SDOT Snow Response interactive map and arterials prioritized for clearing; Garbage Collection in Inclement Weather; The Future of Camp Second Chance; West Seattle Junction RPZ proposal up for public comment through March 15; February 28 meeting; January Constituent Email Report; In-District Office Hours

February 8th, 2019

SDOT Snow Response Interactive Map and Arterials Prioritized for Clearing

Winter weather has arrived, so here’s information about SDOT’s snow response resources:  SDOT’s interactive map showing which roads have been treated or cleared in the last hour, three hours, and twelve hours. You can view it by neighborhood.

Here’s SDOT’s Winter Weather Response webpage, and SDOT’s Snow/Ice Service Level map of the arterial streets they prioritize for keeping open in snow and ice. They seek to achieve bare and wet pavement on specified streets within 12 hours after a significant lull in a storm.

SDOT’s winter weather response brochure is available here, and also available in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Somali, Tagalog, Korean, Oromo, Tigrinya, and Amharic.

Stay safe out there!

Garbage Collection in Inclement Weather

If your garbage is normally collected on Monday, you are aware that collections did not occur. Collections also did not occur on Tuesday, but was pushed back by one day, and customers from Tuesday onward should have had their garbage collected already. If you are a Monday customer, your collection was delayed a full week, and you are asked to put out all your garbage on 2/11 and you will not be charged an additional amount.

All of that said, we’re facing another storm starting this afternoon which may affect collections going forward. I encourage you to check out Seattle Public Utilities’ website here for up-to-date information about when garbage collections will occur.  I recognize it’s frustrating to not have your garbage collected on time (or at all), please understand that the safety of truck drivers and others is paramount, and I ask that you bear with the utility as we get through this storm.

The Future of Camp Second Chance

Many people have been contacting me about the future of Camp Second Chance at Myers Way.

As you may recall, in December of 2016, the Mayor announced that Camp Second Chance would be one of the city’s six sanctioned encampments. The encampment occupants have worked to make the Myers Way location safe and ensure that it is a good neighbor to the surrounding community. Camp Second Chance has grown to become a place for security and community – moving many people on to get permanent housing.

The Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Section 23.42.056, Subsection E.1 states that: “A permit for a transitional encampment interim use under this Section 23.42.056 may be authorized for up to one year from the date of permit issuance. A permit for a transitional encampment may be renewed one time for up to one year.” (emphasis added). Nevertheless, there are other sanctioned encampments in the city that have operated for more than 2 years. The city has used its authority under the Temporary Use Permit process (a different SMC) to permit sanctioned encampments to maintain their location beyond two years.

Camp Second Chance has been located on Myers’ Way under this authority for nearly two years.  The Mayor’s office, the Interim Director of Human Services Jason Johnson, and his staff have been leading the decision-making over the future of Camp Second Chance. You can get in contact with HSD here and the Mayor’s office here.

Here are the criteria that the Executive will use the decision-making process:

  • First, the Homeless Strategy and Investment Division of HSD, in partnership with Department of Neighborhoods and FAS staff conduct a 30-day community notification and open comment period process regarding the renewal of operating permits. Comments are received via email, voicemail, and recorded at community meetings.
  • Secondly, they will evaluate whether the program is meeting performance standards. In this case, that is the number of unduplicated individuals and families that have had their emergency needs met and the percentage of households who exit to permanent housing.
  • They will also review the property to determine if physical deterioration poses a serious threat to residents and the surrounding community long term.
  • And lastly, they will explore and weigh significant unforeseen impacts on the community that are attributable to the ongoing operation of the village.

I attended a meeting at Fauntleroy Church and another at Highland Park Action Council (HPAC) to hear from our neighbors. As you may know, HPAC is conducting a survey to provide guidance on its decision whether to support the permit extension. I encourage you to take the short survey here.

I have renewed my request to the Executive to work on the priorities, from HPAC, heard last year when the Executive was considering the one year extension permitted under SMC 23.42.056E1. I support HPAC in its efforts to convince the Human Services Department, the Seattle Police Department, the Department of Neighborhoods, and the Seattle Parks Department to work with the community in its reasonable goals to ensure that the City:

  1. Develop written neighborhood protocols for sanctioned encampments for the public
  2. Facilitate a MOA between SPD and KC Sheriff to address cross-jurisdictional public safety challenges
  3. Develop a plan for the eventual transfer of the Myers Way Property from the Fleets and Administrative Services department to the Seattle Parks Department

West Seattle Junction RPZ Proposal up for Public Comment through March 15; February 28 Meeting

SDOT has released proposed parking changes for the West Seattle Junction. The proposed changes would establish new time limits on parking in some areas, and establish a residential parking zone. You can see a map of the proposal at SDOT’s West Seattle Junction Area website.

This proposal is very similar to the draft SDOT released in July. I requested information about what had changed; here’s a link to a document showing the initial proposal, and the changes in the final proposal compared to the initial proposal.

SDOT is required to hold a public hearing and a public comment period before making a decision about whether to adopt these changes. The public hearing will be on Thursday, February 28 at the Senior Center of West Seattle @ California Way SW and SW Oregon Street, from 6:30 to 8:30. SDOT will provide a 15-minute presentation at 6:30 p.m., and public comment will begin at 6:45.

You can also comment through the public comment website through March 15.

Here’s the FAQ about the proposal, and the results of SDOT’s summer 2018 survey.

The process began in 2017 with a “West Seattle Area Access Study,” that was released in February, 2018.  A residential parking study was released in April, 2018 that was requested by the Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO).

SDOT last studied parking in the West Seattle Junction in 2009 and didn’t recommend any paid parking; an earlier citywide parking study in 2002 also mentioned the West Seattle Junction.

SDOT policy is designed to ensure availability of 1-2 open spaces per blockface (i.e. one side of a block).  This can involve setting time limits for parking, or adding paid parking.  SDOT is conducting parking studies in several other neighborhoods in Seattle.

Of Seattle’s 7 Council Districts, District 1 and District 5 (North Seattle) are the only districts in Seattle without any on-street paid parking zones.

January Constituent Email Report

Constituent correspondence is a very important task in my office.  My staff and I spend time every day helping you improve our community, whether that’s by getting you help from a city department with our constituent case management services or giving you information about legislation that the Council is considering.  The unshaded categories and numbers are problem-solving emails answered in January, what I refer to above as “case management services.”  The shaded categories and numbers are emails answered in January related to policy or legislation that the Council is considering.

In-District Office Hours

On February 22, I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave S) from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, March 29, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, April 26, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, May 31, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, June 28, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St
  • Friday, July 26, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, August 16, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, September 27, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St
  • Friday, October 25, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, November 29, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, December 20, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St

Sound Transit Level 3 Analysis Released/Delridge Letter; 48th and Charlestown Park Development; Your Voice Your Choice website open for proposals

February 1st, 2019

Sound Transit Level 3 Analysis Released/Delridge Letter

Sound Transit has released its “Level 3” analysis for three end-to-end alternatives for the West Seattle/Ballard light rail line; here’s a link to the presentation from today’s meeting of the Sound Transit Elected Leadership Group (ELG).

At today’s meeting I requested Sound Transit provide visualizations of what the options will look like, and greater detail on potential residential and business impacts in West Seattle by neighborhood.

In April the ELG is scheduled to make recommendations to the Sound Transit Board about which alternatives to study in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); the Board is expected to make a decision on May 23rd.

The timeline for developing alternatives, along with the formal public comment period, has been delayed due to the shutdown of the federal government.  Any project seeking federal funding must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Under NEPA, the Federal Transit Administration needs to process and publish a formal Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register before the EIS process can begin. This wasn’t possible during the shutdown; since the shutdown ended, the FTA faces a backlog.

The formal public comment period (called “Scoping”) will begin once the Federal Register publishes Sound Transit’s notice. At that time Sound Transit will announce the public meetings, and release visualizations.

Today’s presentation notes that one option is to present two recommendations: one requiring additional funding, and another that does not require additional funding. As currently conceived, both the “blue” option that includes a tunnel from the Avalon station to the Alaska Junction and the “yellow” elevated option, would require additional funding. At this point, only the red, “representative” alignment would require no additional funding.  The yellow line is estimated at $400-500 million more for the entire West Seattle to Ballard alignment, and the blue option is $1.9 – 2.1 billion more.  Sound Transit was asked today to determine whether, by “mixing and matching” segments from other alignments the cost of the “yellow” elevated option could be reduced.  Additional funding would likely need to be identified by 2022 for any option that exceeds the cost of the representative alignment.

Earlier this week King County Councilmember McDermott and I sent a letter to Sound Transit CEO Rogoff requesting that the Elected Leadership Group have an opportunity to further discuss the Delridge neighborhood prior to making recommendations in April.


48th and Charlestown Park Development

The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department is seeking public comment on a landbanked site at 48th Ave SW and SW Charlestown St.

Parks will be working on the planning and design of the park through Fall 2019 and hope to begin construction in the Spring of 2020.

To share your thoughts about what kind of park you would like at this location take the survey online here, or you can attend a community meeting on Sunday, February 10 from 10am – 2pm at the West Seattle Farms Market (on California Ave between Alaska and Oregon).


Your Voice Your Choice Website Open for Proposals

The Your Voice Your Choice Parks & Streets program is collecting proposals through February 22nd.

You can send in a proposal here by clicking on the “Submit your ideas” button. You can also submit ideas in-person at Seattle Public Library branches.

Projects much benefit the public, and cost $90,000 or less. Here are examples of eligible projects.

All you need to do is list the project idea, location, why it’s needed, and who the project benefits. You can list contact information, but it’s not required.

After the “Idea Collection” phase ends on February 22nd, volunteers will be recruited to narrow down the ideas into 8-10 proposals per Council District. You’ll have a chance to vote on the final list of projects in July.


Center City Streetcar Could Impact Other Needed Transit Investments, Such as a Sound Transit 3 Tunnel for West Seattle; Seattle Public Utilities Seismic Report; Language Preference Points Bring Help for SPD Recruitment; South Park King Tide Event; Neighborhood Street Fund Meetings & Online Voting

January 28th, 2019

Center City Streetcar Could Impact Other Needed Transit Investments, Such as a Sound Transit 3 Tunnel for West Seattle

Last week Mayor Durkan announced updated construction and operations cost estimates for the proposed Center City Streetcar on 1st Avenue.

The construction cost estimate has increased to $286 million, and operations costs have increased to $28 million annually.  Both represent significant increases over previous estimates, with large funding gaps. A potential opening would now be in 2025 rather than late 2018 as previously estimated in a 2015 grant application to the Federal Transit Administration.

I appreciate the Mayor’s commitment to providing realistic cost estimates; this stands in stark contrast to the previous administration and previous SDOT leadership. However, I remain very skeptical that building a center city streetcar would be the best use of very limited transportation funds.  I have also long questioned whether the streetcar is truly a transportation project or whether it serves primarily economic development interests as Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat did as well in his column last week.

The Council adopted a measure in the 2019 budget requiring Council approval of any construction spending.

Construction cost estimates

The updated construction cost estimate is $286 million; exactly double – a 100% increase from the 2015 estimate.  The August independent report ordered by the Mayor estimated $252 million, up from $198 million in 2017. The latest increases are in part related to serious mistakes made with the streetcar vehicle design; here’s a link to a memo and report about that.

The funding gap construction is reported to be $65 million. However, this figure contains three assumptions: first, that the City will receive a $75 million FTA grant; secondly, it includes $45 million in bond funding which is a discretionary Council decision; and third, as noted in the presentation, there may be additional costs associated with extending or cancelling the current vehicle procurement contract.

While there would likely be costs to stopping the project, even with those costs, doing so would make significant additional funds available for other transportation purposes.

Operations cost estimates

The updated operations cost estimate is $28 million, a 75%  increase from the $16 million in SDOT’s 2017 report required by the Council, per an amendment I sponsored. While the $16 million estimate is for 2020, and the $28 million is for 2025, it highlights the gap in the quality of information the Council received.

The annual estimated funding gap (i.e. city subsidy) appears to be $18 million for 2025.

The latest increases come in part from operating deficits of the current streetcars, which shows a $4 million annual operations funding gap, and which the Mayor included in the proposed 2019 budget. Sound Transit’s annual $5 million operations subsidy for the First Hill Line ends in 2023. Adding a center city streetcar would increase the gap from the current lines, and cost millions more each year.

Is a Center City Streetcar the best use of transportation funds?

There are other transportation priorities with either funding shortfalls, or unfunded needs. For example, multi-modal corridors and bike/pedestrian work have shortfalls compared to projections for move levy spending.

In addition, cost estimates for ST3 light rail for the West Seattle/Ballard line include tunnel options that could significantly increase the costs. It appears likely we will need to find additional funding, what Sound Transit refers to as “third party funding.”  Costs could be higher in not just West Seattle, but also Ballard and Chinatown/ID. After the ST Board approves alternatives to study in a few months, we’ll have until 2022 to find additional funding.

The bottom line is that any funds we commit to a center city streetcar will not be available for better light rail options.

The original purpose behind the SLU and First Hill lines was to connect those neighborhoods to light rail; they serve that purpose. A Center City Streetcar, while it would connect the two other lines, would travel where light rail stations already exist, at Pioneer Square, University, and Westlake. In addition, the voter-approved ST3 line will add a second subway tunnel through Downtown and South Lake Union in 2035.

Buses productively serve the Downtown/SLU corridor; the C Line and the 40 are two of the busiest lines in the entire bus system. C Line ridership increased by more than 20% when the line was extended to South Lake Union.

I serve on the Regional Transit Committee. Last week we were briefed on the King County Metro 2018 system evaluation. The report shows, in District 1 alone, that the C Line, 120, 50, 37, 56, 21, 131, 132, 125, and 60 all needing additional service to meet KC Metro’s service guidelines for crowding, reliability, and service growth. The City uses the same criteria for funding the additional bus service approved by Seattle’s voters in 2014. Building a center city streetcar is unlikely to help us to meet those targets.

Seattle Public Utilities Seismic Report

Last week in my committee, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) briefed us on the seismic report that they released late last year. Coverage by the Seattle Times reporter Daniel Beekman in December reported on the report vulnerability findings and recommendations.  The last seismic report was commissioned by the utility in 1990.  Since 1990 scientific knowledge and understanding about earthquakes has changed significantly. In 2016 SPU began conducting another study.

In the new report they considered Seattle Fault Zone and Cascadia Subduction Zone type earthquakes, up to magnitude 7.0 and 9.0 respectively. The goal of the study is to incorporate the current understanding of risks into long-term planning for capital improvements to SPU’s water distribution system.

Based on recommendations from the 1990 study SPU has invested $100 million over the last nearly 30 years on discrete seismic updates. However, the new report suggests spending an additional $40 – $50 million in short-term measures in the next 15 to 20 years; and $800 million over the next 50 years for long-term infrastructure improvements, totaling $850 million to improve seismic resiliency.

According to the report, there’s a 15 to 20 percent chance of a catastrophic earthquake – in the next 50 years – similar to the 2011 quakes in Christchurch, New Zealand (6.2 magnitude), and Tohoku, Japan (9.0 magnitude). In both of those instances it took over 45 days to restore water service to the affected areas. The report also stated that there’s an 85% chance of at least one earthquake – in the next 50 years – like the 2001 Nisqually quake that many of us remember.

Another big take-away is that, while previously SPU had begun decommissioning two reservoirs, the report indicated that the reservoirs are needed to provide emergency water. These are the Roosevelt and Volunteer reservoirs. However, even with these two reservoirs Seattle will still be below comparable cities for water access in an emergency. During the committee discussion I asked whether SPU should consider additional ways to increase our water capacity in the event of a catastrophic event so that it more closely aligns with other similar jurisdictions.

The cost, need, and type of upgrades will continue to be a focus of mine, especially when we update the Strategic Business Plan which sets a predictable rate path for six years, and is updated every three years – most recently in 2017. Affordability for ratepayers is top of mind for me even when confronting such necessary infrastructure upgrades.

Language Preference Points Bring Help for SPD Recruitment

Last week the Public Safety Civil Service Commission (PSCSC) adopted a rule Councilmember González and I sponsored to implement a language “preference points” program for the hiring of police officers. This allows people who fluently speak a language other than English to receive higher scoring in their examination. The rule incorporates suggestions from the Community Police Commission to help with the timetable.

Thanks to the PSCSC for taking this action, and to the Department of Human Resources (SDHR) to for their willingness to do the administrative work to target implementation in time for the summer testing period.  Thank you as well to former Office of Police Accountability Auditor, Anne Levinson for making this recommendation in 2013.

Currently, veterans under state and federal are eligible for 10 preference points.

SPD is hiring all candidates who are eligible. Nevertheless, preference points serve two purposes that benefit recruitment and hiring goals. First, preference points show people with language skills—often immigrants and children of immigrants—that their skills are valued, and desired. 18% of Seattle residents were born outside of the United States, and 21% speak a language other than English at home. It’s important to appeal to all Seattle communities in seeking officers. Secondly, in demonstrating in a concrete way that we value these language skills, it may help actually expand the number of people who apply to become police officers.

I began work on this policy change during budget deliberations in 2016, to help recruitment and meet our hiring goals.  The City has missed four recruitment classes since that time; adopting this earlier could have helped to expand the pool of potential applicants for uniformed officer positions. The change in administration has helped in getting this done, especially with cooperation from new leadership at SDHR.

This action helps implement a section of the May 2017 police accountability legislation adopted by the Council, which said,

“Consistent with Chapter 4.08, SPD shall use preference points in hiring sworn employees who are multi-lingual and/or have work experience or educational background providing important skills needed in modern policing, such as experience working with diverse communities, and social work, mental health or domestic violence counseling, or other similar work or community service backgrounds.”

This is similar to the preference points used by the King County Sheriff’s office since 2013.

The rule adopted by the PSCSC says, for the initial hiring of officers, says:

“The Director with the assistance of the Seattle Department of Human Resources shall, upon developing a verification process, implement a language preference points program, which is authorized by Ordinance 125315, for the certification of eligibility registers for initial hiring of Public Safety Civil Service positions in the Seattle Police Department.

Multilingual candidates who successfully complete the language verification process shall receive ten percent added to the passing mark, grade or rating only, based upon a possible rating of one hundred points as a perfect percentage. However, an applicant may only receive a total of 10 percent in preference points, regardless of what kind of preference points are applied.”

After the Council’s vote to approve a new contract with the Police Officer’s Guild, the starting salary for an officer is $81,000, increasing to $87,000 after 6 months, and $94,800 after 30 months.

Future work will focus on developing preference points’ criteria for the remaining community service elements.

South Park King Tide Event

Last week I attended a King Tide event in South Park led by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). King Tides are the highest tides of the year, occurring naturally and predictably 2-4 times per year. By 2100, these types of events are expected to occur as frequently as monthly or daily due to climate change. South Park, along the Duwamish River, already experiences impacts during extreme weather events. South Park is among the most vulnerable areas in the city for sea level rise.

During King Tides, portions of the mostly industrial area in South Park experience street flooding when the SPU drainage system can’t work fast enough. SPU is building new drainage infrastructure in South Park. A stormwater collection and conveyance project, a pump station, and a water quality project are necessary and critical investments for South Park.  Recent funding from the Flood Control Board (which I wrote about here) will support these efforts.

The tour included Duwamish Valley Action Plan & South Park Public Safety Plan project visits too.

Community partnerships are leveraging resources from SPU, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, Seattle Police Department, Seattle City Light, Department of Neighborhoods, Office of Economic Development, Office of Arts and Culture, and Office of Sustainability and Environment in order to develop climate resilience, affordable housing, safety, and open space in South Park’s residential and industrial areas.

Neighborhood Street Fund Prioritization Meetings: February 2 and 4; Online Voting Open

The 2015 Move Seattle Levy included $24 million for the Neighborhood Street Fund. Projects are submitted by residents over three three-year cycles. We’re now in the second cycle, for 2019-2021.

The next phase is for community members to rank the projects proposed in each district and narrow down the number of projects; top-ranked projects will proceed to the voting phase in spring 2019.

You can click here to see a map of projects nominated during Phase 1; projects are arranged by Seattle’s 7 Council districts.

There’s two ways to vote.

First of all, you can attend a Community Prioritization Meeting. The meetings in District 1 will be at:

  • Saturday, February 2: Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Monday, February 4: South Park Hall, 1253 South Cloverdale Street, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Secondly, you can vote online. Here are all the project applications in District 1; you can link to information about each project. You can vote online here, selecting whether a project is high priority, lower priority, or in between.

You can sign up here to receive updates.

The meetings will begin with a presentation of each project proposed in the hosting district. The Department of Neighborhoods advises attendees to:

  • Plan ahead: if you will be joining a community meeting, plan accordingly to arrive no later than the meeting start time.
  • Do your research: in-depth project proposals will be available on our website January 28. Get to know the projects proposed in your district prior to attending a meeting or ranking online.
  • Share: invite friends, family, and neighbors to participate, even if they reside in a different district.

Projects approved in the 2016-2018 phase include Chief Sealth High School Walkway Improvements, and Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St Intersection Improvements.


MHA Process and Schedule; Eviction Reform; Seattle Squeeze Resources; Community Involvement Commission; Planning Commission; Office Hours

January 18th, 2019

MHA Process and Schedule

The Council has begun developing and considering amendments to the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) bill which is currently being heard in the Select Committee on Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability.  On January 22, 2018 Council President Bruce Harrell established the 2018 Select Committee on Citywide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA).  The committee was formed to consider passage and implementation of the citywide MHA including changes to land use regulations, zoning designations, comprehensive plan language and maps, neighborhood plan policies and changes to Urban Village boundaries.

Here is a summary of the program and process to date (see link).

I would encourage you to visit the committee webpage here, you can also sign up to receive committee agendas while you’re there.  You can also view the committee schedule which will be updated when there are changes.

MHA requires developers to contribute to affordable housing either by paying a fee based upon the square footage of the building that they are building or by “performing,” which means devoting a percentage of housing units to be offered at lower rents for 70 years. I believe that, with the proposed zoning changes, we are granting additional development capacity to developers as part of MHA, we should be getting the value of that additional development capacity as contributions to affordable housing. Some believe the current MHA program does require developers to contribute sufficiently to affordable housing. Others do not. Although I support the program, I am in the latter camp of those that say that the affordable housing contribution should be greater.

The city plans to develop 6,000 affordable units with funds derived from the implementation of the MHA program. The broad principles of the MHA program were approved by the City Council in the Fall of 2016 MHA framework legislation. This framework legislation laid out how all developers would newly be required to contribute to affordable housing in all developments in exchange for additional zoning capacity.  MHA requirements apply to development after a rezone is approved that increases the maximum height or floor area ratio (FAR) for the area. Most areas where MHA applies will have an (M), (M1), or (M2) suffix added to the zone name identifying the affordable housing requirements for that zone. Requirements vary based on housing costs in each area of the city and the scale of the zoning change.
MHA has been implemented in some neighborhoods, namely Downtown/South Lake Union, the University District, Queen Anne, the Chinatown/International District, and several areas around 23rd Ave. Please see my blog posts on the University District MHA  and the Downtown and South Lake Union MHA.

I am working with community members in each of the Urban Villages in District 1, specifically South Park, Admiral, West Seattle Junction, Westwood-Highland Park, and the Morgan Junction.  They have helped me to develop a number of amendments that will, if passed, make small changes to the current proposal to reflect the goals held by the community organizations representing those communities, while still implementing MHA in all areas proposed from MHA implementation.  

This week the Council met twice and heard possible amendments to modify the proposed zoning changes, you can view those here. These are not the final amendments, they were identified through public comments gathered at hearings and correspondence with constituents. These amendments were not voted on, and do not reflect the final amendment package from Councilmembers, they are simply a starting place.

If you are interested in the proposed changes or would like to see what is proposed in your neighborhood, please check out this map. Click on “Map 4: Research a specific property” and then on the top left of the map you can enter an address, or you can simply scroll in on the map and click on a specific area to see the current and proposed zoning changes.

The committee will have its next meeting – where we will discuss, but not vote on amendments – on February 8 at 9:30am. That meeting will be followed by a Public Hearing at City Hall starting at 5:30pm on Thursday, February 21.

The committee then intends to vote on final amendments and the overall legislation on Monday, February 25, after Full Council. Finally, the Full Council is scheduled to take up the legislation on Monday, March 18.

Eviction Reform Efforts Begin in CRUEDA

In my September Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee I heard a report of the Seattle Women’s Commission (SWC) entitled: Losing Home. 

The SWC acts in an advisory role to the Mayor, City Council and executive departments. The SWC works on issues that impact the women of Seattle.  They recommend policy and give input to city and state budgets.

The report included review of all 1,218 residential eviction actions filed in Seattle in 2017. 
The study also included:

  • Surveys and interviews of tenants
  • Interviews with homeless prevention providers
  • Cross-reference of evictions with Medical Examiner’s records
  • Examination records regarding housing code violations

I wrote about this report in my blog post following the presentation.   Major findings were:

Of one-tenant household evictions with $100.00 or less owed, 81% were women.

Black tenants experience eviction 4.5 times what they should based on demographics.

People of color were more likely to be evicted for smaller amounts of money.

Of 1,035 evictions, 86.5% were for nonpayment of rent and 52.3% of nonpayment of rent cases were for a month or less in rent.

Attorney’s fees were charged to tenants in 90.6% of cases, and court costs were charged in 92.2% of cases, with a median charge of $416.19 and $358.98 respectively.

A Federal Reserve Report found that 40% of Americans could not come up with $400 in the event of an emergency.

Post-eviction, only 12.5% of evicted respondents found another rental, 37.5% were completely unsheltered, 25.0% living in a shelter or transitional housing, and 25% staying with family or friends

After hearing this report in my committee, we worked to develop a resolution to plan out next steps to work on eviction reform.  We then, last Tuesday in my CRUEDA committee, reviewed the draft resolution that outlines both what the Council has done to date to respond to the report recommendations as well as next steps to take action over the next year.


  1. Recommendations “Prevent Evictions from Substandard Properties,” and “Create a Legal Path for Tenants to Enforce their Rights in Court:”Statement of Legislative Intent 33-5-A-2 seeks efforts to design a proceeding to resolve issues when a tenant receiving a notice of eviction lives in a unit with habitability issues.
  2. Recommendation “Increase Coordinated Funds for Legal Defense and Tenant Outreach Funds:”Green Sheet 33-4-A-2, and Green Sheet 33-6-C-1 funds services and outreach with low income renters, communities of color, LGBTQ renters, those with limited English proficiency, and immigrant and refugee communities as well as funding for legal services to tenants facing eviction.
  3. Recommendations Centralize the Process for Obtaining Assistance in One Place,” and “Expand Courthouse-Based Resources:”Statement of Legislative Intent 15-9-A-1 requests a re-design of eviction prevention programs, including a “one-stop shop” for eviction services and an assessment whether they should be in the courthouse
  4. Recommendation “Increase Subsidies to Tenants At Risk of Eviction:” Green Sheet 15-7-B-1 provides additional financial assistance to prevent evictions and utility shut- offs, and assist with move-in deposits; and
  5. Recommendation “Build More Housing for Low- and No- Income Residents, Especially Families:”Statement of Legislative Intent 1-3-A-2,on feasibility of issuing bonds for affordable housing
  6. Recommendations “Provide Courts with More Flexibility When Determining if an Eviction Is Warranted,” “Increase Time Period to Cure Nonpayment of Rent “and “Strengthen the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance:”Council includes specific language in State agenda to support state changes to amend RCW 59.18 to allow eviction reform.


The resolution states that the City Council will explore strategies to address the problems described in Losing Home, with the following being our near term priorities to address with new eviction prevention laws these issues:

  1. Financial hardship for tenants experiencing domestic violence held liable for damages caused by the perpetrator.
  2. Lack of flexibility to avoid eviction when faced with emergencies
  3. High default rates for evictions arising from not understanding the eviction process, mutual termination agreements, or resources available.
  4. Additional burden to hardship in paying rent from late fees, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
  5. Landlords have discretion to reject roommates regardless of whether the rejection is reasonable, yet tenants often need to live with a roommate to afford rent.
  6. Though a landlord is required to make a reasonable effort to re-rent units when tenants break the lease, termination fees are often high even when the market indicates re-renting a unit is not difficult and
  7. Courts generally do not exercise judicial discretion to prevent evictions, even if a tenant has all of the money owed at the time of the hearing or has good cause to be late on the payment of rent.

We’ll be discussing and possibly voting on this resolution in my CRUEDA committee next Friday, January 25th, at 10am.

Alaskan Way Viaduct Closure Resources, February 2 Public Events

In case you’re looking for resources during the closure of SR99 over the next few weeks, here are a few from the Seattle Traffic website:

Community Involvement Commission Seeking District 1 Member

The Community Involvement Commission has a vacancy for the designated District 1 position.

The Community Involvement Commission advises the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and other City departments on coordinated, citywide outreach and engagement activities.

The Commission is composed of 16 members – seven appointed by City Council and seven appointed by the Mayor, with one of the mayoral positions filled by a young adult through the Get Engaged program. The final two commissioners are selected by the CIC members.

The Department of Neighborhoods is collecting applications; if you’re interested, please complete the online application by Monday, February 4 by 5 p.m. If you cannot submit the application online, contact Danielle Friedman at (206) 256-5973, and an application will be mailed to you.

To learn more about the Community Involvement Commission, visit the website or call Danielle Friedman at (206) 256-5973.

The District 1 position is Council-appointed, so I’ll be reviewing the applications and working with the Department of Neighborhoods on the nomination.

District 1 Needs Planning Commission Representation

The Planning Commission advises the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on citywide planning goals, policies, and plans and provides them with independent and objective advice on land use, zoning, transportation, and housing issues.

Earlier this week I received a notice that the Seattle Planning Commission had openings soon and was seeking applications for new members. I asked commission staff for the roster, to see if there were any members form District 1. There aren’t any, so here’s a link to additional information about the commission, time commitments, and skills they are seeking. All appointments must be approved by the City Council. It’d be great to have a representative from West Seattle or South Park.

To apply, please send a letter of interest and resume by post or e-mail by February 15, 2019 to:

Vanessa Murdock, Executive Director @ or by postal mail to Seattle Planning Commission, PO Box 94788.

MLK Opportunity Fair

On MLK Day on Monday, January 21, the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition will be hosting the 4th Annual MLK Opportunity Fair. The event is designed to promote economic and employment opportunities. It’s at Garfield High School in the Central District, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The event includes a Resume Room where career and employment coaches will be available to review and build resumes, and give advice about interview questions, salary negotiations, and training resources.

50 companies and organizations will be there accepting applications; here’s a link to the schedule and participating companies and organizations.

You can register at the Eventbrite page.

In-District Office Hours

On January 25, I will be at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon St) from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, February 22, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, March 29, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, April 26, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, May 31, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, June 28, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St
  • Friday, July 26, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, August 16, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, September 27, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St
  • Friday, October 25, 2019
    Southwest Customer Service Center, 2801 SW Thistle St
  • Friday, November 29, 2019
    South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenue S
  • Friday, December 20, 2019
    Senior Center of West Seattle, 4217 SW Oregon St



Happy 2019! And a Look Back on 2018 Accomplishments

January 8th, 2019











Capital Project Oversight

Cost increases for the Center City Streetcar and a Downtown protected bike lane highlighted the importance of the Council receiving sufficient information on an ongoing basis, to oversee capital project spending, and to be able to identify problems early.

Capital projects (construction projects) are listed in the annual six-year Capital Project Improvement Program (CIP).  Although the most recent CIP, for 2018-2023, is 1015 pages, it provides limited information for these hundreds of projects. More finely-tuned, timely information is needed for adequate Council oversight.

In 2018, the City Council received an update on new Capital Oversight and Quarterly Reporting standards and recommendations to improve capital project oversight reporting. The report was required in response to Resolution 31720 that the Council passed after Councilmember Johnson and I called for additional oversight of city capital projects. The capital project oversight work program, included a CIP Oversight Assessment Report, an agreement among city departments with large capital projects to agree to formalize project stages, with shared terminology.

Then later that year, during the budget process, I proposed and the Council passed legislation to establish enhanced reporting requirements for the City’s Capital Improvement Program projects, and to use a “stage-gate” appropriation process for selected projects.  This resolution memorializes the work that the Council, Mayor and CBO have done over the last few years to increase capital project oversight.

The legislation requires: 1) enhanced quarterly reports for projects on the “Watch List,”, which show project risk in green, yellow, or red, based on risk factors re: scope, schedule, budget, coordination, community impact, and political risks; and 2) identification of projects for “stage-based” appropriations, where the Council establishes spending limits for certain phases or activities on a capital project (such as we’ve done for the Delridge Multimodal Corridor project).

The Mayor will propose a Watch List early this year, and the Council will adopt it; projects can also be added during the year.

SPU/SCL Call Center Improvements

SPU worked with me to develop a committee work plan for review and monitoring the performance of the call center and coordinatization with SPU to resolve identified issues.  I took this issue up in my workplan even though the call center handles both SPU & SCL problems and the data shows that most of the problems relate to SCL billing issues

The most common complaint that I heard is that the phone wait times were far too long, and often people give up waiting to be connected to a customer service representative.

SPU undertook several steps to help correct the problem:

  • Created an offline team to handle all the non-phone related customer requests – emails, escrow requests, solid waste online service requests, and staffing customer service desk.
  • Changes were made to SPU’s website to improve the way customers send us emails to ensure that we receive all the necessary information to promptly respond to the customer’s issue.
  • The contact center hired 8 temporary Customer Service Representatives to exclusively handle Solid Waste calls and emails. Staffing levels had not increased at the call center since 2001

Last summer I had an opportunity to tour the call center and learned about the improvement in call times and abandonment rates. Here are two charts that compare this year’s performance with that of last year.

Making Sure Growth Pays for Growth – Developer Impact Fees

Impact fees are authorized fees by Washington State law to allow local jurisdictions to charge developers to address the needs for capacity improvements to transportation, parks, schools, and fire facilities. Local jurisdictions are only allowed to charge to address the impacts associated with growth. Impact fees cannot be used to pay for infrastructure needs that are backlogged.

In 2018, the Council issued an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed amendment to the Comprehensive Plan establishing a list of projects, for which capacity improvements are needed to accommodate growth.  We’d planned to, in December 2018, consider 2018 Comprehensive Plan amendments for a transportation impact fee program.

Two appeals were filed to oppose the Transportation Impact Fee Comp Plan amendment.  The appeal means that we are unable to act in December as planned. You can follow the issue here:

There are also Utility Impact Fees called: System Development Charges (SDCs), one-time charges on new customers to buy into or access the utility system. These charges are also authorized by the State, but in the past, Seattle has been hesitant to implement these fees.  Most other jurisdictions utilize these charges in order to hold new development accountable for increased costs for the utility, rather than spreading the costs of this infrastructure to general ratepayers. Much like other types of impact fees (Parks, Transportation, and School impact fees authorized by the State), the graph below shows that Seattle just doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity to make sure developers pay their fair share in the same ways that other jurisdictions do.

In June SPU delivered their first report to Council which describes the work which needs to be completed in order to make a recommendation on legislative changes to the Council. The paper covers four main issue areas: SDCs Calculation (how to calculate the fees), Use of SDCs Revenue (where and how to spend the revenue), Latecomer Agreements (how to accommodate “first-in developments”), and Affordable Housing Development.

I have worked with SPU and they have enacted a Director’s Rule to update the water connection charge and water taps installation fees. These changes went into effect in October 2018. Other changes will require legislation to implement.   We should receive this proposed bill in the Spring.  Again, why should you care?  Well, the closer SPU gets to full cost recovery for the costs associated with new customers using the system, the less these costs will be shifted to the general rate payer.  Growth and development are happening now, and the longer we wait the less effective these policies will be in generating needed revenue for the utility which will offset rate increases.

New Green Electric Trucks Save Tax Payer Money

I worked with the members on my committee to send this letter to SPU to specifically explain that we felt strongly that Seattle should pursue a pilot program for electric garbage trucks.

Both Waste Management and Recology submitted proposals for two full size (class 8) electric trucks for feasibility testing, four midsized (class 6) electric trucks for small routes and container delivery, and ten electric supervisor pick-up trucks and support vehicles. As Seattle prides itself on its green values, this important step of introducing electric garbage trucks, puts Seattle at the forefront of developing technologies in order to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The new contracts would result in savings of $5 million per year starting in 2019, for a total of $50 million in savings over the course of the 10-year contract. Additionally, the new contract will add routine clean-up crews to proactively address debris, graffiti, and other community impacts.



Schmitz Park Property Acquisition

The City Council passed legislation in 2018 authorizing the Parks Department to purchase the 5,000-square foot plot for $225,000, which is less than half of its assessed value of $473,000. The funds will come from the 2008 levy which are mainly used to support property acquisition, capital expansion, development, and renovation of Seattle Parks and Parks facilities. The purchase will also use an innovative policy called the “life-estate agreement” which will allow the property owner to remain in his home.

Crescent-Hamm Building Historic Preservation

As Seattle grows, it’s critically important to maintain connections to our past. Seattle’s Preservation program, in effect since 1973, has designated more than 450 sites as landmarks, helping us to preserve our heritage.

The City Council voted in 2018 to complete the landmark designation process and impose development controls for the Crescent-Hamm Building in the Alaska Junction, located on the northwest corner of Alaska and California. It’s the location of Easy Street Records and other businesses.

These nominations came thanks to the work of the Southwest Seattle Historical Study Group, a collaboration of the SW Seattle Historical Society, SW District Council, West Seattle Junction Association, the Junction Association (JuNO), and ArtsWest.

Alki Vehicle Noise Enforcement – Relief for Alki Coming Soon

Residents of Alki and adjacent neighborhoods developed the Alki Public Safety and Health Survey.  The results of this survey showed clear community concerns regarding vehicle noise; noise from modified vehicle exhaust systems was the #1 community concern.

SPD felt that current laws regarding noise can be difficult to enforce, and that possible adjustments could improve SPD’s ability to enforce. In response the Council passed legislation last year that I introduced to address vehicle exhaust system noise.  The new law uses the standard in the City’s motor vehicle stereo noise law (SMC 25.08.515 (A)(2), in effect since 1989. It simplifies enforcement by allowing officers to issue citations for muffler and engine noise that “can be clearly heard by a person of normal hearing at a distance of 75 feet or more from the vehicle.”

As a beachside neighborhood and a regional destination, the Alki neighborhood and nearby areas face unique public safety and health challenges, especially during the warm-weather months. Residents, community groups, and visitors from elsewhere have expressed concern about public safety, and the growing impact of motor vehicle-related noise issues.  Community members still have concerns about whether the SPD is using this new tool.  I will continue to advocate for enforcement of the City’s laws.

South Park Community Center Late Night Hours Added

The Late-Night Program at the South Park Community Center now runs not only on Fridays but Saturdays as well, between 7pm and 12am from June 2 through September 29, for youth between the ages of 13 and 19.  These extended hours will make the community center more accessible and help meet the needs of our young people living in South Park.

For those of you that have been following last Fall’s report and recommendations of the South Park Public Safety Taskforce, you will know that that I have been working with community members towards the implementation of these recommendations. You can read my last blog post that covers all of the recommendations.

The Duwamish Valley Action Plan identifies over 90 near, mid, and long-term actions the City will take to deliver measurable community health and well-being outcomes. Many of the short-term item mentioned in the plan are already completed, thanks to the advocacy of South Park residents working with my office and the Executive, such as adding street lighting in the alley between Cloverdale and Donovan, and hiring a public safety coordinator, as proposed by the South Park Public Safety Task Force.  The plan is also available in Spanish Vietnamese, and Somali.

Funding to Reduce Flooding Impacting District 1 Businesses and Residents

I, with the help of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), successfully secured $14.9 million to be added to the 2019 FCD Capital Improvement Program budget for two high priority urban flood control projects in District 1. The two projects are: $13.1 million for the South Park Drainage Conveyance Improvement Project and $1.8 million for the Puget Way Culvert Replacement Project.

This funding will allow SPU to construct a system of pipes to manage stormwater and will eventually connect to the South Park Pump Station.  In addition to providing a system to manage the stormwater this project will pave many of the streets, and specifically South Monroe will be paved which will help the businesses and residents of the area.

The Puget Way Culvert Replacement Project will reduce flooding impacts to West Marginal Way and Puget Way. Flooding caused by undersized culverts has damaged one of the warehouses along West Marginal Way and caused lane closures to the street.

Added D1 Bus Service

Last Spring I wrote a letter to SDOT requesting that SDOT assess funding additional non-peak hour service to Bus Route 56, which currently only operates on weekdays during rush hour. The letter noted that the among “Seattle’s 30 Urban Centers and Urban Villages, the Admiral Urban Village is one of only two not included the High Capacity Transit Network, and uniquely 1) is not served by the current Frequent Transit Network, and 2) has no off-peak bus service to Downtown. In addition, it saw a decrease in bus service to Downtown, with the 2012 elimination of off-peak service to Downtown on bus route 56. No buses leave for Downtown after 9 a.m. and return buses from Downtown operate only during evening rush hour.”

In response, SDOT, in its reply informed me that King County Metro agreed to add an extra bus trip 30 minutes later in the morning, arriving Downtown around 10 a.m., and a new trip 30 minutes later in the evening, departing Downtown around 7:15 p.m.

Light Rail to West Seattle

2018 was a busy year for planning light rail between West Seattle and Downtown.

I served on the Elected Leadership Group (ELG), which makes recommendations to the Sound Transit governing board about where the West Seattle/Ballard line and stations should be located. We made recommendations in May and October, after receiving recommendations from the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG), which consists of community members, including several from West Seattle.

All options include stations in Delridge, at Avalon and 35th, and in the Alaska Junction.

In May I highlighted the need for seamless bus transfers at stations, since stations will be used by people from all over West Seattle; designing stations to allow for future system expansion; minimizing impacts on businesses and residences; the need for visualizations and examining the “walkshed” and ridership of potential stations. The ELG accepted the SAG’s recommendation to move forward with studying tunnel and elevated options. In addition, I requested further examination of the “blue” tunnel option, with a revised alignment to not cross the golf course; it had been proposed for elimination.

In October the ELG adopted recommendations to move forward the “blue” option with an elevated guideway along Delridge, that turns onto Genesee, then goes into a tunnel in the hillside, with underground stations at Avalon and at SW Alaska Street in the Alaska Junction. I supported moving the Pigeon Ridge/West Seattle Tunnel (purple) option, since it scored best for transit integration, especially for riders from South Delridge, Highland Park and White Center; it also reduced impacts on the Delridge neighborhood. However, it didn’t get support from the ELG, due to concerns about cost.  The ELG did endorse elements of the purple option endorsed by the SAG, including moving the station closer to the street for better transit integration, and studying a station location at 41st or 42nd in the Alaska Junction. 44th is also being studied as a station location.

Sound Transit is studying the elevated “Representative Alignment” included in the ballot measure as a baseline; the ELG accepted the SAG’s recommendation to move the Delridge station further south, so that it’s not right by the bridge.

D1 Budget Wins

I fought hard to secure funding in this budget to increase public safety in D1, including funding to maintain a public safety coordinator for South Park, funding for RV Remediation, and enhancing and adding three inspectors to the Vacant Building Monitoring Program, so more vacant properties are monitored and don’t become public safety nuisances for the neighborhood.

I heard from the community and secured $60,000 in funding for Concord Elementary’s Community Learning Center, Citizenship Program funding for Neighborhood House at High Point, funding to allow Colman Pool stay open for an additional 4 weekends a year.

In addition, here are D1 capital projects in the budget:



The Council adopted an agreement through 2020 with the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG) for wages, hours and working conditions. The contract increases wages 17% over the course of the contract. I voted yes; officers had worked without an updated contract for three years.

A number factors that made this negotiation more complicated than most, due to the intersection of police accountability issues related to the 2012 Consent Decree between the City and the Department of Justice regarding use of force, and the Janus decision by the US Supreme Court which overturned 40 years of precedent regarding union dues for public employees.

The agreement incorporated elements of the accountability ordinance adopted by the Council, and the use of body cameras. SPOG could have challenged the inclusion of the accountability ordinance and body cameras in this agreement, because they were not included when bargaining began in 2014. SPOG voluntarily agreed to include these issues, which showed a willingness to collaborate on implementing reform. Not all elements of the accountability ordinance were included; they can be in the next round of negotiations. Under state law, officers have the right to bargain over working conditions.

I also supported the adoption of the 2019-2020 budget, which increased funding to add 40 new officer positions in 2019 and 2020. Since taking office in 2016, I’ve voted to increase SPD patrol deployment capacity by a total of 112 new officer positions, all in an effort to advance SPD’s goal to add – and fill – 200 new patrol positions.  This represents, over my 3 years on the Council, about $62 million of new investment that that the Council has included for SPD and public safety. Council also approved a budget action requiring SPD to report monthly to the Council on progress in hiring new officers.

The agreement is being reviewed by US District Court Judge Robart, who has oversight authority for implementation of the Consent Decree. The Council also adopted a resolution requesting review of three items related to police accountability.

The Council approved funding in the 2019-20 budget for the re-establishment of the Community Service Officer (CSO) program, which I co-sponsored.  CSOs are unsworn officers who can prioritize community services associated with law enforcement such as crime prevention and non-emergency tasks, and free up SDP officers for 911 response. The program will begin this year.

I voted to approved funding to add the Southwest and South Precincts to the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program in 2019. LEAD is a pre-booking diversion program, first used in Belltown and Skyway, that allows officers to redirect low-level offenders to community-based services. The program, overseen by the City Attorney, SPD,  and others regional partners, is designed to “improve public safety and public order, and to reduce the criminal behavior of people who participate in the program.”



Hate Crimes

In September the City Auditor published Phase 1 for their review of Review of Hate Crime Prevention, Response, and Reporting in Seattle. They Auditor shared these findings in my committee that found hate crimes had increased 126% from 2012 to 2016. There was a further 64% increase from 2016 to 2017. 2018 figures show high rates as well.  One of the recommendations included in the report proposed a regional approach to responding to hate crimes by supporting a statewide agency or task force.”

The report noted the Community Relations Service from the NW Regional Office of the Department of Justice was willing to facilitate meetings to begin this conversation.  Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is likely to close this office.   Nevertheless, I intend to work to co-convene this effort in 2019.

Other recommendations in the report included recommendations in 4 additional categories:

  1. Reporting
  2. Training
  3. Using Data
  4. City Coordination

This year we will receive Phase 2 audit, which will report on how the City implemented its Phase 1 recommendations as well as including both an analysis of disposition of cases and a socio-demographic analysis with University of Washington/

In 2018, I also began work, with City Attorney Pete Holmes on legislation to establish a hate crime-motivation in the Seattle Municipal Code. The legislation would give the City Attorney’s Office (CAO) greater ability to prosecute hate crimes that aren’t being prosecuted under the state felony Malicious Harassment law.

Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Last year I proposed and the Council passed a bill to extend the statute of limitations on sexual harassment claims brought to the Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR). This issue was first brought to my attention by a constituent who reached out because she had experienced sexual harassment on her campus.  She had been bounced around from place to place and when she was finally referred to SOCR the current 180 statute of limitations had already expired.

The bill:

  1. Extends the statute of limitations from 180 days to a year and a half for sexual harassment in instances of employment and contracting
  2. Extends the statute of limitations from 180 days to one year in public accommodations

Civil Legal Aid Update

In March the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution to move Seattle toward incorporating more civil legal aid services into the City’s legal defense contract with King County.  Then later, the Council passed an Interlocal Agreement so that civil legal aid attorneys could begin limited direct representation of defendants.

These civil legal aid attorneys help prevent people from experiencing collateral consequences such as losing housing, public benefits, driver’s licenses, and professional technical licenses, as well as addressing other civil issues in the course of a legal defense for an unrelated charge.  Civil legal aid attorneys work with Public Defenders and advocate for defendants to avoid these potential collateral consequences.

Through the first phase of the pilot, 293 cases received civil legal aid from July through December 2017.

If rehabilitation is the goal of our criminal justice system, we need to directly address the unintended consequences of interactions with that system. Homelessness and unemployment should not result from a misdemeanor when it’s completely unrelated to the offense a person allegedly committed.



Housing for People with Disabilities

In July this year the Seattle City Council passed CB 119309 amending the Open Housing Ordinance in Chapter 14.08 of the Seattle Municipal Code to increase the types of entities with an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities.

This issue was brought to my attention after a Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) voucher recipient requested a change in her voucher from a studio apartment to one bedroom as a disability related accommodation.  SHA refused to grant her request.

This bill requires that a Section 8 or other subsidy program administrator has an obligation to grant a reasonable accommodation when requested by a person with a disability just like landlords are.  The bill also clarifies that those applying for units and trying to obtain reasonable modifications are equally protected as are tenants who already have housing.

Outcomes in Homelessness Funding

Prior to this year, results-based accountability was utilized in 77% of HSD’s contracts.  Legislation that I sponsored in 2017 require a results-based framework (RBA) for designing all of its human services investments, From January 1 through June 30, 2018 agencies receiving city funds served 18,356 households and helped 4,459 households exit to permanent housing (2,644) or maintain their housing (1,815). Our investments in 2017 resulted in 5,058 exits to permanent housing (or supporting households to maintain their permanent supportive housing) in 2017. The agencies that the City funds have moved almost as many people into permanent housing in the first 6 months of 2018 as in the entire year of 2017.

$1 Million in Funding for Hygiene and Emergency Shelter Services

This time last year the Council allocated an additional $1 million in bridge funding for emergency shelter and drop-in hygiene services ensuring that these essential services would remain funded through 2018.

Last year the Human Services Department announced that they would run a competitive process to re-issue all their homeless dollars. In November of 2017 the Human Services Department announced the awards. Bridge funding was awarded to some of the previously funded organizations who were not awarded ongoing funding through this RFP. Bridge funding offered to service providers not selected in the Homeless Investments RFP process was originally limited to only less than six months for most recipients. This was an insufficient amount of time for some agencies to work with people receiving their services to find new services. I believed then, as I do now, that efforts to transition people to other services should occur and should services proposed for cuts demonstrate that they are more successful in getting people into permanent housing then bridge funding should not be terminated.

Working to Establish a Community Preferences Housing Policy

Community preference polices are a different type of tool to fight displacement. The common approaches to implement community resident preferences include:

  • A portion of rental or ownership units in affordable development are set-aside
  • Preferred applicants may be local residents, workers, former residents, people who have been displaced
  • Lottery used to select affordable housing residents/buyers
  • Policy must affirmatively further fair housing- explicit analysis of racial impact.

Community resident preferences can address historic and current displacement by providing preference for community residents. These policies can provide affordable housing opportunities, support at-risk communities, and stop segregation. When written poorly on the other hand, community resident preferences can perpetuate segregation.  Community resident preferences can be found in New York City, San Francisco, and Portland.

I believe we can use affirmative market and community preference policies to help communities in Seattle that have a high rate of displacement. However, the policies and marketing tools implemented in the City must be written carefully to take into consideration Seattle’s history of racial covenants and redlining.



This year I hosted 45 hours of in-district office hours where I met with 95 constituents. There are three locations that I rotate between to help make it easier for constituents to meet with me in their neighborhood. Meeting topics ranged from homelessness to transportation to zoning to public safety issues. Multiple groups utilized this time to connect with me about specific issues their organization or neighborhoods were facing. In addition to my in-district office hours I regularly meet with constituents at my office in City Hall.

In-District Office hours will continue again in 2019; please keep an eye out for my emails and on the blog to know when I will be in your neighborhood.

In addition to my office hours, we receive thousands of emails from residents all over the city. Last year I said I would have a better count of the total number of emails responded to according to topic. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get an accurate count for the first quarter; however, excluding the first three months we replied to a total of 9,048 emails. As with my previous monthly reports the unshaded categories and numbers are problem-solving emails answered, what I refer to as “case management services,” and the shaded categories and numbers are emails answered related to policy or legislation that the Council was considering. This number does not reflect the follow up emails which are often required to gather more information or ensure a response from a department should that be necessary.

Here’s the breakout:


South Park Investments; Alaskan Way Viaduct Closes on January 11

December 22nd, 2018

Update on South Park Work to Address Community Task Force Recommendations and Other Investment in South Park

Here’s a follow up to an update earlier this year about implementation of the recommendations of the South Park Public Safety Task Force, and other projects in South Park.

The South Park Public Safety Coordinator, a key community priority, began work during 2018. I sponsored, and the Council adopted funding to continue this position in 2019.

The community voted to prioritize spending $500,000 in transportation improvements identified by the task force, and funded by the Council in 2018.

Of the projects selected by the community, three have been completed: new lighting has been added on the 8th Avenue Trail, and stairway lighting added on 10th Avenue and 12th Avenue. Design is being finalized for crosswalk upgrades at South Cloverdale and 7th Avenue South.  Signal upgrades at 7th and 8th and Cloverdale were also completed with Your Voice Your Choice funding.   Your Voice Your Choice funding was also used to install of a new crosswalk at 12th and Cloverdale.

The community also prioritized pedestrian lighting on Cloverdale on both sides of the SR99 underpass, and sidewalk widening. Subsequently, $90,000 was added for walkway improvements through community voting in the Your Voice Your Choice program. The Department of Neighborhoods has worked with SDOT and City Light to develop a design concept that includes lighting upgrades to the underpass; pigeon spikes under the bridge, to address pigeon dropping which make the walkway slippery; sidewalk improvements; and traffic calming (an SDOT analysis found the sidewalk was wide enough, so barriers may be installed between the roadway and the sidewalk in 2019 instead).

The cost for this pedestrian lighting on Cloverdale on both sides of the SR99 underpass is estimated at $300,000 to $500,000; funding will be carried forward in legislation sent to the City Council early in 2019 in what’s called the budget “carryforward” ordinance.

Additional priorities identified by the South Park Public Safety Taskforce have been completed by City Light: installation of alley lighting near 14th Avenue South, and street lighting upgrades to LED.

SDOT has also completed traffic calming on 5th and 7th, a new edge line on Cloverdale, and is scheduled to install radar feedback signs on Cloverdale and 14th.

Friends of 5th and Cloverdale, through a DON grant, completed work on street design improvements, including a new sidewalk on the south side of Cloverdale, including safe bike access, and green stormwater infrastructure and a pedestrian walkway on the north side of Cloverdale.  These improvements will occur in phases over the next few years. The City Budget Office indicated in a reply to a budget question that crosswalk upgrades were planned for 2018 at 7th and Cloverdale.

In addition, the Council voted earlier this week to approve legislation to accept grants, including $950,000 for the Duwamish Waterway Park Improvements project; funding will be used to make major improvements to Duwamish Waterway Park, including installation of a new play area, renovation of grill/picnic areas, addition of pathways and a drinking fountain, and related work. Separate legislation creates a new “Duwamish Waterway Park Improvements” project in the Department of Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Program.

I previously wrote about the South Park Conveyance project here. In my capacity as a member of the Flood Control District Advisory Board, I worked with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to successfully get $13.1 million for this project which will allow the City to construct a drainage system in South Park near 7th Ave south and alleviate flooding problems in the area that have a particular impact on the businesses in the area. This drainage system will connect with another project that SPU is working on, the South Park Pump Station, which will be built and in operation by 2021.

Finally, my office has also asked for an update about a task force recommendation to improve traffic safety and enforcement. One Action Item recommendation was to research “traffic calming options for vehicles, particularly large trucks, turning from the South Park Bridge onto Cloverdale.” SDOT indicated they were “reviewing truck turning at this intersection to evaluate options to reduce encroachment on the sidewalk.” Over the last two weeks, there have been two instances of very large trucks coming up on to the sidewalk.  In one instance, the truck hit a building at that intersection. I asked SDOT for their analysis, and potential next steps; the Dept. of Neighborhoods let me know that SDOT and the Office of Economic Development will be meeting on January 9 about this, so we expect to have an update soon after that.

Thanks to the Department of Neighborhoods for coordinating public voting on South Park improvements, and for helping to coordinate work of city departments.

Alaskan Way Viaduct Closes on January 11: Temporary Restrictions on Spokane Street Bridge Openings, New Shuttle Service

On January 11, WSDOT will permanently close the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This will lead to significant changes in how we get to and from Downtown.  A recent presentation at a Council Briefing meeting has a good summary of what this will entail.

Two changes were announced last week that are designed to help.

First of all, the U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates bridge openings, has approved a temporary restriction from January 11 to February 9 to limit Spokane Street Bridge openings (i.e. the “lower bridge” adjacent to the West Seattle Bridge). The restrictions will be in place from 7-10 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m., and prohibit openings for vessels of less than 5000  or more gross tons (see page 3 of the Coast Guard’s Notice to Mariners).

Secondly, KC Metro’s Ride 2 service began operation on December 17, with city funding. This service will provide shared on-demand trips to buses at the Alaskan Junction and to and from the Water Taxi at Seacrest Park from Monday through Friday, 5-9:30 a.m. and 2:30-7 p.m. You can download the app at the link, or call 855-233-1880. I’ve asked SDOT about the area served; as shown on the map at the website as it doesn’t cover the southern portion of the peninsula. More information is available at the West Seattle Ride 2 website.

SDOT has a new Seattle Traffic site which includes current traffic travel time estimates  for several locations, including to and from the West Seattle Junction and Downtown. You can subscribe to traffic alerts by neighborhood here, including for the West Seattle Junction. I’ve asked SDOT if a travel time estimate can be added for Westwood Village to Downtown, as well as a traffic alert.

During the 3 weeks when SR 99 is first closed, and then while the Dearborn exit is being constructed,  buses from West Seattle, White Center and Burien that use the Alaskan Way Viaduct (21X, 37X, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, and the C Line) will travel on the Spokane Street Viaduct, then are planned to access Downtown on 4th Avenue.  However, they may travel on different streets through SODO, depending on traffic conditions. Once the new ramp on Dearborn is constructed, buses will travel on SR 99 to Dearborn, then on to 1st Avenue.

Last week SDOT sent a follow-up reply to my letter requesting a bus lane on 1st Avenue, after SDOT engineers did a structural analysis of the capacity of 1st Avenue to handle frequent bus traffic. While the 1st Avenue curb lane isn’t able to tolerate frequent bus traffic loads, SDOT is continuing to work with King County Metro to determine the feasibility of routing buses along the inside (non-curb) lane, and examining weight restrictions.

Additional information on the Viaduct removal and new tunnel are available at WSDOT’s Realign 99 website, and WDSOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement website.

King County’s viaduct closure information page includes information about the water taxi, which will have an extra boat. Bus routes 773 and 775, and 37 all go to the water taxi dock. Here’s a link to additional information; overnight parking restrictions will apply on the water side of Seacrest Park to allow for around 120 cars to park for the water taxi; the Pier 2 parking lot holds over 200 cars, and will be staffed Monday through Friday from 5:45 to 9:15 a.m. and 4 to 7:15 p.m.; a shuttle will run continuously between Pier 2 and Seacrest Park. Here’s a link to a document that has the schedules for the water tax, and routes 773 and 775.


Happy holidays and I look forward to working with everyone in the New Year!


Re-entry Workgroup Recommendations for Those Being Released From Incarceration; Showbox Update; Closed Captioning; November Constituent Email Report

December 7th, 2018

Re-entry Workgroup Recommendations for Those Being Released From Incarceration

Last November I shared with you the efforts of the Seattle Re-entry Workgroup.  Resolution 31637, passed in 2015, convened a workgroup to develop policies and strategies to strengthen the City of Seattle’s effort to assist with reentry after incarceration including reducing recidivism, and alleviating the negative impact of incarceration on individuals.

Workgroup members with lived experience of incarceration led much of this work and participated in two years of meetings and many hours exchanging stories of incarceration and the transition after release.   You can find the report here, below are the highlights:

Strategy 1 | Indigenous Healing

  1. Invest in specific strategies that center and support the reentering Indigenous community members.
  2. Elevate Indigenous voices in efforts focused on criminal legal system policy and reform Contract solely with jails that provide access to religious and spiritual services
  3. Ensure that all homeless prevention, anti-poverty, or reentry investments strategies include targeted supports for the Indigenous community

Strategy 2 | Reentry Healing & Navigation

  1. Fund community-rooted “Reentry Navigators” who can provide anti-racist support and navigation services for individuals currently incarcerated and those returning from incarceration
  2. Reconsider contracts that require elevated surveillance by agency staff
  3. Reconsider using recidivism as an outcome measurement

Strategy 3 | Economic Opportunities

  1. Explore ways to increase formerly incarcerated individuals’ opportunity with City Requests for Proposals and City Public Works Projects through Priority Hire
  2. Increase City TechHireOpportunities
  3. Increase City Employment and Recruitment
  4. Support Priority Hire Tracking and Accountability

Strategy 4 | Housing

  1. Match housing investments for those currently involved with the criminal justice system to the City’s current jail expenditure
  2. Dedicate a portion of the City’s investments to end homelessness to individuals living with criminal history
  3. Develop technical assistance programs to enable those living with criminal history to be mortgage-ready
  4. Whenever possible, redefine “homelessness” for non-HUD funded projects
  5. Create a mechanism to provide rent assistance to individuals currently being incarcerated by the City’s criminal legal system
  6. Work with public housing providers to ensure they comply with Fair Chance Housing

Strategy 5 | City’s Use of Jails

  1. Reduce the use of jail – What are the City’s defined outcomes for jail contracts? Do these investments help the City reach these outcomes?
  2. City criminal legal system partners should evaluate current sentencing framework to make a shared commitment in reducing the use of jail for misdemeanors
  3. Work to eliminate as many beds as feasible in the current contract
  4. Manage jail contracts to ensure access to care

Strategy 6 | Decriminalization

  1. Seattle City Council should repeal SMC 12A.20.050 – Drug-Traffic Loitering and repeal SMC 12A.10.010 – Prostitution Loitering
  2. City Attorney’s Office should exercise prosecutorial discretion, such as: do not request jail time for those charged with theft and decline to prosecute for drug traffic loitering and prostitution loitering crimes
  3. Seattle Police Department should limit arrests for nonviolent misdemeanor offenses and increase use of citations, summons, or forms of diversion; develop a more accurate way to develop race data

Strategy 7 |Reentry Workgroup’s Next Phase

  1. City should establish a criminal legal system advisory board that: Informs City policies that impact the criminal legal system and/or reentry support; Monitors the implementation of any recommendation from this report; Is led by those with lived experience and equipped with a strong analysis of systemic racism and the criminal legal system.
  2. Assessment of how the City’s imposition and collections of fines and fees for criminal violations and infractions and the impact of such on successful reentry.

In producing and delivering the report, many individuals and organizations provided support and expertise. Because I found these words moving and inspirational, I’d like to share the report authors’ acknowledgement here:

“We also recognize those who have been supporting folks returning from incarceration and organizing for institutional change for a very long time. We know that much of that work has been done without compensation or acknowledgment yet done with love and an unyielding commitment to family and community strength. We thank you for that work and hope these recommendations support you. We also acknowledge that the individuals most impacted by the recommendations in this report are unable to join us at the City’s tables, as they are still incarcerated. We did this work in your honor.”


Showbox Update

Here are some updates on efforts thus far to explore options for preserving the Showbox.  I believe the Council and Mayor have a shared recognition of the Showbox as a significant cultural resource and an historic performance venue that has launched the careers of local, national, and international musicians.

Pike Place Market Historical District Boundary Extension


If you remember, with passage the August of Ordinance 125660, the City extended the boundaries, on an interim basis, of the Pike Place Market Historical District to include the Showbox.  I wrote about that vote in August, you can read more here.

With the Showbox now within the boundaries of the Pike Place Market Historical District, the Pike Place Market Historical Commission has authority to receive development proposals for the site as well as authority for “the preservation, restoration and improvement of such buildings and uses in the Historical District, as in the opinion of the Commission shall be deemed to have architectural, cultural, economic and historical value.”


The 2019-2020 City of Seattle Budget included funding for a near term workplan to exploring whether the interim expansion enacted by Ordinance 125660 should be made permanent.  Here is what I understand to be the work of the Executive as relates to consideration of the interim expansion:

August 2018-April 2019 – The Department of Neighborhoods will: a. review the historic significance of the Showbox Theater, b. study the relationship between the Showbox Theater and the Pike Place Market, c. consider the development of amendments to the Pike Place Market Historical District Design Guidelines related to the Showbox Theater, d. potentially draft legislation, e. conduct outreach to stakeholders.  f. The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection will conduct State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review on permanent expansion of the Historical District, as appropriate.

March 2019: SDCI will publish SEPA threshold determination, if necessary.

May 2019: Mayor transmits legislation to Council, if permanent boundary expansion proposed.

June 2019: Council deliberations on proposed expansion of the Historical District, if proposed.

July 2019: If Council passes legislation, permanent district expansion effective.

I have asked the Mayor for confirmation of this schedule.

Landmark Preservation


The City’s Historic Resources Survey identifies multiple structures in the vicinity of the District that may be eligible as landmarks but are not currently designated as landmarks. In addition to the consideration of a permanent expansion of the Pike Market Historical District, Historic Seattle, Vanishing Seattle, and Friends of Historic Belltown have submitted a nomination to the Landmarks Preservation Board to designate the Showbox as an historic landmark.  Should the Landmarks Preservation Board do so, they then have the authority to approve controls and incentives and grant certificates of approval for any future modifications to the Showbox.


The staff for the Landmarks Preservation Board has indicated that they have been working to identify a meeting date for discussion of this application.  Today my office was told that they have given the owner two additional weeks to agree to the March 6 meeting date.  Owner consent is not required but as an operating practice the Landmarks Preservation Board seeks agreement.  As another operating practice, the Landmarks Preservation Board gives at least three weeks’ notice of meetings.  For high-profile nominations, they strive to provide additional notice.  The Bertha Knight Landes Room has been reserved for March 6.

Interdepartmental Team Work


Last August, the Mayor convened an Inter-departmental Team (IDT) with representation from the Department of Neighborhoods, the Department of Construction and Inspections, the Office of Arts and Culture, the Office of Film and Music, and the Office of Housing.


I don’t know if that IDT is continuing to meet.  Because of what I believe to be our shared objectives, I have requested the Mayor to include representation from the Council on the IDT as well as an update on whether there has been progress in their efforts.


The City has been a partner in the successful community efforts to preserve Washington Hall, the Fifth Avenue Theatre, as well as other cultural spaces, not to mention the important revival of cultural spaces like the Black and Tan Hall.  Nevertheless, we are all too aware that those contributing to Seattle’s cultural community are among those at risk of displacement.

As a City of Music, Seattle has many programs, developed by the Seattle Music Commission and produced in partnership with many local public, nonprofit, and independent organizations.  Though these programs provide critical support to the music industry and broader Seattle music community, they can only go so far.  We must leave no stone left unturned, so that this cherished performance venue can be valued by Seattle’s music community for generations to come.


Closed Captioning

If you regularly watch Council meetings you may have noticed something different this week. On Monday, Seattle Channel added closed captioning to the broadcast of Seattle City Council meetings. Until now, hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals were essentially shut out of the conversation because they could not hear the discussion as it was taking place, or even after the fact.

I have Council oversight of budget and policy issues related to disabilities.  The addition of closed captioning is part of the Seattle City Council’s objective to increase accessibility to Seattle government.  The Seattle Channel was able to add closed-captions to the broadcast of City Council meetings as a result of a budget proposal I made in last year’s budget that the Council adopted.

The Seattle City Clerk provides accommodations to Council meetings, including translation and interpretation services, and the Council Chamber is equipped with assisted listening devices and an induction loop system.

Here’s a link to my press release announcing the inclusion of closed captioning.

I want to take a moment to thank the Commission for People with DisAbilities and the Seattle Channel for their work, without which this would not have been possible.


November Constituent Email Report

Constituent correspondence is a very important task in my office.  My staff and I spend time every day helping you improve our community, whether that’s through getting you help from a city department with our constituent case management services or giving you information about legislation that the Council is considering.  The unshaded categories and numbers are problem-solving emails answered in November, what I refer to above as “case management services.”tm


TOMORROW- Have Tickets or Other Seattle Municipal Court Issues?  Come To  Delridge Community Center From 10am – 4pm; Semi-Annual Streetcar Report Shows Operations Deficits; Reminder: Re-Entry Lunch and Learn Thursday December 6, 2018; In-District Office Hours

November 29th, 2018

TOMORROW- Have Tickets or Other Seattle Municipal Court Issues?  Come To  Delridge Community Center From 10am – 4pm

Seattle Municipal Court will be at the Delridge Community Center tomorrow, Friday, November 30th, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. to help resolve warrants, share options for addressing unpaid tickets, provide relicensing assistance or a referral to a public defender.  They’ll also help people access supportive services through the Court Resource Center. No appointment is required.

A press release from the City Attorney notes that “warrant holders can set a future court date there and won’t face arrest. No prosecutors will be present at this Court-sponsored event.”

Having outstanding warrants make it harder to move forward in life. Attendees will learn their options to resolve SMC warrants in a welcoming, community-based location. Individuals with unpaid tickets will learn options to resolve their tickets through a payment plan or community service plan and how to regain their driver’s license. Court staff will answer questions about court processes, schedule hearings, and provide information on resources and support services available through the court.

Attendees will be able to access social services onsite including: DSHS benefits (food, cash, medical), referral for a vision exam and eye glass vouchers, Orca Lift reduced fare and other transportation passes, chemical dependency and mental health assistance, basic needs and referrals for other support services. Court partner organizations onsite for the event include: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Public Health – Seattle and King County, Navos and the YWCA.

Anyone who needs assistance is encouraged to attend Friday, November 30th, 2018, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106.

The event flyer is available in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer here:

This is a collaboration between the Seattle Municipal Court, King County Department of Public Defense, Seattle City Attorney’s Office, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Seattle Human Services Department.

The City Attorney’s press release notes City officials filed a motion to dismiss over 200 outstanding warrants for low-level non-violent misdemeanors that occurred 5-22 years ago, to allow law enforcement to focus on more serious, violent offenses.


Semi-Annual Streetcar Report Shows Operations Deficits

SDOT has released its November 2018 Semi-Annual Streetcar Report for the South Lake Union and First Hill Streetcar Lines. This is the first report since the June 2017 Semi-Annual Report was developed under a previous Mayor and previous SDOT leadership.

Streetcar operations are funded by fares, federal grants, and advertising sponsorships. The SLU line also receives operating contributions of $1.55 million from King County Metro and $229,000 from Amazon; the First Hill line receives $5 million from Sound Transit.

The new report shows that revenues have been insufficient to operate the lines in recent years. While projections for future years appear more realistic, it appears operations will require ongoing subsidies that were not originally contemplated.

Three key reasons explain the deficit: ridership is lower than projected; and farebox recovery (fares collected divided by operating costs) has been lower, and operating costs have increased;

Ridership on the SLU line decreased by 17% in 2016. 2017 ridership was 17% below projections included in the June 2017 report, and 39% below original estimates. For First Hill, ridership in 2017 was 882,000; the original forecast was 1.3 million.

For SLU, farebox recovery was projected for 35% in 2017, but was only 23%. For First Hill, farebox recovery was 10%, well below the projection of 29% included in the June 2017.

The result of fewer riders and lower farebox recovery is less revenue: for the SLU line, fare collection revenue was 31% below projections in 2016, 30% in 2017, and estimated at 34% in 2018. For First Hill, fare collections were 39% below estimates in 2016, 36% in 2017, and projected at 54% in 2018.

Operations costs have increased as well. 2018 SLU operation costs are projected to be 8% above projections. For First Hill, the increase from the King County/City agreement has been 15% in 2016, to 21% in 2017, and projected at 30% for 2018.

Less revenue and higher operations costs have resulted in an operations funding gap for the two lines of $1.4 million in 2016, $1.8 million in 2017, and $3.3 million in 2019.

Looking ahead, the report projects 3% ridership increases in future years. Farebox recovery projections are more in line with current collections (22% for SLU, 10% for First Hill), though they increase slightly with time.

The operations funding gap is projected to continue in future years: the 2019 budget includes an additional $4 million for operations costs. The original forecast that streetcar operations would not require additional subsidies has proven inaccurate.

The June 2017 Semi-Annual Report showed no operations deficits—it’s clear this was inaccurate. For example, for 2016 it showed $3.2 million in revenues for the SLU line; the updated report shows $2.8 million in revenues. Fare collections were overstated by $271,000, and federal grant contributions by $123,000. The 2017 report said the figures listed for 2016 were “Actual amounts,” but this doesn’t appear to be the case.

I appreciate the commitment of SDOT’s new interim leadership to more realistic, accurate projections. However, the figures do raise the question of how operations of the current streetcars will be funded in the long run: it’s clear there is a structural funding gap.

No long-term funding source has been proposed to cover the funding gap. The deficits from 2016 through 2018, and projected for 2019, are currently funded with street use fees and the commercial parking tax. We’ll need more if King County’s $1.55 million operations subsidy of the SLU Line runs out in 2019; negotiations with King County are ongoing. Sound Transit’s $5 million subsidy for First Hill expires after 2023. These compounded gaps in funding could mean an annual deficit of more than $10 million after 2023.

During the just-concluded budget process, the Council adopted my proposal that any operations agreement for a Center City Streetcar must include performance measures and operations funding sources for the first six years, as well as identified funding sources for construction—currently $60 million short—and contingency strategies if federal funds are not received.

In August the Mayor released an Initial Summary consultant report about the operations and construction cost problems regarding the Center City Streetcar.


Reminder: Re-Entry Lunch and Learn Thursday December 6, 2018

Please join the Re-Entry workgroup and the Seattle City Council for a special meeting of the Civil Rights, Utilities,  Economic Development, and Arts (CRUEDA) committee.  On Thursday December 6, 2018 the CRUEDA committee will host a lunch and learn to hear Seattle’s Reentry Work Group’s final recommendations and update on their work to examine and address the barriers individuals face when living with a criminal history.

The Seattle Reentry Work Group was created by City Council Resolution 31637 and passed unanimously by City Council in 2015 to coordinate and strengthen the City’s efforts to assist reentry.

The Work Group is comprised of community and institutional stakeholders working on reentry issues.  Everyone is welcome to bring a bag lunch to Seattle City Hall Council Chambers and learn from this important work.

In-District Office Hours
On December 14, I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave S) from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The final meeting of the day will begin at 6:30 p.m.

These hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming in advance you can email my scheduler Alex Clardy (

These are my final office hours of 2018, I will release a tentative list of next year’s office hours at the beginning of January.


Giving Thanks; This week’s budget update: Council passes 2019-2020 City budget; Alaskan Way Viaduct Closure Information Meeting November 26 @ Delridge CC; No Garbage Collection on Thanksgiving Day

November 21st, 2018

Giving Thanks

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

Please indulge me now reflecting on my thanks for particular inspirational individuals.  Anyone reading this, if you are working for your community I’m thankful for you, I’m just doing a shout out to a few people and groups on my mind today as I write this.  No hurt feelings I hope, for names not mentioned!

I am thankful for small business owners like Cote Soerns and John Bennett who work in District 1 to advocate for small businesses as well advocating for healthy, cohesive, and engaged community!

I am thankful to Ann Levinson, a District 1 resident who has done so much for Seattle.  She was the former Office of Professional Accountability Auditor, she was a Seattle Municipal Court Judge, and a Women’s National Basketball team, the Seattle Storm, Association team owner.  I’m thanking her here for not only her service to the City but for her support of my efforts working to advance police accountability.

I am thankful to Marianne McCord for the work she has done in the South Delridge Neighborhood; it is through her advocacy that I was able to secure passage of the new Vacant Building Monitoring Program.

I am thankful for Bruce Stotler’s recent life estate that will facilitate an eventual donation of his property to expand Schmitz Park Reserve, and want to recognize here how that donation may inspire others, like a possibility that may led to a donation to expand the Orchard St Ravine.

I am thankful to Matt Algieri and John Lang for the work that they do every year organizing their neighbors to do a cleanup under the Admiral Bridge – picking up more than 4,000 pounds of garbage in 2018.

I am thankful for Steve Daschle honored by Southwest Youth and Family Services (SYFS) with the Weeks Award for his 30 years of leadership at SYFS and growing SYFS from a small neighborhood organization to one of the area’s leading human services organizations.

Finally, I want to thank Tomasz Biernacki for his production of Trickle Down Town, a documentary film about the homeless crisis in Seattle including visits to Camp Second Chance here in West Seattle and the RVs along Avalon Way. Tomasz says about making the film:

 “I have discovered that most people have uneducated, knee-jerk reactions and false beliefs . . . about the homeless. They see the tents, the RVs, the addicted people who have untreated mental and physical health issues, and instead of doing something to help their neighbors, they degrade, cast away, and add insult to injury…”

Many thanks to Casey Flagg for sharing so much of her own personal struggle in the film.


This Week’s Budget Update: Council Passes 2019-2020 City Budget

On Monday the City Council adopted a 2019 City budget, and endorsed a 2020 City budget.

The City’s total budget is $5.9 billion, of which $2.6 billion is for City Light and Seattle Public Utilities, which are ratepayer-funded. The City’s General Fund totals $1.3 billion, of which 52% is dedicated to public safety.

Thanks to all everyone who contacted me during this budget process. My press statement about the budget is linked here, and copied below.

Councilmember Herbold Celebrates District 1 Wins in 2019-2020 Budget

Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle, South Park) released the following statement celebrating items secured in the budget that address District 1 needs:

“I regularly hold office hours in West Seattle and South Park to hear directly from District 1 constituents. Leading up to this year’s budget, I heard the needs of D1 related to addressing public safety, supporting vital community organizations and needed capital improvement projects,” said Councilmember Herbold.

“I fought hard to secure funding in this budget to increase public safety in D1, including funding to maintain a public safety coordinator for South Park, funding for RV Remediation, and enhancing and adding three inspectors to the Vacant Building Monitoring Program, so more vacant properties are monitored and don’t become public safety nuisances for the neighborhood. I heard from the community and secured $60,000 in funding for Concord Elementary’s Community Learning Center, Citizenship Program funding for Neighborhood House at High Point, funding to allow Colman Pool stay open for an additional 4 weekends a year.

“I want to thank D1 constituents for making their voices heard year round as well as during this budget process. I also want to thank my Council colleagues and Budget Chair Sally Bagshaw for a collaborative process and producing a budget that addresses our city’s most pressing needs.”



  • Adopted legislation to increase oversight for large capital projects, with enhanced reporting requirements, and use of the ‘stage-gate’ appropriation process for selected projects;
  • Legacy Business Program to designate and provide resources to one Legacy Business in each of the 7 Council Districts in 2019;
  • Civil legal aid to assist for indigent defendants in civil legal aid needs including, but not limited to, eviction prevention;
  • Utility Discount Program Statement of Legislative Intent to address enrollment barriers;
  • Adding an additional Animal Control Officer;
  • Move Levy spending plan stating Council’s intent to consider and approve SDOT’s revised spending plan before SDOT implements a new Move Levy Plan;
  • Funding to complete construction work at Town Hall;
  • A resolution to resolve the uncertainty created by the “Mutual Offsetting Benefit Leases” held by the Greenwood Senior Center, and Central Area Senior Centers, and Byrd Barr Place; and,
  • Transgender Economic Empowerment Program funding.

The Council also voted to create 40 additional police officer positions, and requested monthly updates on hiring progress.

A summary of Council’s individual budget actions can be found here.


Alaskan Way Viaduct Closure Information Meeting November 26 @ Delridge CC

On January 11th, WSDOT will permanently close the Alaskan Way Viaduct. For the following three weeks, WSDOT will realign SR 99 through Downtown to connect to the new tunnel. Afterwards SDOT will remove the Alaskan Way Viaduct and rebuild Alaskan Way.  It’s actually a whole lot more complicated than that, removing walls, realigning the road into the tunnel, demolishing detours, building new roads, and unburying ramps, and finishing a new northbound offramp!  Here is an instructional video:

SDOT and the Department of Neighborhoods will host an information session meeting about the forthcoming changes on Monday, November 26th at the Delridge Community Center at 4501 Delridge Way SW, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Buses from West Seattle, White Center and Burien that access Downtown on the Alaskan Way Viaduct such as the C Line and 120 will use interim pathways during 2019; here’s a link to the interim travel maps for the 21X, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125 and C Line. SDOT engineers are examining my request for a dedicated bus lane on 1st Avenue, where buses will travel for much of 2019.

Once Alaskan Way is rebuilt, buses from West Seattle will access exit SR 99 right before the tunnel, and access Downtown via a transit lane on Alaskan Way, then turn right onto Columbia.

SDOT has a new website, Seattle Traffic, with information about the closure and forthcoming “Period of Maximum Constraint.”. WSDOT also has a new website,, with information about the tunnel.


No Garbage Collection on Thanksgiving Day

Just a quick reminder that due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 22, there will be no garbage, recycling, or compost collection. Collections scheduled for Thursday will occur on Friday, and Friday collections will occur on Saturday. Customers should be sure to have their containers out by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.

If your garbage is not collected at the expected time, you can report missed collection by calling (206) 684-3000 or online here and click on “Report Missed Collection.”


This week in the budget; Reminder: Neighborhood Street Fund Applications Open through November 19; Funding to Reduce Flooding in D1; Salmon Returning; Status Report on Developer Impact Fees to Augment Transportation Funding; Seattle Police Officer’s Guild contract

November 16th, 2018

This week in the budget

This week the Budget Committee met on Wednesday to vote on the balancing package proposed by Chair Bagshaw.

The committee also voted on items brought forward by Councilmembers to amend the balancing package, with corresponding reductions to balance the budget.

New items I proposed that the Council approved included:

  • Concord Elementary: $60,000 in funding for the Community Learning Center
  • RV Remediation Funding
  • Citizenship Program funding for Neighborhood House at High Point
  • My resolution to resolve the uncertainty created by the “Mutual Offsetting Benefit Leases” held by the Greenwood and Central Area Senior Centers and Byrd Barr
  • Utility Discount Program Statement of Legislative Intent to address enrollment barriers
  • Funding to help address unforeseen construction costs at Town Hall

Below are my items that were included in the budget balancing package developed by Budget Committee Chair Bagshaw. These items were also approved as part of the “Consent Package.”

District 1 Specific Proposals:

Citywide proposals:


Reminder: Neighborhood Street Fund Applications Open through November 19

Applications for the 2019 Neighborhood Street Fund are open through November 19th.

The Neighborhood Street Fund provides funding every three years for community-driven transportation-related improvement in the city’s right-of-way with an anticipated cost between $100,000 and $1 million. Anyone can apply. Funding comes from the 2015 Move Seattle Levy; $8 million is available for this cycle.  Applications are open through Monday, November 19. I have asked SDOT for a two-week extension of the application period.

The application has been simplified, and takes about 15 minutes, and requires a specific location and proposed solution. Application forms and materials are also available in Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Amharic, and Tigrinya. Thanks to SDOT for doing this.

In January and February there will be public meetings to rank proposed projects, and narrow the number of projects in each district. A public vote will take place after that.

Additional information is available at the Neighborhood Street Fund website, which includes applications in several languages. If you have questions, additional translated material, or need help with accessing the application, please contact or 206-733-9361.

Projects awarded in the 2016 cycle include safety improvements at Harbor Avenue SW and SW Spokane Street, and walkway, lighting and safety improvements on 25th and 26th Ave. SW, connecting Chief Sealth High School and Westwood Village.


Funding to Reduce Flooding in D1

One of my ancillary duties as a Councilmember is to represent Seattle on a several different regional committees – three specific committees that I sit on are the Regional Water Quality Committee (RWQC), the Flood Control District (FCD) Advisory Committee, and Watershed Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 9. All three of the committees work on issues related to water quality, flooding, and salmon habitat restoration. Much like the City, these committees and the County are finalizing their budgets, and I wanted to share some great news with you.

I, with the help of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), requested $14.9 million to be added to the 2019 FCD Capital Improvement Program budget for two high priority urban flood control projects in District 1. The two projects are: $13.1 million for the South Park Drainage Conveyance Improvement Project and $1.8 million for the Puget Way Culvert Replacement Project.

The South Park Drainage Conveyance Improvement Project will address a problem that has been of particular importance to constituents. This funding will allow SPU to construct a system of pipes to manage stormwater and will eventually connect to the South Park Pump Station (another project I’ve been working with SPU to get funded). In addition to providing a system to manage the stormwater this project will pave many of the streets, and specifically South Monroe will be paved which will help the businesses and residents of the area.

The Puget Way Culvert Replacement Project will reduce flooding impacts to West Marginal Way and Puget Way. Flooding caused by undersized culverts has damaged one of the warehouses along West Marginal Way and also caused lane closures to the street. Additionally, Puget Way is the only road access for 12 residents and if a culvert failure were to occur it would cut off access to these homes and prevent emergency services from rendering assistance.


Salmon Returning

Many of you may have already heard the great news, but for the first time in eight years SPU staff observed a pair of Chinook salmon spawning in Thornton Creek. SPU has been working on restoring much of this creek, and in 2014 completed the Thornton Creek Confluence project where SPU replaced 1,000 feet of streambed to keep in place high-quality gravel for spawning salmon.

In addition to this great news, I want to share with you the annual Salmon in the Schools report. A big thanks to Judy Pickens for her work with Salmon in the Schools. Here are a few highlights from this year:

  • Supported 54 salmon-release field trips – 23 in partnership with the Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project, 14 with the Fauntleroy Watershed Council, and 17 elsewhere in the city.
  • Helped 11 schools with transportation costs for release field trips.
  • 7 in-class salmon dissections at participating West Seattle schools and 29 more during field trips to Piper’s Creek.
  • More than 101 visits to schools and responded to 1,800 email requests about tank set-up and maintenance.


Status Report on Developer Impact Fees to Augment Transportation Funding

Impact fees are authorized fees by Washington State law to allow local jurisdictions to charge developers to address the needs for capacity improvements to transportation, parks, schools, and fire facilities. Local jurisdictions are only allowed to charge to address the impacts associated with growth. Impact fees cannot be used to pay for infrastructure needs that are backlogged.

In 2015, the City Council began to take steps towards developing an impact fee program. In 2015, the Council recommended a work program for: (1) development of an impact fee program for parks and transportation and (2) exploration with the Seattle School District of a program for public schools.

In 2017, through Resolution 31732, the Council docketed consideration of Comprehensive Plan amendments for impact fees. It is a long, arduous but necessary process. Myself and Councilmembers O’Brien and Bagshaw wrote about our commitment to this effort here.

This year the Council issued an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed amendment to the Comprehensive Plan establishing a list of projects, for which capacity improvements are needed to accommodate growth.

From the Council Central Staff analysis: “Establishing the list in the Comprehensive Plan is a necessary, but not sufficient, step towards implementing an impact fee program. The Council and Mayor would need to approve future legislation establishing substantive and procedural requirements of an impact fee program.”

We’d planned to, in December 2018, consider 2018 Comprehensive Plan amendments for a transportation impact fee program.

After passage, then from December 2018 to February 2019 the City Council would continue analysis and development of a potential impact fee rate schedule, development of options for credits based on planning geography, and legislation drafting.

Finally, the Council had planned from March to April 2019 to consider legislation implementing a transportation impact fee program.

The Environmental Impact Statement required for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment resulted in a Determination of Environmental Insignificance (DEIS). This triggered a statutorily required appeal process. Thursday, November 15 was the deadline to appeal. On Wednesday, November 14, two appeals were filed to oppose the Transportation Impact Fee Comp Plan amendment, which actually is a purely procedural decision.

One appeal was from Roger Valdez representing Seattle For Growth and the other was from land use attorney Jack McCullough.

The appeal means that we are unable to act in December as planned, but let’s see what the Hearing Examiner has in store for us.

Yesterday the Seattle Planning Commission sent the Seattle City Council its recommendations. They said:

“The Commission supports adoption of the proposed amendment enabling the potential development of a transportation impact fee program. We recommend approval of the proposed transportation project list as an appropriate representation of investments needed to implement the current Capital Improvement Program, the adopted transportation modal plans, and projects identified through the Move Seattle levy planning process that are not funded by the current levy. The Planning Commission recommends adding replacement of the 4th Avenue S. viaduct to the transportation impact fees project list. We look forward to providing input on the policy implications, including the cumulative effects of a transportation impact fee program with Mandatory Housing Affordability requirements, and the particulars of any proposed impact fee program”

I think that the Seattle Planning Commission’s recommendations include a very good assessment of yet another balancing act that the City Council has to do.

Read more here:


Seattle Police Officer’s Guild contract

The collective bargaining agreement between the City of Seattle and the Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG) through 2020 covers wages, hours and working conditions. The City Council voted to approve the agreement by an 8-1. I voted in favor.

With this vote, Seattle police officers will see an accumulated 17% pay increase, and back pay for salary increases. The legislation appropriates $65 million for three years of accumulated officer increased back pay.  This means that the salary increases included in the contract will be given to the officers for the 3 years that they didn’t have a contract.  In addition to the back pay, total spending for salaries will increase by $40 million in 2019, and $50 million in 2020, as noted in the fiscal note.

In the interest of transparency, I moved to add a Clerk File to the legislative record that includes the Memoranda of Understanding and Memoranda of Agreement that are incorporated into the agreement, but were not provided in the legislation sent to the Council by the Mayor. They are now publicly available.

Negotiations on this contract began in 2014, and an agreement was reached in 2016. However, after the Guild membership voted “no” (a summary of the agreement was leaked), the two sides returned to the negotiating table. There were a number of factors that made this negotiation more complicated than most, principally due to the intersection of police accountability issues and working conditions.  It’s also important to understand that all labor contracts must be voted up or down. They cannot be amended by the Council, unlike other legislation.

First of all, the City of Seattle and the Department of Justice entered into a Consent Decree and MOU in 2012 after the DOJ found excessive use of force in 2011 in response to a 2010 request letter from a number of community groups. As part of this process, in 2017 the Council adopted the accountability ordinance. In addition, former Mayor Murray ordered the use of body-worn cameras. Then in June of this 2018, the Janus decision by the US Supreme Court overturned 40 years of precedent regarding union dues for public employees. In this new environment, public sector unions must show value to their members.

In addition, while the contact adopted by the Council in 2017 for the Seattle Police Management Association (which represents captains and lieutenants) included a provision that said “the City may implement the Accountability Ordinance,” the SPOG contract didn’t include a similar provision, so understanding the practical impact required a more detailed analysis of the 96-page agreement.

I have heard from numerous supporters and opponents of this agreement, and I’d like to say a few things to each of you.

To supporters, I want to be sure you know that opponents of this contract were very clear that they support the wage increases for officers included in the agreement. I didn’t hear a single person speak against the long overdue wage increases—in fact, many who spoke against the agreement explicitly advocated for approving salary increases. Their concerns were about implementation of the police accountability legislation.

To opponents, I’d like to you know SPOG could have challenged the inclusion of the accountability ordinance and body cameras in this agreement, because they were not included when bargaining began in 2014. Bargaining rules require that all issues have to be on the table at the beginning of bargaining.  SPOG voluntarily agreed to include these issues, which showed a willingness to collaborate on implementing reform.

While the lack of a contract may not have hindered new officer hires in 2016 and 2017—both years had a record number of hires— it appears to be now in 2018: this is a real issue. I’ve voted to add 112 new officer positions over my time as a Councilmember, and I will vote to add 40 more at Monday’s Full Council budget vote. This contract is a necessary step to filling those positions. I’ve asked SPD about providing incentives for hiring new officers, as other local cities have done.

Finally, officers have played an important role in implementing reform. The court-appointed Federal Monitor issued a Use of Force report in 2017 that credited officers for clear improvements regarding use of force, saying “credit for this major milestone goes first and foremost to the men and women of the Seattle Police Department.”

With the Council’s vote, the agreement is ripe for review by US Judge Robart, who is overseeing implementation of the Consent Decree. On November 5th, he stated he would review it only after a Council vote. In January, he noted that “The court has previously indicated that it will not grant final approval to the City’s new police accountability ordinance until after collective bargaining is complete.” The Council also adopted a resolution requesting review of three items related to police accountability.

I’ve included my remarks at the City Council vote here. It’s a bit long, so I wanted to provide a more concise summary, but also include this for anyone interested in reading it.


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