Committee Update / Seattle Pride Night Out on June 22nd / Office of Police Accountability Annual Report / Senator Patty Murray Helping South Park / EPA East Waterway Public Comment / SDOT Advisory Committees / Gun Violence Prevention / Call or Text 988 / HVAC Upgrades Coming at SW Library / Urgent: Confirm Your Eligibility for Apple Health by May 31 / Housing Levy Hearing


Public Safety & Human Services Committee

  1. Overdose Trends and Community Based Overdose Prevention Program Briefing

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, we heard a briefing from experts at Public Health – Seattle & King County about the crisis in overdose deaths and I facilitated a panel of folks on the front lines of saving lives.  You can view briefing materials and watch the presentation and discussion.

I’ve shared this information before, but our overdose crisis, driven by increasingly lethal fentanyl, is on track to exceed last year’s record number of deaths.

If we want to stop the deaths, then in addition to treatment, we must provide services that help people using drugs protect themselves.  These services, known as “harm reduction,” include distributing naloxone, testing strips, and safe supplies; providing medical and wound care and access to other services; bringing mobile services to people living unsheltered; and connecting folks with Medication Assisted Treatment such as methadone and buprenorphine.  Fox13 News covered the presentation: Seattle to use nationwide opioid settlement funds to fight the fentanyl crisis (

Seattle City Council first appropriated funding to save lives from overdosing back in 2018, and we protected those dollars for several years as they went unspent.  Last year, I worked closely with Public Health to see these funds offered to reduce the harms associated with drug use and overdose.  The three organizations that won awards all spoke about their lifesaving work.

It’s easy to forget, amid concern about rising drug overdose, that behind the numbers are people who are suffering.  I asked each panelist to share a story of someone they’d helped with these grants.  I hope you’ll consider viewing those stories here.


While these programs are showing strong results, more resources are needed to meet the moment.  Harm reduction working alongside treatment needs to be scaled up to adequately address our overdose crisis.  The City of Seattle and King County have an opportunity to do that with new funding coming from Washington State’s settlement with opioid distributors last year, expected to be about $14M over 18 years.  Because the funds are spread across such a long period of time, it’s imperative that we invest them to the areas of greatest impact. Core Strategies to be prioritized for funded, according to the lawsuit settlement include, among others:

  • Naloxone
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment, including residential treatment that allows medication
  • Pregnant & Post-Partum Women – Screening/Brief Intervention/Referral to Treatment (SBIRT); MAT and other evidence-based treatment; wraparound services
  • Syringe Services expansion

I’ll be working closely with Public Health and the Board of Health to steward these resources to save lives.

  1. Seattle Police Department Quarterly Staffing, Performance Metrics and Finances Report

The PSHS committee also heard a quarterly report on the Seattle Police Department’s staffing and performance metrics required by the Council as part of a 2023 Council Budget Action.

You may recall that in March of this year, the Mayor’s Office presented to PSHS committee members a plan for SPD’s recruitment and retention efforts.  Unfortunately, we learned this week in the PSHS committee briefing that there has been a significant delay in spending on the recruitment plan.  The Mayor’s office reports that the delay in implementation will allow them to take advantage of new staff and advertising analytics to attract new recruits effectively and cost-efficiently. This updated marketing plan allows the City to test, iterate, and improve initial messaging and tactics over the first half of the year, and then be more confident that increased spending in the second half of the year will drive results. The Mayor’s office reports that these are best practices necessary to be a responsible steward of public dollars and make evidence-based marketing decisions. While this approach will take longer to ramp up, the Mayor’s Office believes it will ultimately lead to better results per marketing dollar compared to an initially proposed plan.  Of the $1.8 million in funds approved for 2022, authorized in May with CB 120320 and in August of last year by Council Bill 120389 for this purpose, only about $327,000 were used.  As of the first quarter this year, just six percent of 2023 funding for recruitment has been used.

The 2023 hiring plan actuals for the 1st Quarter are the closest they’ve been to projections in the last three years, but they are still falling short.  SPD’s 2023 Staffing Plan assumes 120 hires and 105 separations.  The department’s separation rate has slowed, but SPD still has had fewer hires than it expected, leaving at least 21 unfilled, funded positions in 2023 and approximately $3.0 million in salary savings.

Council Central Staff anticipates that overtime spending for patrol augmentation, emphasis patrols, and special event coverage will exceed SPD’s 2023 overtime budget of $31.3 million.

SPD’s Response time goal for Priority 1 calls is a 7-minute median time.  The Southwest and West precincts saw decreases in their response times for all priority call types in the first quarter of 2023 as compared to the same period last year. The South and East precincts experienced small decreases only for priority 1 calls and the North precinct saw increases across all priority levels and had the highest response times out of the five precincts.

  1. Council Bill 120580 regarding App-Based Workers Deactivations Rights

Another PSHS agenda topic included a discussion of the bill, newly introduced Tuesday, to ensure that companies provide protections against unwarranted deactivations of app-based workers from their platforms. These protections include establishing a reasonable basis for deactivations, as well as providing notice, human review, and records substantiating the reason for deactivations to the app-based worker.

Since our last committee briefing on May 9, we’ve continued engagement with platforms, workers, advocates, the Mayor’s Office, and the Office of Labor Standards (OLS). We’ve incorporated feedback, but we still have work to do.

The committee discussion included not only an overview of the bill but included the deliberative process stage that Council refers to as “issue identification.”  Issue identification is the highlighting of a policy area where Councilmembers might want to consider amendments.   Here are the issues identified where Councilmembers might propose changes:

  1. Network Company Coverage (which companies are regulated?)
  2. App-Based Worker Coverage (which workers are protected?)
  3. Are temporary deactivations allowed?
  4. What reasons for deactivation are prohibited?
  5. Should the Egregious Misconduct definition be changed?
  6. If customer complaints lead to deactivations, how do we ensure those complaints protect customer privacy?
  7. What are the options for OLS to enforce the ordinance and fund that work?

We will bring amendments to the committee on June 27 and potentially vote on an amended bill then.

Seattle Pride Night Out on June 22nd

Here’s news of an event next month that sponsors asked me to share with you:

“There’s a new way to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride with your family and neighbors that is taking shape across Seattle and surrounding cities including Shoreline, Bellevue, Kirkland and even other states like Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia. Introducing “Pride Night Out,” a collection of block parties celebrating love, acceptance, community and inclusivity.  The idea originated from residents in Morgan Junction, and now more than 20 neighborhoods are participating to close their local streets and celebrate Pride with their neighbors. The event organizer is encouraging everyone to create their own Pride Night Out block party, in conjunction with the other participating neighborhoods, on June 22nd from 5 to 9 p.m. to celebrate the kick-off to Seattle’s Pride Weekend and amidst the nation’s Pride Month. The long-term hope is that this continues to inspire a national movement in a hyper-local way.  

If you’re interested in holding your own Pride Night Out block party, please visit: Seattle Pride Night Out on Facebook.”

Office of Police Accountability 2022 Annual Report

The Office of Police Accountability has released its 2022 Annual Report.

Here’s a chart with a high-level summary:

The number of contacts OPA received went down from 2,866 in 2021 to 2,252 in 2022, and 454 cases were opened, down from 558 cases in the prior year. 60% of investigations resulted from external complaints; 40% of investigations resulted from complaints from within SPD.

The total number of allegations declined for the second consecutive year, from the high in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd and is now closer to the number of complaints in 2019, and slightly lower. The number of use-of-force allegations declined from 140 during 2021 to 90 during 2022:

While the total number of complaints and use of force complaints has decreased, I continue to be concerned with the continued increase in racial disproportionality. 34% of complainants that disclosed their race were from Black/African American persons, up from previous years. Only 7% of Seattle’s population is made up of Black/African American residents.

OPA regularly makes recommendations for policy changes or updates that result from their investigations into complaints. They are referred to as Management Action Recommendations (MAR); OPA made 17 during 2022. They are listed beginning on page 31 and include SPD’s response.

The status is listed as completed, active, fully implemented, in progress, partially implemented, or declined action. SPD has completed nine 2022 MARs, with 6 fully or partially implemented.

OPA’s Policy Recommendations page includes MARs dating to 2018.

One example in the report is a recommendation regarding Subjects with Knives. Derek Hayden, Charlena Lyles, and Terry Caver have all been shot and killed by officers in recent years.  That they were each armed with a knife was a common factor in each of these tragic deaths.  OPA recommended revamping training for responding to persons with knives, partnering with OIG to survey other agencies’ tactics; and potentially supplementing SPD’s existing equipment with other less lethal tools. SPD implemented e-learning training for all sworn employees, and when a site was secured, mandatory training began in early 2022. Here’s the MAR, and SPD’s response, and my update last week about the Bola Wrap press conference.

The report notes, “In 2022, OPA issued findings for 857 allegations in 290 investigations. Thirteen percent of completed investigations contained one or more sustained findings, down from 26% in 2021.

In 2022, none of the OPA director’s recommended findings were overturned by the chief of police. Since 2015, the chief has overturned less than 2% of OPA findings.”

Here’s a chart showing discipline imposed for the 91 sustained allegations:  

Senator Patty Murray Helping South Park

This week I had the privilege to join Senator Patty Murray in her announcement of support for funding the second phase of our South Park roadway and drainage improvements a basic infrastructure collaboration between Seattle Public Utilities and SDOT, to allow streets to drain effectively into the new stormwater pipes.  Conveying rainfall to the existing drainage system will lessen overall flooding and direct rainfall and flood water to a soon-to-be-completed flood control pump station. Stormwater will be pumped to the Lower Duwamish Waterway and the water quality facility is yet to be constructed.

The City is just wrapping up Phase I of this program.

Senator Murray’s office has also been working for several years to help move forward work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to plan and build a long-term solution to keeping the Duwamish River within its banks as the sea level rises.

I was joined by South Park Community leaders Paulina Lopez and Robin Schwartz as well as SPU CEO and Director Andrew Lee and Jen Hennessey of Washington State Department of Ecology.  Here are my remarks:

“Thank you very much, Senator Murray, I appreciate you coming to South Park today.

Before even taking office as the City Councilmember representing South Park, I’d heard about residents and businesses about flooding, in their businesses and homes, and on neighborhood streets.

The importance of infrastructure for adequate drainage, which most Seattle neighborhoods already have, cannot be underestimated; and likewise, the importance of partnerships among governments to help make these investments happen

SDOT and Seattle Public Utilities are working in partnership to address these issues, with SDOT working to add road paving and curb gutters, and SPU installing drainage systems along roads, in partnership with King County

The flooding we saw in late December highlighted the danger of increasing sea levels and the impact on the Duwamish River

But there’s also been a longer-term effort to ameliorate flooding resulting from the lack of adequate drainage. Not having drainage results in water not having anywhere to go.

Flooding impacts not just the quality of life for residents, but also the ability of businesses to function

Why has this been happening? No one can deny the historic lack of investment in this community, a failure that we have been working, pushed by community’s effective advocacy, to correct

I thank Senator Murray for championing federal funding for drainage infrastructure to help us as well as her ongoing work with the City regarding the issue of sea level rising.”

EPA East Waterway: Public Comment Extended, In-Person Meeting with Interpretation

The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the public comment period for the East Waterway Proposed Plan through August 11.

In addition, the EPA will be hosting an in-person public meeting on Saturday, June 3rd from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the South Seattle College Georgetown Campus (6737 Corson Avenue South, Building C). You can drop in any time from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Interpretation will be available in Spanish, Khmer and Vietnamese).

EPA is also planning on having at least four sessions on the East Waterway Proposed Plan to answer questions. Only written public comments will be accepted. The upcoming availability sessions are listed below, and anyone is welcome to attend:

  • An availability booth on Tuesday, June 6 from 3-7pm at El Mercadito (1253 S Cloverdale St., Seattle WA 98108)
  • Attending the South Park Neighborhood Association on Tuesday, June 13 starting at 6pm at the Duwamish River Community Hub (8600 14th Ave S, Seattle WA 98108)
  • Attending the Georgetown Community Council on Monday, June 26 starting at 7pm (Location pending)
  • A booth on Saturday, August 5 at the Duwamish River Festival from 12-5pm at the Duwamish River People’s Park and Shoreline Habitat (8700 Dallas Ave S, Seattle WA 98108)

The EPA prepared a short fact sheet that summarizes this Proposed Plan.

Here’s the proposed superfund site plan, including information on how to comment, or receive the plan in Spanish, Khmer, or Vietnamese. Background information on the site is available from the EPA Harbor Island Website.

SDOT Seeking Applications for Advisory Committees

SDOT is seeking applications for several advisory committees and boards. Information about each is linked below:

Applications are being accepted through Sunday, June 4 at the City Clerk’s website. You can apply to multiple boards at the same time.

A virtual drop-in session is available to learn more about the SBAB and TAB, and serving on a board in general, on Friday, June 2 at 12-1 pm via Microsoft Teams link (call-in option 206-686-8357, conference ID 994027284#).

Gun Violence Prevention

This week, I cosponsored a Gun Violence Awareness Day proclamation with Councilmember Strauss.  We’ve seen too much tragedy from gun violence in District 1 recently, including lost lives near Whale Tail Park, Highland Park, and the Chief Sealth High School campus.  This is a scene that plays out in too many communities around our city, and unfortunately, in too many homes as well.

Together We Can End Gun Violence Conference:  Yesterday I attended a regional gun violence prevention in my role as a member of the King County Regional Gun Violence Prevention Leadership Group.  This two-day conference features local and national experts on the epidemic of gun violence.  Community members, community-based organizations, cross-systems partners, health professionals, educators, youth changemakers, advocates, lawmakers, and technical leaders are convening to deepen understanding, practice, and collaboration in Community Violence Intervention (CVI) ecosystems.

The conference is highlighting the experiences of survivors as well as the efforts of community leaders, health professionals, young leaders, local officials, and national experts leading the way in ending the gun violence epidemic.

Lock It Up:  Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.  Everytown For Gun Safety’s research shows that firearm suicide among young people increased by 146% in the past decade; and Centers for Disease Control data shows that 82% of youth who died by firearm suicide used a gun owned by a family member.  You can find resources to safely store firearms and talk to firearm owners about safe storage at KingCounty.Gov/LockItUp.

Next week there will be King County Gun Awareness Day – Gun Lock Box Giveaway and Community Awareness events (Wear Orange Day) Friday (6/2) and Saturday (6/3) across King County in the Central District, Skyway, Kent, White Center, and Rainier Beach to distribute gun safety equipment including lockbox/trigger locks to the first 100 residents at each location.

This will be a chance to highlight the work done by Regional Peacekeepers Collective and Seattle Community Safety Initiative Partners and our amazing partners in the Service Provider Network in Seattle & King County including Community Passageways and Rainier Beach Action Coalition as well as Alive & Free YMCA, Choose 180, Cultured, Freedom Project, F.A.M (Fatherhood Accountability Movement), F.A.S.T. (Fathers and Sons Together), Harborview Hospital, Progress Pushers, Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club- Safe Passage, Urban Family Center.

Board of Health Prevention Work:  At last week’s Board of Health meeting, I asked for an update on the Community Safety & Wellbeing recommendations that regional partners developed last year to respond to gun violence.  I also urged consideration of a social media presence that can educate community members about gun violence and identify online slights and arguments that may escalate in real life, in order to intervene.

Help is Available – Call or Text 988

To wind up Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to remind everyone of an important new resource, here in our community and across the country.  988 offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

I’m grateful that Washington is among the four states to rapidly enact a 988 infrastructure bill with funding included for implementation back in 2021. I testified to the State Legislature earlier this year in support of HB 1134 – which thankfully passed – to build out a strong crisis response system for behavioral health.  Learn more about 988, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, at 988 Frequently Asked Questions | SAMHSA.

HVAC Upgrades Coming at SW Library

Last week, we received this update from Seattle Public Library about long-awaited improvements at the Southwest and Northeast branches:

After some delays, all contracts have been signed and Notice To Proceed is being issued imminently… Both projects are expected to be completed by the middle of November with the hope that they will finish ahead of schedule thanks to a lot of coordinated efforts and easing of supply chain delays to HVAC systems.

Urgent: Confirm Your Eligibility for Apple Health by 5/31

Beginning June 1st, many King County residents enrolled in Apple Health will be at risk of losing their health insurance For the first time in three years, people must confirm eligibility for Apple Health, or enroll in alternative coverage to maintain access to medical and behavioral healthcare.

Get help:

  1. Contact a King County health insurance Navigator at 1-800-756-5437 or
  2. Make an in-person appointment with a Navigator at Gov/Outreach

Housing Levy Hearing May 31st

Council continues its deliberations on the proposed housing levy.  I am sponsoring amendments to the Mayor’s proposal that will:

  • Encourage affordable housing in underserved areas like District 1
  • Preserve existing City-funded affordable homes, and develop goals to acquire affordable homes from the speculative housing market
  • Direct City departments to collaborate on affordable housing that includes affordable commercial space and community services
  • Focus affordable homeownership investments on folks at highest risk of displacement, and those most impacted by the City’s past discriminatory policies
  • Inform policymakers about the impact of providing resident services in more affordable housing buildings.

You have an opportunity to weigh in on Wednesday, May 31st at 4:30pm.  You can sign up to participate starting at 2:30pm on May 31st here: Public Comment – Council |

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