Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update // COVID/flu vaccines and masking recs // Duwamish Basin Steward Legislation // Speed Bumps in Alki Neighborhood // Winter Weather Information: Roads, bus service, SPU, and shelter

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update

During this week’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee, Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell presented Interim Chief of Police Adrian Diaz as that appointment for confirmation to the Chief of Police position. Chief Diaz has served in the interim position since September of 2020 and was appointed to the permanent role, this September, by Mayor Bruce Harrell.

Chief Diaz’s experience spans patrol, specialty units, and police leadership.  His emphasis on community engagement resulted in testimony, delivered by several community members, to the Public Safety and Human Services committee, noting Chief Diaz’s work building relationships with those most disenfranchised.

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee unanimously recommended the confirmation of Chief Diaz. The appointment will go to Full Council for a final vote on January 3.

PSHS Committee also received an update from Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in collaboration with The Alliance for Safety, Affordability and Preservation (ASAP). This update on the development of the Unreinforced Masonry program derives from Resolution 32033, which I sponsored, and Council passed exactly one year prior to this presentation.

Unreinforced masonry buildings are typically older buildings that pose a high safety risk in the event of an earthquake. The URM program in development will ensure a safer, stronger Seattle by reducing risks to people within and nearby URM buildings by eventually phasing in a mandate for retrofits to these buildings, developing technical standards for retrofitting, and providing support for residents and owners.

SDCI will continue to convene community stakeholders and subject matter experts to complete the tasks outlined by the resolution and will return to present the next quarterly progress report on this work on March 1st.

Masking Recommendations, COVID/Flu Vaccines

Two people fist bumping while masked.

Local health officers and health care leaders are now recommending wearing masks indoors.

I met with Dr. Khan, the Seattle-King County Public Health Director earlier this week, and they have asked for our help in pushing out this masking message not only for the general public, and for the neighborhood and downtown business communities as well.

It’s been a rough start to the flu, cold, and COVID season so far. Communities across our state and around the U.S. are experiencing an unprecedented surge in viral respiratory illnesses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19. Health officers and health care leaders working to improve the health of Washington residents, recommend that everyone wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask when around others in indoor spaces to protect against both acquiring and spreading these infections to others.

With COVID hospitalizations rising again after a Thanksgiving lull, people over age 50 are at the greatest risk for both hospitalization and death. Many don’t know that the updated COVID booster shot offers better protection against Omicron variants that are spreading. We’re asking for your help sharing information to older adults and their families.

In addition to RSV and influenza, new COVID-19 variants are taking hold and immunity from past vaccination is waning for many people who have not yet received an updated booster shot.

Unfortunately, in KC only 26% of eligible people have received all of their immunizations through the most current booster. Everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated against these diseases and those who are eligible for an updated COVID-19 booster should get it now.

Just in the last few days, the CDC has expanded the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months through 5 years. Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a Moderna primary series are eligible to receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose. Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are currently completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose

Here is information from King County Public Health about Why people over age 50 should get an updated COVID-19 booster before the holidays – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER

Here’s King County Public Health’s website about getting vaccinated, which includes links to the Washington Vaccine Locator where you can search by ZIP code, and additional information.  

Duwamish Basin Steward Legislation

On Tuesday, the City Council adopted legislation that approves an agreement to create a Duwamish Basin Steward position.

The Duwamish Basin Steward will develop and implement Chinook salmon habitat restoration projects in the lower eleven miles of the Green-Duwamish River in coordination with willing landowners, the local jurisdictions, the Cities of Seattle and Tukwila, the Port of Seattle, Boeing, Central Puget Sound Watershed (WRIA 9), and non-profit partners.

This is an interlocal agreement with King County, the City of Tukwila, and the Port of Seattle to share costs for the new position. The position will be housed at King County.

A Duwamish Management Team that includes Seattle Public Utilities will be formed to develop the workplan and manage the budget for the position

Under the agreement, Seattle would cover 38% of the base cost share, or $79,000 in 2022. If external revenues are available, the base share can be reduced. In 2022, for example, WRIA 9 contributed funds that have the effect of reducing Seattle’s adjusted share to 32%, or $66,500.

Speed Bumps in Alki Neighborhood

Speed bumps in West Seattle.

Photo: SDOT Director Greg Spotts

I have met twice in recent months with residents of the Alki/Harbor Avenue neighborhood, along with SDOT, SPD and Parks, regarding several issues of concern to the community.

One longstanding issue is speeding and road safety. Above and below are photos of where SDOT has recently added speed bumps in six total areas, mostly adjacent to Seacrest Park and the Don Armeni Boat Ramp.

I am also interested in potential use of speed enforcement cameras, per added authority provided by the state legislature earlier this year and have been in touch with SDOT about how to implement this authority.

More speed bumps near Alki.

Photo: SDOT Director Greg Spotts

Winter Weather Information: Roads, bus service, SPU, and shelter

Graphic saying "Safety Tips and Resources for Winter Weather"

Colder temperatures are arriving in Seattle, so here’s information about City and King County Metro winter and snow response resources, and for cold weather shelter.

The City’s Winter Storm Response webpage is available in multiple languages, and has links to resources from SDOT, City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Parks, home and pet safety, and shelter and food.

Here’s information about SDOT’s snow response resources: when snow arrives, SDOT’s interactive map shows which roads have been treated or cleared in the last hour, three hours, and twelve hours. You can view it by neighborhood.

SDOT’s winter weather response webpage has information in several languages. You can download a brochure with additional information.  They seek to achieve bare and wet pavement on specified streets within 12 hours after a significant lull in a storm.

SDOT’s cameras map shows live road conditions.

Here’s Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) advice has advice on protecting pipes from freezing, and what to do if they burst. If icy road conditions may prevent regular collection, SPU recommends following their blog for updates about garbage, recycling, or food/yard wasted collection.

Here’s King County Metro Winter snow guide  page, including information about the Emergency Snow Network. KC Metro may activate this network when snow arrives.

You can sign up for alerts there as well. The Service Advisories page will have updates on bus times, and cancellations.

Metro’s Text for Departures feature provides real-time updates for the next departure time for transit service at that stop, by texting your bus stop number to 62550, no sign-up or download is needed.

You can also sign up for Transit Alerts by route.

Cold Weather Shelter

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority has activated severe weather response for December 14 through 22nd; here is their webpage showing shelter locations for Cold Weather Shelter, Dec 14-22, including regularly operating daytime warming centers.

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