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

May 24th, 2021

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Update 

Bridge Repair Remains on Schedule for mid-2022 completion 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Low bridge access update 

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

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

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

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

Additional information about low bridge access is below:  

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


SW Delridge Encampment Update 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Council Adopts Bridge/Transportation Infrastructure Amendments 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPD Budget Bill 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May is Older Americans Month and Better Hearing Month 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Earthquake Response Webinar Series 

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

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

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

 

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

May 7th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Park Plaza Redesign Survey

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

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

Immigrant Relief Fund Applications Open Until May 15

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

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

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


Apply for a Federal Restaurant Revitalization Award

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

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

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

Rental Assistance for Landlords

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

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

Public Hearing on Federal ARPA Funds

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

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

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

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

SPU Strategic Business Plan

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

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

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

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

Alki Point Stay Healthy Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reconnect West Seattle Quarterly Report

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

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

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

May 1st, 2021

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates

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

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

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

Here’s the timetable that the executive noted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

During the first quarter, SPD has spent under budget:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lower Bridge: Applications Open for Approved New Users

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Help Is Available for Sexual Assault Survivors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make an Appointment Now

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

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

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

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


Vehicle Travel Times Update

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


Community Police Commission Recommendations Dashboard Now Online

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

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

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

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

Riba-Free Financing Survey

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

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

April 23rd, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our individual actions matter right now.  Please choose to:

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


Southwest Library Reopening for Indoor Service

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

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


Utility EAP Expansion

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

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

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

 

West Seattle Bridge Rehabilitation: Post-Tensioning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bridge/Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance Funding Proposal

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

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

The amendment states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

City & County Repurpose $16 Million from Jail

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

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

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

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

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

Those three commitments are:

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

Sound Transit Realignment Update

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

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

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

Sound Transit has posted a public realignment survey.

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

April 16th, 2021

Health One Expansion

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

All adults statewide are now eligible to receive Covid vaccination:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To apply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


District 1 Transit Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPD Budget Bill Delay

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

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

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

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

EDI Applications Open

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

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

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

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

Hope Academy

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

Cultivate South Park

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

Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition

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

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

Duwamish Tribal Services

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

Refugee and Immigrant Family Center

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

Local Parks Facilities Re-Opening

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

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

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

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

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

April 12th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Neighborhood House

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

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

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



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

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

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

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




West Seattle Bridge Update April 12

Spokane Street (lower) Bridge Access Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West Seattle Bridge Update

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

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

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

Reconnect West Seattle Update

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

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

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


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

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

Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Replacement Project Community Advisory Board

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

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

Here’s the WSF announcement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



Changes to Seattle Public Schools meals starting April 5th:

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Monica Perez in Yes! Magazine

Apply to serve on the Green New Deal Oversight Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LSAC Transparency Recommendations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Samaritan Law Expanded

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

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

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

April 2nd, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working Washington Grants Applications Due April 9

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

Priorities for funding are:

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

The technical support center can help navigate the application portal.

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

Nantes Park Beautification & Nantes-Seattle Sister City Agreement

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

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

Help Build Community Safety in Seattle – Job Opening

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

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

Learn more here and apply here.

Sound Transit Realignment Scenarios Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are next steps planned by Sound Transit:

Right to Counsel

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

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

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

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

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

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

SMC Partners with King County Municipal Courts to Resolve Outstanding Warrants

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

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

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

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Covid Updates: Phase 3, Keep Up Precautions, West Seattle Vaccine Site, Walk Up Vaccine for 65+, Testing; West Seattle Bridge Closure, One Year Later – A Year in Review; SPD Budget Legislation Update; Municipal Archives: Police Accountability in Seattle, from 1955 to the present; Get Relief From Utility Bills; Stone Cottage Update; OEM 2020 Annual Report;

March 26th, 2021

Covid Updates:  Phase 3, Keep Up Precautions, West Seattle Vaccine Site, Walk Up Vaccine for 65+, Testing

Phase 3:  On Monday, Seattle and the entire state entered Phase 3 of reopening, according to Governor Inslee’s Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery.  Allowable activities in Phase 3 are below and here.  Public Health – Seattle & King County has a helpful webpage about reopening guidance here.

Keep Up Precautions:  New cases of COVID are down from the extremes we saw over the winter – but still above the earlier “bumps” last spring and summer, with new and more contagious variants circulating locally.  Cases are trending upward, with younger adults hit hardest (ages 20-40), and new cases up 31% in the last two weeks.

But here’s the good news: Masks work against the variants.  Physical distance works against the variants.  Good airflow and indoor ventilation are especially important, and handwashing and all the things that should be second nature to us by now still work against these variants.

“If we let down our guard, these variant strains will make us pay,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “The upside is that we can take steps to limit the damage. The same precautions that have helped us drive down case counts in the past can also protect us from the variants, as long as we are diligent.”

Getting Vaccinated in West Seattle & South Park:  If you are vaccine-eligible, there are several options for receiving your vaccination in District 1.  But bear in mind: supply remains significantly less than demand, and you are likely to have to join a wait list and be persistent in your vaccine search.  Supply is expected to pick up nationally in April.

Graphics from Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Here are some options to look for vaccine in District 1:

For those 65 years and older only: just show up between 9am-4pm Monday – Saturday at the West Seattle vaccination site at 2801 SW Thistle.  No appointment required.

  • A spokesperson from the Mayor’s Office provided this information: “SFD stopped turning away people 65 and over without an appointment because the number was small and they were typically the ones we were trying to help navigate our registration software anyways. We are prepared to adjust our approach if the number of 65+ walk-ups starts to increase, as that would require some operational changes.”

See if appointments are available at the City-run West Seattle vaccination site at 2801 SW Thistle.

Join the notification list for Seattle’s City-run community vaccination sites in West Seattle (2801 SW Thistle), Rainier Beach, or Lumen Field Event Center by clicking here or calling (206) 684-2489.

Check for availability at the other vaccine providers located in District 1 using this map:

Try this volunteer-built, searchable website that shows providers with available vaccine appointments.

Join the Seattle Fire Department’s standby list, if you’re able to travel quickly to receive leftover doses at the end of the day.

  • We asked the Mayor’s Office to confirm this SFD list is still being used and received this response: “Yes, but rarely. We still maintain the standby list to use across all sites in case of emergency (like in an instance when we have significantly more leftover vaccine than expected).”

Take a chance on leftover vaccine doses at 2801 SW Thistle by showing up at the vaccination site at the end of the day, around 4pm Monday – Saturday.  Be warned: Crowds of 50 to 100 people have been reported, and most go home without vaccination.

  • A spokesperson from the Mayor’s Office said this when asked about the practice by the West Seattle Blog: Generally, the Seattle Fire Department has around four-five doses left at the end of each day at our Rainier Beach and West Seattle vaccination hubs. We have found that residents in the area gravitate toward each site at the end of each day. If unused vaccine is available, SFD will vaccinate the oldest people in the line outside the site. SFD has found that this approach results in more older adults getting vaccinated through end-of-day doses than the standby list….”
  • Check out this Seattle Times article describing how this works.

COVID-19 Testing:  Early testing is important to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading to friends, family, and the community. If you have a sign/symptom of COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, please get tested.  Find COVID testing locations in King County and more information about testing here.

If you have difficulty registering, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 (open 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-7p.m.) If you need an interpreter, say in English what language you need.

You may have heard that after March 30th, testing will no longer be offered at the City-run site at SW Athletic Complex.   I am inquiring with the Seattle Fire Department to understand how often the Curative testing kiosk at Don Armeni is used.  Given that COVID-19 cases are increasing at a worrying rate, I am concerned about ensuring District 1 residents have easy access to testing on demand.

Meanwhile, here are the District 1 locations offering testing to the public:

Don Armeni Boat Ramp Curative Walk-Up KioskMake reservations online
1222 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
Self-serve, walk-up, oral sample kiosks at various locations throughout Seattle
Available, Mon-Sat, 8:00am-3:00pm

Neighborcare Health at High Point – Call for appointment: (206) 461-6950
6020 35th Ave SE, Seattle, WA 98126
Languages: Amharic, Amharic, Arabic, Cambodian, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian available onsite; interpretation available
Available: Monday-Friday, 2:30pm-4:00pm

Sea Mar Community Health Centers at South Park – Call for appointment: (206) 762-3730
8720 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108
Languages: Spanish, Interpretation available
Available: Wednesdays 1pm-5pm, Fridays 9am-1pm

West Seattle Walk-upMake reservations online
TESTING ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL MARCH 30TH
2801 SW Thistle St., Seattle, WA 98126
Phone: (206) 684-248
Languages: Interpretation available including ASL and tactile interpretation
Available, Mon-Sat, 8:45am-5:30pm


West Seattle Bridge Closure, One Year Later – A Year in Review

Just over a year ago, in the early stages of the COVID pandemic, our lives were doubly upended when SDOT announced the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. March 23rd is a day those of us in West Seattle and nearby communities will never forget. The closure has resulted in suffering our in communities, for residents and businesses. It’s become more difficult to get to work, visit friends or relatives, and get to other parts of the city and region.

Let’s take a minute to review what’s happened since then, and consider what still lies ahead.

First of all, remember that it was not clear at the start whether the bridge could be stabilized, or would need to be demolished. SDOT declared a “Fall Zone” for potential evacuation for the areas near  the bridge. Any potential failure could have affected the lower bridge as well.

Without the bridge, traffic patterns shifted quickly, even with reduced traffic overall due to the pandemic. There previously had been 21 lanes off the peninsula and across the Duwamish; now, there were only 12 lanes, with SDOT limiting access to the Spokane Street (lower) bridge to transit, freight, and emergency vehicles.  Those on the north end of the peninsula lost their key access points; those to the south faced increased traffic.

To address the fact that significantly more traffic shifted to exit the peninsula via West Marginal Way SW and through the southern portions of the peninsula, SDOT moved quickly to install a temporary traffic signal at the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden Street.  This has helped to address the sudden increase in traffic and enhance road safety.

The Council moved quickly to adopt funding, approving first a $70 million interfund loan that I co-sponsored to fund immediate work, and later a $100 million bond sale. An additional $50 million is listed for 2022 in the SDOT’s six year capital budget adopted by the Council.

These funds have paid for:

  • Work on the West Seattle Bridge
  • Preventative work to ensure the lower bridge continues to function
  • The Reconnect West Seattle program, designed to address the impact of the closure. While nothing can replace the sudden reduction in traffic lanes off the peninsula, there are projects that can assist with safety on roads, with cut-through traffic increasing, and on streets with increased use.

As part of the Reconnect West Seattle program, detailed Home Zone safety projects are proceeding in Highland Park, South Park and Georgetown.

SDOT determined 450 additional daily trips could be accommodated in the lower bridge, and expanded access to school  buses, employer shuttles, and a limited number of additional users under a dynamic Low Bridge Access Policy including business use.

Later in the summer, informed by traffic monitoring and guidance from the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, access was permitted for all users between 9 PM and 5 AM.

After the West Seattle Bridge was successfully stabilized, the next question was whether to proceed with a repair or a full replacement. The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force examined this a number of times, and a Cost/Benefit analysis provided high-level cost estimates and timeline estimates for different options.

The Cost/Benefit analysis showed a repair could be completed by 2022, whereas a replacement would take until 2026. In addition, a repair had a significantly lower cost. The Technical Advisory Panel expressed confidence a repair would last 30-40 years, and the Council’s consultant agreed with proceeding with a repair.

In late October, I advocated for a repair, noting “As the City Councilmember for District 1, I hear nearly every day from residents and businesses that are hurting.  The sooner we restore bridge access, the better. That’s a premium value for me. Once social distancing ends or decreases, traffic and access issues will only increase.” In November, the Mayor chose to proceed with a repair.

During the summer, the Council placed Proposition 1 on the November ballot, to continue funding additional King County Metro bus service in Seattle. This will become more important as COVID vaccinations proceed, and traffic patterns get closer to pre-COIVD levels, as we pass through additional phases of Governor Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery; the entire state entered Phase 3 on March 22nd.

I sponsored an increase in the ballot measure for funding allowed for “emerging needs” which specified responding to the West Seattle Bridge closure, and COVID, as well an equity amendment to allow routes in southern end of peninsula that cross city limits to receive greater consideration.  Voters approved Proposition 1.

King County Metro developed a West Seattle Bridge Closure Transit Action plan with options for a variety of scenarios. In West Seattle Metro is operating 85% of pre-COVID service levels, though with significantly reduced capacity per bus due to COVID safety protocols. This week Metro will add service to Routes 50, 60, and 128, in response to crowding above COVID limits; additional service restoration is planned for September 2021.  Metro is planning how best to do this, based on data and community input.

SDOT recently completed 30% design for the repair, setting a baseline cost of $58 million for repairing the bridge, with the timetable remaining mid-2022. 60% design is targeted for July, when there will be cost and schedule updates. Construction is targeted to begin in November. Federal approvals are needed prior to the commencement of construction.

Last week, the Council acted to accept grant funding to increase the total funds secured to $124 million. The Council and Mayor sent a joint letter seeking funding for a federal INFRA grant, and work to seek funding at the state legislature is ongoing.

For the lower bridge, I’ve advocated for other uses with SDOT, including for health care workers during the COVID-19 emergency; by time of day; for company shuttles; for school buses once the school year starts; for motorcycles; for patients in need of lifesaving medical treatment, for business access, and for general access in a phased manner for residents.

At the Community Task Force meeting  earlier this month I asked SDOT when they will make a decision about bridge access on weekend mornings, since there appears to be clear capacity. SDOT indicated they are likely to bring an update to the next Community Task Force meeting in April after additional outreach to underserved communities.

Additional background information, reports and documents relating to bridge inspections and grant applications are available at SDOT’s West Seattle Bridge website.

Included there is a link to the 2014 HDR Report, which lists several potential causes for cracks that appeared in the bridge in 2013; a December Seattle Times article also includes relevant information.

SPD Budget Legislation Update

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met for a third time to continue legislation reducing the 2021 SPD budget. At the March 23rd meeting, I introduced a substitute version that the committee voted 3-2 to adopt as the base version; the legislation remains in the committee at this time.

It’s important to note that this bill is not about funding for police officer staffing. The 2021 SPD staffing and hiring plan been fully funded since November.  “Fully funded” means that the funds provided are sufficient to fund the hiring of all the officers SPD intends to hire in 2021.

This legislation was scheduled for consideration at the meeting of January 26, but was not heard due to time constraints. The legislation was then scheduled for a presentation on February 9, but was delayed until February 23rd at the request of the City Attorney’s Office, after the comments in early February of Judge Robart, who oversees the Consent Decree.

When introducing the bill, which would reduce the budget by $5.4 million due to funds overspent on overtime costs in 20120, I said when considering possible future modifications to the bill, that I would not be rigid and would consider additional potential spending needs.

The potential $5.4 million proposed reduction in the original bill is from funding available due to officers positions that are not expected to be filled under SPD’s 2021 staffing plan.  We refer to this as “salary savings;” or funds that cannot be spent in 2021 on salaries because the positions are vacant and exceed the number of positions able to be filled in 2021.  Council Central Staff estimates $7.7 million in 2021 “salary savings.”

Budgetary oversight and accountability are key elements of the Council’s work, across departments. There are often additional funding requests from SPD at the end of the year, which makes fulfilling the Council’s responsibility for setting budgets, and exercising fiscal oversight, considerably more difficult than with most other executive branch departments.

I invited SPD to present to the committee on March 9th regarding proposals they made in a January 25 memo, subsequent to the introduction of the legislation.  The SPD presentation included new proposals for potential use of some of the $5.4 million proposed to be cut; new proposals that were either not proposed in the proposed 2021 budget or new proposals that reversed decisions made int the 2021 adopted budget. For instance, SPD has newly proposed hiring 11 civilian positions, thus reversing the Mayor’s proposal for the 2021 budget, in that her proposed budget proposal cut funds in the SPD budget by limiting 2021 civilian hires.  SPD indicated these new investments could ameliorate the current staffing shortage in officers. I agree.

At the March 23rd committee meeting, I introduced for consideration a substitute version of the original bill.

The previous day, on March 22nd,  SPD received a letter from the Monitor overseeing the Consent Decree that states:

The Monitoring Team asks that these questions be answered as expeditiously as possible, and prior to further actions by the City on the budget of the Seattle Police Department. Upon receipt of the analysis, the Monitoring Team will confer with the Department of Justice and advise the Court.

The letter requests SPD reply to questions about budget as it relates to compliance with the Consent Decree. Given the Monitor’s interest in the legislation, I proposed amending the legislation in committee, but not moving it out of committee to the Full Council.

The substitute proposal includes funding the investment proposed by SPD proposed in committee on March 9, in addition to $2 million to participatory budgeting, and enhances funding for public disclosure, evidence storage, and mental health crisis responders.

The civilian positions funded include four Community Service Officers (CSO). I co-sponsored the re-creation of the CSO program in the 2017 budget. CSOs serve to bridge the service gap on non-criminal calls for service and perform a variety of public safety-related community service and outreach work that does not require the enforcement authority of a sworn police officer.

Also included are crime prevention coordinators, public disclosure responders, and technology investments.

I proposed additional staffing for public disclosure response positions, as recommended by the City Auditor in his 2015 report; Interim Chief Diaz has noted the challenges SPD faces in responding to the high volume of public disclosure requests SPD receives. One position would be in the Seattle IT Department; SPD is the only department that has to respond to e-mail searches for PDR responsive emails, rather than having IT do it.

Also included is funding for evidence storage facilities, as recommended by the Inspector General; the Inspector General has found that SPD’s evidence storage facility is inadequate leading to improper destruction of DNA evidence and purging of evidence from an unknown number of homicide investigations. This funding would be in Finance and Administrative Services.

The substitute also creates 5 new mental health crisis responder positions in the Human Services Department, to assist police officers in responding to situations where there is an armed person in crisis, and potential danger to the public and officers.

The proposal provides $2 million for the participatory budgeting program, increasing the total to $32 million. Funds will be guided by the work of the Black Brilliance Research Project, which has recommended priorities including crisis response alternatives, violence interruption, harm reduction proposals, and community-based emergency services.

I moved the substitute version in committee, to set it as the baseline legislation before the committee. It was approved by a 3-2 vote. Because of the Monitor’s letter, I didn’t move to vote the legislation out of committee to the Full Council, while we await any updates from the Monitor and Court, per the Consent Decree.

The legislation also notes the Council’s intent that salary savings be used for staffing special events, including mass vaccination sites with an event staffing deployment approach that ensures, excepting security within facilities, prioritizing use of non-sworn SPD staff, so that sworn officers can be prioritized for patrol staffing and 911 response. In 2017 the City Auditor found “at many special events, SPD sworn personnel perform work that is primarily traffic-directing” and recommendation to “evaluate the traffic-centric special events work SPD sworn officers perform and consider using non-sworn personnel for some of it.”

In practice this would mean prioritizing use of parking enforcement officers (PEOs) where possible. PEOs are currently in SPD; in the 2021 budget Council voted to shift them to a new department, Seattle Community Safety and Communications Center, later this year.

Municipal Archives: Police Accountability in Seattle, from 1955 to the present

Over the past year staff of the Municipal Archives have worked on a history of police accountability in Seattle. Research focused on protests, committee meetings, public hearings, and other venues where Seattle’s residents have interacted with their government to request mechanisms for accountability. The result is a website with a timeline, an illustrated exhibit, a detailed narrative, and a bibliography. The goal of the site is to provide a window into how decisions were made in the past and to encourage more research on this topic.

This Police Accountability in Seattle page includes information from the City Archives dating back to 1955, and a Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Police Practices that met in 1955 and 1956.

Here are links to timeline, exhibit, and a history of Police Accountability in Seattle, 1955-2020, which is also available as a PDF file with source citations.

This history shows that the issues we are facing now are not new.

Thank you to City Clerk Monica Simmons and City Archivist Anne Frantilla and the other members of the Seattle Municipal Archives for their work on this.

Get Relief from Utility Bills

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle City Light (SCL) will help keep services on and offer relief to utility customers during the COVID-19 Civil Emergency in Seattle. Residential and commercial customers financially impacted by COVID 19 are urged to set up payment plans with either Seattle City Light or Seattle Public Utilities.

The Utility Discount Program (UDP) lowers Seattle City Light bills by 60 percent and Seattle Public Utility bills by 50 percent. To learn more about enrollment in UDP, call 206-684-0268 or click here.

Professional translation for City utility services are available when you call 206-684-3000. *Información en español * Impormasyon sa Tagalog * 中文資訊* Thông tin bằng tiếng Việt * 한국어 정보 * Macluumaad Af-Soomaali ah


Stone Cottage Update

 

You may remember me writing about the Stone Cottage back on January 4, a community group had begun their fundraising to lift the cottage off the foundation and transport it to a temporary location as the property owner is beginning development.

On March 21 the group announced that they had raised enough funds to begin the moving process.  You can read more about here.

The group continues to fundraise in order to  executive the full plan to rescue, relocate, and restore the Stone Cottage, but the building will be moved this spring.

OEM 2020 Annual Report

In the Public Safety and Human Services Committee this week the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) presented their 2020 Annual Report.  The OEM mission is to “partner with the community to prepare for, respond to, mitigate the impacts of, and recover from disasters.” To that end the Office is responsible for managing and coordinating the City’s resources in dealing with all aspects of emergencies.

Last year was a difficult year and the OEM was activated to manage several different emergencies, including: Covid-19, the West Seattle Bridge, Protests, Wildfire Smoke, and Election Day. The report gives a high-level overview of each emergency and how OEM managed them.

Like all of us, OEM had to adapt and manage a new “normal” of working at home. OEM had to leverage new technologies and adapt under difficult circumstances. I want to thank them for their steadfast commitment to the City and our residents.

One of the items called out in the Report – the All-Hazard Mitigation Plan – began with a survey late last year. In that survey 65% of respondents where “very concerned” about an earthquake. This leads into my efforts to addressed Unreinforced Masonry (URMs) buildings – these are buildings that are susceptible to collapse during an earthquake and pose a significant risk to loss of life. I’m working with the Executive to pass a resolution outlining next steps so that we can address these buildings as quickly as possible. The All-Hazard Mitigation Plan will culminate in the delivery of the Plan to Council which we expect to receive sometime in the Spring.

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Lifting the Voices of Those Harmed by our History of Violence; Covid & Vaccine Updates; Expanded Homeless Outreach Coming to D1; West Seattle Bridge Update March 19; Support for Small Businesses and Nonprofits; Seeking Pedestrian Advisory Board Members; South Park Community Center; Eviction Moratorium Extended; Free Recycling Event; Office Hours

March 19th, 2021

Lifting the Voices of Those Harmed by our History of Violence

According to Stop AAPI Hate, from March 2020 to the end of February 2021, there have been at least 3,795 reported hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.  I am shocked, saddened, and angered by the murders in Atlanta but I am not surprised.  In Seattle, discriminatory legislation targeting Chinese residents in 1885 was followed by mob violence to expel Chinese residents from Seattle in 1886.

In this moment, we have been asked to lift to voices of AAPI women, so that they can tell their own stories.  For this reason, I am not going to focus on my reaction to this tragedy, but instead share the reactions of those whom we must listen to and hear their powerful words. #StopAAPIHate

Georgia State Representative Bee Nguyen said: the killings sit at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia” in the United States.  “We have a history of violence against Asian Americans in this country — including an immigration exclusion act directed at an entire continent. The rise in AAPI hate crimes is a continuation of the brutality AAPIs have endured since the inception of this country…”

 Marylin Strickland, U.S. Representative for Washington’s 10th congressional district, said: “Racially motivated violence should be called out for exactly what it is. And we must stop making excuses or rebranding it as economic anxiety or sexual addiction.”

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, the Executive Director of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), said: the attacks are being felt by Asian-American women “at a personal level that we’ve never experienced before and it’s because we’ve all lived and experienced racialized sexual harassment and violence that is directed at us”. Race and gender identity played a role in the deadly violence, she adds, as did the fact that the women worked in the service industry. “They were completely invisibilised. Asian American women, our experiences, are very particular because of our race and gender. White women don’t understand why my experience of sexism and sexual harassment is different than their experience of sexual harassment.”

Melissa Borja, an assistant professor in the Asian/Pacific Islander American studies program at the University of Michigan, said: “Asian American women are objects of desire, and this idea is reproduced in so many different ways, in so many different movies and musicals. It’s deeply rooted.” Borja recounted a time when her son was approached by a white man “who asked for advice for finding an Asian woman for a mating relationship. It hinged on a view of Asian women as being less than human in ways that are really troubling to me…We know Asian American women are particularly affected by the past year and the anti-Asian racism that we see associated with the pandemic. The impact is really important, and it’s been really striking to me last night and today how sad they are, how angry they are. Earlier today I just got off the phone with my 71-year-old mother who didn’t want to go on her afternoon walk because she felt afraid. That impact matters perhaps more than the intent of the killer.”

Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley, said: “Saying that this violence is not racially motivated is part of a related history of the denial of racism in the Asian American experience. Racism and white supremacy have been and tragically continue to be part of the Asian American experience. Killing Asian American women to eliminate a man’s temptation speaks to the history of the objectification of Asian and Asian American women as variations of the Asian temptress, the dragon ladies and the lotus blossoms, whose value is only in relation to men’s fantasies and desires. This is horrifying. Stop fetishizing us.”

Hye-Kyung Kang, chair of the Social Work Department at Seattle University, said: “The dehumanizing narrative of Asian women is nothing new. The confluence of racism and misogyny sexualizes and objectifies Asian women as a victim and a temptress. The Page Act of 1875, which prohibited the immigration of unfree laborers and women brought for “immoral purposes,” specifically named Chinese women. In the 1900s, Chinese women were accused of being prostitutes…In popular culture, Asian women are portrayed as colonial sex objects who literally sacrifice their lives to serve white men who refuse to see them (“Miss Saigon,” “Madame Butterfly”). Until very recently, nearly all Hollywood films that had Asians almost always featured Asian women as wordless rape victims of a war. Asian women’s lives are rendered cheap like the low-wage jobs that we often occupy: domestic workers, nail-salon employees and cleaners. For the most part, we don’t even exist, on screen, in textbooks or in the national consciousness.

“These narratives matter. The most potent weapon of anti-Asian racism is erasure — of our voice, our presence, our humanity. It shouldn’t take a mass murder to take notice. But this is an opportunity to change the narrative. How to fight against anti-Asian violence? Hold our society accountable for the racism, colonialism and misogyny that render such violence possible. And put our lives at the center. Let us tell our own stories.”

Photo credit NBC NEWS

Covid Updates: More Groups Are Vaccine-Eligible, Where to Find Vaccine, Join the City’s Vaccine Notification List, South Park Popup Clinic

Starting 3/17, additional groups of people are now eligible to receive vaccination in Washington state.

Some of these new categories can be confusing.  If you’re not sure if you’re eligible….

Folks in Phase 1B Tier 2 join these groups of people who were already eligible:

  • Health care workers
  • High-risk first responders
  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • All people over 65 years-old
  • All people over 50 years-old who live in a multigenerational household
  • Educators and staff for pre-K through 12th grade
  • Child care providers
  • Veterans enrolled in the VA may receive vaccination from the VA – read more here.

Governor Inslee announced yesterday that additional groups will become vaccine-eligible on March 31st:

  • Anyone with two or more comorbidities
  • Anyone between the ages of 60 and 64
  • Anyone living in congregate settings (correctional facilities, group homes for those with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, etc.)
  • Additional workers in congregate settings (restaurants, manufacturing, construction)

And here’s a look forward at future eligibility tiers:

Finding a Vaccine Appointment:  The City of Seattle received 14,000 vaccine doses this week.  If you are vaccine-eligible, sign up for an appointment here:

Sign up for the City’s vaccine appointment notification list or call (206) 684-2489.  Once you confirm your eligibility and join the City’s notification list, you will receive an email notification when vaccination appointments become available at any of the City’s three fixed sites in Rainier Beach, West Seattle, and the Lumen Field Event Center.

I had the opportunity to visit the new Lumen Field mass vaccination site last weekend, and was filled with hope and optimism – as well as a gratitude to the many City employees and partners who made it possible.

My webpage is hosting an updated map of approved vaccine providers in District 1, since the state’s Vaccine Locator website is incomplete.  I am also advocating with the state Department of Health to update their website, and to provide vaccine doses to these local providers.  Please remember that vaccine supply is still a significant problem, and inclusion on the map is not a guarantee that they have vaccine available.

Vaccine supply is still insufficient to meet the demand statewide.

However, the state Department of Health is sharing some promising news about increases in April.

South Park Popup Vaccination Clinic:  The Seattle Fire Department Mobile Vaccination Teams (MVTs) are partnering with several community-based organizations that primarily serve Latinx communities to post a pop-up vaccination clinic at the South Park Community Center this week.   Special thanks to  Villa Communitaria for its work to help community members in South Park register for the South Park popup clinic.

In addition, the MVTs will administer the Moderna  vaccine to older adults living in affordable housing buildings throughout Seattle. Since launching its vaccination effort on January 14, the City of Seattle has administered 24,038 vaccinations to eligible vulnerable adults. These vaccinations have occurred at 86 Adult Family Homes, 58 affordable housing buildings with seniors, ten pop-ups, and the city’s three fixed vaccination sites. Roughly 65 percent of those vaccinated by the City identify as BIPOC communities.

Expanded Homeless Outreach Coming to District 1

Last fall, I sponsored successful legislation to add 3 homeless outreach workers to focus on West Seattle, Delridge, South Park, and Rainier Valley, as well as additional workers in other communities around the city.  The legislation also provides a pot of flexible funds the workers can use to provide flexible financial assistance to people living unsheltered.

This week, the City announced that three outreach organizations have been awarded contracts for this work.  District 1 neighborhoods will be served by two outreach workers hired by REACH, and one hired by Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.  Both REACH and Urban League are experienced at outreach work and connecting people living outdoors to services and shelter.

Following several months of negotiations last year among myself, Councilmembers Lewis and Morales; the Mayor’s Office; and homelessness outreach providers including REACH and LEAD; Council approved legislation to memorialize a new agreed-upon approach to managing encampments of people living unsheltered that focuses on problem-solving.  This shared framework, already in operation, will lead to:

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

West Seattle Bridge Update March 19

The City Council Transportation and Utilities Committee heard an update on the West Seattle Bridge and related work this week. It was similar to the presentation at the Community Task Force last week. Thanks to committee chair Councilmember Pedersen for holding this briefing. Here’s a link to the presentation.

Low Bridge Repair Work

The rehabilitation work on the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge will, like the West Seattle Bridge, include carbon fiber wrap:

Here’s the schedule for both bridges; at the 30% design threshold we can confirm, as in earlier estimates, that the target date for re-opening the West Seattle bridge is mid-2022. As noted below, the schedule and budget will be updated at intermediate design (60% design). This is anticipated for July.


Contracting

SDOT is seeking a community workforce agreement and priority hire for the repair of the bridges, ensuring hires form economically distressed ZIP codes. This requires approval from the USDOT.


Reconnect West Seattle

SDOT is seeking community suggestions for potential Reconnect West Seattle projects in 2022 to address the impacts of the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.   Please send any suggestions to SDOT by March 31, at westseattlebridge@seattle.gov.

Highland Park Home Zone

SDOT provided an update to the earlier draft of Highland Park Home Zone projects. The community selected a Home Zone as part of Reconnect West Seattle, to improve pedestrian and road safety, with the neighborhood experiencing increased cut-through traffic since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. 550 community comments were submitted in the SDOT survey about this project.  Here’s a link to larger images of the slides below.

I’ve heard from community members about a number of the locations with safety improvement projects, where there is increased cut-through traffic. For example, speed humps and curb bulbs on Holden to the west of 16th Ave SW, and speed humps on 20th Ave SW just before the switchback to 21st Ave SW that some use to access Delridge Way:

The second slide includes for example a number of speed humps on SW Barton Street between 8th Ave SW and 21st Ave SW.

South Park and Georgetown both have Home Zones as part of Reconnect West Seattle.

INFRA Grant Application

Earlier this week the Council and Mayor co-signed a letter to USDOT Secretary Buttigieg in support of a USDOT INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America) grant, for around $20 million. Thanks to SDOT, the Mayor’s Office and Councilmember Pedersen for their work with my office on this as well.

The City is also seeking $25 million in funding from the state during the current sessions.

Earlier this week, the members of the City Council Transportation Committee voted to adopt legislation Councilmember Pedersen and I co-sponsored, to accept $12.4 million in grants from the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC).

Thank you to PSRC Executive Board members Council President González, Councilmembers Lewis and Strauss and Mayor Durkan for their work at the Executive Committee, and to PSRC Transportation Policy Advisory Board members, Council President González, and Councilmembers Juarez and Pedersen for their work on the PSRC Transportation Policy Advisory Board for making the recommendation to move this funding to the Executive Board for final action. I appreciate the support and commitment of the City’s elected officials to attaining funding for this critical work.

To date, $124 million has been secured for the overall project. In addition to the $100 million approved by the Council, the total of grants secured is $15.9 million, with $9 million from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District.

Support Available for Small Businesses and Nonprofits

Missed the Paycheck Protection Program 14-day priority application for small businesses and nonprofits with 20 employees or fewer?  No worries, you can still apply for PPP until March 31st.  Need help applying?  Learn more here, and contact OED at 206-684-8090 or oed@seattle.gov.

Round 4 of the state’s Working Washington Grants is coming soon.  Learn more and sign up to be notified when the application is available here.

Pedestrian Advisory Board Seeking Two New Members

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board is seeking two new members to serve two-year terms starting this spring through March 2023.  You can apply though March 23rd.

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board serves as the steward of Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) vision. The Pedestrian Advisory Board advises the Mayor, City Council, and City Departments and Divisions on projects, policies, and programs that improve and/or affect walking and rolling conditions in Seattle.

The Pedestrian Advisory Board encourages Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, bi-cultural or bi-lingual residents, youth (under 30), seniors (over 65), and/or LGBTQ candidates to apply.  If you have questions, or if you’d like reasonable accommodations for the application or interview, please reach out to Polly Membrino at polly.membrino@seattle.gov.

Community Quotes Needed for South Park Community Center Art Installation

Seattle Parks and Recreation is collecting inspiring quotations from South Park community members to be used as part of an onsite art installation at the South Park Community Center redevelopment. They’re looking for examples of quotations from artists, authors, local leaders – anyone whose voice reflects and celebrates South Park’s diverse, vibrant community.   Email your quotations to toby.ressler@seattle.gov.


Mayor Extends Eviction Moratorium and Other Relief Measures

On Monday, March 15, the Mayor extended the current Seattle eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. This extension includes the moratorium on evictions for small businesses and non-profits, as well as an extension of the Utility Discount Program’s Self Certification pilot.

The eviction moratorium says that your landlord “shall not initiate an unlawful detainer action, issue a notice of termination, or otherwise act on any termination notice, including any action or notice related to a rental agreement that has expired or will expire during the effective date of this Emergency Order, unless the tenant’s actions constitute an imminent threat to the health or safety of neighbors, the landlord, or the tenant’s or landlord’s household members.  Further, no late fees or other charges due to late payment of rent shall accrue during the moratorium.”

Community Reuse & Free Recycling Event

When: Saturday, March 20 between 9am – 12pm

Where: South Seattle Community College North Parking Lot (6000 16th Ave SW)

See here for more information about the event and for items not accepted.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday March 26, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Friday, May 28, 2021
  • Friday, June 25, 2021
  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Friday, August 20, 2021
  • Friday, September 24, 2021
  • Friday, October 29, 2021
  • Friday, December 17, 2021
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Covid Vaccine Updates // WSB: 30% Design Milestone Reached // Fauntleroy ferry dock replacement meetings // $10.4M for Community Safety Organizations

March 12th, 2021


Covid Updates: Vaccine Available Now, Notification List for City Vaccines, Mass Vaccine Site Opens at Lumen Field, Volunteering Info, District 1 Vaccination Sites, Phase 3 Coming Soon 

Vaccine appointments available now:  Hundreds of vaccine appointments are available in City–run vaccination sites in West Seattle (2801 SW Thistle) and Rainier Beach (8702 Seward Park Ave S) on March 12, 13, 15, and 16.   Open to anyone who is eligible to receive vaccine. 

  • Sign up for West Seattle here. 
  • Sign up for Rainier Beach here.   
  • For accommodations and assistance registering, please contact the Customer Service Bureau at 206-684-2489 from Monday through Saturday, between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. In-language assistance is available over the phone. 

City-run mass vaccination site opens: On Saturdaythe City will open a mass vaccination site at Lumen Field Event Center.   The site will initially vaccinate around 5,000 people each week, but could vaccinate 150,000 people each week – or 22,000 per day – at full capacity, if supply is available.  This Seattle Times article has more information.   

Lumen joins the City-run community vaccination and testing sites run by SFD that opened recently in West Seattle (at the SW Athletic Complex, 2801 SW Thistle) and Rainier Beach.  Some of you have written or called me to say that you drove by the SW Athletic Complex and that you saw no people getting vaccine.  Please keep in mind that currently, all three sites are offering vaccination only part-time and for only as long as they have vaccine supply for that week.    When supply picks up in the next weeks and months, all three will be open all week.   

Vaccine notification list available:  Vaccine-eligible Seattle residents can sign up to receive notifications when vaccine appointments become available at any of the City’s three fixed sites: in West Seattle (at the SW Athletic Complex, 2801 SW Thistle), Rainier Beach, and the Lumen Field Event Center.  Residents can also sign up for notifications by calling the Customer Service Bureau at 206-684-2489 from Monday through Saturday, between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. In-language assistance is available over the phone. 

In just over 24 hours, nearly 1,500 eligible people have signed up for the City’s notification list – and more than 500 of them have already registered for a vaccination appointment at the Lumen Field Event Center for this Saturday, March 13.  In addition, over 600 people were registered through partnerships with community-based and faith-based organizations serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities, older adults, and immigrants and refugees.  City services – including vaccinations – are available to residents regardless of citizenship or immigration status. 

Who is eligible for vaccine now?  The state Department of Health determines eligibility for vaccine.  Currently, individuals in these groups are eligible to receive vaccination: 

  • Health care workers 
  • High-risk first responders 
  • Residents of long-term care facilities 
  • All people over 65 years-old 
  • All people over 50 years-old who live in a multigenerational household 
  • Educators and staff for pre-K through 12th grade 
  • Child care providers 
  • Veterans enrolled with the VA (only through the VA, details below) 

On Thursday, the Governor announced that new groups will become eligible starting Wednesday, March 17.  Some of the categories can be confusing; you can find more detailed information about the categories here.  You can also check your eligibility using the State’s PhaseFinder tool.   

The Department of Health is still in the process of determining later tiers of eligibility, so it’s best to continue monitoring news sources as new information becomes available.   

VA-enrolled veterans: In addition, veterans of all ages, who are enrolled in the VA system, may schedule a vaccination through the VA.  The VA Puget Sound Health Care Systems website includes this guidance: 

All ages of Veterans are being actively scheduled now for the vaccine. No matter which VA care site you get your vaccine at, you must have an appointment.  It is important to understand that we need to vaccinate the most vulnerable Veterans first, which means even though we are now able to offer all eligible Veterans the vaccines, if you are healthy and younger, you may be scheduled further out. 

Eligible Veterans can call (206) 716-5716 to schedule, or contact your primary care team. 

Volunteering:  My office has heard from many District 1 residents eager to put their time and expertise to use volunteering at the City-run vaccination sites.  We’ve been asking the Mayor’s Office how volunteer power can be used, and recently received this response: 

Right now, volunteer opportunities aren’t open to the general public. If potential volunteer opportunities do open up to the general public, information will be posted to the City’s main vaccination website at: seattle.gov/vaccine. Please direct anyone who’s interested in a potential volunteer opportunity to check the City’s vaccine web page in the event volunteer opportunities become available and are posted to the site.  

Vaccine providers in District 1:  My office is keeping a list of approved vaccine providers in District 1, since the state’s Vaccine Locator website doesn’t consistently show them all.  Click on the map below to find providers and their websites.  Please note: lack of vaccine supply continues to be a problem.  Just because a provider is authorized, doesn’t mean they have received any vaccine in a given week.   

Vaccine supply update:  Washington state’s three week forecast from the federal government is gradually increasing but remains roughly 70,000 doses fewer than what providers are requesting. 

Week of…  1st doses  2nd doses  Total doses 
March 14  170,680  156,640  327,320 
March 21  170,680  163,660  334,340 
March 28  170,680  170,680  341,360 

Judging by the current forecast, Washington will not receive more one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for at least three weeks. 

Reopening news:  Yesterday, Governor Inslee announced that the entire state would move into Phase 3 on March 22nd.   Social distancing and wearing masks will still be required.   

Under the updated plan, counties will be individually evaluated every three weeks; large and small counties will have different sets of criteria. If any county fails one or more of the metrics below, that county will move down one Phase in the Heathy Washington plan.  If at any point the statewide ICU capacity reaches greater than 90%, all counties will move down one Phase. 

 


West Seattle Bridge: 30% Design Milestone Reached, Bridge Repair RFQ Issued 

West Seattle Bridge 

SDOT has reached the 30% milestone for design of the repair for the West Seattle Bridge.  

SDOT considers 30% design the official “baseline” for cost estimates, schedule, and scope. The estimated cost to repair the West Seattle Bridge is $58 million, and $14 million for repairs to the lower bridge, with a total program cost of $175 million This also includes funding for Reconnect West Seattle traffic safety and congestion mitigation projects in communities most impacted by detour routes through their neighborhoods, and the cost for stabilizing the bridge.  

The design for repairing the West Seattle Bridge includes new carbon fiber wrap on both the central and end spans, additional post tensioning, and seismic ground stabilization on Pier 18. The Pier 18 work is not required prior to the bridge reopening 

The next design milestone will be 60%, which SDOT estimates for July. At that time there will be updated cost estimates and schedule.  

Request for Qualifications project approach 

On Wednesday morning, SDOT released the Request for Qualifications and Project Approach for the repair of the West Seattle Bridge.  The RFQ includes the Spokane Street (lower) bridge strengthening as well. Both bridges have similar work with carbon fiber wrap, so combining the projects is designed to realize efficiencies in both cost and timeline. The total estimated cost is $72 million ($58 million for the West Seattle Bridge, and $14 million for the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge) 

Responses from potential contractors are due on April 12, with a pre-proposal meeting scheduled for March 22.  

The target for awarding the contract is mid-late May, with a contractor on board in June. 

SDOT is using the General Contractor/Construction Manager (GCCM) construction approach, which is designed to save time. This means that the contractor will assist in designing the project, in order to reduce the likelihood of constructability and potential schedule issues coming up later.  This is considered an alternative project delivery method; the traditional approach is to complete design first, then bid for a contractor.  

In the Community Task Force meeting on Wednesday, SDOT noted that final design for repairs is targeted for August/September. When the final design is complete then SDOT will negotiate with the contractor for maximum allowable construction costs. In addition, external approvals are needed from WSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.  These steps add time to the timeline and result in an estimate for bridge repair construction to begin in November, with completion in June 2022.   

Low Bridge Access Update 

On the lower bridge, SDOT has been tracking data on usage of the lower bridge. Prior to the advent of camera enforcement, SDOT noted that it could allow for additional usage, depending on travel patterns  Camera enforcement began in January, the data shows lower level bridge usage, yet no additional usage has been permitted yet, beyond allowing on-call medical workers to use a declaration of non-responsibility for tickets. 

Below  is average weekly traffic volumes from when camera enforcement began, compared to the baseline.  

The baseline bridge usage before enforcement began was 7,018 average weekday trips. Bridge usage was down 36-45% during February: 

Daily traffic volumes by hour for the week of February 22-28 are shown below, in both directions. I appreciate SDOT compiling this information, and making it available.  

At the Community Task Force meeting on Wednesday, I asked SDOT when they will make a decision about bridge access on weekend mornings, since there appears to be clear capacity, as shown in green above. SDOT indicated they are likely to bring an update to the next Community Task Force meeting in April after additional outreach to underserved communities.  When pressed on the question of to whom they are doing additional outreach, the answer became instead that they want to wait so that they can “bundle” changes in access to the lower bridge to minimize confusion.  I don’t believe adding a couple hours of access on the weekend mornings will be confusing to anyone. 

Here’s what SDOT noted about next steps:

Here’s a link to SDOT’s Spokane Street Swing Bridge website. 

Regarding the questions of general weekend access, SDOT notes the amount of traffic diverted on to West Marginal Way, for example, on weekends is more than what the lower bridge could handle, so they are not considering allowing all-day access on the lower bridge on weekends.  

West Marginal Way SW 

SDOT provided an update about West Marginal Way. Videos about proposed work there are available in multiple languages:  

In 2021 SDOT is proceeding with a crosswalk near the Duwamish Longhouse and an interim pedestrian signal (with a permanent one in 2022). In addition, SDOT will construct a sidewalk on the west side of the street to upgrade the dirt path near the longhouse.  

Work at the intersection of Highland Park Way was completed earlier.  

Of other potential projects, the proposed bike lane has received the greatest number of comments. SDOT notes the comments they have heard so far; I’ve heard both support and opposition to the project. I’ve heard as well from numerous constituents who think it could be a good project, but question the timing and whether the project should be constructed before the West Seattle Bridge re-opens.  

Here is the timeline SDOT has shared: 

 


Washington State Ferries Fauntleroy ferry dock replacement meetings March 17/18 

 

Washington State Ferries has re-started work on the Fauntleroy ferry terminal replacement project, which was delayed last year due to COVID-19.  

They will be holding virtual public outreach meetings on March 17 and 18 as the first part of public engagement for the project. You can register here to participate: 

Wednesday, Mar. 17   

Thursday, Mar. 18  

Below is information Washington State Ferries has provided about the project:  

This project was identified in the WSF 2040 Long Range Plan given the preservation need and long-established operational constraints and inefficiencies of the terminal (you can download the 2040 plan here). 

The first phase (2021 through early-2023) of the project is conducted as a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration per federal requirements (23 U.S.C 168 and 23 U.S.C. 139).  The PEL study helps identify transportation issues, environmental concerns, community values and economic goals early in project planning. A detailed environmental review process follows a PEL study, as required by both the National Environmental Policy Act and the State Environmental Policy Act. Information gathered in the PEL study is carried forward into the environmental review process, saving time and money. 

The terminal currently faces several challenges, including: 

  • Parts of the terminal are aging, seismically vulnerable and overdue for replacement  
  • Rising sea levels could damage the superstructure from debris during high tides in the future 
  • Long-standing operational challenges, including:   
  • Challenges with vehicles queuing on Fauntleroy Way, with only one shoulder holding lane to serve two destinations. 
  • A small terminal, with only enough dock space for approximately 80 cars, that is served by three 124-car Issaquah class ferries using a single slip. 

Here’s the project timeline WSF has provided: 

  • Fall 2016-2019 – Near-term operational improvements at the dock   
  • 2017 – Improved vehicle processing at tollbooths 
  • 2018 – Implemented new operational plan for Fauntleroy terminal 
  • 2019 – Launched new sailing schedule for Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route 
  • 2020-2023 – Planning and environmental review for terminal preservation project   
  • 2021 – Launch community engagement for the project 
  • 2023-2025 – Design and construction planning 
  • 2025-2027 – Construction 

(Future dates tentative based on impacts from COVID-19). 

 


$10.4 Million Available for Community Safety Organizations 

Last month I wrote about a February report from the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice about increases in crime in 34 cities across the country. This report noted the strain individuals and organizations have experienced over the past year, and concluded that implementing proven anti-violence strategies will be necessary to combat increased violence and property offenses across the country, including in Seattle.  

This week, my Public Safety & Human Services committee unanimously approved a $10.4 million spending plan for community safety investments, a continuation of the Council’s fall budget process to reimagine public safety.  The legislation will make it possible for the Human Services Department to release the funding associated with the Community Safety Capacity Building Request For Proposals (RFP) issued last week.  They will invest $10,400,000 in one-time funds for the contract period of July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022 and up to 40 proposals may be funded.  Applications are due Friday, April 9.  Learn more and apply.   

  • All organizations working to create conditions for safety, including ending violence and reducing crime, are encouraged to apply 
  • Priority will be given to Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, and Immigrant and Refugee-led community groups, as they are most impacted by racism, systems of oppression, and harm from violence and the criminal legal system.   
  • All organizations that meet the minimum qualifications will be interviewed.   
  • Free technical assistance is available.   

Throughout 2020, the calls from community to invest in alternatives to policing were consistent, loud and clear.  Seattle City Council answered that call by appropriating $16 million to invest in community-led organizations that are creating community safety on the ground every day in Seattle.  Last year, the Human Services Department moved quickly to award $4 million to the Seattle Community Safety Initiative, which is building community safety hubs and wraparound services in three Seattle neighborhoods – including West Seattle – under the leadership of Community Passageways.   

This new investment will bring together a cohort of organizations dedicated to reimagining how community safety can be achieved in Seattle, and gives them the resources they need to lead the way in creating safety in our City. 

 


King Conservation District Election 

Voting is now open for the King Conservation District (KDC) Board of Supervisors Position #3The King Conservation Districtauthorized by Washington State and guided by the Washington State Conservation Commission, is a natural resources assistance agency. Their goal is to promote the sustainable use of natural resources through responsible stewardship. A five-member Board of Supervisors is responsible for overseeing all KCD programs and activities. 

Voting began on March 1, 2021, and runs through March 23, 2021. You can vote via mail or online, please see this link for additional information about how to vote. You can also see this link for more information about the candidates running.  

 


Seattle Districting Commission 

 

The City is seeking applicants to serve on the City Districting Commission. The Commission oversees the development of new City Council district lines in response to the completed 2020 Census.  

The Commission appoints a Districting Master to draw a districting plan for the City, develops a draft districts proposal based on that plan, facilitates a process of public comment on that proposal, and ultimately votes upon approval of that proposal for transmission to the State of Washington. Districting Commissioners will receive a per diem for their service and Commission’s termlast until their districting proposal is submitted to the State of Washington. 

The Commission will be comprised of five members: 

  • Two appointed by the City Council, confirmed via a two-thirds vote of the Council 
  • Two appointed by the Mayor 
  • One appointed by the initial four members of the Commission, approved via a majority vote of the Commissioners 

Please see the Council webpage here if you’re interested in learning more or applying to be a member. Applications are due by 11:59 P.M. on Monday, March 29, 2021. 

 


Virtual Office Hours 

On Friday March 26, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm. 

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time. 

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change. 

  • Friday, April 30, 2021 
  • Friday, May 28, 2021 
  • Friday, June 25, 2021 
  • Friday, July 30, 2021 
  • Friday, August 20, 2021 
  • Friday, September 24, 2021 
  • Friday, October 29, 2021 
  • Friday, December 17, 2021 

 

 

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