs of multiple communities served by and adjacent to the terminal.

The CAG will advise WSF and work collaboratively to generate ideas and provide input on which issues should be addressed in this project. Members also will help identify and provide input about potential alternatives and share ongoing feedback on the broader community engagement process. The CAG will include membership from the three communities served by the “Triangle Route” (Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth) to encourage cross-community dialogue and collaborative solutions.

We are seeking people to apply who live near the ferry terminal, regularly ride the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth ferry route, or have an understanding of the area’s regional transportation, economic, community and environmental issues. We hope you will consider applying for the CAG – APPLY FOR THE COMMUNITY ADVISORY GROUP. Please also share with others who may be interested.

The CAG will meet regularly through the planning phase, expected to last through 2023. Meetings will last a few hours and take place during the day/evening and virtually or in person (once it is safe to do so).

The Executive Leadership Group will include elected officials; I’ve agreed to serve on it.

WSF has posted video of the two community meetings held last month:

They’ve also included a summary of comments from those meetings.

Food Resources: Free Produce for Seniors, Student Meal Changes, Fresh Bucks Retail Applications, and a South Park Success Story

Need help finding food resources for you or your family?  Try this interactive food resources map from the Human Services Department.  You can find the locations of Food Banks, Meals, and Student To-Go Meals, and phone numbers and websites to sign up.



Free Produce for Seniors: The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides $40 worth of vouchers to be used for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets.  You may be eligible to apply if you are:

  • Age 60+ (or age 55+ if you are American Indian/Alaska Native) by June 30
  • Low income.

Learn more and apply here.  If you need help completing your application, contact Community Living Connections at 206-962-8467 or (toll-free) 1-844-348-5464.



Changes to Seattle Public Schools meals starting April 5th:

  • School meal sites will be open earlier; sites will be open Monday-Friday, 10:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
  • Bus routes only will deliver meals on Wednesdays to the same number of routes, route times, and stops.

Student meals are available for all SPS students!  Learn more here, or call (206) 252-0675.

Apply to Accept Fresh Bucks: The Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) is seeking applications from retailers interested in accepting Fresh Bucks.  In 2021, OSE will invite up to three supermarkets/large grocery stores and up to eight small food retailers to join the Fresh Bucks retailer network. The goal is to increase Fresh Bucks customer access to high-quality and culturally specific produce.  Learn more and apply here.

South Park Neighbors’ Mutual Aid Efforts Highlighted:  Congratulations to the South Park partners whose mutual aid efforts to feed neighbors were recently highlighted in “How a Seattle Neighborhood Confronted Food Insecurity in the Pandemic“ in Yes! Magazine.  This extraordinary organizing effort is keeping families fed and neighbors close during a difficult year.  Thank you to everyone involved.

Photo credit: Monica Perez in Yes! Magazine

Apply to serve on the Green New Deal Oversight Board

The Office of Sustainability & Environment is seeking members to serve on the Green New Deal Advisory Board. You can apply here through April 16th. For more information, questions, or assistance with the application process please contact equityenviro@seattle.gov or call (206) 487-0007.
The Council adopted the Green New Deal for Seattle, which established the Green New Deal Oversight Board.

The Oversight Board will work towards developing a workplan that includes:

  • A definition of what constitutes a policy, program or project that advances a Green New Deal for Seattle
  • Proposals for new policies and programs to advance the Green New Deal for Seattle;
  • Support in planning and implementation of City actions to make Seattle climate-pollution free by 2030;
  • City budget and legislative recommendations;
  • Engagement with departments and existing committees, boards, and commissions.

The Board includes 19 members appointed by the Mayor and Council:

  • Eight positions designated for community representatives directly impacted by racial, economic, and environmental injustices (including two tribal members and two individuals between the ages of 16 and 25 at the time of their appointment).
  • Four positions designated for representatives of labor unions.
  • Three positions designated for representatives of environmental justice organizations.
  • Three positions designated for representatives with experience in greenhouse gas reduction and climate resiliency strategies relevant to cities.
  • One position designated for an individual specializing in workforce training.

Council approved the first four members of the board late last month.

In the 2021 budget the Council funded positions to move forward work related to the Seattle Green New Deal. To facilitate this work, the Council added funding for a Green New Deal advisor position that will work with the Green New Deal  Oversight Committee. In a related action, the Council also added a climate policy advisor, to oversee implementation of the Climate Action Plan and measure progress toward its goals. I co-sponsored both actions.

LSAC Transparency Recommendations

Back in February 2019, I sponsored, and the Council unanimously supported the passage of Resolution 31863. The resolution, among other things, asked the Labor Standards Advisory Commission (LSAC) to develop a work program to assist the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) on the issue of independent contractor misclassification.

Misclassification refers to workers who are employees by law, but are being denied critical benefits, such as paid time off, sick leave, overtime compensation, and often even a minimum wage. This is of significant importance for several reasons including lost revenue to the government, but more importantly the protection of workers and our local labor laws which are only beneficial as long as they apply to workers. The gig economy is the fastest growing labor sector and nearly all of these workers are considered independent contractors which means that our local labor laws do not apply to them.

LSAC immediately got to work and formed a subcommittee which, after deliberation, proposed recommendations to LSAC as a whole. Those recommendations were then adopted and sent to Council in May 2020. These recommendations include requiring those who employ workers that they define as independent contractors (instead of employees) to provide these workers with information so they can understand the terms of their engagement and determine whether those terms have been satisfied. Before a contract is signed, that information, should include:

  • Name, physical address, phone number/email address of hiring entity
  • Rate or rates of pay for the contractor
  • Typical expenses incurred in the course of the work, if any, and which expenses will be paid or reimbursed by the hiring entity
  • Pay basis, and where payment is made on other than an hourly basis, disclosure of the method for determining pay and payment schedule
  • Tip and/or service charge policy

LSAC also recommended that there be certain information disclosed at the time of payment:

  • A description of the work for which payment is being made, whether by description of the project; tasks completed, or hours worked
  • All rate or rates of pay whether paid on hourly, salary, commission, piece rate, project, or combination thereof, or other basis
  • Tip or service charge compensation
  • Pay basis (e.g. hour, shift, day, week, commission) and what hours or work is compensated by which pay basis
  • Gross earnings
  • All deductions, fees, or other charges for that pay period

I want to thank LSAC for their hard work in bringing these recommendations to Council and for taking the time to come present to the Finance & Housing Committee last week.

During this committee meeting we also heard a significant amount of public testimony from independent contractors who are organizing with Working Washington in support of their campaign for a minimum pay standard while also protecting their flexibility as independent contractors and providing transparency with their apps. You may recall the City Council recently passed the Fair Share ordinance for drivers who work for Transportation Network Companies.  We can’t leave behind other workers doing important work and not even, in many cases, receiving a minimum wage.

Good Samaritan Law Expanded

On Wednesday House Bill 1209 , which expands Washington’s Good Samaritan Law, passed through the State Legislature. The bill expands protections so that an individual is “not liable for any act or omission while providing volunteer nonmedical care or assistance at the scene of an emergency or disaster, unless the act or omission rises to the level of gross negligence, or willful or wanton misconduct.”

I want to thank a key advocate and constituent, Cindi Barker, for her hard work in helping get this legislation passed. As reported in the West Seattle Blog, Cindi worked with our local State Representatives Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbons and in turn with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Bronoske. Cindi told the blog: “Even most recently, during the COVID response, some people have held back from volunteering, worried about the liability. So we decided to fix that gap.”

Share


COVID Updates – New Eligibility, Vaccine Site Capacity, Testing in District 1; Working Washington Grants Applications Due April 9; Nantes Park Beautification & Nantes-Seattle Sister City Agreement; Help Build Community Safety in Seattle – Job Opening; Sound Transit Realignment Scenarios Update; Right to Counsel; SMC Partners with King County Municipal Courts to Resolve Outstanding Warrants

April 2nd, 2021

COVID Updates – New Eligibility, Vaccine Site Capacity, Testing in District 1

The big news this week is that many more people are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID – and starting April 15, all adults will become eligible.

Vaccine supply is improving somewhat, but with so many more people now eligible and needing second doses, those searching for their first appointment will likely need some patience.

When you are eligible, where can you get vaccine?  Here are a few options:

Unused Vaccine Doses in West Seattle?  Several District 1 residents have wondered why the West Seattle vaccination site sometimes look empty during the day.  I asked the Mayor’s Office; here’s what we learned:

Q: Why would the site be open but unused on a weekday afternoon?

A: We understand that an observer could consider the site “unused” by a quick observation only, but that is not the case. Right now, due to supply, Rainier Beach and West Seattle administer around 196 first doses of the vaccine each day. The process of getting vaccinated at an SFD site is extremely quick: Check-in takes between three-five minutes, and the actual vaccination takes one minute. Then, the patient should wait in our observation area for 15 minutes, but they also have the option of waiting in their car. All that to say, because of vaccine supply, West Seattle is currently operating at around 13% capacity each day, and people move through the hub very quickly, which explains why it would look empty to an outside observer.

Q:  How many people is it possible to serve each week at the West Seattle site?

West Seattle has the capacity to administer 215 vaccinations per hour, or 1,500 vaccinations per day, amounting in 9,000 vaccinations per week.   Last week, we administered 2,520 doses at West Seattle.

Q: Is an apparently empty site an indication that vaccine doses are going unused?

A: No. We are using every single dose we receive. However, it does show that the City does not receive vaccine supply commensurate with our capacity. We continue to advocate for increased doses for the City, given the high capacity across all our sites, and the fact that we have nearly 50,000 active subscribers to our appointment notification list.

District 1 Covid Testing Locations:  Thanks to everyone who wrote to me with concerns about access to COVID testing sites in West Seattle.  Earlier this week, the City announced the testing site at 2801 SW Thistle would remain open at least through April 17 and possibly longer, as demand requires.

I am advocating with the Mayor’s Office to keep testing available at or near the SW Thistle location even beyond April 17th, since people are used to going there, and there are community connections with South Park.  The Mayor’s Office has promised to keep a testing kiosk in the area even after the SW Thistle location stops testing.

There are four free, public testing sites on the West Seattle peninsula.  Public Health – Seattle & King County hosts a webpage with lists of public testing locations.

Don Armeni Boat Ramp Curative KioskMake reservations online
 1222 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
Neighborcare Health at High Point – Call for appointment: (206) 461-6950
6020 35th Ave SE, Seattle, WA 98126
Sea Mar Community Health Centers at South Park – Call for appointment: (206) 762-3730
8720 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108
West Seattle Walk-up – Make reservations online or call (206) 684-2489.
2801 SW Thistle St., Seattle, WA 98126

Keep up precautions:  King County residents are doing a great job with masks – a recent UW study found that 89% of King County residents wore face coverings over the mouth and nose in public during the past four months.

If you’re planning on spending the April holidays with friends or family from another household, remember to keep practicing the 4 W’s. Whether you are fully vaccinated or not, these prevention measures will help to minimize risk. Learn more here.

Working Washington Grants Applications Due April 9

Working Washington Round 4 offers $240 million in grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures.  Learn more here and find translated information here.

Priorities for funding are:

  • Businesses required to close.
  • Businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure.
  • Businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations.
  • Equitable distribution of grant funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.

The technical support center can help navigate the application portal.

  • English: Call (855) 602-2722 or email commercegrants@submittable.com.
  • Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Russian, Amharic, Arabic and Tagalog: Call (206) 333-0720.

Nantes Park Beautification & Nantes-Seattle Sister City Agreement

I recently had the opportunity to record a greeting for Seattle’s French Fest participants in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Nantes-Seattle Sister City relationship.  Admiral’s Nantes Park will receive a facelift as part of the celebrations, including a paved loop walkway with embedded French art, temporary French art installations and student-submitted art tiles along the seat wall.   I’m excited to see the fun ideas that are under consideration for the renovation of Nantes Park this fall, which can be enjoyed by the entire District 1 community.

The project is led by the Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association(SNSCA) in partnership with the Admiral Neighborhood Association and funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the City of Nantes, the West Seattle Garden Tour and volunteers.   More information can be found at www.seattle-nantes.org.

Help Build Community Safety in Seattle – Job Opening

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is seeking a compassionate, innovative and experienced leader to serve as the first director of its new Safe and Thriving Communities Division.  The Division Director will be responsible for leading and resourcing the new division while working with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan for community safety investments.

The Division Director will be responsible for continuously reimagining how the division operates to provide effective service in a changing environment while centering BIPOC communities. This position has a social justice component that requires critical thinking through the lens of racial equity. Knowing the core principles of antiracism and grounding those principles in everyday work are required job skills and core values.

Learn more here and apply here.

Sound Transit Realignment Scenarios Update

Last week the Sound Transit Board heard an update about what the agency is calling “program realignment” scenarios for the ST3 program approved by voters in 2016. The ST3 program involves projects throughout the tri-county region included in the ST3 ballot measure, including light rail from Downtown to West Seattle.

In January, Sound Transit’s Board heard a briefing about reduced revenues resulting from the COVID pandemic and increased cost estimates.

The most recent presentation includes a number of scenarios based on four tiers, with differing impacts in delays on light rail to West Seattle, as well as for Ballard, the Graham Street station in south Seattle, and other ST3 projects.

The presentation lists potential realignment categories: Tier 1: Develop, Tier 2, Plan and Prepare, Tier 3 Plan, and Tier 4, Keep ready, and Suspend. The presentation then shows the schedule delay impact by the four tiers, based on whether new funding is available.

Senator Patty Murray is currently pursing $1.9 billion for Sound Transit projects, and President Biden has proposed the American Jobs Plan to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure.

Scenarios include Connect Centers, First Segments, Delay Parking, Equity + Phasing, Equity + Early Investments, Hybrid – Integrated Network, and Hybrid – Centers emphasis.

For West Seattle, some scenarios involve building to Delridge and to the Alaska Junction in different phases; some call for building directly to the Alaska Junction as originally planned, and one scenario involves building to SODO first, then to the Junction in a subsequent phase. Scenarios for Ballard are similarly phased, or done as originally planned.

Below is just one of the examples. It rates Delridge in Tier 1 (and the first phase of the Ballard line), and Delridge to the Alaska Junction in Tier 2, along with the rest of the Ballard line, and the Graham Street Station.

The potential schedule delay is listed below.  This scenario would result in reaching Delridge 2 years late with no new revenue, and the Alaska Junction 6 years late with no new revenue, or 2 years late with $4 billion additional revenue (with similar delays for the phases of the Ballard line):

Sound Transit has indicated that due to COVID, projects are delayed one year.

Here’s a link to the presentation, which includes the other scenarios.

Here are next steps planned by Sound Transit:

Right to Counsel

On Monday the Council took up CB 120007 – Right to Counsel for tenants facing eviction in court – and passed the legislation unanimously.

The legislation does not require a defendant to accept legal counsel for eviction defense, but that the City will provide funding for free representation if the individual has insufficient funds to retain counsel.  The legislation allows the provider of the legal services to determine and verify a tenant’s eligibility, in order to insure that there are no unnecessary barriers to representation.

The Losing Home Report, commissioned by my office in 2019 with the Seattle Women’s Commission and the Housing Justice  Project of the King County Bar Association, found that:

  • Twice as many tenants with legal counsel remained housed, compared to those without counsel.
  • Most evicted respondents became homeless, with 37.5% completely unsheltered, 25.0% living in a shelter or transitional housing, and 25.0% staying with family or friends. Only 12.5% of evicted respondents found another apartment or home to move into.
  • 7% of tenants in eviction filings were people of color; 31.2% were Black tenants, experiencing eviction at a rate 4.5 times what would be expected based on their demographics in Seattle.
  • Women were more likely to be evicted over small amounts of money: of single-tenant household cases where a tenant owed $100.00 or less, 81.0% were women.
  • Of evicted respondents with school-age children, 85.7% said their children had to move schools after the eviction, and 87.5% reported their children’s school performance suffered “very much” because of the eviction.

This legislation is a critical step forward in protecting tenants especially in light of the pandemic and the number of tenants facing eviction when the moratorium ends. The Housing Justice Project estimates “on an average 1,200 eviction cases filed a year… it would cost $750,000 annually to provide legal counsel to any tenant facing eviction.”

I brought forward two amendments to this legislation, the first was to clarify that it is the Council’s intent that funding should be awarded to an organization that has specific experience in providing legal representation for renters, and second that any contracted organization shall report on the number of cases and estimated attorney hours spent on court proceedings beyond or in lieu of representation at a show cause hearing or first appearance. This will help the Council determine appropriate funding levels in the future.

SMC Partners with King County Municipal Courts to Resolve Outstanding Warrants

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) announced this week that they are partnering with King County Municipal Courts to resolve outstanding warrants. “Back on Track” is a regional program to help individuals have an opportunity to resolve their warrant, regardless of which court their cases are filed.

“Outstanding warrants make it harder to get a job, secure housing, and generally move forward in life,” stated Presiding Judge Willie Gregory. “Our court is committed to helping individuals resolve their case and hopefully, leave the court in a better position in life than they came in. We do not want people to sit in jail for a low-level misdemeanor warrant.”

SMC warrants under $10,000 may be able to have it resolved administratively or scheduled for a bench warrant add-on (BWADD) hearing to be addressed by a judge. You can review the court’s website for more information. If you do not have an attorney, you may submit a Motion To Quash Warrant/Set BWADD Hearing form.

Share


© 1995-2018 City of Seattle